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By Alex Fitzsimmons | March 17, 2011 | 12:52 PM EDT

ABC's George Stephanopoulos still doesn't understand the difference between the Tea Party movement and the birther movement.

On the March 17 edition of "Good Morning America," the former Bill Clinton campaign operative characterized Donald Trump's political maneuvering as an attempt to court the Tea Party by pandering to birthers.

By Scott Whitlock | March 17, 2011 | 12:38 PM EDT

MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Thursday fretted over the blame Barack Obama is enduring for making televised NCAA picks during the ongoing crises in Libya and Japan. After gushing over the President's basketball predictions on Wednesday, Todd followed up by lamenting, "Makes people wonder why anyone wants the job."

Talking to former Bush aide Tony Fratto, a defensive Todd argued, "[The White House has] been criticized for using him too much in time of crises. Here's a week where, now, people are criticizing, 'We're not seeing him enough.'"

Justifying Obama's basketball picks, golf outings and speeches to Democratic donors, the Daily Rundown anchor added, "...The schedule is the schedule. And you get- you get, almost, handcuffed to it sometimes, don't you?"

By Kyle Drennen | March 17, 2011 | 12:16 PM EDT

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, news reader Jeff Glor declared: "President Obama is ready for March Madness, it appears. He broke out the brackets at the White House yesterday and made his picks in the NCAA basketball tournament." However, he lamented how the commander in chief "Didn't exactly go out on a limb....For his Final Four he chose all number one seeds."

Only moments earlier, Glor received a report from correspondent Mark Phillips in Libya, who described the losing battle rebels were fighting against dictator Moammar Qadhafi. While Glor noted the United Nations was still debating the creation of a no-fly zone to aid the democratic forces, he said nothing of President Obama's unwillingness to "go out on a limb" and lead on the crisis.

By Don Todd | March 17, 2011 | 11:37 AM EDT

President Obama in the opening days of his term made a showing of mandating openness in government.  He even stated, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset.”  He then directed department heads to implement his Open Government Directive.  While this sounds good, what raises concern is the selective transparency with which his administration operates.

By Scott Whitlock | March 17, 2011 | 9:57 AM EDT

According to James Carville, his timing was simply a "little off" with a 2009 prediction that Democrats would rule for 40 years. The political operative and frequent guest on ABC appeared in the revamped Newsweek magazine to offer an apology for the inaccurate assertion.

The first-person piece in the March 21 issue included an admission that the title of his book, 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, was designed for the sake of publicity.

He admitted, "I know a bit about selling books, and you need a good title—a catchy concoction with a little Cajun spice, something that will make folks stop in the aisles, turn away from the Grisham novels and the latest crazy diet fad, and pick up your masterpiece."

By Lachlan Markay | March 17, 2011 | 9:55 AM EDT

It took the threat of a defamation lawsuit, but the New York Times finally corrected a story from late February that accused FBI informant Brandon Darby of "encouraging" a plot to bomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, when in fact Darby was integral to law enforcement efforts to disrupt that plot.

The Times was aware of the error as far back as March 3, according to emails included in the brief filed by Darby's attorney. Yet the error remained uncorrected on the Times website until Wednesday.

As I wrote earlier this week, the fact that the Times was aware of the error and yet continued to publish it online may have made it liable. Darby's attorney certainly thought it did, and at least one legal expert concurred.

By Mark Finkelstein | March 17, 2011 | 8:30 AM EDT

"Democrats on both sides of the Capitol say they have no idea where the White House stands or who’s running the show." -- Politico, 3-17-11

"Obama The Invisible: Anti-leadership Amid World Crises"--headline, John Podhoretz column, NY Post, 3-15-11

With the Hamptons beach season looming, has Donny Deutsch let working on his abs get in the way of watching what's going on in the White House?  If there's anything like a consensus in America, it's that Pres. Obama has gazed at the various crises in the country and the world . . . and ordered a shaved ice.

Despite mounting evidence that PBO would have to raise his leadership level some notches in order to qualify as "feckless," on Morning Joe Deutsch today declared, referring to Pres. Obama, that "we've got some damn good leaders in this country."  

View video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | March 17, 2011 | 7:00 AM EDT

Several liberal talk-radio hosts are pandering to listeners by taking polls on just how despicable Republicans are in response to the horrifying disaster in Japan and the scary nuclear-power issues. The poll at Thom Hartmann's website asks:

Will the Republicans succeed in cutting Tsunami funds?

-- Yes! You gotta give tax breaks to millionaires and the money has to come from somewhere.
-- No! Even Tea Baggers want to be safe.

