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By Matthew Philbin | April 11, 2011 | 10:55 AM EDT

MSNBC’s new slogan may be “Lean Forward,” but the brazenly left-wing cable network does a lot of looking back – to the 1860s.

April 12, 2011, will mark the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Ft. Sumter in South Carolina – the beginning of the American Civil War. As Americans observe this milestone, they’ll hear a lot of words they only vaguely remember from U.S. History class – terms like “secession,” “states rights,” “nullification,” “contraband,” or “Dred Scott.”

Not MSNBC viewers. To them the language of the Civil War is remarkably familiar, since the network’s liberal hosts and guests never miss an opportunity to associate today’s conservative movement with the Confederacy, secession, slavery and racism.

By Tim Graham | April 11, 2011 | 10:32 AM EDT

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that one Chicago public school -- the Little Village Academy -- has banned bag lunches...to protect the kids from their own "unhealthful" food choices:

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

By Noel Sheppard | April 11, 2011 | 10:31 AM EDT

On the same day a new poll found only 37 percent of liberals strongly approve of Barack Obama's performance as president, the New York Times's Paul Krugman bashed America's chief executive for being missing in action.

"What have they done with President Obama?" asked the Nobel Laureate. "Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular":

By NB Staff | April 11, 2011 | 9:29 AM EDT

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, both of Politico, wrote Sunday that Speaker John Boehner's line to his conservative critics should be: "You are winning, and winning decisively. So stop your whining." While the victors of some specific political battles of late may be in dispute, they write, "the broader trajectory of politics, stretching back to the spring of 2009, is not. The Republican — and, yes, the tea party — agenda is not only ascendant, it’s driving the debate over reshaping government at every level." Check out a larger experpt below the break, and give us your thoughts in the comments.

By Brent Baker | April 11, 2011 | 9:15 AM EDT

A round-up from over the weekend of journalists denouncing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan for not including a big tax hike in his deficit-reduction plan and discrediting the Tea Party’s pressure on House Speaker John Boehner as a “far right” impediment to good government.

“He doesn't deal with the revenue side at all,” despaired Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, arguing: “We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That's not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes...”

On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, echoed, “He does nothing on the revenue side,” fretting: “There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying ‘you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.’”

Juan Williams charged “the rich get off like scoundrels,” complaining on Fox News Sunday that Ryan is “not doing anything in terms of raising taxes.” Williams also worried: “John Boehner now has the Tea Party wrapped around his neck like an albatross.”

By Brad Wilmouth | April 11, 2011 | 8:17 AM EDT

 Appearing on Sunday’s Good Morning America on ABC, This Week host Christiane Amanpour suggested that Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s perceived victory in recent budget negotiations with President Obama could be harmful in the long run as it will "give Republicans a lot more wind in their sail" and make it more difficult for both sides to compromise on the larger portions of the budget.

Co-anchor Bianna Golodryga set up the line of thinking as she posed the question: "Since both sides avoided the backlash that would have come with the government shut down that could have potentially taught them a lesson, is there risk that they'll overplay their hand on obviously this much more controversial debate over the debt limit now heightened?"

Amanpour passed on the view by some that the recent budget deal would hinder the negotiation of future agreements: "And some people are saying that with the victory, because many people are saying that this government shutdown deal was a victory for, by and large, Speaker Boehner, that that might give the Republicans a lot more wind in their sail at a time when analysts say that it really needs bipartisan work to get some of these huge, big issues sorted out."

By Tim Graham | April 11, 2011 | 7:56 AM EDT

The Obama administration is cracking down on for-profit colleges for tempting students into taking (and defaulting on) student loans. One company that's suffering is The Washington Post Company, whose profits have long been coming from its Kaplan educational unit, not the newspaper. In the Business section of Sunday's Post, reporters Steven Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang explored the tension, but the real grist came at paragraph 13 (inside the section's front page):

One past director of The Post Co.’s board said that members were better versed in media than education but that the lure of big profits was hard to resist.

Another, Dick Simmons, president of the company when it acquired Kaplan, said, "At a time when the largest part of The Washington Post Company, the....newspaper, was sinking, sinking, sinking, and here this relatively new player...was growing, growing, growing — how do you think anybody would react to that?"

