The grudge match continues between MSNBC and Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. And this time, it's Tucker Carlson who is carrying the network's baton.
During his program tonight, Tucker went off on Clinton's press shop, accusing them of repeatedly "threatening people," flipping out, and telling lies.
"They're awful to the media," said the formerly bow-tied host. "Let's be totally blunt. They're awful to the press. They treat the press like enemies. Howard Wolfson [Clinton's press secretary] is always calling around threatening people -- threatening people, news organizations. They do that. People hate you if you do that. I mean they've earned the enmity of the press in my view. They have. It's been hard, but they've done it."
Ironically, Tucker's tirade came during a segment focused on the Clinton campaign's recent complaints about press treatment. Earlier in the day, Wolfson somewhat angrily bemoaned on a conference call with reporters that Sen. Barack Obama had been treated with kid gloves by the fourth estate.
"I think it is true," he said, "that every time the Obama campaign in this campaign has attacked Senator Clinton in the worst kind of personal ways, attacked her veracity, attacked her credibility, said that she would say or do anything to get elected, the press has largely applauded him."
Tucker's refrain, however, seemed as much about the recent animosity between MSNBC and the Clinton campaign as it was directed at Wolfson's remarks. Indeed, just ten days ago, another station fixture, Chris Matthews, referred to the Clinton press shop as "knee cappers" who were "lousy" and delve in the business of "intimidation."
Prior to then, the Clinton camp had privately and then publicly complained about the pattern of deemed-misogynistic remarks coming from Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC crew. The conflict boiled over when correspondent David Shuster was suspended (he was recently reinstated) for saying the campaign had "pimped out" Chelsea Clinton to recruit superdelegates.
All of which seemed to be more than Tucker could take.
"You report on them and then they call you and threaten you and flip out and lie to you," he said. "They do it to a greater extent. They all do it, everybody does it, but she does it more. I'm not just saying that for political reasons. I think you ask any garden-variety liberal Democrat reporter...and they'll say the same thing."
The panelists, however, did not take the bait.
Said the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson: "They're not the warmest and cuddliest campaign."
Added Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen: "That's a 'grow up' thing, Tucker."