Managing Editor's Note: Due to a Media Research Center Christmas party held this afternoon, this post was pre-written Friday morning -- well before the school shooting today in Centennial, Colorado -- and was scheduled to automatically post at 3 p.m. Eastern. We regret the unfortunate but accidental timing and our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Centennial.
Two days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Newtown mass murder, Dr. Nancy Snyderman took to the air on NBC's Nightly News, labeling gun violence a public health issue. However, neither Snyderman nor anybody quoted in the story made it clear exactly why the gun issue is a matter of public health.
Anchor Brian Williams introduced the December 12 news package like this:
Al Roker’s man crush on Vice President Biden took a new and unusual turn on Friday’s Today.
Speaking with co-hosts Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, the NBC weatherman (jokingly?) expressed his desire to, “make the pitch [for Biden to co-host Today] wrapped in a box. I'm going to deliver myself on the front steps. Big bow in a box. He's going to open it. Mr. Vice president.” [See video after jump.]
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose predictably conducted a hostile interview of Senator Marco Rubio on Friday's CBS This Morning, badgering the Republican for his opposition to a budget proposal from Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray. O'Donnell hinted that he was in the pocket of conservative special interest: "I want to ask you about the criticism that you may be more beholden to these conservative groups than to your own party."
The anchor later wondered if "these groups have too much power". Rose himself carried water for the supporters of the proposal: "Speaker Boehner has said, and others have said, is that it's going – it's the first step in the right direction, and you've got to find common ground and you've got to find compromise – otherwise, you'll have government shutdowns, which everybody loses." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
During his 19-year tenure as host of the Hardball cable TV political talk show, Chris Matthews has made several mistakes, but the one he will probably be remembered for most was his 2008 off-the-cuff remark that “I felt this thrill going up my leg” while listening to a speech given by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Even though he has been razzed about it many times over the years, when the situation calls for it, Matthews isn't above repeating that statement, as he did on Wednesday's edition of his weeknight program. “At least I got my thrill up my leg from Obama,” he told former John McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt. “You got it from Sarah Palin.”
Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.
But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize. Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand. View the video after the jump.
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Washington Post's habit of promoting Muslim author Reza Aslan and his lame book about how Jesus was a political messiah resurfaced on Thursday. On the Post's "WorldViews" blog, Max Fisher interviewed Aslan on the occasion of Megyn Kelly's statement on her Fox show that "Jesus was a white man, too. It's like we have, he's a historical figure. That's a verifiable fact, as is Santa."
Fisher declared "Kelly's insistence on a white Jesus has offended a number of people, who counter that Jesus's Middle Eastern ethnicity would likely have given him a darker complexion than that of, say, Kelly herself." Then Reza Aslan told Fisher that Jesus looked a lot like Reza Aslan:
Salon.com reported on a clash between NBC and its labor force: Chris Hayes held a secret meeting with members of the Writers Guild of America-East that’s in an ugly labor struggle with Peacock Productions, which is owned by NBC Universal. “We presented our case to Chris Hayes and he understood what we were dealing with,” Peacock Productions worker David Van Taylor told Salon.
The blog Inside Cable News thinks this is a serious career mistake for Hayes, maybe even a firing offense. Can MSNBC cashier another host after Bashir and Baldwin?
Liberals often love to say that conservatives cannot take a joke but the truth is that both left and right sometimes are lacking in the humor department. That’s especially true of the cottage industry that’s sprung up devoted to finding any tiny little thing to bash Fox News, one of the handful of national media outlets that don’t lean left.
The very existence of Fox News appears to be psychologically damaging to some people, which is why the left-leaning websites that cater to them love jumping on any possible thing as a way of providing emotional validation. The Fox haters are up in arms today about a cheeky discussion that took place on last night’s “Kelly File” program in which a mock debate was held about the moral propriety of portraying Santa Claus as a white man, a proposition raised by an essay pubished Dec.10 at Slate.
Conservatives across the fruited plain are likely going to be shocked by this - and liberals extremely angered! - but the fact-checking website PolitiFact on Thursday named President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" promise the Lie of the Year.
Such was announced on CNN's The Lead (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Jake Tapper's Thursday interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi started off chummy and didn't really get tough until near the end. Tapper teed her up to criticize Tea Party Republicans and critique John Boehner's Speakership on CNN's The Lead.
"Speaker Boehner has an unruly group of Tea Party Republicans," Tapper noted before serving his biggest softball. "How have you been able to control, cajole, convince, work with, the feistier progressives in your caucus both as Speaker and as Minority Leader in a way that he has not been able to do with Tea Party Republicans?"
On Tuesday's Nightly News, after news broke of a budget deal in Congress, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announced: "...the usual Washington dysfunction is on hold tonight." She touted the agreement to anchor Brian Willams by noting: "It would also roll back some of the harshest automatic spending cuts, the sequester for the Pentagon and domestic programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Donnell cautioned that the deal "does not extend jobless benefits for those out of work the longest..." On Wednesday's broadcast, fill-in anchor Ann Curry picked up on that point and fretted: "While the agreement avoids another government shutdown next month, it also sidestepped dealing with the crisis facing 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work for a long time. And that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless Congress takes action."
House Speaker John Boehner made himself a hero in the eyes of the liberal Morning Joe panel. All it took was lashing out publicly against conservative organizations which criticized the Ryan-Murray budget deal.
Appearing on Thursday’s show, panelist Donny Deutsch was the most effusive about Boehner. He proclaimed: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC’s Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos together made a rather bizarre statement at the end of a brief Good Morning America segment Thursday about the newly-released 911 call from the friend of the woman who’s accused Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston of raping her.
“They just want this one to go away,” said Stephanopoulos. “Yeah, I think all sides do,” replied Roberts (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday portrayed the possible scuttling of a budget compromise as the fault of conservatives opposing a "too-good-to-be-true" deal. Over on NBC's Nightly News, the reporters derided the plan as not spending enough, worrying about extending unemployment benefits. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday totally skipped the story.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened the show by lamenting, "It sounded almost too good to be true when we told you last night that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a federal budget without driving the nation to edge of fiscal disaster." Reporter Nancy Cordes alerted, "Scott, what made Republican leaders so angry was the fact that these powerful outside groups were once again urging Republicans to vote against a fragile compromise that had been worked out by a party standard bearer," referring to Paul Ryan. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While it’s almost nice to hear a pro-abortion argument that isn’t some version of the “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries” shriek, Huffington Post blogger Donna Schaper’s contention – that abortion is moral – isn’t any more effective, and it's rather more insulting.
The left-wing United Church of Christ minister recently argued that “Abortion can be a highly moral choice for a woman.” Surprised? You’re not alone. The post is titled, “Most Women Under 40 Haven't Heard the Pro-choice Moral Argument.” Perhaps because there isn’t one – or if there is, it’s not the one Schaper made in her piece.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, the Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg praised Pope Francis as a "voice against the tyranny or the hegemony of global capitalism" during a discussion of whether the Pope should be chosen Time's "Person of the Year." Goldberg:
CNN hosts and analysts actively cheered the House budget deal and scoffed at Tea Party conservatives who opposed it, on Wednesday and Thursday.
"I think this is great, what we're hearing here. You've got Boehner saying the fringe types, back off. We're here to do a job. We have to compromise," New Day co-host Chris Cuomo relished the Speaker's rebuke of the Tea Party on Thursday morning. [Video below the break. Audio here.]