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Posts Tagged ‘Rep. Marsha Blackburn’

Dan Abrams and Shuster’s Apology

FishbowlDC hears that MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams asked David Shuster to apologize for Wednesday’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn incident and even wrote the bulk of Shuster’s on-air apology.

We also hear that an on-air explanation of this episode is not expected today, with MSNBC hoping to pretend the entire episode never happened.

Blackburn’s office told Abrams that the congresswoman never received a death notice from the Army for Jeremy Bohannon (that is true). Shuster hoped to acknowledge on air the various complaints received and that MSNBC would look into it further. Shuster is slated to host “Tucker” on Monday and that would provide a proper venue for a follow-up.

Abrams conceded that it was fair for Shuster to ask whether or not Blackburn knew the identity of the last person from her district who died in Iraq (she didn’t), but should acknowledge if he made a factual error in naming Jeremy Bohannon.

But as today’s Memphis Commercial Appeal article suggests, it’s not totally clear that Shuster made a factual error. Yes, Blackburn’s office did not receive a notice from the Army, but Bohannon’s last legal address (and where he lived for a year before joining the Army) was in Blackburn’s district.

Shuster appealed for further time to look into it, but Abrams shipped the reporter to apologize on air during Wednesday’s 6 p.m. hour:

    But according to Pentagon documents, that young man came from a town inside a neighboring congressional district, not from Representative Blackburn’s, and for that, I apologize for that mistake.

Did Abrams cave to Blackburn’s pressure and fail to back his own reporter? Or should Shuster not have mentioned Bohannon’s name and just let it stand that Blackburn didn’t know the identity of the last person from her district to die in Iraq? Or should Shuster not have asked the question at all until the particulars of this situation were completely settled? Let us know your thoughts.

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Shuster: Exonerated?

FishbowlDC hears that Scripps Howard has a piece set for publication tomorrow detailing how, despite MSNBC’s David Shuster’s Wednesday apology (first reported by FishbowlDC here and here) that he mistakenly accused Rep. Marsha Blackburn of failing to know the identity of the last person from her district to die in Iraq, Jeremy Bohannon was in fact from Blackburn’s district, exonerating Shuster from any error.


Questions for tomorrow: Why did MSNBC rush Shuster to apologize? And, more importantly, who made him do so? Or did Shuster and MSNBC just not have the info (or didn’t do the research) that Scripps dug up?

Either way this is an interesting ‘Right-Wrong-Right’ back and forth not frequently seen and certainly shows the potential pitfalls of our instant news cycle.

>UPDATE: The story continues to evolve. TVNewser posts a note, regarding Bohannon’s death, from the U.S. Army addressed to Rep. Tanner’s district.

Does Scripps Howard still have a way to explain this away? Or will the Scripps piece not totally exonerate Shuster? Or — more shocking still — did the U.S. Army get it wrong? (read: doubtful)

UPDATE: Are we missing the point here? Conservatives are arguing that Shuster pulled a fast one on Blackburn and would not do the same to a Democrat. No one knows the answer to that hypothetical. But what we do know is this: Whether or not Bohannon is or isn’t from Blackburn’s district, the fact remains that Blackburn failed to recall the name of the last person to die in Iraq from her district. Big Bad Liberal Media conspiracies aside, Blackburn failed that basic test.

Shuster Says Sorry

David Shuster just took to the air on MSNBC to apologize for an earlier segment, in which he asked Rep. Marsha Blackburn to name the last person from her district who died in Iraq. The original transcript:

    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?”

Turns out Bohannon wasn’t from Blackburn’s district, but rather from a neighboring one.

“For that, I apologize for that mistake,” said Shuster.