Melanie Morgan was her usual sweet self on a recent PBS Newshour program. She was such a darling, in fact, that Newshour viewers arose en masse and demanded never to see her again. A selection:
Soltz vs. Morgan on the NewsHour
“The NewsHour” is where I go to get away from screaming heads. Melanie Morgan was a disgrace to the program. Who in the world thought she would be a rational voice to counter Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org?
Herb Reeves, Greenville, SC
To have included Melanie Morgan to discuss the Iraq mess was a distinct dilution of the integrity that I believe PBS generally represents. Her qualifications to speak are questionable and her interruptive manner not in keeping with your standards.
The May 8 “debate” between Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org and Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward was one of the worst such segments I’ve seen on NewsHour in awhile. I turn to NewsHour to escape the shouting heads pervasive on the 24-hour news networks. Between Soltz’s offensive insistence that he represents “the troops” (when in fact, many of the troops vehemently disagree with his views), and Morgan’s insistence that the Democrats don’t want victory (merely because they want to fund it only six months at a time), and their nasty and disrespectful attitudes toward each other and the viewers, I was sickened by the whole display. If I wanted red herrings, straw men, ad hominems, and other such nonsense I wouldn’t be watching NewsHour.
Chris Nandor, Arlington, WA
I’m disturbed by the NewsHour’s new low; providing a television platform for an extreme right-wing attack demagogue, spewing abuse and jingoistic vitriol. Of course I’m referring to Melanie Morgan’s demeaning and disparaging ad hominem attacks on your other guest, along with a slanderous impugning of the patriotism and motives of any and all non-like-minded folks.
Jerry Swingle, Durango, CO
The yelling, interrupting and repeated rudeness by the talk show woman is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me from watching other news/talk shows, and the nastiness that I don’t expect to see on Lehrer. I don’t really blame her, since rudeness and yelling is the shtick of talk show hosts and maybe she’d never seen Lehrer and didn’t realize it was out of place there. A good rule of thumb would be not to invite talk show hosts from either side for these discussions.
Dick Homan, Green Valley, AZ
Please let The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer know that some viewers were aghast at tonight’s broadcast when Judy Woodruff let Melanie Morgan of Move Forward America repeatedly interrupt Judy and the other interviewee. Rudeness and a lack of civility are characteristic of some other so-called news programs, but not The NewsHour! We finally pushed the mute button on our remote.
Carolyn Fox, Mount Angel, OR
This evening (May 8 ) The NewsHour carried a piece that purported to be an interview of two grassroots organizations on the course of the Iraq war. On the Bush side was “Move America Forward.” The spokesperson sounded much more like a Republican front organization than a genuine grassroots one. There is nobody with an impressive resume on their web page. I would hope that PBS would check the funding and principles before putting someone like that on the air.
Ben Ansbacher, Burlington, NC
Lehrer’s NewsHour tonight was kinduv the last straw for me. Allowing Melanie Morgan to yell and block out the words of her opposite number was unforgivably rude, but she was not reprimanded; the camera swung to her, as though this were a contest show. For a long time the effort to “give both sides” has allowed similarly rude people a forum to promote minority, sometimes extreme, views. Please stop it!
ER W, Oberlin, OH
The NewsHour Responds
Last night the NewsHour attempted to help our viewers understand why the members of Congress are having so much difficulty arriving at a decision regarding the way forward in Iraq. We believe the intensity of the pressure being exerted on Democrats and Republicans by the “wings” of their respective parties is having an impact on those who are looking for some sort of compromise position. We decided to let representatives of those wings explain their positions, hoping they would participate in a dialogue with us and each other. As our guests demonstrated, however, that was a forlorn hope and the result was a lot of heat, but very little light.
Since neither guest was in the studio with Judy Woodruff, there wasn’t much she could do to prevent them from interrupting one another, short of saying â€” as she did at least three times â€” “please let him/her finish his/her point”. The NewsHour style is to ask pointed questions politely; we expect our guests to subscribe to the same rules. Since the program is produced live, we can’t do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun; what we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
Now, without further ado, here’s the segment itself for your viewing pleasure. Part I:
And Part II:
Morgan says she represents Move America Forward, which you can see from their web site is a mature and serious organization.