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By Alex Fitzsimmons | February 22, 2011 | 12:31 PM EST

On the February 22 edition of "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello framed the ongoing budget debate in Wisconsin as a struggle between embattled middle class workers and corporatist Republicans with ulterior motives, parroting SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to warn viewers that "corporate America is about to win big time."

"Henry says corporate America save themselves money in wages by lining the pockets of Republicans running for statewide offices," regurgitated Costello. "According to, in the 2009-2010 election cycle, business interests donated $878 million to candidates running for governor and other statewide offices across the country, that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio."

While those figures are not in dispute, Costello failed to hold Democrats and their Big Labor financiers to a similar standard: "And Democrats say there is another reason Republicans want to gut unions. Organized labor donates hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates like Barack Obama. So if you weaken the unions, you weaken a traditional moneyed supporter of the Democratic Party."

By Lachlan Markay | February 22, 2011 | 12:11 PM EST

Nothing more cogently demonstrated the left's apparent strategy in Madison, Wisconsin thus far than a group of pro-union demonstrators silencing a Fox News report on a budding scandal there with cries demanding that Fox "tell the truth." Demonstrators, and much of the left over the past week, were unconcerned with the content of Fox's report. The fact that Fox was doing the reporting meant that the truth was not being told.

Fox was attempting to interview the president of the MacIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Wisconsin, which had reported two days earlier that doctors were writing sick notes for union demonstrators in Madison so they could get out of work and attend the protests (check out video of the protesters below the break).

By Kyle Drennen | February 22, 2011 | 11:51 AM EST

In an interview with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge worried about the fallout from budget cutting in Wisconsin: "It seems to look like this governor [Scott Walker] is trying to basically break unions and that other states may then follow suit. Is this – should unions be on alert all around the country?"

Huckabee pointed out: "I think unions have to get realistic. They can't expect to pay $1 in and get $57 from the state as a pension match. Nobody else gets that." Earlier, Wragge expressed skepticism of Governor's Walker's handling of the issue: "...what you've seen...with the workers and the unions versus Governor Scott Walker and the teacher sick outs, do you think this was handled the best way it possibly could have been?" Huckabee defended Walker: "I think he's got to call attention to the fact that this is a serious issue....You can't borrow money that you can't afford to pay back."

By Ken Shepherd | February 22, 2011 | 11:08 AM EST

The Taliban is no longer in power, but the U.S.-supported government in Afghanistan has a long way to go towards supporting freedom of conscience for its people.

Take the plight of one Said Musa, who faces a death sentence for daring to be an ex-Muslim. The convert to Christianity most likely will suffer the death penalty for the capital crime of "apostasy." Paul Marshall at National Review Online last week noted that:

By Noel Sheppard | February 22, 2011 | 10:34 AM EST

New York Times columnist David Brooks published a truly must-read piece Tuesday about what's going on in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, out of some odd desire to appear balanced, Brooks advanced the totally erroneous liberal meme that Governor Walker's budget repair plan exempted cops and firefighters because they typically support Republicans:

By Brent Baker | February 22, 2011 | 9:33 AM EST

CBS on Monday night tried to corroborate the case for the position on protesting Wisconsin state union workers, claiming without citing any source that they earn less than comparable private sector works, while FNC put the union workers in a less oppressed light, showing how “apparent doctors” were “handing out doctor’s notes for sick days. Our undercover producer got a medical excuse, no illness necessary.”

CBS’s Cynthia Bowers touted “high school history teacher Amanda Bazan, of Deerfield Wisconsin,” who “took a personal day to get her students to the protests.” Bazan insisted: “They were learning about democracy firsthand.” Bowers relayed how “the single mom has been teaching 13 years and earns $41,000,” and while “public sector workers in Wisconsin do make slightly more in salary and benefits than the average private sector worker,” that's “because nearly twice as many of them have college degrees necessary for high-skilled jobs.” Without any citation from her or on screen, Bowers maintained:

When education and other factors are considered, two recent studies found public sector employees end up earning less than their counterparts in the private sector. In Wisconsin, nearly five percent less. Nationally seven percent less.

By NB Staff | February 22, 2011 | 9:32 AM EST

Yesterday was a frantic, occasionally bizarre day in Libya, a week after massive protests - inspired by recent events in Egypt - engulfed the country in turmoil. There were rumors early in the day Monday that Muammar Gaddafi, the country's embattled president, had fled the nation for Venezuela. An influential Muslim cleric had issued a "fatwa" on Gaddafi, calling on all Muslims to shoot him on sight.

'Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr Gaddafi should do so,' Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric who is usually based in Qatar, told Al-Jazeera television.

By Noel Sheppard | February 22, 2011 | 9:05 AM EST

As NewsBusters reported Sunday, while George Soros likened Rupert Murdoch and Fox News to Nazis on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," the host never once challenged the far-left billionaire on any of his wild accusations.

