Did Gibson have a double standard for Palin? Update: ABC’s edits

posted at 10:10 am on September 13, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In the days leading up to Charles Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin, many demanded that he ask her tough questions on foreign policy and reform.  Certainly that is what journalists should do with all of our elected officials and political candidates, but it seems that Gibson doesn’t always meet this standard.  Two bloggers have already provided evidence that Gibson treated Democrats much differently.

First, the Anchoress has a list of questions posed by Gibson to Barack Obama three months ago, who has arguably less experience on foreign policy than Palin and no executive experience at all:

Obama interview:

How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to “win”?
How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your VP?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

Palin interview:
Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Questions about foreign policy
-territorial integrity of Georgia
-allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
-NATO treaty
-Iranian nuclear threat
-what to do if Israel attacks Iran
-Al Qaeda motivations
-the Bush Doctrine
-attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

Newsbusters, meanwhile, has Gibson’s interview with John Edwards in 2004 after being selected as John Kerry’s running mate.  Edwards had less than a full term in the Senate as his entire political background, and no foreign-policy, military, or executive experience at all.  Yet Gibson didn’t press Edwards on these points at all.  In fact, the entire interview consisted of a hard-hitting interrogation … on how mean Republicans are:

GIBSON: You speak with such equanimity this morning. Didn’t they make you mad last night?

EDWARDS: Oh, I thought they were over the top, completely over the top. And, and actually what bothered me more than anything was in the midst of -I mean, there was, if you, if you got up and went to your refrigerator to get a Diet Coke, you would -you would miss everything Dick Cheney had to say about health care and everything he had to say about jobs. I mean, this is the first, we’ve had 11 straight presidents in this country, Charlie, who have created jobs. This is, until George Bush. You know, we’ve got all these folks who are having trouble with their health care premiums going up, 26, 27 hundred dollars, and what do they have to say about it? Nothing. I mean, don’t people deserve to know from their president and vice president what it is they’ve done and what it is they’re going to do? And instead, all we hear is a lot of rhetoric about, about their opponent. I mean, I just think leaders in this country, the American people deserve leaders who are better than that and do better than that.

GIBSON: Did you get mad, though?

EDWARDS: Oh, yeah. I was, I was, especially about the personal attacks against John Kerry, because they’re false. I know this guy and I know what he’s made of inside and he’s ready to lead this country.

Compare, contrast, and draw your own conclusions.  The following cartoon by Kirby Garp, exclusive to Hot Air, tells the story:

We would have no problem with tough questioning to hold Republican candidates accountable if the media would perform the same task with Democrats.  Yet no major media outlet has reported on Barack Obama’s long association with and defense of William Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist, nor have they pressed him on his lack of executive experience or the absence of any significant political accomplishments except his own elections.  We await that interview with great anticipation and no hope whatsoever of it ever occurring.

Update: Newsbusters takes a look at the full transcript and finds some interesting answers left out of the broadcast portions of the interview.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Great post, and many outstanding and informative comments.

Mark30339 on September 14, 2008 at 4:42 PM

I think this episode argues for a new media standard when McCain & Palin are sworn into office.

Any news organization caught in this kind of shameful lying should have their White House press passes revoked and given to the next reporters in line. Continue this until we have purged the press room of liars.

Commentary should not be penalized, but dishonest reports and edits which change meaning should not be tolerated in pieces presented as “news”. Liars contribute nothing whatsoever to the national discussion, and are not helping the press as an institution either.

landlines on September 14, 2008 at 5:36 PM

WOW! What double standard? You’ve got to be kidding me. When you look at the questions side by side there’s no doubt about the media being one sided. Palin is going to be like Sheriff Jo of Maracopa County that does his job and is reelected year after year. However, where are the other Sheriffs in the whole USA that don’t have the guts to do what Jo does. Go Sara, I can’t wait until you are in the White House and the Congress is wetting their pants.

mixplix on September 14, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Palin is a Journalism Major, she should tell Charlie that he failed and he needs to go back to school.

Chakra Hammer on September 14, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Any politician who’s completely unknown to the world and is perceived as hiding from the media for 2 weeks is going to get tough questions. Accepting the interview from Good Morning American instead of Meet the Press must have left Gibson wondering if everyone thought he was a lightweight who couldn’t ask difficult questions.

If this has been the 100th interview granted by Palin to the press, instead of the first, there’s no doubt that the questions would have been different. Does Palin always have to be cast in the light of some kind of great victim?

Perhaps more scrutiny should be given to her record and why she continues to claim opposition to the bridge to nowhere when in reality she supported it until the Congress started to attack it.

bayam on September 14, 2008 at 10:49 PM

bayam on September 14, 2008 at 10:49 PM

I do not think anyone is complaining about a difficult interview..

the biggest foul I see is the LOUSY edit job.. parsing her answers, taking one answer to a question and pairing it up with another another question to be out of context..

I would like to see Obama handle a tough interview like she had.. same conditions.. 2 days, nothing held back…

DaveC on September 15, 2008 at 9:31 AM


I’m starting to see this argument by the liberal media about Palin actually seeking approx. $450 million in earmarks for Alaska, and attempting to slam her for doing so because she’s criticizing Obama for his nearly $1 billion in earmarks.

This argument forgets one key point: The differences in the job of a GOVERNOR versus that of a State’s SENATOR or CONGRESSPERSON.

It is an entirely expected and proper part of ANY governor’s JOB to ATTRACT AS MUCH INVESTMENT AS POSSIBLE to his or her state, in order to benefit that state, be it private investment capital or federally funded capital. Of course, it’s also the governor’s job to hold down the tax burden or other social burdens to his/her state constituents during the process.

However, for a LEGISLATOR…it is an expected and proper part of the job to carefully study these attempts to attract investment by the states, deem whether they are worthy of federal funding and thus inclusion in an earmark, or whether it’s either a fairly low priority when evaluated against competing projects/initiatives, or even a waste of their state taxpayers’ tax money.

Obama was barely there in the Illinois state legislature, and also barely there for the U.S. Senate…notice the multiple “present” votes not taking a stand on many bills (indicating likely lack of time put into studying the issues to sufficient depth to take that stand, or the cowardice to be held accountable for having taken one at all) in both legislatures in which he served.

So…the media is attempting to slam Palin for ACTUALLY DOING the job she was elected to, while leaving Obama alone for NEGLIGENCE in doing his?


Shirotayama on September 15, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Fair and Balanced…oh wait!

bryan2369 on September 15, 2008 at 2:24 PM