Debate 2: Tom Brokaw Treats Obama as the Hired Help

The second Presidential Debate is still in progress, about 55 minutes in.

Look, we all know Tom Brokaw favors John McCain, but he has repeatedly scolded Senator Obama so far as if he was talking to the hired help.  The most obvious was a few minutes ago when he reminded Barack that there are lights on stage that tell the speakers when to stop.  Barack laughed politely in response.

Senator McCain is talking right now.  I’m looking at a red light.  McCain has talked well past the red light.  McCain stops.  Nothing from Brokaw.  Instead, another softball lob to McCain about health care.

Barack is talking about health care. Brokaw is trying to interrupt him, “Senator, we have to move on now.”

Does Brokaw have a book coming out about McCain?

ADDENDUM: 1 hour 23 minutes in, Brokaw thanks McCain for speaking, invites Obama to respond by saying, “Senator Obama, we’re winding down so we have to keep track of the time.”

Now Senator Obama is concluding his remarks, and Brokaw just cut him off again.  McCain consistently gets a free pass.


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  • Kaye

    Yes, it is quite obvious that Tom Brokaw is partial towards McCain. This is inline with Brokaw’s behavior on Meet the Press on 9/28 where he moderated a debate between McCain strategist Steve Schmidt and Obama strategist David Axelrod on topics ranging from Iraq to the Wall Street bailout which Axelrod seemed to win. At the end, Tom Brokaw he opted to give himself the last word and told the audience:

    “In fairness to everybody here, I’m just going to end on one note. And that is that we continue to poll on who’s best equipped to be Commander in Chief, and John McCain continues to lead in that category despite the criticism from Barack Obama by a factor of 53 to 42 percent in our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Gentlemen, thank you very much. “

    In fact, the latest NBC poll actually has no question about Commander in Chief. It turns out that Brokaw was referring to a poll taken weeks ago – right after the Republican convention and well before the September 26 national security debate. In each of NBC’s last two polls, Americans chose Obama over McCain.

  • G

    Kaye: Thank you for this comment. Thom Hartmann points this out as well on his show on Air America.

    I’m running out of major networks to watch for news.

  • mapapage

    Is there a code of ethics for journalist? If there is one that says that the honor of being a good journalist lies in the ability to remain impartial in journalistic situations that require that type of special discipline. Tom Brokaw did not rise to what could have been a glorious occasion for him to display honor and respect for his profession. How could MSNBC allow this to happen without being aware of Mr. Brokaw’s intentions?
    Mr. Brokaw publicly disgraced the American people while the rest of the world watched. What he did was desperate and disgraceful to the art of journalism. Both he and McCain had an opportunity to be brilliant Americans, to pass the test of democracy by showing “liberty and justice for all” when Brokaw lost it. As it turned out Brokaw clowned and acted shamefully immature and McCain saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of Mr. Obama who has tried so far to be dignified in these debates.
    These are the moments that we the American people should be watching. The unpredictable moments that show a persons true character. McCain would have been unbeatable if he had said; hold on Tom, let’s be fair here with Senator Obama instead he acted like a desperate opportunist and took the moment for himself. If he can’t be fair in moments like this then how can he be fair to the American people.
    Brokaw should be made to apologize to Sen.Obama and to the American people for making us look bad to the rest of the world and his fellow journalist should demand it. Why can’t the journalist that are so obvious about their preferences before being assigned these important and crucial situations be asked to sign some kind of document
    swearing to be professional under all circumstances.
    Tom Brokaw has tainted the debate process by not being able to control his own selfish motives and ignoring the importance of being impartial for the sake of the people of this country and the rest of the world.

  • mapapage

    I am a 58 year old African-American woman. I was born and raised in the South. I live through the human rights movement of the 60’s.
    As an African-American I have developed a sense about when a person is being racist. It is a tone of voice, a posture that ugly way that another human being can treat another human being with disrespect, Like a refusal to acknowledge another person’s humanity. I have not felt that in a long time. But with the way Tom Brokaw acted towards Sen Obama during the debates last night I sensed it, felt it and recognized it. When those kinds of feelings are the truth about a person’s character or lack of it then you can’t hide it under celebrity, or fame or eloquent speech. Last night we saw the truth that is Tom Brokaw.