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By Noel Sheppard | April 14, 2011 | 9:41 PM EDT

Now that President Obama has put tax increases on the table in order to balance the budget, his media are going to put even more pressure on Republicans to comply.

A fine example of this happened on CNN's "John King USA" Thursday when the host actually asked Sen. Rob Portman (R-Oh.), "Should Republicans now have the open mind and the courage to maybe lose their jobs like President Bush did for the good of the country and at least say entering the conversation, 'We won't flatly, ideologically, reflexively rule out any tax increases?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Mark Finkelstein | April 14, 2011 | 9:03 PM EDT

Cenk Uygur can't figure out why accused Army leaker Bradley Manning isn't being treated like a "hero".  Seriously.

Uygur's guest on his MSNBC show this evening was P.J. Crowley, the former State Department spokesman who was forced out of his post for publicly criticizing the treatment of Manning while in detention awaiting trial.

Cenk whined as to why Manning isn't being accorded the "hero" treatment that Daniel Ellsberg received from some for his leak of the Pentagon Papers back in the Vietnam day.  But P.J. presumably surprised Cenk, strongly supporting the prosecution of Manning, saying he "caused damage to the United States and our interests around that world," and that his "prosecution is quite necessary."

View video after the jump.

By Matt Hadro | April 14, 2011 | 6:50 PM EDT

CNN's Ed Henry and Ali Velshi both think taxes should be raised in order to help reduce the deficit. However, neither gave any credence to the notion that raising taxes is detrimental in the current economic conditions on Thursday's "American Morning."

CNN's senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, reporting on the President's deficit-cutting proposals, remarked that in order to trim the deficit, both spending must be cut and taxes increased. This would mean that both Democrats and Republicans would be forced to vote for measures they wouldn't normally support.

Co-host Ali Velshi also agreed that higher taxes are necessary, and that since President Obama has had to "compromise," so to will Republicans and Democrats have to compromise on fiscal issues.  "Just as [Obama] has come around despite what happened the last election, despite the end of the year deals, despite his own debt commission and despite the showdown, the President has come around," Velshi said.
 

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 6:14 PM EDT

Last Friday the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The bill had already cleared the state senate and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has said he will sign the bill.

Today's Baltimore Sun devoted sympathetic front-page coverage to illegal immigrants who now "celebrate the approval of in-state tuition for Maryland students regardless of immigration status."

"I want to be a part," blared the front-page headline to Nick Madigan's A-1 story.  Below the headline is a picture of  "Missael, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lives in East Baltimore."

By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 6:10 PM EDT

Hardball's Chris Matthews on Thursday slammed Fox News as a "roach motel" for possible presidential candidates, knocking the chances of that network's analysts, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Yet, the MSNBC anchor, who obsesses daily about the so-called birther issue, admitted he hasn't been as tough on Donald Trump as he could. (Trump, of course, hosts The Apprentice on parent channel NBC.)    

After Time magazine's Michael Scherer contrasted Palin and Gingrich with NBC's Trump, Matthews blurted, "Well, that's why I've sort of been nice to him, if he hasn't noticed that."

When Scherer relayed that the reality star has people telling him to stop talking about Barack Obama's birth certificate, Matthews further explained the connection to his network colleague: "...I'm one of those guys. I was on the phone with him a couple weeks ago: 'Stop it!' I can't tell him what to do."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Noel Sheppard | April 14, 2011 | 6:04 PM EDT

Conservative author S.E. Cupp must have felt like she was getting tag-teamed Wednesday when she opted to go on the "Joy Behar Show" along side Jerry Springer.

The trio debated a number of issues including the Bush tax cuts, but the debate really got heated when the host brought up the Republican desire to defund Planned Parenthood (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 4:38 PM EDT

The network newscasts and morning shows have thus far ignored the story of Joseph Maraachli, a Canadian baby who was set to have his life support removed. Only Fox News has covered the dramatic transfer of the child on Monday to an American hospital for treatment.

The child suffers from a neurological disease and is in a vegetative state. According to Fox News, "Doctors in Canada said the illness is irreversible and wanted to remove the breathing tube. His parents appealed to Canadian courts, but the hospital's decision was upheld."    

By Lachlan Markay | April 14, 2011 | 4:26 PM EDT

As NB's Mark Finkelstein reported earlier, Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough expressed their bewilderment on Thursday's "Morning Joe" that President Obama would invite Rep. Paul Ryan to the unveiling of the president's budget, sit him in the front row, and then essential call him un-American on national television.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, on the other hand, far from being displeased by the move, touted it as evidence of the president's political courage. Obama isn't cowardly like congressional Republicans, she intimated, since he will call you un-American to your face.

