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Carl Bernstein defies FOX Friends' talking points

Reported by Chrish - October 6, 2007 -

Author and journalist Carl Bernstein appeared this morning 10/06/07 on FOX and Friends Saturday, mainly to plug his book "A Woman in Charge," a biography of Hillary Clinton. He stuck around for the "talking points" after a break, but to the three hosts' surprise and discomfort, disagreed that NBC's Chris Matthews was unfit to moderate an upcoming Republican debate. Note the extremely un-artful change of subject.
With video.

AMENDED 10/07/07 2AM

Bernstein essentially agreed with Matthews' comment about criminality in the Bush administration (Scooter Libby, anyone?) and asserted that it is a journalist's duty to bring such questions out into the open, and noted that he has raised similar questions. The three Friends were stunned to hear that Bernstein thought Matthews is an iconoclast and would do fine moderating the debate. Unlike Brit Hume, who is predictably one-way, Matthews is all over the place. The threesome tried to get Bernstein to see it their way and when they failed, they couldn't very well cut his mic - he was right there on the couch with them and he is, after all, Carl Bernstein - so they abruptly changed the subject, leaving Bernstein with a "what just happened here?" look.

3:1, and the 3 has control of the mics, the cameras, the action. And they think Matthews is unfit to run a debate?

Amend: I did not realize that after the paparazzi diversion, the topic was returned to the debate moderation by one of the hosts (whose name I never did get; this is the first time I've seen him.) Sorry for the incomplete report.

The talking point that they wanted hammered was that Chris Matthews was unsuitable for moderating a Republican debate because his comment the other night about the Bush administration (which is so far only hearsay presented by a columnist for the Washington Examiner) was proof positive of his anti-Republican bias. Bernstein stuck to his conviction that Matthews is "all over the lot" in his views. Perhaps during the paparazzi non sequitur one of the hosts was fed the suggestion to ask if Bill O'Reilly, whom they all pretend is independent , would also be a suitable moderator? Sure, said Bernstein - but in the end his position was that while he is good at what he does, O'Reilly is no Matthews with an insider's expert knowledge of DC politics. The hosts lobbied for O'Reilly (and Hannity too) as comparable to Matthews but Bernstein disagreed and held his own.

Note at the end, the host who is not Greg Kelly said of O'Reilly that (unlike Matthews) he "does not claim the middle of the road and then preach a conservative front, where I think you've got a guy who says middle of the road and then...." Bernstein denied that Matthews is middle of the road, repeating that he is all over the lot, and Page Hopkins asked if he didn't think Matthews was on the left side of the road? Bernstein's perfect answer: "Some days."

The abrupt cutaway from the topic, cutting Bernstein off midstream, and subsequent swerve back to it, with the new O'Reilly challenge, seemed to be a construct of the producers - you can see Hopkins fiddling with her earpiece right before the paparazzi diversion. The overall tone remained the same, however, with the hosts going after Matthews and Bernstein defending him.