Thursday, June 11, 2009

Follow up on "Fair & Balanced"

What follows is an excerpt from the transcript of Hardball with Chris Matthews from Friday, July 28th, 2008 wherein Chris interviews Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary for the administration of President George W. Bush: [source]

MATTHEWS: Did you see FOX television as a tool when you were in the White House, as a useful avenue for getting your message out?

MCCLELLAN: Well, I make a distinction between the journalists and between the commentators. Certainly, there were commentators and others, pundits, at FOX News that were helpful to the White House.


MCCLELLAN: Certainly, we got talking points...


MCCLELLAN: ... those people.

MATTHEWS: Did people say, call Sean, call Bill, call whoever? Did you do that as a regular thing?


MCCLELLAN: Certainly. Certainly. It wasn‘t necessarily something I was doing, but it was something that we at the White House, yes, were doing and getting them talking points and making sure they knew where we were coming from.

MATTHEWS: So, you were giving them talking points...


MCCLELLAN: But I would separate the journalists.


MATTHEWS: No, no, this is important.


MATTHEWS: You were using these commentators as your spokespeople?

MCCLELLAN: Well, certainly. I mean, certainly. I think that happens to both ways, when people go on other networks, as well, that are—that are favorable towards Democrats and so forth.

MATTHEWS: Well, nobody has ever fed me any crap like that, so I don‘t know what you‘re talking about.


MCCLELLAN: Well, you‘re an independent-minded guy.

MATTHEWS: I—I—thank you.

But aren‘t you a little embarrassed by the fact that your White House used a television network which is purportedly fair and balanced as your mouthpiece?

MCCLELLAN: Well, I think everybody in this town uses people that are going to be helpful to their cause to try to shape the narrative to their advantage.

MATTHEWS: But a whole network?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I would separate the journalists, because the journalists that I worked with were people, just like the rest of the White House press corps, who would try to report the news.

MATTHEWS: So, you wouldn‘t use Brit Hume as somebody to sell stuff for, but you would use the nighttime guys?

MCCLELLAN: Yes, I would separate that out. And, certainly, and they will say that that‘s because they agree with those views in the White House.

MATTHEWS: Well, they didn‘t need a script, though, did they?

MCCLELLAN: Well, probably not.

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