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By Mark Finkelstein | September 5, 2015 | 11:13 AM EDT

In America, the rightful role of politics and politicians is to defend the Constitution.  And the essence of that Constitution is to limit the powers of government while protecting the unalienable rights of the people as described in the Declaration of Independence.

But according to a prominent Catholic sister, Pope Francis has a very different view, one which she obviously shares.  Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, Sister Simone Campbell said that the Pope was "very clear" in his encyclical. Rather than controlling government, he believes the role of politics is to "control the economy."

By P.J. Gladnick | September 5, 2015 | 11:04 AM EDT

Good news for our own Mark Finkelstein. He will soon have more material to work with according to Mediaite which reports that MSNBC's Morning Joe will be expanding an hour. However what is most significant about the report is what, or rather who, it does not mention. Despite being chock full of information about the many changes coming to MSNBC, the name noticeable by its absence is Brian Williams despite the fact that he is supposed to be an incredibly well paid breaking anchor on that network. Is this part of a not so subtle effort on the part of NBC to tell Williams to go away so they won't be obligated to pay his $10 million per year salary? 

First let us look at the Mediaite report on the big MSNBC changes sans any mention of you-know-who:

By Tom Blumer | September 5, 2015 | 10:43 AM EDT

In the past week, several pundits and alleged "experts" have been on a mission to tell us rubes that Hillary Clinton's email and private-server controversy doesn't rise to the level of being a scandal. They have absurdly argued that even if she "technically" violated State Department protocols and even broke some pesky laws in handling her communications while she was Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton's actions weren't serious enough to warrant prosecution.

In making that argument in an August 27 column ("The Hillary Clinton e-mail ‘scandal’ that isn’t"), Washington Post columnist David Ignatius heavily relied on one Jeffrey Smith without revealing Smith's political connections to Bill and Mrs. Clinton and his professional advocacy on behalf of Democrats. After getting caught, while never recognizing his critics' existence, Ignatius incompletely disclosed Smith's obvious lack of objectivity in a manner which would have been barely tolerable during newspapers' dead-trees era, and which is completely unacceptable in the digital age.

By Scott Whitlock | September 5, 2015 | 9:15 AM EDT

Comedian Norm Macdonald uttered some unpopular opinions for liberal Hollywood, slamming "hack" atheists and mocking Bill Maher as "unfunny." The Saturday Night Live alum talked to the Hollywood Reporter and derided Los Angeles elitists: "Oh, just the smugness. There are a lot more hack 'smart' comedians nowadays and atheist comedians. It's so dull." 

By Tom Blumer | September 4, 2015 | 11:58 PM EDT

On Thursday, the Associated Press published the equivalent of press release promoting a pro-Muslim billboard campaign orchestrated by the Islamic Circle of North America.

The writeup's author, Rasha Madkour, failed to get any kind of skeptical comment from anyone about the nature of the campaign, and utterly failed to tell readers anything about the Islamic Circle's or its spokesperson's past (and possibly still-present) terrorist ties. Instead, readers were given the equivalent of a feel-good story about members trying to "reclaim the message" of Islam.

By Matthew Balan | September 4, 2015 | 11:56 PM EDT

Friday's CBS Evening News stood out for not covering Hillary Clinton's interview with NBC's Andrew Mitchell. The newscast didn't even mention the former first lady during their 2016 election coverage. Instead, Scott Pelley played up how Donald Trump "seems to stumble a lot, but never seems to fall" – specifically, his confused answers on foreign policy during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Pelley also covered Vice President Joe Biden "agonizing publicly about whether he would run" for president.

By Randy Hall | September 4, 2015 | 4:46 PM EDT

Earlier this week, Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked: “Why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group? I mean, how much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?”

On Thursday, representatives of that organization issued a statement that instead referred to Black Lives Matter as “a love group” and criticized Hasselbeck for “sensationalizing tragedy” to further her own agenda.


By NB Staff | September 4, 2015 | 4:44 PM EDT

"Last week in Iowa, Donald Trump had Univision’s Jorge Ramos kicked out of a press conference.  But Ramos was able to question Trump later -- after tunneling back in. Speaking of Trump, he recently accused Jeb Bush of being a ‘low-energy’ person…  Bush aides say Jeb will respond shortly -- after he wakes up from his nap." -- Jodi Miller, NewsBusted anchor.

By Melissa Mullins | September 4, 2015 | 4:03 PM EDT

Earlier this summer, in advance of the fall premiere of a new Muppets TV show on the ABC network, fictional characters Kermit the Frog and longtime partner Miss Piggy – who told MSNBC’s Irin Carmon she is a pro-choice feminist  -- announced their separation to the public via Facebook, with the porcine half of the famous couplet kicking her beloved Kermie to the curb.

By Matthew Philbin | September 4, 2015 | 3:58 PM EDT

In a move that will most certainly result in the purge of the ESPN films department, the “4-letter network” will air a...wait for it...positive feature on President George W. Bush’s throwing of the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series in the weeks following 9/11.

By Curtis Houck | September 4, 2015 | 3:51 PM EDT

In the first few hours after Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Hillary Clinton, reactions poured in on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports and MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts that ranged from Rachel Maddow dismissing the growing e-mail scandal as “kinetic activity” to The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan fawning over her “one-on-one” skills to Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd excusing her non-answers to her versatility in “diplomatic speak.”

By Bryan Ballas | September 4, 2015 | 3:16 PM EDT

Before Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was jailed for sticking to her religious beliefs, Janell Ross of the Washington Post was quick to take sides against her. On September 2 the Post headlined the story as follows: “We Have Reached the George Wallace Stage of the Same-Sex Marriage Fight.”

Ross begins this accusation with the same amount of objectivity as her headline.

By Erin Aitcheson | September 4, 2015 | 3:09 PM EDT

This past Wednesday night, USA Network premiered the season finale of “Mr. Robot” after postponing it for a week. Why the wait? NBCnews reported, “a ‘graphic scene’ similar to the fatal shootings on live television of two journalists Wednesday in Virginia.” 

By Kyle Drennen | September 4, 2015 | 3:02 PM EDT

In an exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton on Friday, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell began by gently wondering if the former Secretary of State was “sorry” about the e-mail scandal: “You said recently that using your personal e-mail while you were secretary of state was not the best choice and that you take responsibility. Are you sorry?”

By Tom Johnson | September 4, 2015 | 2:27 PM EDT

Apparently at least two of the Beach Boys are Republicans, but when Daily Kos's Mark Sumner used a GOP/surfing metaphor, it didn't mean “catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world.” Rather, as Sumner sees it, the party is heading for a wipeout.

“For decades, Republicans have been thriving on a theme of Me-firstism and an insistence that it's the sworn duty of every American to fear those who have less than them,” wrote Sumner in a Tuesday post. “Republicans unleashed the tide of unreasoning fear and distrust, then they climbed up onto their boards and began to surf…Only, that wasn't so much a wave. It was more a tsunami.” And now, Sumner added, GOPers are so unhinged that in the presidential contest they’re abandoning their own political pros in favor of unqualified candidates who’ve never held public office.