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By Geoffrey Dickens | March 7, 2011 | 6:38 PM EST

Leave it to Chris Matthews to look at a typical, by the book, recitation of talking points appearance by Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and describe it as a sign of conspiracy or lunacy. On Monday's Hardball, after Matthews played clips of Bachmann on NBC's Meet the Press, he wondered if she was trained by "a group in Virginia that teaches right wing people" to "use the most wild language" and repeat it or was she simply "behaving like a zombie?"

Matthews, who is prone to make cinematic comparisons, went on to say the conservative congresswoman's appearance reminded him of The Manchurian Candidate as he questioned Democratic Representative Loretta Sanchez: "Is there some kind of playing card...A queen of diamonds, like in The Manchurian Candidate, where you flash the queen of diamonds and this congresswoman colleague of yours goes into that trance like repetition of those words?"

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Matt Hadro | March 7, 2011 | 6:32 PM EST

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.

"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"

Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
 

By Tom Blumer | March 7, 2011 | 6:19 PM EST

Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia caused a bit of a stir last week when he said on CSPAN's Washington Journal program that, as paraphrased by Daniel Strauss at The Hill, "lawmakers are getting around the new ban on earmarks by convincing Obama administration officials to fund their pet projects."

Those who have followed Moran's less than illustrious career recall something he said in 2006 that makes his determination to make earmarks happen by any means necessary not at all unexpected.

In June of that year, Scott McAffrey at Northern Virginia's Sun Gazette reported on Moran's intentions if the Demcrats were to win a Congressional majority the following November (one example of R-rated language follows):

By Matthew Balan | March 7, 2011 | 6:17 PM EST

Mark Potok of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center claimed on Monday's Newsroom on CNN that radical Islam wasn't "our biggest domestic terror threat," that instead, "that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux touted Potok as "expert on extremism" from "one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups."

Malveaux brought on the SPLC spokesman at the bottom of the 12 noon Eastern hour to discuss the upcoming hearings by the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of American Muslims. The anchor first asked him, "From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?"

Potok replied with his "radical right" claim, and went on to criticize the chairman of the House committee, Rep. Peter King:

By Scott Whitlock | March 7, 2011 | 6:11 PM EST

Newsweek and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown flattered This Week host Christiane Amanpour by placing her on a list of 150 women who "shake the world." The ABC anchor responded to this praise by featuring Brown on her Sunday show, touting the females on the list (which described the host as "one of the world's most renowned journalists"). She enthused, "Who could fail to be optimistic?"

On the show, Amanpour never mentioned her inclusion in this profile. Those not featured? Amanpour's ABC News colleagues, World News anchor Diane Sawyer and Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts, despite the fact that their shows are on five days a week and have higher ratings.

In addition to ignoring her place amongst these women, Amanpour also neglected to note that she will be participating in a panel on the same topic. "And we'll be watching the women's summit, the Daily Beast/Newsweek [sic] that's coming up this week," she vaguely explained at the close of the segment.

By Ken Shepherd | March 7, 2011 | 5:00 PM EST

"State Republicans seek more limits on voters" warned the front page Washington Post headline for Peter Wallsten's March 7 article.

"GOP says the push targets fraud; Democrats call it a power play," added the subheader. The online version of the article had a decidedly less-loaded headline, but Wallsten's article skewed towards the Democratic complaint (emphasis mine):

By Scott Whitlock | March 7, 2011 | 4:27 PM EST

According to CNN, a relatively minor misstatement by John McCain was worth replaying four times in the span of an hour. Newsroom host Randi Kaye repeatedly focused on a comment by the senator that the iPad and iPhone are "built" in America. (In fact, they are designed in California, but assembled in China.)

A CNN graphic trumpeted, "McCain's Made-in-America-Flub." Kaye breathlessly related, "McCain's office tells CNN the senator is aware of [the fact that the Apple products are built in China.] Talking to political director Paul Steinhauser, the host interrogated, "Paul, this is getting a lot of attention. Is the Senator aware of that or not?"

Steinhauser skeptically responded, "Uh, he says he is aware of it." Teasing the story later in the show, Kaye quizzed viewers, "Listen closely to what Senator John McCain told ABC's This Week and then see if you can figure out what's wrong with what he said."

By Kyle Drennen | March 7, 2011 | 3:59 PM EST

In an interview with former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill wondered if higher gas prices in the wake of Mideast unrest were the result of some sort of fraud: "We've seen prices skyrocket....Is the public right to feel taken advantage of in some ways here, or even scammed?"

Even the liberal Reich didn't accept the premise: "Well look, a lot of this is supply and demand. The country can feel a certain sense of taken advantage of. But some of this is the demand that's coming from China. I mean, you have developing nations all over the world....And their oil needs are very high. And so they are also putting pressure on oil prices. It's not just the Middle East."

By Clay Waters | March 7, 2011 | 3:34 PM EST

One doesn’t often see the New York Times reporting on laws and regulations that hurt business, so when you do you can assume there’s a liberal twist in the tale. From Bozeman, Mont., Denver bureau chief Kirk Johnson notified readers on the front of Sunday’s National section that “A Boon to the Economy Faces Repeal in Montana.” The “repeal” involves repealing the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana laws.

Questions about who really benefits from medical marijuana are now gripping Montana. In the Legislature, a resurgent Republican majority elected last fall is leading a drive to repeal the six-year-old voter-approved statute permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which opponents argue is promoting recreational use and crime.

Johnson’s previous reporting has not shown much sympathy toward conservatives or business, but he managed to make a fine free-market argument when it came to a predominantly liberal/libertarian priority like medical marijuana:

By Lachlan Markay | March 7, 2011 | 2:30 PM EST

In a short video on the New York Times's website, Brian Stelter, the paper's media reporter, comments on the "interesting" trend of cable news reporters "taking sides" in the Wisconsin budget battle - with Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left, of course - and supposedly twisting facts to fit partisan narratives.

Asked about commentators "looking for a certain narrative on the way in" - even when the facts don't support it - Stelter singled out Bill O'Reilly and Ed Schultz as indicative of the trend. But he needn't look so far from home. The Times's own partisan pugilist, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, has consistently twisted facts in an effort to fit the Wisconsin debate into a leftist narrative.

By Clay Waters | March 7, 2011 | 1:46 PM EST

Kate Zernike, Tea Party-beat reporter for the New York Times, whose reporting on the movement is marked by hostility and unfounded suspicions of racism, switched to the pro-union left-wing protests in Wisconsin for the front of the Sunday Week in Review,  “As Goes Wisconsin...” The subhead: “The Midwest’s legacy of labor activism -- and conservative pushback -- are both in play today at the Capitol in Madison.”

 

Zernike set out the contradictory history of labor in Wisconsin before moving on to the top names on the liberal enemy’s list, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is demanding limits on public-sector unions, and the Koch brothers, whose vast philanthropy includes donations to groups all along the political spectrum.

By Ken Shepherd | March 7, 2011 | 12:31 PM EST

Presenting the same-sex marriage debate in Maryland's state legislature as one about "marriage equality," openly gay MSNBC host Thomas Roberts discussed the matter with Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who is also openly gay.

The segment, entitled "Cold Feet In Maryland?" aired today at 11:17 a.m. EST.

"Supporters of Marriage Equality Wavering on Bill" the lower-thirds caption read as Capehart described how supporters of same-sex marriage are a few votes shy of passing the bill in Maryland's House of Delegates. A similar bill has already passed the Democrat-dominated Maryland Senate and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has pledged his signature should the bill reach his desk.

By Geoffrey Dickens | March 7, 2011 | 12:06 PM EST

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough appeared on Monday's Today show to deliver a forecast of doom for Republicans on the budget fight and their 2012 presidential prospects. On their skirmish with Democrats in Congress the host of Morning Joe told NBC's Matt Lauer he thinks Republicans "have the most to lose" and in explaining the late start for GOP entrants into the 2012 race proclaimed, "they are afraid of Barack Obama," as seen in the following exchange:

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Scott Whitlock | March 7, 2011 | 11:39 AM EST

Even though there's still a year and eight months to go until the 2012 presidential election, Good Morning America's John Berman on Monday derided the GOP field for not joining the race yet. As a mocking trombone sound played, Berman joked that Newt Gingrich "had us on the edge of our seats" last week by establishing only an exploratory website.

Highlighting Mitt Romney's failure to officially enter the race, Berman offered this insulting aside: "But will it be him? What other possible explanation could there be for the  fact that Romney, who was trying to shake the reputation that he was born in a business suit, has apparently has lost all of his neck ties?"

Highlighting a conservative for dismissing other conservatives, the ABC reporter quoted, "Some Republicans feel timing isn't the problem, but the field. Columnist George Will writes, 'If pessimism is not creeping into Republicans' thinking about their 2012 prospects, that is another reason for pessimism.'"

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Rich Noyes | March 7, 2011 | 11:20 AM EST

The Media Research Center is out with another edition of our bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Highlights from this issue include: Network reporters contrasting left-wing union protests in Wisconsin with recent uprisings against brutal Middle Eastern dictators, and journalists suggesting a “coordinated” Republican “assault on unions,” with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski badgering Governor Scott Walker: “How this is not an attempt to crush the unions.”

In other NQ news, we think we’ve finally fixed the problems that have plagued MRC’s e-mail newsletters over the past few weeks, so if you’d like to subscribe (or unsubscribe) to Notable Quotables or any of the MRC’s other fine newsletters, click here.

Now, here’s a sample of our best quotes from the past two weeks, including six video clips — for the full edition (Web page or full-color, printer-friendly PDF), visit www.MRC.org.