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By Mark Finkelstein | September 29, 2011 | 10:02 AM EDT

If Ken Burns ever decides to stop making documentaries, he could always go into comedy . . .On today's Morning Joe, Burns claimed he was non-political, despite repeatedly attempting to draw parallels between Prohibition, the subject of his current film, and themes in current conservatism, particularly immigration. At the same time, Burns ignored the modern-day prohibitionist sitting right across the table from him--Mika Brzezinski--the neo-Carrie Nation who would ban everything from cigarettes to soft drinks, transfats to fast food. Video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | September 29, 2011 | 9:04 AM EDT

President Obama’s harsh-sounding words to the Congressional Black Caucus to “stop complaining” naturally upset PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley, who never fails to stop complaining that Obama isn’t liberal enough. "The president of the United States ought to consider more wisely the words that he uses when talking to Black folk as compared to others,” he asserted at the end of an interview with Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee on PBS Tuesday.

Incredibly, Jackson Lee told the conservative bloggers who liked this speech to "shut up and stop playing racial politics." For his part, Smiley was especially angry that anyone cheered Obama's rhetoric at the CBC event, suggesting people cheering the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well:

By Clay Waters | September 29, 2011 | 8:27 AM EDT

European-based New York Times reporter Nicholas Kulish filed a big-think off-lead Wednesday from Madrid, “As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe,” and became the latest Times reporter to suggest that the rioters who burned and looted shops in London for shoes and smart phones were actually impoverished outcasts engaged in political protest.

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

By Brent Baker | September 29, 2011 | 12:33 AM EDT

A few days after a contentious appearance on The Daily Show, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels made clear to the Washington Examiner’s “Yeas & Nays” column that he didn’t appreciate how Jon Stewart treated him. 

In the item in Wednesday’s newspaper, “Stewart not among Mitch Daniels favorite book tour stops,” the free daily’s Nikki Schwab noted how Daniels is on a book tour and “said he had met some interesting people along the way, but not among them, a certain host of The Daily Show, on which Daniels appeared on last week. ‘If you think I'm going to say Jon Stewart, you’re wrong,’ he told Yeas & Nays. ‘I'm just not going to.’”

By Eric Scheiner | September 28, 2011 | 10:15 PM EDT

During a United Nations General Assembly summit on non-communicable diseases -- a discussion that included diet and eating habits -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option."

Speaking on the government's role in diet and health last week, Bloomberg told the UN General Assembly, “There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.”

By Jack Coleman | September 28, 2011 | 7:39 PM EDT

Bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra made a fleeting appearance on the Rachel Maddow show Monday night, just long enough for Maddow to assure her viewers that this too can be seen as Bush's fault.

Maddow did her best to put a shine on the situation, suggesting the Bush administration was at much at fault for considering Solyndra's application for a $535 million federal loan as the Obama administration was -- for approving it. (video after page break) --

By Matt Hadro | September 28, 2011 | 7:19 PM EDT

When pressed to confirm that "some analysts" are blaming ObamaCare for higher health insurance costs, CNN's chief medical correspondent admitted that indeed they are "suggesting" Obama's Affordable Care Act is to blame.

Sanjay Gupta, once considered by President Obama for surgeon general, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that according to "some analysts," mandates from ObamaCare have been behind the recent spike in health care costs and premiums.

By Matthew Balan | September 28, 2011 | 6:32 PM EDT

On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS's Chris Wragge complimented GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain for his recent win in the Florida straw poll, but then wasted little time in throwing cold water on the future of his campaign. Wragge, along with co-anchor Erica Hill, asked why Cain would "stick with it," and wondered if the Republican could compete if Gov. Chris Christie entered the race.

The two anchors began the segment by heralding the former Godfather's Pizza CEO's "surprise over the weekend" and how he "shook up the GOP race on Saturday, winning the Florida straw poll with more votes than Rick Perry and Mitt Romney combined." Wragge then congratulated Cain and asked, "Someone like Sarah Palin says late last night that you're the flavor of the week. How do you respond to something like that?"

