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By Matt Hadro | January 12, 2012 | 3:26 PM EST

PBS host and leftist activist Tavis Smiley called out Republican candidates for their hostility to the poor in America, on Thursday morning on MSNBC. Appearing during the 7 a.m. hour of Morning Joe, he singled out four candidates by name and warned that "we're in a world of trouble" due to their campaign trail rhetoric.

As a PBS host, Smiley benefits from public funding. That has not stopped him in the past for making outrageous liberal remarks, and it didn't stop him on Thursday when he railed against a Congressional "bipartisan consensus that the poor just don't matter."

By Tim Graham | January 12, 2012 | 1:26 PM EST

It apparently wasn’t edgy enough for “Sesame Street” to plan a segment where a scantily clad Katy Perry flirted with Elmo the Muppet. Now Time magazine’s "Healthland" blogger Bonnie Rochman reports that those “progressive” breast-feeding advocates want the whole breast. They are “lowering the boom” with a petition demanding Sesame Street return to PBS Seventies-style, insisting four-year-olds need to see videos of breast feeding (perhaps with celebrity moms like Natalie Portman, they suggest). The principle is fairness and balance between the pro-bottle and pro-breast sides – as if PBS has balance anywhere else on the schedule.

Why? Do tots need to start getting La Leche League propaganda before they attend kindergarten? What next, contraception lectures for the children? Talk of genital mutilation of girls in Africa?  Wouldn’t it be more effective to show breastfeeding to grownups, perhaps on the PBS NewsHour? Time reports:

By Scott Whitlock | January 12, 2012 | 1:01 PM EST

"Good Morning America" reporter John Berman on Thursday hyperbolically warned that Mitt Romney is taking his "ever more scathing, anti-Obama message" to South Carolina. The correspondent then proceeded to play up every new attack on the Republican front-runner.

Speaking of South Carolina, Berman fretted, "It's not just the warm weather, but the warm welcome to his ever more scathing, anti-Obama message." The reporter highlighted a video from Gingrich supporters that lambastes Romney's "big house, big money and the big cuts to some companies."

By Clay Waters | January 12, 2012 | 12:56 PM EST

After Mitt Romney’s comfortable win in the New Hampshire Republican primaries Tuesday, media attention shifts to the next primary, in socially conservative South Carolina, which New York Times campaign reporter Jim Rutenberg claims is “a place famous for surfacing the dark undercurrents of American politics” in his Wednesday front-page story, “In South Carolina, Challenges Await on Ideology and Faith.”

Rutenberg is mainly referring to an alleged incident during the 2000 campaign in which presidential candidate Sen. John McCain was victimized by anonymous phone calls (from either the George W. Bush campaign or Bush supporters) claiming McCain’s dark-skinned adopted daughter from Bangladesh was an illegitimate black love child. But is there hard evidence the smear even occurred? As the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell wrote in a column in January 2008: “No matter that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis couldn’t substantiate how many of these scurrilous phone calls were actually made, or by whom.”

By Tom Blumer | January 12, 2012 | 12:49 PM EST

Given the underlying story, the following headline to a Thursday story at the Detroit Free Press is either a big mistake or a deliberate attempt to focus blame where it absolutely does not belong: "Man on probation, fined for role in tea party scam." Excuse me while I question whether the Freep deserves the benefit of the doubt.

L.L. Brasler's story is really about how the second of two Democratic Party operatives has been sentenced for running an electoral scam with sham candidates to hurt Republican and conservatives and to blunt the impact of the Tea Party movement:

By Kyle Drennen | January 12, 2012 | 12:43 PM EST

Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw touted GOP presidential candidates attacking Mitt Romney's business experience at Bain Capital: "It's the Republican Party equivalent of a jihad....the real danger for the Republicans is that it will deeply divide the party at a time when they want it to be united." [Audio available here]

While promoting the Republican infighting, Brokaw repeatedly confused Mitt Romney with his father and former Michigan Governor George Romney: "[Senator Jim DeMint said] George Romney is going to win this primary in South Carolina....They're going hard after George Romney....George Romney seems to be holding his own and the momentum continues for him..." At one point, co-host Ann Curry corrected him: "Mitt Romney." Brokaw explained: "His father was George Romney, that's my generational slip." [View video after the jump]

By Tim Graham | January 12, 2012 | 12:07 PM EST

Current TV isn’t just largely unwatched in America. Mimi Turner at The Hollywood Reporter notes its horrible ratings in the United Kingdom are causing BSkyB to drop them. “Co-founder and CEO Joel Hyatt has launched an astonishing attack on the Rupert Murdoch-backed pay TV platform, accusing it of shutting down the channel in an act politically motivated by News Corporation.” It sounded just like Al Gore when Current TV got the ax in Italy.

