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By Kyle Drennen | April 12, 2011 | 5:30 PM EDT

In an interview with President Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng on Tuesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker wondered: "When you look back on the President's campaign of hope do you see that – is it still that same message or has it had to change, do you think?" Soetoro-Ng replied: "I think that the message is absolutely the same. The President is still hopeful."

Soetoro-Ng was on the show to promote her children's book, 'Ladder to the Moon,' a story about the influence her and Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, had on their lives. When Roker asked about that influence, Soetoro-Ng declared: "She [Dunham] emphasized the themes that are present in the book – namely that we are interconnected, that we therefore need to take care of one another, empathize with one another, find ways to serve and help one another. And I think that those themes are very much evidenced in this presidency and in all of my brother's efforts as well."

By Scott Whitlock | April 12, 2011 | 4:48 PM EDT

Nightline co-anchor Bill Weir on Monday couldn't help but fawn over former Obama White House social Secretary Desiree Rogers, lauding her as a "fashionable, vivacious, interesting, telegenic person in a town with not a lot of that, frankly."

The journalist failed to offer much in the way of tough questions. Regarding the 2009 fiasco of having Michaele and Tareq Salahi crash a state dinner with the President, Weir gently wondered, "...What are your thoughts now that that night won't be remembered for [being a success]?"   

Instead, he hyped, "But in those heady days of Obama mania, how could anyone ignore the well heeled woman in charge of the guest list? The one who fit right in with Anna Wintour, Kanye West at fashion week, the one who beat the First Lady into the pages of Vogue?"

By Clay Waters | April 12, 2011 | 4:36 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye is the latest Times reporter to defend government spending, this time on a tiny but "life-affirming" radio station threatened by the Republican budget ax - public radio station WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky: “A Regional Radio Voice Threatened From Afar.” The story was accompanied by a cutesy sidebar, “88.7 on Appalachia’s Dial,” describing such original programming as “Holler to the Hood,” “which plays hip-hop aimed at the growing prison population in the region.” Sounds vital. Only one problem: The funding is being challenged by "the rise of the Tea Party and with anti-earmark, budget-cutting fervor gripping the nation’s capital."

Seelye handed the mic to a lefty from the “private Community Action Council,” a “private” group that nonetheless gets 95% of its money from the federal government.

By Jason Mattera | April 12, 2011 | 4:24 PM EDT

The following is cross-posted from Human Events, where Mattera serves as editor.

Christian conservatives often decry the silencing of faith by major network television. 

But Sunday night on CBS’ hit reality TV series “Undercover Boss,” people of faith had their breath taken away by what they witnessed, sparking a Facebook and Twitter avalanche of support and praise. 

On Facebook, Kini Se remarked, “Loved the episode of 'Undercover Boss' last night.  It is the BEST one yet.  It is great to see you praising the Lord on National television.  The entire time, I had tears running down my face.  It was real, it was true and inspirational.  God bless you and your family.” 

By Kyle Drennen | April 12, 2011 | 3:31 PM EDT

In a discussion with Tom Brokaw on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira turned to the ongoing budget fight, asking in part: "Republicans are calling for the privatization of Medicare. Could they overstepping here?" The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Debt Diet; Do White House & GOP Spending Cuts Go Too Far?"

In response to Vieira, Brokaw actually acknowledged the importance of reform: "You know, it's hard to say. I think what we're going to do – and It's long overdue, by the way – but we're going to have a real debate about Medicare, about how it has to be reformed. You can't get to where we need to get to in all these areas just by cutting alone. There have to be profound changes in Social Security, and Medicare, and health care delivery systems."

By Tim Graham | April 12, 2011 | 3:18 PM EDT

It was a little eyebrow-raising on Monday morning to read a story on Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the GOP chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee under the headline "'Big bad wolf' at the helm of House Foreign Affairs Committee." The story by Mary Beth Sheridan made the headline more shocking. The Post was letting Fidel Castro write the Post's headline.

As the new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ros-Lehtinen now has a high-profile platform for her staunch anti-communism. She is attacking abuses by such countries as North Korea, Cuba and China, and they are, at times, attacking her.

Fidel Castro has called her "la loba feroz" — the big bad wolf — and her appointment has prompted warnings in other leftist Latin American countries that relations with Washington could further sour.

By Ken Shepherd | April 12, 2011 | 3:14 PM EDT

Every once in a while the folks at MSNBC can get a thrill for a Republican. It just has to be one who's denouncing the right people, you see.

Take Contessa Brewer, who today yelled "Preach It!" in enthusiastic agreement after showing her audience a clip of  "truth teller" former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) excoriating the "homophobes" in his party:

By NB Staff | April 12, 2011 | 3:05 PM EDT

It's Tuesday, and you know what that means: another hilarious episode of 'Busted!

By Clay Waters | April 12, 2011 | 2:13 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise offered no voices opposed to the liberal cause of D.C. voting rights in Monday’s righteous “Abortion Limit Is Renewed, as Is Washington Anger.”

The sound and fury of last week’s budget debate came down to a dollar figure that some members of Congress could have covered by writing a personal check.

Elective abortions for poor women in the District of Columbia -- a central bargaining chip in the deal -- have cost the city $62,300 since August, city officials say.

