Does the Lean Forward network ever tire of its absurd effort to make damn near everyone in the country a victim of free-market capitalism? This afternoon, MSNBC.com Ned Resnikoff examined the plight of the country's "overstretched and underpaid" yoga instructors.
"For some, it’s a spiritual calling, an exercise regimen, or a lifestyle choice. But for a growing number of people in the United States, yoga is a job. It’s just not a job that happens to pay very well," Resnikoff noted in his lead paragraph, turning to his first victim, Eve, who:
Well, tonight, perhaps to build on that theme, guest host Steve Kornacki moderated a discussion segment featuring Democratic pollster Margie Onero and McCain presidential campaign alumnus Steve Schmidt centered on how both political parties were reacting to the case to build up energy with their respective bases and, of course, improve their fundraising hauls. For his part, Schmidt both failed to push back against any of Onero's misleading talking points -- he protested there wasn't any time for that -- and, predictably added his own lament that the GOP was at risk of being too socially conservative to appeal to female voters in the next presidential election year (emphases mine):
Reporting on the outcome of Harris v. Quinn on the front page of Tuesday's Washington Post, staff writers Jerry Markon and Robert Barnes buried the perspective of the successful party in the case, non-unionized home health care worker Pam Harris, in the 21st paragraph of the 29-paragraph article, "Ruling on union dues a blow to organized labor."
But right out of the gate, Markon and Barnes choreographed a melodrama pitting a narrow conservative majority on the Court versus the nation's labor unions and their valiant liberal defenders on the Court. An excerpt is reproduced below (emphasis mine):
"I see this ruling as, definitely on the political front, being a good thing for the Democrats, because people are furious and thinking, I think it goes further than it does," Henneberger argued to guest host Steve Kornacki. Minutes later, Bernard saw a big problem for Republicans with women in 2016, if not 2014, insisting that Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" line and "corporate personhood" would be instrumental in locking down droves of female voters for Democrats in 2016:
Exploiting a tragedy to take a swipe at gun rights, MSNBC.com editors this afternoon jumped on a boy's apparent suicide to alarm readers, "Gun violence strikes at Boy Scout camp," read the teaser headline in the lightbox.
"A 12-year-old boy has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, one day after arriving at a Boy Scout camp in San Diego, KNSD reported," read the caption for the photo promoting Emma Margolin's story.
Insisting that he's really been out of the domestic news loop, ABC News Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran told Dan Joseph of NewsBusters sister site MRCTV.org this morning that he was in northern Iraq the past few weeks and wasn't really aware of his network's recent decisions to ignore stunning new developments in the IRS and VA scandals. What's more, he suggested, if folks really care about news regarding the IRS scandal, well, there are other places to go besides ABC.
"You know, the news judgment of every network and of every person is different," Moran offered. "I understand that for some people, that's a hugely crucial issue, and there are places that they can get that," he added. The former Nightline host then tried to establish distance from the network's story selection process before insisting he was out of pocket anyway because he was overseas. [watch the full exchange below the page break]
Reporting on yesterday's demise of New York City's jumbo-soda ban in New York State's Court of Appeals, the New York Times's Michael Grynbaum loaded his June 27 story with weighted language in favor of the vanquished side of the policy and legal arguments and presenting the fight as one between well-intentioned health advocates on one end and evil, greedy soda barons -- Big Fizz? -- on the other.
"The Bloomberg big-soda ban is officially dead," the Times staffer mourned in his lead sentence, adding (emphasis mine), "The state’s highest court on Thursday refused to reinstate New York City’s controversial limits on sales of jumbo sugary drinks, exhausting the city’s final appeal and dashing the hopes of health advocates who have urged state and local governments to curb the consumption of drinks and foods linked to obesity." By contrast, he noted "The ruling was a major victory for the American soft-drink industry, which had fought the plan." It was also a victory for the leave-me-the-hell-alone ethos of many a New Yorker who opposed the soda ban, but it seems Grynbaum failed to consult the proverbial man on the street by say hitting up a local bodega and asking the average customer for his or her thoughts.
So it turns out that Gov. Scott Walker was not a target of a criminal investigation nor is there any evidence that the Wisconsin Republican "engaged in a criminal scheme." Indeed, there "is not such a finding" in recently unsealed documents, Randall Crocker, an attorney representing special prosecutor Francis Schmitz noted on Thursday, according to reporting by the Washington Post's Matea Gold in a June 27 article, "Wisconsin governor wasn't a target of probe, prosecutor's attorney says." The story was buried at the bottom of page A8 on Friday's paper. A similar article by Monica Davey in the New York Times was buried in Friday's paper on page A15.
The evening newscasts of all three broadcast networks tonight reported on the unanimous decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in making recess appointments when the U.S. Senate was technically in session. Rather than couching the ruling as a stunning rebuke of presidential overreach by Mr. Obama, however, coverage on CBS and NBC made it sound like an intrusion on presidential prerogative. ABC's Terry Moran described the ruling as the Court saying "no, no president has [the] power" to make recess appointments when the Senate declares itself to be in session (no matter how sparsely attended).
By contrast a search of Nexis transcripts reveals that on June 28, 2004, when the Supreme Court reached a 6-3 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld -- a Fifth Amendment due process case regarding an American citizen captured in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant -- the network evening newscasts hailed the ruling as "a real blow to the Bush administration" (ABC's Charles Gibson), a ruling that "struck at the very core of the way President Bush has been conducting the war on terrorism" (ABC's Manuel Medrano), with "the justices... say[ing] the Bush administration cannot expect the courts to stay on the sidelines in the war on terror" (NBC's Pete Williams).
Halfway through the Wednesday edition of her eponymous program this evening, CNN's Erin Burnett turned to her colleague Joe Johns for breaking news regarding a fresh development in the IRS scandal: email evidence suggesting Lois Lerner may have pushed for an audit of Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
Immediately afterwards, in a panel discussion, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin endorsed calls coming from Republicans for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal.
Today a unanimous Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that police may not search the contents of an arrested individual's cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. While all three broadcast networks reported on the Riley v. California decision in their June 25 evening newscasts, only CBS's Janet Crawford directly referred to the "Obama administration" as having "argued cell phone searches were like a search of a suspect's wallet, briefcase, or coat, which don't require a warrant."
ABC's Terry Moran skirted around a reference to the Obama administration, saying simply that "the government" made the argument that searching a cell phone was akin to searching a wallet. NBC's Pete Williams likewise failed to describe the Obama administration's involvement in the case, to which it was not a party, but in which it took great interest.
By contrast, the competition over at CNN on Erin Burnett OutFront featured a panel discussion in which the participants made light of Mr. Clinton's defense of his consort and forecast that Bill Clinton might end up being a net negative for his wife on the campaign trail, as he was in the 2008 primaries. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
"Why do people want to be fooled?!" Matthews groused moments earlier to his guests Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post and Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post. "Why do the people want to be victims of fraud?" he added, seemingly hurt that Mrs. Clinton is facing scrutiny -- particularly within her party -- over her wealth and connections. "Why don't we accept them as they are, and stop making them like us?" Yes, this is the same Matthews who gleefully skewered Mitt Romney in 2012 after the leak of a video from an exclusive private fundraiser where Romney made the now-infamous 47 percent remark. As my colleague Scott Whitlock noted on September 18, 2012, Matthews gleefully opened his program that day trashing Romney's elitism (emphasis mine; listen to MP3 audio; videos follow page break):
Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast has an arresting exclusive today: an interview with the woman whose rapist Hillary Clinton successfully defended as a criminal defense attorney in the mid 1970s. "In a long, emotional interview with The Daily Beast, she accused Clinton of intentionally lying about her in court documents, going to extraordinary lengths to discredit evidence of the rape, and later callously acknowledging and laughing about her attackers' guilt on the recordings," Rogin noted. "Hillary Clinton took me through Hell," the woman, who was 12 years old when she was sexually assaulted, told the Daily Beast. To read the full story, click here.
As we have noted, the liberal media thus far have largely ignored recent reporting by the Washington Free Beacon's Alana Goodman, who unearthed the audiotapes in question and which have resulted in a University of Arkansas official -- who is, by the way, a Clinton donor -- banning Free Beacon employees from accessing more materials at the library's Clinton archives.
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.
"Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightning rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources," Politico's Rachael Bade reported Wednesday evening.
Although the revelation has congressional Republicans understandably furious and at least one prominent IT expert trashing the IRS's digital documents-retention policy as "mind-boggling", the Big Three broadcast networks all ignored the latest developments in the IRS saga on their Thursday evening newscasts, even as they had time for Harrison Ford's broken leg (NBC), a new technology for police car chases (ABC), and comedian Tracy Morgan's car accident (CBS).
But now it seems a friend of the Clintons has taken it upon herself to ban Goodman and other Free Beacon employees, using "intellectual property" considerations as the legal pretext for what obviously is a rather impolitic maneuver. From Goodman's June 19 Free Beacon story on the ban (emphasis mine; you can read the full story here):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews put his pro-Hillary puffery on the back-burner this evening to lead off Hardball with a screed against his favorite archnemesis Dick "it's pronounced CHEE-knee, by the way" Cheney.
Chris failed to disappoint with his loopy, nonsensical rant against the former vice president, at one point comparing him to a pitch man for the website Diedinhouse.com. Matthews even inspired a little nuttiness in the Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, who insisted Cheney's hat-wearing was devised by the former vice president as a subtle sartorial dig at Obama's manliness or lack thereof. You cannot make this stuff up (LISTEN to the MP3 audio here; WATCH the video clip below the page break):
Fifty-four percent of respondents in a brand new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll believe that President Obama "can't lead, get the job done," contrasted with 42 percent who say he can. What's more, a healthy plurality, 41 percent, also answered that "the performance of the Obama administration" has "gotten worse" in the past 12 months. Yet the NBC Nightly News ignored those stunning numbers in its June 18 broadcast. [Anchor Brian Williams additionally failed to tease the poll in his opening preview of the night's stories.]
While chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did touch on how "57 percent disapprove of the job he's doing on foreign policy," that factoid was buried in a story centered on blaming former Vice President Dick Cheney's with stoking yet another inside-the-Beltway partisan "blame game" over Iraq. You can read the full transcript below the page break (listen to the full segment via mp3 audio here; watch video excerpt below page break):
Hillary Clinton hit a "home run" with her performance in a live CNN "townhall"-style interview hosted by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Chris Matthews enthused at the opening of his June 17 Hardball program.
But none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even mentioned the development tonight, even as they had time for stories on the 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson freeway chase (NBC), a rare postage stamp up for auction (CBS), and how dogs have and enforce a sort of social etiquette when they play with each other (ABC). [MP3 audio here; video montage follows page break]
Yet on the June 16 Hardball program -- on MSNBC, the nation's premiere "War on Women" network -- neither Henneberger nor Hardball anchor Chris Matthews nor Politico's Roger Simon broached the topic at any time during their discussion about the former secretary of state's rocky rollout of her Hard Choices memoir. Here's an excerpt of the June 15 story from Goodman (emphasis mine):
Did you ever want to do a Bible study with Martin Bashir?
I ask because a few days ago the former MSNBCer, who once fantasized on air about former Gov. Sarah Palin being forced to eat human excrement, shared his observation in a tweet about one way in which the president can give his Amen to a lament of the biblical King David.
All three major broadcast networks devoted stories to the opening of the World Cup today in Rio de Janeiro, but ABC's business interests arguably got in the way of objective reporting. ABC and her sister ESPN networks are, after all the exclusive "media rights licensees" to carry World Cup matches in the United States.
Reporting from Rio, ABC's Paula Faris devoted just one fleeting reference to the unrest in the streets (emphasis mine):
The story came right on the heels of Williams relaying how former President George H.W. Bush today made a parachute jump to celebrate his 90th birthday [MP3 audio clip here; video embed follows page break]:
Comparing Hillary Clinton's book tour to an "out of town play getting ready in New Haven," MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight dismissed the former secretary of state's tone-deaf "dead broke" line from her interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer as a "small kind of gaffe, or even a half gaffe." [MP3 audio here; video embed follows page break]
"Once she said we were $12 million in the hole, I think people should have understood what she meant," Matthews asserted to his guest, NBC's Cynthia McFadden, whose fawning interview was aired on Tuesday's Nightly News. Indeed, the former first lady is quite capably "tuning up" her performance as her book tour rolls along. For her part, McFadden seemed to agree, replying:
Do MSNBC producers think all conservative Republican legislators look alike?
In a segment featuring the Washington Post's Robert Costa handicapping the forthcoming campaign by various House Republicans to fill outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor's leadership post, producers aired B-roll of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in lieu of Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).
But a review of the full interview [listen to the mp3 audio here] shows that Brat had already and seemingly quite gladly answered a few policy questions on such hot issues as the minimum wage, immigration reform, and his stance on Wall Street's influence on the business wing of the GOP.
Troubled by a recent poll number showing 52 percent of independent voters approve of a select congressional committee investigating the Benghazi fiasco, MSNBC's Chris Matthews offered former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton his messaging advice on the matter during a segment of the June 10 Hardball.
It boiled down to: "sometimes you get killed, and that's part of the business." The relevant transcript follows the page break (emphasis mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):