Tuesday's "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC played the class warfare card, highlighting tension between the American middle class and the richest Americans who profit from the global economy. Impassioned co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski gave credence to middle class frustration at the widening gap between them and the ultra-rich.
The Atlantic magazine's editor-in-chief James Bennett referenced a poll touting that 60 percent of Americans advocate higher taxes for the wealthy as the best solution to the budget crisis. "I think part of that is a response to the sense that they're being left behind by these people," Bennet explained.
Bennet pointed out top hedge fund managers making over a billion dollars a year, and suggested Americans would like to see more of that money back. "You'd think," huffed Mika Brzezinski. "Good luck getting it from them," Joe Scarborough warned. Scarborough was a critic of the recent tax deal between Obama and the GOP, arguing that millionaires did not need the tax cuts as much as the country needed their tax revenue to pay down the deficit.
Monday's "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC mocked the House Republicans' plan to vote to repeal President Obama's health care legislation in full. "Waste of time" and "meaningless legislative exercise" were some of the phrases used to describe the first announced GOP priority.
"It's going to take them fifteen minutes, they're going to vote to repeal it, and the Senate's not going to do it," explained co-host Joe Scarborough. "It is a meaningless legislative exercise, but you know what? The base will like it."
"Republicans in Washington are planning to waste some time. Is anyone surprised by that?" co-host Mika Brzezinski tersely introduced the segment in the 7 a.m. EDT news hour.
Both Scarborough and Brzezinski sarcastically mocked the plan. "Good for them. Thank you," Brzezinski spat. "You are big men," she derided the House Republicans. "You so tough," Scarborough chimed in, followed by Brzezinski making strange growling noises.
During Monday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough blamed lack of leadership during natural disasters on partisan voters. Quoting a veteran of his congressional staff, the former Republican congressman remarked that failures of leadership happen "when we elect leaders by checking boxes."
"Are they pro-choice? Are they pro-life? Where are they on gay rights?" Scarborough summarized the minds of partisan voters. "We have forgotten to elect people based on...governing."
"And services," Mike Barnicle chimed in. The "Morning Joe" panel was discussing the recent blizzard in the northeast United States, and the uproar that ensued from poor public services in New York City and the governor of New Jersey being on vacation during the blizzard.
On Tuesday morning, CNN anchor Alina Cho interviewed Lorena Bobbitt – who unsurprisingly goes by her maiden name, Lorena Gallo – to discuss her recent efforts to reach out to domestic abuse victims and combat spousal abuse. However, the network not only failed to explain the specifics of her 1993 domestic dispute – where she infamously severed her then-husband John Bobbitt's penis with a kitchen knife – but asked her if she can now look back and laugh about the attack.
Bobbitt took revenge on her husband after she said he had abused her multiple times. Years later, in 1997, she was charged with assaulting her mother. Bobbitt was found not guilty, though the judge in the case said he thought she was guilty, but had "reasonable doubt."
The network failed to report that domestic-violence case during the soft interview in a segment titled "Where Are They Now?" Anchor Alina Cho glossed over her 1993 incident by reporting that Bobbitt "employed a – shall we say, dramatic – response to an abusive relationship." [MP3 audio here.]
Larry King wanted the last laugh from his testy interview with former Miss California Carrie Prejean, and got it Sunday in an interview with CNN's Howard Kurtz. Kurtz hosted King Sunday on "Reliable Sources" to showcase memorable interviews from 25 years of "Larry King Live."
One of the interviews was King's clash with Carrie Prejean from November, 2009. As NewsBusters then reported, King pressed Prejean about reports of a sex video she made as a teenager for her boyfriend. In addition, he repeatedly asked her about a settlement she made with the Miss Universe organization even though she kept asserting the matter was confidential.
Prejean then told King he was being "inappropriate." She removed her mic when a caller claiming to be gay pressed her about same-sex marriage. Supposedly the agreement between Prejean's publicist and King included no phone calls during the interview, although King denied having knowledge of that at the time of the interview.
Ending Sunday's "Face the Nation" in poetic fashion, CBS's Bob Schieffer gave a year-end commentary where he portrayed John Boehner as the flustered "orange-faced" leader of a divided House GOP. Schieffer also snidely criticized the Arizona immigration law.
"His face was bright orange, a sun-tan hall-of-famer. / I knew in a flash – it must be John Boehner," spoke Schieffer, painting the soon-to-be Majority Leader as the head of a herd of reindeer, the House Republicans. "He hollered, cajoled, oh how he did plead, / But the deer wouldn't listen, each wanted to lead."
Composing his end-of-show commentary to verse, Schieffer summarized the 2010 political scene and provided some insight of his own as to how the next two years in Washington will unfold. Though Democrats met a bitter fate this November, Schieffer implied a possible downfall for the GOP with a split between Tea Partiers and incumbent Republicans.
The panel on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC gushed over President Obama's recent legislative success, and former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw likened Obama's resurgence to Lazarus rising from the dead.
"It looked like the day after the election that [Obama] was on his way back to Chicago. Now suddenly he has arisen, Lazarus-like, again," Brokaw attested.
The disastrous mid-term elections? They are simply a distant nightmare, the panel asserted. Co-host Joe Scarborough, as well as guest columnists Mike Barnicle and Charles Blow, stated that the election results are not news anymore. "No one's talking about that anymore," remarked Blow, a New York Times columnist, over the election.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough left no doubts on where he stands on the conflict in Afghanistan Monday – but he also pressed liberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to stand up to President Obama on the issue of troop withdrawal. "It's distressing to me to see how this war continues," Scarborough complained, noting that the deadline for troop withdrawal has been pushed back to 2014 and possibly even further.
He then asked Sen. Durbin point-blank, "When are you and other progressives in the Senate going to start pushing back on the administration, on the generals, and say 'Enough is enough. We can't waste $2 billion a week on a war without end'?"
Scarborough further clarified his opposition to continuing the war long-term, and wondered if President Obama wants to stay in Afghanistan merely to appease Republicans on national defense. "It seems like the President is just buying time because he doesn't want the Republicans to call him weak on defense," he speculated.
ABC's "Nightline" touted a PolitiFact story Thursday that rated the five biggest lies of 2010 in politics. The number one lie? Republicans calling the health care bill a "government takeover of health care."
When asked why the claim received the status of biggest lie of the year, PolitiFact.com editor Bill Adair answered that it was "so pervasive" and "just not true."
"It was so pervasive. It was said by the Republican leadership, by Republicans running for Congress, said by Republicans running for governor. And it's just not true. This is a plan that uses the private health insurance system to expand health care coverage."
While the bill does not constitute a single-payer health care system, the 2,200 pages of legislation nonetheless contain countless new rules and regulations enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services, among other federal institutions.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" hosted a pity party for President Obama on Wednesday. Discussing public opinion of President Obama amidst his trials as President, liberal Watergate journalistic "legend" Carl Bernstein won the pity prize, asserted that Obama inherited a bigger mess than any other president since the 1930s. "Very few presidents have come into office inheriting what President Obama has taken on," Bernstein opined on Wednesday's "Morning Joe."
"You'd have to go back, I think, to the thirties to really have a comparable situation," Bernstein continued.
Bernstein also blamed staunch GOP opposition and a broken political system for Obama's travails. "He's been trying to deal with it with a Republican opposition that has said 'no' to everything, and a political system – we keep going back to it – that simply is not functional or concerned with the national good."
The segment began with MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd and "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough agreeing that the current White House suffers more bad news than normal. "This White House always seems to have incoming," Scarborough noted. "Just constant, and it's been constant from the day they walked in the front door."
Kathy Griffin is back for another round on CNN's New Years Eve coverage. As Mediaite reported today, CNN is bringing back anchor Anderson Cooper and the left-wing comedienne as the network's New Years Eve team.
Comparing the current tax cut compromise with Barack Obama's stimulus plan of 2009, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough labeled the tax cuts a "steaming pile of garbage" on his December 13 show. Complaining that the compromise will add another $900 billion to the deficit, Scarborough compared it to the stimulus plan that cost a similar amount in the name of "stimulating" the economy.
"This is a disaster for conservatives," Scarborough asserted, arguing that adding to the deficit is worse than stimulating the economy with tax cuts that aren't "paid for."
The weekend after the deficit commission proposed a way to cut $4 trillion in the next generation, Republican leaders met with President Obama and produced a compromise extending the Bush tax cuts for all income earners, along with other provisions that would ultimately add $1 trillion to the deficit.
"It's another steaming pile of garbage," co-host Mika Brzezinski spat. Scarborough agreed with her. "Man, I tell you, if I were a Democrat in the House, I'd vote against this in a second," he remarked.
Liberal columnist Mike Barnicle confessed Friday that the media "deified" Barack Obama during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Both Barnicle and former MSNBC host Donny Deutsch, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," admitted that Obama had no executive experience when he took office as president and that hurt him in his first two years in the Oval Office.
"This guy took office, he had never really run anything in his life, and it's very easy to be an ideologue," Deutsch said of Obama. "And he learned," he added. Barnicle noted that Obama "has never been executive, he's never run anything, he's never managed anything."
"Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough questioned why Obama took so long to focus on a job-centered agenda rather than liberal policies such as health care and cap-and-trade. Barnicle confessed that Obama "was glorified and deified during his campaign, largely by the media. We have to admit that, I mean, we have to plead guilty to that."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough slammed President Obama Tuesday for not standing up to Republicans but rather compromising over extending the Bush tax cuts. Scarborough called the tax cuts for millionaires "inefficient" and agreed with co-host Mika Brzezinski that the Republicans are "complete hypocrites" when it comes to dealing with the deficit.
The deal includes an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income brackets, including millionaires. In return, the Democrats get the extension of unemployment benefits that they were pushing for.
"Ideologically, I've always voted for tax cuts," Scarborough claimed, recalling his tenure as a Republican congressman from Florida.
"But when we are this deep in debt, and we have this many people unemployed, and we need to get working class people back to work, I can't imagine a more inefficient way to spark a recovery than giving tax cuts to people like myself who will put it in the bank and feel better about myself because I'm saving some money."
In a Politico column written just before the deal was struck between the president and Republicans, Scarborough implored Obama to survey the situation and realize that he could still fight the GOP. Obama's concession, he argued, would be harmful to America.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who recently implored viewers to "Keep Calm and Carry On" by seeking civil political debate over nasty partisanship, rebuked those who laughed at him last year for his 2010 predictions.
"For all of you that made fun of me when I started saying a year-and-a-half ago that this was going to be 1994 – kiss my ass," the co-host blurted to viewers Monday on "Morning Joe."
Liberal comedian Jon Stewart once again lampooned Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his continued opposition to repealing the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy, saying the senator is quite behind the times with his stand. "Well you're really going down with the ship, huh," he ripped navy veteran McCain's remarks.
"McCain's like one of them Japanese soldiers living on Okinawa in 1949, still fighting because he doesn't realize the war ended a long time ago," Stewart quipped. "And for some reason, even though he's been alone for years and years on this island, he doesn't like gay people."
Stewart opened his Thursday show with an eight-minute segment covering the DADT debate, in the wake of a published study by the military showing that the majority of servicemen polled don't mind serving with gay comrades. He trumpeted soundbites from multiple figures who support a repeal of DADT – including remarks from Sen. Joe Liebermann (I-Conn.), a usual target of Stewart's mockery.
On Thursday's "Morning Joe," "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl deplored the GOP stiff-arm to Democratic lame-duck legislation, complaining that it wiped out the conciliatory tone of the Republicans' meeting with President Obama. She referred to the GOP strategy as "the maneuvering that I think is such a turnoff."
"If you're up here after the White House meeting saying 'Yes, they can be civil to each other,' and it's just a tone. We know it's a tone. And then it's dashed," she mourned. "After the meeting with the President, everybody – I think, I think – in the country said this is great, this is what we want, we want that tone," she gushed of the GOP leadership's meeting with Obama.
Stahl then lamented the GOP's ensuing opposition to Democratic legislation until extending the Bush tax cuts is made a top priority.
A New York Times commercial that has spawned multiple parodies brags that "the best journalists in the world work at the Times – and there's no debating that." The spot, which is in heavy rotation on the liberal MSNBC, presumably isn't referring to embarrassing reporters such as the disgraced Jayson Blair.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel hit the Republican congressional leadership Wednesday for not admitting its faults in dealing with the President the past two years. After playing a video clip of leading House Republicans Eric Cantor and John Boehner praising President Obama for his admission of not having reached out enough to the GOP, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough challenged the GOP to do the same.
"And now the polite thing to do...is to say 'And you know what? We could have reached out more, too'," ex-Republican congressman Scarborough said of the congressional GOP. "That would have cost them nothing," he preached.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski complained that the GOP focused on the negative, and scolded them for speaking out like they did. "I just heard them emphasizing anything that the President might have given a little to put out an olive branch," she griped, "and then they focus on the negative."
In the segment before she interviewed him, MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing labeled Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa "one of the most radical right-wingers in Congress." Nothing was said of the comment in the interview, and her questions proceeded as normal.
Following a debate on the extension of unemployment benefits, Jansing remarked that "up next we're going to talk to one of the most radical right-wingers in Congress and talk about what he plans to do when the GOP takes control of the House." In the next segment, she interviewed Rep. King.
Jansing asked King about the DREAM Act, tax cuts, and compromising with Democrats. She pressed King on immigration and the DREAM Act, using an clip of an illegal immigrant student who said she wants "to give back to the country that saw us grow."
In his newest Politico column, Joe Scarborough rips Sarah Palin whose "anti-intellectualism" threatens the GOP's success in 2012. With a scathing indictment of Palin's presidential aspirations, Scarborough asks Republicans secretly critical of Palin to stand up and voice their opposition to her presidential run.
Scarborough questions former Alaska governor's basic intelligence for even considering running for the presidency, although he admits later in the article that Palin "is not a stupid woman" but "does not know what she does not know."
"What man or mouse with a fully functioning human brain and a resume as thin as Palin's would flirt with a presidential run?" Scarborough asks, discreetly mocking former Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell (R) for her belief that American scientists have infused human brain cells into mice.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blasted protesters and opponents of the new TSA screening procedures on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," only to recant his position on the show's next hour when he realized two panel members criticized the new checks. "I was saying this was a made-up debate – this is a real debate, I guess," Scarborough admitted on the second hour of his show.
While Scarborough and co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, as well as MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford, sympathized with TSA workers and defended the new checks, two guests opposed the new search methods. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann criticized the TSA procedures.
Early in the first hour of the show, Scarborough ranted against the "opt-out" protestors who would be forgoing the body scanners at airports Wednesday to be subjected to pat-down checks, deliberately frustrating and slowing down the process on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Scarborough has recently promoted civil discourse on his show with the mantra "Keep Calm and Carry On," but let loose at the protesters Wednesday.
Labeling the uproar over new TSA screening procedures as a "tempest-in-a-teapot," Harry Smith avoided pressing TSA chief John Pistole on CBS' "Early Show" Wednesday about the controversies of the new methods. Rather, Smith deferred to asking Pistole to explain the process further and "de-mythify" false rumors.
"There are so many myths about this, not the least of which is 'Well you know, the TSA guy, he's standing there, he can see your – you know what'," Smith told Pistole Wednesday on CBS' "The Early Show." Smith asked Pistole to "De-mythify this process a moment" and clarify that "somebody is in another room looking at this stuff. They never see your face."
"That is misinformation," Pistole responded to the "myths" Smith referred to.
Calling the uproar over the new TSA screening procedures "overblown" and "immature," Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus praised the majority of Americans polled who are okay with the body scanners at airports and scolded those who stand opposed to the searches.
"'Don't tough my junk' may be the cri-de-coeur – cri de crotch? – of the post-9/11 world, but it's an awfully childish one," the columnist writes in her Nov 24 column for the Washington Post. Marcus argues that the new procedures are simply a "marginal invasion of privacy" when compared to the devastating consequences of a terrorist attack that could happen without them.
However, Marcus admits that the new body scanners are "uncomfortably graphic," some TSA workers may "go too far" in the pat-downs, and the procedures might not be fully successful.
Columnist Mike Barnicle had some pointed words on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday for travelers exasperated with the new TSA airport scanning procedures: "Take the train or take the bus."
"Here's a tip for travelers this Thanksgiving," the "Morning Joe" regular remarked Tuesday. "If you're upset about this at airports, take the train or take the bus." He added later in the show "Hop in your car and drive to Detroit," as another alternative for air travel.
Barnicle, continuing his rant from Monday, lamented that Americans are so upset with the controversial security procedures when the U.S. is involved in two wars and real unemployment stands at 15 percent. "This again, if we ever needed it, is proof-positive that we live in a time where we have such a limited attention-span as a nation, it is sickening," he preached. "We're now more afraid at airports, apparently, of being felt-up rather than blown-up in the air."
Columnists Michael Crowley and Mike Barnicle seemed to agree on one thing on Monday's "Morning Joe" – the new TSA airport screening methods are not that big of a deal, in the scheme of things.
Early on Monday's "Morning Joe," Crowley, Deputy Washington Bureau chief for Time magazine, expressed muted criticism of the American public's reaction to the new screenings. "I think that people are getting very upset about something that's not that big a deal," he said of the new procedures which feature the choice of undergoing either a revealing body scan or a thorough pat-down.
"We talk about sacrifice in a time of war, it's not happening. There's this minor inconvenience that people are having to go through," the columnist continued.
Mark Halperin earlier flatly disagreed with Barnicle and Crowley. "It's not a minor inconvenience," he said of the new airport checks. "Wait 'till you've been subjected to it," he told Crowley. Barnicle said he had experienced the screening and admitted its controversy, but said it did not merit the backlash that has ensued.
During coverage of Charlie Rangel's verdict delivered by the House Ethics Committee, CNN's John Roberts called the situation "tough times," for the congressman – and wondered what the trauma will to Rangel's health given that he is 80 years old.
Referring to the censure of Sen. McCarthy in the 1950s which "broke him," Roberts remarked that "now Charlie Rangel's 80 years old, what will censuring potentially do to him?"
CNN anchor Candy Crowley also mentioned Rangel's age, saying that the hearings were "tough to watch." She added that "the next step" of the House voting on having the censure or not "is really even more painful."
"This is a rough one, but certainly one that has had, if you will, bipartisan support on something that's difficult, clearly, for the congressman to deal with," Crowley said, putting the situation in perspective.
"Are you telling them to 'keep calm and carry on' in the White House?" MSNBC's Joe Scarborough supportively asked the Vice President of the United States on Friday morning. "Morning Joe" hosted Joe Biden, but skipped the more embarrassing subjects: the recent trial fiasco of terrorist Ahmed Ghailani and the ethics charges against Rep. Charlie Rangel.
The topics of conversation ranged from the START Treaty to the "stimulus" bill to Sarah Palin – the MSNBC crew all laughed at her claim that she could beat Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential race – but Scarborough changed subjects toward the end and asked Biden about the demonizing of presidents once they enter office.
"As you know...at least since Clinton was elected, the second a President gets elected, the other side tries to de-legitimize that president from day one," Scarborough claimed. "You've seen that from the outside since early '93. Have you been shocked since you got on the inside at just how tough it is?" he asked Biden.
Joe Scarborough apparently likes Nancy Pelosi's toughness, given her response to his MSNBC colleague pressing her as to why she would make a good House Minority Leader after losing 60 seats. MSNBC's Luke Russert asked the Speaker why she should lead the House Democrats if her approval rating among independents is at 8 percent.
Pelosi delivered a testy response, and Scarborough admitted his glee over the tone. "I think she's a disaster for the Democrats politically right now...but I like that fight," he remarked. "C'mon, boom!" he expressed as he threw imaginary punches, pretending to be Pelosi punching down Russert. "Hey Luke, come here, Luke, look, boom! Luke, look, look, boom!"
Later on Thursday's "Morning Joe," Scarborough was pressed by Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin as to why he was praising such a polarizing figure when he has promoted a platform of bipartisanship and moderate politics. The "Morning Joe" co-host has conducted multiple campaigns on his own show for calmer rhetoric in the country's political sphere and has denounced political extremism.