TV political hosts pivotal in election

May 3, 2008 at 2:15 PM

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- The hosts of the top U.S. political TV shows are having a major impact in the ongoing primaries and some allegedly misuse that influence, experts say.

Former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers said criticism has increased regarding how TV personalities such as "NBC News" host Tim Russert and "ABC News" host George Stephanopoulos treat the electoral candidates, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"There is a lot of disagreement in the land about who's been fair to whom," Myers said regarding U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "So you'll have Clinton people watching to see if she's being treated fairly and Obama people watching to see if he's being treated fairly. And neither side will feel like they've been treated fairly, no matter how fair those interviews turn out to be."

Arianna Huffington, who details political dealings on her Huffington Post Web site, said the media battle has negatively impacted the election.

"This has become like a sideshow that has made it much easier really for us to stay on the wrong course as a country," she said.

The Times noted Stephanopoulos is interviewing Clinton this Sunday at the same time Russert has an interview with Obama.

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