The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
The left-wing comedian Jon Stewart is at it again after ripping conservative Republicans for going after public sector collective bargaining. Stewart updated the situation in Wisconsin Thursday night on the "Daily Show," reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introducing his new budget proposals.
"He has put public sector unions on notice, and particularly teachers, that the gravy train is over – even if the gravy is actually lunchroom cafeteria-grade gravy-like rehydrated soy chips," Stewart spun, painting the comfortable pensions and benefits of Wisconsin public school teachers as dog food compared with infamous Wall Street bonuses. He also shifted the debate – instead of going after public sector unions, conservatives somehow are anti-teacher, according to Stewart's logic.
Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.
Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.
"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."
MSNBC's Richard Lui questioned and generally disagreed with a St. Augustine High School alum who supported the school's 60 year tradition of corporal punishment – paddling – in a story MSNBC apparently thinks merits national attention.
Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."
The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.
Journalist Karen Hunter belittled Pastor Stephen Broden over his provocative pro-life billboard on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Thursday, calling the ad "racial," "sexist," and "completely offensive." Host Chris Jansing didn't do much moderating over the segment, essentially giving Hunter a pass for her statements and further pressing Broden on the billboard.
Pastor Broden is a board member of pro-life group Life Always that sponsored a billboard in New York City claiming that "The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American Is In the Womb." From the start of the interview, Jansing pressed Broden to admit that the ad may be offensive to minority communities.
"Can you understand why some people say this ad offends communities of color?" Jansing asked. She later turned to Hunter, who is a journalist and has co-authored multiple best-selling books with African-American celebrities. Jansing threw her a softball, simply asking her if she thought it racist, sexist, and/or offensive.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who was raised a Baptist, criticized Dr. Edward Peters, a Vatican canon law adviser, Wednesday on "Morning Joe," for his call to deny Holy Communion to a public figure who is living "in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church."
"Deny Communion? I'm sorry, and not to get religious here, but Jesus said, you know, 'I didn't come here to heal the healthy,'" Scarborough trumpeted from his soapbox.
"Why don't they first open the books on past priests who have victimized children?" columnist and "Morning Joe" regular Mike Barnicle chimed in, following Scarborough's lead.."That shows rigor. That would be a mistake," CNBC anchor Jim Cramer lampooned the Church.
The issue at hand is not a matter of whether Dr. Peters is "butting in" and questioning Cuomo's faith or unduly condemning him. The Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law 915 explicitly states that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy Communion."
MSNBC's Chris Jansing, referencing a report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on "active U.S. hate groups," asked Wednesday if the rise of radical right-wing groups coincided with the motives behind Jared Loughner's assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
When asked about the "hate groups" report, guest Mark Potok of the SPLC immediately pointed to the rise of "radical right-wing groups" and attributed the rise to "resentment over the changing racial demographics," "frustration over the lagging economy," and "mainstreaming of conspiracy theories."
"The economy since the fall of 2008, of course, has really played into this in terms of unemployment, anger with the bailouts, and so on," added Potok. "It's really ginned-up anti-government feeling, in many ways."
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and regular guest John Heilemann both pulled the class warfare card and pressured Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) Tuesday on why he did not raise taxes on the wealthy to cover the state's budget shortfall, rather than pushing to require union members pay into their pensions.
"You're receiving a lot of criticism for only asking the other side to give, and they have given – on health care and pensions. Are you asking people in your state across the board, including the wealthiest, to give, to help deal with the crisis....and I mean tax increases for the wealthy, or in any way, has anyone else been asked to give?" Brzezinski pressed Walker.
Following up on Brzezinski's question, New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann asked Walker why he cut the corporate income tax rate and chose to go after unions – but Walker corrected him. "We didn't cut corporate taxes," he answered.
On MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Tuesday, liberal journalist Carl Bernstein criticized the continued stance of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) against the right of public unions to collectively bargain. The liberal Watergate journalistic "legend" labeled the governor's efforts as "ahistorical" and "demagogic."
When the governor cut into benefits and pensions of state employees to solve a budget shortfall, union members and supporters of their cause took to the streets of the state capital. Later they were willing to compromise on the amount they had to pay for their benefits, but they demanded to keep their collective bargaining ability. The governor was not willing to cut that deal.
Bernstein said Gov. Walker's move went beyond his own prudence, calling it a "very political, demagogic move by a governor who knows that the Democratic Party subsists to some extent on union contributions." He even called out conservatives for making too many issues into partisan battles.
For about seven minutes on Monday's "Morning Joe," Chris Matthews celebrated his President's Day fawning over former President Clinton. Matthews had nothing but praise for the nation's 42nd president in anticipation of the documentary "President of the World" – apparently Clinton's new title – airing at 10 p.m. EST Monday on MSNBC.
"You know, Churchill's huge in this country and he's 70-30 back in England, and Nixon is probably 20-80 here, but in France he's about 60-40. You know, he's 100-0 around the world, Bill Clinton," Matthews remarked. Apparently Clinton is more liked around the globe than Churchill.
"He is, I don't know what IQ, what, 160? I don't know what it is" Matthews rambled, in awe of Clinton's intellect. "He studies economics an hour a day," he added. "He gets up every morning and does, like, a daily office....Somebody asked me the other day what makes him click? I said he won't quit. He doesn't want the lights to go out. It isn't complicated. I don't want to go to sleep, mommy."
In the midst of outcry that Wisconsin teachers were skipping school to protest the governor's new budget bill and demand collective bargaining rights, NBC's Norah O'Donnell provided the teachers' motives as an argument for their side. She failed to mention why Wisconsin Gov. Walker cut into their benefits in the first place.
Covering the story on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," O'Donnell remarked that "I know there are some that think this is a travesty for the schoolchildren of that state." She added, however, "But these teachers are talking about their pensions, and they're worried about having to pay more for their health care costs, right?"
The explosive debate has featured voices from the left and right crying about the compensation Wisconsin public employees receive and what they pay in, compared with that of private sector workers. The conservative Heritage Foundation explains that Wisconsin's budget was already in the red, and that state employees enjoy generous benefits that many other citizens don't.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough thinks the GOP's house is already on fire in his latest Politico column, where he thrashes the party's leadership for a poor showing at CPAC. He ridiculed the gathering as "a conference cursed with dull speechmaking and intraparty battles."
"Like most Egyptians, the conservative movement still has no idea who will lead it through the next election," Scarborough writes. What is the biggest reason candidates have not entered the field, he thinks? They are scared to run against Obama.
"Crazy Larry" O'Donnell is at it again. On "Morning Joe" Wednesday, the MSNBC host questioned the entire debate over which government spending programs to slash, asking why the president and Congress are even considering cutting spending in the first place. "I think we've lost a first principle here," he remarked of the situation.
What is this "first principle" O'Donnell speaks of? "Why are we cutting spending in a recession?" he asked. "The recession has not included a jobs recovery yet. I don't think it makes any sense for the government to be downsizing while we don't yet have the jobs recovery." So apparently O'Donnell thinks that in the midst of a recession (which technically ended in June of 2009, although the recovery has been jobless) we cannot afford to cut spending programs, even those outside of Social Security and Medicare.
And at least O'Donnell admitted of no job recovery. As the MRC's Iris Somberg reported today, the major networks largely failed in the last two years to report President Obama's failed promise that the Stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent. Unemployment reached as high as 10.2 percent in the two years and still exceeds 8 percent.
Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson trashes conservative leaders in his latest column – for not taking a clear stand on the Egyptian crisis and for not supporting the populist protests. "Why don't conservatives love freedom?" he provocatively asked, concluding that if conservatives think 1.2 billion Muslims cannot be trusted to rule themselves, "that's not what I call loving freedom." His logic is deafening.
Robinson accused conservative leaders of opposing Obama's Egypt policy simply because they are thinking "heaven forbid the that the president get any credit." He used their "ambivalence" at CPAC – which he characterized as either silence or a vague shot at the Obama administration – to condemn what he thinks is their opposition to freedom in the Middle East.
"Mitt Romney went to CPAC and didn't mention Egypt at all, which was, you'd think he'd be paying attention," Robinson noted. He questioned other conservative leaders for being "so kind of silent, and/or grumpy throughout the CPAC gala, and even beyond, in the case of some conservatives. What we're talking about is freedom, which everybody wants and loves."
For about ten minutes on MSNBC Monday, Harvard History professor Niall Ferguson offered a articulate, detailed, and biting indictment of President Obama's handling of the crisis Egypt – and those disagreeing on the usually Obamaphilic "Morning Joe" panel could offer little of substance in response.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski began the segment reading Ferguson's latest column – which is the latest Newsweek magazine cover story – and asked him to expound on Egypt, saying that "it actually seems like it went pretty damn well." Perhaps she is referring to the many joyful reports from Tahrir Square amidst jubilant masses, or maybe CBS' Harry Smith doling out kisses to the crowd – but Ferguson offered a more dire assessment of the situation.
"You cannot make the foreign policy of a superpower up as you go along," Ferguson stated. He bludgeoned the Obama administration's slipshod policy, calling it "flip followed by flop followed by flip." He added that "they admitted that they had not planned for this scenario. I find that absolutely astonishing."
Tuesday's "Morning Joe" featured guest Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Rauf who tried to establish a mosque two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. The panel praised Khan and her husband as peace-making moderates, and arrogantly questioned why more Americans couldn't accept the mosque at Ground Zero.
"America is the beacon of the world," co-host Mika Brzezinski said echoing Khan's earlier words affirming American freedom. "And yet, we had such a controversy about the community center that you and your husband were trying to start blocks away from Ground Zero," she added, questioning the American "understanding" of the center.
"One of the most depressing things to me was the fact that in 2010, Americans seemed to be less accepting of Muslim Americans than they were even in the months after 9/11," co-host Joe Scarborough lamented from his soapbox. "Why do you think we Americans had such a reaction – again, in New York, a place that's supposed to be the most open-minded and pluralistic?" he asked guest Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine.
Reporting on President Obama's speech to the Chamber of Commerce Monday, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer sloppily labeled the Chamber as "conservative" in narrating the conflict between the business federation and the President. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, though it may have enjoyed the "conservative" label in the past, has supported major liberal legislation over the past few years in the name of being "pro-business."
"Two years, big business and President Obama were at odds," Brewer introduced the segment. "The boiling point – when Obama accused the conservative Chamber of Commerce of refusing to disclose the millions it spent on campaign ads to defeat Democrats."
The Chamber sent a letter to the U.S. Senate in February of 2009 imploring it to pass the Stimulus bill, H.R. 1. "The legislation is not perfect," the Chamber confessed, adding that "parts of the bill should be modified or eliminated. However, the Chamber urges the Senate to approve H.R. 1, and encourages Congress and the Administration to work on a conference report that provides timely, targeted, and temporary economic stimulus."
On Monday's "Morning Joe," co-host Mika Brzezinski launched into a passionate defense of President Obama's handling of tough press coverage in 2008. Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin retorted that Obama received soft coverage on the campaign trail, and has only recently learned how to face tough interviews. Brzezinski apparently thinks that is "revisionist thinking."
"He was raked over the coal– he had to do a freakin' speech about his race! Are you kidding me!?" Mika exclaimed when she was trying to rebut claims of Obama receiving soft media coverage.
When co-host Scarborough and Time magazine's Halperin agreed that President Obama did not receive tough press coverage as a senator or as a presidential candidate, Brzezinski spat back "No. That is revisionist thinking."
During a Monday morning recap of the Super Bowl, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough asked, tongue-in-cheek, if "right-wing, talk radio conservatives" would blame President Obama for the ghastly national anthem performance by four-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.
Amidst the light-hearted banter, Scarborough turned serious and asked "when we talked about what's driving the week – will conservatives, will conservatives – right-wing, talk radio conservatives – blame Barack Obama for Christina Aguilera defacing the national anthem?"
Time magazine's Mark Halperin, and co-host Willie Geist played along. "Glenn Beck's got the chalkboard going right now," Scarborough continued. "With the dotted line," Halperin added. "He's ready," chimed in Geist.
On Tuesday's "Daily Show," liberal comedian Jon Stewart flashed a smirk and wondered why the conservative base of the Republican Party is "so easily ignitable." The comedian hosted former Republican Party chair Michael Steele, who recounted the story of how he had to go about "re-igniting our base" after the party lost the White House and fell further into the minority in Congress in 2008.
"Why is it so easy to ignite your base?" Stewart asked with a smile. Amidst laughter from the audience, Michael Steele played along and quipped "they're an excitable bunch." Stewart kept at it. "They are so flammable, your base," he remarked, and added "so easily ignitable."
The remarks seem to echo Stewart's calls for civility in discourse, where he has focused much of his invective toward what he feels to be inflammatory political rhetoric. Earlier in the show, Stewart mocked "political hypochondriacs" on the Right who fear America will suffer the destructive fates of certain European and African countries; Stewart then lampooned Leftists who try to "cheer the hypochondriac up" by wishing America was in fact like certain European or Asian countries.
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski broke from the panel discussion Tuesday and implored Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to close the state's so-called gun show loophole. The MSNBC panel was discussing lax gun show laws allowing persons to purchase semi-automatic guns with little or no background check performed on them.
Brzezinski, seemingly abandoning journalism in favor of advocacy, tersely asked Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on camera to close the state's gun show loophole. "Just close the loophole. Governor Bob McDonnell," Brzezinski pleaded, staring into the camera as she singled out the state's chief executive.
Virginia law presently allows private transactions at gun shows to be completed without paperwork. Federal law mandates licenced gun sellers to perform background checks on buyers; private sellers are not obliged by the state to do so.
On Monday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough hinted that President Obama may have been a major catalyst of the current protests against the authoritarian Mubarak regime in Egypt. Scarborough referred to the president's 2009 Cairo speech and wondered if it inspired the present protests.
"Barack Obama, he goes to Cairo, he gives a speech, and he inspires – perhaps he's the one who inspires a lot of these Egyptians to get out into the streets eventually," Scarborough proposed.
The "Morning Joe" panel was discussing the transition of power in Egypt and how it might affect American politics. Scarborough characterized President Obama as on the one hand a possible galvanizing figure in the current push for freedom in Egypt, and yet on the other hand a world leader accused of inaction during oppression of Iranians by their government in 2009.
None of the broadcast news programs from Monday evening and Tuesday morning covered the 2011 "March for Life" in Washington, DC, a pro-life rally that reportedly drew at least tens of thousands of attendees.
Neither NBC, ABC, nor CBS gave any coverage Monday to the march on their respective evening news programs; none of the networks covered the story Tuesday morning. The New York Times did not cover the story, as the MRC's blog "Times Watch" documented. The Washington Post, however, did provide a fair account of the rally in its Metro section.
Although the Post did report "thousands" attended the march, good faith estimates are easily in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. The Post reported that attendees were "encouraged by recent federal and state GOP wins and hopeful about proposed measures that would further tighten bans on federal funding for abortions."
During his (in)famous "Psycho Talk" segment of his Thursday evening MSNBC show, host Ed Schultz played the clip of Rick Santorum's interview with Terry Jeffrey of CNSNews.com where Santorum challenged President Obama's plea of ignorance on the question of when a person receives the right to life. Schultz, himself a loud-mouth liberal radio talk show host prone to crazy talk branded Santorum's comments as "psycho talk."
Rick Santorum said the following about Barack Obama and abortion in the interview: "The question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
He later followed up his comments with a statement comparing abortion with slavery, and said he is "disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country."
In an interview with CNSNews.com last week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) referenced President Obama's African-American heritage last week and "found it remarkable" that he could be pro-abortion. Santorum, later clarifying his comments under media scrutiny, said he meant he is dismayed that a President who "rightfully" fights for civil rights ignores the civil rights of the unborn in America.
Santorum, speaking of President Obama's position on abortion, said in the interview "the question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
The media picked up on the comment and, without publishing what Santorum said leading up to the segment, questioned if he had racial motivations. Jennifer Epstein's Politico piece was headlined "Rick Santorum plays race card on President Obama." Epstein labeled Santorum's remark "eyebrow-raising."
Tamron Hall was joined by her MSNBC colleague Dylan Ratigan on Wednesday's edition of "News Nation" in condemning some members of corporate America for the way they have "demonized" the Obama administration. That slight of American businesses came during a dicussion of President Hu Jintao's U.S visit, in which Ratigan remarked that President Obama's greatest challenge will not be dealing with China, but American businesses who have invested heavily in China.
Carrying his sermonizing from his MSNBC morning show to Politico, Joe Scarborough railed against inflammatory political rhetoric in his latest Politico column – but hit conservative talk while ignoring leftist vitriol.
Calling them out by name, as he did recently on his show "Morning Joe," Scarborough pleaded with conservatives that if they can't be civil out of righteousness, they could at least practice civility for the sake of the Republican Party. "It's time to grow up," he lectured the Right, specifically pundits Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Of course, Scarborough made no criticism whatsoever of inflammatory rhetoric from the Left – such as his MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz, who in 2009 joked about ripping Dick Cheney's heart out and playing political football with it, nor from vicious left-wing dilettante Randi Rhodes, nor from Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida who called his 2010 Republican opponent "Taliban Dan."
Former dean of the White House press corps Helen Thomas delivered some candid remarks Monday on CNN's "Situation Room." Thomas, who last year retired from Hearst for telling Israelis to "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to their former lands, railed against what she viewed as America unequivocally protecting Israel.
On Friday the Society of Professional Journalists announced that, in light of that controversy, it would "retire" the lifetime achievement award that bears her name.
"I could call President Obama anything in the book, and no one would say anything. You touch one thing about Israel and you're finished," Thomas groused.
CNN's "Situation Room" ran a segment on the 90 year-old journalist Monday afternoon, reporting that Thomas, who currently works for the Falls Church News-Press, is pushing to regain her status as a White House correspondent.