In a national budget that is measured in trillions of dollars, that might not seem like much. But for this city, which raises $5 billion in tax revenue each year but does not have the final say over how to spend it, the compromise -- which restores a ban on the use of local taxpayer money for abortions -- served as a bitter reminder of its powerlessness.

By Scott Whitlock | April 12, 2011 | 1:10 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter Jake Tapper attacked the "bizarre," "non-reality-based" conspiracy theory about President Obama's birth certificate. Yet, the ABC program has not done a similar expose on the belief that the government was involved with, or knew of, the 9/11 terror plot.

Speaking of the false idea that the President was born somewhere other than Honolulu, Tapper described it as the "bizarre conspiracy theory that is as seemingly persistent as it is erroneous. It is the lie that will not die." In contrast, GMA lacked such outrage for truthers and repeatedly promoted Rosie O'Donnell, ignoring her own weird and baseless agenda. 

(Although host George Stephanopoulos did grill conspiracy theorist Jessie Ventura on April 04, 2011 about his truther ideas, the show hasn't devoted a full segment to the topic.)

When O'Donnell, who believes the Twin Towers were taken down by a controlled demolition, appeared on the April 08, 2008 GMA, then-host Diane Sawyer praised the comedienne's "singular" vision. She never mentioned trutherism.

By Clay Waters | April 12, 2011 | 12:52 PM EDT

The New York Times continues to argue against spending cuts, no matter how silly or trivial the program may be. Reporter Adam Nagourney rode to the defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s beleaguered cowboy poets on Monday: “For Cowboy Poets, Unwelcome Spotlight In Battle Over Spending.” Reporting from the small Nevada town of Elko, Nagourney’s tone suggested critics who consider funding cowboy poetry a waste of tax money simply don’t know enough about the program.

This isolated town in the northeast Nevada mountains is known for gold mines, ranches, casinos, bordellos and J. M. Capriola, a destination store with two floors of saddles, boots, spurs and chaps. It is also the birthplace of the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a celebration of range song and poetry that draws thousands of cowboys and their fans every January and receives some money from the federal government.

That once-obscure gathering became a target in the budget battle a world away in Washington last week, employed by conservatives as a symbol of fiscal waste. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, a Democrat and the majority leader, invoked the event in arguing against Republican cuts in arts financing in the budget debate, setting off a conflagration of conservative scorn.

By Clay Waters | April 12, 2011 | 12:48 PM EDT

Matt Bai, chief political correspondent for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, celebrated the “grace and gravitas” of former New York State governor and perpetual Democratic presidential hopeful Mario Cuomo, “Papa Doesn’t Preach – Mario Cuomo would be a perfect elder statesman, if only his son’s generation wanted one.”

Bai talked to the elder Cuomo, whose son Andrew is governor of New York, at his office at a Midtown law firm. The profile begins with Cuomo in charmlessly pedantic mode, with a lecture on the precise meaning of the word “proud.” Bai admired him as one of the liberal “titans of the day.”

If you were a kid in the Northeast during the 1980s, as I was, there is something awesome -- in the literal sense -- about sitting across a desk from Mario Cuomo, even if he now misplaces names and occasionally grasps for the point of an anecdote that has fluttered just out of reach. He was, at that time, the anti-Reagan, a powerful and resonant voice of dissent in the age of “Top Gun” and Alex P. Keaton. Cuomo, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson were the three titans of the day who seemed to possess the defiance needed to rescue liberalism from obsolescence.

In contrast, Bai’s reporting shows hostility toward conservative ideas and people, notably a July 18, 2010 story in which he conjured up a fiction of “hateful 25-year-olds” hurling racial slurs at Tea Party rallies.

By Tom Blumer | April 12, 2011 | 12:09 PM EDT

According to his University of Maryland faculty bio, Kevin Blackistone "is a former award-winning sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News from September 1990 to September 2006." He has written for AOL's FanHouse; his most recent column is here); he was likely released when AOL recently laid off its FanHouse employees as a result of what I refer to as "Huffington's Heist."

In a Monday opinion piece at Politico (HT Hot Air) entitled "NFL players need Obama's support," Blackistone criticized the President of the United States for not supporting the players in their dispute with the league's owners, and -- I kid you not -- said it "differs very little" from the recent public-sector collective-bargaining controversy in Wisconsin. Blackistone even brought Martin Luther King into the mix (bolds are mine):

By Kyle Drennen | April 12, 2011 | 11:55 AM EDT

During the panel discussion on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, host David Gregory gushed over President Obama's Friday night address to the nation on the budget deal: "The message was clear. Here he was to save the day, that it was President Obama – and he went to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday – that he was able to rise above the fray. That's the image they want Americans to see."

The rest of the political panel agreed with Gregory's assessment. Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver argued: "I think the President appears to be a mediator, and I think he, he rightfully gets some credit for averting the show – shutdown." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer declared: "I think the President came out very much above this week, above the fray." New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper proclaimed: "[Obama]  was trying very much to appear above the – above the fray....definitely did the political calculus that he has to appear above it all, presidential."

By Matthew Balan | April 12, 2011 | 10:58 AM EDT

Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."

The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate: