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By Kyle Drennen | August 26, 2011 | 11:06 AM EDT

During Thursday's 12 p.m. ET hour on MSNBC, host Contessa Brewer, who is soon to be leaving the anchor chair, declared that moderate Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was "trying to turn things around with a new take-no-prisoners strategy, calling out his conservative competitors for their far-right views."

Brewer talked to Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the liberal Slate magazine, who wrote a fawning profile of Huntsman for Vogue magazine. She wondered: "Is Jon Huntsman sort of an anti-Republican?" Weisberg didn't agree with that description, but argued: "He's what used to be the mainstream of the party, he's the kind of Republican who could win a national election against Democrats....But for some reason, for various reasons, the Republican Party seems to have been taken over by the Tea Party movement, by these sort of patriotic anarchists."    

By Tim Graham | August 26, 2011 | 6:36 AM EDT

On Jake Tapper's Political Punch blog, ABC's Devin Dwyer reports that the majority owner of NBC is a major backer of the president: "Employees of media giant Comcast have contributed more money to President Obama’s reelection bid than employees from any other organization, according to a new analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the Center for Responsive Politics."

While Comcast employees gave $5,000 each to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, "Comcast employees contributed nearly $80,000 directly to Obama for America and roughly $200,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account benefitting both the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee, through the first half of 2011 records show."

By Tom Blumer | August 26, 2011 | 1:07 AM EDT

I didn't go to the Catholic News Agency's web site tonight looking for a media bias column; I usually go there to find "positivity" posts for my home blog. When I clicked on an item with an intriguing title ("The Pope's Young Army"), I expected that the author, Father Robert Barron, would regale me with inspiring vignettes from the Pope's recently completed World Youth Day in Madrid.

Well, at first he did just that. But then Father Barron's fine column took an interesting turn. Check out his reactions to how the international press covered the event, and his remarkably insightful conclusions (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):

By P.J. Gladnick | August 26, 2011 | 12:02 AM EDT

Imagine this scenario:

A meteor the size of Texas is due to smash directly into New York City in three days and it is much too late to send Bruce Willis up there to save the metropolitan area from Armageddon. You can read all about it in the New York Times...but only on page A17.

Sounds pretty bizarre, right? Well, in reality that is exactly what happened on Thursday in regards to Hurricane Irene coverage. The front pages of both the New York Post and the Daily News were covered with large satellite photos of Hurricane Irene along with big headlines. The New York Times? Hurricane Irene was nowhere to be found on the front page. In fact it wasn't even on the second, third, fourth, or even fifth pages. To find their Hurricane Irene story you had to flip... flip... flip... flip... flip.... all the way to where they hid an article on the subject on page A17.

Your humble correspondent bought the national edition of the Times cleansed of Hurricane Irene information on the front page which you can see below the fold strictly for laughs.

 

By Tim Graham | August 25, 2011 | 10:57 PM EDT

Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer offered the latest in liberal earthquake conspiracy theories: liberal radio host Thom Hartmann has found the cause, and it is "fracking" for natural gas. This is becoming a pet cause on the left, leading some to sue fracking energy companies for earthquake damage.

Maloney began with sarcasm: "Thank goodness our 'progressive friends are a go-to source on 'science,' a subject we conservatives adamantly oppose." Hartmann doesn't care if you call him a conspiracy theorist:

By Matthew Balan | August 25, 2011 | 9:58 PM EDT

On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Richard Gonzales slanted towards homosexual activists who laud the Obama administration's recent move to slacken its deportation policy and allow foreign-born nationals in same-sex "marriages" to stay in the United States without a green card. Gonzales found an opponent of the new policy, but noted that "his objection has nothing to do with sexual orientation."

The correspondent highlighted the plight of Bradford Wells, a resident of San Francisco's infamous Castro district, whose Australian partner's permission to stay in the country is about to expire. He stated that Wells "has good days and bad days....[He] has AIDS and a host of related ailments. His primary care-giver....Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia....entered this country legally.... he's applied for a green card. But he's been rejected because under the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the federal government doesn't recognize their marriage....So, he's left in a legal limbo, and the upsets Wells."

By Tom Blumer | August 25, 2011 | 8:48 PM EDT

In his coverage of the Department of Labor's weekly report on unemployment claims this morning, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber, after noting how initial claims filed by Communications Workers of America members who are on strike against Verizon (more on that later) inflated this week's and last week's results, wrote that "excluding the work stoppage, layoffs appear to be stabilizing. That should help ease fears that the economy is on the verge of a recession."

The following chart, which excludes those workers' claims during the past two weeks, doesn't exactly give wholehearted support to Rugaber's key contentions:

By Jack Coleman | August 25, 2011 | 6:58 PM EDT

... And no, it isn't "Flamethrower," though that was my first guess.

Radio talker and MSNBC cable host Ed Schultz told his radio listeners Tuesday that President Obama has a nickname for him, or at least one that Obama is willing to disclose to Schultz.

By Scott Whitlock | August 25, 2011 | 6:01 PM EDT

According to Hardball guest host Ron Reagan, former Vice President Dick Cheney is a "war criminal" for endorsing waterboarding. On Thursday, the son of the former President attacked, "But the fact of the matter is...[Cheney's] a war criminal. Torture is a crime and this is a guy who can't travel to Europe anymore for fear of being- ending up in the Hague."

Reagan was commenting on a new interview Cheney has given to NBC in which he reiterates support for waterboarding. The liberal anchor discussed the subject with Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune. Reagan reiterated, "...Any neutral reading of, say, the U.N. Convention Against Torture makes it pretty clear that if you support waterboarding and you enact that sort of a policy, you're guilty of a war crime."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Ken Shepherd | August 25, 2011 | 4:45 PM EDT

The company whose unofficial motto is "Don't Be Evil," apparently has a new commandment: Thou shalt not give discounts to churches.

Tech giant Google has an entire suite of software, Google Apps,that it offers for businesses and non-profits. It used to be that Google offered the software, including GMail, for free or at a discount for non-profits, including churches.

But back in March, the company changed the policy such that the non-profit discount would not apply to  "any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decisions" or that proselytizes, Christianity Today reporter Matt Branaugh noted on Wednesday (emphases mine):

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 25, 2011 | 3:38 PM EDT

The U.S. Department of Interior announced this week that it is giving $2,426,055 to the state of Maryland to help protect the habitat of the Puritan tiger beetle, a threatened insect that inhabits beaches and bluffs along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland as well as along the Connecticut River in New England.

The $2.4 million grant, which will be paid to the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is one of 48 grants totaling $53.3 million that the Interior Department said on Wednesday will go to 17 states to purchase or conserve land determined to be habitat for species that have been listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

By Clay Waters | August 25, 2011 | 2:58 PM EDT

Bill Keller’s upcoming column for the New York Times’s Sunday magazine, “Asking Candidates Tougher Questions About Faith,” raised familiar liberal paranoia about the conservative religious views of Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry. The official headline for the upcoming print edition: “Not Just Between Them and Their God.” Keller had no time for respectful criticism: "Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a 'cult' and that many others think is just weird."

Keller, the outgoing executive editor for the Times, got off on the wrong foot by mockingly comparing the candidates’ Christian beliefs to belief in space aliens. Then he made the latest in his impressive string of column factual errors, identifying the Catholic politician Rick Santorum as an evangelical Christian.

By Tim Graham | August 25, 2011 | 2:19 PM EDT

London’s Daily Mail reported on a screening of the forthcoming Meryl Streep film The Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher: “At the end of the film, Lady Thatcher walks around her home in a feverish state, driven mad by nightmares about her record in office.”

“Friends of Margaret Thatcher last night expressed their revulsion,” reported the Mail, saying the film “shows her having nightmares about the miners' strike and the Falklands War, while her late husband Denis appears as a ghost in a pink turban raging at her ‘insufferable’ selfishness.”

By Clay Waters | August 25, 2011 | 1:21 PM EDT

Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, posted her twice-monthly column Wednesday evening, on the dangers of today’s conservative Supreme Court going “Over the Cliff” in defending...the right to free speech. You read that correctly: A liberal Times reporter is faulting a conservative Supreme Court for being on a "dangerous path" and showing "arid absolutism" by expanding the First Amendment's protections to corporations.

Greenhouse jump-started the discussion with a rarely-cited 1978 Court decision, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti:

By Kyle Drennen | August 25, 2011 | 1:00 PM EDT

Thursday's NBC Today previewed an upcoming Dateline interview with Dick Cheney about his new memoir and labeled the former Vice President "controversial" three times in less than a minute. Co-host Ann Curry proclaimed him to be "one of the most controversial figures of our time." [Audio available here]

Turning to correspondent Jamie Gangel, who conducted the interview, Curry noted: "I understand that you asked the former Vice President, in a wide-ranging conversation, about one of the biggest controversies of his time in office and that's the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques?"

Gangel described how Cheney's book was "filled with revelations and he does not back down on those controversial programs he championed that made him such a lightning rod for criticism after 9/11."