For the Washington Post's Petula Dvorak the sight of American college kids celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden outside of the White House gates, on Sunday night, was "almost vulgar." In a May 2 story Dvorak described the scenes of joy as "one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert" but then went on to say "It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar" and admitted: "my first reaction was a cringe."
Dvorak, then doubled-down on her hand-wringing, saying the U.S. students reminded her of "those al Qaeda-guys dancing on Sept. 11th," before pondering: "Are we simply creating star-spangled recruitment tapes for a new generation of terrorists killing in the name of their new martyr?"
NBC's Today show actually gave Tavis Smiley an opportunity to criticize the President, but it was from the left, as the PBS commentator claimed that Barack Obama has devoted "too much attention to the rich and the lucky."
Invited on Monday's show to promote his new book Fail Up: 20 Lessons On Building Success From Failure, Smiley was prompted by NBC's Ann Curry about what he thought was Obama's "greatest failure has been so far?" To which Smiley responded by listing a litany of liberal grievances against this president , as seen in the following exchange:
As part of Green is Universal week, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell highlighted a fight between Republicans and Democrats over the use of Styrofoam in the House cafeterias. On Thursday's Today show, O'Donnell reported, "Many Democrats are boiling mad because Republicans, now in charge of building operations, put a fork in the bio-degradable utensils Democrats had picked."
O'Donnell went on to relay the concerns of Democratic Congressman George Miller as she noted that he had alarmingly tweeted to Republicans, "Stop serving carcinogens to constituents," and then aired a soundbite of Miller (while he was brandishing a Styrofoam cup) hyperbolically exclaiming: "This cup is a very expensive cup. It's very expensive to the environment, it's very expensive to our energy policy and it's very expensive, in some cases, to the health of individuals. "
Deval Patrick appeared on Thursday's Today show to promote his new book but NBC's Matt Lauer wasted no time in prodding the Democratic governor of Massachusetts about making a run against Republican Senator Scott Brown as he pressed: "I know there's pressure on you right now. Some people want you to take on Scott Brown for the Senate seat in Massachusetts, once held by Ted Kennedy. Are you running?"
For his part Patrick initially ducked the question, insisting he had no interest in a Senate run but this didn't dissuade Lauer from forcing the issue as he repeatedly questioned him about taking on Brown, even asking if he would reconsider if pushed by the President himself: "You know, the Democrats want that seat back. You're very friendly with Barack Obama and if he walks up to you and says, 'Deval,' I think he calls you that as opposed to Governor, 'Deval I want you to run for that seat,' do you say no?
Patrick again denied he wanted to run for Senate, but after a brief discussion about his memoir, Lauer again returned to the question as he teased: "The main message of the book, it seems, Governor, is a message of hope and optimism. There's a guy, recently, wrote a book I think it was called The Audacity of Hope. He's president now."
As a potential government shutdown looms the liberal media are filling their programs with stories about dire consequences of deep cuts that will lead to troops not getting paid, closed national parks, and late tax refunds. However, a review of MRC's coverage of the 1995 budget fight reveals the media are simply rerunning their tired old arguments from the last shutdown.
On this Wednesday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl tallied the services that could be at risk this time around, as he warned: "If they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait." Karl went on to alert travelers that: "Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks."
However Karl and others, as quotes from 1995 show, are simply dusting off the old media playbook to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown, as they focus on high profile federal projects like national parks in an attempt to frighten the American people into opposing prudent fiscal decision-making.
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's Today show, startled Michele Bachmann as he tried to convince her that Obama's strategy of bombing Libya was a good way to show support for the rebels as he pressed the Republican Minnesota Congresswoman "If there are flickers, as you say, of al Qaeda among the rebels, would it not be a sign to them or showing them that the United States has compassion and we are willing to use our military might to help all people?" Bachmann was taken aback by the thrust of the question as she responded: "Compassion for al Qaeda?"
