In what was perhaps an attempt to innoculate themselves against criticism of their hyping of the The Da Vinci Code next week with Matt Lauer’s "On The Road With The Code," NBC’s Today show looked at the rise of "Christian conservatives," this morning complete with an interview with Pastor Joel Osteen. During the interview Couric, who is leaving for her new multimillion dollar gig at the CBS Evening News, had the gall to question Osteen’s own ventures: "...how do you square your wealth with, with sort of the tenets of, of Christianity?"
Couric even cited Bible verses to the pastor: "I looked up a couple of quotes which I found interesting. I was curious how, again, how you could square these things. It said, this is, Matthew 19, verses 23 and 24. 'Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"
On this morning's Today Katie Couric and Matt Lauer heartily promoted Jimmy Buffett’s latest project, a new environmentalist movie aimed at kids called Hoot. Apparently the movie, based off the liberal Carl Hiaasen’s book, features kids vandalizing a construction site. However Matt and Katie simply pitched it as a "movie with a message," about, "some young people who come together to help save an endangered species." Couric also endorsed the book in wishing Buffett good luck: "Yeah good luck with Hoot I loved the book I can't wait to see the movie." The following conversation came at 8:31am, conveniently preceeded by an ad for Hoot in the previous commercial break:
NBC's Today show was full of negative news for President Bush, as it usually is, so it was a bit surprising when Katie Couric asked Tim Russert why the President hasn’t gained from positive consumer confidence. Maybe it’s because, according to a quick Nexis search of Today, the phrase "consumer confidence" hasn’t even been uttered all year long. During a segment on the bad news for the President in NBC’s latest poll Couric noted:
"We just see the right direction, wrong track question Tim and we can follow that by the economy. Only 19 percent feel confident when it comes to, excuse me, the economy and 77 percent are uneasy. One of Josh Bolten's five point plans, as you know, Tim was to brag more about the economy and there is good news. Consumer confidence this month is at its highest in four years. The Dow is trading at a six-year high. Obviously they've got their work cut out for them but why aren't some of those good things reflected in the poll numbers?"
On the April 24th edition of Fox’s syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera said the bright side of high gas prices is "it may cut down on global warming" and then went on to call oil company CEO’s "pirates," and backed a windfall tax on the companies as "a no-brainer."
The following is Rivera’s entire final commentary from the show:
Geraldo Rivera: "About the only good news is that it may cut down on global warming but exploding gas prices are hurting lots of people along the way."
[Man at gas station: "Gas prices just make you definitely want to take the train all the time."]
On last night's Hardball David Gregory seemed to be pushing Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld out the door. Not once but twice Gregory suggested to two separate guests the best way for the administration to get back on track is to can the Vice President and Secretary of Defense: "Susan Molinari, can the President get any traction if he does not dismiss his Vice President or the Secretary of Defense? If he doesn’t do something that large?" Then later to Newsweek's Jon Meacham: "But didn’t reducing Karl’s role speak to the bigger issue for Josh Bolten, which is can he really make any kind of splash? Can he get anybody to notice if big figures, the biggest of the figures, be it the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense are not dismissed?" And before the show ended even Margaret Carlson got into the act: "He’d have to change the big jobs. Secretary Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney even, although I know that’s hard to do."
Something wild happens on Hardball whenever Chris Matthews ventures outdoors. It was during an outdoor panel when Zell Miller challenged Chris to a duel and last night outside the MSNBC studios Matthews called the current White House communications team: "Vicious, almost canine," and so sweaty that, "They wouldn't pass lie detector tests, they've got such a sweat problem."
Matthews posed the following question to Pat Buchanan at around 5:43pm on last night's Hardball:
Matthews: "Are they gonna bring in some nice people to work at the White House or more mad dogs? The next press secretary, will it be a good, nice fellow to deal with like Tony Snow or Tony Blankley or will it be one of these vicious, almost canine people they have working for them right now, who will do anything to advance their cause?"
On this morning's Today Katie Couric endorsed Ted Kennedy's goal of guaranteeing health care for every America as "noble." After a discussion about the White House shakeups Couric moved to promoting Ted Kennedy's new book: "Let me ask you about the seven challenges. You talk about the things that need to be done, Senator, from 'reclaiming our constitutional democracy, to protecting our national security, to guaranteeing health care for every American.'Noble, noble goals for sure. Are they doable and is there a national will to achieve these things in your view?"
