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By Ken Shepherd | | March 9, 2012 | 1:13 PM EST

Imagine if you will that President Bush were in the Oval Office now, facing reelection with unemployment above 8 percent and gas prices as high as they are right now. Now also imagine that the Bush Energy Department granted a $10 million award to the maker of a $50 LED light bulb, because, as Bush's energy secretary gushed, it's "affordable for American families."

The media would, predictably and quite reasonably, be apoplectic. But alas, this is happening under President Obama's watch, as the Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey reported today.  Oh, and did I mention that the winning bulb competes against  much cheaper LED light bulbs than the one that won the government's affordability award?:

By Kyle Drennen | | March 9, 2012 | 12:54 PM EST

Filling in for co-host Matt Lauer on Friday's NBC Today, CNBC's Carl Quintanilla seemed to suggest the media was helping the Obama administration shape public perception of the economy: "...we're in a situation where we're sort of managing expectations, especially for the White House."

Quintanilla followed that admission by asking CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer about the upcoming jobs report: "Data's been pretty good. If it's not so good today, does that mean we're suddenly once again going in the wrong direction?" Cramer replied: "I don't want to think that. I think that there are many good forces at work."

By Mark Finkelstein | | March 9, 2012 | 11:23 AM EST

Did MSNBC ever vet Al Sharpton? Seriously. Much of the talk about HBO's Game Change docu-drama is focusing on the vetting of Sarah Palin or lack thereof by the McCain campaign. Is there any minimum standard of knowledge required to have one's own show on the Lean Forward network?

Take Sharpton's mind-boggling misstatement on Morning Joe today.  The Reverend Al asserted that in Alabama, "it's against the law to organize unions."  Did any of the MJ crew, including Joe Scarborough, Gene Robinson and Steve Rattner, call Al out on his misrepresentation?  Of course not.  View the video after the jump.

By Noel Sheppard | | March 9, 2012 | 10:15 AM EST

Sarah Palin on Thursday took Barack Obama to task for not telling his Super PAC to return Bill Maher's million dollar donation.

Speaking to Fox News's Sean Hannity, the former Alaska Governor said, "It does not bode well for our President's character to not speak out against that dirty money" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Mark Finkelstein | | March 9, 2012 | 8:08 AM EST

Mark Halperin says Mitt Romney's campaign has the worst relationship with the media of any major candidate he's covered.  But, according to the man from Time, it has nothing to do with the fact that Romney is the front-runner to take on the MSM's Chosen One.  No, Halperin assures us, "it's not a partisan thing."  The fault lies entirely with the Romney campaign itself, which reportedly has kept the press at arm's length.

Halperin's comments came in the context of a Morning Joe segment today in which Mike Allen discussed a Politico item on a media "charm offensive" that the Romney campaign is conducting.  View the video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | | March 9, 2012 | 7:57 AM EST

The Washington Post has a funny headline from England on its front page Friday. "Public prayer stirs culture war in Britain." Notice that secular liberals like the Posties always blame the "culture war" on the religious, not on the secularizers. The more accurate headline is "Public prayer ban stirs culture war in Britain." In Bideford, reporter Anthony Faiola writes, a town council stocked with "a practicing pagan, a staunch atheist, and an agnostic former stripper" wants to scrap the council's opening prayer.

Faiola's story properly notes the move to "ban public prayers in tiny Bideford" erupted into a national controversy. But a few paragraphs later, Faiola breaks out the labels for whatever boomlet of conservative Christians might lobby prime minister David Cameron on this subject. Unlike America, there is only a "small fringe" on the "far right" that supports Christianity and opposes abortion:  

By Clay Waters | | March 9, 2012 | 7:30 AM EST

Departing New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner filed Thursday's off-lead front-page story from the West Bank town of Ramallah, passing on yet another sympathy note for the Palestinians, whose left-wing cause for statehood and against Israeli "occupation" is no longer being trumpeted as loudly in the wake of the tumult in the region: "Mideast Din Drowns Out Palestinians."

The above-the-fold photo featured two Israeli soldiers firing orange flame at "Palestinian stone throwers" in the West Bank....from a clash last month. A photo of a Palestinian "protester" throwing stones was relegated to the jump page.

By Brad Wilmouth | | March 9, 2012 | 1:46 AM EST

If the definition of the word "gaffe" is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky may have committed a gaffe on Thursday's The Ed Show.

After MSNBC host Ed Schultz gave her the chance to respond to complaints from conservatives that liberals have shown a double standard in tolerating vile comments about conservative women from liberals like Bill Maher while attacking Rush Limbaugh's recent controversial "slut" comment, Schakowsky admitted that disagreement with Limbaugh's political agenda was a major motivation for her rather than his simply using the word "slut."

Her admission came a day after she was caught on video trying to avoid addressing HBO comedian Maher's history of attacking conservative women.

By Ken Shepherd | | March 8, 2012 | 5:58 PM EST

The  "war on women" is more than a political fight waged in the civil arena. It's a spiritual conflict with patriarchal pulpits raining down oppression onto the women in the pews, Washington Post religion reporter Lisa Miller complains in an "On Faith" item posted today, "International Women's Day":

By Matt Hadro | | March 8, 2012 | 5:01 PM EST

When's Joel Pollak went on CNN and connected then-law student Barack Obama to radical Harvard professor Derrick Bell, CNN guest Jay Thomas of Sirius radio began creepily asking Pollak if he was afraid of violence from black people, on Thursday morning's Starting Point.

During the chippy segment, host Soledad O'Brien fiercely defended Bell and insisted that Obama's previous support of him was a non-story. She accused Pollak of "misreading" Bell's critical race theory, even though the professor has clearly espoused radical views in his past, including writing a fictional account of how blacks would be sold to aliens as slaves. O'Brien also failed to disclose that she herself is an admitted admirer of Bell's.

By Ken Shepherd | | March 8, 2012 | 4:40 PM EST

NewsBusters fan and blogger Steve Feinstein picked up on an interesting, albeit subtle, thread of bias in a Chuck Todd "First Read" blog post yesterday wherein the MSNBC Daily Rundown host hailed the 2008 Democratic primary as a "clash of political titans" in Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama:

By Clay Waters | | March 8, 2012 | 4:19 PM EST

The New York Times defended the Texas branches of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, on the front page Thursday: "Women in Texas Losing Options For Health Care" was reported by Pam Belluck and Emily Ramshaw, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, which produces a twice-weekly local section for the Texas edition of the Times.

Ramshaw was last covered in Times Watch in January, lamenting the "bureaucratic nightmare" instigated by a pro-life law. (When was the last time the Times complained about overregulation?)

By Matthew Sheffield | | March 8, 2012 | 4:13 PM EST

Andrew Breitbart, the 43-year-old conservative media entrepreneur who was laid to rest this week after experiencing a sudden heart attack, rose from an unknown to one of the leaders of the conservative movement in just a few short years. I am proud to have called him a friend.

The swiftness of his rise and his popularity among conservatives, provide a lesson for anyone wishing to understand how to win in the game of politics and media in the 21st Century.

By Kyle Drennen | | March 8, 2012 | 3:29 PM EST

On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander excitedly promoted an upcoming Obama campaign ad disguised as a documentary: "Next week the Obama campaign will release this 17-minute documentary about the President's first term in office. And Today was given an exclusive first look."

By Clay Waters | | March 8, 2012 | 3:22 PM EST

"Number of U.S. Hate Groups Is Rising, Report Says," New York Times Atlanta-based Kim Severson reported Thursday. But that "report" was not some government finding, but came straight from The Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing activist group whose fund-raising is based on finding as many dangerous right-wing groups as possible.

The Times has promoted the propagandists at SPLC before, most offensively after the shooting of Rep. Gabrille Giffords, to suggest that the mentally deranged shooter was a far-right activist.