Lauer scrambled to clarify himself, insisting he meant the U.S. would be showing compassion for "civilians in Benghazi." Bachmann pointed out to Lauer: "Well of course we have compassion for people. That is not the point," as seen in the following exchange:
Tom Brokaw appeared on Tuesday's Today show to offer his analysis of Barack Obama's Libya policy, as well as his sympathy for a president who has experienced more "unexpected circumstances" than any Oval Office occupant has seen in his "adult lifetime." Today co-host Matt Lauer prompted the former NBC Nightly News anchor to tell the audience what he told him right before going on air - that he couldn't "recall a time where a president has faced a confluence of events, like the confluence of events taking place right now."
Brokaw, who did qualify his response noting that FDR did have his share of "challenges," went on to specify that from the Libya crisis, to the disaster in Japan, to the budget fight he's never seen a president have it so bad, as seen in the following March 29 Today show exchange:
NBC's Jamie Gangel gave Cory Booker the full liberal media rock star treatment in her Tuesday Today show profile of the Democratic Newark, New Jersey mayor as she cheered that he's "a celebrity with friends like Bon Jovi" and gushed he has "more than a million followers on Twitter."
Calling Booker "a young ambitious politician often compared to Barack Obama," Gangel proclaimed: "He truly is a force...and despite what he says, watch out. In a few years, his friends say they believe they will see him on the national stage." This prompted Today co-anchor Ann Curry to respond to her NBC colleague: "Well he is very impressive" admitting that she's also a fan, "By the way I'm a Twitter follower."
Curry teased the Gangel story by hailing Booker as "one of the biggest rising stars of the Democratic Party" and added: "Everywhere you look nowadays, from Oprah to Facebook, Bon Jovi to Brad Pitt, Newark's charismatic mayor Cory Booker is enlisting help for his troubled city." During her piece Gangel covered everything from Booker's early years noting, "Booker was an academic star, class president, and all-American tight end who went on to Stanford, a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, and Yale Law School," to his future plans as she prodded: "Do you think about running for governor? Senator? White House?"
The Birther conspiracy obsessed Chris Matthews, on Friday's Hardball, suggested the disaster in Japan was a good opportunity for Barack Obama to remind people he was born in Hawaii. Well when a guest on Monday's show pointed out Obama did just that, the MSNBCer couldn't help but congratulate him as he told the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson: "Thank you for reminding us the President was raised in Hawaii...and not of the Maus Maus, which some of his more insane critics have brought up."
Matthews began his final segment by leading his guest into the answer he was looking for by asking, "What do you think of the way he's handled this thing?"
NBC's Meredith Vieira opened Thursday's Today show alerting viewers that Republicans in Wisconsin had caused a "capitol chaos" with a "surprise maneuver" to pass a "controversial budget proposal without Democrats" and her colleague Ann Curry, in teasing a John Yang story, did her one better calling the vote an "outrage."
In the ensuing Yang piece, headlined: "Outrage In Wisconsin,Senate Republicans Cut Union Rights, Bypass Democrats" Yang never bothered to mention the reason Republicans passed the bill "without Democrats" was because they were hiding out, but he did make sure to include footage of protesters repeatedly chanting "Shame!"
Andrea Mitchell joined Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer in sticking up for NPR as the NBC correspondent, on her MSNBC show, declared: "Nobody is suggesting that their journalism has been at all biased."
On Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports she regretted that outgoing NPR executive Ron Schiller's controversial comments about its own funding and the Tea Party were going to make it harder for Hoyer and his ilk to keep funneling tax dollars its way. Mitchell whined: "We're talking about pennies on the budget, so this isn't really a cost-saving move, but now it's become so politically fired up" and then added, "Nobody is suggesting that their journalism has been at all biased."
NBC's Matt Lauer didn't exactly throw out the welcome mat for possible presidential GOP contender Rick Santorum as, on Tuesday's Today show, he questioned the former Republican Pennsylvania senator if his "ultra-conservative" stance on social issues is "the message people want to hear right now?"
Throwing the results of the latest NBC News poll at him Lauer pressed: "65 percent of people said they are most likely to vote for a candidate in 2012 who is strong on the economy, on the deficit, on jobs, not social issues. That's really not what they are concerned about. So are you, are you barking up the right tree?"
Leave it to Chris Matthews to look at a typical, by the book, recitation of talking points appearance by Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and describe it as a sign of conspiracy or lunacy. On Monday's Hardball, after Matthews played clips of Bachmann on NBC's Meet the Press, he wondered if she was trained by "a group in Virginia that teaches right wing people" to "use the most wild language" and repeat it or was she simply "behaving like a zombie?"
Matthews, who is prone to make cinematic comparisons, went on to say the conservative congresswoman's appearance reminded him of The Manchurian Candidate as he questioned Democratic Representative Loretta Sanchez: "Is there some kind of playing card...A queen of diamonds, like in The Manchurian Candidate, where you flash the queen of diamonds and this congresswoman colleague of yours goes into that trance like repetition of those words?"
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough appeared on Monday's Today show to deliver a forecast of doom for Republicans on the budget fight and their 2012 presidential prospects. On their skirmish with Democrats in Congress the host of Morning Joe told NBC's Matt Lauer he thinks Republicans "have the most to lose" and in explaining the late start for GOP entrants into the 2012 race proclaimed, "they are afraid of Barack Obama," as seen in the following exchange:
On Friday morning, NBC's Tom Costello couldn't close his Today show report on high gas prices without airing the proverbial soundbite from an angry gas station customer accusing oil companies of gouging the consumer. Costello even managed to taint Big Oil with the Watergate scandal, in his set-up for the perturbed gas pumper, as he pointed out one of the highest prices he found in Washington D.C. was "right in the shadow of the Watergate" adding, "customers across the country are increasingly suspicious of the oil companies."
NBC's Tom Brokaw was invited on Thursday's Today show to discuss a wide range of topics ranging from the Supreme Court ruling on the Westboro church to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling results and in discussing the poll Brokaw warned Republicans risked political peril if there was another government shutdown. The former Nightly News anchor actually claimed that after the 1995 shutdown the GOP was "turned out" of the House "not too long after that." However that historic budget fight wasn't as politically lethal as Brokaw made it out to viewers, as the Republicans maintained control of the House until 2006.
Chris Matthews, once again, abandoned any notion he was serious about establishing a new tone of political civility in the wake of the Tucson shooting, as on Wednesday's Hardball he compared former Speaker of the House and possible GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to a terrorist as he screeched "He looks like a car bomber" and even described him in demonic terms, adding: "He's got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing."
The following Matthews rants came during a discussion about possible GOP presidential contenders with the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page and The Huffington Post's Sam Stein on the March 2 Hardball:
Chris Matthews has yet to condemn Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Gordon Hintz for yelling "You're f–ing dead!" at Republican State Representative Michelle Litjens during a legislative session on Friday, but the Hardball host did find the time, on Tuesday's show, to slam Speaker of the House John Boehner for engaging in "Glenn Beck talk" about guns.
Matthews, initially teasing a guest for using the word "lethal" in a discussion about recent poll numbers on the Wisconsin budget battle, chided: "In the media world, I think we all agreed...after the horror in Arizona that we weren't gonna...use ballistic terms." The MSNBC host then segued into a clip of Boehner making a gun reference, after which he railed: "What is this Glenn Beck talk?...That's how Glenn talks. 'I'm gonna put a gun to your head' and all this!" This led Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to tag in: "Well when John Boehner back slides, he really back slides."
To review, a Democrat man cursing at a Republican woman "You're f--ing dead" isn't worth mentioning in Matthews' mind, but if you dare make a political metaphor referring to weapons (something Matthews himself has done) that's objectionable.
Actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the '80s NBC hit Family Ties, returned to the Today show set where, back in 2009, she announced she was gay and told Matt Lauer, on Tuesday morning, that her self-revelation could've been something, in her view, much more shocking - she may have realized she was "a Republican."