"I don't think it was insulting" for the president to slime Ryan as he did, Mika claimed. "He was tough and clear." Check out the video below the break.

By Joseph Lindsey | April 14, 2011 | 3:46 PM EDT

Mohandas Gandhi was imprisoned in 1922, 1930, 1933 and 1942. He went on a hunger strike. But because of Gandhi’s stature around the world, British authorities were loath to allow him to die in their custody.

By Kyle Drennen | April 14, 2011 | 3:37 PM EDT

On his 3PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Wednesday, host Martin Bashir enthusiastically reacted to President Obama's budget speech: "'We will invest in the future of America,' that's what President Obama just said in a much-anticipated speech on the budget....He offered a series of broad proposals and said it's time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their way and share in taxes."

Moments later, White House correspondent Mike Viqueira joined Bashir and proclaimed: "..the President's speech was part soaring, speaking to the aspirations and character of a nation, if you will." Bashir observed: "Mike, I don't want to sound as if I'm misrepresenting the President, but it appeared to me that he was suggesting that we can't be self-centered as far as fiscal policy is concerned. We can't simply slash programs everywhere without somehow expecting the wealthiest in society to contribute. Is that your impression?"

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 3:03 PM EDT

Last week I noted how the media had been silent on a package sent to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) that contained an anti-Semitic rant and a bloody pig's foot.

The Associated Press broke the story on Monday, April 4.

In a new development, Politico's Jennifer Epstein reported this afternoon that a Muslim woman from Georgia has claimed responsibility and Capitol police are investigating the claim:

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof joined the “tax me, please,” brigade in his Thursday column that is sure to win him new fans the day before tax day: “Raise America’s Taxes.”

President Obama in his speech on Wednesday confronted a topic that is harder to address seriously in public than sex or flatulence: America needs higher taxes.

That ugly truth looms over today’s budget battles, but politicians have mostly preferred to run from reality. Mr. Obama’s speech was excellent not only for its content but also because he didn’t insult our intelligence.

There is no single reason for today’s budget mess, but it’s worth remembering that the last time our budget was in the black was in the Clinton administration. That’s a broad hint that one sensible way to overcome our difficulties would be to revert to tax rates more or less as they were under President Clinton. That single step would solve three-quarters of the deficit for the next five years or so.

So would cutting spending levels to the Clinton era, for that matter.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:01 PM EDT

L.A.- based Adam Nagourney covered California’s budget impasse for Thursday’s edition, “Standoff in Sacramento as Brown and G.O.P. Lock Horns Over Taxes.” New Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put tax hikes in front of the voters through California’s initiative and referendum process.

While the paper’s previous California budget writer Jennifer Steinhauer showed her displeasure with direct democracy after voters rejected tax hikes under headlines like “Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent,” and “In California, Democracy Doesn’t Pay the Bills,” Nagourney by contrast made encouraging noises about a public vote in the hope Brown’s proposed tax hikes would pass. From Thursday's article:

By Lachlan Markay | April 14, 2011 | 1:48 PM EDT

Beginning on April 17, NBC-Universal and all of its television news and entertainment shows will launch into seven days of environmentally-themed programming titled "Earth Week." If this Earth Week is anything like those past, it will once again raise the issue, highligted on numerous occasions at this website, of the symbiotic relationship between Earth Week's political implications and the financial interests of General Electric, which owns a large stake in the media company.

The conflict of interest apparent in Earth Week also points to a double standard: while the political activities of Fox News's parent company News Corporation were touted by numerous commentators - both partisan and "objective" - as evidence that Fox itself has a political bent, few to this day seem concerned that NBC is advancing a liberal environmental agenda that could potentially enrich GE, which spends millions (more than $230 million on lobbying alone since 1991, more than any other private company by far) advancing the same agenda through political channels.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 1:21 PM EDT

Thursday’s New York Times led with Obama’s partisan budget speech, “Taking On G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan – Calls for Spending Cuts and Tax Increases but Spares Medicare and Medicaid,” and once again did a double-standard dance around the politically inflammatory issue of changes in Medicare spending when proposed by a Democratic president.

While previous attempts at reform of Medicare by Republicans were eviscerated in the Times as “big Medicare cuts” or (just this week) a “shrinking” of the program, the paper greeted Obama’s own vague proposals with benign, soothing words like “overhaul” or claims that Obama was merely looking for Medicare “savings.” Thursday’s headline insisted Medicare and Medicaid would be “spared” and the text by reporters Mark Landler and Michael Shear described Obama as only proposing “changes to social welfare programs” and to “strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid.”