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By Tim Graham | September 22, 2011 | 5:40 PM EDT

James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal cited our new study of the dramatic imbalance in morning show coverage of the presidential candidates in his Best of the Web Today column. We thank him for reporting the study. Then he suggested this is somehow doing the Republican nominee a "favor."

Well, dog bites man and all that, but to the extent that the media are hitting GOP candidates now with hostile liberal questions, they're doing the ultimate nominee a favor by toughening him up for next fall. Barack Obama is not going to go easy on his opponent, and anyone who can't withstand tendentious questioning from the likes of Brian Williams isn't prepared to go one-on-one with the president.

By Matt Hadro | September 22, 2011 | 5:05 PM EDT

While CNN gave two tough interviews to Palin-bashing author Joe McGinniss, HLN's Joy Behar joked around with him on her Wednesday show. She referenced his newest tome on Sarah Palin and her family, full of nasty gossip and rumors, and jokingly asked "What, do you have a death wish, Joe?"

In the previous segment, Behar had made fun of Rush Limbaugh's past drug abuse in her interview with Levi Johnston. "Your mother was selling Oxycontin?" she asked Johnston. "What's she – what's up with that? Does she know Rush Limbaugh?"


By Kyle Drennen | September 22, 2011 | 3:43 PM EDT

Update: Full transcript added.

During the weekly "Today's Professionals" panel discussion in the 9 a.m. ET hour of Thursday's NBC "Today," while on the subject of the execution of Troy Davis, attorney Star Jones used the opportunity to proclaim: "You're never going to see a rich, white man being put to death in the United States of America. That's not going to happen right now." [Audio available here]

The outburst was prompted when co-host and panel moderator Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Some people....think the system is rigged against the poor in our society, against African-Americans in particular, and I wonder what your view is of that?"

View video after the jump

By Paul Wilson | September 22, 2011 | 3:12 PM EDT

Given the obscurity in which her new OWN network is languishing, maybe Oprah didn't think anyone would notice her bad judgment. Winfrey, the former daytime talk show queen, has decided to honor Dan Savage for his anti-bullying work. Savage is a sex-advice columnist and gay activist known for nasty scatological attacks on social conservatives or anyone who disagrees with him.

In her O Wow! List, which lists 15 "dreamers, doers and thinkers" whose "breakthrough ideas took our breath away this year," Oprah touted Savage as a "crusader against gay bullying" - neglecting to mention Savage's own incendiary rhetoric and bullying comments.

By Tim Graham | September 22, 2011 | 1:59 PM EDT

Remember when MSNBC suspended Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann for making donations to candidates? So how is MSNBC (and NBC) reconciling having Rev. Al Sharpton being both a host...and a lectern-pounding activist for convicted cop-killers and other leftist causes? Obviously, the rules are different now.

Sharpton began his Wednesday night Politics Nation show by boasting about all of the protests he was leading through his group against the Troy Davis execution and how he would be traveling to Washington for more lobbying:

By Clay Waters | September 22, 2011 | 1:43 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Ashley Parker provided another spray of nitpicking at the Romney presidential campaign: “Mitt Romney Has Some Down-to-Earth Tastes, He’d Like You to Know.” Plus: Jalapeno-gate!

Parker took a swipe at Romney August 23 for expanding his house: “Mitt Romney has never claimed to be a middle-class man of the people. But the news that he is planning to quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront property in the La Jolla section of San Diego, first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday evening, came at a particularly awkward time.”

By Ken Shepherd | September 22, 2011 | 12:41 PM EDT

A new poll is out showing a majority of Americans blame Barack Obama for the poor state of the U.S. economy.

It's no surprise, then, that MSNBC is hard at work trying to turn the public's fire on GOP-run House.

By Matt Hadro | September 22, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

On Tuesday, CNN's Piers Morgan claimed that President Obama wanted to work with Republicans when he entered office, but was forced to play hardball because of their intransigence.

According to Morgan, Obama wanted to be inclusive because "that's exactly what he said when he came in." The naive host added that the President "wanted to work with the opposition. But when he's tried, the Republicans have stamped on his head."

