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.”
Hours before President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address in which he will push higher tax rates on the wealthiest under the guise of “fairness,” pivoting off the poster woman for higher rates, Warren Buffett’s secretary who supposedly pays a higher income tax rate than her boss, ABC and NBC advanced the narrative which confuses tax brackets with effective tax rates.
In fact, Romney pays at a much higher rate than most Americans and most people at Romney’s wealth level pay a significantly higher rate. “Mitt’s millions,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer teased, “What Mitt Romney’s taxes really show about, wealth, taxes and fairness.” On the NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell referred to “critics of the tax code that favors the rich.”
Politically conservative Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is being vilified for not joining his hockey teammates Monday afternoon at the White House for a ceremony honoring the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship, but Hockey News senior writer Ken Campbell suggested that if a few years ago some stars “had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they...would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance.”
It was “just rude not to go,” NBC’s Nancy Snyderman declared on Tuesday’s Today show where former CNBC host Donny Deutsch complained Thomas had “cheapened” the honor. TheBoston Herald headline, “Tim Thomas told: ‘Stick to hockey’; Slammed for Obama snub.” A Boston Globe headline asserted: “Tim Thomas wrong to skip White House trip.” The Globe’s hockey writer denounced Thomas as “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered.”
In a confounding decision, the Republican candidates agreed to a second debate, to be held tonight in Tampa, moderated by NBC’s Brian Williams who, along with Politico’s John Harris, back on September 7 repeatedly peppered the then-larger Republican presidential field with liberal talking points and Democratic agenda items. Below, an excerpt from my September 8 post, with illustrative video:
Williams hit Texas Governor Rick Perry from the left on his state’s poor economic indicators (“no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage”) , chastised him for cutting education funding and, citing how “your state has executed 234 death row inmates,” demanded to know whether he’s “struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?” More examples and video below.
Given his high unfavorable rating, Newt Gingrich “cannot win a national election,” MSNBC’s very liberal host Lawrence O’Donnell insisted early Saturday night when it became clear Gingrich would win the South Carolina primary, “it’s impossible.” O’Donnell’s assessment, however, is held beyond left-wingers animating MSNBC shows.
Saturday night, Fox News veteran Brit Hume asserted: “Republicans in Congress will be terrified to run with this man for fear they will lose the House and the Senate.” Sunday morning on ABC, George Will imagined “people are waking up who are running for office as Republicans – from dog-catcher to Senate – and they’re saying, ‘good God, Newt Gingrich might be at top of this ticket.’”
Newt Gingrich wouldn’t have won the South Carolina primary if not for two journalists who served as his perfect foil at two debates in the days before Saturday’s contest, Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer contended Saturday evening on FNC.
“I was expecting a check,” quipped Williams who had challenged Gingrich Monday night about comments “intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.” Williams suggested he and CNN’s John King, “the guy who asked him about his problems with his second wife,” split the check 50-50.
Bill Moyers returned this month to PBS stations to once again peddle his far-left hatred of conservatives. On Friday night he took to HBO to discredit the Republican presidential field with the first refuge of liberals unable to sustain an argument: racial smears.
To Bill Maher’s delight, Moyers charged “the delusional fringe has come in from the margin and runs” the Republican Party before he alleged Newt Gingrich is “playing the race card” and so, he maintained, in some sort of attempt at humor: “I would have been very glad that I saved my Confederate money because if he is elected in November, I’ve got enough to get access to the White House, you know – of Confederate money.” Very funny.
Diane Sawyer remains enthralled with the far-left “Occupy” protesters. Last October she championed “the Occupy Wall Street movement” by ludicrously claiming “it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica.” (There are fewer than 200 nations.)
On Tuesday night, she trumpeted “Occupy igloos” at “Camp Igloo” – in Switzerland, not Antarctica.
“With Huntsman gone,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl despaired Monday night, “the field of Republican candidates has lost the only candidate who favored civil unions for gay couples and said he was concerned about climate change.” In his World News report, Karl recalled how Hunstman once “tweeted: ‘To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.’”
Over on the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford noted how Huntsman was more popular with the news media than with Republicans: “Huntsman’s campaign never really took off, except among newspaper editorial boards.”
CBS’s Bob Schieffer decided his viewers needed a special warning about how far out of the mainstream an upcoming guest dwells, plugging at the top of Sunday’s Face the Nation how he’d have as guests Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – and then: “for context on how it’s going, we’ll bring in South Carolina’s very conservative Senator, Jim DeMint.”
