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By Tim Graham | March 2, 2011 | 6:50 AM EST

NBC's Today interviewed Obama U.N. ambassador Susan Rice on Tuesday about Libya. It was dull. It had no crackling opposition. There was one question doubting the effectiveness of sanctions. Despite plenty of conservative criticism about Obama's weak and delayed responses, and Rice's odd downplaying of the Libyan situation by skipping Security Council meetings to go to South Africa, there was no reading angry newspaper editorials or citing criticism from congressional opponents. This is not the way NBC played when John Bolton was U.N. ambassador under Bush -- not to mention that other black female named Rice. Here's the (brief) questions.

Let me start out by - you have called Qaddafi delusional and disconnected from reality. Plain and simple here, are we dealing with a mad man?

By Noel Sheppard | March 2, 2011 | 12:52 AM EST

Four of MSNBC's extended prime time hosts on Tuesday cherry-picked something Mike Huckabee said on Steve Malzberg's radio show in order to depict the possible Republican presidential candidate as a birther.

Before getting to their highly unprofessional snippets, implications, and conclusions, here's what the former Arkansas governor actually said Monday (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):

By Tim Graham | March 1, 2011 | 11:05 PM EST

The media's policy on leaks is obviously "Good for me, but not for thee." It is okay for journalists to score scoops and win Pulitzer Prizes by printing everyone else’s secrets. It's okay for Julian Assange to goad the U.S. "military industrial complex" with WikiLeaks. But leak reporter E-mails, and you have no ethics whatsoever.

Politico broke the story that Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for House Government Oversighty Committee chairman Darrell Issa, may have shared reporter E-mails with New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who's writing a book on Washington's "culture of self-love.' Issa fired Bardella for upsetting the reporters.

The story included high dudgeon from Politico editor-in-chief John F. Harris, in a letter sent to Issa: “The practice of sharing reporter e-mails with another journalist on a clandestine basis would be egregiously unprofessional under any circumstances,” Harris wrote. “As the editor-in-chief of POLITICO, my concern is heightened by information suggesting that POLITICO journalists may have had their reporting compromised by this activity.”

By Mark Finkelstein | March 1, 2011 | 8:42 PM EST

Nice house there, rich guy.  Wouldn't wanna see nuthin' happen to it . . .

Robert Reich has actually argued that the rich should welcome redistributing more of their income to prevent an angry American populace from turning on them.

Clinton's former Labor Secretary made his astounding assertion on Cenk Uygur's MSNBC show this evening.   View video after the jump.


By Matthew Balan | March 1, 2011 | 7:41 PM EST

CNN's Ed Hornick apparently couldn't find anyone who disagreed with the notion that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "overreached" in his push to eliminate collective bargaining for public sector unions. He couldn't even quote Walker himself. Hornick's Tuesday article quoted from two political science professors, a "progressive" editorial writer, and a former United States comptroller general, who helped forward this liberal-pleasing hypothesis.

The writer all but gave the answer to the question proposed in the title of his article ("Did Wisconsin governor overreach in union battle?") in his lead sentence: "Some political experts have said that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in a battle with public employee unions over the right to collective bargaining, has overreached in his attempts to shore up the state's budget shortfall." The graphic accompanying the article featured a pro-union protestor's sign that labeled Governor Walker a "dope," in a parody of Shepard Fairey's red, white, and blue depiction of President Obama (see below).

By Lachlan Markay | March 1, 2011 | 7:07 PM EST

The Fox News Channel absolutely dominated its cable news competition in February. In terms of overall viewers, the top 11 cable news shows were all on Fox. In the coveted 25-54 demographic - the group that advertisers pay particularly close attention to - Fox took 11 of the top 15 spots.

The Rachel Maddow Show earned the top spot for an MSNBC program. Despite her struggles with factual accuracy of late, it seems Maddow has assumed the role of leading prime time anchor left vacant by Keith Olbermann's departure.

CNN's AC360 led that channel, beating out Maddow in the demo with 304,000 viewers, but trailing MSNBC and Fox leaders in total viewership.

By Geoffrey Dickens | March 1, 2011 | 6:49 PM EST

Chris Matthews has yet to condemn Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Gordon Hintz for yelling "You're f–ing dead!" at Republican State Representative Michelle Litjens during a legislative session on Friday, but the Hardball host did find the time, on Tuesday's show, to slam Speaker of the House John Boehner for engaging in "Glenn Beck talk" about guns.

Matthews, initially teasing a guest for using the word "lethal" in a discussion about recent poll numbers on the Wisconsin budget battle, chided: "In the media world, I think we all agreed...after the horror in Arizona that we weren't gonna...use ballistic terms." The MSNBC host then segued into a clip of Boehner making a gun reference, after which he railed: "What is this Glenn Beck talk?...That's how Glenn talks. 'I'm gonna put a gun to your head' and all this!" This led Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to tag in: "Well when John Boehner back slides, he really back slides."

However, according to Newbusters' own Noel Sheppard, Matthews, Fineman and most mainstream media outlets, other than Fox News, have been largely silent about the Hintz threat.

To review, a Democrat man cursing at a Republican woman "You're f--ing dead" isn't worth mentioning in Matthews' mind, but if you dare make a political metaphor referring to weapons (something Matthews himself has done) that's objectionable.

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Ken Shepherd | March 1, 2011 | 6:08 PM EST

"President Obama has been taking a truckload of flak from the right for his measured response to the crises embroiling the Middle East," MSNBC's Martin Bashir harumphed as he opened his "Clear the Air" commentary on the March 1 program.

"Measured is my word because it's certainly not one that right-wing pundits have been using," Bashir complained.

Of course the term "measured" implies deliberate calculation and an overarching strategy, whereas the timeline of the Obama administration response to Libya suggests there has been, objectively speaking, some amount of "dithering" by team Obama.

Indeed, even liberal observers such as MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Washington Post's Eugene Robinson have been critical of Obama's approach to Libya.

By Matt Hadro | March 1, 2011 | 3:46 PM EST

Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.

Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.

"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."

By Tom Blumer | March 1, 2011 | 3:19 PM EST

The Left has been making quite a bit of conspiratorial hay over the following paragraph Eric Lipton wrote at the New York Times on February 21 ("Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute") about the alleged degree of involvement Koch family members have allegedly had in the Wisconsin public-sector union showdown:

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

Notice something missing? How about quotation marks? Their absence is not an accident.

By Clay Waters | March 1, 2011 | 2:57 PM EST

The lead story of the Sunday Metro section was a very long profile by Richard Perez-Pena of Wayne Barrett, former reporter for the alternative left-wing NYC weekly The Village Voice -- “The (Ex) Voice of The Village."

Barrett was previously lionized (along with fellow reporter Tom Robbins) by the Times's Jeremy Peters on January 5 after the two veteran reporters were let go by the left-wing counter-cultural weekly (Sample article title: "I'm Pro-Choice and I F***"). Neither story describes the Voice as a left-wing or liberal publication.

By Clay Waters | March 1, 2011 | 2:24 PM EST

New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman took on the hypocrisy of New York City’s selective celebration of free speech in his Tuesday “NYC” column, “Where Freedom of Expression Runs Headlong Into the Impulse to Censor.”

A Texas group put up a pro-life billboard with a provocative message showing a black girl under the words “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” The billboard was taken down a week later after pressure was applied by influential city officials.

Haberman hit out at the city’s phony facade of tolerance.

New York, never at a loss for self-congratulatory words, regards itself as the most tolerant of cities, a place where one may express any thought freely. It is true. In New York, one may articulate any idea whatsoever -- as long as that idea parallels popular opinion.
Stray too far from generally accepted wisdom, though, and you are asking for trouble.

By Tom Blumer | March 1, 2011 | 2:06 PM EST

Retired Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern was recently interviewed by Journolist organizer and Washington Post staff writer Ezra "the Constitution is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago" Klein.

In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:

We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.

Really? "Permit" me to disagree.

By Geoffrey Dickens | March 1, 2011 | 1:41 PM EST

Actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the '80s NBC hit Family Ties, returned to the Today show set where, back in 2009, she announced she was gay and told Matt Lauer, on Tuesday morning, that her self-revelation could've been something, in her view, much more shocking - she may have realized she was "a Republican."

On to promote Untied, Baxter was asked by Lauer if she had "come to terms with everything" after having written the book, to which she responded: "I realized I was so un-self-examined I could have been a Republican, but you know, thank goodness I'm just gay. So that's much better, don't you think?"

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Scott Whitlock | March 1, 2011 | 12:29 PM EST

Liberal filmmaker Ken Burns on Sunday highlighted conservative William F. Buckley as an example of the diversity of PBS. He also claimed Ronald Reagan as a supporter of public financing public television.

Writing in the Washington Post, the director lobbied, "[PBS] contributes to cradle-to-grave continuing education services that are particularly appreciated in rural states - belying the canard that this is programming for the rich and bicoastal. It also gave William F. Buckley a home for 30 years." [Emphasis added.]

Of course, Buckley ended his run on Frontline in 1999, 12 years ago. If Burns has to go back that far for a strong conservative presence, perhaps this isn't the strongest argument.