PBS’s Jim Lehrer forwarded several questions with a clear leftward tilt during an interview with President Obama on his Newshour program on Monday. He urged the executive to “crack heads” to get his health care plan passed, and inquired if “taxing the wealthy” was an option to fund it. Lehrer later pressed Mr. Obama on the “huge profits” being made by “big Wall Street banks.”
The PBS anchor led the interview with a sympathetic question on the president’s slipping poll numbers: “Mr. President, it must have been a little unpleasant for you to wake up this morning to see this headline: ‘Washington Post poll shows Obama slipping on key issues, approval rating on health care falls below 50 percent.’ What’s that mean?”
After the president’s initial answer, Lehrer went right to health care, and hinted that the Democrat’s “reform” plan should be passed with little to no congressional input: “As you know, a lot of the commentary over the weekend was that nothing’s going to happen, getting from here to the final hurdle here, unless you really start cracking some heads, and really say, ‘Hey, this is the Obama plan, this is what I want. So much for what this committee wants and that- what that committee wants. Here’s what I want, and I'm going to push and go.’ Are you ready to do that?”
On Monday’s GMA, ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed Hillary Clinton from the left on the Obama administration’s stance towards North Korea: “From the beginning...the rhetoric seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?” Earlier in the month, she also labeled the overall Obama foreign policy “very thoughtful.”
The ABC correspondent’s segment with the Secretary aired minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program. Midway through the interview, Raddatz brought up the Obama administration’s dealings with North Korea. She asked Mrs. Clinton, “From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back a bit.” After the Secretary replied, the ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent followed up with her question from the left: “But that’s a real shift- I mean, from the beginning of the Obama administration... the rhetoric [towards North Korea] seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?”
[Update, 10:36 pm Eastern: audio and video links added below.]
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez devoted an entire segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program to his interviews of five “wise Latina” women from his hometown of Miami, including his own mother, about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though Sanchez did point out how many Americans disagreed with the nominee’s decision in the New Haven firefighters case, all of the women supported Sotomayor [audio clips from the segment are available here; the video clips are available at this link].
The anchor traveled to Miami, in his words, going “out of the D.C. Beltway and find some other Latina women with a smart take on one of their own.” He conducted the interviews around the dinner table in his mother’s house, or, in his mother’s case, in the adjourning kitchen. Sanchez gave a preview of the segment on the Wednesday edition of Newsroom while on location in the south Florida metropolis. Both days, the CNN anchor featured the clip from his interview of his mother, who, through her son’s translation (she’s originally from Cuba), voiced her support for the Supreme Court nominee and her identification with her. Also on both days, Sanchez made light of the now-infamous “wise Latina” label that Sotomayor had used in the past, and is now being scrutinized over.
During CNN’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings on Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin implied that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision to uphold the Second Amendment was revolutionary: “When I was in law school...the idea that you had a Second Amendment right to a gun was considered preposterous....But the Supreme Court [in Heller]...said that...individuals have a personal right to bear arms.”
Just after the bottom of the 12 noon hour of the network’s coverage, anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the Second Amendment issue with Toobin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and the others on their panel analyzing the hearings, which included anchor/correspondent John King; senior political analyst Gloria Borger; and correspondent Candy Crowley, as well as Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and former Clinton administration official Maria Echaveste. After playing a clip of Republican Senator Tom Coburn asking Sotomayor about the right to keep and bear arms, Blitzer asked Toobin what were the nominee’s “positions, specifically on the federal obligation to support the Second Amendment, as opposed to local communities or states?”
The CNN senior legal analyst harkened back to his law school days in his answer, and possibly revealed a bit of his formation as a liberal:
Keith Olbermann, one of MSNBC’s resident leftists posing as anchors, named Jim Robinson, the founder of FreeRepublic.com, as his runner-up on his “Worst Person in the World” feature on his Countdown program on Monday evening but twice called him “Jim Thompson.”
After first implying that “Thompson” and his site’s moderators were a bunch of juveniles, Olbermann explained that the reason why the Free Republic founder was so bad was because a few posters on one of the regular picture caption threads made “racist” comments, and that it took them supposedly “as long as three days before removing a comment thread devoted to the racist rage of a disturbingly large number of his posters, possibly some of the same people who had previously conducted polls on the site on how best to topple the freely-elected government of the United States” [audio clips from the segment are available here].
CNN on Friday turned again to The Daily Beast’s John Avlon for his designated “wingnuts”on the left and right, but he was much more critical of his right-wing selection. Avlon picked Rep. Henry Waxman as his leftist “wingnut,” but still labeled him a “respected” man. He conceded no such quality for his other pick. During a second appearance on Monday, Avlon focused on his conservative “wingnut,” omitting Waxman.
Avlon first appeared during the 6 am Eastern hour of American Morning on Friday with anchor Kiran Chetry. She first asked about his pick for the left. He described how Rep. Waxman, during an interview with NPR, characterized the Republicans’ opposition to President Obama as “rooting against the country.” The DailyBeast contributor even got a shot at the Right during his analysis of the Democrat’s remark: “That’s demonizing the opposition, and the idea that Republicans just have to get in line, that there can be no reasonable opposition based on principle- but rather, going de facto against someone’s patriotism- well, that’s wingnut stuff. We called that out when the right has done it in the past, and it’s only right to do it now against the left.”
Both Chetry and Avlon then got tough on Waxman for his failure to even read the cap and trade bill which carries his name. The CNN anchor later asked, “When you call him out as a wingnut this week, is this an isolated incident for Waxman?” Avlon replied, “No question, Henry Waxman is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, but he’s- you know, he’s a respected man. Sometimes reasonable people say unreasonable things. When you say that the opposition is rooting against the country, that’s an unreasonable thing. That’s a wingnut remark.”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stuck with his analysis of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from late June- that the judge was “mainstream,” and that it would be difficult to use the reversal of her decision in the New Haven firefighters case and her “Wise Latina” comment against her.
When anchor Rick Sanchez asked if one of those issues was more problematic, Toobin replied, “I think it’s a combination....some Republicans will use [it] to paint a picture of her as kind of an activist...someone who is more interested in helping her community than in interpreting the law. That’s a very tough sell, but I think that’s the argument that they’re building towards.”
During an earlier appearance on the June 29, 2009 edition of the CNN program with anchor Heidi Collins, the very day that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Ricci/firefighters case, the analyst stated that the decision “will be a main focus of the attack against her by conservative senators, who will say that her views are out of step with the Supreme Court. Now, that will be a somewhat-tough argument to make, because...her views are clearly in-step with four justices on the Court, including the justice she will be replacing. So, it’s not like her position was so far out the mainstream on this case that you couldn’t even get a single justice to agree with her.”
[Update, 2:34 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from the report posted.]
Despite the change in administration, CNN’s Michael Ware, who regularly issued doom-and-gloom reports on Iraq in past years, bluntly stated during a report on Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 that “America cannot win the war in Afghanistan...with bombs and bullets,” and offered that the only solution to the attacks on NATO troops was “cutting deals” with the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar.
Ware made this impolitic remark from the middle of the thoroughly Islamist border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The correspondent presented clips with interviews with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, and advanced the notion that Pakistan could serve as a mediator in such “deals” with the al Qaeda ally [audio clips from the report available here].
After giving a dramatic description of the region he had traveled to, Ware delivered his personal assessment of the Afghan campaign:
WARE: To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can’t win it with bombs and bullets, and it can’t win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I’m standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there’s as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They’re currently under siege from local villagers, who are driving them from their bunkers. But at the end of the day, it’s the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban, and it’s not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there’s any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.
MSNBC’s David Shuster and Tamron Hall labeled the circulation of a photo of President Obama allegedly glancing at a teenager’s posterior a “right wing smear,” and singled out Fox News and Drudge as culprits. They brought on a Media Matters spokesman, who accused these sites of being motivated by a “racist stereotype of an oversexed black man being a predator.” They let this accusation go unanswered (audio clip from the promos and the segment available here).
Shuster and Hall promoted the segment on the Obama picture from the start of the 4 pm Eastern hour of MSNBC’s live coverage. A graphic on-screen at the top of the hour pondered, “Right Wing Smear?,” as Shuster read the first teaser: “Plus, smearing President Obama- some on the Right went crazy over this photo they claimed shows President Obama with a wandering eye. But check the tape- the actual video shows a far different story- why the Right was so wrong with this one.”
The MSNBC anchor echoed his “why the Right was so wrong” phrase during the second promo at 19 minutes into the hour: “Up next, what the Right did wrong with that President Obama photo that was splashed all across some conservative websites. Why didn’t they bother to check the tape before making false accusations?” Right before the commercial break which preceded the segment, Hall broke back in with the final promo: “And when pictures do not say a thousand words- heck, when pictures right out deceive- why this misleading photograph was very popular on conservative blogs and conservative papers.”
Newsweek took their criticism of Pope Benedict XVI to the next level on Thursday- not only did guest columnist Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend affirm that the pontiff could learn from President Obama (something Newsweek and their partners at the Washington Post agreed upon back in April), but also blasted the Bishop of Rome and the Catholic hierarchy for their supposed “disdain” towards women and homosexuals.
The former lieutenant governor of Maryland began her column, titled "Without a Doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does," with the context of the pope’s upcoming meeting with the American president, and how it was “much anticipated and in some circles frowned upon by American Catholics in the wake of Obama’s controversial Notre Dame commencement speech in May.” She then laid out her central thesis about these two leaders: “In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy...and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists...[T]hey’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.”
Wednesday’s Situation Room program on CNN devoted nearly three times as much time to clips from advocates of overturning the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy than the one sound bite from a proponent of keeping the policy. The two advocates- Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy and a female Iraq war veteran had 33 seconds of air time, compared to the 12 seconds from a conservative spokesman.
Correspondent Chris Lawrence’s report, which aired 38 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on a tour led Rep. Murphy to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which is “targeting districts where military families live, trying to drum up enough popular support to get the needed votes in Congress” to repeal the policy. After playing the 12 second sound bite from the Democrat, Lawrence featured the first clip from Staff Sargent Genevieve Chase, an Iraq war veteran, who is among the tour’s “straight soldiers and veterans” who are trying to “reach other troops and their families.”
Two major wire services- AP and Reuters- cherry picked excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical (a teaching document of the Catholic Church) on Tuesday to support left-wing economic and political positions, and all but ignored the pontiff’s traditional stances on the family, bioethics, and the environment. The AP also went so far to bring up “the state of the Vatican’s own [financial] books.”
Both Philip Pullella, who regularly writes about the Pope and the Vatican for Reuters, and the AP’s Nicole Winfield zeroed in on paragraph 67 of the encyclical, which is titled “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” which was released was signed by the Bishop of Rome on June 29, and released on Tuesday. In this paragraph, to use Pullella’s lede, “Pope Benedict…called for a ‘world political authority’ to manage the global economy.” Winfield put it this way near the beginning of her article: “In the third encyclical of his pontificate, Benedict pressed for reform of the United Nations and international economic and financial institutions to give poorer countries more of a say in international policy.”
While Pope Benedict did call for a “world political authority” and a “reform of the United Nations,” both authors (not to mention spectators on the left and the right) missed the context of this call. Later in his article, Pullella speculated that “the pope appeared to back government intervention ‘in correcting errors and malfunctions’ in the economy, saying ‘one could foresee an increase in the new forms of political participation, nationally and internationally.’” But this “government intervention” would not go so far to the level of a micromanaging/centrally-planning regime, if one goes by the pontiff’s own words in the encyclical.
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty revisited his favorite punching bag on Monday’s Situation Room: Sarah Palin. After referring to one of Palin’s reasons for her resignation, that she wanted to avoid becoming a lame duck, Cafferty cracked: “She was already lame.” He also predicted that she would become a mere “thumbsucker” if she’s no longer considered a contender for the 2012 presidential race.
