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By NB Staff | March 27, 2012 | 10:37 AM EDT

Today's starter topic: With his chances of winning the GOP nomination decreasing as time goes by, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said in an interview that he would accept an offer to be the Republican vice presidential candidate if he were offered it by likely presidential nominee Mitt Romney:

By Clay Waters | March 27, 2012 | 8:58 AM EDT

Saturday's front-page New York Times story by Susan Saulny focused on the Santorum campaign in Louisiana before Santorum's easy win in the Republican primary there: "On the Right, Santorum Has Women's Vote."

Saulny emphasized the religious angle of Santorum's appeal. The condescending story provided slight corrective to the paper's misleading previous coverage assuming Santorum lacked support from women, but maintained the unsubstantiated idea, embraced by the Times, that moderate Republican women are turned off by appeals to social conservatism.

By Noel Sheppard | March 27, 2012 | 8:41 AM EDT

When you think of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, do you consider her one of the smartest people in all of journalism today?

David Letterman does, and actually said so as he introduced her on Monday's CBS Late Show (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | March 27, 2012 | 8:05 AM EDT

Variety reports a new movie will cast Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. This is not a joke. It may be casting with an "impish sense of provocation." As actor Adam Baldwin tweeted, "What could go wrong?"

Fonda will appear as Nancy in a "handful of scenes," and leftist actor John Cusack may play Richard Nixon. Is this a real project? Apparently so. It's a film called "The Butler," based on a 2008 Washington Post report by Wil Haygood on Eugene Allen, the White House butler whose career started with Harry Truman in 1952 and ended in 1986 with Ronald Reagan. The article was titled "A Butler Well Served by This Election," and poignantly noted that Allen's wife died a day before Obama was elected.

By Paul Wilson | March 27, 2012 | 7:42 AM EDT

Wherever devout Christian quarterback Tim Tebow goes, he is dogged by the hatred of those who cannot stand him or his faith. Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets amid much media fanfare, and some sportswriters naturally used the occasion to engage in personal attacks on Tebow, his religion, and his fans.

MSNBC invited Nation sports editor Dave Zirin to give his opinion on Tebow’s move to New York. Zirin bizarrely argued that “there are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans”and that “the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years.”(The Denver Broncos refused to participate in anti-heterosexual Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project” when Tebow was still on the Broncos, drawing the ire of the gay community and the left-wing media.)

By Noel Sheppard | March 27, 2012 | 7:33 AM EDT

Comedy Central's Daily Show took the news of Dick Cheney's heart transplant as another opportunity to attack the former Vice President.

On Monday, whoever is responsible for the show's Twitter account posted a series of supposedly comical messages about the recovering patient including "Please warn your children not to accept candy from or get into a car with #CheneysOldHeart":

By Tim Graham | March 27, 2012 | 6:50 AM EDT

As the media coverage of Trayvon Martin's death turns more political, with President Obama calling for national "soul-searching" and Newt Gingrich and others on the right calling his remarks "disgraceful," the politicizers at the Daily Kos are upset their preferred Racist America narrative is being questioned.

Jesse "Ministry of Truth" LaGreca is once again coming unglued with hatred: "The hoodie didn't cause Trayvon's death, the paranoid a**hole with a gun and a prejudiced fixation on black people did, but then paranoid a**holes with guns who think black people are trying to take their stuff make up the majority of the GOP base," so they fixate on Obama. He indicted conservatives from a New York Daily News article by Aliyah Shahid, and slammed them for wanting more facts:

By Tom Blumer | March 27, 2012 | 1:07 AM EDT

That the Associated Press gives stories about corrupt and scandalous politicians disparate treatment depending on their party affiliation is not exactly breaking news. But it's ordinarily difficult to point to situations involving fairly similar sets of facts occurring at roughly the same time which make the disparity between the wire service's treatment of Republicans and Democrats so obvious.

