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By Brent Baker | June 25, 2011 | 2:54 PM EDT

The ABC and NBC evening newscasts have focused stories on Billy Bulger, the long-time Massachusetts Democratic political hack who is the younger brother of just-captured reputed mass-murdering Mobster Whitey Bulger, but both refused to identify Billy Bulger’s party affiliation. (The CBS Evening News has, so far, not even mentioned Billy.)

“While Whitey Bulger was running a gang, his brother was a celebrated star of Massachusetts politics,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted on Thursday night. On Friday night, NBC forwarded MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to vouch that Billy had no information about the whereabouts of his fugitive brother while Jeff Rossen marveled: “Just as investigators say Whitey was ordering hits, his brother, Billy Bulger, was rising in state government, President of the Massachusetts state senate and later President of U Mass.”

By Tim Graham | June 25, 2011 | 2:00 PM EDT

If if is Friday, that means New York Times columnist David Brooks is hammering conservatives on the PBS NewsHour. On Friday, he condemned Grover Norquist and the entire no-new-taxes contingent as "completely wrong" in the current budget battle:

JIM LEHRER: David, how do you see the Republican divide on taxes?

DAVID BROOKS: Tom Coburn is completely right, and Grover Norquist is completely wrong.

By NB Staff | June 25, 2011 | 10:22 AM EDT

For general discussion and debate about politics, the economy, sports, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

By Noel Sheppard | June 25, 2011 | 10:13 AM EDT

In today's "Truer Words Might Never Have Been Spoken" segment, Michelle Obama told CNN's Robyn Curnow Friday, "Fortunately we have help from the media."

Such came during an interview with the First Lady in Botswana aired on the 6PM installment of "The Situation Room" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | June 25, 2011 | 7:55 AM EDT

Kaili Joy Gray at the Daily Kos obviously subscribes to the tired old theory of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz that the Republicans are waging a "war on women." On Thursday, she mocked the idea that GOP women like Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota could speak for the fairer sex.

Noem told the AP "The Republican agenda is indeed pro-woman. It is pro-woman because it is pro-small business, pro-entrepreneur, pro-family and pro-economic growth." Gray wouldn't tolerate that: 

By Dan Gainor | June 25, 2011 | 7:52 AM EDT

John Lennon once wrote "all you need is love." If that's the case, then GOP unknown Jon Huntsman will be the next president of the United States.

The quasi-Republican former ambassador to China is finding the media environment filled with love. Huntsman, who was also the governor of Utah, is trying to position himself as "electable" because liberals, gays and the media love him. (Yes, sometimes those three groups aren't identical.)

They love him because he's the kind of Republican they could vote for if they held their noses and someone forced them to choose a GOP candidate. (Actually, they wouldn't, but it makes a convenient fiction.) After all, they claim, he's a "moderate Republican." Remember when we had "liberal Republicans?" According to Nexis, that term hasn't been used on ABC, CBS or NBC all year.

What else do you call a pro-gay Republican who not only worked for Obama and called him a "remarkable leader," but still has "respect" for the president after Obamacare and a host of other Big Government fiascos. Throw in Huntsman's lefty views on climate and what the Club for Growth calls "inexcusable" spending as governor, and you have an ideal media candidate.

By Tim Graham | June 25, 2011 | 6:30 AM EDT

Rep. Keith Ellison, ultraliberal Democrat of Minnesota, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal Thursday morning, and was asked about his Gopher State colleague Michele Bachmann. What unfolded was a classic elaboration of today's liberal creed -- which Ellison dressed up as "liberty and justice for all" -- and then insisted Bachmann was opposed to that concept down the line:

PETER SLEN, C-SPAN host: Your district borders Michele Bachmann’s.

By Tim Graham | June 24, 2011 | 11:11 PM EDT

Who on Earth would claim the next election matchup is Pragmatic Democrat vs. Radical End-of-All-Regulation Republican? Time’s Joe Klein would, in Time’s June 27 cover story on the GOP candidates. He ended the piece like this:

Some presidential campaigns - 1960, 1980, 1992, 2008 - are exhilarating, suffused with hope and excitement. This is not likely to be one of those. It is likely to be an election that no one wins but someone loses. It will be a reversal of politics past: a pragmatic Democrat will be facing a Republican with all sorts of big ideas, promising an unregulated, laissez-faire American paradise.

By Noel Sheppard | June 24, 2011 | 7:44 PM EDT

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Colby King on Friday disgracefully called Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann "Barbie with fangs."

His fellow "Inside Washington" panelist Charles Krauthammer - obviously annoyed by this sexist display - replied, "It’s good to see how civil and non-ad hominem we are here in the Huntsman spirit" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Alex Fitzsimmons | June 24, 2011 | 5:35 PM EDT

When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.

On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

By Tom Blumer | June 24, 2011 | 5:32 PM EDT

I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:

  • Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
  • Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.

So how is the press covering these situations?

By Eric Ames | June 24, 2011 | 5:02 PM EDT

Alleged comedian Kathy Griffin can't seem to get enough of the Palin family, this time mocking Bristol Palin's recent chin surgery in her standup act "Gurrl Down," which aired on Bravo at 9 pm on Wednesday. "I swear to god, she looks like Jay Leno" said Griffin. She then mocked Palin's statement that the surgery was medically necessary by making a crude reference to oral sex.

By Matt Hadro | June 24, 2011 | 4:45 PM EDT

Fareed Zakaria, CNN's world affairs analyst, hailed President Obama's Afghanistan speech as a "remarkable speech for an American president" Wednesday and defended the president's decision to ignore the advice of his generals on the target dates for pulling troops out of Afghanistan.

"It was a remarkable speech for an American president in the caution, the strategic emphasis, rather than the idealistic emphasis," sounded Zakaria, no stranger to praising Obama's foreign policy speeches. He lauded the president's May 19 Mideast speech as "remarkably comprehensive" and "fair" and "balanced."

By Ken Shepherd | June 24, 2011 | 4:24 PM EDT

"TV, Twitter were Boston mobster's undoing" the below-the-fold page A1 Washington Post headline informed readers this morning.

In the 21-paragraph story that followed, Post staffer Jerry Markon detailed how the FBI closed in on the alleged serial killer and wanted mob boss.

Yet Markon waited until the very last paragraph to note James "Whitey" Bulger's familial connection to Bay State Democratic politics:

By Lachlan Markay | June 24, 2011 | 4:16 PM EDT

Polls have shown for some time now that Americans believe the news media has a political bias, and that that bias is a liberal one. A new Rasmussen survey once again confirms the trend.

Acccording to the poll, about two thirds of those surveyed (67 percent) said that political coverage will generally be more friendly to candidates and parties that align with the reporter's political views. Forty-five percent said they think the average reporter is more liberal than they are, while only 18 percent said the average reporter is more conservative.