By Noel Sheppard | September 28, 2011 | 6:09 PM EDT

There are times when I am truly sickened by what I see from the current breed of television anchors and hosts. Today is one of them.

Martin Bashir on the MSNBC program bearing his name finished Wedneday's show with a segment attacking New Jersey governor Chris Christie concluding, "Go home, Mr. Christie. Your state needs you much more than America does" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Scott Whitlock | September 28, 2011 | 6:03 PM EDT

Actress Eva Longoria appeared on Tuesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live to trash the "dangerous" "extremist movement" that opposes Barack Obama. The Desperate Housewives star became just the latest celebrity to smear Tea Partiers.

Longoria didn't directly identify the group as the target of her anger. However, she made her point clear, fuming, "...[Obama] keeps getting beat up lately because there's such an extremist movement happening and it's a very dangerous."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]


By Tim Graham | September 28, 2011 | 5:21 PM EDT

Usually, leftists will mock conservatives for having a cult of Ronald Reagan, or in Bill Maher's case "almost gay" for Reagan. On Thursday, Managing Editor Barbara Morrill posted the "Midday Open Thread" on the Daily Kos, claiming the current crop of Republican candidates "would cheer at his execution" -- which is a little implausible in his current historical condition.

Referring to a Michael Reagan interview with Fox News in which he said his father "might" not win today with his record in California, Morrill replied:

By Kyle Drennen | September 28, 2011 | 5:04 PM EDT

Anchor Brian Williams led Tuesday's NBC Nightly News with a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation about the rising cost of health care, direly proclaiming: "We're going to begin tonight with a crippling trend in America that simply cannot go on without taking entire families with it." Missing from the coverage was any mention of ObamaCare contributing to the increased costs.

In the report that followed, correspondent John Yang detailed how the new study, "says premiums for family coverage now average more than $15,000 a year, that's a 9% jump from 2010 and triple the rate of the previous's years increase." A sound bite of Kaiser CEO Drew Altman was included: "This is really the first time in as long as I can remember when we've seen a big jump in premiums at a time when wages are actually, not only flat, but actually losing ground."

By Clay Waters | September 28, 2011 | 4:29 PM EDT

New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler followed President Obama out West on what certainly felt like a partisan campaign tour. Landler acknowledged Obama’s partisanship and “acidic words” for the G.O.P., but also protected the president’s right flank by characterizing his appeals for higher taxes and his class rhetoric as “populist,” not liberal, and by failing to correct the false impression Obama gave of shameful audience behavior at two Republican presidential debates.

Landler led off his Tuesday piece, “After Feisty Fund-Raising, a More Sociable Obama,” with a focus on the media’s new favorite rich guy, Doug Edwards.

President Obama met his dream date on Monday at a town hall meeting in Silicon Valley: a balding, soft-spoken former Google employee who said he was so rich he did not have to work anymore and begged Mr. Obama to raise his taxes.

By Noel Sheppard | September 28, 2011 | 3:46 PM EDT

Despite the growing scandal involving failed solar company Solyndra - now officially four weeks old - MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton have still not reported the matter on their respective prime time programs.

The only regular MSNBC host to mention this subject in prime time is Rachel Maddow who predictably discounted its importance Monday (transcript and commentary follow):

By Tom Blumer | September 28, 2011 | 3:07 PM EDT

UPDATE: John Frank responded to yours truly in an email. Go to the end of the post for the email and my reax.

Yesterday, Raleigh News & Observer blog contributor jbfrank, who from all indications is also RN&O reporter John Frank, assured readers that North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue was joking when she suggested that "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years" at a Rotary Club luncheon in Cary.

That's what his headline said: "Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years." There were no quote marks around "jokes." The headline echoed what the Governor's apparatchiks were saying. All the while, "Frank" had audio and didn't post it. He finally did this morning, and acknowledged that he was the one who did the taping: