Update below the break: When it came to Roger Ailes and George Will, the media ethicists were out in full force. Why not for Zakaria? | Update May 15: Zakaria denies he "advises" Obama
CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of the weekend show Fareed Zakaria GPS and editor-at-large for Time magazine, admitted on CNN Thursday that he has been advising President Obama on foreign policy matters.
Eliot Spitzer, host of CNN's In the Arena, brought up the fact at the very end of a conversation with Zakaria about Pakistan and foreign policy. Zakaria affirmed it and clarified that "mostly it's been face-to-face meetings...organized by Tom Donilon, the national security advisor."
Ron Paul may be considered a "fringe" conservative for his beliefs, but as a U.S. congressman running for a major party presidential ticket he received some bizarre coverage on CNN Friday. Anchor Carol Costello chuckled as the network played a clip of comedian Conan O'Brien mocking Paul's presidential bid, before asking her panel about the 2012 presidential field.
"We couldn't help but play a Conan O'Brien spot to lead into this Ron Paul segment," Costello admitted with a grin during the 10 a.m. EDT news hour Friday.
The clip featured TBS's O'Brien laughing at Paul's lax positions on the legalization of heroin and prostitution. "Yeah, his campaign slogan is 'Let's just see what would happen,'" O'Brien joked.
PBS's Tavis Smiley offered his own half-baked assumptions Friday on the 2012 GOP presidential contenders. The far-left anchor dismissed the GOP field as a bunch of nobodies on the 9 a.m. EDT hour of CNN Newsroom.
"You can't beat somebody with nobody," he quipped when asked what GOP contender poses the biggest threat to President Obama's re-election. "I don't see somebody yet that the president should be all that concerned about, at least to the point of losing sleep."
Smiley also hit Obama for not doing more to help unemployed African-Americans. He assumed the reason Obama is hesitant to do so is his fear of accusations of being "tribal."
On Thursday morning, CNN largely dismissed the controversy over the White House invite of rapper Common, using talking points from the White House and Comedy Central's Daily Show to marginalize conservative critics.
Anchor Carol Costello deflected attention away from the rapper's violent lyrics by quoting a rap of his that has a pro-life message. She quoted none of his violent lyrics, however. Common has composed work in the past praising cop-killer Assata Shakur in "A Song for Assata," and has also ranted "burn a Bush" in rapping about the former president.
Conservatives were outraged over the artist's invite to the White House for an evening of poetry and song. The White House did condemn his violent lyrics "that has been written about" press secretary Jay Carney clarified, but did not renege on Common's invitation.
CNN's Eliot Spitzer challenged Congressman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on the GOP's immigration stance Tuesday, but was content with liberal Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) hitting Republicans as "cold and reactionary" on the issue.
The former Democrat governor of New York pressed Royce on Republican opposition to the DREAM Act and pressured him to admit that President Obama has been tougher on border security than President Bush. Meanwhile, Spitzer simply asked Gutierrez if he agreed with Obama's Tuesday speech and if he would hold Obama's "feet to the fire."
According to a USA Today analysis, Americans are paying a lower percentage of income tax rates now than in the 1970s-1990s – and CNN's Jack Cafferty used this fact Monday to ask if raising taxes should be the first priority in Congress's deficit reduction plan. He hinted that the Treasury could use the extra revenue from higher taxes.
Then on Tuesday, CNN Anchor Carol Costello continued the talking points on the 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. EDT news hours, asking if it is time "for the GOP to blink" on the tax hike standoff. "[Obama] toppled Osama bin Laden. But can he slay the budget dragon? Not without striking a deal with this guy, House Speaker John Boehner," Costello ominously declared.
If CNN's Roland Martin gives the same answer as a tea party conservative, you know you've asked him a pretty bizarre question. On Monday's 10 a.m. EDT news hour, CNN anchor Carol Costello asked the panel if Obama is now "unbeatable" due to the killing of Osama bin Laden, falling gas prices, and a positive May jobs report.
Of course, the election is over one year away, not all of the possible Republican candidates have officially declared their intentions, and the direction of the economy remains to be seen. But CNN apparently thought it fitting to ask the experts if the 2012 election is all but decided.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz used the killing of Osama bin Laden to revisit how the media were too deferential to the Bush administration. Kurtz questioned the validity of the terror alerts in the years following 9/11 and wondered if they were used for political gain. Kurtz, comparing the press coverage of the bin Laden assassination and the War on Terror, pondered if there was a "climate of fear" post-9/11 and asked "did the media contribute to that?"
"Is it possible that the Bush administration, for political reasons, chose to play up the War on Terror in a way that the Obama administration has chosen not to?" Kurtz asked guest Brian Ross of ABC News. Ross didn't see the same conspiracy theory on the Bush administration, simply saying that they had a "different mindset" in the matter than Obama.
Ever looking to criticize the American populace from his cardboard platform, filmmaker Michael Moore lashed out Thursday on CNN at supporters of Osama bin Laden's assassination. "We've lost something of our soul here in this country," he said of the mission to kill the al Qaeda leader rather than capture him and try him in court.
A guest on Piers Morgan Tonight, Moore contrasted the assassination with the post-World War II Nuremburg trials. He claimed that America then, unlike now, put itself above the level of its enemies by trying their leaders instead of simply executing them.
The liberal filmmaker ripped Americans' disregard for a trial and their support of an assassination. "The second you say that, you're saying that you hate being an American," he huffed. "You hate what we stand for, you hate what our constitution stands for....We should be standing up and saying 'listen, damn it, we're Americans. This is the way we do it. You commit a crime, we put you on trial.'"
On Wednesday's The View, ABC's Barbara Walters slobbered over the "courage, and the guts, and the coolness" of President Obama in ordering the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden. "It was enormously, enormously courageous," she said of the president's decision to commence the mission to kill or capture the al Qaeda leader.
"President Bush tried, President Clinton tried, but Barack Obama was the one who had the courage and the guts and the coolness," Walters said of the mission before being drowned out in applause from the audience.
America should consider gathering important national security information by giving terrorists book deals, or paying them off, says the liberal Joy Behar. The HLN host offered her bizarre expertise on foreign intelligence Tuesday morning on ABC's The View.
"If we use these enhanced techniques, then they [the terrorists] can use them on us," Behar said of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which include the practice of "waterboarding" and are used by the U.S. military to extract information from prisoners. The panel was discussing whether America should be using the interrogation program to gather intelligence, if indeed it does produce valuable information.
Apparently, the Left will never get over John Kerry's loss in the 2004 presidential election. On Thursday's Joy Behar Show, Joy Behar used a discussion of the "birther" claims against Barack Obama to slam what she called the "lies" of the Swift Boat veterans, who challenged Kerry's account of his service in Vietnam.
"Does this treatment remind you of the swift-boating that went on when John Kerry was running? ...These people make up a lie, they continue the lie, they perpetuate the lie, and then people start to believe it. They destroyed Kerry," Behar ranted to a liberal guest, Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill.
In smearing the anti-Kerry veterans, Behar is following in the steps of many others in the liberal media. Back in 2008, then-New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon (NYT Magazine, August 3, 2008) berated Boone Pickens for financially backing the group four years earlier: "You help re-elect Bush in '04 when you gave $3 million to the Swift Boat campaign to discredit John Kerry's Vietnam service. Do you regret your involvement?"
In an interview with FishbowlNY Wednesday, CNN's Eliot Spitzer dismissed any claim to objectivity in his reporting and answered "I don't know" when asked if he is a commentator or a journalist. This came after he recently told the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell "I don't have a bias," on his CNN show "In the Arena."
Spitzer told FishbowlNY that he doesn't know if he is a journalist or a commentator. "When the issue of objectivity comes up, I don't think there is any such thing as objectivity," he added.
"I don't mean to say you infuse everything with bias and don't try to be rigorously factual, but how you present every fact depends upon the prism through which you see it."
CNN's Deborah Feyerick took the offensive Tuesday and emphasized the negative effects of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's cuts to education funding. Feyerick highlighted the plight of an illiterate kindergartner from a "high risk" neighborhood as an example of student who could be affected by budget cuts. The segment ran during the 8 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday's "American Morning" on CNN.
CNN featured a young girl from a "high risk" school district, who needs a literacy tutor to ensure she can read at her classmates' level. CNN then aired Trenton Public School superintendent Raymond Broach's dour reaction to the $12 million cut from the district's budget last year. "You've just made that race for some learners almost next to impossible," he told CNN.
The "erosion" of progressive policies in the U.S. has led to a "dramatic" rise of economic inequality in the past few decades, writes Princeton historian Julian Zelizer in a CNN.com op-ed. The incline has been so steep that Zelizer's headline asks "Are we heading for royal weddings in the U.S.?"
According to Zelizer, the upcoming British royal wedding "reminds some Americans of what America has never been," because America has never cherished an aristocratic tradition. But that could change due to a "dangerous accretion of power by wealthy interests and a dramatic rise of inequality...that weakens the health of our democracy."
CNN's Jessica Yellin, filling in for host John King on Thursday's "John King, USA," delved into the mystery of Hollywood's disenchantment with President Obama – and wondered if it isn't due to celebrity liberals being "spoiled."
Yellin's guest was outspoken liberal Joy Behar, host of HLN's "The Joy Behar Show" and co-host of ABC's "The View," who believes Obama has more charisma than Lady Gaga.
In a bizarre wrap-up to the 2 p.m. EDT hour of CNN "Newsroom" Thursday, anchor T.J. Holmes confessed his "eco-sins" to the audience. Commemorating the eve of "Earth Day," Holmes admitted to his "green" faults which included driving an SUV by himself to work daily, blasting the heat in his house during winter, and using "less efficient" incandescent bulbs for lighting.
"These are my eco-sins. I'm confessing them to you because tomorrow is Earth Day," Holmes announced to the audience.
"It often goes ignored by many of us, including me. Not going to ignore it this year. Why? Well, maybe it was an awakening. Maybe I was scolded recently by an environmentalist. Maybe I'm tired of wasting my own money," he rambled, before wishing the audience a happy Earth Day.
CNN contributor John Avlon, labeled an "independent," was all but sounding the death knell for 2012 Republican presidential hopes on CNN Thursday. Avlon took Republican criticism of notable figures such as Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann and spun it to tout that the GOP is in trouble.
"This is the sound of Republicans getting nervous," Avlon ominously sounded. "It really hurts the Republican Party in the long-term."
Anchor Carol Costello opened the segment with a clip of Bush's former senior advisor Karl Rove dismissing Donald Trump as an "inconsequential candidate" over his "embrace of the 'birther' issue." Costello added that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sarah Palin are under fire from other Republicans and conservatives for some of their own views.
They may not be officially celebrating "Green Week," but CNN was fully in the spirit of the week Wednesday morning. Anchor Carol Costello expressed her dismay that Congress has not acted in the last year to prevent another disaster like the BP oil spill, and seemed to want more safety regulations and laws for oil companies to follow in a disaster.
"Congress doesn't seem to be in charge," Costello lamented, on the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that began the massive oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
When CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar reported that House committees have been moving legislation to speed up drilling permits and open up new offshore drilling areas, Costello was troubled.
In an interview with liberal actress Shirley MacLaine, HLN's Joy Behar admitted that Bill O'Reilly "bullies you around a little bit" and suggested he needs to a figure to "smack him around" as the two women teed off on the popular Fox News host.
"Well, he is little bit intimidating as you say," Behar remarked to MacLaine confirming her . He bullies you a little bit, I think. I felt that." At the end of the segment MacLaine insisted that O'Reilly needs a motherly figure like Joy Behar to control him. "To smack him around," Behar added, and MacLaine agreed.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
CNNMoney.com ran a provocative piece Friday listing what it determined to be the top "meanest budget cuts." The website laid out seven government programs that are victims of the recent budget compromise – programs that provide assistance to the poor and support humanitarian causes overseas.
Most of the individual cuts make up a small fraction of each program's annual budget, and a Democratic source is quoted multiple times downplaying the significance of the cuts. Don't tell CNN, however, as these cuts are apparently "mean."
CNN's Ed Henry and Ali Velshi both think taxes should be raised in order to help reduce the deficit. However, neither gave any credence to the notion that raising taxes is detrimental in the current economic conditions on Thursday's "American Morning."
CNN's senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, reporting on the President's deficit-cutting proposals, remarked that in order to trim the deficit, both spending must be cut and taxes increased. This would mean that both Democrats and Republicans would be forced to vote for measures they wouldn't normally support.
Co-host Ali Velshi also agreed that higher taxes are necessary, and that since President Obama has had to "compromise," so to will Republicans and Democrats have to compromise on fiscal issues. "Just as [Obama] has come around despite what happened the last election, despite the end of the year deals, despite his own debt commission and despite the showdown, the President has come around," Velshi said.
On last Friday and on this past Tuesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper ran fact-checks against the claims of two anti-abortion members of Congress against Planned Parenthood – but did not bother to conduct similar fact checks on the claims of Planned Parenthood and its Democratic supporters.
During his Tuesday segment of "Keeping Them Honest," Cooper countered the claims of conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) that Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the U.S. "They are a big abortion provider, although that's only a small fraction of what they do," he stated.
On Monday night's "Piers Morgan," the CNN host professed his admiration for President Obama – but like any good liberal, sounded his disappointment that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still open. He tried to get his guests to share similar sentiments.
"I am quite an Obama fan, but I was quite disappointed that he did the big U-turn on Guantanamo, actually," Morgan admitted.
Hosting cast members of the upcoming film "The Conspirator," Morgan asked if the ethical issues in the plot – the post-Civil War trial of an accused co-conspirator in Lincoln's assassination – mirrored the ethical and constitutional questions of military trials of terrorists at Guantanamo, shortly after another American crisis.
Just hours before a last-minute deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats to prevent a government shutdown, CNN's Eliot Spitzer did some politicking of his own on Friday's "In the Arena."
The former Democrat governor of New York interviewed the wife of an army private and delved into the family's medical and financial information – a rather awkward spectacle – all to make the case against a government shutdown and cast a bad light on House Speaker Boehner's position on budget cuts.
After playing the father's good-bye message to his own family as he was leaving for Iraq, Spitzer thought that "John Boehner would cry if he saw that, no doubt," making an extra jab at the House Speaker's emotional temperament. "That's what he should be crying about, those army families not getting paid," Spitzer added for good measure.
Emphasizing that all but one of the top 30 income earners in the United States are white males, Mika Brzezinski clamored that it is time for the wealthy to pay their fair share and help solve the budget crisis on Monday's "Morning Joe."
Co-host Joe Scarborough and liberal New York Times columnist Charles Blow were in the midst of a debate about cutting entitlement spending when Mika chimed in. After Scarborough argued that making cuts to middle-class entitlements is necessary for the country's fiscal health, Brzezinski quipped that the rich should be contributing more to solve the budget deficit.
During an interview of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, CNN anchor Deborah Feyerick not only failed to ask Richards any tough questions about federal funding of the organization, but entirely misquoted the claim of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood services are abortions.
Feyerick began the segment attributing to Kyl a bizarre claim that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's funding goes to abortions. Obviously, that was red meat for Richards who dismantled the faux statement claiming that no federal funding goes to abortions.
The following is what Sen. Kyl said on the Senate floor: "Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don't have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol and your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."Sen. Kyl did not say that 90 percent of funding goes to abortions at Planned Parenthood, but that 90 percent of its services are abortions, another argument entirely.
On Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN senior political analyst David Gergen thought it an "outrage" for Republicans to shut down the government right now if Planned Parenthood is still funded. An agitated Gergen cast the amount of federal funding Planned Parenthood annually receives as "tiny," and failed to acknowledge that the Democrats are also contributing to the impasse by holding out for Planned Parenthood funding.
"It would be an outrage...for the Republicans to shut down the government on matter how much money we give to Planned Parenthood or how the EPA is funded," Gergen insisted.
Gergen repeatedly argued that the amount of funding Planned Parenthood receives is negligible, and the battle can be fought at another time.
Along with other institutions and people who will be impacted by a government shutdown, CNN spotlighted, throughout the day Thursday, the "grave" plight of museums and parks that may be forced to a "screeching halt" in the "height of tourism season."
CNN devoted its entire 2 p.m. EDT news hour to the possible government shutdown and what its consequences would be. Anchor Randi Kaye began the 2:15 p.m. EDT segment casting the shutdown as a "grave" threat to the U.S. economy and tourism.
"This couldn't come at a worse time," CNN's Kate Bolduan ominously declared during the 10 a.m. EDT news hour. "This is the height of the tourist season for the Smithsonian, for Washington."