Earlier Couric teased the segment by asking Today viewers: "Also ahead has America veered off course? Actually a serious book coming from Senator Ted Kennedy who's written one about public policy. He was recently voted one of the ten most effective senators in Time magazine. He'll be here to tell us about his book and also give us his take on the recent shakeup at the White House. And whether Donald Rumsfeld should in fact resign."
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on Rolling Stone Editor Eric Bates to promote their Bush-bashing issue imploring him: "Eric, let me ask you about the cover, because it is gonna come out and you’re on to push it, and I want you to push it. " Bates responded in kind stating Bush has: "...domestic policies that have, have trashed the economy and resulted in a dramatic shift of wealth," and declaring "so far [Bush] ranks right down there with James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover and Andrew Johnson."
The following are the exchanges between Matthews and Bates:
Matthews: "And Rolling Stone’s cover this month, I must warn you, if you’re a Republican or a middle-of-the-roader. Look at this. This is a tough one. What does it say? ‘The Worst President in History.’ Can we have that thought explained a bit, Eric. You, you wrote this piece."
Actor Dennis Quaid was on this morning's Today show promoting his new movie American Dreamz whose movie poster proclaims: "Imagine A Country Where The President Never Reads The Newspaper, Where The Government Goes To War For All The Wrong Reasons And Where More People Vote For A Pop Idol Than Their Next President." But according to Quaid the movie is, "not a political statement," and that he’s "not a Bush-basher." Katie Couric outed Quaid as a Gore voter in 2000 but tried to give him cover by noting he voted for Bush in 2004, however she had praise for Quaid’s co-star Mandy Moore’s performance in Saved, a movie that mocks Christians.
On to promote his new children's book Billy Crystal couldn't resist taking a shot at the President on this morning's Today show. Crystal, opening to an illustration of a grandfather in his book let this zinger fly: "So we try to make them, [the] guy look like an everyman but look at this, if you can get in close, doesn't he look like President Bush?"
Lauer: "He does. He really does."
Crystal: "Just telling this little baby you have a $9 trillion dollar debt you can't pay off. Isn't that nice?"
A turn of the channel for Katie Couric on CBS Evening News is a vote for Hillary Clinton in '08, or so proclaimed Chris Matthews on the syndicated The Chris Matthews Show yesterday morning. Matthews, right before he signed off, said if Katie Couric pulls good ratings it may mean the country is ready for Hillary Clinton as president: "Will the verdict on Katie constitute an early verdict on a Hillary sitting in the President’s chair? That’s right, before we get to vote on Hillary for President we’re gonna get to vote for Katie for Anchorwoman. We’re gonna be showing our hand about how we feel about a woman with such power. How we are going to feel about the same question in 2008. This time it will be in our living rooms using a remote flicker, the next time it will be in a voting booth. "
During his final commentary segment, in which Geraldo Rivera praised the role of the Catholic Church in the immigration debate, the sometime boxer took a swing at CNN's Lou Dobbs.
"Now as Congress approaches a compromise that rejects the severe and mean-spirited sanctions advocated by people like the shrill CNN commentator Lou Dobbs, instead choosing a path to legalization for the 11 million the role of the Catholic Church has played will go far to restore its own tattered image..."
The following is Rivera's full commentary:
Geraldo Rivera: "Of all the hot button domestic issues currently igniting impassioned debate in our country the hottest of all is immigration. When that draconian legislation was proposed in Congress that would’ve made felons of the 11 million men, women and children living here illegally several dramatic things happened. First then most visibly hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters took to the streets of cities all across the country to express outrage over the mean-spirited proposal. But of all the gathering forces on both sides of this incendiary issue none has been as potent or potentially influential as the U.S. Roman Catholic Church. The Church has boldly stepped forward to advocate for moderation, reason and compassion. This is Father Larry Dowling yesterday in suburban Chicago."
On last night's Hardball MSNBC's David Shuster's piece on Tom DeLays sounded as if it was approved by the DNC Communications Department before it hit the airwaves. Okay seriously now, other than the snippets from the President, what in the following report doesn't sound like it's straight from a DNC press release?:
David Shuster: "He is the scalp that Democrats have long been sharpening their knives for. And today a Democratic Party spokesman called Tom DeLay’s announcement, quote, ‘Just the latest piece of evidence the Republican Party is a party in disarray, out of ideas and out of energy.’ At the White House, President Bush put on a good face."
[George W. Bush: "My own judgment is that our party will continue to succeed because we’re the party of ideas."]
When it comes to combining campy, staged video with liberalism nobody tops Geraldo Rivera. On last night's Geraldo At Large, in a story about proposed legislation to lower the hunting age in Wisconsin Rivera, seen holding a rifle outside the Fox studios in New York, crouched down to get a child's opinion on the law: "So get this, there’s a new bill pending in the state of Wisconsin that would lower that state’s legal hunting age, putting loaded guns into the hands of children between the ages of eight and eleven. Kids like William here, making them bonafide gun-toting hunters. So what do you think of that idea William?"
William: "I hate it."
Rivera: "You hate it? Ooh!"
And later in the show Rivera, supposedly on vacation, called for Puerto Rican statehood from the deck of his sailboat:
Well it happened, Chris Matthews has finally descended into name-calling. On last night's Hardball during a segment with General Anthony Zinni, Matthews resorted to calling supporters of the Iraqi invasion fools and chowderheads. Matthews asked General Zinni:
"What fool thought that a third world country would let us march into their country and start calling the shots without resistance? I mean, I am just saying. Who believes that?"
After Zinni blamed Pentagon planners Matthews took aim at Vice President Cheney:
"Well, Chalabi, the head of the National Congress, who had such good relations with Cheney and Scooter Libby, was running around town here telling everybody, ‘don’t worry, the minute we get this guy knocked off, Saddam Hussein, we’re going to have a government of people there who are pro-Israeli, pro-Western, aren’t going to cause any trouble in the region. They’re gonna be swell guys to deal with and there is not gonna be any resistance.’ What kind of a chowderhead would believe that in the middle of the Arab world? That we were gonna face this magical situation where everybody is gonna be giving us flowers, the girls will be kissing us, they’ll be jumping on the tanks, in love with our G.I.’s. Who sold that picture?"
During The Chris Matthews Show, Joe Klein not only labelled certain Christian conservatives charlatans, as Noel Sheppard pointed out, but then he widely claimed that Christian conservatives didn't give a hoot about abortion and same-sex marriage. Here's what Klein claimed about half-way through the show:
"If you look at actual polls of Christian conservatives, abortion is way down there, homosexuality is practically non-existent but 75 to 85 percent say that the thing that concerns them the most is the impact of the culture on their children and they’re absolutely right."
Laura Ingraham of course pasted Klein for his charlatan comment but one wonders where in the world did Klein get these facts? He didn't say but our own Tim Graham guessed it came from following poll of questionable merit here.
On the March 27th edition of his Fox News syndicated program Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera let loose on the Minutemen and other opponents of illegal immigration. During the final commentary portion of the show Rivera's slam included some violent imagery:
"And you can’t blame the illegals for worrying about what’s next. Will some politicians seeking the Minuteman vote order cops to shoot them wading across the Rio Grande River and for what? Wanting a job in a meat packing plant or an apple orchard?Do you know why those demonstrations over the weekend were so much larger than anyone including the organizers thought they’d be? It’s because many religious leaders feared that the various bills being considered today in Washington would make it a felony to feed, shelter or provide health care to illegals. They have an image of the migra busting at the churches and arresting the parish priest for running the free breakfast program. "
No not even reviews of kids movies are free from a tinge of liberal bias at the Today show. During Gene Shalit's Critic's Corner the dorky mustached film critic couldn't help himself:
Gene Shalit: "Good morning and welcome to the Critic's Corner. Think global warming isn't real? Ask Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Tiger or Sid the Sloth. They first met in the animated hit Ice Age and they formed an unlikely herd. Now in Ice Age: The Meltdown they're fleeing floods of melting ice and the results are joyous.... Carlos Saldahna's direction and the smart three-scribe script makes this Ice Age very cool. The herd's happy 88 happy minutes will melt away your out-of-theater cares while attesting that global warming is no snow job. Audiences everywhere get ready! Here comes Ice Age: The Meltdown starring the herd shot 'round the world. And that's the Critic's Corner for this morning."
