In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
We’ve seen this play out over and over and over again. If it hurts Barack Obama’s chances of re-election, the media ignore it. If it hurts Mitt Romney, they obsess over it night after night.
We saw it in July when Obama disparaged small business and at this point in the cycle the networks had given it ZERO coverage. We saw it last week when the networks relentlessly attacked Romney’s criticism of the Obama Administration’s spineless response to anti-American violence in the Middle East. Now we’re seeing it again this week with this manufactured controversy surrounding the secretly recorded - and edited - Romney tape.
An executive producer at Good Morning America was forced to defend ABC's skimpy convention coverage, huffing that the network stressed quality over quantity. The Associated Press on Monday picked up a report by the Media Research Center pointing out that ABC had the least amount of convention coverage, less than half than that of CBS.
When pressed on it by the AP's David Bauder, Good Morning America executive producer Tom Cibrowski defended, "We're not going to get into the game of minute to minute in political coverage." He chided, "We want to make sure we have the best political coverage."
Clint Eastwood appeared on Monday's Good Morning America to promote his new movie, but still had to deal with media fallout from his "controversial" "chair stunt" at the Republican National Convention.
Fill-in co-host Josh Elliott teased the segment by lecturing, "We'll have much more about that controversial speech." After talking to Eastwood about his soon-to-be released baseball film, Trouble With the Curve, reporter Nick Watt segued, "Eastwood's last role was, of course, guest star at the Republican National Convention. He controversially addressed an empty chair as if it were President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Friday landed an exclusive interview with Mitt Romney and proceeded to taunt the Republican presidential candidate: "But you're falling further behind. Why aren't you doing better?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Stephanopoulos's hyperbole aside, a new Rasmussen poll shows Romney ahead by three points. A CBS poll has the President ahead by three. Hardly panic time.
Unsurprisingly, the Good Morning America host neatly parroted the Democratic campaign's attacks over how Romney has responded to the situation in Libya. Teasing the segment, Stephanopoulos promised to hit Romney on "those controversial comments made right after the outbreak of violence."
If journalists were interested in fairness, there's nothing more basic than giving a similar amount of airtime to each major party convention. An MRC analysis finds that's exactly what CBS and ABC did, giving virtually identical airtime to the Republican and Democratic conventions on their morning and evening news shows.
But NBC skewed in favor of the Democrats, donating 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than they did the previous week's Republican convention (97 minutes). Most of the disparity is accounted for by the Today show, which gave 30 percent more coverage to the Democrats (87 minutes vs. 67 minutes), although the NBC Nightly News also favored the Democrats, albeit by a slighter margin (34 to 30 minutes).
The title of John Cassidy's column in the New Yorker is "Rational Irrationality" but after reading the reason he gives for Barack Obama ditching his outdoor stadium speech at the Democrat convention in Charlotte, NC, I think it would be safe to ditch the "Rational" part of the column title.
One of the big reasons why Cassidy pretty much comes off as completely irrational was his explanation as to why Team Obama really moved the convention speech from the 75,000 seat outdoor stadium to the much smaller indoor venue. At first Cassity does seem a bit rational in his Six Unanswered Questions From Charlotte, which is also notable for his complete lack of curiousity about the "two-thirds" platform voice vote, since he admits what most of us already knew---that the excuse of poor weather was bogus. However, he provides an "answer" so off the wall as to be a real howler:
On Sunday's CNN Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz spoke of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:
Bob Cusack, Obama gave a pretty good speech overall. The media acted like it was terrible. And it seems to me that perhaps we have set a standard for him that (if) he doesn't he doesn't hit the stratosphere, he has somehow failed.
The media acted like it was terrible? Kurtz must not have been watching CNN immediately after Obama's speech. Observed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Anderson, he clearly still has that oratorical skill that he's always had over these many years." CNN chief national correspondent John King opined: "I think a very smart, well-crafted speech, both strategically and tactically." CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said, ". . .I thought it was a very strong speech."
Bill Press was the very model of a modern talk-show partisan on Friday. He loved the Democratic convention: "What a contrast with Tampa, right? This is a convention that told the truth and Tampa was the convention that just told nothing but lies, lies, lies, lies. There were no lies here. Joe Biden told the truth Barack Obama told the truth Bill Clinton told the truth."
Press also welcomed in black talk show host and political strategist Richard Fowler and adored his put-down of the Republicans in Tampa as "pale,male, and stale." Press apparently doesn't think he could be described with any of these disparaging words:
On Friday's NBC Today, less than two hours before another poor jobs report, co-host Matt Lauer touted a bold economic prediction: "Some of the analysts I've been reading have said that no matter who is president over the next four years, the economy will add about 12 million jobs just because of the cycle it's in." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer agreed with the rosy scenario: "...a lot of pent-up demand in autos and pent-up demand in exports. It's not such a bad moment."
Earlier in the discussion, Cramer predicted that the upcoming jobs numbers would be "a little better than expected" from the projection of 135,000 jobs created in August, with "Maybe 10,000 jobs more than that." At the top of the 9 a.m. hour, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall delivered the much more disappointing reality: "[The unemployment rate] now stands at 8.1% for the month of August, down .2% from July, but only because more people gave up looking for work. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month."