Surprisingly, at the time of this writing, 57 percent picked "No." A more predictable tilt came in the Ed Schultz radio show poll:

By Brent Baker | March 16, 2011 | 11:33 PM EDT

Diane Sawyer allocated all but 1:37 of World News to Japan on Wednesday night, committing 33 seconds of that limited time to touting President Obama’s NCAA basketball picks provided to ABC corporate cousin ESPN.

“Despite all the troubles around the world” Sawyer rationalized – as if there’s much evidence Obama, who’s hardly been engaged in the Libyan or Japanese situations and who went golfing last weekend, is devoting much time to any of it – “the President kept his annual appointment to fill out his bracket for college basketball's March Madness. The basketball Fan-in-Chief got together with our sister network ESPN's Andy Katz.”

Following a clip of Obama revealing a couple of his selections, Sawyer trumpeted: “You heard it here first. The President is going with Kansas!” Then, with “BARACK-ETOLOGY” at the top of the screen above ESPN graphics, Sawyer plugged: “And you can see all of his picks on ESPN’s Sports Center and at ESPN.com.”

By Mark Finkelstein | March 16, 2011 | 10:47 PM EDT

Wait a sec!  Isn't it Republicans who supposedly are irresponsibly accusing Dems of being socialists and Commies?  Check that.  Ed Schultz has declared--not paraphrasing, actually quoting--that Tea Partiers who support Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are "lining up with the Communist Party."

Schultz was set off by Snyder's signing of an emergency bill giving, as per this report, "broad new powers to emergency financial managers appointed by the state of Michigan."

View video after the jump.

By Matthew Balan | March 16, 2011 | 7:33 PM EDT

On Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN hyped the concerns of psychiatrist Terry Kupers over the imprisonment of Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning. Kupers labeled Manning's months-long solitary confinement "cruel or inhumane treatment, and by international standards, they constitute torture." The guest also claimed that "nobody has been accused of crimes like Bradley Manning's."

Anchor Carol Costello noted in her introduction to her interview of Kupers (which aired 47 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour) that "Manning, the man accused of giving Wikileaks classified documents, spent most of the last nine months in solitary confinement. One psychiatrist tells CNN that amounted to torture, and it could have done more harm than good." An on-screen graphic trumpeted this charge: "Wikileaks Suspect 'Tortured': Doc: Months of solitary does permanent damage."

By Noel Sheppard | March 16, 2011 | 7:31 PM EDT

Joy Behar on Wednesday made a staggeringly stupid comment on "The View" that is so inane it requires no additional setup.

"I’m sure people in concentration camps made jokes about each other, about the Nazis, about their situation. That’s the way people relieve stress" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Jack Coleman | March 16, 2011 | 6:42 PM EDT

Here's an example of a former newspaper man correcting a politician's claim -- and his correction requiring a correction.

Appearing on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews offered kneejerk condemnation of Mike Huckabee saying President Obama grew up in Kenya as "racist," an assertion Huckabee had acknowledged as inaccurate.

Matthews piled on, making his own demonstrably false claim in the process (video after page break) --

By Kyle Drennen | March 16, 2011 | 6:13 PM EDT

On Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Norah O'Donnell spoke with  liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne about his claim that the United States is "not broke," but simply needs to "raise revenue" through higher taxes. She teased the segment by wondering: "Is Washington really as broke as lawmakers make it seem?"

O'Donnell described Dionne's latest column as "provocative" and asked, "How can you say there is no crisis?" Dionne argued: "...we are in this strait partly because of an economic downturn, when things get better, when the economy gets better, revenue comes in. We're also in this trouble because we cut taxes and started two wars at the same time back at the beginning of the last decade."

By Clay Waters | March 16, 2011 | 4:13 PM EDT

The New York Times versus state spending cuts. Reporter Sabrina Tavernise went to the downtrodden town of Gallipollis, Ohio, and collected a grab bag of sympathetic liberal anecdotes about government workers threatened by a bill that would restrict public-sector unions, for Wednesday’s “Ohio Town Sees Public Job As Only Route To Middle Class.”

Tavernise focused solely on the plight of low-income workers, including unionized government workers, while failing to mention the state's $8 billion deficit (a number included only in an Associated Press sidebar story, "Governor's Budget Seeks To Limit Union Influence.")

Jodi and Ralph Taylor are public workers whose jobs as a janitor and a sewer manager cover life’s basics. They have moved out of a trailer into a house, do not have to rely on food stamps and sometimes even splurge for the spicy wing specials at the Courtside Bar and Grill.

While that might not seem like much, jobs like theirs, with benefits and higher-than-minimum wages, are considered plum in this depressed corner of southern Ohio. Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison.

Now, as Ohio’s legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class.