Wednesday's Hannity and Colmes showed viewers clips of Barack Obama making contradictory statements from Sunday and Tuesday about whether Iran was a serious threat, with the Illinois Senator on Sunday saying "they don't pose a serious threat to us," but on Tuesday saying "Iran is a grave threat." Pollster Frank Luntz also sparred with FNC's liberal co-host Alan Colmes over whether it would be wise to meet with dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, and got Colmes to admit that "I might" meet with Hitler. Luntz: "Would you talk to Hitler?" Colmes: "It would depend upon the circumstances. ... I might." (Transcript follows)
The segment began with a clip of Democratic Governor and Obama supporter Bill Richardson talking about Obama's desire to "talk to the Iranian leaderhip," and the clip of Obama talking about Iran were soon played, as they had been played on the previous night's show:
BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
Two years ago, after FNC's Bill O'Reilly erroneously stated that American troops had massacred Nazi German troops at Malmedy, Belgium during World War II, even after the FNC host corrected the error, which apparently should have referred to American troops who retaliated against German troops after Malmedy because of that massacre, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on his Countdown show, demanded that O'Reilly apologize to American troops, relaying anger expressed by some Iraq war veterans who heard about O'Reilly's mistake, and in one of his most egregious smears against the FNC host, painted O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis. The Countdown show even played an audio clip of voice actor Seth MacFarlane derogatorily calling the FNC host "that b*****d Bill O'Reilly," and telling the FNC host to "allow me to soil myself on you." (Transcripts follow)
Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, guest hosted by Laura Ingraham, showed a pre-recorded interview between FNC host Bill O'Reilly and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq and author of Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story. During the interview, Sanchez conveyed his disapproval at the mainstream media's coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. When O'Reilly contended that the "New York Times and the liberal media" "went wild over Abu Ghraib" to "humiliate the Bush administration," Sanchez agreed: "To a large extent, you're absolutely right, because that is reflected in some of the questioning and some, obviously, in the press reports that occurred ... I believe that, in fact, we create the strategic defeat for America to a large extent by the way that we cover it in the press." (Transcript follows)
According to Marc Ambinder of theatlantic.com, former ABC News Capitol Hill correspondent Linda Douglass, also a former correspondent for CBS and NBC News, will be leaving her position at National Journal to join the Barack Obama presidential campaign as a senior strategist. Ambinder quotes Douglass: "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
Ambinder's article, which can be seen here, further describes Douglass as having grown "disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first hand" during her journalistic career.
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Kentucky and Oregon Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday, NBC's Andrea Mitchell seemed to take seriously suggestions by Hillary Clinton "loyalists" who argue that Republicans in control of the election process in some red states Barack Obama hopes to carry may deny him a "fair vote" in the November general election. Mitchell: "Other Clinton loyalists, but realists, say that that electoral map is a stretch in one regard: There are ... Republican governors and Secretaries of State, if you will, Katherine Harris-type election officials in those states. ... [Obama] has to go up against the establishment, which would be Republican, and he has to figure out a way to get a fair vote, if he's the nominee, in those red states." (Transcript follows) [audio available here]
During an interview with Lisa Caputo of the Clinton campaign, Caputo commented that the possibility of Clinton winning the popular vote among Democratic primary and caucus voters while Obama wins the delegate count reminds her of the 2000 election. Matthews then contended that Al Gore "may well have won the election" if he had requested a statewide recount instead of "just a couple of counties" because Gore might have won most "intended votes."
After a May 7 speech at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, ABC's Cokie Roberts expressed concern that an electoral loss by Hillary Clinton would "set women back further" during her response to an audience member's question about what Clinton's legacy would be. Roberts: "I do wonder, and people ask me that a lot, is whether, if she is defeated, that is going to set women back further, or whether the fact that she's made it this far is going to be helpful to women. And I fear that it will be the former because that tends to happen, you know." (Video of the speech can be found here.) (Partial transcript follows)
Roberts also recommended that the eventual Democratic presidential nominee "needs to pick a white guy from a swing state, preferably a guy who owns a gun," a variation on her words from the Sunday May 11 This Week that the Democratic ticket should include a "Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state."
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush accused the President of "panoramic and murderous deceit," and of "creating" an America that "includes 'cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives,'" contending that "they are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes." He further accused Bush, whom he referred to as having an "addled brain," of "laying waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives" in an "insurance-scam, profiteering, morally bankrupting war." Outraged by Bush's declaration that he had given up playing golf out of respect for those killed in Iraq, Olbermann called on the President to "Shut the hell up!" Video of Olbermann's rant can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary, Chris Matthews three times compared Hillary Clinton to Al Sharpton because she recently cited her popularity with white blue-collar voters as a reason she should be the Democratic presidential nominee. Matthews: "It's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people." Keith Olbermann claimed that media coverage of the Democratic campaign has been fair, but still conceded that "if the media leaned at any point early on in this race, it was not against [Clinton], but towards her." Matthews contended that, similar to the way Bill Clinton in 1992 had "a tremendous wind at his back in terms of press coverage because of generation," this time Barack Obama "has benefitted from being the new breeze."
Former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe also got to poke fun at Matthews over his over the top confession last February that an Obama speech caused a "thrill going up my leg." While discussing Clinton's speech from Tuesday night, McAuliffe joked: "I'm sure it sent shivers up Chris Matthews's leg." (Transcript follows)
During the roundtable discussion on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts not only made a relatively rare identification of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as "liberal," but she also argued that Obama needs to choose a running mate who is a "Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated." (Transcript follows)
As the group discussed the running mate possibilities, Roberts contended that it would be a bad idea for Obama to choose Clinton: "I don't think that it's good for the Democratic Party to have two liberal Senators from states that are going to go Democratic anyway. I mean, he needs a Bible-thumping, gun-owning, white guy from a swing state. I mean, maybe that's who the party should have nominated."
Sam Donaldson jumped in: "You mean, in other words, somebody who disagrees with him on all the issues."
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday May 11 This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
On World News Saturday, during a story about young Israelis seeking to enjoy life in Tel Aviv to forget about the constant danger of terrorism, ABC's David Muir seemed to suggest that most Israeli cities could be described as relatively "militant" as he compared Tel Aviv to other cities: "Some have called it the 'Tel Aviv Bubble.' But not in a bad way. Other Israeli cities are more religious and more militant."
Then came a soundbite of an Israeli woman who referred to "extremists on both sides," presumably referring to both Palestinians and Jews: "I think it has some kind of stabilizing effect in the country. If it didn't exist, all of the country would be swept by extremists from both sides." (Transcript follows)
During Tuesday's coverage of the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina on MSNBC, co-anchor Keith Olbermann dismissed the importance of the finding that approximately half of primary voters considered Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright was an important factor in their decision, including some who apparently admired the way Obama reacted to the story. And, without naming Fox News, the MSNBC host seemed to accuse FNC of having "done nothing but broadcast this story since it first broke, with the wildest exaggerations and the broadest of interpretations possible." He further expressed relief that, in his view, Wright had not been a strong factor against Obama in the election: "It really does, thank goodness, prove, I think, some of the limitations of the media and of negative campaigning."
Below is a transcript of the relevant comments from Olbermann, which aired about 9:37 p.m. on Tuesday May 6 on MSNBC:
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter, also of Newsweek, suggested that voters who support Hillary Clinton's call for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax are "stupid" as he contended that the Clinton campaign team are "assuming that people are too stupid to realize that this is a bad idea that won't save them any money at the pump." Alter later argued that the tax cut strategy may end up succeeding politically for Clinton because "there are a lot of what are called 'low information' voters" who are "not reading the unanimous, unanimous newspaper editorials against this. They're not talking to the environmentalists, the economists, everybody who unanimously believes this is a bad idea. They're, you know, understandably struggling, and at the pump, they're paying a lot for gas, and they want some relief." (Transcript follows)
Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC gave attention to revelations which first surfaced last February that employees of some Planned Parenthood clinics expressed a willingness to accept donations from callers who expressed the blatantly racist motivation of wanting to see more black children aborted, with a couple of the Planned Parenthood employees even seeming to express agreement with the racist statements. O'Reilly interviewed conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham about the attention she has given to the issue on her show, and played a clip of one of the phone calls. (Transcript follows)
In February, a conservative student publication at UCLA, The Advocate, revealed that it had called a number of Planned Parenthood clinics pretending to be interested in donating money to the organization while feigning a racist intention of wanting to reduce the number of black children. O'Reilly played one clip:
AUDIO OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE DONOR: Hello, Autumn. I'm interested in making a donation today.
AUDIO OF FEMALE PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE: Fantastic!
DONOR: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group. Would that be possible?
Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations, and the "lunatic fringe" of the Republican party. When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight." (Transcript follows)
During MSNBC's live coverage of Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary, co-anchor Chris Matthews brought up the possibility that the North Carolina Republican Party would run an "overtly racist" campaign against Barack Obama, as the MSNBC host harkened back to the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt. Matthews: "North Carolina will be interesting, and I think that if the Republican Party goes back to the old trick it did with the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt and running a campaign which is overtly racist, I think that will be a mistake if they do that. I'll wait and see if they do that." (Transcript follows)
After referring to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, co-anchor Keith Olbermann brought up the possibility that John McCain could also be attacked for connections with controversial people: "There is a lot that could be thrown at the Republicans by the Democrats and the past associations of Senator McCain, or even some of the current ones."