On to promote Untied, Baxter was asked by Lauer if she had "come to terms with everything" after having written the book, to which she responded: "I realized I was so un-self-examined I could have been a Republican, but you know, thank goodness I'm just gay. So that's much better, don't you think?"
NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, on Tuesday's Today show, had no problem labeling Republican governors like Scott Walker, "conservative," but for some reason just couldn't get his lips to utter the word "liberal" when referring to the President.
In a piece about Barack Obama meeting with the nation's governors, Todd observed that in his first two years in office "when the President was desperate for bipartisan support" he turned "to some Republican governors but a lot of the moderates are gone among that group" adding that now there was "a conservative force in the states." Todd then went on to note that moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger were being replaced by "conservative warriors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker" but he never attached a single liberal label to the President or any of his policies.
NBC's Mike Taibbi, on Saturday's Today show, portrayed the pro-labor union protestors in Wisconsin in almost heroic terms as he hailed "The crowds of overnight campers and protestors keep up their vigils. A weary resolve still evident" and depicted them as victims that were "taking the hits." On the other hand the GOP was painted as the bad guys with Taibbi detailing "Republicans used an obscure rule allowing them to end all debate" and "have tried other means of persuasion, suspending direct deposit of the Democrats' paychecks, even sending state police to several of their local homes."
Taibbi's piece was also peppered with pro-union soundbites including a Democratic state senator calling the budget bill "backwards" and a protestor cheering, "we are getting worn out but we are stronger than ever." Taibbi also aired various clips of protestors chanting "Shame! Shame!" "Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Yes we can" but allowed only one voice of dissent from the other side, with the aforementioned Governor Walker getting a brief clip to announce: "Enough time has passed. It's time to come back and have a vote on this measure."
Chris Matthews went off the deep end on Wednesday's Hardball as he accused conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck of demonstrating "ethnic disdain" for the First Family and even charged former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee of wanting to ethnically cleanse Arabs from the West Bank.
Right after a discussion about Republican contenders like John Thune and Chris Christie not entering the presidential race, Matthews told his GOP strategist guest Todd Harris "You are being left with the crazies now" like Huckabee who Matthews charged wants to "clear out all the Arabs in the West Bank, just get rid of them all!...Talk about ethnic cleansing? He says he's gonna do it."
Then Matthews immediately turned to a clip of Rush Limbaugh critiquing Michelle Obama's health push and claimed the talk show host wasn't merely making fun of nanny state politics, but that there was something more sinister involved as he went on to accuse Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their listeners of being racist, as seen in the following rant:
New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie stopped by the Today show, on Wednesday morning, to educate viewers and NBC's Ann Curry about the problems of public employee unions and explained that when it comes to getting government costs under control sometimes you just have to say no. Curry mostly questioned Christie from the left, as she asked if there was "a coordinated" GOP agenda to make unions "scapegoats" for a problem "created by Wall Street" and the "banks" and suggested that "in some ways it doesn't sort of make sense...that the unions really are to blame."
For his part, Christie responded: "It's an issue of wanting to say yes all the time as a public official. You know you never want to say no to anybody because 'Oh you're much more popular if you say yes.' Well you know what? It's time we have to start saying no to certain things to be able to say yes to the things that will help to grow our economy and create a more prosperous future."
A confounded Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, couldn't get his head around the concept of Texas allowing 21-year-olds on college campuses to carry concealed weapons to defend themselves, as he repeatedly threw out scenarios, seemingly from TV, movies and his own imagination, of crazed students with guns.
Fortunately Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth was on hand to repeatedly and ably clarify and correct Matthews of his misconceptions. In fact Matthews was so bewildered by Wentworth's command of the facts that by the end of the interview he admitted his own anti-gun bias as he blurted: "I don't know. It's a strange world you're getting us into Senator. Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's cowboys and Indians. I live in a city, I think it's strange."