“Sky is shutting down an intelligent alternative to mass market programming,” said Joel Hyatt, CEO of Current Media. In Britain, the land of the liberal BBC and just recently, PBS UK? Hyatt continued his Murdoch-bashing: “By doing so, Sky is once again discriminating in favor of the networks it owns and the points of view News Corporation agrees with.”

By NB Staff | January 12, 2012 | 11:05 AM EST

Some good news as our starter topic today: The Supreme Court ruled that churches have the right to hire and fire whoever they wish, contrary to the Obama administration which was trying to apply standard employment law to churches:

By Ken Shepherd | January 12, 2012 | 10:50 AM EST

A 13-month-old child was found yesterday morning, unsupervised and wearing only a onesie, in a tent in the Occupy D.C. squatters camp in McPherson Square. To their credit, some Occupiers notified authorities, who arrested a man who showed up later claiming to be the baby's father. That being said, it's just the latest criminal incident which highlights the ongoing problems of the 3-month long "occupation" of an urban square that was never intended for overnight camping.

But, of course, the media are doing their darndest to downplay or ignore the story: ABC's Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and NBC's Today failed to report the incident. The Washington Post placed their 7-paragraph story on page B6. A review of the websites for the ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliate stations in D.C. shows they are not trumpeting the story as significant. Ditto with WTOP.com, the website for the region's all-news radio station.

By Clay Waters | January 12, 2012 | 10:33 AM EST

Diversity, New York Times style. “Bipolar America,” the cover feature for the Sunday New York Times Book Review, compiles reviews of three new books on Tea Party-related politics, one reviewed by veteran liberal journalist Michael Kinsley, two others judged by Timothy Noah, veteran liberal journalist for The New Republic.

Noah says Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of the strongly titled Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party: From Eisenhower to the Tea Party, "argues persuasively that Republican moderates remained a powerful, even dominant, political force well into the 1970s." But, Noah argued:

By P.J. Gladnick | January 12, 2012 | 10:01 AM EST

"Hi! Is this Mary Todd Lincoln? It is? Sorry for waking up before 6 A.M. but this is Ashleigh Banfield of Early Start and I just want you to know we are live on the air so, please, No F-bombs. Hee! Hee! Anyway, I know how much you love watching plays so I want to ask if you are still haunted by the assassination of your husband who was sitting right next to you at Ford's Theater."

Is this some sort of sick fantasy on the part of your humble correspondent? Not really because that is pretty much the tone of the prank phone call made by Ashleigh Banfield on the inaugural CNN Early Start show last week when she woke up Kerry Kennedy to ask if she is still haunted by memories of the assassination of her father, Robert F. Kennedy, which you can see in the video below the fold.

By Noel Sheppard | January 12, 2012 | 9:18 AM EST

According to one of Iran's most acclaimed directors, anti-American schlockumentarian Michael Moore is the most famous filmmaker in that Middle Eastern nation that so happens to be a sworn enemy of the United States.

As the New York Post reported Thursday:

By Tim Graham | January 12, 2012 | 8:07 AM EST

On Tuesday's edition of The View on ABC, the ladies once again held a completely unanimous liberal discussion on gay marriage, with the alleged conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck leading the denunciation of social conservatives, including Pope Benedict. On Monday, Pope Benedict spoke up for the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman, but nowhere in the address did he actually discuss the concept of gay marriage. It was more of a pro-life message.

But no one at The View reads original transcripts. "Someone wasn't invited to Elton John's wedding," Joy Behar joked. “Someone’s ticked off.”  Hasselbeck chimed in. "I think a big mistake that people make, in saying that something works against humanity to me seems quite inhumane. I was raised Catholic, I consider myself Christian now, but I’ll probably get some letters after today," Hasselbeck said.

By Mark Finkelstein | January 12, 2012 | 7:42 AM EST

Joe Scarborough said it about Rick Perry, but it could perhaps have applied to other Republican presidential contenders who are going after Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.

On Morning Joe today, discussing Perry's depiction of venture capitalists like Romney as "vultures," Scarborough said that the Texas governor: "sounds like a stoned NYU grad student in Zuccotti Park."  Video after the jump.

By Brad Wilmouth | January 12, 2012 | 2:16 AM EST

Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, ABC's George Stephanopoulos responded to host Stephen Colbert's question of why he - as debate co-moderator last Saturday - asked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney about whether states have the constitutional power to ban contraceptives, as he argued that the question revolved around the "right to privacy."

He then suggested that a bet with co-moderator Diane Sawyer motivated him to be so persistent in asking Romney followup questions on the subject. After Colbert asked what it felt like when Romney called it a "silly thing" for Stephanopoulos to ask such a hypothetical question, the ABC anchor responded: