Imagine that FDR, in his first inaugural, instead of rallying Americans with the notion that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," had stoked the nation's unease by harping on how bad the Depression was. If Mike Allen had been around in 1933, perhaps he would have defended FDR by writing "there was plenty of unease before the speech, so it's hard to blame the President."
For that is the same approach that the Politico's Allen took in his Playbook this morning in defending President Obama's divisive remarks of yesterday on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial. Wrote Allen [emphasis added]: "Many conservatives are complaining that the remarks will stoke division and dissension. But there was plenty of that before, so it's hard to blame POTUS." Some might accuse Allen of the soft bigotry of low expectations. More after the jump.
Trying to decide which is the bigger story here: 1. Mika Brzezinski speculating that Liz Cheney asked Ed Rollins, as a favor, to call her a "bored housewife"; or 2. Joe Scarborough saying that whenever he imitates Zbigniew Brzezinski's accent, Brzezinski beefs that he's making him "sound like a rabbi."
You be the judge. Both happened on today's Morning Joe. Liz Cheney has taken some heat for suggesting that sitting Republican Senator Enzi is old and confused. Mika seemed to be suggesting that having Rollins take a sexist shot at her would transform Cheney from aggressor into victim. There was a jocular jot in Mika's conjecture, but she did insist to Joe "you know that I'm right." View the video after the jump.
Joe Scarborough might want to reflect on people in glass houses, casting the first stone, beam in your eye—all the adages counseling against hypocrisy, against condemning others for sins without considering one's own wrongs.
In a Politico piece brimming with self-righteousness, Scarborough bemoans the "vulgar state" of American politics and condemns "hyperbolic political pronouncements" about the case. Hyperbolic? We got your hyperbole right here. Does Joe not remember that in 2012, long before all the facts of the case were available, he eagerly condemned George Zimmerman as a "murderer"? More after the jump.
Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Jesse Jackson condemned the Zimmerman verdict as a "tremendous miscarriage of justice." It is a mark of Jackson's misconception of just what constitutes justice that chief among his complaints was that Trayvon Martin was denied a jury of his peers because there were no African-Americans or men on it.
But—as Jackson is apparently unaware—the Constitution provides that it is the accused, not the possible victim, who is entitled to an impartial jury [in fact the Constitution nowhere speaks of a jury of peers]. View the video after the jump.
On today's Morning Joe, after proclaiming "I love Hillary," Joe Scarborough fretted that the media might not give her a fair shake in 2016.
Scarborough claimed that although the media has been biased against Republicans, "I've never seen the media more biased against any single candidate than they were Hillary Clinton in 2007 and 2008." Howard Dean chimed in to predict that the media will indeed give Hillary a "rough ride" in 2016. Right. View the video after the jump.
Want to be "heroic" on immigration in Andrea Mitchell's eyes? Easy: team up with Chuck Schumer and President Obama to push amnesty through Congress. Want to earn Andrea's ire? Focus on border security. She'll scold you and say you should be "ashamed."
Yes, there was Andrea on today's Morning Joe, praising amnesty-pushing McCain as "heroic," while scolding conservatives who want to focus on border security. They "ought to be be ashamed," said Mitchell. View the video after the jump.
As defenses go to the charge of having lied to the people of New York about illegal activities, Eliot Spitzer's was feeble at best. Hey, politicans lie all the time about all sorts of stuff, was the essence of Client #9-turned-Comptroller-candidate's response.
Spitzer's lame defense [he literally said: "I think we all know that politicians dissemble all the time about negotiations, on substantive issues and probably on personal issues as well"] came in response to some serious grilling by Mark Halperin on today's Morning Joe. The Spitzer segment was set up to feature Mika Brzezinski as chief inquisitor, but it was actually Halperin who subjected Spritzer to the closest scrutiny. View the video after the jump.
No wonder Dan Abrams left MSNBC . . . The former legal analyst at the "Lean Forward" network, now at ABC, expressed an opinion this morning that would surely be unwelcome at his former shop.
Guest-hosting on Good Morning America, Abrams opined that as a legal matter "I don't see how a jury convicts" George Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter. Abrams sees too much reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case to warrant a guilty verdict. View the video after the jump.
This Fourth of July weekend is turning into an unforseen laff-fest. Yesterday we had NBC featuring a photo of President Obama making what he might have thought was an assertive hand gesture while discussing the situation in Egypt with his aides.
Today treats us to historian Douglas Brinkley, on Morning Joe, claiming that when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama reminds him of, yes, Supreme-Allied-Commander-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. View the chuckle-worthy video after the jump.
President Obama's Egypt policy—if you can call it that—has been a feckless disaster. He has somehow managed to score the dubious hat trick of alienating former President Mubarak's supporters in the military, the backers of ousted President Morsi, and the millions in the street whose demonstrations led the military to depose him.
