Why was Charles Gibson chosen to interview Sarah Palin?
This morning, a blurry picture is emerging over why the McCain team choose Charles Gibson as the journalist to interview Mrs. Palin. It was apparently decided at the very top (which means Rick Davis and a handful of others) and it was a process of elimination.
While McCain has many connections to NBC and the network is loaded with talented journalists, it was ruled out early because of the perception that MSNBC, its cable network, had made a calculated decision to embrace the Democrats. MSNBC has aggressively attacked Mrs. Palin. A network executive confirmed with me a week ago that the cable news network has turned left as a business decision to win viewers. And it is working. While there is no McCain team boycott of the mother network, NBC, it was nonetheless considered unwise to reward the brand for a perceived bias.
Likewise, the Fox News Chanel was eventually ruled out because it would be seen as too sympathetic to Mrs. Palin and would not offer relief from the pressure that she be grilled by someone in the media. It was considered to be high risk without sufficient gain.
Interestingly enough, both ABC and CBS were given a first pass. Diane Sawyer was seen as “ideologically and culturally hostile” and George Stephanopoulos as being “a Democrat.” Bob Schieffer of CBS was considered one of the few remaining television journalists without an apparent personal agenda but the feeling was they could not go to CBS without going to Katie Couric, who as in the case of Diane Sawyer, is known in the words of my source as “unsympathetic to persons of Mrs. Palin’s background.” (This from my source.)
Both Charles Gibson and Terry Moran were mentioned. When someone first mentioned Charles Gibson there was an immediate and unanimous sigh. Gibson, the ABC anchor, is a tough, veteran journalist, without an apparent agenda. The campaign says they want to see the media sated and Mrs. Palin completely vetted, they just want the first interview to be conducted by someone who is not trying to decide the election in their opponents’ favor.
Meanwhile, sources inside the McCain camp tell me that vice presidential nominee, Sarah Plain has been loaded down with homework. The campaign has prepared large loose leaf notebooks with McCain’s position on everything from school vouchers to honey bee subsidies. They don’t want her accidently contradicting the candidate. Likewise, opposition research has done the same thing about Obama and Biden under that rubric, “she has to know the enemy.”