By Mark Finkelstein | April 11, 2011 | 7:51 AM EDT

Donald Trump might be off base with his birther views. But does that mean he shouldn't be allowed on TV to express them?  Yes--according to Charles Blow of the New York Times.

On Morning Joe today, Blow asserted that the MSM is wrong to give Trump air time on the birther issue because "we know that this is not true."

View video after the jump.

By Brad Wilmouth | April 11, 2011 | 7:37 AM EDT

 On Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt informed viewers that Human Rights Watch recently aimed criticism at singer and former anti-war activist Bob Dylan, charging that he "should be ashamed of himself for letting" the Chinese government "tell him what to sing."

After recounting the irony of Dylan performing a concert in Vietnam after opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Holt noted that he was criticized for "submitting his song list to Chinese authorities."

Below is a complete transcript of the item as read by Lester Holt from the Sunday, April 10, NBC Nightly News:

By Tom Blumer | April 11, 2011 | 12:20 AM EDT

Reasonably astute readers will catch the falsehoods and fallacies inherent in the following statement made by President Obama last Wednesday at the town hall meeting held in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania:

But here’s the thing about oil. We have about 2, maybe 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves; [1] we use 25 percent of the world’s oil. [2] So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five. [3]

The average Associated Press or other establishment media apparatchik following Obama around as he embarks on his 19-month reelection campaign has apparently given these statements little if any thought, simply assuming that they're "obviosuly" true. Each of the President's three key number-tagged assertions is either demonstrably false or seriously misleading. Each is badly in need of a specific refutation.

By Noel Sheppard | April 10, 2011 | 9:43 PM EDT

It's no great surprise when an Obama administration official takes a swipe at Fox News.

But it is somewhat unseemly when one of the President's top advisers and campaign manager does it in front of Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | April 10, 2011 | 8:33 PM EDT

There was a moment on this weekend's "McLaughlin Group" that is guaranteed to make conservatives all around the country smile from ear to ear.

After Newsweek's Eleanor Clift predictably attacked Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and his just-released budget proposal, National Review's Rich Lowry caught her in a serious contradiction and said, "With all due respect, Eleanor, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | April 10, 2011 | 6:48 PM EDT

Now that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has submitted a budget that actually produces over $6 trillion less debt in the next ten years than what the President has proposed, the job of the Obama-loving media is to discredit him whenever possible.

NBC's David Gregory, ever the dutiful left-wing soldier, tried doing just that during his "Meet the Press" interview with Ryan Sunday even saying to his guest, "The problem that you've always had is that Republicans love to talk about you as a smart guy with really good ideas, but they don't actually support you" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Blumer | April 10, 2011 | 6:47 PM EDT

Back in mid-2008, as gas prices approached $4 a gallon and the first inklings that a real recession would soon be under way were appearing, George W. Bush told a town hall audience questioner who wondered when gas prices might start coming down that it might be time for owners of gas-guzzling SUVs like the questioner to "think about a trade-in." He also laughed at the questioner's indication that he had ten children and told him that "you definitely need a hybrid van."

... Well, of course George W. Bush didn't say these things. Readers here and anyone else who understands the establishment press know that if Bush or any other well-known Republican or conservative had said these kinds of things, the nation would have been alerted to it quickly and repeatedly. Reporters would have solicited comments from Democratic Party officials, who would have dutifully told the world that such remarks were proof of how uncaring and out of touch the person who made them must be.

President Barack Obama said the exact things mythologically portrayed in the opening paragraph above at a town hall meeting in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Here are relevant excerpts from the White House web site's carriage of Obama's remarks (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tim Graham | April 10, 2011 | 4:36 PM EDT

The U.S. government has a funny way of funding Sesame Street -- even when the show is created in Muslim countries. The U.K. Guardian reports our Agency for International Development is funding a Pakistani edition of Elmo and friends:

The financing for the series comes from USAid, the economic assistance arm of the US government, which aims to help the country's young learn some basic words and numbers through Sesame Street's fun style of education. Pakistan's schooling system is failing badly, a major reason for a descent into religious conservatism and economic stagnation.

Elmo, the cheerful monster toddler from the original, will be in the Pakistani version, with new local personality touches. But other American favourites such as Count von Count – a lovable vampire who would rather count telephone rings than answer the phone – will make way for local characters in SimSim Humara ("Ours"), the Pakistani edition....