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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:

By Noel Sheppard | April 12, 2011 | 10:31 AM EDT

To give you an idea of the kind of hysterical predictions the global warming crowd have made in recent years, the United Nations in 2005 actually forecast that by the end of the previous decade, there would be 50 million environmental refugees around the world as a result of climate change.

Britain's Guardian reported October 12, 2005:

By Brad Wilmouth | April 12, 2011 | 8:30 AM EDT

 In spite of former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s history of using distortion and even misinformation to attack conservatives, and his infamously recurring conspiracy theory that the Bush administration made terrorism-related announcements to distract from politically embarrassing news, CNN host Howard Kurtz on Sunday’s Reliable Sources defended Olbermann’s Countdown show and MSNBC generally when right-leaning guest Amy Holmes of America’s Morning News pointed out the excesses of left-wing MSNBC anchors during a discussion of FNC host Glenn Beck’s upcoming departure from the network.

Kurtz: "Now, I don't put Keith Olbermann in the same category as Beck at all. His MSNBC show, agree with it, disagree with it, was a very well-researched program."

He later added: "I've got to push back on this, though. You say that some of the people at MSNBC, just as bad. Now, they may be as opinionated, they may be as strident, they may occasionally be irresponsible. But they are not trafficking conspiracy theories, they're not making things up."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 12, 2011 | 8:22 AM EDT

We all know that since Barack Obama was elected, dissent has gone from being the highest form of patriotism, as those liberal bumper-stickers liked to remind us, to being downright unpatriotic, as we've chronicled here and here.

Robert Reich has now added another item to the list of things that are unpatriotic: resenting higher taxes if you're rich.  Not that Cenk Uygur has to worry.  He has classified himself as "one of the rest of us," rather than a member of "the rich."  But can that be right?

The interesting dialogue went down on Uygurs's MSNBC show last evening.  View video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | April 12, 2011 | 7:29 AM EDT

Time's Ten Questions to Robert Redford drew some silly answers -- like Redford denying he's a lefty.

How helpful or harmful to your career has it been to be known as someone who is passionate about politics?

I am passionate. I am political about my country, about what it is, how strong it is, how strong it remains. [My last film,] Lions for Lambs, got rough treatment, and I think it was because — and I don't want to sound defensive — but I think it was misperceived. I'm not a left-wing person. I'm just a person interested in the sustainability of my country.

By Noel Sheppard | April 12, 2011 | 1:14 AM EDT

MSNBC's Ed Schultz began his show Monday talking about all the jobs President Obama has created since he took office.

Unfortunately, as he made the case about how terrible the Bush years were by comparison, the "Ed Show" host wrongly informed his viewers that Democrats took over in January 2009 (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | April 11, 2011 | 11:12 PM EDT

On February 24, Washington Post reporter John Wagner sympathetically covered leading Maryland Democrats (and Catholics) for crossing their hierarchy to lobby for "gay marriage" -- without seeming to contact this hierarchy. So when Wagner sympathetically profiled House Speaker Michael Busch -- again -- at the top of the April 11 Style section, the primary question was: How was this "news," a full month after the gay lobby failed to pass it? The headline was "A matter of conscience: Speaker Mike Busch found a new perspective for Maryland's same-sex marriage bill." It was considered an awakening of conscience that Speaker Busch wept:

Busch, whose hunched 6-foot-1 frame still bears witness to the standout running back he was at Temple University, retreated to his office at the side of the House chamber. He apologized for the bill’s failure to a few of its leading supporters. They thanked him for his efforts. And then another unusual event happened: With them, he cried.

By Tom Blumer | April 11, 2011 | 9:41 PM EDT

I sure hope that the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn has been working out, especially in his upper body. The volume of water he's having to carry for the Obama administration as a dutiful member of the state-compliant establishment press has to be getting very heavy.

This evening, Kuhnhenn and his wire service are expecting the AP's readers -- and ultimately its subscribing media outlets' readers, listeners, and viewers -- to believe that President Obama, who, with plenty of help from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, will have run up over $4 trillion of steadily rising federal government deficits by the time we get to September 30, the end of the current fiscal year (after making appropriate adjustments to reverse obfuscatory accounting entries designed to mask the truth), has now seen the light, and is on board with the idea of serious long-term deficit reduction (certain bias words bolded by me; numbered tags are mine):

By Noel Sheppard | April 11, 2011 | 8:35 PM EDT

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday spent much of show scaring viewers about Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) recently released budget proposal.

So apoplectic was the "Hardball" host that he told liberal guests Howard Fineman and Richard Wolffe that Ryan's Medicare reform plan "is going to kill half the people who watch this show" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Matthew Balan | April 11, 2011 | 6:41 PM EDT

NPR's Cokie Roberts hinted congressional Republicans were going to resort to extreme tactics regarding the debt ceiling on Monday's Morning Edition. Roberts noted the "rough votes" on the horizon in Congress, specifying the "debt ceiling that has to be increased, where Republicans have promised Armageddon."

Host Renee Montagne brought on the journalist to talk mainly about the recent proposed agreement on the budget between the Democrats and Republicans. Near the end of the segment, however, Montagne raised the other budget-related battles that are expected later in the year. Roberts dropped the biblical reference in her answer:

By Scott Whitlock | April 11, 2011 | 6:09 PM EDT

A cocky Chris Matthews on Monday dismissed the possible 2012 Republican presidential nominees as a "dog pound" and a "pig pen." The Hardball host briefly mentioned candidates such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, but focused mostly on Donald Trump and lesser known individuals like Herman Cain.

Talking to Republican strategist John Feehery and former Hillary Clinton aide Mark Penn, Matthews mocked, "This looks more, sounds more like a dog pound than it does like a group of people running for President."

The cable anchor then ran down a list of Trump, Cain, Newt Ginrich and Michele Bachmann, asking his guests if these people could be elected President. Matthews left off Pawlenty, Romney, Mitch Daniels and other possibly strong nominees.

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]