As expected Chris Matthews marked the anniversary of the Iraq War on last night's Hardball in typical negative tones he lets his kids indulge in Che Chic. Responding to a guest explaining kids in the Middle East wearing Bin Laden shirts were making an anti-authoritarian statement akin to the way American kids wear Che Guervara shirts, Matthews disagreed it was simliar and admitted: "I mean, a lot of our kids wear them. I see kids wearing them all the time, I think my kids wear them. It’s like a Robert Marley T-shirt at this point." The following is the full exchange between Matthews and Kristinn Taylor of FreeRepublic.com:
Kristinn Taylor: "But you know, the poll that matters is the poll in the streets. And if you remember, there have been all these predictions of, you know, great uprisings in the Arab street if we went into Iraq. Three years ago, the Arab street is still pretty calm."
On yesterday’s syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews worried Cheney might start a war over his "crowd pleaser" comments because Iran’s nuclear ambitions are now "a matter of national pride for Iranians." Howard Fineman for his part is taking Al Gore seriously again and claimed a new movie featuring Gore is going to turn him "into a cult figure." During the show’s prediction segment where Matthews asks the panel to "tell me something I don’t know," Fineman gave offered this scoop:
Howard Fineman: "Chris you know how Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives? Well there are in politics and two of the big names you're gonna be hearing in the ‘08 cycle for president Newt Gingrich and Al Gore. Mark my word the movie about Al Gore and his crusade on global warming is gonna turn him not into, only into a cult figure on the campaign trail but a real candidate."
NBC’s Today played the story of Colorado teacher Jay Bennish’s comparing Bush to Hitler as a story of academic freedom. Matt Lauer played PR man to Bennish as he played the role of humble instructor of a simple Introduction To World Geography class. But in fact Bennish was teaching an Indoctrination to Communism class as seen in the anti-capitalistic quotes Today didn't show viewers. And it’s not like Today didn’t have the time to collect the quotes or even send invites to the offended students and parents as it’s been five days since the story first broke. No instead Today devoted its first half-hour to teasing its exclusive with the teacher that compared George W. Bush to Hitler. (Mark Finkelstein had our first take here.)
There’s no getting around it. Chris Matthews hears what he wants to hear even when the facts are right in front of him.
After showing the video of President Bush being briefed by Max Mayfield saying: "I don’t think anybody can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern," Matthews took that as evidence that Bush lied when he said no one anticipated the breach of the levees.
Here’s what Matthews said after running a clip of the video: "Okay. There we saw it and I want to repeat something that I just read and I want to repeat it to you because I read a few minutes ago.
Here’s the President four days after Hurricane Katrina, that’s four days, actually five days after that briefing. ‘I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,’ that’s the President. Kate O’Beirne, square those two facts, the briefing we just saw on tape and the President saying he was never briefed as to the possibility of the water coming over from Lake Pontchartrain."
It was open season on Vice President Dick Cheney on NBC's Today this morning as Katie Couric opened the show over a What's the Wait? graphic, continuing the media elite's whining that they aren't being spoonfed information from the White House: "Good morning, shooting itself in the foot? More fallout over Vice President Cheney's hunting accident as the victim suffers a minor heart attack. And once again the Bush administration delays telling the press."
Couric and Matt Lauer teased the upcoming segment with Tim Russert. Couric: "But first off still some rough sledding for the Bush administration over Vice President Cheney's hunting incident, right?" Lauer: "Yeah that's right Katie and we should also tell you that the man Vice President Cheney accidentally shot suffered a minor heart attack while still in the hospital on Tuesday. President Bush's press secretary knew about that before his news conference that same day but he didn't tell anyone. The administration was already under fire because it waited a day to tell the press when the accident happened. So what's going on? And is Vice President Cheney making a bad situation even worse by keeping silent about it? We're gonna have much more on that, Katie, with Tim Russert in just a couple of minutes."
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on Rep. Barney Frank to defend the wild claim Frank made during the Hurricane Katrina hearings: "We have to do more, because here’s what I have to say and I hate to have to have to say this about my own government. But I believe what we are seeing with regard to New Orleans and the surrounding area is a policy frankly of ethnic cleansing by inaction."
