Not just any headache, but the dreaded Excedrin headache. From the LA Times over the weekend:
But the mood was hushed inside a wood-paneled room in the college’s administration building, where NBC anchor Brian Williams huddled with producers, reviewing the questions he would pose to the eight Democratic candidates that evening.
The anchor popped an Excedrin as he scanned the pages marked up with blue ink, his leg bouncing rapidly under the table. This would be the third moderation of a presidential debate for Williams, a political junkie who can quote passages of the Almanac of American Politics almost verbatim. But he seemed uncharacteristically apprehensive as he contemplated the task ahead.
“I’m not wild about the potential exposure,” said Williams, already clad in the dark blue suit and violet tie he would wear onstage. “People shoot the messenger these days.”
Thursday’s debate, which aired on MSNBC and local NBC affiliates in South Carolina, kicked off a jam-packed year of televised candidate forums that will probably test the media that conduct them as much as the contenders themselves.
With robust online communities on the left and the right poised to pounce on any signs of bias, major news organizations face aggressive challenging of their fairness like never before.
“There’s a lot of pushback,” said Democratic strategist Bill Carrick. “We always had the conservative talk show clamor that the mainstream media is liberal. This is beyond that.”
He continued: “There’s just a higher level of scrutiny.,”
Up next, Chris Matthews will give Alka Seltzer a nod after moderating the GOP debate this week.