Another bit of evidence emerged Thursday about how deeply ingrained anti-conservative hatred is inside America’s newspapers, even amongst those who don’t cover politics.
John Kelly, a Washington Post lifestyle columnist inside the “Metro” section best-known for raising money for Children’s National Medical Center and Sunday “Answer Man” columns about DC-area history, used the passing of a local radio legend to disparage syndicated radio hosts as “right-wing nutjobs unspooling their wacky conspiracy theories.” (Hat tip: DCRTV)
ABC on Tuesday night decided to showcase one guy yelling at Mitt Romney, as if it proved how media-liberal distortions of Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” remark will surely hurt him and follow him to South Carolina. Reporter David Muir showed video of Romney, in the middle of a crowd, holding a baby.
“But if you rewind the tape and play up the sound,” Muir explained from Manchester in setting up a re-play. Viewers then heard the voice of one man shouting: “Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby?” ABC helpfully put those words on screen.
Sad news came Sunday (January 8) that Tony Blankley, the long-time leading conservative thinker, author and columnist, who served House Speaker Newt Gingrich and later ran the editorial pages for the Washington Times, passed away at age 63.
In pointing out how Barack Obama only won in 2008 by a slim margin, so this year’s Republican nominee doesn’t have to win over all that many Americans, ABC’s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning listed the media amongst the factors “going” for Obama four years ago: “You had the media, perhaps, tilting on the scales a little bit.”
That’s an understatement, but a noteworthy realization when it comes from the chief White House correspondent for a major network.
An hour before CNN screamed “Breaking News” Thursday night over the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Jon Huntsman (basically for not being “pushed” to the right like Mitt Romney), the CBS Evening News trumpeted the presidential bid by Huntsman who “has flown under the radar, despite his impressive resume. He's the chopper-riding popular two-term Governor of Utah with a picture-perfect family...”
Reporter Bill Whitaker’s glowing story hailed Huntsman’s economic plan as “deemed best of the campaign by the Wall Street Journal,” before approvingly touting: “Unlike most of the Republican field, he believes humans contribute to climate change.” Whitaker soon cued up Huntsman to confirm: “You’ve also called yourself ‘the sane Republican.’”
Showing how no left-wing effort to raise taxes is too silly or embarrassing for ABC News to embrace, World News on Wednesday night jumped to promote a Web video, created by a group founded by a former Howard Dean operative and “featured contributor” to the Huffington Post (Rick Jacobs), to impose a higher state income tax rate on Californians earning over $1 million.
“First it was Warren Buffett,” anchor Diane Sawyer glowed in citing her hero, “and now it is reality TV star Kim Kardashian. What could they have in common? Both center stage on the question of fairness in the way the country taxes the rich versus the middle class. Some big unions in California have created an ad saying people like Kim Kardashian are the reason the tax code has to change.”
In a series of CBS Evening News reports Monday night on how the top Republican presidential contenders plan to reduce the deficit, reporter Dean Reynolds pleaded to Newt Gingrich: “Absolutely no tax increases?”
Reynolds proceeded to note “critics are doubtful” about the impact of Gingrich’s plans to reduce regulations and cut federal spending: “They say that fewer regulations could spur some productivity, but they also say that to really reduce the deficit you would have to include some combination of spending cuts and tax increases.”
Three weeks after CBS’s 60 Minutes delivered a friendly sit-down with President Barack Obama in which Steve Kroft gently chided him for being too willing to compromise with Republicans, the show didn’t even attempt a matching approach to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Instead, Lesley Stahl relayed a portrait painted by liberals (“He’s working on humanizing his image, and presenting himself as more reasonable”) as she blamed him for “gridlock” and offered a caricature of Cantor as an “inflexible” ideologue putting Tea Party politics ahead of passing Obama’s beneficial policies.
Stahl abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity, repeatedly pressing Cantor to “compromise” – to agree with Obama on the rationality of raising taxes more, touting how even Ronald Reagan had recognized the need to hike taxes.
In her next to last week hosting This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour moderated a show-long debate, touted as “The Great American Debates,” devoted to the proposition: “There’s Too Much Government.” George Will and Congressman Paul Ryan took up the affirmative case, squaring off against Robert Reich and Congressman Barney Frank. But Amanpour was hardly neutral.
She began by framing the debate around the “conundrum” that “people who oppose big government still want to collect their entitlements” and, without any matching ideological policy arguments presented to Reich and Frank, pressed Ryan and Will with liberal contentions, such as how “during the Great Depression the government did create big programs to get people back to work. Why shouldn’t they do that right now, why shouldn’t there be that kind of action?”
