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By Ken Shepherd | February 28, 2011 | 6:53 PM EST

Providing Washington Post Metro section readers a review of the just-closed legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly, staff writers Rosalind Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle today deployed some colorfully loaded language that portrayed conservative Republicans in an unfavorable light.

For example [emphasis mine], the "divided legislature reached a compromise on budget amendments that mollified Republicans bent on paring government to its core services and Democrats eager to restore spending on schools, health care and other priorities as the economy improves."

But what really struck me was the part a few paragraphs later where Helderman and Kunkle described the successful effort Republicans waged to pass a bill opposed by pro-choice activists and politicians [emphasis mine]:

By | February 28, 2011 | 6:24 PM EST

The campaign by pro-union demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin to silence Fox News and prevent it from reporting continued over the weekend. Protesters did their best to prevent FNC's Mike Tobin from reporting on the protests, all the while shouting - apparently oblivious to the irony - "Fox News lies!"

A few protesters even struck Tobin, though he later downplayed the assault, and said he had declined to press charges. Another protester threatened to break Tobin's neck, he said during one report.

"I find the whole thing a terrific distraction, and terribly frustrating, because I want to cover the story," Tobin told Fox News Radio host Scott Allen Miller on Monday. Tobin brushed off the physical abuse he says he has endured from a few protesters, and insisted that the real frustration was being "harassed with every live shot" (video below the break via J$P).

By Matthew Balan | February 28, 2011 | 6:19 PM EST

On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon helped film director Qasim Basir promote his new film "Mooz-lum," which he hopes will "clear up some of this ignorance" about Muslims and their religion. Basir, whose last project "aimed at supporting presidential candidate Barack Obama," claimed that "in an average person's mind, who does not know anybody that's Muslim, it's like you see Muslim, you think terrorist."

Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced Lemon's segment, which ran 39 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, as part of her network's "What Matters" series, which is a partnership with Essence magazine. Malveaux played up the film's "strong African-American cast and director," and stated that her colleague "sat down with the director Qasim Basir to talk about the movie, and the state of Muslims in America." An on-screen graphic signaled the primary focus of Lemon's interview: "Religion + Intolerance: Don Lemon, Qasim Bair discuss 'Mooz-lum.'"

By Matt Hadro | February 28, 2011 | 5:59 PM EST

MSNBC's Richard Lui questioned and generally disagreed with a St. Augustine High School alum who supported the school's 60 year tradition of corporal punishment – paddling – in a story MSNBC apparently thinks merits national attention.

By Scott Whitlock | February 28, 2011 | 5:07 PM EST

On his first day at MSNBC, new host Martin Bashir immediately adopted the network's liberal line, attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts, deriding it as "the most disingenuous play on the American people."

Previewing the interview with Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, Bashir noted that he has refused congressional health care. The anchor solemnly wondered, "Is that his idea of health care for every American?"

By | February 28, 2011 | 4:38 PM EST

A group of hackers attacked the website of conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity on Monday. The attack used a simple but effective method known as a distributed denial of service attack.

The group, which calls itself "Anonymous", has attacked a number of websites in recent months that it perceives as political enemies. Those have included the websites of MasterCard and Amazon, apparently targeted for their opposition to the online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks.

Anonymous posted an over-the-top, conspiratorial press release on its website, addressed to the "Citizens of the United States of America". The release stated, in part (no links for cyber-criminals - Google it to find the full statement, if you wish):

By Ken Shepherd | February 28, 2011 | 4:19 PM EST

Imagine that Pat Robertson or Dr. James Dobson took out a full-page ad in a mainstream media publication hinting that Jesus himself is squarely behind the Republicans' efforts to curb spending and curtail the size and scope of the federal government.

The media would certainly cover the interesting theological and political claims at hand but they'd also be certain to cite apolitical and/or liberal Christian thinkers who would decry the crass and cynical exploitation of Christ for political matters upon which Scripture is silent, such as the U.S. federal budget.

Yet when it came to the liberal group Sojourners asking "What Would Jesus Cut" in an ad in today's Politico, CNN's Belief Blog failed to report the objections of concerns that conservative Christians and apolitical Christian theologians would raise

From Dan Gilgoff's Feb. 28 Belief Blog post (emphasis mine):

By Matt Hadro | February 28, 2011 | 3:45 PM EST

Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."

"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."

The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.

By Tim Graham | February 28, 2011 | 3:18 PM EST

Tavis Smiley is a hard-left talk show host on PBS. (He should admit that, since he authored a book called Hard Left.) You might remember him as the man that proclaimed that Christians "blow up people every day" in America. On his Facebook page today, Smiley promotes an interview he gave to one Myron Mays, where he talks about how he does "the Lord's work" on PBS:

PBS is a network that is watched by movers and shakers and by people who run the country, power players and other influencers. It's a great platform for us to try to empower them and try to enlighten them and quite frankly try to expand their inventory of ideas.  It's a great platform to try to get them to reexamine the assumptions they hold. I think we're doing the Lord's work.

When Smiley talks of America's movers and shakers needing to "expand their inventory of ideas," he means expand it leftward. Smiley has gained a reputation as a "nitpicker" against Obama for not spending enough on African-American needs. He told Mays:

By Tom Blumer | February 28, 2011 | 3:11 PM EST

Late last week (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a Goldman Sachs economist issued a dire warning cutting current-year federal spending by a measly $61 billion, or about 1.75% of the administration's full-year projected spending total, would significantly reduce economic growth in the coming quarters. If this were so, the economy would booming beyond belief right now, given that the Obama administration ran a $800-plus billion so-called stimulus plan during the past two years, and is on track to run up over $4 trillion in reported budget deficits in a three-year period by the end of the current fiscal year. Readers will note that the economy is not booming beyond belief.

The Associated Press chimed in on Friday after the latest report on the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Expert, presumably including some geniuses at Goldman, thought it would be revised up from an annualized 3.2% to 3.3%. Oops; it came in at 2.8%. Befuddled AP reporters claimed incorrectly that reductions in state and local government spending seriously held back reported growth during the final quarter of 2010. Zheesh; the impact was only -0.29 points. The real problem is that private investment is seriously lagging, and has really never stopped lagging since the recession began in 2008.

The "Keep spending like mad or else" chorus got more help today from chief economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics. This morning, the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery dutifully relayed the pile-on (bolds are mine):

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says

By Clay Waters | February 28, 2011 | 3:08 PM EST

The New York Times took pains over the weekend to emphasize the nonviolent nature of the ongoing pro-union protests in Madison, over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining for government unions and increase the amount they pay for their health care and pension plans.

From Monday’s report by Richard Oppel in Madison on Wisconsin state authorities capitulating to protester demands they be allowed to remain overnight in the Capitol:

Union leaders say one of the strengths of the demonstrations has been that despite harsh language and personal attacks directed at Mr. Walker, the protesters had been loud but nonviolent.

By Kyle Drennen | February 28, 2011 | 1:28 PM EST

At the top of Saturday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cheered unions protests across the country: "Workers uniting. 50 rallies are planned in 50 states today, as organizers show solidarity with Wisconsin state workers, fighting to preserve their right to collectively bargain for benefits and work conditions."

Introducing the segment later, fellow co-host Rebecca Jarvis noted how the protests were organized by Rather than accurately label the organization as left-wing, she simply referred to it as "an advocacy group." In the report that followed, correspondent Cynthia Bowers announced that "workers who are coming to these rallies around the country to support Wisconsin workers are being told to wear those red t-shirts we've become so familiar with." The headline on screen throughout the segment referenced Karl Marx: "Workers of the Nation Unite; 50 State Rallies to Support Union Rights."

By Geoffrey Dickens | February 28, 2011 | 1:18 PM EST

NBC's Mike Taibbi, on Saturday's Today show, portrayed the pro-labor union protestors in Wisconsin in almost heroic terms as he hailed "The crowds of overnight campers and protestors keep up their vigils. A weary resolve still evident" and depicted them as victims that were "taking the hits." On the other hand the GOP was painted as the bad guys with Taibbi detailing "Republicans used an obscure rule allowing them to end all debate" and "have tried other means of persuasion, suspending direct deposit of the Democrats' paychecks, even sending state police to several of their local homes."

Taibbi's piece was also peppered with pro-union soundbites including a Democratic state senator calling the budget bill "backwards" and a protestor cheering, "we are getting worn out but we are stronger than ever." Taibbi also aired various clips of protestors chanting "Shame! Shame!" "Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Yes we can" but allowed only one voice of dissent from the other side, with the aforementioned Governor Walker getting a brief clip to announce: "Enough time has passed. It's time to come back and have a vote on this measure."

By Scott Whitlock | February 28, 2011 | 1:12 PM EST

Alex Jones, a 9/11 truther and promoter of other conspiracy theories, appeared on ABC's The View Monday to defend his friend Charlie Sheen, but diverted the interview into slamming George W. Bush for turning American into "a police state." Veteran journalist Barbara Walters did not denounce the radio host when he referenced the theory that the government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, who walked out when they objected to a comment Bill O'Reilly made about Muslims, did not leave when Jones attacked, "[Charlie Sheen] didn't kill a million people in Iraq. He wasn't involved with the takedown of Building Seven here in New York."

(Building Seven, across the street from the World Trade Center, is a key component to those who believe that the Twin Towers were taken down by a controlled demolition, not as a result of international terrorism.) Later, Jones shifted the subject to politics again and ranted, "Let's compare George Bush, a million dead in Iraq!"

[See video below. MP3 here.]

By Jack Coleman | February 28, 2011 | 12:39 PM EST

Radio guests -- they say the darndest things.

One has to wonder if  the Rev. Al Sharpton would have invited journalist, publisher, radio host and academic Karen Hunter on his radio show Feb. 24 had he known she would chide first lady Michelle Obama in remarks not far removed from criticism of Mrs. Obama by Rush Limbaugh.

First, here's what Limbaugh said on his radio show three days earlier (audio here) --