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Republicans Resisting MSNBC?

(CBS/AP)
Can't get enough Dennis Kucinich? Just tune into MSNBC.

Today in party-line news network boycotts, it's been reported that in Republicans are turning their back on MSNBC in response to an interview conducted by the network's David Shuster.

According to The Politico:

Word is, a growing number of GOP lawmakers have become mysteriously "unavailable" when asked to appear on MSNBC. Numerous meetings have taken place in both the House and the Senate side regarding the interview and "what to do about it," Hill sources report.

One MSNBC producer told a Hill staffer, as relayed to us: "We can't even get any republican senators!" While other offices immediately declared "absolutely not" when they heard the host was Shuster.

"There's no difference because sending your boss over to David Shuster or the Democratic National Committee at this point," sniffs one high-placed House source.

Earlier this week, Shuster interviewed/interrogated Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and – in the eyes of many, including me – crossed a line when he asked her to name the most recent soldier in her district to die. Then, things went from bad to worse. Shuster named the soldier she couldn't, only to have it come out later that he was wrong. Or maybe he wasn't. It's tough to tell. And he was forced to make an on-air apology, which he may-or-may-not have written.

(It reminded me more than a little of that 1999 Bush interview, where the news correspondent gave the future president a pop quiz on world leaders – it felt too much like a "gotcha" gimmick. Think Bush knows who Pervez Musharraf is now?)

So we have Democrats boycotting Fox, or at least the Fox debate. And Republicans boycotting MSNBC altogether. (Which potentially was forshadowed in the debate over MSNBC's decision to use the term "Civil War" to describe Iraq – a decision pilloried by Bill O'Reilly.)

Which begs two questions:

  • Is CNN enjoying all this?

    And:

  • Are we getting ever more close to the candidates just releasing statements and presentations and speeches in controlled environments like their Web sites or safe havens like Jay Leno, a la Fred Thompson? (His aversion to live political ammunition hasn't cost him too dearly in some polls.)
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