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By Noel Sheppard | February 15, 2011 | 12:58 AM EST

With his total number of viewers having declined by 45 percent since his premiere in the 8PM time slot, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell appears to be taking a page from his predecessor Keith Olbermann's handbook.

On Monday's "The Last Word," the host did two segments about Fox News, the first included insults about Irish guys and  Bill O'Reilly's "gullible" audience that ended with a school yard challenge to cable news's most-watched personality (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | February 14, 2011 | 11:43 PM EST

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday expressed concern that someone like conservative author Ann Coulter has the "freedom" to make a joke about jailing journalists.

This was amazing expressed moments before "The Last Word" host applauded the free flow of information that enticed and united protesters to rebel in Egypt (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2011 | 11:35 PM EST

Back in August and September, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters did roundups of media infamy in connection with the exposure and subsequent arrests of eight officials and politicians associated with Bell, California. The cases involve abusively excessive salaries and benefits paid and allegedly kept secret from the city's residents.

During the August episode of media malfeasance when the story was first breaking, Markay found that "of the 351 stories (found vis Lexis Nexis) on the then-brewing controversy, 350 had omitted party affiliations, and one had mentioned they were Democrats only in apologizing for not doing so sooner." In September, when eight arrests were made, he further noted that "ABC, CBS, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and the San Francisco Chronicle all reported on the arrests today without mentioning party affiliations."

Naturally you would expect, in reporting some of the seamier details found in court documents filed on Monday, that the Associated Press's John Rogers would again fail to tag Bell officials as Dems, and of course he didn't. Too bad -- he could have noted how these donkeys described themselves as pigs (bolds, which should not be missed, are mine):

By Noel Sheppard | February 14, 2011 | 8:54 PM EST

In his lifetime, Princeton economics professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has published 20 books, over 200 papers, and since the year 2000 two columns a week at the New York Times.

Clearly without understanding the irony of his question, the man once accused by the Gray Lady's ombudsman of possessing a "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers" asked his readers Monday, "How can voters be so ill informed [sic]?":

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2011 | 8:39 PM EST

It's going to be a long year for those of us who review Associated Press reports Uncle Sam's finances for evidence of bias and ignorance. Sometimes it seems that it would be easier to highlight the rare examples of fairness and balance.

Take the first sentence of Andrew Taylor's report on President Obama's 2012 budget (please; that goes for his report and the budget). It, in combination with the oh-so-predictable headline, makes you want to stop reading on in disgust (for the purposes of this post, I did endure the whole thing; bold is mine):

By Geoffrey Dickens | February 14, 2011 | 6:21 PM EST

On Monday's Hardball Chris Matthews, who devoted much of last week's shows to Egypt, got caught up on some conservative bashing as he mocked those who attended CPAC as "zany" and likened the conference to a "carnival act." The MSNBC host, joined by fellow liberals David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, led the show by describing the event as a "right wing jamboree that puts the zany in the same room as the zanier."

By Matthew Balan | February 14, 2011 | 5:45 PM EST

On Monday's American Morning, CNN's Kiran Chetry indicated that individual liberty and the pro-life movement weren't compatible. During an interview of Congressman Ron Paul, Chetry stated, "Freedom to make your own people the ability to make their own decisions, and the right to life movement don't always go together."

The anchor interviewed the libertarian-leaning Republican at the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour. Midway through the interview, Chetry claimed that Paul is "not a huge social conservative," and then asked about his recent speech at CPAC: "This is one of the largest social conservative gatherings and you're a libertarian. What do you think your appeal is among some of the young social conservatives?"

By Matt Hadro | February 14, 2011 | 5:44 PM EST

For about ten minutes on MSNBC Monday, Harvard History professor Niall Ferguson offered a articulate, detailed, and biting indictment of President Obama's handling of the crisis Egypt – and those disagreeing on the usually Obamaphilic "Morning Joe" panel could offer little of substance in response.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski began the segment reading Ferguson's latest column – which is the latest Newsweek magazine cover story – and asked him to expound on Egypt, saying that "it actually seems like it went pretty damn well." Perhaps she is referring to the many joyful reports from Tahrir Square amidst jubilant masses, or maybe CBS' Harry Smith doling out kisses to the crowd – but Ferguson offered a more dire assessment of the situation.

"You cannot make the foreign policy of a superpower up as you go along," Ferguson stated. He bludgeoned the Obama administration's slipshod policy, calling it "flip followed by flop followed by flip." He added that "they admitted that they had not planned for this scenario. I find that absolutely astonishing."

(Video after the jump.)

By Tim Graham | February 14, 2011 | 5:09 PM EST

NPR has a strange way of celebrating Valentine's Day. It's trying to "help" fans with corporate Valentines from NPR including this beauty: "You might have a face for radio, but I love you just the same."

Sounds like a one-way ticket to sleeping on the couch. It's less surprising that NPR would use Valentine's Day as another day to celebrate identity politics and social liberalism with a Monday Morning Edition story on "Greeting cards that celebrate a rainbow of loves."  NPR producer Selena Simmons-Duffin celebrated Valentine's Day cards for the "lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community," and a card company called "A Little to the Left." 


By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2011 | 5:04 PM EST

Of the three morning shows on Monday, only ABC's Good Morning America aggressively pushed the Obama administration on a lack of substantial cuts in the 2012 budget. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show either downplayed the issue or didn't fully explain the President's new spending.

ABC's Jake Tapper declared that Obama's plan "shows that the President will not take the lead in any aggressive measures to reduce the debt." He also pointed out, "President Obama's budget projects at least $1 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, but it still creates $7.2 trillion in new debt, pitting the President on a collision course with Republicans who are already saying this budget does not take the deficit seriously enough and deeper cuts are needed."

NBC's Chuck Todd ignored the new spending in the budget and instead asserted that the White House is "join[ing] the battle" with its new plan. Todd blandly repeated Obama's talking points on the cuts.

By Julia A. Seymour | February 14, 2011 | 4:37 PM EST

Infidelity. Adultery. Those aren't exactly words that come on typical candy conversation hearts. Valentine's Day is after all a traditional holiday of love and romance, not of cheating and betrayal.

Yet, Bloomberg Businessweek used the holiday to highlight a website that helps married people (7 out of 10 on the site are men) have affairs. The company's motto is "Life is short. Have an affair."

Like Ashley Madison, Bloomberg Businessweek must be counting on the idea that "sex sells." The magazine's offensively sexed-up cover design showed a woman's spread, fishnet-clad legs and was clearly an attempt to grab readers. On the newsstand copy those legs take up a little more than a quarter of the page, but an image on the BusinessWeek website shows a much larger image of legs taking up the entire cover.

By Ken Shepherd | February 14, 2011 | 3:05 PM EST

ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.

That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.

In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:

By Jack Coleman | February 14, 2011 | 3:02 PM EST

Words of wisdom from a Greek restaurant owner who employed me in my youth after I messed up an order for moussaka or souvlaki -- once OK, twice stupid!

Associated Press reporter Liz Sidoti might want to take this advice to heart.

In a CPAC roundup story written yesterday and picked up by The Huffington Post, Sidoti wrote this, initially referring to post-Tucson calls for civility --

By Kyle Drennen | February 14, 2011 | 1:02 PM EST

Discussing the state of the Republican Party with political analyst John Dickerson on Saturday's CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell concluded: " has been a tough week for House Republicans." On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira made an identical observation, declaring : "It has been a rough, rough week for the Republicans, to say the very least."

Mitchell explained his assertion: "Of the four bills planned for votes this week, only one passed. You also had a Republican congressman resign in a scandal." Speaking to Meet the Press host David Gregory on Friday, Vieira made the same points and wondered: "How big of a setback is this for the party?" On Saturday, Mitchell saw the possibility for more GOP difficulties: "As Republicans gear up for this budget battle with the President, do all these problems this week lead to trouble down the road?"

By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2011 | 12:29 PM EST

According to a new History Channel special on Ronald Reagan, the profound economic recovery of the early '80s can be credited to "the Reagan tax increases." The February 9 program contained this odd assertion while highlighting the President's path to reelection in 1984. Of course, the Economic Recovery Act of 1981 actually cut the top marginal rate from 70 percent to 50 percent.

Despite this, narrator David Jeremiah asserted, "By 1984, Ronald Reagan is cruising toward re-election. After enduring a recession that threatened his hopes for a second term, the economy, thanks in part to the Reagan tax increases, is bouncing back."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]