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By Noel Sheppard | September 28, 2011 | 3:46 PM EDT

Despite the growing scandal involving failed solar company Solyndra - now officially four weeks old - MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton have still not reported the matter on their respective prime time programs.

The only regular MSNBC host to mention this subject in prime time is Rachel Maddow who predictably discounted its importance Monday (transcript and commentary follow):

By Tom Blumer | September 28, 2011 | 3:07 PM EDT

UPDATE: John Frank responded to yours truly in an email. Go to the end of the post for the email and my reax.

Yesterday, Raleigh News & Observer blog contributor jbfrank, who from all indications is also RN&O reporter John Frank, assured readers that North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue was joking when she suggested that "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years" at a Rotary Club luncheon in Cary.

That's what his headline said: "Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years." There were no quote marks around "jokes." The headline echoed what the Governor's apparatchiks were saying. All the while, "Frank" had audio and didn't post it. He finally did this morning, and acknowledged that he was the one who did the taping:

By Tim Graham | September 28, 2011 | 2:32 PM EDT

NBC’s series The Playboy Club remains in search of an audience, so some stars are lashing out on Twitter at the Parents Television Council, who’s calling for the show to be cancelled, since it promotes one of the world’s leading pornography brands.

David Krumholtz – who many might remember from CBS’s “Numb3rs”– attacked the PTC on Twitter for “randomly” choosing the Playboy show, but eventually turned to attacking Mormons and Catholics for having “a long history of degrading women.” When someone asked how Catholics currently degrade women, he snapped back “My bad. I should have said little children instead of women.”

By Kyle Drennen | September 28, 2011 | 12:43 PM EDT

Discussing the possibility of Chris Christie entering the presidential race on Wednesday's NBC "Today," Tom Brokaw praised the New Jersey Govenor as a moderate: "He's not an ideologue.... he played outside the ideological lines that have been drawn in the Republican primary."

Co-host Matt Lauer said of Christie, "...a lot of conservative Republicans, while loving the fact that he's a fiscal conservative, perhaps aren't going to like his stand on some other issues..." Brokaw saw that as a positive: "The question is, who's going to run the Republican primaries? Right now, the dialogue is being dominated by the Tea Party but there are a lot of other Republicans who say, 'We've got to play outside of the Tea Party playbook and this is a guy who can do that.'"

By NB Staff | September 28, 2011 | 10:58 AM EDT

According to a new national survey released this morning by CNN/ORC International, the public's trust in the federal government is at an all-time low. Only 15% of Americans say they trust the federal government to mostly or always do what is right, down 10% from September 2010. Additionally, 77% of those surveyed say they trust the federal government to act correctly some of the time, while 8% said they never trust the government to do what's right.

What do you think this drastic shift in distrust of the government will mean for 2012 Congressional elections? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

By Noel Sheppard | September 28, 2011 | 10:10 AM EDT

As NewsBusters reported last Friday, America's trust in the media has fallen to new lows.

Appearing on Fox News's "O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday, political commentator Bernie Goldberg said it was because of the media's love affair with Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Clay Waters | September 28, 2011 | 9:54 AM EDT

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman showed his usual class when discussing Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, whose comprehensive budget plan calls for transforming Medicare into a voucher system in order to preserve the financially imperiled program and to trim the deficit. For his efforts, Krugman claimed that Ryan’s “voucher would kill people, no question.”

Krugman featured as a talking head in a CNN “Up Close” profile of Ryan by CNN journalist Gloria Borger that aired Sunday night.

By Tim Graham | September 28, 2011 | 8:14 AM EDT

People magazine gave prominent play on the front of its Books section in the latest edition (dated October 3) to two Palin-trashing books, by Joe McGinniss and Levi Johnston. They weren't officially reviewed, since there was no rating of how many stars they had earned. The headline was "Seeking the Real Sarah? Two dirt-dishing bios of Sarah Palin play fast and loose with the facts but transport readers deep into the Wasilla, Alaska ethos that shaped her."

Why would People try to be even-handed here? The books aren't factually dependable, but they reflect Palin's local "ethos"? Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, a People reporter and former White House reporter for the Associated Press, dances this soft-shoe throughout the short piece, next to large photos of the book covers:

By Tim Graham | September 28, 2011 | 7:56 AM EDT

On Thursday, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi honored commentator Fred Fiske of Washington’s NPR station WAMU as he retired in his 90s like Andy Rooney. Farhi helped Fiske chronicle “his absurdly lengthy career as an announcer, pop-music DJ, talk-show host and gently insistent, moderately liberal commentator.” Later in the piece, he said Fiske offered “what he describes as ‘moderate’ opinions.”

