Catching up with an unintentionally funny moment from Tuesday night’s (March 13) Republican primary coverage, MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney, who was off-camera at the moment, noticeably exhaled and then loudly groaned “ugghh!” upon hearing the exit poll determined a plurality of women in Alabama voted for Rick Santorum. Video below.
A very believable moment in Game Change, HBO’s derogatory movie portrayal of Sarah Palin in the 2008 campaign. In a scene at a hotel bar in Phoenix on election eve, McCain-Palin senior campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, played by Woody Harrelson, tells campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser/speechwriter Mark Salter the state of John McCain’s mood:
He’s the most depressed I’ve seen him in the entire campaign. I can’t get him to stop watching MSNBC, which only makes him more miserable.
Isn’t that a common malady from watching MSNBC? Video below:
Mitt Romney can’t close the deal with Republican primary voters because too many don’t trust that he’s a real conservative, but on Sunday’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos pressured Romney to move left to win in November. “How does Mitt Romney manage to continue to try to get conservatives over to his side,” Stephanopoulos wondered in acknowledging that shortcoming, “while reaching out to independents?” He soon fretted during the roundtable:
Does he have the freedom at this point to do what a lot of people are recommending, find a place to pick a fight, show some distance from the base of the party?
A “lot of people” in Stephanoploulos’ liberal Manhattan news media orbit. Mary Matalin fired back: “That’s a ridiculous kind of pundit strategy.”
Those who have seen HBO’s Game Change come away with a more sympathetic view of Sarah Palin, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, co-author of the book on which HBO based its production set to air Saturday night, contended Wednesday night on CNN. Erin Burnett interviewed Halperin and co-author John Heilemann and Halperin told Burnett:
We’ve seen a few screenings with people and uniformly – every screening we’ve attended – people who came in, didn’t like Sarah Palin, weren’t fans of Sarah Palin, almost every one of them has said to us afterwards, “you know what, I now understand what she went through more, I have more sympathy for her, I have more appreciation for what she accomplished.”
ABC on Monday night rebuked the Republican presidential field for not adequately condemning Rush Limbaugh for his “slut” characterization of Sandra Fluke, for which he apologized on his Monday radio show. “The Republican presidential candidates still tried to dodge having to make tough comments about the power broker,” anchor Diane Sawyer announced in framing the World News story.
Reporter Dan Harris contended, without identifying who is making such a complaint, that “leading Republicans are essentially being called cowards for their tepid criticism of America’s most powerful conservative radio host.” After a bite of Mitt Romney saying “it’s not the language I would have used,” Harris snidely asserted: “Not exactly Profiles in Courage material.”
No love on the Sunday morning television talk shows for Rush Limbaugh, not even a mild defense as the unifying theme was disappointment in Mitt Romney for not denouncing the leading national conservative talk radio host. “The problem with Rush Limbaugh,” NBC News White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie complained in pretending to care about the fate of Republicans, “is that he re-framed the debate on Democrat’s terms” and “Romney lost an opportunity there to speak out forcefully against” Limbaugh which “would have shown some political courage, some backbone and ultimately,” she argued, “that would help him with conservatives.”
Meet the Press host David Gregory jumped in to assert “Sister Souljah’s not just a rap reference, it’s a political reference.” He cued up Republican strategist/Romney backer Mike Murphy: “Was this a ‘Sister Souljah Moment’ that Romney missed?” Murphy, naturally, agreed as he added in a snarky shot at Limbaugh: “It could have been and it should have been. The big myth about Rush Limbaugh is he can’t deliver a pizza let alone a vote.”
A week from tonight (Saturday, March 11) HBO will debut Game Change, which promos
strongly suggest will present a disparaging portrait of Sarah Palin, but Thursday night on the Tonight Show, during a segment with actress Julianne Moore who plays Palin, Jay Leno contended the movie “humanizes” Palin and is not “some kind of slash and burn job.”
“Whether a Republican or a Democrat,” Leno urged, “don’t watch it for the politics. It’s just a human piece. I think it kind of humanizes Sarah Palin. I thought it was really, really good.” He soon added: “I highly recommend it. If you’re an ardent Republican and you think this is some kind of slash and burn job, it’s not. It’s really what a campaign does to a person.”
Serving as the arm of MSNBC which actually has a significant audience, Thursday’s NBC Nightly News promoted a left-wing effort to impugn and silence Rush Limbaugh. “A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh and as the battle over birth control takes another turn,” anchor Brian Williams ominously teased his newscast.
Picking up a crusade pushed all day by MSNBC, Williams warned “some may find some of the comments in this next story offensive.” He claimed “there is a growing firestorm over comments made by Rush Limbaugh,” about a woman, Sandra Fluke, who testified in favor of forcing her Catholic college to pay for her contraception, and so “a lot of women are expressing their outrage.”
CBS’s Bob Schieffer, on Sunday morning’s Face the Nation, pressed Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over how Republicans have moved “too far to the right” to win before cuing up Maryland’s Democratic Governor, Martin O’Malley, to agree while fretting “we’ve spent the last couple of weeks here talking about running against birth control for goodness sake” – as if the media have nothing to do with that. Schieffer twice falsely credited President Obama for having “backed away” from requiring religious institution cover birth control.
Schieffer also marveled over Obama’s presumed success and so wondered: “How do you go after Barack Obama, though, right now? I mean, the stock market is up. It looks like the unemployment is going down. David Axelrod in his campaign said the other day Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. It’s going to be a tough job for you, is it not?”
Occupy Wall Street earned a shout-out Sunday night on a CBS drama, the kind of Hollywood affirmation the Tea Party could never dream of receiving. “Before we begin,” a judge announced in a Chicago courtroom on The Good Wife, “I want to take a few minutes to talk about something that is happening a mere one hundred yards from this courthouse: Occupy Wall Street!”
“Judge Charles Abernathy,” played by Denis O’Hare, continued to pay tribute to the leftist cause celebre: “Yes, these amazing young men and women are braving 36-degree weather, with the grit in their eyes of a shared cause, and all to challenge the system. And I, for one, I salute them.”
“GOP says HHS mandate is about liberty, not contraception. Dems say it’s about contraception, not liberty. Media accept and amplify Democratic framing.” So the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes adroitly tweeted noontime Sunday in an accurate observation demonstrated by Meet the Press where host David Gregory opened the roundtable: “I want to start with...a big theme in this race so far. And Politico, I thought, captured the headline here with this theme, ‘2012: The year of birth control moms?’”
Later, Gregory touted how “I see this bumper sticker,” which, he insisted, “we’ve heard everybody talk about,” that proclaims “GM’s back on top, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Cuing up New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper, Gregory noted the obvious: “That’s the record that this President wants to run on.” Cooper affirmed: “That’s absolutely the record that he wants to run on.”
“Did President Obama save General Motors?” CBS’s Dean Reynolds asked General Motors Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson as both sat inside a GM plant. On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, Akerson affirmed he did and “the Obama administration did a good job.”
Reynolds pointed out how Mitt Romney “argued the bailout was unnecessary, and that the regular bankruptcy process would have made GM and Chrysler stronger companies. Would that have happened?” Akerson rejected the notion, insisting if not for the bailout “you could have written off this company, this industry, and this country.”
Previewing the Michigan primary, ABC’s David Muir found three Chrysler workers to boast of how the Obama administration’s auto bailout “worked” and “it would have been devastating” if Mitt Romney had his way and it didn’t occur. Muir cued up the workers to confirm “all of you had your jobs saved?”
Muir did note that “Romney says it’s the billions in government bailout money that came with it that was a sweetheart deal for the unions,” but countered with a sympathetic “Michigan mother” who declared: “It worked. The results show for themselves. We are on our way back. We are being profitable again.” Muir proceeded to a man who, he relayed, “says it wasn’t just his job saved, it was the police officer, the teacher...”
The prospect of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008 was “pretty terrifying” to actress Julianne Moore, who plays Palin in HBO’s upcoming Game Change movie about the 2008 campaign, but not because she feared Palin’s policies. Instead, the self-described “longtime liberal” dreaded Palin might allow the GOP ticket to win: “I really felt like, ‘Oh my gosh, the Republicans might have this election’” since “she was so electrifying.”
In Tuesday’s “Yeas and Nays” column in the Washington Examiner, Nikki Schwab relayed Moore’s comments expressed in an interview for the upcoming March issue of Capitol File magazine.
“I was struck looking at this,” Washington Post columnist and former foreign editor David Ignatius expressed on ABC’s This Week in admiring how Barack Obama on Friday adjusted the contraception mandate, hailing “the ability to do a do-over quickly” since the administration was not “done deaf” and “they did make changes and this is now a policy that you can defend.”
Unaddressed, how it’s just an accounting gimmick and Catholic institutions would still be required to cover what they morally oppose, to say nothing of what gives the government the right to require private insurers to offer a service for “free.”
Over on NBC’s Meet the Press, when Peggy Noonan noted how Obama picked the leftist position over the First Amendment, another Washington Post columnist and former reporter, E.J. Dionne Jr. fired back: “Barack Obama is a moderate progressive with the emphasis on moderate. Most socialists are insulted when Barack Obama is called a socialist.”
The downward slide of media credibility continues. A Pew survey released a few days ago found 67 percent of Americans see “a great deal” or “fair amount” of “political bias” in the news media, a record high for the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press which pegged the level at 63 percent just four months ago. Specifically:
Currently, 37 percent of Americans say there is a great deal of bias in news coverage and 30 percent say there is a fair amount of bias. Far fewer see not too much bias (21 percent) or none at all (10 percent). The percentage saying there is a great deal of bias has increased six points, from 31 percent to 37 percent, since 2008.
Bush Derangement Syndrome, then Palin Derangement Syndrom and now...Santorum Derangement Syndrome?
Friday night on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Zanny Minton Beddoes, the economics editor for the Economist magazine, expressed dread that the possibility Rick Santorum could win the Republican presidential nomination “completely terrifies me. I mean, how many decades back, how many centuries back does he want to take us?” She proceeded to relay the derogatory charge “Santorum would be a fine mind for the 13th century.”
Shortly before noon Thursday, live from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), CNN political reporter Peter Hamby described the gathering as a “conservative petri dish” to measure “how Mitt Romney is received and how his challengers are received too.” Anchor Suzanne Malveaux chimed in: “I love that, conservative petri dish. That’s a great way to describe it.”
A petri dish is defined as “a shallow circular dish with a loose-fitting cover, used to culture bacteria or other microorganisms.” As if conservatives are some kind of organism in a contained space to be studied from above by the “scientists” at CNN for our harmful effects. We’re not the Ebola virus, but that seems as if it’s how CNN sees conservatives. Video below.
Following an NBC Nightly News preview Wednesday evening of the Rock Center promotion for a book by Mimi Alford, in which she recounts how the 45-year-old President Kennedy seduced and carried on a sexual relationship with her when she was a 19-year-old White House intern, anchor Brian Williams conveyed the distress of JFK sycophants in his audience – and admitted his family was amongst them.
Talking with Meredith Vieira, Williams cited “a lot of e-mails” from people, who “sounds like a lot of us,” had a “picture of John F. Kennedy in the house when we were kids” and who are now “wondering, why do this now? Why tell her story now?”
NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation.
NBC’s Chuck Todd on Monday evening found a few seconds in a larger story to relay how the Republican presidential candidates “are hitting the Obama administration’s decision to require all health insurance plans to cover birth control. Many Catholic organizations had hoped for an exemption since the rule runs counter to the church’s doctrine. Today Mitt Romney’s campaign launched a petition drive to repeal the decision, and Newt Gingrich also sounded off.”
The broadcast network evening and morning newscast blackout, of the Obama administration plan to force health insurance offered by Catholic charities and hospitals to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception without a co-pay, continued over the weekend, yet the ABC and NBC Sunday morning talk shows took up the topic.
Meanwhile, the media double standard in ignoring the ObamaCare imposition on religious institutions while jumping to defend Planned Parenthood when Komen pulled funding, is being noticed by media observers ranging from from Fox News to even a New York Times columnist.
Not everybody appreciates live local TV reporting. When an unusual snowstorm hit Seattle a few weeks ago, the local NBC affiliate sent a reporter to cover people sledding on city streets. And, as caught by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, some hilarity ensued in the reaction of one displeased woman holding an inner tube.
“Sometimes when covering the dangers of sledding and cars on slick roads,” FNC’s Bret Baier explained in setting up the clip on the January 20 Special Report, “it’s not just the cars that are the danger.”
In a movie opening next week, left-wing activist Woody Harrelson (IMDb page) plays a dirty cop in 1999 Los Angeles whose character impugns the Founding Fathers as “all slave-owners” and warns that if he is fired “I’ll have my own show on Fox News inside one week.”
“I am not a racist,” he declares in a clip from Rampart played on Thursday’s Late Show, arguing: “Now, you want to be mad at someone, try J. Edgar Hoover. He was a racist. Or the Founding Fathers, all slave-owners.” Some Founding Fathers owned slaves, but far short of “all.” In a scene in the promotional trailer featured on Millennium Entertainment’s site for the film, Harrelson’s dirty police officer character threatens: “If you force me to retire, I’ll have my own show on Fox News inside one week. You’ll be my first guest.” (Video of both scenes below)
Actor/left-wing activist Alec Baldwin, who on Sunday night won a Screen Actors Guild Award (best actor in a comedy series) for his role on NBC’s 30 Rock, last week identified the “greatest single moment” of his life as when he received a call from Senator Ted Kennedy thanking him for his campaign work. That occurred in 1994 when Kennedy was running for re-election against some guy named Mitt Romney.
“Outside of children and marriage and so on,” CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Baldwin, “what has been the single greatest moment of your life, the moment that if I could relive it for you right now, you would ask me to relive it?” Baldwin recalled how he “traveled around” Massachusetts in 1994 to campaign for Kennedy and “Teddy Kennedy called me. And he said I want you to know that if I win this race, you are partly responsible for that. He said, you put your brick in the wall of my campaign and I will never be able to repay you or thank you.”
Playing off the “best picture” nominated motion picture, The Artist, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night created its own version of the black and white silent movie – but with a twist, using video clips from NBC’s Republican presidential debate of the night before.
FNC ended Thursday’s Special Report with the pretty inventive video created by Kimmel’s staff. Bret Baier set it up by suggesting the Republican candidates “are trying a new tactic and they’re taking to heart a long ago era, a different kind of movie.”
A question we’ve never posed and likely no one outside of CBS News has ever considered: “We wondered what Bob Schieffer thinks of all of this?” Yet that’s how CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Thursday night cued up Schieffer to take up CBS air time to convey his personal disgust with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for supposedly failing to show the proper respect to President Barack Obama on the tarmac near Phoenix.
“This is just another sign of the growing incivility and really vulgarity of our modern American politics,” Schieffer declared, fretting “these campaigns have gotten so ugly and so nasty, that they’re now tarnishing the whole system.” He despaired it demonstrates “the coarseness of our culture in this age of social media.” Then he got personal in condemning Brewer as an historic embarrassment to the nation:
“The secretary speaks,” ABC fill-in anchor David Muir excitedly teased at the top of Wednesday’s World News, “billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his secretary, who pays a much-higher tax rate than him. He says not fair. She’s now at the center of a huge debate. What does she think? An ABC News exclusive.” Muir promised that “tonight we hear from the secretary for the first time,” but she merely got to utter one sentence as ABC used her as a poster girl to hike taxes.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga recounted “a hero’s welcome” back in Omaha for “for a secretary thrust into the spotlight” by sitting as a stage prop behind the First Lady at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. President Obama, Golodryga helpfully explained in advancing Obama’s agenda, called for a minimum 30 percent tax rate on millionaires “after Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed he made almost $43 million over two years, paying a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010, not Debbie’s 35.8 percent.”
After President Barack Obama finished his State of the Union address, on NBC Andrea Mitchell set to work to convince viewers of how he had discredited Mitt Romney’s campaign trail criticisms of him. As to how “this President apologizes for America,” she countered: “Any viewer watching this...would look at this speech and it would be very hard to say that he is apologizing for America. This was resoundingly positive and optimistic in every way.”
Mitchell soon saw such an “exquisite contrast” between Obama’s call for “a minimum tax of 30 percent” on millionaires on the very day Romney “finally did release his tax returns. And we saw that his effective rate was under 14 percent for 2010.”