This is a fun clip. Watch what happens when Luke Russert, a legacy admit at NBC News (his father was Tim Russert) is asked by MSNBC host Martin Bashir to reflect not on what politicians in Washington have said but what he, Luke Russert, actually thinks is true.
That simple demand causes his systems to start shutting down. Luke begins smiling wildly, as if someone had just cracked a very good joke. Then his uncontrolled smiling turns to frat house laughter as he tries to fight off the internal shut down and form some sort of coherent reply.
What he probably wants to say is… I don’t get paid to think like this, Martin. I just ask the questions, repeat the talking points, and explain the political maneuvering. And you’re aware of that, so what is this shit?…. But he can’t. He does manage to get on firmer ground with the sort of observation he’s permitted to share: “It’s a very effective talking point.” That’s an assessment he can confidently make.
Now it’s true that the MSNBC host came at him with a hotly contentious claim (aren’t the Republicans admitting that they are the party of the two percent?) and tried to put him on the spot. Here’s the New York Times struggling to adjudicate the same claim: A Fuller Picture in the Small-Business Tug of War. Complicated!
My point is not that Luke should be able to improvise a fact check like this on live TV. Or that he is somehow in the pocket of the Republicans. No. Luke Russert here shows how unbearably thin his knowledge is— I mean his knowledge of anything beyond warring talking points. For in Luke’s mind, the reality of the situation is like a bizarre intrusion into the politics of it. Asked to cut through the talking points to what’s true, he recommends inviting House Speaker John Boehner on the show. As if that would help.
Like I said: fun clip!
^Exactly. “Objectivity” doesn’t mean being an equal mouthpiece for both parties, it means reporting the truth indifferent to politics. Criticism of party talking points must go beyond whether or not they are effective, to whether or not they are true.