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By John Nolte | January 27, 2011 | 3:32 PM EST

Yesterday, in this piece about Stephen Colbert, I mentioned Jon Stewart’s attack on Fox News but couched it with as much skepticism as possible because, frankly, it didn’t pass the smell test, especially in the area of context.  To have those suspicions confirmed last night by Bill O’Reilly came as no surprise (see the video below). Furthermore, I respectfully disagree with O’Reilly that Stewart should be held to a lower factual standard because he’s a ”satirist.” Stewart isn’t a satirist, he’s a political partisan disguised as a satirist, a man as determined to defeat the right as Nancy Pelosi and Bill Maher. The difference between Pelosi and Maher, though, is that they step into the arena of political battle and fly their flag. At the very least you can respect them for that. They come to wage open war whereas Stewart and Colbert come to throw rocks while wearing the protective shield of a clown nose.

By Lachlan Markay | January 27, 2011 | 2:51 PM EST

Some on the left have been crying foul at CNN's decision to air live Rep. Michele Bachmann's response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night. None have been more vocal than MSNBC libtalker Rachel Maddow.

One media critic had enough. On Thursday, the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik laid into Maddow's criticism, saying it derives from "the mentality of a lockstep party member, not a journalist." Zurawik's gripe was Maddow's insistence that because Bachmann was not officially representing a political party, her speech should not have been given comparable treatment to the president's or to Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican response.

Journalists "don't let political parties tell us who we should and shouldn't cover," Zurawik added. "I have a West Highland terrier named Bugsy who has better journalism credentials and chops than you do," he quipped.

By Tom Blumer | January 27, 2011 | 2:42 PM EST

To those who follow the news fairly closely and look at underlying reports, CNN's email alerts are sometimes entertaining. Much less frequently are the accurate and informative.

Even though they tend not to realize it, those who don't follow the news closely and attempt to stay informed by relying on CNN's alerts are regularly deceived by the network that used to call itself "the most trusted name in news."

An example of such deception arrived in my e-mail box yesterday:

By Geoffrey Dickens | January 27, 2011 | 2:24 PM EST

In what was perhaps a move to make Barack Obama appear more moderate than he is, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Thursday's Today show, played up a "rift" between him and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over government spending. In her piece, O'Donnell hyped that Reid was "calling out the White House" on his State of the Union claim that he would veto any bill with earmarks in it. 

The NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent featured an interview she had with Reid in which the Nevada senator claimed Obama was merely going for "an applause line" when he criticized pork barrel spending and charged that the President "should just back off. He's got enough to do without messing in what we do."

By Alex Fitzsimmons | January 27, 2011 | 1:14 PM EST

As it turns out, mainstream media outlets that lauded President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech as "downright Reaganesque" might be on to something.

While ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC exalted the commander-in-chief, at least one observer charged the Democratic president with crafting a speech that was "tantamount to plagiarism."

In a column on the U.S. News site, presidential scholar Alvin Felzenberg accused Obama of borrowing lines and ideas from other speeches and claiming them as his own.

By Lachlan Markay | January 27, 2011 | 1:04 PM EST

On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter tried to dissect cable news's strange fascination with Sarah Palin. For Fox it's more apparent: Palin is a paid contributor, after all. But for MSNBC, whose primetime hosts have mentioned her more than any other cable news personalities, it seems to be a case of mutual dependency. MSNBC needs Palin.

In a response to the THR article, filmmaker John Ziegler delved deeper into the lefty cable network's strange obsession with all things Palin. Ziegler made plain what THR only touched on: Palin fits perfectly the "bogeyman" role that MSNBC needs to keep its lefty viewers tuned in.

As for MSNBC programmer BIll Wolff's insistence that the channel simply "holds up a mirror" - tells it like it is, in other words, with no partisan spin - Ziegler callled the claim "laughable."

By Scott Whitlock | January 27, 2011 | 12:57 PM EST

Of the three evening newscasts, only NBC's Chuck Todd on Wednesday offered no critical analysis of Barack Obama's call for both new spending and deficit reduction. ABC's Jake Tapper actually investigated the proposed plans and concluded, "...It almost looks like a wash between his new ideas for cutting and his new ideas for spending."

CBS's Chip Reid also highlighted Republican opposition and the fact that the deficit reduction plan doesn't include Medicare or Social Security. Yet, Todd, appearing on Nightly News, simply parroted, "The President was reinforcing a call he made last night for greater investment and innovation and infrastructure to keep America competitive."

By Brent Bozell | January 27, 2011 | 12:53 PM EST

Editor's Note: In the last 24 hours, State Senator Leland Yee (D-CA) has incriminated Rush Limbaugh for a racist fax sent to him by an unidentified individual which allegedly read, "Rush Limbaugh will kick your Ch--k ass and expose you for the fool you are.”

NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell issued the following statement regarding the media reaction to this charge:

By Noel Sheppard | January 27, 2011 | 11:44 AM EST

For the second day in a row, MSNBC's Chris Matthews mercilessly attacked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) while repeatedly referring to her as a "balloon head."

Knowing what he was going to be up against, Texas Tea Party leader Phillip Dennis came prepared for the "Hardball" host's hostility, and at the end of a lengthy segment, marvelously summed up exactly why Matthews and others in the media attack this movement and all of its members saying, "You fear the Tea Party" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | January 27, 2011 | 10:42 AM EST

Beware when the liberal media starts a "fact check" story on political speeches. Their "facts" often come directly from liberal policy wonks. On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR ran through a series of Obama claims without really saying he mangled a fact. Reporter Elisabeth Shogren suggested he was too optimistic about getting electric cars on the road with "this Congress" (ahem, not progressive enough).  But reporter John Ydstie suggested Paul Ryan was wrong to suggest the stimulus failed, citing that "economists of both persuasions" agree Ryan was incorrect:

RENEE MONTAGNE, anchor: And the president also spoke of infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail and expanding to most of the population high-speed Internet. John Ydstie, let's bring you back in. Investment was a big theme of this State of the Union speech. In the official Republican rebuttal, Congressman Paul Ryan had this to say about that.

By Mark Finkelstein | January 27, 2011 | 8:42 AM EST

What a difference a shellacking makes . . .

Just after Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, Time photoshopped him into an iconic FDR photo at the wheel of a convertible, jaunty cigarette-holder in mouth.

Obama was riding high as the champion of the left, the promise and personification of a born-again big-government New Deal. That was then, this is the 9+% unemployment, recent-shellacking now. So with which president does Time now find it in the president's interest to be associated? Why, Ronald Reagan, of course.  

The new Time cover, unveiled by Time editor Rick Stengel on Morning Joe today, features a Photoshop of a smiling Obama and Reagan, the Gipper's arm approvingly clapped around PBO's shoulder. The legend: "Why Obama Loves Reagan," [a symbolic heart in place of "loves"].


By Tim Graham | January 27, 2011 | 7:18 AM EST

At their website, NPR tried to add to the controversy that CNN would dare to air Rep. Michele Bachmann offering a Tea Party response to Obama's State of the Union address, despite her "history of inflammatory remarks." Reporter Corey Dade underlined that it could undermine CNN's image of neutrality, as if it wasn't a liberal network:

"I can't figure how you can partner with a political action committee and claim to be neutral," says Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at the Poynter Institute, a journalism training center.

By Tim Graham | January 26, 2011 | 11:31 PM EST

The media couldn't pin the Gabrielle Giffords shooting on conservatives, but that doesn't mean they've stopped trolling for proof that conservatives are racist and violent. In California, a liberal state senator running for Mayor of San Francisco named Leland Yee received an indirect death threat after he attacked Rush Limbaugh. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard said he and the California Highway Patrol are looking into the letter, which includes a drawing of a noose. The  Los Angeles Times managed to start connecting dots to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting:

Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, had recently accused radio personality Rush Limbaugh of mocking the Chinese language and culture during his radio program.

The fax received by Yee’s office Wednesday uses racist language about Yee and Obama and goes on to say: "Without exceptions, Marxists are enemies of the United States Constitution! Death to all Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!"

By Jack Coleman | January 26, 2011 | 8:46 PM EST

So much for any scintillating future chit-chat between Rachel Maddow and Don Imus.

Imus cut loose with a withering broadside today against Maddow for what he perceived as her disloyal initial response to news of colleague and mentor Keith Olbermann's abrupt departure from MSNBC --

Having nothing to do with her politics, she is a gutless coward and I'll tell you why. Because everybody knew what the situation was with Olbermann at MSNBC. We used to work there. Tom Bowman, who's our producer, Elisha who's one of our producers, they both worked with me at MSNBC. They left there to come with me, by the way, don't look for any of Olbermann's producers to go any place with him. However, so we all know people, we still know everybody who's at MSNBC. So, everybody knew what was going on with Keith. Everybody knew what was going to happen to him. For this woman, who owed her job to him, she's live there with Bill Maher, a lot of people watch that terribly influential program, not to offer a defense of Olbermann, in spite of what you think about Olbermann, is unconscionable.


By Mark Finkelstein | January 26, 2011 | 7:41 PM EST

It's enough to make you miss Ed Schultz's elegant, elevated tone.  OK, I jest, but Cenk Uygur, usurper of Schultz's 6 PM ET slot, hit a vulgar new low on MSNBC this evening.  The self-styled 'Young Turk' used a variation of the f-word in fulminating about Paul Ryan's response to the SOTU.

Watch the video after the jump and note that Ugyur's crassness came during prepared remarks, not in an off-the-cuff comment.  This was profanity with malice aforethought. Some poor under-assistant producer had to upload it into Cenk's teleprompter.

For good measure, a Dem congresswoman thereupon called Ryan's remarks "vicious." Welcome to the new age of civility!