File this one under the "no duh" department. On tonight's Hardball, Chris Matthews attempted to outline his stance on illegal immigration but prefaced it by declaring: "I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role."
Matthews uttered what has to be the Understatement of the Week, during an exchange with Ron Reagan Jr. and former John McCain spokesman Todd Harris, on the June 12th edition of MSNBC's Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "But let me ask you guys, I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role. I’m just not comfortable playing it. But I would like to see a liberal policy of immigration, a liberal policy of letting people come into work but dammit, enforce the law and stop the B.S.! Stop the undocumented workers and the clever language used. All the time, anything but enforcing the law."
Tim Russert invited on longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas on his CNBC show over the weekend to promote her new book but Thomas used the hour to praise the Clintons and smear Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The former UPI correspondent slammed Reagan declaring, "I think that the poor did not prosper under him at all," and charged the press was too soft on George W. Bush demanding that they should've asked the hard question: "How can you justify killing thousands of people to get one man? Who are we to depose anyone?'" But when it came to the Clinton administration, Thomas thought the press was too hard on the Clintons saying Whitewater amounted to "nothing," and pouted: "the Clintons suffered a lot."
Bush is officially a lame duck, well at least that's what the Big Three network morning shows would have you believe. This morning White House spokesman Tony Snow appeared on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS' The Early Show and was hit with one common question: is Bush a "lame duck?"
First up on NBC's Today show, co-host Matt Lauer threw the following questions at Snow:
Lauer: "Tony if he, if he can't convince the skeptics, if he can't accomplish this, if he can't get immigration reform passed, you know what they're saying, is it time for him to concentrate full-time on his presidential library?"
There's nothing like a Republican turning on his President to get liberal reporters tongues wagging. On this morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira along with Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell repeatedly whacked President Bush over the head with Colin Powell's criticism from his Meet the Press appearance.
In the 7am half-hour of the program, the Vieira first teased the segment this way:
Vieira: "President Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking out for the first time in a long time and his former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying."
Then Mitchell opened her report with Powell's laundry-list of complaints:
On tonight's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on actor Ben Affleck to pontificate on the 2008 presidential race and while the liberal actor stuck to safe, conventional wisdom observations on the likes of Rudy, Hillary and Barack he couldn't resist a pointed jab at the current administration. When Matthews recited an emailer’s question about impeaching President Bush, Affleck reasoned it wasn’t necessary since Bush and Cheney are "going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history."
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the June 7th edition of MSNBC’s Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "Scott Trent of North Carolina: 'Mr. Affleck, what is your opinion on the possibility of impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Do you support impeachment for the crimes of the administration?' That's Trent, Scott Trent of North Carolina."
If this morning's Today show segment on Cuba is any indication expect Matt Lauer's visit to the communist country tomorrow to gloss over much of Fidel Castro's brutal regime. Previewing the Today show anchor's trip, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell reported on Castro's health and actually highlighted an unidentified Cuban citizen wishing Castro well as he exclaimed: "I care about him. I love him!"
Judging from Mitchell's report 'Today' viewers may also get more than their fair share of Cuban mouthpiece Ricardo Alarcon tomorrow, as the Cuban National Assembly president was featured as the go-to-guy for the latest on Castro's health. While Mitchell did air one soundbite from Condoleezza Rice criticizing the regime, she then went on to depict Cuban opinion on Castro as merely "divided." Neither Mitchell nor Lauer bothered to mention critics of Castro often end up being imprisoned or worse.
If there was one thing the 'Today' show wanted its viewers to know about comedian, turned failed Air America radio host, turned Senate candidate, Al Franken, it's that he's really "smart." Profiling his Minnesota Senate seat run, the Today show cast went out of their way to prove the Saturday Night Live alum's candidacy was serious by emphasizing Franken was, indeed, "smart."
