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By Brent Baker | May 13, 2011 | 9:17 AM EDT

ABC News announced Thursday that Rick Kaplan, a long-time (FOB) Friend of Bill (Clinton) who used his high-level network news positions to protect his friend, will take the helm at ABC’s This Week and oversee all ABC News political coverage. “I’m delighted to report that Rick Kaplan is returning to ABC News as Executive Producer of This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” ABC News President Ben Sherwood declared Thursday, touting (per TVNewser): “Rick will also oversee our political coverage. His mission: To lead This Week to #1 and to guide ABC News to dominance in the 2012 elections and beyond.”

Kaplan was Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric from early 2007 through last night (Thursday) after a career with stints as Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline before serving as President of CNN in the 1990s and later President of MSNBC in the Keith Olbermann era (2004-2006).

He has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline and World News Tonight. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and, even AFTER memo-gate, declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's “legacy” was “the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to.”

By Tim Graham | May 13, 2011 | 8:29 AM EDT

NPR anchors are sometimes not subtle about where they stand on the issues. On Monday's edition of Tell Me More, host Michel Martin explicitly informed former RNC chairman Michael Steele that she agrees with freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson (the lady who loves wearing hats) that you can't balance the budget on the backs of the poor:

MARTIN: You add in your piece that it takes an audacious stroke -- like House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan's proposal on Medicare, which we were talking about just a few minutes ago -- to break what you call the bait-and-switch of budget politics. One of the things I'm curious about, though, is how does a proposal like that help break the logjam, when so many Democrats are just viscerally opposed to it? Like you just heard congresswoman Frederica Wilson say we're not going to solve this problem on the backs of the most vulnerable. And that's how I see this.

STEELE: Well, you got to get off of that.

By Dan Gainor | May 13, 2011 | 7:47 AM EDT

First of Four Parts

When liberal investor George Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio, it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR's federal funding. But that gift only hints at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros, who spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush in 2004, has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets - including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC.

Prominent journalists like ABC's Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. This despite the Society of Professional Journalist's ethical code stating: "avoid all conflicts real or perceived.

By Mark Finkelstein | May 13, 2011 | 7:45 AM EDT

Rachel Maddow has engaged in a strange--sinister?--irony.  On her MSNBC show last night, one moment Maddow was condemning the late Senator Joe McCarthy for encouraging people to "turn in their friends" in the entertainment industry. The next moment, Maddow was urging her viewers to . . . turn in someone in the entertainment industry--the animator of Mike Huckabee's history series for kids.

Maddow devoted a sarcastic segment to mocking Huckabee's series of DVDs on American history.  Along the way she accused Huckabee of engaging in revisionist history. Her example was the way a Huckabee DVD described Ronald Reagan's testimony as a friendly witness at a McCarthy hearing, in his role as president of the Screen Actors Guild, as Reagan having "worked against Communism in Hollywood."

Maddow then said this: "We asked [Huckabee's production company] today who had done the animation on these DVDs.  They would not tell us.  If you know who brought this amazing animated sauce to life, please get in touch with us.  We would like to know."

View video after the jump.

By Brad Wilmouth | May 13, 2011 | 7:12 AM EDT

Thursday’s CBS Evening News gave attention to the arrest of two Muslim radicals who were arrested and charged in New York City with planning to bomb a synagogue. CBS anchor Katie Couric informed viewers that one of the defendants was arrested the day before for trying to purchase weapons from an undercover officer, and had complained about the treatment of Muslims.

Couric read:

By Tim Graham | May 12, 2011 | 11:07 PM EDT

On Thursday, Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein publicized a letter from liberal Catholic professors insisting that House Speaker John Boehner was a poorly formed Catholic:

Three days before House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at Catholic University, dozens of faculty at Catholic colleges — including many from the university — have written to the Catholic speaker, criticizing him for having a record "among the worst in Congress" on protecting the poor.

Here’s the kind of story The Washington Post doesn’t do – Catholic University having a booth at D.C. Youth Pride Day for the GLBT lobby on April 30. Is that in line with Catholic moral teaching? No. But somehow, that's less scandalous than Boehner.   

By Scott Whitlock | May 12, 2011 | 6:42 PM EDT

A frothing Chris Matthews on Thursday excoriated the "nasty," "shameless" Newt Gingrich for robbing "the political arena of joy and humanity."

The Hardball host even compared the 2012 Republican presidential candidate to a famous horror movie villain: "I cannot believe there are young Republicans idealists out there, young people with hope who want our country to be good and have good politics to want to resurrect this element of Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street politics."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 12, 2011 | 6:02 PM EDT

The day after Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for president, MSNBC's Martin Bashir took the opportunity to rail against the Republican contender for criticizing former President Bill Clinton's adulterous behavior while he was engaging in sexual transgressions of his own.

On his eponymous program today, Bashir admonished the former House speaker's "hypocrisy" but failed to mention even once that the Democratic president didn't just cheat on his wife, but committed perjury to cover up the affair.


By Matt Hadro | May 12, 2011 | 5:00 PM EDT

On Thursday morning, CNN largely dismissed the controversy over the White House invite of rapper Common, using talking points from the White House and Comedy Central's Daily Show to marginalize conservative critics.

Anchor Carol Costello deflected attention away from the rapper's violent lyrics by quoting a rap of his that has a pro-life message. She quoted none of his violent lyrics, however. Common has composed work in the past praising cop-killer Assata Shakur in "A Song for Assata," and has also ranted "burn a Bush" in rapping about the former president.

Conservatives were outraged over the artist's invite to the White House for an evening of poetry and song. The White House did condemn his violent lyrics "that has been written about" press secretary Jay Carney clarified, but did not renege on Common's invitation.

(Video after the break.)

By Tim Graham | May 12, 2011 | 4:40 PM EDT

Washington Post reporter Dan Zak was assigned the story of the rapper Common’s performance at the White House on Wednesday night, and he not only buried the lead – he completely ignored it. I don’t mean that he failed to quote any of the controversial rap/poetry lyrics about “Burn a Bush” or hailing convicted cop-killers Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal. He did fail to do that.

No, the more interesting story is how Common’s performance apparently ended by kissing Obama’s ring, that “God is watching” and that through “One [Martin Luther] King’s dream, he was able to Barack us.” Here’s how the poem unfolded:

By Tom Blumer | May 12, 2011 | 4:34 PM EDT

Can someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press's Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.

Thompson's 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis's lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is "a wealthy Republican businessman" who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- as a Democrat.

The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:

By Matthew Balan | May 12, 2011 | 4:24 PM EDT

CBS gave President Obama over 26 and a half minutes to answer 12 questions related to the economy during a town hall aired on Thursday's Early Show. Obama got six uninterrupted minutes to answer one question about Medicare during the hour-long event. Host Erica Hill wondered how the Democrat could "change the mind-set from things are tough to things are turning around" with the economy.

Hill led the town hall with her concerned economic "mind-set" question, noting beforehand that "it seems that we have been hearing, whether it's on TV, at the office, around the kitchen table, things are tough," but continuing that "there's positive economic data coming through. Yet, sometimes it can feel like for every two steps forward, it's one step back. There's definitely a psychological component to this recovery."

By Ken Shepherd | May 12, 2011 | 4:23 PM EDT

According to Time's Michael Grunwald, it was insane for Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) to reject $2.4 billion for a Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project.

And yet in the same Swampland blog post he confessed that a similar high-speed rail project going forward in California is dubious at best and that Scott's rejection of the pork project means that the money is now broken up to aid rail upgrades in other parts of the country where there's actually substantial ridership already.

Of course Grunwald gave no credit to Scott but rather to Obama for redistributing the rail money (emphasis mine):


By Kyle Drennen | May 12, 2011 | 4:00 PM EDT

Teasing a story on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich entering the presidential race at the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira proclaimed: "Political hurdle. Newt Gingrich launches his run for the White House, but will his two divorces and an admitted affair during his time as House speaker hurt his chances of becoming president?"

Later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer introduced a report on Gingrich by declaring: "He is perhaps the best known Republican in the field to date. But Gingrich also has a messy personal life that includes two divorces, three marriages, and a lengthy affair." Correspondent Michael Isikoff described how, "Everywhere he goes, Newt Gingrich hears the questions [about his personal life]....Gingrich, who once campaigned as a family values candidate, has been dogged for years by criticism of marital infidelity..."

By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 12, 2011 | 3:44 PM EDT

In a moment of respite from its typically liberal proclivities, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" tuned in to "Squawk Box" on May 12 to chat with the 11-year-old daughter of a CNBC anchor who co-authored a book about "defending our kids from the liberal assault on capitalism."

"Although I am an environmentalist, in this argument I support the business side," wrote Blake Kernen, daughter of CNBC's Joe Kernen, in response to a question on a homework assignment that Blake said was biased against the free market. "I agree that limiting the amount of emissions a company can release would hurt a business ... If a company was told to limit its production, it would make less goods, reducing the money it makes. If a company cannot make money, it cannot employ a lot of workers!"