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By Matt Hadro | December 22, 2011 | 4:12 PM EST

In Thursday's interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Early Show co-host Chris Wragge asked if Republicans in Congress are basically helping President Obama get re-elected with their ongoing opposition to the Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension plan.

"Are you essentially handing President Obama his re-election bid here by handling this the way the Republicans have handled this?" Wragge asked guest Senator McCain. The senator has been a noted critic of House Republicans in their refusal to vote for the Senate plan.

By Clay Waters | December 22, 2011 | 3:04 PM EST

Reporter David Herszenhorn announced from Moscow Wednesday that the time was seemingly ripe for a “Communist comeback” in the confusingly headlined “Where Communists See a Political Opening, Many Russians See a Closed Door.” Herszenhorn didn't mention the repression and terror of the Communist era.

"If there was ever a moment for a Communist comeback, it would seem to be now," he began.

By Tim Graham | December 22, 2011 | 1:43 PM EST

Last February, the national media were fixated on Iowa high-school wrestler Joel Northrup and his decision to forfeit a match in the state tournament rather than wrestle a female contender, Cassy Herkelman, based on his religious beliefs. CBS put this caption on screen: "Chivalry or Chauvinism?" ESPN's Rick Reilly mocked the religious conviction: "If my God told me to poke the elderly with sharp sticks, would that make it morally acceptable to others?”

If the media are really equal-opportunity gender blenders, then perhaps they would impose their outrage on Michigan, where the tables were turned. Gil Imber at The Bleacher Report is underlining that a cheerleading team was disqualified at a recent meet in Port Huron, Michigan for having a male on the squad, under rules designed to promote diversity in athletic competition:

By Brad Wilmouth | December 22, 2011 | 11:45 AM EST

Thursday's Today show gave NBC contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager - daughter of former President George W. Bush - the opportunity to devote a report to her father's efforts to fight AIDS.

As he introduced the piece, substitute co-anchor Carl Quintanilla gave President Bush credit for the federally funded program that he pushed for when he was in office. Quintanilla:

By Tim Graham | December 22, 2011 | 11:30 AM EST

How nutty is the Daily Kos blog? Nutty enough to make an outraged defense of North Korea? Yes. On Wednesday afternoon, Niccolo Caldararo – an adjunct professor of anthropology at San Francisco State University – complained “The Western media wallows in the exotic and North Korea has been the clown of the 20th century, brought forward for comic relief now and then or pasted up as a ‘paper tiger,’ to scare voters before elections or as a distraction for other important news.”

To hear the professor tell it, the capitalist imperialists are licking their chops after the death of Kim Jong Il: “Let's face it, North Korea is ripe for capitalism, there are millions of potential workers who will work for near nothing.  The hope is that the regime will crumble like the Soviet Union and give way to massive investment opportunities." He actually argues North Korea is “no less responsible toward its own citizens” than South Korea or America:

By Brad Wilmouth | December 22, 2011 | 9:58 AM EST

On Thursday, as NBC's Today show covered the eruption of more than a dozen bombings in Iraq just days after the pullout of U.S. troops, correspondent Richard Engel argued against the view that the Obama administration should have been more effective in negotiating an agreement with the Iraqi government for an extended U.S. troop presence which might have helped ward off such attacks. (Video below)

As Engel appeared on set, co-anchor Ann Curry posed:

 

By Brad Wilmouth | December 22, 2011 | 8:48 AM EST

Supposedly right-leaning actor, economist and former Nixon speech writer Ben Stein of late has become famous for advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy, but on Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, Stein was finally seen arguing from a conservative point of view again as he debated David Callahan of the left-wing group DEMOS, and argued that taxation rates on the wealthy are not to blame for the economic problems of the middle class.

By Brad Wilmouth | December 22, 2011 | 8:31 AM EST

The day before the one-year anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, both ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday took the time to celebrate the first time that a same-sex couple won the U.S. Navy's lottery that allows their welcome home kiss to be featured as the first photographed kiss. ABC substitute anchor George Stephanopoulos read a short item on the subject:

 

By Tim Graham | December 22, 2011 | 7:48 AM EST

The national media love to appear deeply cynical about politicians and their phoniness. But not when it comes to Barack Obama and "gay marriage." Obama campaigned in 2008 by publicly opposing it, and yet no one in the media condemned him like he was one of those troglodyte social conservatives -- because no one believed he was sincere. Now Obama is signaling to the gay Left that he's really in favor of "gay marriage," but few in the media are noticing.

ABC's The Note reported on Tuesday that President Obama sent a letter of congratulations to two men who were legally married in New York, but there's been no reporting on this story on the network airwaves or in the nation's leading newspapers:

By Matt Hadro | December 21, 2011 | 7:56 PM EST

After presidential candidate Michele Bachmann referred to North Korea as “the Wal-Mart of missile delivery systems,” CNN correspondent Brian Todd hyped the possible political backlash she could suffer for using Wal-Mart’s name in such a manner.

The CNN headline blared “Bachmann Insults Wal-Mart” and Todd whacked the GOP candidate with a critical segment on her making an “odd Wal-Mart reference.”

By Jack Coleman | December 21, 2011 | 7:26 PM EST

The machinations in Congress over extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits into 2012 could be rendered moot if Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gets her way.

Appearing as a guest on Ed Schultz's radio show yesterday, the Texas lawmaker suggested Obama extend both by 60 days through executive order and bypass the GOP-led House. (audio clips after page break)

By Matt Hadro | December 21, 2011 | 5:36 PM EST

CNN’s Alina Cho touted “The man many Democrats call the best president in modern times” in her gushing interview of former President Clinton that aired multiple times Wednesday.  By the end of the interview, she sounded utterly enthralled by Clinton and his humanitarian work.

“150 countries, more than that,” Cho told Clinton of his travels, before taking a deep breath and tremulously asking “What keeps you going?” She praised the President’s efforts, gushing that Clinton is “Working tirelessly to make a difference. Traveling all over the world.”

By NB Staff | December 21, 2011 | 4:30 PM EST

During the "Grapevine" segment on Tuesday's Special Report on Fox News, anchor Bret Baier played a clip of a UNICEF ad depicting Santa Claus as an uncaring Scrooge and quoted an item from NewsBusters' senior editor Tim Graham: "Conservative site NewsBusters asked quote: 'Why on Earth would jolly old Saint Nicholas resent aid for the poor? Is this just another way the UN bureaucracy asserts its own moral superiority?'" [View video after the jump / audio available here]
 

By Scott Whitlock | December 21, 2011 | 3:52 PM EST

Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran on Tuesday huffed that Rick Perry's "controversial" ad, combined with a presidential campaign that could be seen as "denigrat[ing]" "non-Christians" and "gay veterans," might spell doom for the Republican candidate. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The program's other anchor, Cynthia McFadden, teased the segment by proclaiming, "Plus, God and country. Who would Jesus vote for? Rick Perry's on the campaign trail casting himself as the populist Christian candidate."

By Tim Graham | December 21, 2011 | 2:53 PM EST

Vice President Joe Biden can make the most outrageous gaffes and the major media will try to ignore it. Take his interview with Newsweek. "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical," Biden said. "There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests."

ABC's Jake Tapper blogged the remarks, and asked Jay Carney about them at the White House. But who covered it? ABC, CBS, and NBC have totally skipped it on air. The Washington Post and The New York Times show no coverage in Nexis -- which often includes their blog postings. USA Today and NPR had nothing. Even the Associated Press has been absent. Sen. John McCain lit into Biden on CNN's The Situation Room on Tuesday: