In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, there was an obvious contrast with Walters’s interview with then-President-elect Bush in January 2001. After having pressed Bush with complaints from liberals about his choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General, as she claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights," Walters this time not only failed to challenge Obama from the right in any of her questions, but she actually pressed him from the left as well as she seemed to fret about how long America has to wait for him to raise taxes on the rich. Walters: "During the campaign, there was a central and consistent theme of yours to raise taxes on people earning over $250,000 a year. Now, it seems there’s a little waffling on that. When are you going to do it?"
While introducing Michelle Obama for the second half hour of the special, Walters invoked President Kennedy’s family as she effused: "The Obamas harken back to another First Family, with their youthful embodiment of style, substance, and hope." But earlier, at the top of the program, she had taken a shot President Bush as "one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history" and suggested that it is not "an exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation is riding on [Obama’s] shoulders." Walters: "In only 55 days, Barack Obama will replace one of the most unpopular Presidents in modern history. He will inherit two wars and an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression. Tonight, as families across our country gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, there is a sense of unease and a hope that someone can restore confidence and leadership. Although Barack Obama insists we have only one President at a time, some say that fear and financial uncertainty have forced him into the unprecedented role of a shadow President, even before he has taken the oath of office. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation is riding on his shoulders."
The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."
On the Saturday Early Show on CBS, President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks were presented positively as correspondent Kimberly Dozier referred to a "superstar Cabinet," and its members as "bold" and "inspired," while co-anchor Erica Hill called the Cabinet "star-studded." The terminology was similar to that employed by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the previous night's Nightly News, as she referred to Obama's "all-star Cabinet."
During the 8:00 a.m. hour of the Saturday Early Show, as she filed a story regarding Obama’s choices of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and Timothy Geithner, also from the Clinton administration, for Treasury Secretary, Dozier introduced her report: "Well, Obama’s Cabinet picks are coming one by one, and they’re calling it, in some cases, a ‘superstar Cabinet.’" After informing viewers that Obama may ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on, Dozier repeated the "superstar" label as she passed on praise from former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Dozier: "Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff says Obama’s taking a page from his boss’s book, choosing a superstar team for their skills, not their political persuasion."
On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly showed clips from the Kalb Report show in which moderator Marvin Kalb, a veteran of both CBS and NBC News, interviewed O’Reilly. During the interview, which was recorded on September 27, O’Reilly managed to embarrass Kalb as the liberal host seemed to criticize President Bush for ordering American troops into war after the President himself "avoided military service," but he seemed to forget that Bill Clinton, who ordered a war against Serbia, dodged the draft and avoided military service altogether while Bush did at least serve in the National Guard. Kalb posed the question: "Do you believe that a President who avoided military service himself should be sending young men and women to fight in what are called ‘wars of choice’?"
After O’Reilly flippantly asked Kalb if he was talking about Bill Clinton and pointed out that Bush served in the National Guard, Kalb claimed that "Bill Clinton did not start a war such as the Iraq War." After mentioning that Clinton ordered war against Serbia, O’Reilly charged that Kalb was asking "another left-wing question," and took a jab at the moderator: "You wanted to hit Bush, and then I hit you with Clinton, and you were going, ‘Uh-oh, I forgot about him.’ Come on."
On Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, New York Times columnist Frank Rich charged that it looks "morally bad" and "idiotic" that Republicans have not elected a black candidate to federal office in six years. The Republican party also seemed to remind Rich of South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy of the past: "The fact is, this isn`t South Africa 25 years ago, this is a major political party that is essentially all white. And the hierarchy of it is definitely white. There hasn`t been a new black Republican elected to federal office, I think, in six years. And so, what does that tell us about the party? And how does that look to voters? I think it looks like it`s the party of the last century. It looks bad. Not only is it morally bad, but politically. I think it`s idiotic because it`s against the whole demographics of this country and where they’re going."
