MSNBC’s David Shuster is a bright reporter, who owes his career largely to being colleague Chris Matthews’s waterboy lo these many years. In the past he’s built a reputation for enterprise reporting, but earlier this week he attempted to embarrass Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn during an on-air interview:
Shuster: “Let’s talk about the public trust. You represent, of course, a district in western Tennessee. What was the name of the last solider from your district who was killed in Iraq?”
Blackburn: “The name of the last soldier killed in Iraq uh — from my district I — I do not know his name …
Shuster: “Okay, his name was Jeremy Bohannon. He was killed August the 9th, 2007. How come you didn’t know the name?”
Blackburn: “I — I, you know, I — I do not know why I did not know the name…”
Shuster: “But you weren’t appreciative enough to know the name of this young man. He was 18 years old who was killed, and yet you can say chapter and verse about what’s going on with the New York Times and Move On.org….
“Don’t you understand, the problems that a lot of people would have, that you’re so focused on an ad. When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody? I mean, here we have a war that took the life of an 18-year-old kid, Jeremy Bohannon, from your district, and you didn’t even know his name.”
One problem: the soldier in question wasn’t from Blackburn’s district. Another problem: MSNBC producers got the name from MoveOn.org, which has been compiling the names of deceased military personnel and feeding them to reporters for “gotcha” interviews.
There is no evidence that Shuster accepted the name at a discounted MSNBC ad rate, however.
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