First up Matthews, drawing from his expertise in old TV and movie Westerns, questioned Wentworth if he thought it was okay for college students to bring guns "into saloons" to which the state senator had to notify Matthews that bars weren't even allowed on Texas campuses.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Monday's Today show, lumped the Wisconsin and federal budget fights together and depicted the Republicans, in both cases, as being on the defensive. Starting in Wisconsin O'Donnell reported that over the weekend "Protesters backing union workers vented anger" but didn't mention the Tea Party had a counter-protest. Then O'Donnell, moving to the budget struggle on Capitol Hill, passed along Democratic talking points as she reported: "Democrats claim Republicans are too stubborn and their budget cuts too severe" and advanced: "The '90s government shutdown, with empty offices and closed national parks, left the Republican majority then with real political damage. A cautionary tale today."
O'Donnell aired sound bites from Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer on the offensive, warning against a government shutdown with Schumer charging Speaker John Boehner with being "reckless." However when it came to the GOP side O'Donnell aired a clip of Senator Tom Coburn defensively admitting: "It's good for political rhetoric to talk about a government shutdown, but I don't know anybody that wants that to happen."
A buoyant Chris Matthews popped into the Today show studio, on Monday morning, to hype his MSNBC documentary on Bill Clinton's post-presidency and he didn't spare a platitude as he claimed that Clinton is "bigger than the host country president" wherever he goes, is as active as the "Energizer Bunny" and unapologetically offered: "It's right to do a good story about a good guy."
To her credit substitute host Savannah Guthrie, who conducted the interview, actually did poke Matthews a bit when she pressed: "So a lot of people are asking has Chris Matthews gone soft on President Clinton?" To which Matthews sheepishly responded: "That's very nice of you to bring that up. I love film criticism from a colleague," but then lamely rationalized it's "been 10 years" and revealed his personal reason for producing the documentary: "About four years ago my son got out of Brown and he went to work in Africa making sure that the drugs, the AIDS drugs, the cocktails got to the actual people from the donors. And somebody has to make sure that happens. That's the Clinton Global Initiative."
Matthews did theorize the reason for Clinton's post-presidential advocacy was that "it may be to make up for things that went wrong...Obviously Monica and all that stuff," but then quickly returned to singing his praises this way:
Chris Matthews, in the wake of the Tucson shootings, went on a tear against the likes of Sarah Palin who used what he called "gun play" language, yet on Wednesday's Hardball, Matthews uttered phrases against public figures that he, himself, would've considered incendiary had a conservative said them.
In his "Let Me Finish" segment Matthews issued a "call to arms" against George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and others who were responsible for the "unpatriotic way this country was marched to war." Matthews then proceeded to give out the Capitol Switchboard phone number, urged his viewers to call their senator and instructed them on what to say, before concluding his rant with a demand for "nationally televised hearings" to find out why the Bush administration started "a war for a reason they knew wasn't true."
A defensive Joe Scarborough showed up on Tuesday's Hardball, to tell off all his Republican doubters as he defiantly declared: "I'm more ideologically conservative" than most on Capitol Hill "but because I don't hate the President...that makes me a liberal." The MSNBC host of Morning Joe was pressed to place himself on the ideological spectrum as even Chris Matthews wasn't sure where he stood, which gave Scarborough the opportunity to write-off those who question his conservative credentials as "sad and pathetic" Obama haters.
On Monday's Hardball Chris Matthews, who devoted much of last week's shows to Egypt, got caught up on some conservative bashing as he mocked those who attended CPAC as "zany" and likened the conference to a "carnival act." The MSNBC host, joined by fellow liberals David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, led the show by describing the event as a "right wing jamboree that puts the zany in the same room as the zanier."
Pivoting off the Chris Lee resignation story NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Friday's Today show, declared it was a "rough week for the Republicans" noting that "they've seen several of their bills defeated in the House." Vieira, who was joined by David Gregory, also questioned "How big of a setback is this for the party?" Gregory, for his part, did at least acknowledge the reason some of the bills were defeated was because freshmen Republicans were actually keeping to their campaign promises but then went on to note the GOP had "a lot more cohesion" when they were in the minority.
The following segment was aired on the February 11 Today show: