On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States," instead of "Commander-in-Chief of the military," as the CNN analyst called the former mayor's statement "pretty outrageous." Toobin further contended that Giuliani's words were an example of his "militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right. ... That's not what the President does. He doesn't run the country." (Transcript follows)
At about 6:40 p.m. on the January 30 show, host Wolf Blitzer led Toobin, Gloria Borger and Jack Cafferty in a discussion that included reaction to Giuliani's speech, which had run live earlier that hour. After Borger gave a positive review of the speech, Toobin responded:
Monday's State of the Union speech by President Bush gave the MSNBC team their latest chance to deride a Republican speech, which they eagerly accepted. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews spent about an hour discussing negative reviews of Bush's speech, with Olbermann calling it "oldies but not so goodies," and fretting about Bush's warnings to Iran about "enriching uranium," with Matthews proclaiming that the speech reminded him of old-time radio character "Fibber McGee saying, 'One of these days, I'm going to clean out this closet.' ... it was the theme of this entire speech tonight." When former Bush Chief-of-Staff Andy Card was interviewed at about 11:20 p.m., he chastised the MSNBC team: "I can't tell you how cynical you two sound, and almost every guest you've had on has been very cynical.
On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight, which was repeated on Sunday, CNN host Dobbs chided the media for not including illegal immigration in exit polls of Democratic voters simply because Democratic candidates have avoided discussing the issue to prevent, according to Bill Schneider, "stirring up a lot of passion," and relayed that he had pressured CNN into including the issue in other polling two years ago. Dobbs: "Would it surprise you if I were to tell you right here in front of God and everybody I had to convince CNN a couple of years ago to include illegal immigration in a poll because we didn't even in this organization believe it was an important issue, some of us didn't?" He even got Schneider to agree with his contention that the media's "complicity with that motive" of the Democratic candidates in ignoring the issue should "bring a sense of shame to these [media] organizations." (Transcript follows)
During a live interview on Friday's American Morning, Fred Thompson lived up to his reputation as the GOP presidential candidate most willing to challenge the media, as the former Senator complained to CNN anchor John Roberts that the show used a clip of him joking about Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to make it appear Thompson was not interested in a stimulus package for the economy. Thompson: "You sit there and you take an hour's worth of tape, of course, and we have a little fun every once in a while, and sometimes you guys pick that out and have a little fun with it yourself..." When Roberts suggested he was being "dismissive" of a stimulus package, Thompson continued: "You know better than that. ... From time to time, things come up, and I poke fun at it... And you guys pick it out, you know, and leave it lying out there. We proceeded to talk about the economy and talk about a stimulus package, which I've been talking about for two or three days, but if this is your highlight event, it's your highlight event." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown show, after recounting the story of American soldiers deployed to Iraq while still recovering from injuries, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to oddly suggest that not only military officers, but also politicians and even commentators, presumably conservative ones, were responsible for the orders that these troops be deployed. The Countdown host contended these critics of his are the same people who accuse those who are anti-war of "hating the troops" and of being "anti-American," and suggested that they "go to hell." Olbermann:
The men who ordered them back, in the military, and outside of it, are the ones who accuse those who criticize them of hating the troops or of being anti-American. And frankly, those politicians, those commentators, and those senior officers can go to hell.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
During Tuesday's post-debate coverage of the Democratic debate on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann repeatedly showed fascination with Hillary Clinton's contention that she is best experienced to deal with a potential terrorist attack if one occurs soon after the next President takes office, which the MSNBC host suggested was a "milder Democratic version of the same language that ... has been used by so many Republicans since 9/11," contending that her comments put her "in the position of having to defend herself against charges of some kind of fearmongering a la Karl Rove." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to accuse the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, of trying to "fake" a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident with Iran over the recent U.S. Navy confrontation with Iranian navy speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Referring to reports that, out of five Iranian boats, only one unarmed boat approached the U.S. Navy ships, and that the threatening message received could have come from a "well-known marine heckler" of the area, Olbermann awarded the "Worst Person" dishonor to Mullen: "So you guys tried to fake another Gulf of Tonkin incident using some clown with a CB radio and the lethal threat posed by the S.S. Minnow? Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, on behalf of the Bush administration, today's 'Worst Person in the World'!"
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Jim Maceda reported that Europeans have an unusually high interest in this year's presidential election as "they say they'd be very happy with anyone who makes a clean break with the past eight years. In a word, change." Maceda also suggested that Hillary Clinton reminds some of President Bush because of her "talking tough on Iran and terrorism." Notably, while liberals have long criticized Bush for his "You're either with us or against us" line after the September 11th attacks, according to USA Today, Senator Clinton, a week before Bush's speech, used similar words as she argued that Bush should articulate "to every nation in this world, you're either with us or you're not, and there will be consequences." And, appearing on the CBS Evening News the same day, she spoke approvingly of Bush's plan to "make it clear that every nation has to either be with us or against us." (Partial audio available here.)