By Scott Whitlock | September 22, 2011 | 11:55 AM EDT

Good Morning America's Steve Osunsami on Thursday skipped or spun key facts while reporting on the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis in Georgia. The ABC reporter also played up the race angle, asserting that "supporters are asking difficult questions about the legal system, whether Davis' case would have gotten a greater re-examination if he were white and not black." However, he ignored the execution of a white man in Texas-- on the same day.

In that state, white supremacist Russell Brewer was put to death for the brutal murder of James Byrd. Osunsami left out other details in the Davis case. He noted that the "murder weapon was never found." However, the journalist didn't mention that Davis' gun had been used in another crime on the same day of the shooting and that the cartridges match.

By Clay Waters | September 22, 2011 | 10:56 AM EDT

New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes seemed to like President Obama’s new combative pose over his new big-spending, tax-hiking “stimulus” proposal. Her lead story Tuesday, “Obama Confirms New Hard Stand With Debt Relief,” framed the political battle as a personal conflict as a disrespected president betrayed by House Speaker John Boehner once too often.

With a scrappy unveiling of his formula to rein in the nation’s mounting debt, President Obama confirmed Monday that he had entered a new, more combative phase of his presidency, one likely to last until next year’s election as he battles for a second term.

By NB Staff | September 22, 2011 | 10:18 AM EDT

Late last night, Georgia executed inmate Troy Davis for the murder of Mark McPhail in 1989. MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the time, rushed to help a homeless man who prosecutors said Davis was hitting with a gun. When MacPhail came to the homeless man's aid, Davis shot MacPhail to death.

Davis's case sparked controversy around the world, with many declaring Davis was innocent due to the lack of strong physical evidence, despite a number of eyewitness testimonies. Davis's execution has previously been stopped three times since 2007, but he ran out of legal options yesterday when the pardons board and the Supreme Court both rejected his offer to take a polygraph test. Do you think the media covered the execution of Troy Davis fairly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

By Kyle Drennen | September 22, 2011 | 10:08 AM EDT

Update: Full transcript added below.

Discussing the execution of convicted cop-killer Troy Davis on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked left-wing activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton if he was "surprised" by most Americans supporting the death penalty. Sharpton declared: "When I'm watching Republican debates and see people cheering...that 234 people were killed in Texas under Governor Perry, it doesn't surprise me." [Audio available here]

Sharpton went on to argue that the United States was guilty of violating human rights: "How do you think we look to the world when a man with this kind of doubt was executed by the state last night and we're lecturing them on human rights?"  

View video after the jump

By Rich Noyes | September 22, 2011 | 9:43 AM EDT

For most Americans, the 2012 presidential campaign will be experienced on television, and voters will evaluate the candidates based on their performances at televised debates, daily news coverage, and in long-form interviews. Even with all of the changes in the media landscape over past several years, the most-watched regular forums for candidate interviews are the broadcast network morning news programs — NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s The Early Show, with a combined weekday audience of more than 13 million as of the second quarter of 2011.

By Brad Wilmouth | September 22, 2011 | 8:49 AM EDT

As attention has turned to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Palestinian Authority planning to seek recognition for a Palestinian state by the United Natinos on Friday, the media have almost universally ignored last week's prediction by Maen Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization envoy to the United States, that Israelis - presumably referring to Israeli Jews rather than Israeli Arabs - would be removed from such a Palestinian state.

And, although the allegedly moderate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has a history of being even more direct in declaring that not a single Jew would be allowed to live in a Palestinian state - not even Jews from other countries serving as part of a hypothetical NATO peacekeeping force - a small number of the media outlets that bothered to pay attention to the issue at all have naively allowed Areikat to dubiously backtrack and claim that Jews would indeed be welcome in such a Palestinian state. But Areikat himself last year in an interview with Tablet magazine had more explicitly than last week argued that Jews should be removed.


By Brad Wilmouth | September 22, 2011 | 8:21 AM EDT

As the morning and evening newscasts on CBS have reported on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's upcoming plan to seek statehood recognition from the United Nations on Friday, correspondent Mark Phillips has appeared three times filing reports which have portrayed Palestinians as victims of Israeli extremism and "militant" Jewish settlers, while ignoring Palestinian extremism and refusal to meet for talks in recent years despite overtures from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Phillips recounted clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, and seemed to suggest that the Israeli military had fired tear gas at the wrong group as he noted that Arabs were subjected to the anti-riot measure. Phillips: