And here I thought Chris Matthews reserved his hardballs for his guests, not his colleagues . . .
To use one of Imus's favorite phrases, there are "tension conventions" breaking out all over MSNBC today. Earlier, I noted the shots Andrea Mitchell took at Nancy Pelosi over her "unseemly, imperial" celebrations marking her ascension to the speakership.
Later, things got a bit ugly between Chris Matthews Matt Lauer over the funding of the war in Iraq. It was a very rare display of real anger between fellow members of the NBC/MSNBC stable. Alluding to President Bush's speech of yesterday calling for the Democrats to avoid the kind of politics that will lead to stalemates, Lauer asked Matthews:
"What kind of stalemate are we going to see over Iraq in Congress?"
And my colleague Julia Seymour has the proof right here.
As the new majority of Democrats takes over the House of Representatives January 4, they have big plans – plans the media have supported.
Journalists have called arguments against a minimum wage hike “a lot of bull” and even came out in blatant endorsement of socialized medicine.
"The only answer is going to be, eventually, some kind of national, universal coverage. A guaranteed system that everybody regardless of income will have at least basic health care," said ABC medical correspondent Dr. Timothy Johnson on the Oct. 16, 2006, "Good Morning America."
Brian Stelter at TV Newser reproduced some New Year's resolutions from CBS News stars from their weekly newsletter called the "C-Note." The head-turner in an otherwise routine pile (like morning show host Hannah Storm resolving to "take more naps") is long-standing "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer saying he never wants to be a saint, since they are "the most tedious people." He boasted:
"I resolve to never make resolutions. My sins are all pleasurable, my virtues impeccable. I love animals, small children and I am never cruel to grown-ups, unless it is absolutely necessary. I smoke too much and occasionally over-medicate on good red wine. Saints are the most tedious people, humorless and lacking in imagination. I have no intention of ever becoming one."
According to Bob Schieffer, the Democrats in Congress will be pursuing an "ambitious schedule" on ethics reform. Yet, Schieffer neglected to mention what the Democratic leadership is going to do about ethically challenged Democrats like William Jefferson of Louisiana or Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Schieffer, appearing on the "Early Show’s" weekly "Capitol Bob" segment, noted loopholes in the Democrats plan on ethics reform, but was pleased that the new Congress was "going to get started."
However, when the Republican controlled Congress attempted to overhaul ethics procedures in June, Schieffer classified these attempts as "not much more than a joke." In a June 11, 2006 commentary on CBS’ "Face the Nation," Schieffer lamented:
Has that blizzard in the Plains blown all the way into Hades? On the day of Nancy Pelosi's congressional coronation, a rhetorical shot was taken at her from an unexpected quarter, that of Andrea Mitchell.
Interviewing veteran Dem congressman John Dingell of Michigan, Mitchell asked:
"Are you happy with this big celebration that Nancy Pelosi has planned for herself? Is it a bit unseemly to have Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett and the dinners and the lunches and the brunches and the trip to Baltimore to rename the street in honor of her. Isn't this a little bit too imperial?"
Someone at CNN needs to buy a dictionary, or at least visit dictionary.com once in a while. Just a couple of days ago, as MRC’s Scott Whitlock noted, 'American Morning' had a major graphic gaffe, showing a headline asking “Where’s Obama” as the anchors talked about the hunt for the most-wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden, not the Senator from Illinois.
Last night on 'Anderson Cooper 360,' as the anchor introduced a tabloid item on the ongoing spat between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, a giant graphic over Cooper’s shoulder carried the headline “SAME FUED, DIFFERENT YEAR.” If that misspelling of “FEUD” was meant as some kind of an inside joke, Cooper didn’t say a word about it. More likely than not, it was just another embarrassing example of the need for all of the 24-hour cable news networks to slow down just enough to double-check their work.
In apparent pursuit of their status as the chief news source for Islam in the west, the AP published a puff piece about how wonderful it is for young Americans to participate in the Muslim practice of the Hajj -- a required pilgrimage to Mecca.
Here is how wonderful and instructive it is...
The 20-year-old American tells his hajj pilgrimage stories ... and saw a man drop dead while circling the Kaaba.
Well, how "inspiring" it is to see a man drop dead at a religious function. Is that the sort of thing that should be praised as a civilized expression of religion?
"Dude, I saw it, the guy had the most peaceful smile on his face," (said) Adil Muschelewicz ... Muschelewicz didn't know the cause of the man's death -- exhaustion maybe, he said -- but it became one of the many powerful religious moments that have shaken him during the trip.
"I looked at his face and I looked at the Kaaba, and it was like he was happy, he'd gotten close to God. It just went boom, like this deep bass line in my heart," he said. "It was so emotional. I was by myself, in this wild place I'd never been before."
Meredith Vieira gave herself some cover. It might have been a bit awkward for her to openly avow that she was excited as an anti-war protester, or as a Democrat, a liberal, a proud member of the MSM, etc., to see Nancy Pelosi sworn in as Speaker. Meredith settled for the less controversial formulation: "It's a very historic day on Capitol Hill. Nancy Pelosi, first woman to become Speaker of the House. I'm excited as a woman to see that happen."
Why do I suspect that Meredith wouldn't be quite so excited if, say, Republican Deb Pryce of Ohio were about to grab the Speaker's gavel?
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President. After Dean contended that Democrats would need to "find their spine and go toe to toe" with the administration because Republicans "play hardball in a much tougher and more ruthless manner than Democrats," Olbermann brought up Dean's idea of impeaching Bush administration members. Olbermann: "The far end of what you suggest, obviously, would be impeachment, but the merits of that are at best arguable. I think we can probably both recall an occasion in which impeachment actually bolstered a President's popularity. But you wrote recently about impeaching not a President or a Vice President, but members of the Cabinet. How would that work? And is it a practical thing?" (Transcript follows)
The passing of President Gerald Ford drew a dignified, even warm farewell from the national press. There was near-consensus that he would be remembered for his decency and the risk he took, pardoning Richard Nixon from Watergate prosecutions in an effort to heal the nation. It is proper that the press is kind today. It ought to be remembered, however, that the press was not of this opinion when Ford took office.
For example, Time magazine’s cover story on the pardon in September 1974 declared that "Ford's first major decision raised disturbing questions about his judgment and his leadership capabilities, and called into question his competence." The cover carried suggestive sub-headlines like "Squandered Trust" and "Premature and Unwise." Such was the media’s mood toward this man’s actions in office.
It's not too early to declare Katie Couric a failure as an evening news anchor and to suggest she return to her successful slot as a morning news show host. That's the considered opinion of Jon Friedman, "Media Web" author at Dow Jones's Market Watch. Read "How CBS can salvage the Couric debacle" here.
Friedman's frank assessment::
"America loved the early-morning Katie. Whether she likes it or not, it's evident that viewers embraced her for the 'P' word: perkiness. Fair or not, however, the nation isn't willing to accept her in the traditionally solemn evening-news time period."
On Tuesday’s O’Reilly Factor, guests Michelle Malkin and Kirsten Powers offered what they thought were the top stories of 2006. The number one story on Michelle Malkin’s list was "mainstream media war coverage." Malkin spoke of the "eroding credibility" of the mainstream media from leaking classified information to doctoring photos and airing terrorist propaganda. This prompted her to conclude that there are "a lot of people questioning which side of the war these mainstream media outlets have been on." The entire transcript is below.
Bill O’Reilly: "Alright Michelle, surprisingly mainstream media war coverage. Why was that your top story?"
Michelle Malkin: "Well, I think that the slow and steady erosion of mainstream media credibility has been going on for quite a while, but 2006 was really a milestone. And I did a little poll on my website, michellemalkin.com, asking people who they thought was the worst media performer of the year. And the New York Times ran away with the prize. And I think they started off the year, if you'll recall, blabbing about the NSA's domestic surveillance program. And there was a huge uproar about that from the public. The New York Times refused to acknowledge that this program was very valuable in gathering intelligence and information that was helping in the War on Terror and our prosecution of the War on Terror. And they didn't listen to the public. I mean they went on to blab about, about a number of programs, and they set a role model for other papers. You saw the USA Today and the Los Angeles Times blab about another top secret program, that was-"
As NewsBusters reported here, on the December 20, 2006 edition of The View, co-host Rosie O’Donnell sparked a war of words and the threat of a lawsuit over comments she made about real estate mogul Donald Trump. Her statement that he had been bankrupt "many times" was particularly infuriating to the billionaire. On the January 3 show, Barbara Walters, who noted O’Donnell’s absence from today’s show was due to a "long-planned vacation," was left to clean up the mess, and delivered this statement from ABC:
Barbara Walters: "Okay, guys, as I said earlier, Rosie is on a long-planned vacation with Kelli and the kids, and not, I can promise you, with Donald Trump. Now, speaking of which, ABC has asked me to say this, just to clarify things and I will quote, ‘Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. Several of his casino companies have filed for business bankruptcies. They are out of bankruptcy now.’"
Walters then denied Trump’s charge that she regrets her decision to hire O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira:
"TP couldn't help but pick up on the distinct strain of grudging admiration that ran through the NYT's coverage of Hussein's trip to the gallows. An early edition of the paper's lead story said that although the witnesses it interviewed were enemies of the dictator, 'their accounts of the execution were redolent of respect for the way in which their former tormentor died.' The final edition version of the story omits the prior passage but says the widely broadcast videotape of the event suggested that he 'lived his final moments with unflinching dignity and courage, reinforcing the legend of himself as the Arab world's strongman.' An accompanying front-page piece about the dictator's final moments relates that he 'looked strong, confident and calm." A fitting final performance, I suppose, for a master propagandist.'"
On December 5 of last year, I wrote a blog post entitled 60 Billion Minutes, where I wrote:
We also know that Jamil Hussein has consistently been a source for at least 60 news stories over two years, and that Jamil Hussein is just one of many apparently fake sources that has driven Associated Press reporting in Iraq.
This presents us with the unsettling possibility that the Associated Press has no idea how much of the news it has reported out of Iraq since the 2003 invasion is in fact real, and how much they reported was propaganda. The failure of accountability here is potentially of epic proportions.
In the weeks since that date, the Associated Press has maintained that the stories they originally reported on November 24-25 of burning mosques and burning men is true, even though almost every single factual claim made in the account has been disputed. The AP maintains this position today, even after the Iraqi Interior Ministry Officially stated that the AP's source, Captain Jamil Hussein, simply didn't exist, and that no one by that name ever worked at the two police stations where AP said he did.
Apparently deciding that one puff piece on a Democratic leader isn’t enough, Wednesday’s "American Morning" featured a virtual DNC press release on incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her childhood city of Baltimore. Reporter Andrea Koppel noted that the Congresswoman comes from a neighborhood "full of proud American-Italian Catholics" and that Pelosi hopes voters will recognize the fact that she "places a premium on family values." The piece featured no criticism of the soon-to-be Speaker, only praise for her "historic moment":
Andrea Koppel: "Now, as Congresswoman Pelosi walks into the history books, becoming the first female Speaker of the House, she plans to pay tribute to her Baltimore roots. Professor Matthew Crensen says the visit could help her refashion her image."
Matthew Crensen (John Hopkins professor): "That she's not just a well-dressed lady from San Francisco, who is married to a millionaire, that she came from a working-class ethnic, religious neighborhood, that she's one of them."
Koppel: "And with Democrats set to take control of Congress this week, that message, that Pelosi places a premium on family values, is one that she, and her party, hope will resonate with middle-class America..."
It's no secret that Iran, and to a lesser degree, Syria, are responsible for supplying weapons to our enemies in Iraq, as well as encouraging would-be terrorists from their own lands to join the ranks of the blood-thirsty Islamo-fascist militias that our military and the Iraqi Army faces on a daily basis in the area known as the Sunni Triangle.
Both of these countries also directly support Hezbollah, the most well-organized terrorist group in the world, and next to Al-Qaeda, the most deadly. The United States and Israel know full well the threat posed by this extremist faction and their patron states, yet year after year passes with no substantial military action being taken against them. Why?
It's all well and good that we are expending every available resource to destroy Al-Qaeda and its confederates worldwide, but for some inexplicable reason the terrorist organization which was responsible for more American deaths prior to 9/11 than any other in history is largely ignored by the Bush Administration. Israel as well seems to have concluded that taking the fight to these parasites isn't worth the trouble, and every time I think about what's going on in Lebanon these days, my stomach begins composing an overture to the next 'Star Wars' sequel.
Just to prove that Fox News Channel doesn't live up to the liberal stereotype of Music to Conservative Ears, angry E-mailers are demanding someone denounce Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke for slamming conservatives who staunchly oppose illegal immigration. In their year-end Beltway Boys "awards show" this weekend, there was this clip of agreement:
Kondracke: "Our 'Dumbest Move' award of the year is Republicans trashing immigrants. And this - this has disastrous consequences for the, in the election. The Hispanic vote, which is the fastest-growing element of the population, went 55 to 42 percent Democratic in 2004. This time, it went 76 to 26. And it's all because of this stupid wall that the House Republicans wanted to build, and rejected their own president's plan for a comprehensive immigrant reform in preference to cozying up to radio talk show hosts."
On Wednesday’s "American Morning," CNN reporter Dana Bash profiled incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and revealed some "startling" details: The Nevada Democrat’s childhood nickname was "Pinky." Additionally, Reid enjoys listening to his iPod and reading "People" magazine. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Bash didn’t find time to mention the various scandals swirling around Reid. (Judicial Watch recently named him the tenth most corrupt politician of 2006.) The CNN correspondent, who traveled to Reid’s home of Searchlight, Nevada, began her piece by promising surprising revelations. Apparently the Senator’s musical taste fall into this category:
Dana Bash: "The senator from Nevada fights for Sin City but doesn't gamble or drink. A square-looking guy who listens to hip songs on his iPod."
[On camera: Harry Reid plays a 'Cowboy Junkies' song on his stereo]
Bash: "Cowboy Junkies!"
Reid: "You know the Cowboy Junkies?"
Bash: "And how does he keep up with music? Get this: Did I read that you're a ‘People’ magazine reader?"
Unfortunately they don't give you any perspective from the medical community or the makers of distilled spirits or beer. Nope, they just give you two liberal critics of the alcohol industry to scare parents with tales of stomach pumps and binge drinking.
If a conservative talk radio host like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity was being sued for defamation, would the media cover every aspect of the case like white on rice? Well, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled last Thursday that the lawsuit filed against liberal radio network Air America can go forward, but other than financial websites such as MSN Money and BusinessWeek, America’s media were largely disinterested in this Associated Press story filed Tuesday (emphasis mine throughout, hat tip to Dan Gainor):
Government contractor CACI International Inc. has won bankruptcy court approval to proceed with its defamation lawsuit against liberal talk radio network Air America and one of its hosts, Randi Rhodes.
A federal bankruptcy court in New York ruled Thursday that the case could proceed despite the fact that Air America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A LexisNexis search of virtually every major television and print outlet for the phrase “Air America or Randi Rhodes" since December 27 resulted in the loudest chirping of crickets one can imagine. Regardless, the article continued:
Saddam Hussein was tried for genocide and crimes against humanity in events that happened over 2 decades ago. His guilt in that one trial spoke to a single chapter whose murderous mark personifies a sliver of the total crimes that Hussein committed in over a quarter century of terror. Yet the mainstream media is beside themselves in trying to recreate the image of Saddam Hussein the killer into Saddam Hussein the victim.
Perhaps topping this list of mainstream media revisionists is the New York Times who tell the latest chapter in Saddam’s life as if the United States is the party responsible for creating the negative image of the “Butcher of Baghdad”.
Like the helicopter trip, just about everything in the 24 hours that began with Mr. Hussein’s being taken to his execution from his cell in an American military detention center in the postmidnight chill of Saturday had a surreal and even cinematic quality.
The Associated Press released an interesting set of statistics (host link stored for future ref) a couple of days ago that I would suppose were designed to suck away any optimism any fools who still support the mission in Iraq might have (bolds are mine):
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Government officials on Monday reported that 16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006, a figure larger than an independent Associated Press count for the year by more than 2,500.
The tabulation by the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defense and Interior, showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers were killed in the violence that raged in the country last year.
The Associated Press accounting, gleaned from daily news reports from Baghdad, arrived at a total of 13,738 deaths.
Pretty grim, isn't it? And this is for "violence that raged in the (whole) country."
Man, what a downer. I mean, this is an honest-to-goodness Grade A bona fide quagmire.
Oops -- I started digging into US murder statistics, and what I found made me less depressed about Iraq, and more concerned about the US.
One does not need to look much farther than the Newspapers in the USA to understand why we may lose this war against Islamist fascism and terrorism. At the very least, the Kansas City Star's Mary Sanchez displays her desire to condemn everything American and to make excuses for Muslim terrorists.
Using the "six imams expelled from an airplane" story as a springboard to wag a finger in the face of we ignorant Americans, Sanchez warns that we just don't get it where it concerns distinguishing between "Muslims who are a threat, and those who are not."
Naturally, it isn't the fault of any Muslim, either. No, it's all the fault of those uninformed American Christians.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a corrected version of the original item. Imus's guest was Mike Barnicle. The original item, displayed briefly, incorrectly identified Imus's guest as Chris Matthews. My apologies to Chris Matthews and our readers.
H/t to reader PJG.
Does it get any more foul than this? During the 8 AM ET hour of Don Imus's show this morning he and Mike Barnicle fantasized about how various Republicans would react to being hung on the gallows.
Note: this item was prepared from the closed-caption transcript. It will be reviewed and corrected as appropriate in the course of the morning. Video: Real (3MB) or Windows (3.5MB) PlusMP3 (555KB)
As a former aide to Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews is accustomed to offering advice to Democratic Speakers of House. With President Bush's announcement of a surge apparently imminent, Chris Matthews made clear his marching orders for Nancy Pelosi this morning: don't fund it.
Interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the "Today" show, Matthews opined:
"She better have, it seems to me, a strong voice about the war. And that's not just putting Jack Murtha out there to lose. And she's gotta get out there and win on this argument. This is going to come down to funding, whether anybody like it or not. The purse strings are now controlled by the Democrats; they cannot abdicate that. They have to choose, whether they're for the president's position with this new escalation that seems to be coming or they're not with him. They can't fall back and tut-tut and hiss the president. They've got to do something about it."
As reported here on Newsbusters the Associated Press is refusing to back down from, nor give satisfactory evidence for, its November report that 6 Iraqi Sunnis were burned alive in sectarian violence, a claim heavily disputed seemingly by everyone but the AP.
The AP based their reports of this grisly violence on the word of a single "witness" they named as Iraqi police captain, Jamail Hussein. Unfortunately for the AP, and despite quite a lot of effort by quite a few people, this captain of Iraqi police cannot be located so that the story can be substantiated. The AP, however, continues to claim that he exists despite the paucity of evidence.
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush to accuse the President of extending the "senseless, endless" war in Iraq as part of an ulterior motive to transfer money to "war profiteers" because "you can't sell [the Army] any more [Humvees] until the first thousand have been destroyed." Olbermann: "Your second accomplishment, sir, is to have taken money out of the pockets of every American, even out of the pockets of the dead soldiers on the battlefield and their families, and to have given that money to the war profiteers. Because if you sell the Army a thousand Humvees, you can't sell them any more until the first thousand have been destroyed, can you? The service men and women are ancillary to the equation. This is about the planned obsolescence of ordnance, isn't it, Mr. Bush? And the building of detention centers? And the design of a $125 million courtroom complex at Gitmo, complete with restaurants. At least the war profiteers have made their money, sir."
Video clip of last four minutes of eleven-minute diatribe: Real (3 MB at lower 100 kbps) or Windows Media (7.6 MB at higher 256 kbps), plus MP3 audio (1.4 MB)
Monday’s NewsHour on PBS continued to drive home the grim reality that 3,000 American troops are now dead in the Iraq war. They featured two family members of fallen soldiers who are grieving through non-political means and one that's political. Of course, the politically activist family on this partially taxpayer funded show is anti-war and favors a swift withdrawal. Curiously, the did not find time to feature a Gold Star family that favors the mission in Iraq.
Reporter Spencer Michels mixed emotional stories of a mother on a walkathon for wounded soldiers, and a Colombian immigrant soldier posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship, with the anti-war family. Michels even offered a statement implying recent Democratic victories as a victory for peace. Then he raised concern that they may not be liberal enough.
Dan Gainor, director of MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI), and Cato Institute's Dr. Patrick Michaels appeared this afternoon on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" to talk about liberal media hype about climate change.