On Thursday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s Megyn Kelly filled in viewers on the current voter fraud controversy in Ohio involving ACORN, and Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s refusal to comply with a federal court ruling in spite of clear evidence of fraudulent voter registrations. Kelly: "She's required by federal law to have her state database linked up to the DMV, and to the Social Security Administration, so that she's got two ways of checking people's registration to make sure they're legit. ... And she's required to keep a list of the discrepancies. She has done neither. She admitted she has turned off the link between the state database and the DMV. ... She admits all this stuff. The state of Ohio is embarrassed because the federal government now has to come in and order the state to run a clean election."
Kelly also noted the potential impact of voter fraud given Ohio’s history of close presidential elections: "George Bush won Ohio by less than 200,000 votes, both in 2000 and 2004. She's admitting, admitting that 200,000 out of the 660,000 new voters are potentially problematic. And she won't let people verify whether, in fact, there is a problem."
Below is a complete transcript of Thursday’s "Kelly File" segment from FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor:
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz seemed to question whether the media are unfairly hyping inflammatory words from audience members at John McCain rallies that are of the kind one would expect to sometimes see at political rallies to make them fit into the narrative of the McCain campaign fueling anger at Barack Obama. Kurtz: "I've gone to a lot of rallies where a lot of crazy things have been said. Why are the media this week pumping up this story about McCain’s and Palin's crowds as if it is their fault if there's a bit of ugliness that breaks out?" Speaking to Politico.com’s Roger Simon, he later added: "It seems that the press has kind of adopted this theme that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger."
Simon responded with his view that McCain was indeed "stoking the anger." Simon: "Well, it may be that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger. It seems to me that John McCain is riding a tiger, and he's trying not to fall off that tiger and get eaten by it. When your vice presidential running mate goes around the country saying Barack Obama is ‘palling around with terrorists,’ and when you run ads that say, you know, he's a liar, he's not telling the truth about this unrepentant terrorist, and then you wonder why people in the crowd shout out ‘terrorist’ when you mention the name Barack Obama. This anger is coming from somewhere. It is being ginned up by a campaign, and it is logical, I think, to assume that these people are only responding to what they have heard from the candidate's mouth. And it's fair game, and it's, in fact, responsible for us to report how the crowds are reacting."
On Saturday’s Good Morning America, ABC ran an unusual report that placed some of the blame for the Great Depression’s length on government intervention by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as Herbert Hoover, and concluded by questioning whether the current plans could do harm. After an unidentified economist contended that "the government from Hoover to Roosevelt made it worse by intervening too much and too arbitrarily," correspondent Bill Blakemore concluded: "And now, is the Bush government intervening too much arbitrarily with its $700 billion bailout? That’s a million dollar question, so to speak, for those trying to guess when this crisis will end."
Blakemore’s attention to this often ignored take on government intervention came at the end of a report that looked back at the Great Depression. After giving Roosevelt credit for injecting America with a "can do" spirit, Blakemore noted that the Great Depression ended its 10-year run as a result of World War II. He then asked the question of why the Stock Market Crash of 1929 resulted in the Great Depression:
BLAKEMORE: So what made the crash of ‘29 lengthen into a depression?
WOMAN: Because the government from Hoover to Roosevelt made it worse by intervening too much and too arbitrarily.
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
When the latest installment of Saturday Night Live parodied Friday’s presidential debate, the NBC comedy program gave attention to Barack Obama’s connections to convicted criminal Tony Rezko, corrupt Chicago politics, and Obama’s recent attempts at "playing the race card," which notably are all matters that the mainstream news media have given little attention to. While the show also took a number of shots at John McCain, several times having him propose a bizarre gimmick like challenging Obama to a pie-eating contest for example, the Illinois Senator also received several noteworthy jabs. One line involved McCain’s character, played by Darrell Hammond, referring to Obama, played by Fred Armisen, as making an earmark request titled "Tony Rezko Hush Money." Obama’s character also bragged that his tax cut plan would benefit Chicago politicians and city employees "because my plan would not tax income from bribes, kickbacks, shakedowns, embezzlement of government funds, or extortion."
The Obama character later promised that he would "play the race card" against dictators like North Korean President Kim Jong Il if necessary to guilt-trip them into dismantling their nuclear programs, as he would accuse Kim of refusing to cooperate with him because "I’m not like the other guys on the $5 and $10 bills."
During a phone interview with FNC anchor Megyn Kelly, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who already voiced disapproval of Barack Obama's attempt to suggest that Kissinger would agree with his intention to meet personally with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, on Saturday elaborated on his disagreement with Obama, and clarified his views on how America should negotiate with Iran. The segment began with a soundbite of Obama from the debate trying to lecture McCain about Kissinger’s views. Obama: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisors, who, along with five recent Secretaries of State, just said that we should meet with Iran, guess what, ‘without precondition.’ This is one of your own advisors."
Asked by Kelly if he supported having a President "meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions," Kissinger responded: "No, I don’t. I have argued that, at some point, negotiations with Iran are important. But it is my view that they should be on the working level, and that the President should not be involved until we know that we are close to an agreement, or that we know what the nature of the agreement is." Kelly soon sought clarification: "So, in other words, you favor negotiations at the lower level, perhaps all the way up to the Secretary of State, but you do not believe an American President should sit down without preconditions, as Barack Obama says he would like to do." Kissinger: "That is correct."
Since Friday’s presidential debate, all three major broadcast networks have highlighted one of Barack Obama’s more commanding moments when he charged that John McCain was wrong in some of his pre-Iraq war predictions, but the media have so far ignored Obama’s incorrect assertion that "there was no Al-Qaeda" presence in Iraq before America’s invasion in 2003. Before the 2003 invasion, various news sources – some American, some from other countries – were already citing the governments of various countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks to be carried out in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan. But during Friday’s debate, Senator Obama asserted: "Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al-Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan."
By contrast, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all played the following soundbite of Obama from the debate which is more favorable to the Illinois Democrat: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And, at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong."
Notably, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began." The below was first posted on February 29 of this year, and lists some of the relevant reporting on Zarqawi from various sources and countries:
During Friday’s post-debate coverage on MSNBC, Chris Matthews portrayed Barack Obama as appearing "more presidential" while he complained that John McCain "was crunched over, almost grumpy in physical manner," as he contended that McCain "may not have been presidential." Matthews also complained that McCain did not look at Obama at all during the debate, a theme which Matthews touched on repeatedly that night. Matthews: "[McCain] may not have been presidential, however. Not once tonight, in an hour and a half, did he look at his opponent. He was crunched over, almost grumpy in his physical manner. I think a lot of people will take that body language as contemptuous of his opponent. They won’t like it. Barack Obama, on the other hand, who kept agreeing with McCain, over and over again, saying I agree with the point you made, I agree with the point you made, looked more presidential, although I believe on points, he gave away too much."
Matthews also characterized McCain as "troll-like" and "grumpy," and asked if Americans "really want to put up with four years of that," and described McCain as seeming "really contemptuous" of Obama. Guest John Heilemann contended that McCain "hates Obama." Matthews: "Do people really want to put up with four years of that? Of sitting there angrily, grumpily, like a codger? Like, like, I don’t want to push it too far, but didn’t he seem really contemptuous of his opponent? Do you want to put up with four years of that?"
During a special edition of MSNBC’s Countdown show after Friday’s presidential debate, Keith Olbermann seemed to insert a joke about the weight of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into a conversation about the performance of John McCain and Barack Obama. As previously documented by the MRC’s Matthew Balan, the Countdown host brought up McCain’s difficulty in pronouncing the name of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and liberal Air America and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow contended that Obama’s most memorable line was when he accused McCain of being "wrong" about Iraq. Referring to Obama’s line in which the Illinois Democrat incorrectly suggested that Kissinger agreed with him about meeting with dictators like Ahmadinejad, Olbermann, who has a history of making fat jokes about conservatives on his Countdown show, made a quip at Kissinger’s expense in which the MSNBC host seemed to pick on his weight: "Or, perhaps, throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain’s face, which is physically a tough act to do certainly."