Tim Graham blogged about it here but a quick survey of MRC analysts reveals MSNBC's Hardball has been the only network show to touch on the remark. This is a far cry from the reaction Pat Robertson received for his controversial remarks especially when you consider the arguable relevance he still has at least compared to Frank's status as a current sitting member of Congress.
On last night's (Monday's) Hardball NBC's Andrea Mitchell portrayed Hillary Clinton as a centrist in defense of Ken Mehlman's charges of Hillary Clinton being too angry. Hardball host Chris Matthews postulated that Republicans were playing the gender card in portraying Hillary Clinton as emotional. Mitchell said that it wasn't necessarily a gender-based attack but agreed that the it was an attempt to "demonize her," and "try to make her seem more extreme than I think she really is."
Mitchell also used the terminology of the far-left in referring to pro-life Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey as "anti-choice."
The following is the complete exchange between Matthews and Mitchell:
In attacking White House counselor Dan Bartlett over the NSA's surveillance of al Qaeda suspects, Katie Couric went as far as to cite a convicted terrorist's lawyer's claim of Bush's "crime." In the 7am half hour of this morning's Today, Couric noted "that many people believe that the President broke the law," and then went on to quote from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley that Bush's order, "was a crime." However Couric failed to mention that Turley is currently part of a convicted terrorist's appeal process, a terrorist who once cheered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Last Friday I noted Roger Keith Coleman was proven guilty of murder through DNA testing and wondered if Time would note that fact, since back in 1992 they featured him as their anti-death penalty cover boy. Well in this week's Milestones section of Time they in fact did mention it. "DNA testing--which last week confirmed the guilt of Roger Keith Coleman, executed in Virginia in 1992 for the murder of his sister-in-law--did not exist at the time of his 1982 trial."
After that 35-word update, Time went on to excerpt a portion of the original article. The excerpt doesn't really do justice to how adamant they were in their defense of Coleman but in the end Time gets credit for their notice.
When the administration tried to buck up troop morale by warning that some of the war's critics go too far, NBC's David Gregory had a hissy fit and portrayed the administration as the thought police. On this morning's Today Matt Lauer introduced Gregory's piece that aired in the 7am half hour: "On Close Up this morning is all fair in love and war? Not according to President Bush. The President says it's okay for Democrats to criticize the war in Iraq as long as they don't go too far." Gregory, apparently offended that someone other than the MSM or the Democrats was trying to set the agenda opened: "Good morning to you Matt. Well in this election year with the debate over the war bound to intensify you said it the President is now attempting to preempt his Democratic critics by demanding that they disagree responsibly. It's the President's executive order to war critics: don't cross the line."
Way back in 1992 Roger Keith Coleman was Time magazine’s cover boy against the death penalty. Time ran the following over a photo of Coleman in chains: "This Man Might Be Innocent, This Man Is Due To Die." Fast forward to 2006 and DNA tests have proved Coleman was in fact rightfully convicted of raping and killing his 19-year-old sister-in-law. So far Time hasn’t touched the story in its online edition. As this morning’s Washington Post reports the DNA test results have hit anti-death penalty advocates hard: "The results stunned and disappointed those who have fought a 25-year crusade to prove that Roger K. Coleman was innocent. They also dashed hopes among death penalty foes that the case would catalyze opposition to capital punishment across the country."
In the May 18th, 1992 edition of Time reporter Jill Smolowe wrote breathlessly about how the legal system was failing this supposed innocent man.
One side benefit to my beloved Redskins advancing in the playoffs is the incredibly awkward position it's forced upon the Seattle Times. Even their liberal friends at the Washington Post found it notable enough to point out how Seattle Times' policy regarding Native American-inspired nicknames has put them in a bind regarding their coverage of this week's playoff game:
CHEAP SHOTS: To avoid insulting native American heritage, the Seattle Times decided to limit severely the use of the term Redskins in the paper -- even if a team with that name will dominate news coverage this week. The Times will not use the moniker in headlines or captions. Reporters can use it only once, as a first reference, in all stories. The Redskins will be referred to almost exclusively as Washington -- which could get a little confusing for local readers who also live in that state.