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By Brent Baker | March 16, 2011 | 11:33 PM EDT

Diane Sawyer allocated all but 1:37 of World News to Japan on Wednesday night, committing 33 seconds of that limited time to touting President Obama’s NCAA basketball picks provided to ABC corporate cousin ESPN.

“Despite all the troubles around the world” Sawyer rationalized – as if there’s much evidence Obama, who’s hardly been engaged in the Libyan or Japanese situations and who went golfing last weekend, is devoting much time to any of it – “the President kept his annual appointment to fill out his bracket for college basketball's March Madness. The basketball Fan-in-Chief got together with our sister network ESPN's Andy Katz.”

Following a clip of Obama revealing a couple of his selections, Sawyer trumpeted: “You heard it here first. The President is going with Kansas!” Then, with “BARACK-ETOLOGY” at the top of the screen above ESPN graphics, Sawyer plugged: “And you can see all of his picks on ESPN’s Sports Center and at ESPN.com.”

By Mark Finkelstein | March 16, 2011 | 10:47 PM EDT

Wait a sec!  Isn't it Republicans who supposedly are irresponsibly accusing Dems of being socialists and Commies?  Check that.  Ed Schultz has declared--not paraphrasing, actually quoting--that Tea Partiers who support Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are "lining up with the Communist Party."

Schultz was set off by Snyder's signing of an emergency bill giving, as per this report, "broad new powers to emergency financial managers appointed by the state of Michigan."

View video after the jump.

By Matthew Balan | March 16, 2011 | 7:33 PM EDT

On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN hyped the concerns of psychiatrist Terry Kupers over the imprisonment of Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning. Kupers labeled Manning's months-long solitary confinement "cruel or inhumane treatment, and by international standards, they constitute torture." The guest also claimed that "nobody has been accused of crimes like Bradley Manning's."

Anchor Carol Costello noted in her introduction to her interview of Kupers (which aired 47 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour) that "Manning, the man accused of giving Wikileaks classified documents, spent most of the last nine months in solitary confinement. One psychiatrist tells CNN that amounted to torture, and it could have done more harm than good." An on-screen graphic trumpeted this charge: "Wikileaks Suspect 'Tortured': Doc: Months of solitary does permanent damage."

By Noel Sheppard | March 16, 2011 | 7:31 PM EDT

Joy Behar on Wednesday made a staggeringly stupid comment on "The View" that is so inane it requires no additional setup.

"I’m sure people in concentration camps made jokes about each other, about the Nazis, about their situation. That’s the way people relieve stress" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Jack Coleman | March 16, 2011 | 6:42 PM EDT

Here's an example of a former newspaper man correcting a politician's claim -- and his correction requiring a correction.

Appearing on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews offered kneejerk condemnation of Mike Huckabee saying President Obama grew up in Kenya as "racist," an assertion Huckabee had acknowledged as inaccurate.

Matthews piled on, making his own demonstrably false claim in the process (video after page break) --

By Kyle Drennen | March 16, 2011 | 6:13 PM EDT

On Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Norah O'Donnell spoke with  liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne about his claim that the United States is "not broke," but simply needs to "raise revenue" through higher taxes. She teased the segment by wondering: "Is Washington really as broke as lawmakers make it seem?"

O'Donnell described Dionne's latest column as "provocative" and asked, "How can you say there is no crisis?" Dionne argued: "...we are in this strait partly because of an economic downturn, when things get better, when the economy gets better, revenue comes in. We're also in this trouble because we cut taxes and started two wars at the same time back at the beginning of the last decade."

By Clay Waters | March 16, 2011 | 4:13 PM EDT

The New York Times versus state spending cuts. Reporter Sabrina Tavernise went to the downtrodden town of Gallipollis, Ohio, and collected a grab bag of sympathetic liberal anecdotes about government workers threatened by a bill that would restrict public-sector unions, for Wednesday’s “Ohio Town Sees Public Job As Only Route To Middle Class.”

Tavernise focused solely on the plight of low-income workers, including unionized government workers, while failing to mention the state's $8 billion deficit (a number included only in an Associated Press sidebar story, "Governor's Budget Seeks To Limit Union Influence.")

Jodi and Ralph Taylor are public workers whose jobs as a janitor and a sewer manager cover life’s basics. They have moved out of a trailer into a house, do not have to rely on food stamps and sometimes even splurge for the spicy wing specials at the Courtside Bar and Grill.

While that might not seem like much, jobs like theirs, with benefits and higher-than-minimum wages, are considered plum in this depressed corner of southern Ohio. Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison.