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed worried by Hillary Clinton's pledge during Wednesday's debate that "if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation." Olbermann suggested Clinton had "set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen." After the MSNBC host contended that Clinton's pledge "may be further to the right than the Bush administration," liberal talk radio host/MSNBC analyst Rachel Maddow further charged that an "immediate threat by Iran" was merely "invented by neo-cons." Maddow: "Hillary Clinton, of course, put an exclamation point on it by talking about poleaxing our entire approach to foreign policy in order to counteract this immediate threat by Iran, which has been invented by the neo-cons." (Transcript follows)
Referring to the debate, Olbermann teased the April 17 Countdown show: "The only real news, if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation. Did she set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen?"
Friday's NBC Nightly News took a balanced look at the issue of whether colleges would be safer if students were allowed greater freedom to carry concealed weapons on campus. Though the report failed to delve into any supporting statistics, soundbites were featured from advocates on both sides of the issue, including Mike Guzman of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus: "This is where we see mass shootings occur, at gun-free zones, because these criminals have a government guarantee or a university guarantee that their intended victims will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves." (Transcript follows)
After the clip of Guzman, correspondent Janet Shamlian introduced a clip from Lori Haas, the mother of a school shooting victim, who "believes armed and well-intentioned students would be no match for a gunman like the one who shot her daughter." Haas: "He had two guns, he had the element of surprise. The fear that grips you when you're worried about your life is paralyzing."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Friday April 18 NBC Nightly News:
On Monday, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted and seemed to glorify anti-America comments made by a young Egyptian woman, whom the show interviewed as part of a regular series about young people in other countries, who compared the States to a dumb "jock" that in a few years will "die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation."
The young woman, named Ro'ya, charged: "In the past, if the States was a strong country, it was because it had thinkers, but right now, it's kind of like, it's kind of like a jock, okay -- very powerful, very athletic, in a couple of years, die down and burn out, and what's left is a totally useless nation." Without challenge, Weir added: "Ro'ya says she would only live in America if it would help Americans understand the Arab world. She'd much rather move to Italy..." (An online version of the story can be found at ABCNews.com.) (Transcript follows)
Kudos to NBC's David Gregory for making a relatively rare declaration of just how fanatically anti-Israel the terrorist group Hamas actually is. On Friday's Race for the White House on MSNBC, Gregory hosted a panel discussion of whether Jimmy Carter's plans to meet with a Hamas leader are a danger to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during which Gregory described Hamas as "the terrorist organization bent on destroying Israel." After liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz suggested that negotiation with Hamas may some day be necessary, Gregory further clarified his description of Hamas's nature: "But, well, but this is a different matter. I mean, Hamas has made it very clear, Tony Blankley, that it wants Israel destroyed in no uncertain terms." (Transcript follows)
On the Thursday April 10 The Situation Room, CNN's Brian Todd similarly noted that Hamas has "called for Israel's destruction." Todd: "Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. It's called for Israel's destruction."
On World News Sunday, ABC anchor Dan Harris filed a report on Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to America, labeling the Catholic leader as "sometimes controversial," and calling him a "hard-liner" for "strenuously condemning divorce, homosexuality, and abortion." Harris also suggested that he has a "tin ear" because of a 2006 speech in which he used a quotation of a historical figure calling Islam "evil" that sparked riots by Muslim extremists around the world, without mentioning that the Pope later clarified that it was not his personal view that Islam is evil. (Transcript follows)
Before a commercial break, Harris plugged the story: "And coming up here on World News this Sunday, who is Pope Benedict? The sometimes controversial Pope comes to America this week."
On Friday, ABC's 20/20 featured a story about a Long Island man, John White, who was put on trial for shooting a teen, Dano Cicciaro, at the end of his driveway after Cicciaro and some friends showed up at 11:00 PM during a dispute with White's son Aaron. While the story was mostly balanced in noting the strengths and weaknesses in each side's case, at one point, Elizabeth Vargas oddly asked White why he didn't remove the bullets from his gun before confronting the group of five hostile teens: "So you grabbed it hoping to scare the boys? ... So why not take the bullets out?"
More details of the case can be found here. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday April 4 20/20 on ABC:
ELIZABETH VARGAS: It was just after 11:10 PM, August 9, 2006. Dano Cicciaro and four of his friends pulled up outside the home of John White. According to the White family, this is what it looked like to them: bright lights shining up their driveway and several angry young men shouting outside.
The roundtable segment of Tuesday's The Situation Room offered CNN viewers opposite takes on the Bush administration's culpability in the rise of oil prices with Jack Cafferty and David Gergen on opposite ends. Cafferty, who has a history of blaming high oil prices on President Bush, argued that the administration's "idea of an energy policy is to put Dick Cheney in a closed, locked room out of sight of the public with some guys from Enron and some oil company guys, hammer out some kind of a deal, and then sit back and watch oil prices go from $28 when Bush was inaugurated to $111 now."
But Gergen later jumped into the discussion to explain the true origin of oil prices: "I think it's wrong to argue or suggest that somehow the oil companies have been manipulating these prices upward. These prices have not been, you know, rising sky high because of the Bush administration. They've been rising sky high because world demand is up so significantly."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday April 1 The Situation Room on CNN:
Tonight, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann will once again get to do his Countdown show on the NBC network. A frequent and harsh critic of President Bush, especially regarding the Iraq war, Olbermann has used his Countdown show on MSNBC to regularly attack the President whom he has called an "Idiot-in-Chief" and a "fascist." Olbermann has also branded the Republican party as a "terrorist group" that tries to scare Americans into voting for them. The MSNBC host is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his Countdown show, and, on Thursday's program, he closed the show previewing Sunday's NBC special:
[This was first posted on January 1, 2008] On the Tuesday, January 1 Fox and Friends, Democratic strategist and FNC contributor Bob Beckel found amusing Hillary Clinton's contention that her trip to Bosnia in 1996, which Clinton has been accused of exaggerating as a dangerous mission despite the presence of daughter Chelsea and comedian Sinbad on the plane as she mentioned the need for a "corkscrew" landing and running on the tarmac in case of sniper attack, was evidence of her foreign policy experience. Clinton's comments, which were a response to Barack Obama's charges that her foreign policy experience consisted only of talking and "having tea" with foreign dignitaries, evoked an amused and cynical reaction from the liberal Beckel: "It's almost too hard to say this straight. I mean, I've had a few corkscrew landings myself, but I was not, well, it had been a long night before I did it. I mean, I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be." (Transcript follows)
During the roundtable segment on Monday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty compared the racist and anti-American words of Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's condemnation of the many abortions in America. Cafferty, who in January suggested that abortion is a "crap" issue, asserted: "How is this different than John McCain chasing after Pat Robertson or the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, who talk about how we have a culture of murdering unborn children in this country and that we've turned into Sodom because we coddled the gay community in this country? I mean, to me, that stuff is considerably more offensive than decrying racial violence and intolerance in this country, which members of the black community have some firsthand knowledge of." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews voiced agreement with New York Times columnist Orlando Patterson, a Harvard sociology professor, as he read a passage from Patterson's latest column during which the Harvard professor declared that, in watching Hillary Clinton's recent campaign ad questioning Barack Obama's qualifications for handling a 3:00 a.m. emergency, he "couldn't help but think of D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, the racist movie epic that helped revive the Klu Klux Klan with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society." Declaring that the ad reminded him more of "a 911 call than 9/11" with "a mother protecting her kids from a prowler outside," Matthews declared such an ad "would be racist." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty suggested that blame for high oil prices rests not only with Bush administration policies, but also with its "relationship with the oil companies." During a discussion of John McCain and President Bush's recent meeting, Cafferty, who once pushed the liberal conspiracy theory that Big Oil deliberately lowered gas prices before the 2006 elections to help Republicans get elected, once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of the world oil market as he suggested that a "relationship" with oil companies could impact world oil prices: "Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on." (Transcript follows)
During a story suggesting that Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of the mortgage company Countrywide, is unworthy of his millions of dollars and perhaps enjoys too much time lying in the sun, ABC's Dan Harris, possibly not picking up on the former CEO's Italian ethnicity which could be the source of his skin's dark complexion, remarked that Mozilo's "deeply tanned face" could become the "face of the mortgage mess." The story ran on Friday's World News with Charles Gibson, substitute hosted by George Stephanopoulos, with Harris beginning his report: "This may well become the deeply tanned face of the mortgage mess. The face belongs to Angelo Mozilo, the once-celebrated CEO of Countrywide, now facing allegations of predatory lending and rapacious greed." Harris also ended the report seeming to lament that Mozilo is not facing foreclosure on any of his homes: "If the sale [of Countrywide] goes through, Mozilo will walk away with about $40 million. And with not one of his homes in foreclosure." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's The Situation Room on CNN, Time magazine's managing editor, Richard Stengel, suggested that the 1961 Bay of Pigs attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro should not have been planned, as he assigned some of the blame for the fiasco to President Eisenhower for planning it in the first place. During a discussion of the importance of experience for a new President, Stengel contended: "John Kennedy, when he was first elected, very inexperienced President, got us into the Bay of Pigs. Terrible mistake. But who planned the Bay of Pigs? Dwight Eisenhower." (Transcript follows)