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By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 24, 2011 | 12:33 PM EDT

Joe Scarborough made a puzzling comment today that, to put it generously, could use some clarification.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Scarborough argued that Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget plan will fail because "fundamentally changing" Medicare is too extreme.

But in a previous show, the morning host sang a remarkably different tune.

By Clay Waters | May 24, 2011 | 12:02 PM EDT

Former New York Times economics reporter Eduardo Porter’s signed NYT editorial Monday left no doubt where his political sympathies lay: "A Budget Without Core Purposes, Taxation Without Compassion."

President Obama trusts America’s generous and compassionate nature, that our rugged individualism is tempered by a belief that we’re all connected. In his speech on budget reform on April 13, he celebrated "our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more."

The president’s faith in Americans’ sense of common purpose is uplifting. But it does not fit the history of American budgetary politics.

I don’t just mean Tea Partiers’ revulsion at the government spending "our money," or Republican Paul Ryan’s Reverse Robin Hood gambit to cut trillions from spending on social programs in order to pay for a tax cut for the rich.

The budgetary policy of the United States has been the least generous in the industrial world for a very long time.

By Erin R. Brown and Matthew Philbin | May 24, 2011 | 11:05 AM EDT

Talk show pioneer. Best selling author. Incredibly successful business woman. Actress. Philanthropist. Billionaire. "Most influential woman in the world." Oprah Winfrey, the King Midas of her day, is ending her 25-year, multi-award-winning talk show this May, signaling the end of a staple in 21st century television.

But amid all the fawning retrospectives and misty tributes, it's important to remember just who Oprah is, the biased viewpoint she represents and the damage she's done to popular culture.

Before Rosanne Barr called Oprah "the African Mother Goddess of us all," a prominent cultural researcher called her the "Queen of Trash" for the sleazy, exploitative nature of her early show. Since then, the more "uplifting" "Oprah Winfrey Show" has been a more insipid influence, steadily eroding the culture with a combination of weepy emotionalism, New Age spirituality and an embrace of alternative sexualities and gender roles.

By Clay Waters | May 24, 2011 | 10:59 AM EDT

So much for objective journalism; in recent weeks the New York Times has embraced gay advocacy. The May 16 front page carried a complimentary profile by Dan Barry (normally the "This Land" columnist for the paper) of Rick Welts, president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, coming out as a gay man, "Going Public, N.B.A. Figure Sheds Shadow Life."

"This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits," said Mr. Welts, who stands now as a true rarity, a man prominently employed in professional men’s team sports, willing to declare his homosexuality. "Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation."

On May 8, reporter John Branch praised NHL "enforcer" Sean Avery of the New York Rangers under the headline "In Rarity, a Player Speaks Out for Gay Rights."

Not such a rarity apparently, given that Branch followed up on May 14 with "Two Straight Athletes Combat Homophobia."

By Lachlan Markay | May 24, 2011 | 10:46 AM EDT

Many in the press are gearing up to present today's special election in New York's 26th Congressional District as a referendum on Republican budget proposals and plans to reform entitlement programs.

MSNBC's website collected examples of such claims from numerous news outlets, including the Associated Press, Roll Call, the Hill, and a pair of local newspapers. Left-wing news outfits such as the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo have also tried to play this card.

The facts belie these claims. A conservative third party candidate seems to have siphoned significant support from the Republican candidate, and polling data suggests district residents support Republican Medicare reform proposals. But don't expect that to stop reporters from making their referendum claims, just as they did after the 2009 special election in upstate New York.

By Lachlan Markay | May 24, 2011 | 10:38 AM EDT

A controversial article from Harper's Magazine, which won the National Magazine Awards' prize for reporting, what many consider the Pulitzer Prize for magazines, continues to be plagued by accusations of factual inaccuracy. A Monday article from AdWeek further suggested that the award had more to do with the issue's politics than the article's merits.

The piece, which suggests a possible conspiracy in covering up murders of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, was supplied wholesale to the folks at Harper's, who went to press despite a lack of hard sourcing for the story. In fact, the evidence undergirding it was apparently so thin that even the hard-left New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh, who has crusaded against a number of prominent elements of the war on terrorism, including Guantanamo, would not touch it.

By Julia A. Seymour | May 24, 2011 | 10:26 AM EDT
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.

The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.

The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."

Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
By Ken Shepherd | May 24, 2011 | 10:18 AM EDT

For your listening pleasure another brilliant minute of WMAL's Chris Plante. (see below page break)

In this clip, the conservative talk show host rips apart a liberal caller who wants a "fairness doctrine" for radio.

By Noel Sheppard | May 24, 2011 | 10:16 AM EDT

As NewsBusters reported moments ago, ABC's "World News" on Monday did a segment attempting to tie this year's tornado season to global warming.

Quite comically, some of the fear-mongering tornado data in this report was contradicted by ABC News's own website Monday (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):

By NB Staff | May 24, 2011 | 9:45 AM EDT

After an address to AIPAC supporters yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress today to discuss the importance of continued support to Israel in attempts to create peace between Israel and Palestine. His speech at AIPAC yesterday may be something of a preview of his address to Congress today. Check out the video below the break.

By NB Staff | May 24, 2011 | 9:22 AM EDT

Hey there, NBers. Time for Tuesday's all-new episode of NewsBusted. As usual, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel or embed your own 'Busted widget for all of Jodi's latest comedic stylings. Enjoy!

By Brent Baker | May 24, 2011 | 9:09 AM EDT

ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Monday night presumed everyone lives inside her media bubble obsessed with “global warming” as she set out to blame the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes on it – but not even the CEO of a group dedicated to instilling public fear of “climate change” would go along with Sawyer’s fear-mongering. From Joplin, Sawyer plugged the upcoming segment:

When we come back, what do those experts say? Everyone's saying, is this it, is this global warming? Is this the evidence? Is it in? The answer.

Sawyer set up the subsequent World News story: “Is this it, this is the evidence of a kind of preview of life under global warming?” Reporter Jim Avila, who called the tornadoes “nature’s payback,” cited a thousand tornadoes and “counting so far, compared to 500 in an average year.” He turned to Heidi Cullen of Climate Central who, he relayed, says climate change “can be blamed for a general increase in extreme weather, science cannot specifically point to climate change for this hyper-deadly tornado season.”

By Clay Waters | May 24, 2011 | 8:54 AM EDT

It turns out retired CBS News anchor Katie Couric had at least one fan during her failed attempt to lift the network's evening newscast out of the ratings cellar: Gail Collins, former editorial page editor of the New York Times turned feminist columnist. Collins devoted her Saturday column to Couric’s significance as the first female nightly news anchor: "Katie Couric Moves On."

After hailing Couric’s (of course) "historic Sarah Palin interview," Collins declared Couric a "total success," ratings be damned. How so? By managing "not to screw things up." (The soft bigotry of low expectations?)

From my perspective as a charter of the progress of American women, Couric was a total success. The first great mandate for a First Woman is not to screw things up for the Second Woman or the Third. On that count, Couric did great. She was under incredible scrutiny and pressure, and she held up her end. There was never a point at which American viewers turned to each other and said: "Well, that certainly didn’t work out."

By Tim Graham | May 24, 2011 | 7:51 AM EDT

A week after trashing the Paul Ryan plan as "right-wing social engineering" on Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich appeared on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, where host Bob Schieffer began the whole show with this Gingrich line: "He announces for President and his own party goes nuts." As in insane. But Schieffer not only revisited Newt's Medicare mess -- "I have not heard one single Republican come to your defense" -- he spent several minutes dwelling on Gingrich's large credit account at Tiffany's and pushed him around about his marital infidelity: "And what about your personal life, and your personal behavior. Are people supposed to just put that aside?"

This is another classic double standard for CBS. Just remember Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" accepting Bill Clinton saying he 's "caused pain" in his marriage in 1992. He never suggested it was rude to expect people to "just put that aside." And why is Schieffer already pounding Gingrich's "bizarre revelation" on expensive tastes in jewelry, but Kroft never asked Obama in five interviews throughout the 2008 campaign cycle about Obama buying a $1.6 million house in Chicago with a crook named Tony Rezko? As for Schieffer, perhaps he'd like to recall how he cooed over the supposedly blissful marriage of John and Elizabeth Edwards on August 26, 2007:

By Noel Sheppard | May 23, 2011 | 11:43 PM EDT

As readers are likely aware, former Vermont governor Howard Dean is a contributor to CNBC, and in this role, he continues to say the darnedest things.

On Monday's "The Last Word," Dean said of the far-right, "They hate Muslims, they hate gays, they hate immigrants, and the rhetoric in the primaries shows that" (video follows with transcript and commentary):