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By Tim Graham | May 18, 2011 | 8:25 PM EDT

The topic was Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it sounded a lot like the Year of Monica Lewinsky on NPR's Diane Rehm Show on Wednesday morning. Randy Cohen, the former writer of "The Ethicist" column in The New York Times Magazine, mysteriously announced that "I would argue against this notion of character" when it comes to the marital fidelity of politicians. "There are many people who would've preferred a philandering JFK to a monogamous Richard Nixon. That I think this notion of character that we're purveying is sentimental but false."

That is, unless the unfaithful one was a social conservative, like Newt Gingrich. Then Cohen pounced: "If you had an ounce of integrity, you would have to withdraw from public life or burst into flames or go straight to Hell and, you know, reserve a spot for simply being flamboyantly dishonest."  

By Noel Sheppard | May 18, 2011 | 8:15 PM EDT

As NewsBusters previously reported, Joy Behar called former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) a "big homophobe" on the HLN program bearing her name Monday.

Santorum struck back Wednesday on WOR radio's "The Steve Malzberg Show" saying, "This is really the problem that we see on the left which is the personalization of politics" (audio follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | May 18, 2011 | 6:58 PM EDT

Just when you thought MSNBC's Chris Matthews couldn't stoop any lower he magically finds new ways to trash his political opponents while praising the man that gives him a thrill up his leg.

On Wednesday's "Hardball," the host in his concluding segment attacked Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as the Joker looking "for ways to manipulate public opinion, interrupt the TV news, and bring his evil intentions and motives and instincts into reality" while praising President Obama as "our hero" Batman full of "goodwill, generosity and glamour" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Geoffrey Dickens | May 18, 2011 | 6:27 PM EDT

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday's Colbert Report, featured Newsbusters's publisher L. Brent Bozell in his "The Word" segment that ridiculed those who credit enhanced interrogation or waterboarding in the killing of Osama bin Laden. After playing a clip of Bozell, from the May 6, Fox and Friends, saying waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden and hailing: "Hip, hip hooray to George Bush" Colbert joked: "Yes, three cheers for George Bush! Unless you're in a gagged stress position, in which case try three grunts." 

Colbert then went on to make fun of Donald Rumsfeld, mocking that the former Secretary of Defense must have just taken a hit from a blunt to have, in his view, contrasting views on the interrogation issue, as seen in the following excerpt from the May 17 Colbert Report:

(video and transcript after the jump)

By Matthew Balan | May 18, 2011 | 6:11 PM EDT

On Wednesday, all three major broadcast networks' morning shows played up a homosexual activist throwing glitter at Newt Gingrich during a book signing in Minneapolis. Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today show played footage of the attack on the Republican presidential hopeful at the top of their programs, while ABC's Good Morning initially failed to mention the left wing cause of the protester.

A minute into the 7 am Eastern hour of The Early Show, anchor Chris Wragge previewed a report on the former House Speaker's campaign woes from correspondent Jan Crawford by highlighting the video: "Look at this: a gay rights protester throws glitter all over Newt at an event last night." During the report itself eight minutes later, Crawford noted, "More embarrassment Tuesday in Minneapolis, when a gay rights activist glittered Gingrich at a book signing." The protester, which the AP tentatively identified as Nick Espinosa, shouted during the attack, "Feel the rainbow, Newt. Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!"

By Matt Hadro | May 18, 2011 | 4:57 PM EDT

Every hour but one of CNN's Tuesday evening news coverage featured at least a mention of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's marital infidelity. Guess which anchor backed away from any mention of the scandal?

Schwarzenegger's revelation of his fathering a child with a mistress was one of the day's leading headlines, and merited a mention if not a segment on most every CNN news hour Tuesday. During its 5 p.m.-12 a.m. EDT coverage, CNN reported the story every hour except during the 8 p.m. EDT slot – the prime-time show In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer made no mention of the story.

By Clay Waters | May 18, 2011 | 2:58 PM EDT

Senate Democrats failed to push through a proposal that would have deprived the five leading oil companies of tax breaks, New York Times reporter Carl Hulse reported Wednesday. Hulse’s headline writer, meanwhile, used the same ideologically loaded "big oil" terminology a liberal Democrat used in Hulse’s story: "Senate Refuses to End Tax Breaks for Big Oil."

The phrase "Big Oil," redolent of sophomoric liberals excoriating Republican greed, recurred deep into the story, from the mouth of a liberal Democratic senator.

By Edwin Mora | May 18, 2011 | 1:11 PM EDT

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has apprehended more suspected terrorists on the nation’s northern border than along its southern counterpart, CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin said Tuesday.

“In terms of the terrorist threat, it’s commonly accepted that the more significant threat” comes from the U.S.-Canada border, Bersin told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2011 | 12:53 PM EDT

People who approach an issue with certain beliefs are generally less likely to check claims that comport with those beliefs. It's called confirmation bias. Observe: Tuesday's New York Times carried this correction, highlighted by John Hinderaker at Powerline:

An article on May 7 about the Obama administration's appointment of a panel of experts to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer misstated the prevalence of cases in which fluids from the gas drilling process have been proven to have contaminated drinking water. There are few documented cases, not numerous ones, although federal and state investigations into reports of such incidents are continuing.

In other words, hydraulic fracturing is not, by and large, a danger to drinking water supplies. Since potential dangers to drinking water are integral to virtually every argument mounted against the practice, the incidence of contamination is crucial to the debate.

By Kyle Drennen | May 18, 2011 | 12:07 PM EDT

Update: Correction made below

In an interview with John Hudson of the left-wing magazine The Atlantic, screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin described where he gets his news and quickly launched into a tirade against conservative media figures: "Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful. It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans. They're my generation's Joe McCarthy..."

Sorkin claimed Beck and Limbaugh were guilty of "tarring anyone who disagrees with them with schoolyard epithets and, of course, being 'un-American' or even on the side of America's enemies....They appeal to the worst in the worst among us..."

By Dan Gainor | May 18, 2011 | 11:55 AM EDT

Second of Four Parts
It's a scene journalists dream about - a group of coworkers toasting a Pulitzer Prize. For the team at investigative start-up ProPublica, it was the second time their fellow professionals recognized their work for journalism's top honor.

By Matt Hadro | May 18, 2011 | 11:45 AM EDT

CNN continued its rehabilitation of Eliot Spitzer's political career in leaving his name out of a lengthy list of recent political sex scandals Tuesday. As MediaBistro and my colleague Tom Blumer reported yesterday, the network shied away from disclosing the checkered past of one of its prime-time anchors.

In the wake of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revelations that he fathered a child with a mistress, CNN ran a segment during the 2 p.m. EDT hour covering recent political sex scandals. Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux mentioned six by name and CNN ran old news clips of even more – but failed to disclose that the current host of a CNN prime-time show was once embroiled in an infamous scandal.

(Video below the break.)

By Clay Waters | May 18, 2011 | 11:22 AM EDT

New York Times political reporter Matt Bai still hasn’t forgotten the "overtly racist" Willie Horton ad and sees "a racial element" in just about every attack against President Obama, no matter what the issue. His latest "Political Times" column, "Race and Republican Attacks on Obama," posted online Tuesday, pivoted from Newt Gingrich’s latest press drubbing to the matter of racism and the G.O.P.

Newt Gingrich did his level best to appear level in his "Meet the Press" interview Sunday, maintaining a mostly subdued, thoughtful tone except for one telling moment -- when David Gregory, the host, asked him if his labeling of President Obama as the "food stamp president" might have racist connotations. "Oh, come on," the former House speaker huffed. "That’s bizarre." All he meant, Mr. Gingrich went on to explain, was that Mr. Obama’s policies would turn all of America into Detroit, which probably didn’t endear him to Eminem.

Bai turned virtually every attack hurled at Obama into a racially tinged assault.

Is there a racial element to some of the attacks on President Obama? It’s pretty hard to argue there isn’t, when a conservative writer like Dinesh D’Souza argues that Mr. Obama sees the world like an African nationalist (a theory Mr. Gingrich praised again in his interview Sunday), or when Donald J. Trump asserts that Mr. Obama isn’t smart enough to have gotten into Harvard or to have written his own books.

By Tim Graham | May 18, 2011 | 10:47 AM EDT

Time magazine’s not being shy about who they like in 2012 GOP presidential field. A big spread in the May 23 edition is headlined "The Cool Kid: Jon Huntsman is a pro-civil union Mormon who spent nearly two years working for Obama." The main emphasis followed: 

He is, after all, a pro-civil-union Mormon who has just finished nearly two years of service for Obama in the land many Americans consider the new evil empire. He is pro-environment — a little too green for many in his party — and hardly anyone knows who he is. Though Huntsman's path to the nomination is a certified long shot, you have to wonder why so many on both the right and left seem to be freaking out at the prospect of his jumping into the race.

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2011 | 10:42 AM EDT

The Barack Obama White House rewards its friends and punishes its enemies. News outlets would be wise to ensure that they don't fall into the latter category.

That is the message the Obama Campaign tried to send in 2008 when it sicced campaign activists on talk radio shows that dared to give voice to Obama's critics. It was the message the White House sent with its assault of the Fox News Channel. And now it's the message the administration is sending by reportedly threatening to bar Boston Herald reporters from full access to presidential events simply because the White House does not approve of the paper's editorial judgment.

The Herald gave former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney front-page op-ed space in March, bumping off a story about a presidential visit to Boston. That, the White House claimed, signaled that the paper is not "fair" or "objective" in its coverage. Hence, the Herald will be barred from pool duty on presidential visits, a White House spokesman implied.