So what image of President Obama does Today feature this morning in its segment on Egypt? Why, of PBO extending a forceful fist toward a tableful of aides, including Susan Rice and Eric Holder. Such a strong leader, that Obama! View the photo and video after the jump.
News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.
But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum. But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues. More after the jump.
Latest dispatch from the Department of Pot-Meet-Kettle. On today's Face the Nation, Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who overnight went from being a national unknown to a rising star who today appeared on count-em three Sunday talk shows, has accused politicians of using the abortion issue "to boost their own political aspirations."
Davis also accused Texas Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst of putting thousands of Texas women "in harm's way in order for them to step up the political ladder." Bob Schieffer never called Davis on her hypocrisy. View the video after the jump.
If a Republican senator cast a vote out of craven political cowardice, do you really think he'd admit that to Joe Biden?
That's what the Veep wants us to believe. In a Dem fundraising email from Bident that just turned up in my inbox, Biden wrote [emphasis added]: "When I asked several Republican senators after they voted against background checks, not one offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn't vote for them. But almost to a person, they said, "I don't want to take on Ted Cruz. I don't want to take on Rand Paul. They'll be in my district." More after the jump.
On Morning Joe today, Jonathan Capehart hailed the loud protest in the Texas Capitol gallery by pro-abortion rights advocates—which prevented the state senate from voting on a pro-life bill—as an example of "democracy in action."
Joe Scarborough countered that if pro-life protesters had done the same, people on MSNBC and elsewhere would be calling them an "angry, unruly mob." Interestingly, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters agreed with Scarborough, saying he was "absolutely right." Capehart had no rebuttal. View the video after the jump.
Another day, another bizarre blooper by Joe Scarborough regarding the trial of George Zimmerman.
We reported yesterday that Scarborough—ignoring the rule against double jeopardy—claimed that the absence of African-Americans on the jury would subject a verdict to immediate appeal. Today, the Morning Joe host curiously claimed that the prosecution had a big hill to climb because "you don't know who fired the shot." What? Zimmerman has admitted from the beginning that he shot Trayvon Martin, albeit in self-defense. When Al Sharpton [who has actually been more circumspect in his remarks about the trial than Scarborough] pointed this out, Scarborough quickly changed the subject. Scarborough also claimed that he, Sharpton and "everybody" think the same as to what was in Zimmerman's mind. Really? View the video after the jump.
Do the words "double jeopardy" ring a bell, Joe? In 2012, shortly after Trayvon Martin was killed, and when few facts were available, Joe Scarborough didn't hesitate to brand George Zimmerman a "murderer."
Scarborough's pro-prosecution bias was on display again on Morning Joe today, when he declared that the absence of African-Americans on the George Zimmerman jury would "immediately" make a verdict subject to appeal. Really? So if this jury were to acquit Zimmerman, the prosecution would have a valid basis to overturn the verdict on appeal? Sure sounds like double jeopardy—but Scarborough never raised that concern. View the video after the jump.
On her MSNBC show this morning, Melissa Harris-Perry vilified John Boehner as a "super-villain," a "bad guy" and "pitiful." His sin? Failing to pass the farm bill.
So who is MH-P's idea of a good Speaker? Why, Nancy Pelosi, of course. Harris-Perry praised Pelosi as "one of the most effective leaders in the House's history." So effective that, as a result of her disastrous leadership, Pelosi's Dem House caucus went down to crushing electoral defeat in 2010. View the video after the jump.
To say that Mika Brzezinski was "moved" by Joe Manchin's ad, responding to one by the NRA criticizing the Dem senator from West Virginia for supporting new gun-control measures, is a decided understatement.
Have a look at the ad, which Manchin debuted on Morning Joe today, then have a go at describing Mika's emotional reaction. View the video after the jump.
Who was Morning Joe protecting: the sensitive ears of its viewers, or Hillary Clinton?
During a discussion of the death of the feisty and fearless reporter Michael Hastings, Morning Joe bleeped out Joe Scarborough's reading from an email from Hastings to Philippe Reines, Hillary's personal spokesman during her Secretary of State tenure. Hastings had accused Reines of "b---s---" answers on the State Department's handling of Benghazi. The extended bleeping wasn't simply of the offending word, but of Hastings' entire sentence, so listeners never learned the thrust of his accusation. View the video after the jump.
Things got feisty on Morning Joe today, as Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian clashed with Mika Brzezinski over the leak of the NSA phone surveillance program by Greenwald's informant, Edward Snowden. H/t NB reader Jeff M.