Add Keith Olbermann to the list of MSNBC hosts offended by popular applause lines from Thursday's GOP debate on FNC. On Friday's Countdown, the same day that Hardball's Chris Matthews had earlier compared Mike Huckabee's words regarding the U.S. military defending itself from Iran to "talking like jihadists," Olbermann named Fred Thompson "Worst Person in the World," contending that the GOP presidential candidate had "pulled another whopper" because the former Senator joked that Iranian military members on speed boats who harassed U.S. Navy warships came close to meeting "those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing." Olbermann further mocked Thompson by suggesting that his candidacy was just part of a "Candid Camera" stunt. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Hardball, during the show's regular "Big Number" segment, Chris Matthews went after Mike Huckabee for quipping during Thursday's FNC presidential debate that those who attack the American military should be prepared to see the "gates of hell," as the MSNBC host asked if we're all "learning to talk like jihadists now," and contended that Huckabee's comments earn him a "10" on the "irresponsibility scale." Notably, Huckabee's remark was very popular with "Republican-leaning" focus group participants as shown by pollster Frank Luntz Thursday night during FNC's post-debate coverage, as the former Arkansas governor's words scored around 90 percent in terms of approval. (Transcript follows)
Thursday's CBS Evening News took a look at the economic and tax plans for some of the candidates from both parties, but, while Democratic plans were reported without any references to criticism, correpondent Chip Reid took jabs at Republican tax cut plans, labeling that of Mitt Romney, who "made a fortune in business," as being "right out of the playbooks of Ronald Reagan and George Bush." Reid further suggested that Mike Huckabee's plan for a national sales tax contradicts his "populist" message of "protecting the middle class," as the CBS correspondent neglected to mention that Huckabee's plan would also abolish the federal income tax and provide rebates to those with lower incomes. (Transcript follows)
On the Wednesday January 9 NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams admitted that John McCain "didn't get all the attention he deserved" during his network's coverage of the New Hampshire primary, as the NBC anchor read a viewer email which complained that "all the air time and talk was directed to the Democrats, and nothing of any substance was shared about the Republican candidates." Williams introduced the email: "A viewer from Richmond correctly noted John McCain didn't get all the attention he deserved in last night's victory."
The NBC host then read the message in which the unidentified viewer sarcastically asked if NBC knew that "there are two political parties." The message read:
During Tuesday's live coverage of the New Hampshire primary, after Republican winner John McCain delivered his victory speech, MSNBC's election night team derided and laughed at the speech, with MSNBC's right-leaning analyst Joe Scarborough leading the charge. As the Arizona Senator's speech ended and anchor Keith Olbermann started to summarize it, Scarborough laughed, "That speech, oh, my God," prompting Olbermann to jokingly chide him: "Calm down. He's still on the stage. ... You can't boo a candidate while he's still on the stage the night he won, Joe." (Transcript follows)
Scarborough started to discuss the speech, commenting that "one thing I can teach, we were all talking about it over here, it is absolutely remarkable-" before Olbermann interrupted: "Don't read the speech?"
Scarborough agreed, and took McCain to task for looking down too much: "Yes, please. If this is your introduction to America in 2008, do not have your head looking straight down into a speech..."
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's liberal political analyst Donna Brazile, formerly an advisor to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore, hinted that she was racially offended by some of the former President's recent attacks on Barack Obama. Invoking Clinton's labeling of Obama as a "kid," and his accusation that some of Obama's claims are a "fairy tale," Brazile expressed that, "as an African-American," she found Clinton's comments "depressing." Brazile: "For him to go after Obama using 'fairy tale,' calling him a 'kid,' as he did last week, it's an insult. And I tell you, as an African-American, I find his words and his tone to be very depressing." (Transcript follows)
On the bright side, during Friday's The Situation Room, one day after CNN's Bill Schneider ludicrously called Democratic voters in Iowa "pretty moderate," the political analyst labeled Barack Obama as "liberal," and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later called Obama "very liberal" as he recommended that the Hillary Clinton campaign should be attacking the Illinois Senator's voting record. Toobin further said that, as a state senator, Obama "had one of the most liberal voting records in a fairly liberal state." (Transcript follows)
On Friday afternoon, CNN's liberal contributor Roland Martin suggested that most people who are pro-life seem "hateful" as he was describing Mike Huckabee's need to reach out to non-evangelical voters. During an appearance on CNN Newsroom at about 1:47 p.m. with anchor Kyra Phillips, Martin contended that Huckabee needs to pursue a strategy similar to that of President Bush in 2000: "Sure, [Huckabee is] a staunch pro-life person, but he isn't perceived as being hateful as other people who are pro-life." (Transcript follows)
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Martin's comments from the Friday January 4 CNN Newsroom:
What must be the most ridiculous claim of the night's Iowa caucus coverage came on CNN when political analyst Bill Schneider argued that because only 16 percent of Democrats who showed up to caucus call themselves "very liberal," that these Democrats are "pretty moderate voters," but that Republican voters are "very conservative." Schneider based his claims simply on how voters chose to identify themselves for CNN's entrance poll of those who arrived to caucus: "The Democrats are moderate. Only about 16 percent of them call themselves 'very liberal.' There's a cliche that only liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans show up. That's half true. Republicans are very conservative. Almost half of them say they are 'very conservative.' But Democrats are pretty moderate voters." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's 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: "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)
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."
On Monday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Mike Taibbi oddly suggested that Barack Obama could be considered an "independent" or centrist politician as he included the liberal Senator as one of several politicians with an "independent streak" with whom New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been associated. Taibbi: "Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." Such a juxtaposition seems especially out of place in light of National Journal's 2006 vote ratings which found that Obama had a more liberal voting record than all but nine of his Senate colleagues. (Transcript follows)
FNC's morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of "Fox and Friends." Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these "best of" lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it.
On Friday's "Countdown," viewers were treated to a retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on conservatives, featuring four of his favorites from the year 2007. An announcer teased the show glorifying Olbermann while intermixing complimentary quotes from various media with clips of Olbermann reading his "Special Comments." The announcer read a quote from "Playboy" calling the MSNBC host the "truth teller in chief," and a quote from the "Akron Beacon Journal" claiming that he is "the one journalist actually working to save the democracy." Among the quotes from Olbermann featured in the teaser was the MSNBC host's charge that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush." (Transcript follows)
Sunday's "NBC Nightly News" featured retired General Barry McCaffrey, NBC News military analyst and "one-time war critic," as he voiced his "surprising new assessment" that conditions in Iraq have improved "dramatically" since the surge. McCaffrey, former Drug Czar of the Clinton administration, remarked: "A year ago, I thought the thing was going over the edge of a cliff. That has changed dramatically in a very short period of time."
Anchor Lester Holt played up McCaffrey's history of being a war critic as he teased the December 23 show: "Reality Check: New progress in Iraq, and a surprising new assessment from a four-star general and one-time war critic, just back from Baghdad." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to denounce President Bush as a "pathological presidential liar or an idiot-in-chief" for continuing to talk about the potential danger of a nuclear Iran after receiving word in August of the possibility the newest national intelligence report would find that Iran no longer has an active nuclear weapons program, but had suspended such a program in 2003. Olbermann: "We have either a President who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War III about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole, or we have a President too transcendently stupid not to have asked, at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so, whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible. The pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief." (Transcript follows)
Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Republican candidates largely lived up to its promise to be a debate fitting for Republican voters as the vast majority of the questions used were asked from a conservative point of view. But the GOP debate's slant toward conservative questions was less than the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate's slant toward liberal questions. On Wednesday, out of a total of 34 video questions presented, conservative questions outnumbered liberal questions by 14 to 8, with the remaining questions ideologically ambiguous or neutral. During the Democratic debate, out of a total of 38 video questions, the slant toward liberal questions came in at 17 liberal to 6 conservative, with the remainder ambiguous or neutral.
On Wednesday's "World News with Charles Gibson," host Gibson highlighted a woman suffering from breast cancer who chose to keep her baby instead of having an abortion while opting to be treated during the second and third trimesters when her baby would likely be able to withstand the chemotherapy. Gibson recounted the story of the new mother who "spent her pregnancy fighting to save her baby's life and her own," relaying her choice not to have an abortion. Gibson: "Her doctor told her she could abort the baby, but Linda found specialists who told her there was another choice, that she could treat the cancer and carry her child to term." (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Wednesday November 28 "World News with Charles Gibson" on ABC:
If the preview shown on "CNN Sunday Morning" is any guide, Wednesday's CNN/YouTube Republican debate will likely be dominated by questions posed from the left, just as the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate also featured questions posed from the left. CNN correspondent Josh Levs showed clips of several sample questions, including a question from a gay Republican who charges "a vote for you is a vote against my family," a question from a woman concerned about "returning the civil liberties to the American people and stopping these outrageous attacks on our security and our privacy," and a question about CEO salaries increasing faster than the minimum wage. While Levs cautioned that he does not know whether any of the questions used in his piece will be chosen for the debate, none of the questions that appeared in the report were posed from a conservative point-of-view. (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the November 25 "CNN Sunday Morning":
During an appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw pointed out that before the invasion of Iraq, even "people who were critical of the war" thought that Saddam Hussein "had weapons of mass destruction," as he responded to criticism that the media were not aggressive enough about challenging President Bush before the Iraq invasion. And while commenting on racial issues, giving his view that "we need to have a dialogue in this country" about race, Brokaw lamented the problems posed by "political correctness" which means "you're in danger of being a racist if you go against the merits of some issues and just try to look at it objectively." Brokaw added: "Within the black culture, there's a fear about speaking out, about what some people see as wrong, because they say, don't go there, you know, it will only hurt our people." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway and Fox News of "race hatred" in response to Conway making an arguably alarmist suggestion on Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor" that allowing the EEOC to sue employers for requiring its employees to speak English on the job could eventually lead to the hiring of non-English-speaking employees for other more serious jobs like air traffic controllers, resulting in airplanes crashing. During the "Countdown" show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, the MSNBC host went over the top by charging that Conway was "trying to dress up the lunatic fringe's race hatred over there at Fox News," and, addressing Conway, advised: "If you were just honest about your racism, at least you wouldn't look quite that stupid." (Transcript follows)