Now, as Ohio’s legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class.

By Clay Waters | March 16, 2011 | 4:08 PM EDT

I’ve given New York Times environmental reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal some grief for her ever-expanding damage list of events and patterns caused by global warming, so I’ll give her some credit for her Sunday Week in Review piece on the NIMBY phenomenon among liberal environmentalists: “Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard.”

Though Rosenthal doesn’t question the environmental necessity behind bike lanes and windmills, it’s refreshing to see a Times story on political hypocrisy that targets the left instead of the right.

Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cape Cod, Mass. Berkeley, Calif. Three famously progressive places, right? The yin to the Tea Party yang. But just try putting a bike lane or some wind turbines in their lines of sight. And the karma can get very different.

By Lachlan Markay | March 16, 2011 | 3:04 PM EDT

It seems that some on the left are beginning to notice the epic journalistic malpractice going on in the media's refusal to cover a litany of death threats - some specific and credible - against Wisconsin Republicans for their support of legislation trimming the power of public sector unions.

"Burying the death threat story is a clear example of intellectual dishonesty and journalistic bias," liberal blogger Lee Stranahan succinctly put it in a piece at the Huffington Post on Tuesday. Stranahan wondered "why progressives shouldn't expect more from our media -- and ourselves -- than we expect from our political adversaries."

He even linked to a post by our own Noel Sheppard demonstrating much of the media's - including all three news networks' - apparent lack of interest in death threats against Wisconsin's elected officials.

By Ken Shepherd | March 16, 2011 | 2:53 PM EDT

"Megachurch wants choir to sign anti-gay covenant," blared the headline USAToday.com gave a March 16 Associated Press (AP) story today.

But the story itself reveals the document in question -- Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant -- simply states traditional, biblically-based Christian doctrine on marriage and sexual ethics.

Here's the offending passage, according to the AP:

By Kyle Drennen | March 16, 2011 | 12:25 PM EDT

On Monday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews slammed the potential crop of 2012 Republican presidential contenders as "the weakest list of candidates I have ever seen."

Matthews bashed Mitt Romney as someone who "gives a bad name to empty suits." He claimed Mike Huckabee was being "racist" by mistakenly saying President Obama spent part of his childhood in Kenya instead of Indonesia. When Leno asked about Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, Matthews ranted about a gaffe she made about Lexington and Concord being in New Hampshire: "You ought to at least know high school history....you got to know something to run for president, don't you?"

Continuing his attack on Bachmann, Matthews added: "Wouldn't you like your plumber to know what a pipe was?" He then admitted: "That's too mean." And announced: "I want to be somewhat nonpartisan."

By Scott Whitlock | March 16, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Wednesday hyped the fact that Barack Obama will be making his NCAA tournament picks on ESPN. The Daily Rundown anchor enthused, "You got about 27 hours to get your brackets in. The President has already done his."

Perhaps referencing the devastating earthquake in Japan or the ongoing crisis in Libya, Todd vaguely  allowed, "He's a bit distracted, of course. Maybe he just doesn't just have time to do the research [for college basketball]." But, the MSNBC anchor didn't question the appropriateness of making televised basketball while Japan's nuclear reactors are still a major threat.

By Matthew Balan | March 16, 2011 | 11:52 AM EDT

NPR's Michele Norris expressed the liberal skepticism of any tax incentive to spur job growth on Tuesday's All Things Considered during an interview of Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Otellini proposed a tax holiday for any company that built a new factory in the U.S. Norris replied, "Can this country afford that right now?"

The host asked the CEO about job creation near the end of her interview. She began with a left-of-center premise: "What can the government do to create jobs or can the government create jobs?" Otellini offered a free market solution:

By Ken Shepherd | March 16, 2011 | 11:33 AM EDT

"Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has voted to approve more than $900,000 in deals with Johns Hopkins since her husband began working for one of its divisions late last year — a possible violation of the city ethics code."

That's how the Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper began her March 16 story -- published last night online here -- about the Democratic mayor's votes on the city's board that authorizes spending for public contracts.

Yet Scharper failed to note Rawlings-Blake's Democratic Party affiliation.

By Terence P. Jeffrey | March 16, 2011 | 11:21 AM EDT

The national debt jumped by $72 billion on Tuesday even as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for just three weeks that will cut $6 billion from government spending.

If Congress were to cut $6 billion every three weeks for the next 36 weeks, it would manage to save between now and late November as much money as the Treasury added to the nation’s net debt during just the business hours of Tuesday, March 15.