A largely analogous pair of stories out of Pennsylvania during the past two weeks involves Republican State Senator Jane Orie and former Democratic State Senate leader Robert Mellow. If anything, Mellow's guilty plea to "conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to filing a false income tax return" should be more worthy of national-story treatment by AP because of his former leadership position. But in fact, it appears that the opposite has happened. The story about Orie's conviction is on the national wire, complete with "GOP" in the headline. Mellow's guilty plea is a local story which I did not find at the AP's national site in a search on his name, with no Dem ID in the headline (both have their parties ID'd early in their related stories). Here are the first four paragraphs from Monday night's national story on Orie by Joe Mandak and Kevin Begos:

By Tim Graham | March 26, 2012 | 10:55 PM EDT

Wanda Sykes is still whacking away at Republicans -- even if it's not quite wishing Rush Limbaugh's kidneys would fail. In an interview with Nikki Schwab of  the Washington Examiner, she said Republicans should pack it in, Obama is going to win hands down, forget about it.

"I tell people who are just like normal Republicans that I feel sorry for them, I want to give them a hug and a lollipop," she said. "They should just wait this one out, just write this one off ... they're not going to make it to the playoffs ... it's just the worse candidates." She knocked Mitt Romney and that backwards South:

By Noel Sheppard | March 26, 2012 | 10:52 PM EDT

CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday made a stunning observation about President Obama's open mic gaffe with Russia's Dmitry Medvedev.

Without specifically mentioning fellow CNNer Kyra Phillips by name, Burnett hysterically said, "I guess it's better than being in the bathroom with your open microphone" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Clay Waters | March 26, 2012 | 7:23 PM EDT

Has the New York Times Business section gone soft on former New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, now under the scandal spotlight for his service as chief executive of the failed financial services firm MF Global?

Saturday's Business Day story by Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess buried intriguing details that reflect suspiciously on Corzine under the bland headline, "Congressional Memo Sheds New Light on MF Global." The paper didn't even identify the scandal-plagued former governor as a Democrat.

By Tom Blumer | March 26, 2012 | 7:20 PM EDT

A search on Travyvon Martin's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press's main national site at 7 p.m. returned 37 items.

A search on "Trayvon Martin bounty" (also not in quotes) returned one item. Here is the relevant section of the related story by Jennifer Kay and Errin Haines, way down in Paragraphs 13 and 14:

By Matt Hadro | March 26, 2012 | 5:41 PM EDT

According to CNN host Carol Costello, the White House failed to sell a health care bill that could have been embraced by the American people, many of whom "simply don't understand" the bill.

So during Monday morning's coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on ObamaCare's constitutionality, CNN explained some benefits the bill provides and gave the reason for the individual insurance mandate. Costello did her best impersonation of a White House advisor, explaining the bill's mandate to a public who doesn't understand it yet.

By Scott Whitlock | March 26, 2012 | 5:04 PM EDT

Sometimes journalists just come right out and say it: Appearing at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards, Saturday, ABC News anchor Josh Elliott gushed over media subjectivity: "I'm proud to work at a place that believes in advocacy journalism!"

Elliott, who reads the news for Good Morning America, fawned over the liberal gay rights group: "I will never be in a braver room than this!" The reporter seemed to be under the impression that, so long as the cause is good enough, objectivity isn't needed. Elliott highlighted his own late, gay father: "I took from him the importance of being an advocate for those who need it; and I took from him what it means to be a man."

By Kyle Drennen | March 26, 2012 | 4:51 PM EDT

On Monday's NBC Today, Tom Brokaw reported on veteran Mike Wright returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to continue work at New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant: "Entergy, Wright's employer, supported his deployments. Veteran hiring is a priority for the company, not out of sympathy, but as an investment in the bottom line....Mike Wright and Entergy, that's how it's supposed to work."

Now compare that praise for the plant's hiring practices, with NBC News fear-mongering almost exactly one year ago, shortly after the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan. On the March 20, 2011 Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt ominously warned: "A government report has found the plant with the highest risk of core damage from an earthquake here is just about 35 miles from our studios here in New York City at the Indian Point plant."