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By Tim Graham | July 18, 2011 | 7:27 AM EDT

MSNBC president Phil Griffin gave an interview to Jeff Bercovici of Forbes, and said all the usual things about how MSNBC is less ideological than Fox News and Fox is a success despite not always being based in fact. But Griffin claimed no one ever knew what Tim Russert’s politics were and insisted that MSNBC is defined as "very smart progressive politics and information." 

The boss of “very smart” MSNBC is not going to tolerate crude terms for the president (well, this president) on its airwaves, because “We’re not a frat house.” At MSNBC, Griffin claimed, "name-calling and just getting overheated in a way that's not constructive is not welcome." See NewsBusters for daily evidence of how much Griffin is "based in fact." Here's the exchange:


By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 10:58 PM EDT

With trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, a balanced budget amendment is sounding pretty good to an overwhelming majority of Americans.

Apparently CBS's Bob Schieffer isn't amongst them, as he actually asked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday's "Face the Nation," "Why are you wasting time debating that?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Johnson | July 17, 2011 | 9:16 PM EDT

While Kossack bloggers certainly didn't neglect the debt-limit talks, they also pounced on the week's other developing mega-story, the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, no doubt with visions of a Rupert Murdoch perp walk dancing in their heads.

As usual, each headline is preceded by the blogger's name or pseudonym.

By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 8:13 PM EDT

Greta Van Susteren on Sunday took issue with CNN's Howard Kurtz for a report he did on "Reliable Sources."

In it, Kurtz falsely accused Fox News of going "out of its way to avoid a lot of reporting on its parent company's troubles" involving the British tabloid "News of the World" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 6:39 PM EDT

Chris Matthews as usual had four guests on the weekly syndicated program bearing his name.

When he asked them which of the current Republican candidates could end up being a great president, nobody chose to identify a single one (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 5:51 PM EDT

Gloria Borger said this weekend the Tea Party has "hijacked" the GOP and in so doing prevented Barack Obama from becoming a "transformational president."

In her view espoused on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," without the Tea Party, "The John Boehners of the world [would have] cut a deal with the President of the United States" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Brent Baker | July 17, 2011 | 5:35 PM EDT

A couple of Sunday interview show hosts again forwarded White House talking points about the necessity to include taxes, I mean “revenues,” in any debt ceiling increase deal with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour focusing on a single poll she highlighted for ammunition the public is on her side while ignoring how, by two-to-one, the public opposes raising the debt ceiling at all.

CBS’s Bob Schieffer touted how President Obama has made “concessions” but, he sputtered, “I don't hear any concessions from people on the other side. They just say no taxes, and that’s their negotiating posture.” He demanded of Senator Marco Rubio: “Can you have meaningful reform here without increasing revenues in some way?”

By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 3:54 PM EDT

Time magazine's Joe Klein said this weekend that President Obama "is winning" the debt ceiling debate.

Klein told his fellow panelists on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," "He is coming across as the most reasonable guy in a crazy city...When he says things like 'Eat your peas,' that's language Americans can understand" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Blumer | July 17, 2011 | 3:43 PM EDT

In an unbylined update of the latest developments in the budget-tax-spending-debt ceiling discussions in Washington this morning, the Associated Press committed several blunders in attempting to explain what's going on and how we got to where we are. First and foremost was its list identifying "contributors" to the $8.5 trillion growth in the national debt since 2001.

Here's the AP's you-can't make-this-up, Comedy Central-worthy list of debt contributors:

Q: How did the debt grow from $5.8 trillion in 2001 to its current $14.3 trillion?

A: The biggest contributors to the nearly $9 trillion increase over a decade were:

- 2001 and 2003 tax cuts under President George W. Bush: $1.6 trillion.

By Noel Sheppard | July 17, 2011 | 1:43 PM EDT

Cokie Roberts got quite a lesson Sunday on why compromise can be a dirty word in politics.

When she asked Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) why compromise isn't a "message that you hear," the Tea Partier responded, "Why is it that compromise always means increasing taxes today and doing cuts in ten years from now?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | July 17, 2011 | 11:31 AM EDT

NPR is clearly relishing the Murdoch newspapers scandal in Britain. Its Weekend Edition headline on Saturday was "News Corp. Dynasty Crumbles From the Top Down." Anchor Scott Simon interviewed Financial Times columnist Clive Crook and asked if the scandal will cause sell-offs: "How big a dent that they represent in his holdings and his influence?...Can you foresee them having to make incisions in their holdings?" Just say it: What will happen to Fox News?

Crook said it was quite a "catalog of disasters" with closing down News of the World and now accepting resignations from top News Corp./NOTW executives like Les Hinton and Rebekah Brooks. But he also said the really tight relationship in Britain between politicians and the newspapers came about because...Britain has "largely succeeded in getting money out of politics." It dramatically increased media power. No wonder the liberal media favors it:

By P.J. Gladnick | July 17, 2011 | 10:39 AM EDT

(Check the update at the bottom of this story. Bristol may have accidentally tipped us off as to the intentions of her mother.)

You know what a true insult from comedian Don Rickles would be? It would be if you appeared on a stage with Rickles and did NOT receive an "insult" from the "Merchant of Venom."

However, many media websites seem to be unaware of Rickles' stock in trade. They are crowing over the fact that they believe Don Rickles delivered serious insults to Bristol and Sarah Palin during a visit of the former to the Tonight Show last Thursday where the comedian was one of the guests. As you can see in this video (and below the fold), Rickles "insults" were relatively mild compared to the zingers he directed towards President Ronald Reagan on stage during his second inauguration in 1985. And the reaction from The Gipper was sheer delight at the "insults."

Yet here we have such sites as Raw Story and andPOP taking the Rickles insults as if they were some sort of serious political commentary.  Raw Story leads off with a headline that could also describe a Rickles encounter with anybody on a stage: "Don Rickles makes fun of Bristol Palin to her face."

By Tim Graham | July 17, 2011 | 8:12 AM EDT

Lou Chibbaro Jr., a reporter for the gay newspaper The Washington Blade, offered a front-page story this week on just how liberal the top leadership of Catholic Charities USA is:

Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest network of faith-based agencies providing services to the poor, has hired a Washington lobbying firm owned by a gay man to promote a recently launched anti-poverty initiative before Congress and the Obama administration.

By Tim Graham | July 17, 2011 | 7:45 AM EDT

The Washington Post can really pick them when selecting a guest lecturer to Rupert Murdoch on media ethics: pornographer Larry Flynt. In a Sunday Outlook section article is the headline “The people vs. Rupert Murdoch: Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt says his fellow media mogul has gone too far.” Yes, somehow, Larry Flynt gets to pose as The People.

Flynt lectured at Murdoch: “One cannot live off the liberty and benefits of a free press while ignoring the privacy of the people. People such as Murdoch and I, as heads of publishing conglomerates, have a responsibility to maintain and respect this boundary.” The Post editors clearly enjoy the notion that Larry Flynt oozes on a higher plane than Murdoch in the media world.

By Noel Sheppard | July 16, 2011 | 7:02 PM EDT

People unfortunate enough to be watching MSNBC since Keith Olbermann was forced out in January have noticed a tremendously unqualified "Young Turk" in the 6PM slot that used to be occupied by Ed Schultz.

For the past two weeks, Al Sharpton has filled in for the supposedly vacationing Cenk Uygur, and according to TVNewser, this might be permanent: