On MSNBC Wednesday night, during coverage of President Bush's speech to the nation, Chris Matthews compared Iraq to the "losing battle" of the "Alamo," calling it a "catastrophe," and contended that, if America were under a parliamentary system, that the President's handling of the war would be grounds for retirement. Matthews was further alarmed at Bush's apparent willingness to confront Iran over its nuclear program, as the MSNBC host contended that "a lot of people are going to go to bed tonight terrified," and even described himself as "worried" because of Bush's continued "neoconservative aggressiveness."
Matthews: "A lot of people are going to go to bed tonight terrified that the President of the United States admitted to mistakes in terms of implementing his policy over there ... I am worried, well, I shouldn't say I'm worried, I am definitely interested in the fact that the President of the United States maintains that neoconservative aggressiveness, the same attitude that we have the business in this world of going into countries when we don't like their weapons systems and deciding we're in the Middle East, we're going to attack." (Longer transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann branded White House press secretary Tony Snow "Worst Person in the World," accusing him of "bald-faced lying" about President Bush's so-called "Mission Accomplished" speech about which so much of the media has obsessed. During the January 9 White House Press Briefing, Snow responded to a question in which he took exception to this media obsession over the President's May 1, 2003 speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln declaring an "end to major combat operations" in Iraq. While Snow slightly mis-stated the back story of how the "Mission Accomplished" sign was placed on the ship, Olbermann ignored Snow's overall point that even during that speech, the President had acknowledged that more work lay ahead to stabilize Iraq, and himself deceptively tried to prove that Snow was a "liar." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President. After Dean contended that Democrats would need to "find their spine and go toe to toe" with the administration because Republicans "play hardball in a much tougher and more ruthless manner than Democrats," Olbermann brought up Dean's idea of impeaching Bush administration members. Olbermann: "The far end of what you suggest, obviously, would be impeachment, but the merits of that are at best arguable. I think we can probably both recall an occasion in which impeachment actually bolstered a President's popularity. But you wrote recently about impeaching not a President or a Vice President, but members of the Cabinet. How would that work? And is it a practical thing?" (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush to accuse the President of extending the "senseless, endless" war in Iraq as part of an ulterior motive to transfer money to "war profiteers" because "you can't sell [the Army] any more [Humvees] until the first thousand have been destroyed." Olbermann: "Your second accomplishment, sir, is to have taken money out of the pockets of every American, even out of the pockets of the dead soldiers on the battlefield and their families, and to have given that money to the war profiteers. Because if you sell the Army a thousand Humvees, you can't sell them any more until the first thousand have been destroyed, can you? The service men and women are ancillary to the equation. This is about the planned obsolescence of ordnance, isn't it, Mr. Bush? And the building of detention centers? And the design of a $125 million courtroom complex at Gitmo, complete with restaurants. At least the war profiteers have made their money, sir."
Video clip of last four minutes of eleven-minute diatribe: Real (3 MB at lower 100 kbps) or Windows Media (7.6 MB at higher 256 kbps), plus MP3 audio (1.4 MB)
On Monday's Countdown, viewers were treated to a special retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on the Bush administration, featuring four of Olbermann's favorites. 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 quotes calling Olbermann "hot," "charismatic," "witty," and "a cross between Edward R. Murrow and Jon Stewart." The announcer further labeled the featured rants as "Keith's most passionate, most honest, most compelling 'Special Comments.'" (Transcript follows)
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, while filing a story on the "mind-boggling" bonuses going to those who are "striking it rich" on Wall Street, correspondent Mike Taibbi downplayed the strength of the current economy in comparison to the "Clinton years," and also pointed out the "struggle" of "working Americans." While Taibbi argued that his reference to the "Clinton years" was a "chronological, not political distinction," he praised that period for "lifting more boats" while finding fault in the present. Taibbi: "But to many, today's version of the haves and have-nots feels different. In the boom of the Clinton years -- and I'm talking a chronological, not a political distinction -- the rising tide of that bull market truly did lift all boats, or at least a whole lot more of them." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown during the show's regular "Oddball" segment, while reporting on the controversial decision of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to remove its Christmas trees from public view rather than display a Menorah, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked FNC host Bill O'Reilly by jokingly suggesting that O'Reilly supports a "war against Hanukkah." Olbermann, who since last year has mocked O'Reilly and other FNC hosts, once calling them "fat heads," for their concerns about a "War on Christmas" by secularists, jokingly commented, referring to Bill O'Reilly disparagingly as "Billow": "Generalissimo O'Reilly remains upbeat. Look not on this as a defeat in the war on Christmas. This was a dramatic victory in Billow's new war against Hanukkah." Ironically, less than 20 minutes earlier on The O'Reilly Factor, host O'Reilly had spoken approvingly of displaying a Menorah at the airport as he interviewed the rabbi who had requested it. The FNC host was quite sympathetic to the rabbi's viewpoint as he lambasted the airport's decision not to allow a Menorah display. O'Reilly: "There is no reason not to put up a Menorah in the Sea-Tac Airport because Hanukkah is a celebrated holiday, and, you know, Americans of Jewish faith would like to see it, and it's in context, so put it up." (Transcripts follow)
Saturday's CBS Evening News featured a story, filed by correspondent Sheila MacVicar, which highlighted the French government's policy of entitling all mothers to three years of paid maternity leave and subsidized child care as a way to increase the birth rate and thus provide more young taxpayers to pay for the pensions of the elderly. MacVicar pointed out that in America, "federal law entitles some working mothers to twelve weeks unpaid leave," before cautioning that "the rest get nothing."
MacVicar relayed that French women enjoy more benefits than their American counterparts: "Take a look at what all French families, regardless of income, are entitled to: Up to three years paid maternity leave with a guarantee that mom's job will be there for her when she returns. There's subsidized child care, a whole host of tax credits, and for baby number three brings twice the government allowance of baby number two." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann again discussed whether President Bush is the "worst ever" President, inspired by comments from Republican Senator Gordon Smith that leaving American troops in Iraq could be "criminal." Coining the phrase "Mr. Smith goes to his conscience," Olbermann introduced an interview with Newsweek's Richard Wolffe comparing Smith's comments to the "watershed" moment when Republican Senators Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater convinced President Nixon to resign.
After bringing aboard former Nixon counsel John Dean, Olbermann referred to their past discussion of the Bush White House being a "textbook case of authoritarianism" and wondered if President Bush might soon be "declared once and for all" the worst President ever: "If in face of the overwhelming evidence that the plan in Iraq is not working, the public disapproval at this extraordinary high, if even now President Bush is not willing to change course on a real basis and Mr. Rumsfeld's not expressing any remorse, might that be the deciding historical factor in declaring once and for all this President the worst one ever?" Ever the conspiracy theorist, the MSNBC host even wondered if Bush, "having politicized his way into Iraq," would try to delay an exit from Iraq "until it can be used to his party's benefit in the 2008 campaign," before wondering, "Is that too cynical even for this administration?" (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported the recent deaths of 10 American troops in Iraq by commenting that they had "paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war." His comments came as he was introducing an interview with Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post on what the Iraq Study Group report could mean for American troops. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the December 6 Countdown show:
Keith Olbermann: "On this, the same day the Iraq Study Group released its report, 10 more Americans paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war. The collective price America's military is paying and how the Iraq Study Group may change it is our number three story in the Countdown tonight."