Cafferty began his 4 pm Eastern hour “Cafferty File” segment by recounting the decision of the Alaska governor to resign at the end of July. He continued by briefly mentioning how Palin became famous after being named as John McCain’s running mate, listed the “lame duck” reason for resignation, and then made his crack: “Palin, who was thrust on to the national stage as John McCain’s running mate against President Obama, defended her decision as a move to avoid becoming a lame duck. Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin’s able to -- she was already lame -- Sarah Palin’s able to electrify the conservative base of the party like no other Republican in the country.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer acted more concerned than the reporter on the scene on Monday’s Good Morning America over a small town in South Carolina arming itself against a serial killer. She asked the local sheriff, “The community has apparently been arming up and we’re reading that ammunition is selling out at some of the stores. How concerned are you that people are standing at their doorways with guns right by the side?”
ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman filed a report from Gaffney, South Carolina six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour on the five murders apparently perpetrated by the same suspect over the course of a week during late June/early July. After stating the community was “reeling over events of the last week, and it’s not overstating to say that people here are terrified,” Kofman highlighted how people in the Southern small town “left lights on and doors locked. This small South Carolina town is living in fear- and it is arming itself.”
During an interview of Brookings Institution senior fellow Kevin Casas-Zamora on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts not only failed to mention the liberal political leanings of the fellow’s organization, but omitted any mention of the scandal which led to Casa-Zamora’s resignation from the vice presidency of Costa Rica.
Roberts brought on Casas-Zamora to discuss the recent military coup in Honduras, which unseated President Jose Manuel Zelaya, who had been seeking a referendum to extend his term in office. He introduced him as the “senior foreign policy fellow with the Brookings Institution- also recently served as the vice president of Costa Rica.” Specifically, the fellow served from 2006 until 2007 as the country’s vice president and minister of planning and economic policy.
Juan Carlos Hidalgo of the CATO Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperty wrote a column for the Miami Herald on October 5, 2007 which reported that in a leaked private memorandum written to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, Casas-Zamora had “suggested, among other things, withholding public money to mayors who failed to deliver their districts’ votes on CAFTA [the Central American Free Trade Agreement], and circumventing some electoral rules. The ensuing scandal led to Casas’ resignation and caused a dramatic fall in CAFTA’s popularity.”
[Update, 8 pm Eastern: Screen capture, video link to interview added.]
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips sympathized with an outed homosexual army officer on Tuesday’s Newsroom program. Phillips questioned Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach about his recent meeting with President Obama, and asked, “What else did you tell him, because I know this has weighed heavily on your heart for a very long time....What did he tell you that gives you...hope...that he is going to get rid of this?” [video of interview available here]
The anchor’s interview with Fehrenbach occurred a day after he attended a “celebrating LGBT Pride Month” event at the White House. He was the guest of the homosexual activist group the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which presses for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (as Rachel Maddow announced on her MSNBC show a week earlier), and is promoting a petition on the lieutenant colonel’s behalf. After noting the officer’s career and “nine medals for bravery as a combat pilot,” Phillips began with an enthusiastic question: “So there you were- every chance to say everything you ever wanted...to the president about the situation that you are fighting for, which is your job, and to get rid of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ How did you make your way to the president for a one-on-one?”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin couldn’t find a consistent argument about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who accused their city of reverse discrimination. Toobin first reported that Justice Kennedy, “the swing vote in this case, as in so many others,” wrote the decision, but minutes later, he labeled it as a ruling by “the five conservatives on the Court.”
When news of the Court’s decision broke early in the 10 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Heidi Collins brought on Toobin, the network’s senior legal analyst, to comment on the five to four ruling. He began with a summary: “The Supreme Court- five to four- in a decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is the swing vote in this case, as in so many others, ruled that the New Haven firefighters were the victims of reverse discrimination.”
CNN’s Ali Velshi, during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program, ignored all the past sex scandals involving Democrats in recent years as he focused on “another sex scandal involving a leading Republican.” When his guest, Tony Blankley, tried to counter with how these scandals are being used to try to get the GOP to abandon social issues, Velshi tried hard to brush this aside.
The segment with Blankley, which aired at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Velshi recapping the details about the most recent Republican sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and how legislators in the state were proceeding with possible impeachment of the executive. He then introduced his main point for the segment: “Okay, I’m going to say it- another sex scandal involving a leading Republican- this is the second in two weeks. It’s hardly helping the party to resurrect its image.”
After introducing his guest, Velshi referred to his point and asked, “I wasn’t the first guy to say that. You’ve heard this a lot in the last few days. You heard it before Mark Sanford. What’s going on with the Republicans and scandals?” Blankley first rebuked Sanford and any Republican who had been caught in marital infidelity. He continued by making his point about the push to give up on family values: “As far as the party is concerned, although there’s hypocrisy when one of its members or two or seven of its members breach the standards it advocates, you can’t give up your values. The party believes in supporting families. You have programs that do that.”
On Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello harkened back to the 1970 incident at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen shot rock-throwing protesters and bystanders, and made it a possible equivalent to the recent murder of Iranian student Neda. Costello pondered the effect of the Neda murder video on the Iranian protests, and flashed a famous photo from the 1970 shootings [audio clips from the report are available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the overall theme of Costello’s report: “By now, you’ve probably heard about Neda, the young Iranian woman that was gunned down in Tehran. Well, in death, she’s become quite a symbol of countless Iranians demanding new elections. The question now: will the memory of Neda help make that happen?” After giving some details into the college student’s death, the correspondent described the international reaction to it: “It seems the whole world now knows Neda and aches for her- and why not? It watched her die.”
Costello subsequently played a clip of Iranian author Azar Nafisi’s reaction to the Neda death video. She then proposed her question about the impact of the video: “It’s difficult to say right now, though, if this image of Neda will change everything. We know that pictures sometimes do. Many believe this shot taken at Kent State of a student gunned down after a Vietnam War protest helped end the war, yet this video of a lone student standing up to Chinese tanks did not end communism in China.”
CNN anchor Campbell Brown used a proponent’s own talking point about President Obama’s planned health care socialization as she pressed a doctor over his skepticism of the project during her program on Monday: “There’s plenty of evidence...that...two-thirds of all bankruptcies in this country [are] due to people’s medical bills. It’s clear the current system isn’t working, so why not be open to trying this?”
Brown hosted Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, a supporter of the president’s plan, and Dr. Eric Novack, a senior fellow for the conservative Americans for Prosperity, for her regular “Great Debate” segment. After an opening statement from the two doctors on the health care issue, the anchor asked Dr. Rodriguez, “What do you say to critics who charge what we’re talking about, what we’re debating is really socialized medicine- that people envision hours of waiting to get into- you know, to get to see a doctor, the rationing of our health care?”
Contrary to the claims of many liberals, at least some of Iran's anti-government protesters are anxious for Barack Obama to lend American support to their cause. An Iranian student interviewed on CNN’s American Morning on Monday pleaded for the world, and President Obama by name, to become more active in assisting the protests against the Islamic regime in Tehran: “International community....especially, I ask President Barack Obama directly...this government is a huge threat to global peace....We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.” [Audio from the segment available here.]
Near the end of the interview, anchor John Roberts asked the student, who went by the first name of Mohammed alone, for the specific demands of the protesters: “Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran, or are you looking for- as has been suggested- more civil rights, more freedoms, within the context of the existing regime?”
Without any sort of prompting, Mohammed first addressed some of the major controversies involving the Iranian regime: “For about three decades, our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime....We are peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of international community. We don’t want to be isolated....We don’t deny Holocaust. We...do accept Israel’s rights. And actually...we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.”
Two reports on CNN’s Situation Room on Wednesday about President Obama’s extension of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and the campaign to overturn Proposition 8 in California featured only left-wing sound bites, and none from conservative opponents of homosexual activists.
The first report from correspondent Dan Lothian, which aired just after the beginning of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, included clips from a homosexual federal employee and his “husband” who was afflicted with pancreatic cancer, as well as Joe Solmonese of the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Over an hour later, Jessica Yellin’s report on Proposition 8 opponents’ efforts to overturn the ballot initiative which made same-sex “marriage” illegal again, featured two leaders from California “progressive” organizations, the Courage Campaign, and Equality California.
A chyron which accompanied a report on CNN’s Newsroom program on Wednesday about the arrest of a leader of an organization inspired by the Minuteman Project, referred to her and her accused accomplices as “extremists.” Despite qualifying how the largest Minuteman organization had distanced itself from the suspects, anchor Rick Sanchez questioned how she became a “player in the anti-immigration movement.”
Sanchez took the human interest story approach to the segment, which began 26 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He first displayed the picture of a young girl who was one of two murder victims in the case, and gave the following description: “Things are not always as they seem, right? And I want to illustrate this now with a picture of a beautiful little girl- there she is. Her name is Brisenia Flores- take a close look, because it may be the only way that you’ll be able to see this little girl. Why? Because this little girl- Brisenia Flores- is now dead.”
After giving some details of the crime, the anchor continued by describing the suspects: “Shawna Ford and two other suspects are now being held on a bond of a million dollars for the deaths of Brisenia Flores and her father....Let me tell you who Shawn Forde is. She’s the executive director of a group that’s called Minuteman American Defense. Police say that Forde planned the killing of the little girl and her father to steal drugs and money, and make it look like it was the work of a drug cartel.”
[Update, 9:00 pm EDT: Audio and video clips added.]
President Obama isn't nearly liberal enough for HBO's Bill Maher. On Tuesday’s Situation Room on CNN, Maher repeated the focus of his rant on his show last Friday night about how Obama hasn't been adequately aggressive. When Wolf Blitzer asked what he was most disappointed about with President Obama, the HBO host went into full denial mode: “Barack Obama is not a socialist -- he’s not even a liberal....this country needs a left wing. It doesn’t have it, and part of the reason is the media.”
After Maher gave a bit of a criticism of the Democratic President, the CNN anchor asked: “So where are you most disappointed, because...a lot of liberals are disappointed he hasn’t done more to advance gay rights, for example- but where- where are you most disappointed in this president?” The HBO host first joked about his sexual identity, and continued by expressing his bewilderment with Obama: “I don’t know if this administration has really caught up to the idea that Americans are a lot more liberal, perhaps, than we think they are- or they think they are....I think part of the problem is that we don’t really have a progressive party in this country. We have the Democrats, who are what the Republicans used to be when I was a kid. They’re a pro-business party, a corporate-friendly, pro-business party. And then we have the Republicans, which are just a club for angry white people and Jesus freaks” [audio clips from interview available here].
[Update, 7:40 pm EDT: Audio and video from segment added.]
Another discussion panel on CNN’s Campbell Brown program on Thursday leaned to the left, this time on the Letterman/Palin controversy. Air America’s Sam Seder defended the raunchy “joke” about one of the Palin daughters. VH-1’s Janell Snowden supported the host’s “job to make fun of people.” CNN analyst Jeff Toobin thought Bristol Palin was “fair game.” Only Republican Susan Molinari sided with the governor [audio clips from the segment available here].
Brown first turned to Molinari, the moderate former congresswoman from New York, for her take on the issue. She condemned Letterman’s “mean joke,” though she did buy the CBS host’s explanation that it was about 18-year-old Bristol Palin, and not 14-year-old Willow Palin. Molinari continued that she didn’t “understand how anybody thinks this was funny....he’s a late-night host. He crosses the line. But when you cross the line with an 18-year-old, I just think we have gotten to the point where the jokes now are just really mean and have no impact.”
The CNN anchor then asked Seder and Snowden, “Where do you draw the line between being provocative and being offensive when you’re- when you’re commentating, as these guys do, on the late- night talk shows?” Seder, a talk show host for the left-wing Air America, made light of Letterman’s joke: “He’s making a joke. But, you know, that said, I am a father, and if someone made a joke about Alex Rodriguez knocking up my daughter, I would take offense. But that’s because I’m a Red Sox fan.” He also defended it as a “funny joke” and justified it: “He’s simply making a joke, and he’s done it for- he’s done it for years and years, and he’s done it about all sorts of people- all different ages.”
Anchor Rick Sanchez used another crazed gunman’s rampage to blast conservative media during CNN’s Newsroom program on Thursday, and brought on Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert as his aide to bash talk radio and Fox News. He hinted that the white supremacist who killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, might have been “motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements...on some TV and radio outlets.”
Sanchez began his panel discussion with Boehlert and Accuracy in Media’s Roger Aronoff at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his indicting line of questioning against conservative radio and TV: “Was there a tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous- he’s a socialist- he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets.”
After introducing his two guests, the CNN anchor let the left-wing partisan Boehlert “start with the premise” which, of course, echoed the preceding introduction: “I don’t think there’s any doubt since Barack Obama’s been elected, there’s been a complete unhinged reaction from the conservative movement in America, and sort of this vigilante and- and militia-style rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the movement, and certainly of conservative media.”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez tried to justify that Cindy Sheehan is still worth covering, as the unrelenting left-wing activist recently protested near the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush. When Republican strategist Rich Galen advised that she should stop protesting and that the press ignore her, Sanchez went out of his way to find an angle for covering her.
Sanchez brought on Galen and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona to discuss the Sheehan protest during the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He first asked Cardona, “Should she [Sheehan] let it go?” The strategist answered by putting her cause in the wider context of all the parents of servicemen who were killed during the Iraq war. When she concluded her answer by asking rhetorically, “who are we to say yes or no” to Sheehan, Galen jumped in and replied, “I can say yes or no. The answer’s no, I’m afraid.”
Dallas Morning News’s Wayne Slater become one of the first pundits after the shootings at the Holocaust Museum on Wednesday to hint that there was a connection to mainstream conservative activists. On CNN Newsroom, about two hours after the story broke, Slater linked this incident and the murder of abortionist George Tiller with “anti-tax secessionists in Texas,” his label for Tea Party protesters.
Anchor Rick Sanchez moderated a panel discussion on the Holocaust Museum shootings after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, in which Slater participated. Sanchez asked the Dallas Morning News political writer if criminals like this suspect are “motivated or do they need to be motivated?” He replied, not including the shooting of Tiller, but reaching back to include the Oklahoma City bombing perpetuated by Timothy McVeigh:
SLATER: They absolutely need to be motivated and are being motivated. Each of these episodes in recent weeks- whether it’s [the] killing of an abortion doctor- whether it was this Holocaust denier today, or whether it was others- whether you’re talking about Tim McVeigh or anti-tax secessionists in Texas- the interesting thing is they’re all separate, but they’re all hearing portions of the same echo chamber, a kind of dialogue- a toxic dialogue that’s subterranean in large parts. Remember, the man who was accused- who is accused of the most recent shooting of the abortion doctor, according to his ex-wife, had connections with the Montana Freemen, a kind of wild radical secessionist group. You hear not only these conversations about blacks and Jews, but about the government and about other hate-filled issues. It is- although they are separate- they are connected by a kind of dialogue of toxic ideology.
MSNBC’s partisan-in-chief Keith Olbermann used his “Worst Person in the World” segment on Thursday evening to falsely accuse pro-life blogger Jill Stanek of posting the “addresses of the only two remaining physicians who will provide late-term abortions when the woman’s life is in danger,” thus enabling “a bunch of crazy people, like your readers, where they can find somebody and abuse, threaten, or kill them.”
Stanek actually did not post addresses of the two abortionsts, LeRoy Carhart and Warren Hern, in the two items in which she included pictures of Cahart’s drab-looking center. The former nurse, who achieved notoriety for her testimony about the exposure deaths of infants who survived their late-term abortions at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, pointed out in her retort to Olbermann that the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press had done the something similar- posting pictures of both physicians’ centers. She also snarked back that “Keith had best make Google the ‘Worst Search Engine in the World!’ for posting a map and directions to Carhart’s Abortion & Contraception Clinic of Nebraska and Hern’s Boulder Abortion Clinic.”