Monday, March 20, 2006

# Posted 11:18 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: There was a malfunction with the ABC podcast this week, so this edition of the round-up will only cover two networks. Gen. George Casey and Rep. John Murtha were on NBC, while Dick Cheney was on CBS.
Gen. Casey: Incomplete. Four star generals are in an impossible position. They're supposed to be strategists, not public affairs officers. Let's leave it at that.

Murtha: C. A broken record. Not a part of the reality-based community.

Cheney: C. He seems so persuasive and reasonable until he doesn't.
And now for the hosts:
Russert: B-. Again, just above a C+. Clearly put Casey on the defensive. Then practically lay down for Murtha. Sure, Russert asked Murtha to respond to quotes from Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Ken Mehlman and others. But those are softballs. What Democrat wouldn't disagree with GOP partisan rhetoric?

Instead, how about confrontingMurtha with statements from liberal Democrats -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama -- who refuse to endorse his position on the war? Or statments from intelligent writers like those on the WaPo editorial board?

Russert actually did cite the same David Ignatius column that OxBlog did earlier this week, but Murtha dodged the question and there was no follow up.
Murtha dodged left and right and Russert made no effort to rein him in.

The fact that Russert did get tough on Gen. Casey -- repeatedly -- makes this all the more inexcusable. The only thing to be said in Russert's defense is that the entire talk show circuit has gone soft on John Murtha. Somehow they think that because he's an old veteran, they shouldn't challenge the nonsense he spouts.

Now, if I were Tim Russert, I might say that OxBlog is being unfair because I asked Murtha some tough questions like:
If we got out quickly and left behind a blood bath, what would we do? Just watch the slaughter?
But no follow up. No effort to make Murtha actually answer the questions that might expose the superficiality of his thinking.

Bob Schieffer: A-. There was some fire in Schieffer's belly this week. He actually gave Cheney a run for his money.
See ya in seven.
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