After offending religious Americans by appearing to boo God, the Democratic National Convention had the top ranking Catholic official in the country perform the closing Benediction Thursday night. Cardinal Timothy Dolan did the same for the Republicans last week in Tampa Bay, but those delegates didn’t seem to have a problem with a party platform that included God and Jerusalem.
The only networks respectful enough to show the prayer in its entirety without interruption was Fox News, Fox Business and C-SPAN. ABC, CNN, and PBS kept it in background while talking over it. MSNBC completely ignored it, cutting the audio feed to let their pundits share their opinions without distraction. CBS and NBC returned to local news affiliates as soon as he began.
Comparing the RNC and DNC conventions on Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough declared a knockout for Democrats: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..." The liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded the statement. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough's boxing reference was to a 1975 fight when Wepner went 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion Ali before losing. On the conventions, he argued that Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden "all hit home runs...all hit it out of the park," while in Tampa, "you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney."
Even the journalists on the liberal NBC, CBS and ABC morning shows had a hard time spinning Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. On Friday's Today show, Chuck Todd glumly conceded, "Look, aides acknowledge this wasn't his most poetic speech, not on par with his previous convention speeches and maybe not even the best convention speech of the week." [MP3 audio here. See video below. ]
Todd offered that "because of the hard economic realities, the President decided that had to trump soaring rhetoric." Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos actually refrained from his normally effusive praise of the President. The host acknowledged, "A different kind of convention speech from President Obama last night. More sober, a little more humble." How anxious were the hosts of GMA to get off the subject of the President's speech? The two hour program gave Obama a mere five minutes and 45 seconds.
During the midnight hour of MSNBC's Thursday night Democratic National Convention coverage, host Chris Matthews managed to squeeze in another charge of racism against a black President by "right wingers" as he brought up the birther movement and asserted:
During the midnight hour of MSNBC's Thursday night Democratic National Convention coverage, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman -- formerly of Newsweek -- declared that it was "brilliant" for President Obama to suggest that Republicans are being "unpatriotic" in trying to make an issue of the economy's poor performance during his time in office.
The Democratic Convention produced a "home run derby of speeches," insisted CNN's John King early Friday morning on Piers Morgan Tonight. This came after CNN hailed Michelle Obama's DNC speech as "probably a grand slam" and Bill Clinton's DNC address as "one of the great modern political speeches I have ever heard."
"But over all, Democrats have to leave this town pretty happy. Still a close election, but Democrats have to leave happy. They had three very good nights, a home run derby of speeches," hyped King. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
While the liberal media have noted how little foreign policy was raised at the GOP convention and will surely play up President Obama's attacks on Republican opponent Mitt Romney as being weak on that issue portfolio, it's noteworthy how little media attention is being given to the Democratic Party's views on America's most reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Even as Democrats on Wednesday afternoon hastily re-added language about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel to their party platform, the document is hardly as pro-Israel as its 2008 iteration, Ben Shapiro of Breitbart's Big Government site noted in a September 6 post. "[T]he full language of the 2008 platform is still gone, Shapiro noted, before quoting the 2008 document's Israel plank and then explaining that:
During early Friday morning’s coverage of the Democratic Convention, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews decided to play a clip of the previous evening's acceptance speech by Barack Obama to demonstrate that he was a “moderate” and “certainly not a socialist.” (video after jump)
During MSNBC’s Thursday night coverage of the Democratic Convention, Melissa Harris-Perry and Chris Matthews decided to further indulge in their unhealthy obsession with birtherism. You may recall that Matthews hijacked Andrea Mitchell’s interview of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to ask a question about birtherism during the Republican Convention on August 29. On September 5, Matthews concluded his interview with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, an alleged rising Democratic star, why there are so many birthers in his state of Texas.
Perry’s birther interjection concerned Obama’s speech dealing with the theme of citizenship. In fact, she called it a “brilliant” moment. However, she made the patently false claim that mainstream Republicans are birther enthusiasts and “redefined” the term herself to convey an overt collectivist idea of citizenship. On the other hand, Matthews, who sat down with Rep. Joseph Crowley and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who declared that the "right wing" wants President Barack Obama's document because "he's black" and doesn't understand why people still don't "get it." Well, it's probably because conspiratorial drivel doesn't go mainstream all that often. (video after the jump)
Not all members of the media offered a "tepid" reaction to President Obama's DNC address. ABC's Jonathan Karl hyped that Obama's crescendo to his speech that the audience loved was "vintage Obama."
"But that last part of the speech was vintage Obama, trying to get these people here, to get the people that drove his campaign, talking about we have providence on our side. They loved it," reported Karl, who added "Tears in the eyes of a lot of these delegates, a lot of tears." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In their pre-game analysis before President Obama's nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, ABC News painted the costly cancelation -- "a hefty six figures" in fruitless set-up costs for broadcast equipment for the networks, reported Dylan Byers of Politico -- of tonight's planned Bank of America Stadium venue as a "lucky break."