You know you're liberal if even a liberal media watchdog group calls you liberal -- that is, unless you're MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. While Olbermann denies displaying a liberal bias on his show, once describing himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," media analyst Paul Waldman of the far left Media Matters for America, a frequent source of material for Olbermann, sees it differently. On Tuesday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC, during a discussion of whether there is a "vast left-wing conspiracy" against Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, Waldman proclaimed that Olbermann's show is the "only liberal show" on cable news. Below is a complete transcript of Waldman's comment from the December 5 Scarborough Country:
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who regularly uses his Countdown show to ridicule President Bush, on Tuesday finally included the President in his list of nominees for "Worst Person in the World." For the past 17 months that Olbermann has featured the "Worst Person" segment on his show, the Countdown host has ironically avoided including Bush in spite of the regular, sometimes vitriolic, criticism Olbermann has spewed at the President, including calling him a "21st century Marie Antoinette" over his handling of Hurricane Katrina and delivering several "Special Comment" attacks on the President. But on the December 5 show, Olbermann awarded Bush the third place "bronze" distinction because of word that President Bush had been warned about the sensitivity of asking Democratic Senator-elect Jim Webb about his son's service in Iraq before doing so anyway. Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's comments about Bush from the December 5 Countdown show:
On Monday's World News with Charles Gibson, host Gibson referred to the 1980s as the "Me Decade" while reading a short story about volunteerism in America. Citing an unspecified "new study" showing that volunteerism is at a 30-year high with 27 percent of Americans donating time to community service, the ABC host noted that the number was "up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s." Gibson added: "Which, you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the December 4 World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson: "And one note about what a lot of Americans are doing with their time. They're donating it. A new study out today says volunteering is at a 30-year high. More than a quarter of all American adults now spend time doing community service, up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s, which, as you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"
On Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Erin Hayes showcased military wives who voiced support for America's continued presence in Iraq and are worried that a troop withdrawal will come too soon. Hayes noted, "Some might assume that bringing all the troops home quickly and for good would be a great relief to those families. But that is not how many of them see it." Referring to the "war's eye view that convinced them there has been progress," Hayes played several sound bites of these wives making such assertions as "we do need to stay until it's done" and "I don't think that it would be in our best interest to just pull out right now." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked FNC's Bill O'Reilly, calling him a "holy you-know-what liar" because O'Reilly recently bragged that he had voiced the need for tough martial law early on to keep order in Iraq. During recent comments on The Radio Factor, O'Reilly misstated the date of his prediction as "the night that Saddam's statue fell" when, in fact, it was a mere two nights later (April 11, 2003, instead of April 9), still in the recent aftermath. Olbermann, likely inspired by an article from one of his regular sources in the form of the far-left Media Matters for America, seized on the date mixup to accuse O'Reilly, whom he referred to gratuitously as "Billow" and "Bill Orally," of being a "liar," and tagged the FNC host "Worst Person in the World." (Transcripts follow)
On Thursday's Countdown, two days after comparing Newt Gingrich's ideas on free speech and anti-terrorism measures to Naziism, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann aimed his latest "Special Comment" rant at the former House Speaker over a speech he gave at the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, discussed in a Manchester Union Leader article, during which Gingrich had talked about restricting some free speech rights for those who incite terrorism. Olbermann used a number of charged words and phrases in hitting Gingrich, including "fascism," "barbarism" and "delusions of grandeur." He also referred to Gingrich as a "dangerous creature" and compared Gingrich to an "arsonist giving the keynote address at a convention of firefighters." Accusing Gingrich of "exploiting" terrorism to pursue the presidency, the Countdown host quoted a line from The Manchurian Candidate referring to Angela Lansbury's character who planned to seize power while "waving the flag every time she subjugates another freedom." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann included Fox News Watch as one of the nominees in his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment. Awarding the FNC show third place with the "bronze" distinction, the Countdown host relayed conservative columnist Cal Thomas' choice of Olbermann as "Turkey of the Year" during last Saturday's show. While Thomas had taken Olbermann to task generally for "inaccuracies" and "hot air," Olbermann only mentioned Thomas' joking comment about Olbermann accusing him of dying his hair as he made fun of the FNC show's misspelling of his name (Olberman) in its on-screen graphic. Olbermann also labeled Fox News Watch as "the only program on Fox News Channel that tries to live up to the network's otherwise ironic slogan 'Fair and Balanced.'" Notably, as documented here by NewsBusters, Olbermann last year posted on his Bloggermann Web site that Fox News Watch was one of "ten television shows worth watching," quipping that it was created by Roger Ailes "to fulfill some legal requirement that his network actually be at least .0005% 'fair and balanced.'" (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that the recent decision by NBC News to label violence in Iraq as a "civil war" was comparable to the 1968 decision by Walter Cronkite to declare the Vietnam War a "stalemate," as the former CBS News anchor lost confidence in America's ability to win the war. Olbermann led the show quoting from Cronkite's 1968 statement, including the proclamation that "the only rational way out would be to negotiate," as the Countdown host contended that Cronkite had "truly matched his signoff 'And that's the way it is.'" Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the November 27 Countdown show:
On FNC's Fox News Watch on Saturday, conservative columnist and FNC contributor Cal Thomas took to task MSNBC host Keith Olbermann for Olbermann's "inaccuracies" and "hot air" as the show's panelists got to voice their picks for the second annual "Turkey of the Year" award, which allows each panelist to dishonor media figures for disreputable behavior. Olbermann, who often uses his Countdown show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to attack conservative public figures, was called out by Thomas as someone who "is the greatest contributor to global warming because he spews more hot air than any other cable television show host." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" segment to attack President Bush's recent contention, in response to a question about what lessons could be learned from the Vietnam War, that "the task in Iraq is going to take a while," and that "we'll succeed unless we quit." The Countdown host started off by charging that President Bush, "who permitted the 'Swift-Boating' of not one but two American heroes of that war," exhibits an "avoidance of reality" that "is going to wind up killing more Americans." He also dismissed the Cold War-era domino theory, as well as Bush's linkage of Iraq to the war on terrorism, as "nonsense," and claimed that Vietnam is now prosperous because America pulled out. Olbermann: "The war machine of 1968 had this 'domino theory.' Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as 'the central front in the war on terror.'" More Olbermann: "That stable, burgeoning, vivid country you just saw there is there because we finally had the good sense to declare victory and get out! The domino theory was nonsense, sir. Our departure from Vietnam emboldened no one. Communism did not spread like a contagion around the world." Olbermann further contended that one lesson Bush should have learned from Vietnam is that "if you lie us into a war, your war and your presidency will be consigned to the scrap heap of history." (Transcript follows)
What's more embarrassing than making a basic math error live on national TV? Making that error while smugly trying to highlight an error made by a regular target who was actually right in the first place. Such was the case on Friday night's Countdown show as MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged as "jawdropping" the contention on the Defense Department's Web site that, under Donald Rumsfeld's leadership, the U.S. military has "liberated more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq." As Olbermann read from the tribute to Rumsfeld, he pointed out that the site's listing of 31 million Afghans and 27 million Iraqis as benefitting from this liberation add up to 58 million instead of 50 million, as if this were some embarrassing mistake, even though the site had actually estimated the number as "more than" 50 million. Before previewing his latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush scheduled for Monday, Olbermann concluded: "And neither calculation includes anybody who's not really liberated yet, like from sectarian violence. The Pentagon clearly much better at hyperbole than it is at math." (Transcript follows)
Once gain, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann seems entertained by the thought of conservatives being shot. Less than five months after depicting the image of Rush Limbaugh as the target of gunfire during his Countdown show, on Wednesday's show Olbermann included a joke about shooting Dick Cheney during the regular "Top Three Sound Bites" segment of the show. One of the featured clips was from the Tuesday November 14 Daily Show with Jon Stewart in which Stewart asked his guest, former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, whom he would have "accidentally shot in the face" if he had been elected Vice President, to which Edwards responded "Dick Cheney." Notably, just one night earlier, Olbermann had spent an entire segment discussing whether conservative commentators had inspired a man to mail fake Anthrax letters to public figures, and to make other threats, a la King Henry's declaration "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest," referring to Archbishop Thomas Becket. (Transcript follows)
As John Murtha appeared as a guest on Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews questioned the Democratic Congressman about the infamous FBI tape from the ABSCAM scandal in which undercover FBI agents talked with Murtha about the possibility of bribery, with Murtha having suggested to them the possibility that he would be "interested" at a later date. After pressing Murtha on what his words meant with Murtha contending that he was just trying to acquire investment for his Congressional district, Matthews ended up asking him if it was "just a way of finessing your way out of the conversation," to which Murtha agreed before Matthews dropped the line of questioning. (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann devoted an entire segment (video available on Countdown Web site) to discussing links between a man arrested for domestic terrorism and "far right-wing blogs," describing the man as a "gushing online admirer" of conservative commentators Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter, as the Countdown host suggested conservatives had inspired the man to commit terrorism. Olbermann also compared past actions by Malkin (see Malkin's blog for details) to "the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket." Olbermann: "There were the students at the University of California in Santa Cruz who protested military recruiters on their campus, Malkin posted their addresses and other personal information on her blog, and then when people harassed the students at their homes, Malkin did the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket, 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' 'I never told anybody to do anything to them.' This is the problem, right? I mean, you can come out, you can directly encourage people to act violently, Ann Coulter has done that, or you can do it in this sort of thinly disguised way the way Malkin has." (Transcript follows)
Appearing on CNN's Larry King Live on Wednesday, comedian Bill Maher, while discussing the recent John Kerry gaffe interpreted by many as an attack on the intelligence of American troops, wondered why Americans would believe a "true war hero" like Kerry would be "against the troops." Ignoring Kerry's history in the 1970s of giving testimony before Congress accusing American troops of committing war crimes, and his 2005 charge that American troops in Iraq were "terrorizing" civilians, Maher contended that Kerry should have "called out" President Bush, referring to the President as a "draft dodger."