A departure tonight from my usual Saturday offerings of news media/politics-related humor clips. Instead, something a bit more light-hearted about an until now un-chronicled historic breakthrough.
Tom Hanks has produced a bunch of HBO mini-series, including Band of Brothers, The Pacific and John Adams, and Thursday night on CBS’s Late Show he made some fun of himself as he presented a promotional clip for a new “mini-series event” in which he will star. It will tell the story of “Bert Loomis,” inventor of a certain revolutionary breakfast food product.
“After 13 years with ABC News, correspondent Jim Sciutto is leaving the network and TV news. He’s moving to China where he’ll be Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke,” TVNewser’s Chris Ariens reported Thursday in noting the latest journalist to join the Obama administration, this time working for Locke, the former Democratic Governor of Washington.
Sciutto should certainly feel comfortable promoting Obama’s interests and how he is a blessing to the world since that’s what he used his ABC News position to do. The night after Obama’s inauguration, for instance, Sciutto delivered a piece for World News with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”
The passing Thursday of Christopher Hitchens, at age 62 from cancer, reminded me of one of his finest moments, which occurred on a Friday night five-and-a-half years ago when he gave the finger to the pretentious, left-wing Los Angeles studio audience of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
As he laid out the case for how it’s Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who wants World War Three, not George W. Bush, Hitchens cited how Ahmadinejad “says the Messiah is about to come back.” Maher quipped: “So does George Bush, by the way.” That caused a loud eruption of audience applause and cheering, which led Maher to clarify: “That's not facetious.”
CBS’s Steve Kroft challenged President Barack Obama a few times during the two-part 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday night, but managed to ignore the scandals (Solyndra, Fast & Furious and collapse of MF Global run by ally Jon Corzine) while mostly cuing up Obama to knock down criticism of him or pressing him with complaints from the left that he hasn’t done or gone far enough: “They thought that you were gonna be bolder.”
“Since the midterm elections, you made an effort at bipartisanship. It hasn’t worked out that way,” Kroft fretted in crediting Obama with the noble effort before seemingly conveying the liberal complaint the stimulus didn’t spend enough: “There’s a general perception that the stimulus was not enough. That it really didn’t work.”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour just can’t comprehend why Jon Huntsman, with his “eminently sensible” anti-conservative positions, could be losing to Newt Gingrich who is full of “bombast” and “does say some pretty alarming things, some might say outrageous things.” More upsetting, Hunstman is supposedly “reversing” himself on those “eminently sensible positions.”
Interviewing Huntsman, who appeared from the Granite State, Amanpour noted on Sunday’s This Week that “you are at the bottom of the pack despite the fact that some independents, for instance, in New Hampshire call you the sanest one running,” yet “ what you’re offering does not seem to be resonating. It appears that the Newt Gingrich, sort of bombast and brash in your face against Obama, is what’s resonating.”
“In the presidential campaign,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley announced Thursday night, “President Obama fired back today at Republican opponents who criticized his foreign policy using words like ‘timid,’ ‘weak’ and ‘appeasement.’”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir trumpeted “a very pointed response from President Obama” to the charge he’s had a weak foreign policy as an admiring Muir maintained “you can almost see him choosing his words as the question is asked.” Both then played Obama’s response from a late morning news conference:
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday evening promised a look “back at some of the hits, runs and errors” of Newt Gingrich’s years as Speaker of the House, but other than a sentence from Lisa Myers about how “working with President Clinton, Gingrich piled up real achievements: a balanced budget, an historic welfare reform,” she focused her entire piece on how “his speakership also was marked by chaos, polarization, and incendiary remarks.”
Her first witness: NBC’s own Joe Scarborough, who feigned concern that Gingrich “hurt the Republican Party and more importantly, to a lot of us, the conservative movement moving forward.”
A not so creative liberal fantasy. Dan Rather “got it right” in his 2004 story about President George W. Bush’s avoidance of National Guard duty, a hit piece discredited because of Rather’s reliance on forged documents, the President of the imaginary “UBS News”cable channel will declare in an upcoming HBO drama helmed by left-wing writer Aaron Sorkin.
A TV Newser item on Monday about how HBO has decided on Newsroom to be the title of Sorkin’s new series which will center on “fictional cable news anchor Will McCallister (Jeff Daniels) and his News Night staff at the fictional cable news channel UBS,” included a telling excerpt from the script for the pilot: