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By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 6:10 PM EDT

Hardball's Chris Matthews on Thursday slammed Fox News as a "roach motel" for possible presidential candidates, knocking the chances of that network's analysts, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Yet, the MSNBC anchor, who obsesses daily about the so-called birther issue, admitted he hasn't been as tough on Donald Trump as he could. (Trump, of course, hosts The Apprentice on parent channel NBC.)    

After Time magazine's Michael Scherer contrasted Palin and Gingrich with NBC's Trump, Matthews blurted, "Well, that's why I've sort of been nice to him, if he hasn't noticed that."

When Scherer relayed that the reality star has people telling him to stop talking about Barack Obama's birth certificate, Matthews further explained the connection to his network colleague: "...I'm one of those guys. I was on the phone with him a couple weeks ago: 'Stop it!' I can't tell him what to do."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Noel Sheppard | April 14, 2011 | 6:04 PM EDT

Conservative author S.E. Cupp must have felt like she was getting tag-teamed Wednesday when she opted to go on the "Joy Behar Show" along side Jerry Springer.

The trio debated a number of issues including the Bush tax cuts, but the debate really got heated when the host brought up the Republican desire to defund Planned Parenthood (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 4:38 PM EDT

The network newscasts and morning shows have thus far ignored the story of Joseph Maraachli, a Canadian baby who was set to have his life support removed. Only Fox News has covered the dramatic transfer of the child on Monday to an American hospital for treatment.

The child suffers from a neurological disease and is in a vegetative state. According to Fox News, "Doctors in Canada said the illness is irreversible and wanted to remove the breathing tube. His parents appealed to Canadian courts, but the hospital's decision was upheld."    

By Lachlan Markay | April 14, 2011 | 4:26 PM EDT

As NB's Mark Finkelstein reported earlier, Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough expressed their bewilderment on Thursday's "Morning Joe" that President Obama would invite Rep. Paul Ryan to the unveiling of the president's budget, sit him in the front row, and then essential call him un-American on national television.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, on the other hand, far from being displeased by the move, touted it as evidence of the president's political courage. Obama isn't cowardly like congressional Republicans, she intimated, since he will call you un-American to your face.

"I don't think it was insulting" for the president to slime Ryan as he did, Mika claimed. "He was tough and clear." Check out the video below the break.

By Joseph Lindsey | April 14, 2011 | 3:46 PM EDT

Mohandas Gandhi was imprisoned in 1922, 1930, 1933 and 1942. He went on a hunger strike. But because of Gandhi’s stature around the world, British authorities were loath to allow him to die in their custody.

By Kyle Drennen | April 14, 2011 | 3:37 PM EDT

On his 3PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Wednesday, host Martin Bashir enthusiastically reacted to President Obama's budget speech: "'We will invest in the future of America,' that's what President Obama just said in a much-anticipated speech on the budget....He offered a series of broad proposals and said it's time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their way and share in taxes."

Moments later, White House correspondent Mike Viqueira joined Bashir and proclaimed: "..the President's speech was part soaring, speaking to the aspirations and character of a nation, if you will." Bashir observed: "Mike, I don't want to sound as if I'm misrepresenting the President, but it appeared to me that he was suggesting that we can't be self-centered as far as fiscal policy is concerned. We can't simply slash programs everywhere without somehow expecting the wealthiest in society to contribute. Is that your impression?"

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 3:03 PM EDT

Last week I noted how the media had been silent on a package sent to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) that contained an anti-Semitic rant and a bloody pig's foot.

The Associated Press broke the story on Monday, April 4.

In a new development, Politico's Jennifer Epstein reported this afternoon that a Muslim woman from Georgia has claimed responsibility and Capitol police are investigating the claim:

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof joined the “tax me, please,” brigade in his Thursday column that is sure to win him new fans the day before tax day: “Raise America’s Taxes.”

President Obama in his speech on Wednesday confronted a topic that is harder to address seriously in public than sex or flatulence: America needs higher taxes.

That ugly truth looms over today’s budget battles, but politicians have mostly preferred to run from reality. Mr. Obama’s speech was excellent not only for its content but also because he didn’t insult our intelligence.

There is no single reason for today’s budget mess, but it’s worth remembering that the last time our budget was in the black was in the Clinton administration. That’s a broad hint that one sensible way to overcome our difficulties would be to revert to tax rates more or less as they were under President Clinton. That single step would solve three-quarters of the deficit for the next five years or so.

So would cutting spending levels to the Clinton era, for that matter.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 2:01 PM EDT

L.A.- based Adam Nagourney covered California’s budget impasse for Thursday’s edition, “Standoff in Sacramento as Brown and G.O.P. Lock Horns Over Taxes.” New Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put tax hikes in front of the voters through California’s initiative and referendum process.

While the paper’s previous California budget writer Jennifer Steinhauer showed her displeasure with direct democracy after voters rejected tax hikes under headlines like “Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent,” and “In California, Democracy Doesn’t Pay the Bills,” Nagourney by contrast made encouraging noises about a public vote in the hope Brown’s proposed tax hikes would pass. From Thursday's article:

By Lachlan Markay | April 14, 2011 | 1:48 PM EDT

Beginning on April 17, NBC-Universal and all of its television news and entertainment shows will launch into seven days of environmentally-themed programming titled "Earth Week." If this Earth Week is anything like those past, it will once again raise the issue, highligted on numerous occasions at this website, of the symbiotic relationship between Earth Week's political implications and the financial interests of General Electric, which owns a large stake in the media company.

The conflict of interest apparent in Earth Week also points to a double standard: while the political activities of Fox News's parent company News Corporation were touted by numerous commentators - both partisan and "objective" - as evidence that Fox itself has a political bent, few to this day seem concerned that NBC is advancing a liberal environmental agenda that could potentially enrich GE, which spends millions (more than $230 million on lobbying alone since 1991, more than any other private company by far) advancing the same agenda through political channels.

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 1:21 PM EDT

Thursday’s New York Times led with Obama’s partisan budget speech, “Taking On G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan – Calls for Spending Cuts and Tax Increases but Spares Medicare and Medicaid,” and once again did a double-standard dance around the politically inflammatory issue of changes in Medicare spending when proposed by a Democratic president.

While previous attempts at reform of Medicare by Republicans were eviscerated in the Times as “big Medicare cuts” or (just this week) a “shrinking” of the program, the paper greeted Obama’s own vague proposals with benign, soothing words like “overhaul” or claims that Obama was merely looking for Medicare “savings.” Thursday’s headline insisted Medicare and Medicaid would be “spared” and the text by reporters Mark Landler and Michael Shear described Obama as only proposing “changes to social welfare programs” and to “strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid.”

By Ken Shepherd | April 14, 2011 | 1:15 PM EDT

In 1966, Time magazine's April 8 cover story famously asked "Is God Dead?"

Forty-five years later the magazine is still hard at work attempting to discredit traditional Christian faith, with former Newsweek writer Jon Meacham exploring the question  "Is Hell Dead?"

Meacham doesn't answer the question definitively but used the raging controversy over Michigan pastor Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins" to argue that evangelical Christianity may be moving away from its tradition teachings on eternal conscious torment of the wicked in Hell towards a universalist view of salvation:

By Scott Whitlock | April 14, 2011 | 12:53 PM EDT

Sleeping air traffic controllers in 2011 are the fault of Ronald Reagan firing striking workers in 1981, according to liberal comedienne Joy Behar. The View co-host on Thursday managed to blame the late President while talking about a recent series of napping air traffic controllers.

The left-wing comic bizarrely compared, "[Reagan] busted the union, the air controllers' union. And they probably would have been strict about having two people there, because the main thing about the unions is they want more people to work."

Fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg joined in, complaining, "It sort of started with the- Ronald Reagan saying, you know, you guys asking for too much money. He fired everybody. He cleaned them all out."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

 

By Clay Waters | April 14, 2011 | 12:29 PM EDT

New York Times critic Mike Hale’s review of an HBO documentary on the evils of guns, “Gun Fight,” is colored with his liberal perspective. Hale is never hesitant to work in his liberal political opinions into his reviews. He clearly favors left-wing public affairs series like Frontline, and has embraced European-style nationalized health care as clearly superior to the U.S. version (until Obama-care, anyway).

Barbara Kopple’s engrossing, frustrating documentary “Gun Fight” -- it’s not liable to inspire happy thoughts in people on either side of the gun-control debate -- begins with eerie cellphone video footage taken during the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007, and the aftermath of that rampage provides the film’s emotional ballast.
....

Ms. Kopple, who in the past has demonstrated her sympathies for labor unions (“Harlan County U.S.A.” and “American Dream,” both Oscar winners) and the Dixie Chicks (“Shut Up and Sing”), gives plenty of time in “Gun Fight” to people who believe that the limits on an American’s right to own and carry a gun should be few or none. ....

By Matthew Philbin | April 14, 2011 | 12:16 PM EDT

On April 8, MRC’s Culture and Media Institute started a debate  when it called attention to an e-mail ad from J Crew that featured a mother painting her young son’s toenails pink. The story gained national attention on radio, TV and the web. And now it’s made “The Daily Show.”

Video Below the fold.