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By Ken Shepherd | February 23, 2011 | 4:30 PM EST

Those learned theologians on "The View" are at it again.

Discussing how Catholic canon law advisor Dr. Edward Peters has declared that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) committed an "objectively sacrilegious" act that "produces grave scandal" by receiving Communion on January 2, almost every panelist on ABC gabfest "The View" today rebuked the scholar for his pronouncement.

"Peters specifically cited Cuomo's cohabiting with Food Network hostess Sandra Lee as 'publicly acting in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church,' and that 'as long as he persists in such conduct, he should refrain from taking Holy Communion,'"'s Michael Chapman noted on Monday.

[For full disclosure, is owned by the parent company of NewsBusters, the Media Research Center.]

By Matt Hadro | February 23, 2011 | 2:56 PM EST

MSNBC's Chris Jansing, referencing a report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on "active U.S. hate groups," asked Wednesday if the rise of radical right-wing groups coincided with the motives behind Jared Loughner's assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

When asked about the "hate groups" report, guest Mark Potok of the SPLC immediately pointed to the rise of "radical right-wing groups" and attributed the rise to "resentment over the changing racial demographics," "frustration over the lagging economy," and "mainstreaming of conspiracy theories."

"The economy since the fall of 2008, of course, has really played into this in terms of unemployment, anger with the bailouts, and so on," added Potok. "It's really ginned-up anti-government feeling, in many ways."


By Clay Waters | February 23, 2011 | 1:15 PM EST

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Over the last decade, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has written on the costs of the Iraq war, the federal deficit, the threat of global warming, and the uprisings in the Arab world. In Friedman’s view, all these problems have one simple solution: A $1-a-gallon hike in the gas tax.


In his Wednesday column, “If Not Now, When?” Friedman pushed the tax as having some tenuous connection to pushing democratic values in the Middle East:

By Ken Shepherd | February 23, 2011 | 12:59 PM EST

"U.S. still awaiting Libya's permission to evacuate Americans," blared the headline for a page A6 story in today's Washington Post.

"The United States has been unable to get Libya's permission to evacuate American citizens from the country, State Department officials said Tuesday, prompting the administration to temper its response to the Libyan crackdown," Post staffers Mary Beth Sheridan and Colum Lynch noted.

Gee, you'd think that should be front-page news, and it's difficult to imagine this not being front-page news had it happened under President George W. Bush's watch.

Since that article's publication, the State Department has chartered a ferry to evacuate American citizens from the country. From a story filed by Sheridan and Lynch at 11:15 a.m. EST today:

By Scott Whitlock | February 23, 2011 | 12:37 PM EST

George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday highlighted Paul Begala, his old friend from the Clinton White House, while critiquing Senator Rand Paul and the state of Kentucky.  Without mentioning his personal connection, the Good Morning America host chided, "You know, in the Daily Beast yesterday, Paul Begala, pointed out that Kentucky gets more from the federal government than they give out."

GMA on Wednesday offered no criticism of the union protesters, simply another attack on the actions of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Citing a USA Today poll showing Americans supporting collective bargaining, Stephanopoulos lobbied, "And we've see these protests all across the Midwest. Do you think you may have sparked a backlash here?"

Following up, the former Democratic operative berated, "But I think a lot of people look at this and say, Okay, and especially in Wisconsin, we've seen the public employees say we'll pay more for our health care and pensions. But, you can't take away our rights. Have the governors here gone too far?"

By Geoffrey Dickens | February 23, 2011 | 11:59 AM EST

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie stopped by the Today show, on Wednesday morning, to educate viewers and NBC's Ann Curry about the problems of public employee unions and explained that when it comes to getting government costs under control sometimes you just have to say no. Curry mostly questioned Christie from the left, as she asked if there was "a coordinated" GOP agenda to make unions "scapegoats" for a problem "created by Wall Street" and the "banks" and suggested that "in some ways it doesn't sort of make sense...that the unions really are to blame."

For his part, Christie responded: "It's an issue of wanting to say yes all the time as a public official. You know you never want to say no to anybody because 'Oh you're much more popular if you say yes.' Well you know what? It's time we have to start saying no to certain things to be able to say yes to the things that will help to grow our economy and create a more prosperous future."

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Tom Blumer | February 23, 2011 | 11:15 AM EST

USA Today's Wednesday cover story ("Killings Escalate Piracy Crisis"), has this reference to a quote obtained by the Associated Press:

Killing hostages "has now become part of our rules," said a pirate who identified himself as Muse Abdi in a statement to the Associated Press. "From now on, anyone who tries to rescue the hostages in our hands will only collect dead bodies," Abdi said. "It will never, ever happen that hostages are rescued and we are hauled to prison."

Pretty provocative, right? In fact, it resembles a declaration of war without the rules of war. You might even call it a declaration of t-t-t-t ... terrorism.

The problem is, Abdi's quote is no longer in any story at the Associated Press's home web site, and is rarely present in other Internet news reports.

By Ken Shepherd | February 23, 2011 | 10:55 AM EST

When a sitting U.S. congressman's behavior is so erratic and inexplicable that his own staffers want him to get psychiatric care and some of them quit in horror upon his reelection, it's a legitimate news story for national media coverage regardless of the political party of the person involved.

Of course, if the congressman were a Republican, it's difficult to imagine his political affiliation would go unmentioned in any media account.

But the federal legislator in question is Oregon Rep. David Wu, a Democrat.

In a February 23 Swampland blog post for, Amy Sullivan omitted Wu's political affiliation even as she detailed the troubling behavior he's exhibited over the past few months:

By Noel Sheppard | February 23, 2011 | 10:49 AM EST

Last Monday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ironically asked his readers why voters are so ill-informed.

Eight days later, MSNBC's resident Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow, while chatting with the "Tonight Show's" Jay Leno about what's going on in Wisconsin, demonstrated perfectly why so many in our country have little factual knowledge of current events (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Julia A. Seymour | February 23, 2011 | 10:18 AM EST

For roughly a week, a battle has been raging in Madison, Wis. Evening news programs on the three broadcast networks framed these as "citizen uprisings" over pay cuts and "eliminating unions' collective bargaining powers to negotiate wages and benefits."

Reporters also portrayed this as a national union issue, but mostly failed to point out the national problem of pension underfunding.

Actually, the battle is the result of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to balance the state budget by asking roughly 300,000 state employees to contribute more to their pension funds and health insurance and give up the ability to negotiate more than their wages. According to CNNMoney, the state faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

Only 1 out of 24 network evening stories about the Wisconsin "feud" since Feb. 16, reported a critical number relating to union pensions: $1 trillion. That's the huge deficit facing public workers' pensions in America and the reason Walker and other state governors are facing tough choices including demanding public workers contribute more.

By Humberto Fontova | February 23, 2011 | 9:27 AM EST

For his documentaries on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Cuban-American filmmaker Agustin Blazquez’ takes a truly revolutionary approach. Rather than expecting officials of Castro’s police state to reveal facts, Blazquez interviews eye-witnesses to Castroism who are (get this!) free to reveal facts without threat of Castro’s firing squads and torture chambers!

By NB Staff | February 23, 2011 | 8:50 AM EST

That's right, Rahm Emanuel will be Chicago's next mayor. The former White House chief of staff took 55 percent of the vote Tuesday, enough to avoid a runoff. By itself that would not be so noteworthy, but he was facing five challengers.

The Chicago Tribune reported:

In a city with its share of racial divisions, Emanuel appealed to voters across those lines. He won the predominantly white wards of his former congressional district on the North and Northwest sides. And the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama also scored substantial margins in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

By Tim Graham | February 23, 2011 | 8:32 AM EST

The Washington Post stoops to the tabloid level today. On the front of Wednesday's Style section is this promotional plug: "The Supreme Court justice is only one of many partners whose caresses McEwen graphically recalls in NC-17 prose."

The justice is Clarence Thomas, and the author of the steamy passages is Lillian McEwen, a former Joe Biden aide and Clarence Thomas girlfriend. Last October, the Post promoted McEwen coming out to criticize Thomas after being silent for decades, including during the Hill-Thomas hearings. Now McEwen has issued her memoir, titled 'D.C. Unmasked & Undressed -- a book so lacking in market appeal that its publisher is Titletown, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. But the Post is very interested in exploring Thomas's sexual activity, even as the paper's "Reliable Source" gossips pretended to care about his privacy: 

Four months after Lillian McEwen broke a two-decade silence about her longtime relationship with Clarence Thomas, the retired administrative law judge has written a book.

And it is dirty. Really dirty.

By Jack Coleman | February 23, 2011 | 7:08 AM EST

Curse those wascally Wepublicans in Wisconsin, you'll never believe what they're up to now.

Bad enough for the Badger State GOP to abet Gov. Scott Walker in his nefarious scheme to prevent public-sector unions from bankrupting the state. Worse, they are hatching even more diabolical plots while Dem state senators continue their courageous evasion of the law to avoid voting on Walker's proposal.

Here are the sordid details, as ferreted out by ace ferret-outer Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show Monday night (video after page break) --

By Tim Graham | February 23, 2011 | 7:07 AM EST

If someone associated your last name with fecal matter, you probably wouldn't think it should be characterized as "an oldie but a goodie." That's just what CNN anchor Don Lemon said on Saturday night after Sen. Rick Santorum talked to the newspaper Roll Call about his "Google problem." Vile gay sex columnist Dan Savage -- a man CNN has presented as an "anti-bullying" hero -- has insured that anyone who Google searches for "Santorum" gets his name defined by fecal matter.

“It’s one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak,” Santorum told Roll Call. 

CNN's Don Lemon was speaking to Maureen O'Connor of the gossipy left-wing site Gawker (the same person who recently exposed the looking-for-adultery problem of GOP Rep. Christopher Lee of New York):