Not once, not twice, but three times this morning's Today tagged Franken with the "smart" label. First up, 'Today' co-host Meredith Vieira, in her tease of the upcoming Franken piece proclaimed of the creator of Stuart Smalley: "He's a smart guy!" Then later, Franken impressed Today's national correspondent Jamie Gangel with his smartness as he doodled a map of the U.S. from memory:
Jamie Gangel: "What some people may not know, Franken is smart, Harvard smart. A math whiz who aced the SATs and it turns out not bad at geography, either."
Al Franken doodling: "It's a circus trick. I can draw all 48 contiguous states from memory in about two minutes."
On the May 19th edition of Fox News Channel's Geraldo at Large, host Geraldo Rivera went on another pro-illegal immigrant rant. Commenting on the debate over the new immigration bill Rivera declared: "The deal beefs up border security, at the same time it allows millions here, illegally, to emerge from the shadows." Rivera then went on to spotlight the story of one illegal that was stuck in the "shadows."
The following is the full segment as reported by Geraldo and his brother and fellow Fox News reporter, Craig Rivera:
Geraldo Rivera: "So now up-front tonight the President praised senators of both parties for crafting a potential fix for the nation's broken immigration policies. The deal beefs up border security, at the same time it allows millions here, illegally, to emerge from the shadows. But whether Congress will pass the controversial bill into law is far from certain. Here's the President from his Texas ranch where he and the First Lady are spending the weekend."
NBC's Matt Lauer spared no punches when he interviewed John Edwards on this morning's Today show, trouble is they were mostly left jabs. After a David Gregory report on the war funding bill, the Today co-host didn't waste any time launching into Edwards as he demanded to know why his fellow Democrats had to "cave-in."
Lauer: "David calls it a compromise, whatever we call it, let's talk about this deal that was struck in Congress. They, basically, the supplemental funding bill has 18 benchmarks the Iraqis have to hit on political progress, security, economic progress. Reports from the White House to Congress, July 15th, September 15th. But, and this is a big but, the headline here is no deadline for U.S. troops. Why did the Democrats cave-in?"
Over the weekend Chris Matthews asked the panel on his syndicated program to answer Hillary Clinton's call to help find an official song for her campaign and while Matthews and most of the media panel suggested songs that stressed Hillary's perceived positives, NBC's Andrea Mitchell topped them all when she offered Helen Reddy's 70s' feminist anthem: "How about 'I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar?'"
When New York Times columnist David Brooks, the one resident conservative on the panel, suggested a not so celebratory song title, Hall&Oates 80's hit, "Maneater," Mitchell cringed, letting out a painful: "Oooh!"
The following exchange occurred on the May 20th edition of the syndicated The Chris Matthews Show:
On this morning's Today show NBC's Ann Curry revealed her green-streak as she pedaled her way on a "people-powered blender" to save the environment. Appearing with the co-founder of Ben&Jerry's Ice Cream, Jerry Greenfield, Curry gushed over the company's liberal causes and even mounted a stationary bike to blend smoothies and boasted: "You see, you can save the environment! It is possible!"
Video (1:24): Real (2.32 MB) or Windows (2.65 MB), plus MP3 (1.24 MB).
The question about whether Bill Clinton will be a hindrance or help to Hillary's campaign has been decided and the final verdict is in, Hillary "benefits" with having Bill on her side. Well at least that's what two of the top opinion-shapers at NBC News have decreed. Appearing on last night's Hardball, NBC News' Washington bureau chief Tim Russert marveled, along with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, at how Hillary Clinton will get the best of both worlds with Bill on her campaign.
According to Matthews and Russert not only will Hillary gain from the "Clinton record," but she won't be hurt by any extramarital dalliances by the former President as both claimed Hillary actually "benefits" from her "victim" status. In fact don't expect any questions to Hillary about Bill's personal life next time she appears on Meet the Press, as Russert proclaimed: "She doesn't even have to talk about it." The following conversation occurred on the May 14th edition of MSNBC's Hardball.
Interviewing Shell Oil's president on this morning's Today show, NBC's Meredith Vieira cited Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's "Big Oil" conspiracy theory, worried America's "addiction to oil" was "dangerous," and altogether added fuel to the fire that oil company execs, "were a bunch of thieves." Appearing in the 7am half-hour, Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, for the most part, explained the basic economics of the oil business to viewers but that didn't stop Vieira from throwing out conspiratorial charges from left-field.
After asking if Hofmeister thought the price of gas was "reasonable," Vieira launched into the conspiracy theories:
Vieira: "Let's talk about the refineries for a minute because there's been a lot of controversy about them. Maintenance problems at refineries around the country. There are some people, consumer activists, some analysts and even some politicians like Senator Schumer here in New York, who believe that the oil companies are basically holding back the production of gas, they're slow on repairs of their refineries, to keep the price of gas high. Senator Schumer has not gone so far as to say that the oil companies are in collusion but he did say, quote, 'that they wink at each other and do the same thing.' First I'd like your response to that."
Using the newly released George Tenet book and four year anniversary of the President's "Mission Accomplished" speech as a backdrop, NBC's Today show invited on Congressman John Murtha to talk about a troop pullout and even impeachment. During her interview Today co-host Meredith Vieira asked Murtha if the Democrats had a "fallback plan" against a Bush veto of their troop withdrawal bill and then followed that query by bringing up the ‘I' word as she pressed: "Is impeachment really on the table?"
The following questions came during a segment in the first half-hour of the May 1st Today show:
Vieira: "Well let's, let's look forward sir because there is a war funding bill that is gonna be before the President, that the, the Congress has handed him, and he has said he is going to veto it because it sets a timetable for the removal of troops from Iraq. So what is your plan when he does, indeed, veto this? What is your fallback plan?"
NBC's Today show loves to promote former administration officials with scathing tell-alls, so long as they're criticizing a Republican president. Tom Brokaw's prodding of George Tenet to criticize the Bush administration's path to war was just the latest example of Today show's love of former GOP administration officials with an ax to grind.
Back in 2004, then Today co-host Katie Couric praised former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's book for its critiques of President George W. Bush. However if the tell-all slights a Democratic administration, as George Stephanopolous did with his book, Today takes a decidedly more skeptical tone. Of his 1999 tome, All Too Human, Couric called Stephanopolous' revelations "creepy" and wondered if he was "a turncoat."
Leave it to NBC's Today show to find the downside of a booming stock market. Playing the class envy card Today co-host Matt Lauer teased a story on a widening gap between rich and poor as he incredulously asked the audience: "Do you feel like you're working harder and harder these days just to stay financially afloat while fat cats get richer and richer?" Lauer, not exactly a pauper himself, then threw it to CNBC's Scott Cohn who claimed: "Not only are the rich getting richer they're leaving everyone else behind. In fact the last time the rich were this much richer than everyone else was the Great Depression."
Cohn did mention the wealthy are giving more to charity but only highlighted liberal billionaire Bill Gates' good deeds.
Former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg appeared on this morning's Today show to promote his new book and in the process took several jabs at wimpy Republicans who don't stand by conservative principles and the "Rosie O'Donnells of the world," that suffer from "Bush Derangement Syndrome." While Goldberg wasn't a 100 percent conservative -- he criticized the Iraq war and supports embryonic stem cell research -- it was still refreshing to hear a former member of the liberal media criticize libs on their own airwaves.
First up, NBC's Matt Lauer opened the segment by deriding Goldberg's new gig at Fox News as out of the mainstream:
Matt Lauer: "In the world of the media Bernard Goldberg used to bat lefty now he bats righty. He sold millions of books taking swings at liberals in the press. Now a regular on the Fox News Channel, Goldberg used to be a card-carrying member of the mainstream media establishment."
NBC's environmental correspondent Anne Thompson cited global warming as a primary reason to implement a new commuter tax or as she euphemistically called it, "congestion pricing," on drivers. As incoming traffic passed by her on the Holland Tunnel the Today show's Thompson began her report this way: "Good morning, Meredith. Look behind me and you'll see this is what congestion pricing seeks to reduce. The 50,000 cars a day that rumble into Manhattan through the Holland Tunnel contributing to global warming. Now global warming has long been on the environmentalist radar but today its taking center stage in our political debate."
After that eye-grabbing video Thompson went on to highlight proposals from RINO Republicans Senator John McCain and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to cut down on greenhouse gasses and even ran a portion of an ad from Robert Redford as he challenged Americans: "Our moment is now and our challenge is to solve global warming."
Newsweek's Howard Fineman's first instinct when he heard about the Virgina Tech shootings was to call up Capitol Hill and ask members for gun control legislation. On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Newsweek reporter admitted "the first thing he did" was call the Democrats to demand: "Okay, you gonna do something now?!"
The following conversation occurred on the April 22nd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Chris Matthews: "Let's go to a more familiar terrain for us all: policy and politics. Just a week ago, the NRA held its national convention. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned the members of the NRA that the Democratic Congress will threaten gun freedoms. Quote, this is Wayne LaPierre: 'Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.' Polls do show a majority of Americans now want gun access restricted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week is working on a bill that would prevent gun access by the mentally ill. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan is negotiating with the NRA right now on this, to try to tighten up the laws, give states enough money so they can find people like Cho, who've been through this system, been identified, and make sure they don't buy guns. Is that gonna work?"
Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on last night's Hardball it didn't take long for David Shuster to bring up the specter of gun control in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. Shuster indicated that gun policies actually "enabled" the shooter to obtain his "weapons of choice." The following was Shuster's intro for the April 16th edition of "Hardball."
David Shuster: "At this hour, investigators are still trying to piece together what happened this morning on the Virginia Tech campus. Tonight, we will tell you everything we've learned about the killer's motive. We will bring you the most gripping interviews we have seen today from students who witnessed the rampage and tried to block the killer's path. And you will hear live from witnesses who saw the aftermath. Many questions are lingering tonight about the response by campus police, warnings to Virginia Tech students, even gun policies that enabled the killer to get his hands on his weapons of choice. But we start tonight with a campus community was rocked to its core and asking the question, why us?"
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was at it again, pushing his peace in the Middle East through environmentalism strategy. Invited on this morning's Today show to promote his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called Green: The New Red, White and Blue, Friedman claimed one of the best ways to promote democracy in Iraq was to bring down the price of oil through energy saving green technology. Friedman also repeated his clarion call to retake the meaning of the word green from conservatives when NBC's Matt Lauer tossed the following softball to him:
Lauer: "Yeah and you say it's time to stop thinking about the green movement as tree-huggers and sissies. This is tough domestic and foreign policy."
On last night's Hardball NBC's Jonathan Alter managed to shoe-horn an anti-Bush jab during a discussion about Don Imus. When substitute host David Gregory asked Alter to comment on what the Imus flare-up meant for the overall discussion about race, NBC's contributing correspondent made a tortured argument that the uproar over Imus was a sign of "a thirst" from the public for the kind of accountability that they're not getting from the Bush administration.
The following conversation occurred on the April 10th Hardball:
David Gregory: "Jonathan, let me start with you. We talked a little bit earlier on the phone about whether this incident has created a race moment for America. Do you think that is the case? And how would you define that?"
Whatever Andrea Mitchell has it seems to be catching. Repeatedly, NBC's Mitchell has claimed John McCain's declining support in the polls has to do with his pro-war stance, a stance that quite frankly isn't unpopular within the GOP base. Well on this morning's 'Today' show her colleague David Gregory, in a piece about low Republican morale, claimed the very same thing. Gregory claimed: "John McCain has lost ground in the polls because of his support for the Iraq war."
Now any GOP insider could tell them McCain's support for the war is one of the key stances that is keeping McCain afloat with the base of the party. One has to wonder if Mitchell and Gregory are just having the same conversation with themselves and coming to the same inaccurate conclusions.
Update: See bottom of post NBC's Martin Savidge took the prize for unexpected environmental advocacy on this morning's Today show. In a global warming story, disguised as a health report, Savidge went over-the-top as he blamed your car's exhaust for seemingly every problem under the Sun. In what was initially teased as an allergy report Savidge blamed fossil fuel emissions for an increase in the pollen count that is not only leading to exacerbated allergic reactions in humans and their pets but also getting in the way of police officers trying to collect fingerprints.