When Brzezinski alleged that wiretapping or the review by the NSA of emails required an additional judicial review and warrant, Greenwald accused Mika of using "White House talking points" that were "completely misleading and false." Mika denied it. Greenwald upped the animosity by telling Mika she would have known better if she had paid even "remote attention" to the issues over the last ten years. View the video after the jump.
MSNBC and Anthony Weiner: made for each other like a frank and a bun?
Today's New York Daily Newsreports that when NYC mayoral candidate Weiner got into an argument on the campaign trail yesterday, he boasted that despite his mistakes, "I am still gonna be out there leaning forward." "Lean Forward" is of course MSNBC's lefty slogan, featured in many promos that NB has analyzed, as here and here. More after the jump.
Looks like Mike Barnicle's not going to let anyone get to his PC-left when it comes to women.
On today's Morning Joe, Barnicle claimed that "a lot of men . . . fear the fact—and I think it's a fact—that women are better balanced than men. They have better judgment about things than a lot of men." Barnicle's comment during a discussion about the statement made yesterday by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that the decline in educational outcomes for children today is due to the entry of women into the workforce. View the video after the jump.
A classic case of MSM jujitsu. Yesterday, Darrell Issa called Jay Carney a "paid liar." So did Morning Joe today dig down to see if Issa was right? Of course not. Instead, its focus was on Issa--how he is "overreaching," "overplaying," etc. H/t NB reader Wayne T.
The quintessential statement came from Mika Brzezinski, who actually said that Issa's accusation "makes us all want to walk away and ignore" the White House scandals. It's not as if Mika & Co. needed much convincing! View the video after the jump, along with a medley of statements from Mika, Brian Shactman, Joe Scarborough, Jon Meacham, Chuck Todd and Robert Gibbs along similar lines.
When it comes to identifying nutcases, some might say that Howard Dean gleans valuable experience daily, while shaving.
The failed presidential candidate put his expertise to dubious use on Morning Joe today, calling National Review editor Rich Lowry a "right-wing nutcase." Lowry's sin? Having written a column mocking Eric Holder, and President Obama's decision to put Holder in charge of investigating himself in the James Rosen affair. View the video after the jump.
Do people still mail resumes? If so John Heilemann can save himself the stamp required to send his to Vanity Fair, should he ever consider a shift from his current spot at New York.
On today's Morning Joe, Heilemann bizarrely trashed—excuse the pun—the staff at Vanity Fair. Said the Game Change co-author: "it's well known Vanity Fair has a congenital, pervasive alcohol dependency problem . . they're all drunk over there." View the video after the jump.
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
Let me preface by saying that I'm not criticizing Bill Karins for his choice of words. Thank, uh, goodness, we live in a country where we're free to believe in any God or no God at all.
But I do see Karins' construction as a sign of the cultural times. The Morning Joe meteorologist today aired dramatic footage of the weatherman at the NBC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas ordering his colleagues to take shelter because a tornado was headed right at the station. Said Karins: "By the grace of whatever, God or whatever else, it lifted the second it got right to the TV station." You'll hear Karins hesitate and change course when he realizes he's put himself on a path to say "by the grace of God." View the video after the jump.
UPDATE: Not one second about the IRS scandal in the entire show. GMA just went off the air and managed to avoid mentioning the dreaded I-word. The second half-hour featured two more Powerball segments, and features on Beyoncé's possible pregnancy, Bieber's monkey, and a kangaroo. IRS scandal? What IRS scandal? ABC couldn't find a second for it.
Bianna Golodryga opened today's Good Morning America by announcing that it was "a very busy Saturday morning." So busy, in fact, that GMA couldn't spare one second in its first half-hour for the IRS scandal. That despite yesterday's stonewalling testimony by the outgoing IRS Commissioner in which he had the colossal chutzpah to deny there had been any political motive in the targeting of conservative organizations.
So what kept GMA so busy? By far the longest segment was devoted to . . . the Powerball lottery. Just in the first half-hour, GMA spent 325 seconds—over five minutes—on the lottery and its big prize. One report from stores where lottery tickets are being sold didn't suffice. There were two. Those were followed by an interview with a lottery official. GMA even managed to squeeze in a report of a bear that had climbed into a tree. But the IRS? Sorry: too busy. More after the jump.
Call it Luke Russert's version of "bitter clingers" on steroids . . . In Russert's world, there are apparently two kinds of Republican congressmen. The "smart" ones—to be found on the Ways & Means Committee—and the others, whom he calls the "God, guns and guts people," presumably in reference to this book.
Russert made his statement on today's Morning Joe, responding to Joe Scarborough's question as to whether Republicans would overplay their hand over the current scandals. According to Russert, Republicans chose well in holding today's hearing of IRS officials before the Ways & Means Committee because that's where the GOP puts its stars: "it's not the God, guns and guts people on the Ways & Means Committee: it's the smart people." View the video after the jump.
What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.