At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"
Even before ObamaCare passed, on CBS's Sunday Morning reporter Tracy Smith touted the bill as the fulfillment of a century of liberal efforts: "After months of rancor in the streets, and histrionics in the halls of Congress, the vote takes place in just a few hours....if it feels like this long, angry, divisive debate over American health care has gone on practically forever – the fact is, it has."
Throughout the segment, Smith spoke with left-wing Brown University Professor James Morone, who began by lamenting how much of an obstacle the Constitution has been in achieving nationalized health care: "The founding fathers didn't want to make it easy. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams." As Smith began to recite the list of presidents who attempted implementing different proposals, Morone later explained: "Why don't we have it? One word: Congress. We've organized Congress in a way to make it very, very difficult."
In concluding the segment, Smith proclaimed: "Earlier this year, the President said, 'We are close to the summit of the mountain.' Whether or not he reaches that goal will be decided in today's vote." Morone took it a few steps further: "If they get it through, Obama's done something that Roosevelt couldn't do, that Kennedy couldn't do, Clinton, Nixon. Obama becomes, in history, a quite major figure, whatever else happens in the rest of his administration, or he becomes a minor figure. All in one day."
In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
On Friday's CBS Early Show correspondent Allen Pizzey made the over-the-top declaration that allegations of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church amounted to "a scandal that's threatening to become a plague of biblical proportions." A headline on-screen declared a "Catholic Crisis."
Pizzey was reporting on Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to address the scandal in a soon-to-be published Papal letter, but noted that such a statement "seems unlikely to assuage the anger of victims in parishes ranging from the U.S. to Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Brazil." Pizzey cited one victim of abuse, Andrew Madden, who argued: "I don't think a pastoral letter is the proper context in which to respond to a report about the cover-up of the rape of children."
Madden has made his opinions of the Catholic Church well-known on Twitter. One of his tweets reads: "Actual photo of the Devil at work in the Vatican," with a link to a picture of Pope. In response to another tweeter complimenting him on a recent television appearance, Madden replied: "do my best, but these really are the scum of the earth, I'd never have said that 6 months ago but I truly believe it today."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "After more than a year of debate, Democrats say they're on the verge of passing historic health care legislation." And touted the massive legislation as fiscally responsible: "The government says the final version of the bill will cost $940 billion over ten years, but will reduce the projected budget deficit by $138 billion."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes gave a fully positive description of the legislation: "The final bill would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. It would close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors by the year 2020 and it would penalize businesses with more than 50 workers if they don't offer insurance."
After Cordes's report, Rodriguez spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who praised CBS's adherence to the Democratic Party line: "Maggie, what I think is that we have seen yesterday very important information from the Congressional Budget Office, which as you indicate and Nancy indicated, shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do."
As the Media Research Center's latest Media Reality Check details, over the past year, the media have served as cheerleaders for ObamaCare, praising the proposed legislation, while continually slamming its critics.
As Congress moves closer to a final vote on the bill in the coming days, it's a good time to take a look back at the friendly spin that has dominated the airwaves in support of it, as well as the harsh attacks that have been launched against its opponents.
Here is a video compilation with just a sampling of some of the slanted coverage from the past 12 months.
Near the end of the 10AM ET hour on MSNBC Thursday, anchor David Shuster criticized Fox News anchor Bret Baier for having "interrupted the President numerous times" in a "contentious" and "heated" Wednesday interview. Shuster later accused the network of bias: "Fox is far more – far more conservative overall than MSNBC could ever be liberal."
Shuster brought on left-wing Mother Jones editor David Corn and David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner to discuss Baier's interview with Obama. He asked Corn if Baier's questioning was "inappropriate," Corn didn't think so, but joked: "I was just disappointed overall, though, because there were no questions about where the President was born." Freddoso thought Baier got "bogged down" asking the President about the controversial 'deem and pass' procedure possibly being used to pass ObamaCare.
Turning to Freddoso, Shuster cited former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn claiming that Fox News is the "communications arm of the Republican Party." Freddoso discounted that criticism: "You can call names and sling mud. I mean, Fox News definitely – it has more of a center-right perspective than MSNBC, which generally has more of a center-left, political perspective." Prompting Shuster to reply: "But the difference is that – and I've worked at both places – and you can find this from every sort of media analyst who's objective, Fox is far more – far more conservative overall than MSNBC could ever be liberal. It's not a question of their – one's five points to the right and one's five points to the left. It's not like that at all."
In an interview with Matt Damon near the end of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith helped promote the actor's latest film, 'Green Zone,' which attacks the Bush administration over the Iraq war: "What was it like to make a movie like this? Because it's a little – it's – I'm not sure if this is an apt analogy, but it's a little 'Bourne' meets 'Hurt Locker.'"
Smith alluded to Damon's role as Jason Bourne in the action movie series and the Oscar-winning film 'Hurt Locker,' which chronicles bomb defusing teams in Iraq. Smith introduced the pre-recorded interview by touting Damon's latest film as a "new Iraq war thriller."
Lending credibility to the 'Green Zone' screenplay, Smith noted the movie was: "loosely based on a book that was written by a correspondent for the Washington Post, but the characters in it are fictional." Damon explained the premise of the film: "The guy I play is based on a real guy, he's leading a mobile exploitation team. We had these teams follow the Army....exploiting these sites where we thought the WMD were....they start realizing that there aren't any weapons there." Smith added: "Yeah, and he's a true believer." Damon replied: "Oh, absolutely."
In his "Notebook" segment at the end of the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC Wednesday, anchor David Shuster took a moment to commemorate the passing of a "hero" of his, well-known liberal advocate Doris 'Granny D' Haddock, a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform.
Shuster celebrated how she "at the age of 89...decided to walk across the nation....All in all, 3,200 miles to underscore her message that we need to change our current campaign donation system and have publicly financed elections instead." He proclaimed that Haddock "was committed to fair and open democracy" and declared her to be "an American treasure" for her activism.
Granny D was certainly a media hero back in March of 2000, when she completed her cross-country walk for campaign finance reform in Washington D.C.. On the March 1 broadcast of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer excitedly announced: "I love Granny D!" Then co-host, now CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric, followed Lauer's exuberance, calling her an "amazing role model" and adding: "She's great!"
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith underwent a live colonoscopy in order to raise awareness of colon cancer. Hosting the momentous occasion was CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who dressed the part, wearing green scrubs, a white lab coat, and a stethoscope around her neck as if she was a medical doctor. (Click on photo for larger size)
Couric famously taped herself undergoing the same procedure in 2000, while still co-host of NBC's Today, in the wake of her husband, Jay Monahan, dying of colon cancer in 1998.
In the Early Show segment, Couric stood by Smith's bedside as they discussed the procedure and later dressed in full surgical garb as the colonoscopy was being performed.
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez led the coverage by touting the "Couric effect" of Americans getting colonoscopies in wake of Couric's televised exam and hoped for a similar "Smith effect."
See more photos of Couric playing doctor after the jump.
Concluding a report on proposed soda taxes across the country on Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Michelle Miller gleefully proclaimed how such a tax would help fight obesity and fill local government coffers: "New York's mayor estimates a tax would raise a billion dollars, suggesting what's good for the waistline could be good for the bottom line."
Miller began the segment by touting: "When former President Bill Clinton enlisted the beverage industry in fighting childhood obesity, he did not expect this much progress in just four years." A clip was played of Clinton reporting: "There has been an 88% reduction in the total beverage calories shipped to schools." Miller then declared: "That's still not good enough, say some public health officials. A growing number of cities and states wants to reduce adult consumption of sugary drinks by taxing them."
Revealing how bad such a tax would be for the "bottom line" of consumers, Miller explained: "New York has revived a proposal to impose a penny per ounce tax on sweetened beverages....[that] would mean this two-liter bottle of coke, which now retails for $1.79, would cost you 68 cents more, for a total of $2.47." She managed to find one man who was happy to pay an even higher amount: "I think it should be two cents per ounce. I don't mind paying more for it, it would probably discourage me from drinking it."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "President Obama makes a tough final push, going on the offensive against health insurance companies. Will it work?" Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gushed: "It looked like a campaign rally yesterday with President Obama center-stage taking his fight for health care reform out of Washington and into America's heartland."
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
On Monday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan dragged out his standard attack against the tea party movement as he also bashed Liz Cheney for criticizing Justice Department attorneys: "Liz Cheney goes so far off the right-wing deep end, that now even some right-wingers are saying she has gone too far. If only the tea party would do the same with its Nazis and racist members."
In the segment that followed, Ratigan attacked Cheney for an ad put out by her organization KeepAmericaSafe.com, referring to Justice Department lawyers who once defended accused terrorists as the "Al Qaeda Seven." While he condemned Cheney for going "off the right-wing deep end," one of his guests in the segment was Jane Hamsher, founder of the left-wing radical blog FireDogLake.com, which on Monday featured a post on Cheney entitled: "A Blowjob for Liz 'BabyDick' Cheney."
In reaction to the KeepAmericaSafe.com ad, Hamsher declared: "I mean, what she's doing is genuinely McCarthy-esque and un-American." She went so far as to call for Congress to "censure" Cheney. Those proclamations were prompted by Ratigan asking: "Jane, would...are you encouraged by the emergence of other Republican leaders to at least renounce Liz Cheney, which is more than you can say for the tea party when it comes to some of their Nazi and racist members, which they refuse to renounce?"
Near the end of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill touted a new Parade magazine survey on volunteerism in America: "it indicates America is in the midst of what some are calling a compassion boom." Moments later, the magazine's contributing editor, Emily Listfield, argued: "There's something we call the 'Obama Effect.' People are responding to the President's call to service."
Interestingly, the Parade article made no mention of an "Obama Effect" in explaining why people are volunteering more. Apparently Listfield only felt the need to make that observation when appearing on CBS.
Hill set up Listfield's explanation by noting: "91% in the survey said community service, their community service involvement has gone up over the past 18 months." Hill then asked: "Why are you seeing that increase, and where are you seeing it the most?" A headline on screen read: "Compassion Counts; America's New Volunteering Boom."
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
On Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough pointed out the cover of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine, which proclaimed "Victory At Last; The Emergence of A Democratic Iraq" and featured a picture of President George W. Bush walking the deck of an aircraft carrier. However, the image of Newsweek that appeared on screen cropped out President Bush's face entirely (h/t George Miller).
The magazine cover showed Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in 2003, after making his "Mission Accomplished" speech following the successful invasion of Iraq. While Newsweek cropped the picture to include half of Bush's body and face, MSNBC further cropped the image to leave only the arm of the former president visible (See original Newsweek cover below).
One of Scarborough's guests, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, reacted to Newsweek's declaration of victory in Iraq: "Too positive....For sure. We're going to take months to see a new government formed and we don't know how well the new government's going to operate....Too soon to take out the champagne, if ever." Show co-host Mika Brzezinski added: "Still a lot of controversy as to why we went in."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer ranted against Republican Senator Jim Bunning's opposition to a spending bill: "it's unconscionable what has happened here....this is about politics. It is not – it was not about anything of substance." [Audio available here]
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the segment by explaining that Bunning had stopped blocking the legislation and asked Schieffer: "Isn't this just another example of why it takes so long to get things done in Congress?" Schieffer agreed, claiming: "it's another example...of why there is so much anger and disillusionment out in the country about Congress."
Schieffer went on to dismiss the Kentucky Senator's concerns over the rising deficit: "[He] claimed he was doing this because he was trying to get the Senate to go along with the Republican principle and that is pay things...before they approve them but this was emergency legislation." In reality, Democrats, not Republicans, just passed pay-as-you-go legislation last week, mandating that all new spending being paid for before passage. As for the "emergency" nature of the bill, on Tuesday's Early Show, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid claimed it was simply "routine legislation."
On Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama's annual physical exam and lamented: "For all his immense power, there's at least one adversary President Obama seems unable to defeat, his addiction to cigarettes." One wonders how "immense" Obama's power is amid sinking poll numbers and an inability to pass health care reform. [Audio available here]
Reid noted how the President's smoking is "a battle he's been waging since he was a teenager" and played a clip of Obama joking with reporters last year that he was "95% cured" but adding "there are times where I mess up." Sounding like a worried mother, Reid continued: "Eight months later, he's still struggling....when and where he does smoke and where he gets the cigarettes is a White House mystery."
Near the end of the report, Reid listed a series of other Democratic president's who have enjoyed having a smoke: "FDR was a chain smoker, known for keeping his cigarette holder at a jaunty angle. JFK enjoyed the occasional cigar. And President Clinton often chewed on unlit cigars while playing golf." Is that the only thing Clinton enjoyed doing with a cigar?
Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation." Rather than address Bunning's spending concerns, Reid declared: "Because of his objection, 2,000 federal transportation workers had to be furloughed without pay. 400,000 Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to ten days. And Medicare fees for doctors suddenly slashed by 21%."
Reid briefly noted: "Bunning wants the Democrats to come up with a way to pay the $10 billion price tag." A couple clips were played of the Kentucky Senator voicing his opposition: "And I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this....We cannot keep adding to the debt."
In a segment on the banking industry on CBS's Sunday Morning, fill-in anchor Anthony Mason cited the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" and wondered: "Who would you say is today's equivalent of the movie's villain, the dastardly Mister Potter?" His answer: "If you ask the Huffington Post's web mistress Arianna Huffington, it's these guys." Footage rolled of big bank CEOs.
Mason touted Huffington's class warfare against the banks: "Are you angry at banks that are supposedly too big to fail....Well, an internet provocateur has some advice....Huffington has launched a campaign that drives the point home with a sledge hammer....The 'Move Your Money' campaign urges customers to move their money out of the big banks and into smaller community oriented ones."
A clip was played of Huffington arguing: "JP Morgan, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo. These banks that received taxpayer money...have not really done their job of helping small businesses at lending." At no point in the segment did Mason refer to Huffington as liberal or point out the government's role in creating the financial crisis.
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
Speaking to California Governor Arnold Schwarzengger on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted the success of the tea party movement, but spun it as a negative for the Republican Party: "There are winds of change blowing in the Republican Party. The tea party has met. There's a – it feels like a significant shift to the Right. Can the Republican Party exist without moderates?"
Prior to that, Smith asked if Schwarzenegger had any helpful advice for President Obama: "His approval ratings are dropping. He's under fire from all kinds of quadrants. If you're going to give him some advice as to how to stay his course, what would you tell him?" Schwarzenegger initially replied: "I don't think that...he needs advice from me." He then went on to praise the President's efforts on health care reform: "you have to give him credit for taking the risk. You have to give any leader credit for always going out on a limb and to go and fight for something."
Smith failed to wonder if Democrats could survive without moderates following the announced retirement of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh last week.
Appearing in the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim claimed that President Obama's latest version of health care reform was actually a conservative approach: "We actually already have a Republican bill, and it's the one that Obama has proposed....It's all about choice. Everything in it is a Republican kind of free market-based idea."
Speaking to anchor David Shuster, Grim continued his bizarre argument: "The idea that this is a Democratic bill, you know, that this is some left-wing plot, some government takeover that they're going to ram through the Senate, is the part that's the problem. This is a very centrist, leaning conservative health care reform bill."
The segment also featured Sally Pipes, author of "Top 10 Myths of American Health Care," who dismantled Grim's assertions: "I disagree with Ryan that this is a conservative blueprint that the President has put forward. It's very much not what the Republicans are talking about in terms of changing the tax code, portability, reducing mandates. What this is about is getting government more involved in our health care industry."
On CBS's Sunday Morning, movie reviewer David Edelstein heaped praised upon The Ghost Writer, the latest film by director, and indicted child rapist, Roman Polanski: "Whatever you say about this man, a victim and a victimizer, he's an artist to the end. He can conjure up on screen his inner world. However, malignant."
Edelstein began the review by proclaiming that Polanski's new film: "shows its maker at the height of his powers." That despite the admission that the director is "likely en route to the slammer for a rape he committed in the '70s." Edelstein later gushed: "Polanski's The Ghost Writer is alive and gripping from its first frame....There's an icky erotic undertone. With Polanski, sex and death are sibling close."
Interestingly, on NPR's Morning Edition radio program on Friday, movie reviewer Kenneth Turan had almost identical praise for the controversial director: "Roman Polanski is back, his new film, The Ghost Writer, is a dark pearl of a movie, made with the flare and precision of a director suddenly returned to the height of his powers." Turan later hoped: "With any kind of luck, The Ghost Writer will help Roman Polanski catch fire one last time."
In an October 1, 2009 column entitled "Hollywood's Favorite Rapist," NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell detailed how those in the entertainment industry and the news media have defended Polanski in the wake of the director's recent arrest and indictment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith promoted the idea of division within the GOP as he declared: "A controversial vote for brand new Republican Senator Scott Brown, as he sides with Democrats to help push through a jobs bill."
While it's certainly true that some conservatives took real issue with Brown's support of the $15 billion spending bill, Smith clearly saw an opportunity to stir up conflict on the Right: "the senator who broke the Democrats' super majority, Scott Brown, is taking some heat today from conservatives."
Rather than talk to any conservatives about the issue, Smith instead turned to liberal-leaning political analyst John Dickerson and observed that Brown siding with Democrats was a sign of his independence: "It's very interesting, though, because Scott Brown actually showed up at the CPAC meeting, the conservative meeting over the weekend in Washington, and yesterday he was quoted as 'I said I came to Washington to be an independent voice.'" Dickerson replied: "That's right. He said he was going to be independent and he, in fact, voted independently in this case."
In part two of her exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez worried about the toll the presidency takes on Barack Obama: "Your husband is the target of so many of these partisan attacks....He must get frustrated?" Rodriguez later wondered: "Amid all these frustrations, how does he unwind, how does he let that all go?"
Rodriguez asked about Mrs. Obama's reaction to criticism of her husband: "How often do you have to bite your tongue?" The First Lady explained: "You can't go into this if you're thin-skinned or you're worrying about your husband being criticized or you being criticized." Rodriguez remarked, "And criticize they do," and played clips of Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as examples of the "frustrating partisan attacks" being launched against the President.
Later, Rodriguez asked about the Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they deal with the "poisonous environment" of Washington: "Do they not hear the attacks?" Mrs. Obama replied: "Everyone in this country cares about those girls....we have been pleasantly surprised that our children have experienced that kind of good naturedness of this country."