On Monday's "O'Reilly Factor," former CBS Newsman Bernie Goldberg blasted "supposed journalist" Zakaria for sitting there "like a bump on a log when somebody is making crazy statements like that" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):

By Ken Shepherd | February 22, 2011 | 9:05 AM EST

Don't 52-year-old sports writers have anything better to do than devote a whole column to deriding a teenage athlete's faith?

If you're Rick Reilly, apparently the answer is no.

Reilly wrote a February 19 piece at trashing the religious convictions of 16-year-old Iowa wrestler Joel Northrup, who forfeited a state tournament match rather than wrestle 14-year-old Cassy Herkelman, citing his Christian faith.

Even though the Herkelman family and another female wrestler in the state tournament lauded Northrup's decision to be true to his convictions, Reilly mounted his  secular pulpit to condemn Northrup's faith:

By Clay Waters | February 22, 2011 | 8:55 AM EST

Adam Nagourney, now Los Angeles bureau chief for the New York Times, returned to his old political beat for Monday’s off-lead story co-written with David Herszenhorn. The theme is one of Nagourney’s favorites; Republicans overplaying their hand and risking citizen backlash: “As Republicans See A Mandate, Others See Risk – Echo Of ‘08 Democrats – Backlash Could Loom on Cuts to Budget and Union Challenges.”


Nagourney claimed “the Democratic Party can clearly claim a mandate” after the 2006 elections in which the party gained 25 seats in the House. But on Monday he argued the G.O.P. lacks a mandate, even after an election where the party gained 63 seats and took over the House.

By Tim Graham | February 22, 2011 | 8:08 AM EST

A new survey by The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School for Public Health found dire news for Democrats: “When asked which party better understands the economic problems that people in the country are having, non-college whites side with the Republicans by a 14-point margin.”

That news is so uncomfortable for media liberals that the Post put that sentence in paragraph 15 of a story they placed on page A-2. The headline on this story by Jon Cohen and Dan Balz was “Non-college whites gloomy about economy: Group is more pessimistic than those with degrees, poll finds.” It wasn't “Non-college whites don't like Obama economic policies.” There's also that finding, in paragraph 13:

By Clay Waters | February 22, 2011 | 6:45 AM EST

After a lull, in which the Times' initial assumption the Tucson shooting had something to do with political conservatism was refuted by reality, the paper again tried to use the tragedy to smear conservatives, in Frank Rich’s Sunday column, “The G.O.P.’s Post-Tucson Traumatic Stress Disorder.” 

It’s a truly weak effort that will change no  minds. Still, Rich’s absurd and mean-spirited attempt to link falling numbers for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin should be noted.

 Six weeks after that horrific day in Tucson, America has half-forgotten its violent debate over the power of violent speech to incite violence. It’s Gabrielle Giffords’s own power of speech that rightly concerns us now. But all those arguments over political language did leave a discernible legacy. In the aftermath of President Obama’s Tucson sermon, civility has had a mini-restoration in Washington. And some of the most combative national figures in our politics have been losing altitude ever since, much as they did after Bill Clinton’s oratorical response to the inferno of Oklahoma City.

By Noel Sheppard | February 22, 2011 | 12:04 AM EST

UPDATE AT END OF POST: 'Limited Memory' Matthews gets Washington's birthday wrong!

A Gallup poll released Friday found Americans are most likely to say Ronald Reagan was the nation's greatest president.

On Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was visibly angered about these results and actually insulted those in Reagan's camp as having a "limited memory" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | February 21, 2011 | 11:22 PM EST

AP reporter Ryan Foley's update from Madison on Monday night included details about a rock musician causing the crowd to to roar: "At noon, guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine took to a stage on the Capitol steps to fire up the crowd. He said he flew in from California to lend his voice to the protest."

While reporters like Adam Nagourney "worry" out loud that the Wisconsin Republicans are going to look too extreme, AP somehow left out Morello's truly appalling and extremist stands, like speaking fondly of Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Maoist Shining Path terrorists in Peru. If that didn't seem pro-violence enough, then there's Morello praying for the drowning of President Bush in 2007, as reported in the Washington Post:

Onstage, when the Nightwatchman [Morello] sang, "I pray that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again," the Jammin' Java crowd's attitude was chilling. People were praying.

By Noel Sheppard | February 21, 2011 | 10:57 PM EST

UPDATE AT END OF POST: Ann Coulter agrees!

Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday made a prediction that most who hadn't heard of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker until a week ago might find astonishing.

On MSNBC's "The Last Word," the host told his perilously liberal guest Ezra Klein that if Walker's budget repair plan goes through, "He would instantaneously become the greatest hero in the Republican Party nationwide, I think would go to the top of Republicans' lists for possible presidential nominees in the upcoming election" (video follows with transcript and commentary):