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By Lachlan Markay | May 24, 2011 | 7:14 PM EDT

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, D, can't seem to make up his mind on whether Fox News is "fair and balanced," or an ideologically-stilted - possibly malicious - political operation.

Rendell appeared on Ed Schultz's program Monday night to announce - presumably with a straight face - the removal by a New York Magazine cover story of the "thin veneer of impartiality that Fox may have."

But just a few years ago, when Rendell was campaigning hard for Hillary Clinton, he had effusive praise for Fox, which he called "the most objective of all the cable networks."

By Noel Sheppard | May 24, 2011 | 6:53 PM EDT

Video and full transcript follow:

By Scott Whitlock | May 24, 2011 | 6:23 PM EDT

A clearly amused Chris Matthews narrated and laughed at a liberal ad showing Republican Paul Ryan murdering an elderly woman by throwing her off a cliff. This is the same MSNBC anchor who railed against "ugly" conservative talk and wondered if it led to the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
   
After playing a lengthy excerpt, Matthews enthused, "Boy, I love the point of view on that one as she tries to slow down with her feet. Anyway, the irony here, Paul Ryan may be driving the Republican Party off the cliff..." Earlier he played a clip and snickered at the image of Congressman Ryan dropping a screaming grandmother to her death.

In contrast, on the January 11, 2011 Hardball, Matthews highlighted the shooting of Giffords and foamed, "People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, for example who every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the Left with anger that just builds and builds in their voice, and by the time they go to commercial, they’re just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk. Ugly sounding talk."

 

By Aubrey Vaughan | May 24, 2011 | 5:31 PM EDT

The White House is amping up its vigilance in silencing its critics with the creation of a new communications position designed to respond to unfavorable online stories about the President.

Attacking critics is nothing new for the administration, and the creation of this position is only the latest effort to throw the considerable weight of the White House bully pulpit behind efforts to attack Obama's critics. For the president, this tactic began during the campaign and has continued to date.

Until now, though, the fight was mostly funded by the DNC or campaign teams, as is standard practice for the sort of oppositional approach this position seems poised to adopt. But as an official White House position, taxpayers are actually the ones footing the bill for Obama’s new attack dog.

By Matt Hadro | May 24, 2011 | 5:05 PM EDT

CNN anchor Randi Kaye finished her Tuesday news hour with a giddy monologue praising the newest smoking ban in New York City. The ban, signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in February, took effect Tuesday and outlawed smoking in city parks, public plazas, beaches, and boardwalks.

"Yes, say what you want about Mayor Bloomberg's smoking ban on, oh, about 1700 parks and 14 miles of beaches around New York City, but I think it is a great idea," Kaye gushed, effectively wagging her finger in front of all members of her audience who disagreed with the ban.

(Video below the jump.)

By Scott Whitlock | May 24, 2011 | 4:43 PM EDT

An eager Martin Bashir on Tuesday parroted vicious claims by a former Sarah Palin staffer and repeated attacks questioning the sincerity of the ex-governor's Christian faith. The MSNBC host offered almost no skepticism or tough questions. Instead, he chided, "Love thy neighbor? Not in Sarah Palin's playbook. Her former aide tells all."

In a tease for the segment, Bashir intoned, "Vindictive attacks, conspiracy, paranoia, and a single-minded ambition." (No, this wasn't a reference to Keith Olbermann, the volatile ex-anchor of MSNBC.)

The daytime host's guest Frank Bailey, the author of Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin, appeared and received almost total support for the idea that the former vice presidential nominee is a faux Christian. Bahir derided, "Sarah Palin has repeatedly traded, as you know, on her Christian faith...What did you think of her desire for vengeance and that desire to be vindictive?"

By Michael Chapman | May 24, 2011 | 4:25 PM EDT

In his commencement speech at Hamilton College on Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore told the graduates that global warming is “the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced.” But as an undergraduate at Harvard University in the late 1960s, Gore--one of the most prominent spokesmen on climate change today--earned a “D” in Natural Sciences.

Gore’s transcript documents that during his sophomore year at Harvard he earned a "D" in Natural Sciences 6 (Man’s Place in Nature). Also, as a senior at Harvard, he earned a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118.

By Geoffrey Dickens | May 24, 2011 | 3:48 PM EDT

For many in the media Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's reaction to Barack Obama insistence that his country return to the 1967 borders was out of bounds. ABC's Christiane Amanpour declared she was "stunned" by his "public lecture" of the President and NBC's Andrea Mitchell hissed, "it was really rude," and charged he treated Obama "like a school boy." Mitchell didn't reserve her criticism to Netanyahu as she even went after Republicans who dared to take his side, accusing them of "piling on the President."

(video montage after the jump)

By Edwin Mora | May 24, 2011 | 3:48 PM EDT

Although the annual federal budget deficit is expected to hit $1.65 trillion this year and the national debt is already at $14.34 trillion, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said today he disagrees with House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) assessment that America is broke.

“America is not broke,” Hoyer said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.. “America has extraordinary resources and we can use those resources, both intellectual and financial, to get us to a place where we are again a fiscally sound nation, a fiscally balanced nation, and future generations are not at risk.”

By Ken Shepherd | May 24, 2011 | 3:22 PM EDT

"Thousands of companies and nonprofits that received funds from the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program owe hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, according to estimates in a new government report."

That's how Washington Post staffer Ed O'Keefe opened his May 24 story on the matter.

It's just a shame that the article was buried on page A19:

 

By Clay Waters | May 24, 2011 | 3:12 PM EDT

Conservatives may have it rough in the pages of the New York Times, but U.S. Communists can count on favorable, critic-free publicity, with Times reporters even employing Communist lingo like "the proletariat." The latest: Joseph Berger’s Monday metro story, "Workers of the World, Please See Our Web Site." The original online headline was less cheeky but more slanted: "Leftist Parties in New York Have New Appeal."

Berger’s profile of three Manhattan-based hard-left parties has a light, hopeful tone similar to Channing Joseph’s notorious November 7, 2010 photo-story in the Times, "Where Marxists Pontificate, And Play ," in which the worst thing he found to say about the Manhattan gathering of supporters of murderous regimes was their reputation for "seriousness."

Like Joseph before him, Berger posed no awkward questions about the atrocities of Communist heroes Stalin, Mao, or Castro. He wrote:

By Scott Whitlock | May 24, 2011 | 12:37 PM EDT

NBC's Nightly News on Monday and the Today show on Tuesday ignored a controversial, ideologically divided Supreme Court ruling that ordered California to release at least 38,000 prisoners. ABC, over two days, allowed a scant 11 seconds. Only CBS provided a full report.

In a blistering dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that "terrible things are sure to happen" if the action is implemented as a result of overcrowding. On the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford provided the sole full report, observing the controversial nature of the 5-4 split.

She described, "Now, this case produced an extraordinarily heated debate between the conservatives and liberal justices." Crawford highlighted a separate dissent by Sam Alito. He worried that the majority was "gambling with the safety of the people of California." She repeated Alito's foreboding statement: "I fear that today's decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims."

By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 24, 2011 | 12:33 PM EDT

Joe Scarborough made a puzzling comment today that, to put it generously, could use some clarification.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Scarborough argued that Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget plan will fail because "fundamentally changing" Medicare is too extreme.

But in a previous show, the morning host sang a remarkably different tune.

By Clay Waters | May 24, 2011 | 12:02 PM EDT

Former New York Times economics reporter Eduardo Porter’s signed NYT editorial Monday left no doubt where his political sympathies lay: "A Budget Without Core Purposes, Taxation Without Compassion."

President Obama trusts America’s generous and compassionate nature, that our rugged individualism is tempered by a belief that we’re all connected. In his speech on budget reform on April 13, he celebrated "our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more."

The president’s faith in Americans’ sense of common purpose is uplifting. But it does not fit the history of American budgetary politics.

I don’t just mean Tea Partiers’ revulsion at the government spending "our money," or Republican Paul Ryan’s Reverse Robin Hood gambit to cut trillions from spending on social programs in order to pay for a tax cut for the rich.

The budgetary policy of the United States has been the least generous in the industrial world for a very long time.

By Erin R. Brown and Matthew Philbin | May 24, 2011 | 11:05 AM EDT

Talk show pioneer. Best selling author. Incredibly successful business woman. Actress. Philanthropist. Billionaire. "Most influential woman in the world." Oprah Winfrey, the King Midas of her day, is ending her 25-year, multi-award-winning talk show this May, signaling the end of a staple in 21st century television.

But amid all the fawning retrospectives and misty tributes, it's important to remember just who Oprah is, the biased viewpoint she represents and the damage she's done to popular culture.

Before Rosanne Barr called Oprah "the African Mother Goddess of us all," a prominent cultural researcher called her the "Queen of Trash" for the sleazy, exploitative nature of her early show. Since then, the more "uplifting" "Oprah Winfrey Show" has been a more insipid influence, steadily eroding the culture with a combination of weepy emotionalism, New Age spirituality and an embrace of alternative sexualities and gender roles.