The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America has gone on the attack against longtime “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert, saying he has “regularly smeared” Democrats on a variety of issues.
In its “Weekly Update,” Media Matters launched its attack by asserting that Russert, as the host of Democratic presidential debates, has all but ignored important issues such as the mortgage crisis, global warming, wiretapping and executive power, while questioning Dennis Kucinich about his claim to have seen a UFO and John Edwards about his expensive haircut.
The group’s report also complains that during one debate host Russert asked Barack Obama about Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan’s endorsement of Obama not once but four times — even though Obama had previously repudiated the endorsement.
Media Matters contrasts that with Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, which Rudy graciously accepted despite claims that Robertson has made anti-Semitic statements. Media Matters grumbles that when Russert interviewed Giuliani in December, he didn’t ask Rudy a single question about Robertson, and asks:
“Why does Tim Russert think Barack Obama has to explain praise from Louis Farrakhan that he did not accept, but Rudy Giuliani doesn’t have to explain an endorsement from Pat Robertson that he did accept?”
Media Matters goes on to say in its long-winded report that “over the years, Russert has regularly smeared Democrats and progressives over issues large and small,” citing a number of instances:During an interview with Hillary Clinton in January, Russert aired a clip that he said showed Bill Clinton charging that Obama’s presidential campaign was “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” In fact, Media Matters maintains, the reference was to Obama’s record of opposition to the Iraq war, not to his candidacy.After the January presidential debate, Russert “misrepresented” statements by Obama, Hillary, and Edwards to suggest their positions had shifted since a September 2007 debate, according to Media Matters.In 2006, Russert “falsely” claimed that one-third of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s money went to Democrats, when that allegation had previously been debunked.In November 2006, Russert suggested that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid opposed the creation of the Office of Public Integrity to promote lobbying reform, when in fact he had introduced legislation calling for the creation of that office.
Media Matters also complains in tedious detail that Russert has frequently been guilty of “lobbing softballs to conservatives and letting them get away with misleading spin and false claims.”
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