"Absolutely a lucky break," political contributor Matthew Dowd told anchor George Stephanopoulos, insisting that while the Obama campaign "could have filled the stadium... there is no way they could have repeated the energy in this crowd." But meanwhile over on CBS, anchor Scott Pelley showed viewers at home the scene at Bank of America stadium, where "it is dark and there is not a drop of rain falling in the vicinity here in Charlotte. [video follows page break]
On Thursday's Diane Rehm show on NPR stations, NPR political director Ron Elving was truly beside himself in praising the Bill Clinton speech on Wednesday night, going so far that he presumed Democrats said to themselves at every pause for the next gem of wisdom, "What'll that be, Daddy?"
Elving began by oozing "That was about as full-throated, robust and effective, to use your word, a defense of President Obama as I can imagine. I don't know very many people who were seeing it as inadequate last night... frankly, there are things Barack Obama can do as a speaker. We all know that. But he has not been particularly good at his own defense. This was hiring the right attorney at the right time in the right courtroom."
MSNBC graciously broadcasted Republican exile and former Governor of Florida Charlie Crist’s address to the Democratic Convention during their Thursday night coverage. However, that courtesy was not given to Democrat turned Republican former Congressman Artur Davis during the Republican Convention last week.
As my colleague Ken Shepherd noted on August 29, Maddow tore into Davis during what was to be only the post speech commentary and portrayed Davis as “bitter” – thus the event that precipitated his departure from the Republican Party:
Immediately following Bill Plante's declaration on Thursday that Barack Obama is "one of the greatest orators of his generation," CBS This Morning co-anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell conducted an interview with Caroline Kennedy. Instead of discussing her upcoming speech at the Democratic National Convention, they excessively flattered her family and party affiliation.
While reminiscing about the last presidential campaign season, O'Donnell spoke of the transference of "Kennedy magic" to Obama when he received an official endorsement from the former president's daughter and her more recently deceased uncle in 2008. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday, the hosts of NBC's Today could barely contain their glee over former President Bill Clinton addressing the Democratic National Convention, with Savannah Guthrie proclaiming: "Life of the party. Former President Bill Clinton delivers a powerful and partisan speech....blasting Republicans, and in the throes of a bad economy, making the case for four more years." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Matt Lauer gushed that President Obama had "a really tough act to follow after what was an enthusiastic and powerful endorsement" from Clinton. In a later report, Meet the Press host David Gregory joined in the Clinton lovefest with his own rave review: "Bill Clinton simply owned the room here, stayed longer than he was supposed to, but nobody seemed to mind....it was an appearance that was the height of political stagecraft."
Gregory excitedly added: "Here was one of the party's biggest heros leveraging his enormous popularity to vouch for President Obama..." And observed that Clinton "was happier than ever in the spotlight."
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday buried coverage of the embarrassing spectacle of Democratic delegates booing the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem to the party's platform. World News,Nightline and live coverage of Wednesday's convention completely ignored the gaffe.Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday breezed by it with a single sentence: "Lots of infighting about the party platform."
What was the problem, exactly? Tapper didn't say. (He did explain it online.) NBC's Nightly News and the CBS Evening Newsboth covered it, Wednesday night. On Thursday, CBS This Morning's Nancy Cordes observed that "earlier in the day," the "party had to publicly rework the Democratic platform because they forgot to put a mention of God in there and a mention about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel." The program then featured video of convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa trying to force through the additions of God and Israel. Boos rained down. [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
During early Thursday morning's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, CNN’s Piers Morgan interviewed Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), liberal activist Sandra Fluke, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. It turned out to be a massive pandering to Fluke and nice vehicle for Rep. Israel, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), to disseminate falsehoods that Morgan allowed to skirt by.
I guess when Chris Matthews stays up past his bedtime, he gets really goofy. In a chat with former Saturday Night Live star Darrell Hammond -- best known for his skits impersonating Bill Clinton -- Matthews gushed of Clinton that he's such a natural politician and conversationalist that you could put him on Mars and he'd find a way to quickly seduce the Martians.
"I always figured that if Bill Clinton landed on Mars, he would know how to do it with them, he would know how to reproduce, he would know everything. He'd just instinctively know how to talk to people," Matthews gushed. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Piers Morgan couldn't contain himself on Wednesday night as he adulated President Clinton as an "oratorical genius" who is "right up there with Churchill, Kennedy, MLK, and Mandela." CNN wasn't called the "Clinton News Network" for nothing.
"[T]hat was pound for pound, dollar for dollar, one of the great modern political speeches I have ever heard," sounded Morgan later on his show. He even asked on Twitter if Clinton could be British prime minister. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After hyping that Bill Clinton might deliver "his patented rocket fuel" to the DNC on Wednesday night, ABC swooned over his "perfect tone" and compared him to an "old pro."
"Strikes me, George, like one of those movies where the old pro comes out of retirement, filled with vitality, and does he know how to ride the waves inside this arena," gushed Diane Sawyer. Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos called it "the best nomination a man could hope for." [Video below the break. Audio here.]