NewsBusters readers might recall a less-than-moderate Fiske, in tone and content. In a January 2010 commentary on WAMU, Fiske called the Rush Limbaugh show "Excrement in Broadcasting" and cited Jon Stewart attacking Limbaugh: "I think I know the cause of your heart trouble. You don’t have one." He said Limbaugh said "baseless, bigoted, and hateful" things, worse than the anti-Semitic Father Coughlin radio show of the 1930s.

By Tim Graham | September 28, 2011 | 7:29 AM EDT

Here's another sign the rules against campaign donations/fundraising at MSNBC are toast: Ed Schultz was the star attraction at a $50-a-plate fundraiser for the Kosciusko County Democrats in Warsaw, Indiana on Saturday night. (Some paid $250, apparently, to be even closer to Big Ed.)

Daniel Riordan of The Warsaw Times-Union reported Schultz asked if there were any Republicans present. "When seemingly everyone in the room pointed to State Representative Dave Wolkins, Schultz joked, 'I’ll talk slow so you can understand.'” There were also unintentional laugh lines: “(Obama)’s offered up more cuts in spending than Johnson, Carter and Clinton combined,” he said. He's a regular Calvin Coolidge, that Obama.

By Brent Bozell | September 27, 2011 | 11:07 PM EDT

No one thinks Barack Obama is sitting pretty in this race for the White House. The Real Clear Politics average of the mid-September approval-rating polls measures him at 43 percent approval, 51 percent disapproval. With these numbers, they should be measuring his political coffin. But to listen to the networks talk, it’s the Republican field that is a mess in desperate need of new talent, and its debate audiences are a blood-thirsty horror movie.

One place that Democratic contenders go for positive publicity is the network morning shows. Their audiences are diminished, but they remain a powerful national platform, especially for female voters. Rich Noyes and Geoff Dickens of the Media Research Center have demonstrated how ABC, CBS, and NBC set a pretty pleasant table for the Democratic candidates (and potential candidates like Al Gore) from January 1 through July 31, 2007. 

By Tim Graham | September 27, 2011 | 10:42 PM EDT

Everyone was well-behaved when Fox's Bill O'Reilly came on NPR's Morning Edition Tuesday to promote his new book Killing Lincoln. NPR anchor Steve Inskeep was no hardball-throwing Terry Gross, and O'Reilly was wearing his pox-on-both-houses centrist hat and tried to say nice things about Obama. He denounced the media as a "bunch of guttersnipes," but when Inskeep nudged him about whether he was also guilty of slamming people, O'Reilly insisted "I'm trying to do the right thing."

This sounded odd after all the NPR-Fox News crossfire in the wake of NPR firing Juan Williams over an interview on O'Reilly's show. But by far, the oddest part came when Inskeep tried to suggest our current "broken" politics could lead to another civil war and massive death. Speaking of Lincoln's time, he said: "They tried to deal with it. They couldn't deal with it over time, and in the end, it led to a war and hundreds of thousands of people were killed. Do you wonder if the political system is breaking now?"

By Tom Blumer | September 27, 2011 | 9:34 PM EDT

Apparently there's no audio or video of North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue's Tuesday humdinger, namely that "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover." -- yet.

If none surfaces, that will be too bad, because the guess here is that the wiggle room desperate apparatchiks to North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue and writer "jbfrank" at the Raleigh News & Observer are attempting to create -- namely, that she was only joking -- would vanish without a trace if we saw or heard how she delivered the following:

By Tom Blumer | September 27, 2011 | 8:39 PM EDT

What if I told you that the government put out a report today which would lead one to infer that the economy might barely have grown last year, and that it even may have contracted -- and that the reporter who appears to have been the only one who covered it didn't grasp its potential significance (or, conceivably, chose to ignore it)?

Today the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual "Consumer Expenditures Survey" for 2010. As of 8:30 p.m., a Google News search on "consumer expenditures government" (not in quotes, past 24 hours, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 72 items (the first page says over 2,400, but it's really only 72). All relevant results represent Associated Press reports filed by Marting Crutsinger (Yahoo Finance version here).

Here are the key paragraphs from Crutsinger's report which gave away the problem -- or at least should have, if the AP reporter had made one obvious comparison:

By Matt Hadro | September 27, 2011 | 8:30 PM EDT

CNN's Jack Cafferty smeared entire crowds of people who attended recent GOP debates when he asked on Tuesday if they were "bloodthirsty."

"For the third time in as many debates, crowd members have either booed or cheered at what some say are highly inappropriate moments," Cafferty stated. He slammed both the crowd behavior and the Republican candidates for not denouncing such antics.