Fox News recently picked up on a piece by the National Post’s Jonathan Kay which takes on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) because one of its columnists, Heather Mallick, recently included incendiary comments in her September 5 column, on CBC's Web site, "A Mighty Wind blows through Republican convention," about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, contending that Palin has the "toned-down version of the porn actress look," and attacking people in small towns as she charged that Palin "added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right."
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, Keith Olbermann referred to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly as "inducers to violence" as the MSNBC host, during the show's "Worst Person" segment, attacked conservative talk radio host Eddie Burke of Anchorage, Alaska, for making inflammatory remarks calling two women who organized a protest against Governor Palin "socialist, baby-killing maggots," and for giving out the women’s cell phone numbers to his audience leading the women to receive death threats. Olbermann suggested that Burke would fit in with Limbaugh or O’Reilly: "Mr. Burke, he got a paltry one-week suspension, and, no doubt, consideration to fill in some day for comedian Rush Limbaugh or Billow or some other of radio’s inducers to violence."
And during the show’s regular segment, "McCain in the Membrane," a recently added portion of the program whose purpose is, according to Olbermann, to cover "the most outrageous or untrue things said by or on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain," the MSNBC host charged that it was "sick" for Palin to tout herself as an advocate for special needs children after she had, in Olbermann’s words, "gutted" funding for the Alaska Special Olympics. But Olbermann ignored the recent finding by FactCheck.org that, as governor, Palin secured a substantial increase in state spending for special needs children in the education system, thus strengthening her credentials as a advocate for special needs children. Update: As documented by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, it seems Olbermann was incorrect in his accusation that Palin reduced spending on the Alaska Special Olympics. Click here for more details.
While FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor this week has been featuring portions of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Barack Obama which stands out as being more challenging to the Democratic candidate than those interviews conducted by the more liberal mainstream media, it is noteworthy that on Tuesday’s show, during the "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, O’Reilly awarded Michelle Obama the "Patriot" distinction because she danced with Ellen Degeneres during a Monday appearance on her show Ellen. But, by contrast, he then suggested that conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC’s The View, may deserve the "Pinhead" dishonor because Hasselbeck recently criticized Michelle Obama for having a list of demands when she appeared on The View, as Hasselbeck spoke at an event praising Cindy McCain. O’Reilly: "I say [Obama and Degeneres are] both patriots because we need all the dancing we can get in America. It lightens the mood. On the pinhead front, I'm not sure about this, so you can decide if View host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was out of bounds at a fundraiser honoring Cindy McCain." Notably, last February, O'Reilly seemed to suggest that conservatives were acting like a "lynching party" for their attacks on Michelle Obama's declaration that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."
Tuesday's Countdown show on MSNBC showed a portion of Keith Olbermann's interview with Barack Obama in which the Countdown host ridiculously claimed that Obama was "just about 100 percent on the spot" in his predictions of the troop surge in Iraq, and downplayed the signficance of the reduction in the number of Iraqis who are the victims of violence. Olbermann: "Your predictions about the surge, your language about the surge seemed to have turned out to be just about 100 percent on the spot. ... If you are right, why have the Republicans and the conservative media been so effective in suggesting that you were wrong and somehow you need to atone for that?"
Ironically, during an interview with Olbermann on January 10, 2007, Obama had expressed his view that "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." And in another irony, on Tuesday's show, Olbermann lambasted Sean Hannity as having "fantastically poor short-term memory" during the show's "Worst Person" segment because Hannity denied that anyone at FNC had suggested Obama was a Muslim, without mentioning that some FNC personalities had pushed stories about the possibility Obama had a Muslim background during childhood.
Monday night featured MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow finding fault with Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and some of the teachings of her former church in Wasilla, Alaska, as the two harped on a speech the Alaska governor delivered at the Wasilla Assembly of God last June.
On the first episode of her new television program, the "Rachel Maddow Show," the eponymous host misinterpreted Palin's request that church members pray for American troops, as the Alaska governor expressed her hope that the Iraq war is part of "God's plan," with the MSNBC host claiming that Palin was "asserting" that the war factually is "God's plan."
Maddow claimed that Palin "said that the commander-in-chief for our side in the Iraq War is a mighty general who's initials are G-O-D." On Countdown, Olbermann and Maddow took exception with Palin's account of a minister who prayed that she would be successful in her political life as they mocked the concept of praying in the hopes that prayers might be answered. Olbermann referred to Palin as "Elmer Gantry" and "Amy Semple McHockey Mom."
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged conservative talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Sean Hannity as "lunatic right-wing" hosts, and Hannity as "not-so-smart." Responding to a recent joke Levin made on Hannity's radio show that the National Organization for Women is really the "National Organization of Ugly Women," Olbermann called Levin's show "psychotic" and charged that the conservative host "knows his ugly."
The MSNBC host's attacks on Hannity and Levin came during the Countdown show's regular "Best Persons" segment, which, contrary to its name, often includes people Olbermann means to be attacking, similarly to the show's "Worst Person" segment. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, September 8, Countdown show on MSNBC:
As Chris Matthews appeared as a guest on Friday's Tonight Show on NBC, while the MSNBC host did have a few positive things to say about John McCain and Sarah Palin, he also conveyed his feeling that he is "worried" that Hillary Clinton will not help Barack Obama win swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, because their "relationship" has not been sufficiently mended. Matthews: "I really worry about that relationship, if it's solid enough, because I really do believe in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, where Hillary did really well, Hillary could go in there and campaign with this fellow, Barack Obama, like gangbusters." He also erroneously conveyed the impression to viewers that the Bush administration is responsible for 80 percent of a $10 trillion national debt as he misquoted the federal budget deficit, claiming that "we've added a trillion dollars in debt every year." In fact, the deficit for FY 2007 was about $500 billion, higher than most of the other Bush years.
And, while Matthews is not known for acknowledging that Obama is liberal, he also characterized Sarah Palin as extreme as he listed off her opposition to abortion and gun control, and her doubts about climate change, tagging her as "very conservative" and as "pretty far over." After several audience members applauded Palin, as if he were surprised that some people actually approve of these conservative views, he glanced at the audience with a smile and added, "Some people like this stuff." Matthews even tagged McCain "more conservative" but did not label Obama as "liberal." Matthews: "We got an older guy, we got a more conservative guy, we got a younger guy, a Democrat. I think these are great candidates."
On Friday's Countdown show, liberal Air America host Rachel Maddow, substitute hosting for Keith Olbermann, characterized Condoleezza Rice's talks with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as a scandal during the Countdown show's regular "Bushed!" segment which purports to update viewers on Bush administration scandals. Presumably seeking to portray the Bush administration as hypocritical for holding talks with Gaddafi while criticizing Barack Obama's promise to meet personally with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Maddow missed the point that Gaddafi has already made concessions to the U.S., the MSNBC host dubbed the talks as "Pillow Talk with Terrorists-Gate." She then sought to embarrass Rice by quoting overly affectionate comments made by the Libyan dictator in which he called Rice "Leezza" and "my darling African woman," and gushed that "I love her very much."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, September 5, Countdown show on MSNBC:
RACHEL MADDOW: But first, the headlines breaking in the administration's 50 running scandals: "Bushed." ...
During FNC’s Republican Convention live coverage, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I’ve never seen anything this bad in my life ... I was with Geraldine Ferraro in ‘84 – and this is worse. ... I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are."
A bit earlier at about 12:05 a.m., conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham had also complained of Palin’s treatment. Asked by van Susteren if Palin was getting "fair treatment," Ingraham argued that Palin is being "reviled and hated" because she is conservative and pro-life. In response to van Susteren’s question of "who’s reviling her," Ingraham elaborated: "Did you read the New York Times today? Have you read some of the left-wing blogs about her? Have you heard some of the comments on our competitor networks? It’s vile, it’s nasty, it’s vicious."
On Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, the day after he labeled Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as "showcase appointments," Chris Matthews retracted his comment, chalking it up to a bad choice of words, as he contended that he should have called Powell and Rice "high-profile" appointments, rather than "showcase" appointments. Matthews: "I should have said 'high-level, high-profile' appointments. They were genuine appointments. They were not tokens." And, although Matthews did seem to demean Rice on Thursday by referring to her position of Secretary of State as a "nice title," Matthews on Friday used a different tone: "Nobody on Earth believes that Condoleezza Rice is not this President's chief foreign policy advisor. Or nobody challenges their ability. Personally, I love the guy, although I wish he'd had opposed the war, General Powell. So I used the wrong word. I should have said 'high-level, high-profile,' not 'showcase,' because some people took that as 'token.' And damn it, I certainly didn’t mean that."
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged John McCain as the day’s "Worst Person in the World," as he charged that McCain is "suffering from at least one actual delusion," and "an utter disrespect for the meaning of the loss of life," because the Republican presidential candidate recently characterized Iraq as a "peaceful and stable country." Citing recent suicide bombings that have killed 78, Olbermann slammed McCain’s comments from what the MSNBC host referred to as a "frightening" interview. Olbermann: "So an average of four people a day dead in suicide bombings means a country is peaceful and stable, but a peaceful and stable country does not mean victory has been achieved and we can get our men and women out of there. One way or the other, you are witnessing a man suffering from at least one actual delusion, to say nothing of an utter disrespect for the meaning of the loss of life. It is not funny. It is shameful. John McCain, today’s 'Worst Person in the World.'"
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, August 29, "Worst Person" segment from MSNBC"s Countdown show:
On Friday’s Countdown show, while appearing as a guest, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, also an MSNBC political analyst, contended that, regarding her level of experience, Sarah Palin "makes Barack Obama look like John Adams." Host Keith Olbermann called her "the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history," and repeatedly applied labels to her suggesting extremism, calling her "fanatically anti-abortion," "hard right," "global warming denying," a "rabid conservative," a "red meat conservative," and a "fire-breather." Picking up on a joke by Fineman that there are not many "pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women" who were Hillary Clinton supporters who would move to support Palin, Olbermann asked Fineman: "Was her real appeal the fact that she is a red meat conservative? I mean, she is, as you suggested, pro-drilling. She’s this side of ‘melt the Arctic,’ this side of ‘imprison abortionists,’ she’s run up the debt, ‘purge the lefties’ fire-breather."
Tuesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC highlighted recent criticisms from Catholic Church leaders toward Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her recent claims that "the Doctors of the [Catholic] Church have not been able to make that definition" of whether human life begins at conception. Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, when host Tom Brokaw turned to the abortion issue and asked her when she believes human life begins, Pelosi responded: "I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NBC host Tom Brokaw brought up Barack Obama’s recent declaration at the Saddleback Forum that the question of "at what point does a baby get human rights," is "above my pay grade." After playing the relevant clip of Obama from the August 16 candidates forum, Brokaw asked of Pelosi: "Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out here, Madame Speaker, when does life begin?’ what would you tell him?"
After Pelosi, labeling herself as an "ardent Catholic," avoided giving a straight answer, and contended that "over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition," Brokaw jumped in: "The Catholic Church, at the moment, feel very strongly it begins at the point of conception."
Ed Morrissey writes about Pelosi's response to Brokaw's question, and includes video here.
On a special Saturday edition of MSNBC's Hardball, while previewing that night's presidential candidates forum hosted by evangelical leader Rick Warren, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd seemed to suggest that it is not out of the ordinary for evangelical Christians to feel "personal hatred" toward a Democratic presidential candidate. Todd, who is normally relatively balanced in his coverage of politics, once even admitting to being a "fan" of the MRC despite a history of working for liberal Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, made the uncharacteristic remarks as he contended that the forum would give Barack Obama an opportunity to keep evangelicals from feeling "personal hatred" toward him. Todd: "It's a huge opportunity for Obama tonight to at least not be hated by the evange-, look, these folks are not going to ever support him. They know what kind of judges he's going to appoint. It's going to be judges that evangelicals aren't going to be happy with. But they're not going to, if they don't have a personal hatred of him, then that's a good thing for Obama."
Update: NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reports that Todd has since apologized for his comments.