Earlier this week, Lawrence O'Donnell gave the better part of our so-called mainstream media a belly full of criticism when it comes to how they're reporting on Mitt Romney's completely dishonest political ad, where he took President Obama's words out of context and attributed something he was quoting from the McCain campaign to him, and their complete unwillingness to use the word "lie" when describing it.
Here's the PBS Newshour with host Jeffrey Brown and their Friday regulars, Mark Shields and David Brooks with a prime example of exactly what O'Donnell was talking about.
Transcript via PBS.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, speaking of Romney, Mark, he put out an ad this week that got a lot of pushback from Democrats, sort of crying foul over it, right?
MARK SHIELDS: Yes, I mean, Mitt Romney -- nobody has any doubts about Mitt Romney's abilities. His education credentials, I mean, a graduate of both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, business success, exemplary family life, first-rate intellect, these aren't the questions.
The questions about Mitt Romney are his character and what the core of the man is, what he really believes. In his introductory commercial, he basically takes words not simply out of context. He takes words that Barack Obama was quoting a McCain campaign person in 2008 and then attributes them to Obama in 2011.
JEFFREY BROWN: And so the words, if we keep -- Obama administration is saying, "If we keep talk about the economy, we're going to lose."
MARK SHIELDS: Yes. This is the same as if I were to say to you, Hitler said the Aryan race is the greatest gift to mankind and all other groups who aren't blond-haired and blue-eyed ought to be eliminated from the earth, and you say, well, Shields say the Aryan race is supreme to all other races and all other groups ought to be eliminated.
And this -- it raises character questions about him. I don't know why he did it. There are all kinds of ways to run against Barack Obama on his record. But, to me, it just -- the idea that it starts a buzz about the economy, which is what the Romney defense is, it raises questions about Mitt Romney and who he is and what he would do and what he believes, and just exactly what David said about immigration. What's at the core of the man?
JEFFREY BROWN: David, what's your theory on that?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, first, on the merits, I agree with Mark. If any of us did that in a journalistic enterprise, we'd be in big trouble.
MARK SHIELDS: That's right.
DAVID BROOKS: But, as for the political reason, they did it completely aware of the reaction. They wanted the reaction. They want to show Republican primary voters that they can get in a big, furious fight with the Obama campaign. And so they did it knowing and predicting and hoping that the Obama people would react as they did.
So what's interesting to me is, you're in a world sort of post-morality, where you think, well, we will do whatever it takes to show we can be tough against Obama, and that somehow the line, maybe we shouldn't say something that's not quite accurate, somehow that line never really appeared to them.
So they're off in an alternate universe. They did it for political reasons, because they want to show Republican voters how tough and manly they are.