In the 7am half hour, Today co-host Matt Lauer introduced Savidge's global warming, masquerading as health story, segment this way: "Are you sniffling and sneezing right now? Are your eyes so watery you can barely see the TV?Well it could be your allergies. And guess what? We may only have ourselves to blame. That story now from NBC's Martin Savidge."
Sometimes bias shows up in the most unexpected spots. During a segment about Americans losing out to the Dutch when it comes to average height, NBC's Dawna Friesen cited a Democratic talking point, as one of the reasons. In the 7:30am half hour of this morning's 'Today' show Friesen explored the reasons why Americans are "shrinking" in contrast to the Dutch and other Western Europeans. Along with diet and nutrition Friesen blamed our shorter statures on lack of universal healthcare:
"And there's health care. Everyone in the Netherlands has access to it whereas in the U.S., 47 million people have no health insurance."
The following is the full segment as it aired on the April 2, 'Today' show:
On his official Web site Fox News' Geraldo Rivera, yet again, went on a pro-illegal immigrant, anti-GOP tear. In an article entitled "GOP Immigration Extremists," Rivera declared: "The GOP was hijacked by extremists," claimed, "various hate groups have declared common cause with the Minutemen," and opined that anti-illegal immigrant Republicans, "fueled the rise of radicals like Venenzuela's Hugo Chavez."
The following is the full March 15th dated rant as it appeared on the Horizons section of Geraldo.com:
Until the last election cycle, Republicans had a reasonable chance of becoming the permanent majority party in this country. But in the lead up to the November 2006 elections, the GOP was hijacked by extremists on the immigration issue.
In the first hour of this morning's Today show, there were not one but two segments that would make Al Gore smile. First NBC's Andrea Mitchell explored whether Al "warrior for climate change" Gore would consider jumping into the presidential race, then in the second half hour Today co-host Matt Lauer, in a segment about environmentally-friendly gadgets, gave Gore face time via a clip from An Inconvenient Truth. In fact both segments featured preachy clips from the documentary.
First up Mitchell's piece featured the following clip:
Al Gore: "The misconception that there's disagreement about the science has been deliberately created by a relatively small group of people."
On this morning to promote his new book former House Majority Leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay didn't receive the kid glove treatment NBC's Meredith Vieira usually reserves for Hillary Clinton, as Vieira repeatedly questioned DeLay on his ethics but when the Today co-host hit DeLay over Iraq, The Hammer, hit back.
As Vieira deigned to interpret opinion polls on Iraq she piously proclaimed: "Well I think they are saying though, sir, not to beat a dead horse here, but I think they are saying they want American troops out by the fall of 2008." To which DeLay hammered back: "I didn't know you spoke for the American people."
From time to time we here at the MRC get emails from troops grateful for the work we do here in exposing the bias in the media's coverage of the Iraq war and their failure to report all the good things the servicemen and women there have seen for themselves. Well to those who've sent those emails we thank you but if you're looking for a morale boost you may want to avert your eyes from what was on this morning's "Today" show as NBC's war correspondents Richard Engel and Tom Aspell painted a bleak picture of the troops' resolve and even, without comment, relayed insurgent propaganda.
During the first half hour of this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer asked Engel for his take on troop morale, to which Engel responded the number of those who believe in the mission is "dwindling," and "that there are others who don't really believe in the war any more."
Interviewing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer suggested Iraqis were less fearful of violence under Saddam Hussein than they are now. The Today co-host citing a poll of Iraqis asked the following:
Lauer: "Let, let me tell you about a current poll. Iraqis were asked about their lives today, Madame Secretary. Listen to these results. Nearly nine in 10 people said that they live in fear, that the violence is ravaging their country will strike them or the people that they live with. That's startling. 90 percent fear that they'll fall victim to the violence in that country right now. Don't you have to wonder what that percentage would have been under Saddam?"