Below is a transcript of Maher's comments from the November 8 Larry King Live:
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, while interviewing E.J. Dionne of the Washinton Post, seemed to fret about whether Democrats would sufficiently investigate and rein in the Bush administration on issues such as habeas corpus and the Military Commissions Act. After wondering if Democrats "ignore at their peril the wing of their party that donated and campaigned on the promise of intensive oversight, of hearing subpoenas," Olbermann moved on to his concerns about habeas corpus as he wondered if Democrats would either "dismantle" the Military Commisions Act or if they would otherwise be able to "keep that monster under the bed." Olbermann: "Of particular concern here in terms of what the Democrats will do unto the Senators recoiled in horror at its passage and anybody who remembers good old habeas corpus. The Military Commissions Act, do the Democrats have a plan to dismantle that or is their presence in power enough by itself to keep that monster under the bed?" (Transcript follows)
Howard Dean not anti-war enough for Chris Matthews? During MSNBC's election night coverage, Matthews challenged Dean from the left on how soon to pull troops out of Iraq, asking the DNC chairman how he could "justify the loss of another American life or another Iraqi life in a mission that doesn't seem to make any sense at this point? Why stay in Iraq just to make it look good so you'll look like a centrist party?" Although Matthews' questions on Iraq also challenged Dean on the Democratic Party's lack of a clear plan of their own on how to handle Iraq, Matthews did not voice any concerns about whether Democrats might pressure a withdrawal too soon. (Transcript follows)
Matthews began to push Dean from the left after the DNC chairman answered a question from Matthews about what voters could expect to get out of voting for Democrats regarding Iraq. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Matthews' interview with Dean which aired about 8:40 p.m. EST on MSNBC:
A Freudian slip from Chris Matthews? About 7:36 pm EST during MSNBC's election night coverage, Matthews was interviewing Chuck Todd of the National Journal, who predicted that if Democrats gained 25 to 30 House seats, it would also mean a Democratic Senate takeover. As Matthews began his response, he proclaimed "that'll be fantastic news. It'll be huge news, I should say," as he went on to say President Bush would have to negotiate his policies with Congress. Matthews: "President George W. Bush, having to actually negotiate every aspect of national policy, including the war in Iraq."
A few minutes later, Matthews chose the words "the damn rich" as he described some of the "populist" sentiments of some Americans angry about the rich making too much money. Matthews: "Every time you ask people questions now, they don't just say I'd like to make more money at work, I'd like to have a higher salary, I'd like to have some break on tuition for the kids, they're saying the damn rich are getting all the money." Matthews went on to mention "Halliburton" and "the rich grabbing it" as reasons some Americans say "we're not doing so well." (Transcript follows)
Video clip of Matthews making his "fantastic" outburst (30 secs): Real (900 KB) or Windows Media (1.1 MB), plus MP3 audio (175 KB)
According to MSNBC's Chris Matthews, if Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford loses Tuesday, you can blame it on white conservatives. On Sunday morning, as he appeared in a segment hosted by Alex Witt, Matthews chided whites for an unwillingness to vote for black politicians, contending that "blacks vote for whites," but "whites don't vote for blacks." Matthews added that in states with large black populations, fear leads whites to become conservative Republicans. Matthews: "The larger the black population, where the whites are afraid historically, and in Deep South states, they tend to become very conservative Republican out of fear, whatever, of an overwhelming, or a large number of African-Americans because of the kind of culture." Ignored by Matthews was the willingness of white conservatives to support black statewide candidates like Maryland's Michael Steele, Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell, and Pennsylvania's Lynn Swann, in this year's elections, while white liberals will be supporting white Democratic candidates instead, demonstrating that party affiliation is the deciding factor in whether white conservatives vote for a black candidate. Notably, in Maryland's Senate primary, Democratic voters rejected black Democratic candidate Kweisi Mfume, a former Congressman, in favor of white candidate and Congressman Benjamin Cardin during their party's primary, while the Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, is black. (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the 1856 caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, and at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennesee Senate race. As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes." (Transcript follows)