2012 Convention Watch

By Scott Whitlock | September 5, 2012 | 4:10 PM EDT

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on all three morning shows, Wednesday, but faced no questions about the city's skyrocketing murder rate. Instead, NBC, CBS and ABC treated the former chief of staff to Barack Obama as a political pundit and not someone responsible for dealing with the 350-plus slayings in his city. (August was the deadliest month yet in 2012.)

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos did note that Emanuel would be leaving the Democratic National Convention in Chicago after Wednesday. He cited "real, real problems" in the city." However, the host and friend of Emanuel didn't mean murder. Stephanopoulos, who worked with the now-Mayor back in the Clinton White House, quizzed, "Potentially the first teacher's strike in 20 years. You going to be able to prevent it?"

By Scott Whitlock | September 5, 2012 | 11:12 AM EDT

All three network morning shows on Wednesday ignored a move by Democrats to delete references to God from the party's 2012 convention platform. NBC skipped another controversial decision, removing an assertion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (CBS and ABC, however, did cover this decision.)

Some top Democrats appear touchy about the decision to avoid mentioning God. Senator Dick Durbin became visibly angry when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked about it, Tuesday. Baier reminded, "In 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, it was mentioned seven times. In 2000, God was mentioned four times. Just a question. The question is why take it out in this time?" [See video of the heated exchange below. MP3 audio here.]

By Matt Hadro | September 5, 2012 | 6:02 AM EDT

Instead of Americans asking if their country is better off now than four years ago, CNN's Piers Morgan thinks they should compare the present situation to "three and a half years ago" since President Obama's first half-year was "hell on earth." He aired his liberal points early Wednesday morning at the Democratic National Convention.

 "This whole mixed picture we've been getting about is America better off than it was four years ago, would it have been more honest for everyone to get together and say look, here's the reality: 'We're better off than we were three and a half years ago, but for the first half of that first year it was hell on earth'," he posed to his Democratic guests former governors Bill Richardson (N.M.) and Ed Rendell (Penn.).

By Ken Shepherd | September 5, 2012 | 1:43 AM EDT

Last week, MSNBC steadfastly refused to dip into a speech by newly-minted Republican and former Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.), who just four years ago was not only a Democrat but an Obama campaign co-chair.

But on Tuesday night, MSNBC showed in full the speech of Maria Ciano, whom anchor Rachel Maddow tagged a "former Republican talking about her conversion to Democratic politics, particularly on the issue of choice." Ciano launched into a misleading, error-laden diatribe, which of course was NOT fact-checked by MSNBC panelists afterward. Also left unmentioned was that Ciano has been a Democrat since at least two years prior to Obama's election to the presidency. From the conservative Power Line blog [emphasis mine]

By Matt Hadro | September 5, 2012 | 1:21 AM EDT

CNN's Monday night special "Obama Revealed" included some glowing coverage of the "candidate of hope" Barack Obama and a thumbs-up to his controversial auto bailout that cost taxpayers $14 billion.

Correspondent Jessica Yellin began the special by touting the "candidate of hope" that "inherits a nation in crisis." She added that Obama is a "leader driven to make history" and "cool under pressure."

By Matt Vespa | September 5, 2012 | 12:13 AM EDT

For MSNBC's Chris Matthews, every speech from a person of color who is a member of the Democratic Party is historic – or the best speech he's ever heard. After the Keynote address, on Tuesday night, by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Matthews claimed that it was one of the greatest speeches he's ever heard. It's becoming a nasty habit.

On Monday night, at the conclusion of Matthews's Barack Obama: Making History, he said "President Obama is the product of our turbulent history, all that came before led to him." Yes, not hyperbolic in the slightest.

By Ken Shepherd | September 4, 2012 | 8:06 PM EDT

"No one's ever going to nominate Joe Biden to be the chairman of MENSA --  he's not Albert Einstein," MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann told Chris Matthews on the Tuesday edition of Hardball. "But what he's always been a master of is applied intelligence," he added, remarking on the vice president's preparation for the October 11 debate with policy-wonky Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Heilemann enthused about Biden's role in 1987 in scuttling President Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert Bork, "supposedly one of the smartest guys in all of the history of conservatism, of conservative legal theory."

"There's not many debates Joe Biden lost in his career," the New York magazine writer added of the Delaware Democrat who "goes to school" by preparing heavily, whether its to take on Sarah Palin or Robert Bork. Completely omitted by Heilemann, of course, was the revelation during the 1988 presidential campaign of Biden's having plagiarized a speech by then-British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, which, of course sank his run for the presidency.

By Ken Shepherd | September 4, 2012 | 5:36 PM EDT

While folks at MSNBC are calling Republican vice presidential nominee a "compulsive liar" for, among other things, his factually accurate statement about then-Sen. Obama's February 13, 2008 visit to a now-shuttered Janesville, Wis., General Motors plant, it's worth noting that, well, the video doesn't lie.

Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com has Obama's pledge on video here [You can also watch the video below the page break.] What's more, a search of the Nexis database reveals that David Wright of ABC News showed Obama's pledge in a story on the February 13, 2008 World News (emphasis mine):

By Ryan Robertson | September 4, 2012 | 4:31 PM EDT

A calendar that compares Barack Obama to Jesus Christ may not get too much media play. It could be an uncomfortable reminder of the time when journalists, such as Evan Thomas, compared the President to "God." 

One of the hottest selling items at the Democratic National Convention is a 2013 calendar titled "Keep the Dream" that features 16 flattering photos of the First Family and their dogs. In honor of the President's birth month, a picture of Obama's birth certificate was used for August. The caption read "Heaven Sent" and proceeded to quote John 3:16 underneath, as if he were the actual Messiah.

By Kyle Drennen | September 4, 2012 | 2:26 PM EDT

In a softball interview with Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie recited Democratic attack lines against Mitt Romney perfectly: "You have made a career of railing against Wall Street....Is it your job here, as you understand it, to argue that Mitt Romney is the personification of that Wall Street greed and excess?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

After Warren gushed about being "delighted" to have prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention and ranted about the middle class getting "hammered," Guthrie again urged her to bash Romney: "Do you think Romney's Wall Street background disqualifies him from caring about the middle class or knowing what to do about the middle class?"

By Rich Noyes | September 4, 2012 | 12:30 PM EDT

For six days and counting (including this morning), the broadcast networks entertained the idea that Paul Ryan was lying in his convention speech last week. Yet the problem for journalists was that Ryan’s speech was accurate, even if they didn’t like the implications. NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday evening’s Nightly News, for example, even conceded that “what he [Ryan] said many times was technically factual,” but grumbled that “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”

Such a sensitive standard means journalists could endlessly complain, since even truthful speeches or TV ads necessarily omit information detrimental to their campaign objective. The question is, will journalists be so sensitive when liberal Democrats take liberties with their campaign rhetoric?

By Kyle Drennen | September 4, 2012 | 11:38 AM EDT

At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teased an upcoming interview with Paul Ryan by slamming the Republican vice presidential candidate: "Paul Ryan joins us to talk about where he thinks the presidential race is headed and criticism that he's played fast and loose with the truth." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Beginning the interview with Ryan minutes later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer parroted Guthrie's attack: "There are some people who are claiming that you played a little fast and loose with the truth on certain key elements. And I'm not just talking about Democratic analysts, I'm talking about some independent fact checkers. Would you concede that while many of the things you said were effective, some were not completely accurate?"