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By Tom Blumer | July 13, 2011 | 9:48 PM EDT

Well, I guess it's getting serious now in the melodrama known as the Minnesota state government shutdown.

If the Gopher State shutdown goes on much longer, hundreds of bars and restaurants will lose their ability to serve alcohol because they can't renew their liquor licenses. Worse, as reported by Eric Roper at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, MillerCoors, whose "brand license" somehow expired, will, be forced to "pull its beer from Minnesota liquor stores, bars and restaurants." The economic ripple effect will have a lot of Minnesotans crying in their beer, if they can find any.

If there's a less curious reporter than Eric Roper, I don't want to meet him. I've seen pet rocks with more curiosity than the Strib reporter demonstrated in the linked report. Consider the following paragraphs which Roper relayed without any hint of an attempt at follow-up:

By Matthew Balan | July 13, 2011 | 7:41 PM EDT

NPR's Sam Sanders gave some free publicity on Wednesday to a boycott organized online targeting Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. Sanders spotlighted the efforts of self-described "geek socialist" Chris Coltrane, who "wants people to vote against Murdoch" due to his supposed "unaccountable power." The writer also failed to include any quotes from supporters of the media tycoon.

The radio producer, who also recently worked for The Washington Post, began his article, "Boycotting Murdoch Could Be Harder Than You Think," by briefly touching on the current News of the World scandal. He then noted that "Facebook users organized a handful of groups aimed at exacting revenge by boycotting Murdoch and his British newspaper publishing company, News International, a subsidiary of Murdoch's behemoth News Corp."

By Noel Sheppard | July 13, 2011 | 7:40 PM EDT

Chris Matthews on Wednesday gave a lesson on utterly shameless fear-mongering.

In the final segment of MSNBC's "Hardball," the host said, "Failure to act on the debt ceiling will create a horror for our country, a horror we’ve never seen before" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | July 13, 2011 | 6:53 PM EDT

James Pethokoukis of Reuters published a chart Tuesday demonstrating exactly why all the hysteria about a debt default or missing Social Security check payments is a bunch of nonsense.

If America's news outlets were actually interested in disseminating the truth rather than fear-mongering, this chart or something like it would be part of every report involving the debt ceiling:

By Scott Whitlock | July 13, 2011 | 6:20 PM EDT

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday questioned the patriotism of Rupert Murdoch, wondering of the media mogul is a "true American."

Talking to Judd Legum of the liberal Center for American Progress, the Hardball anchor, derided, "Did [Murdoch] become a citizen just like somebody marries somebody to get into the country because they want a job or because he discovered some love of America? Is he a true American or is he an Australian?"

Viewers will remember a furious Matthews denouncing Michele Bachmann in 2008 for her questions about people who have "pro" or "anti-American views."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Kyle Drennen | July 13, 2011 | 6:13 PM EDT

On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk reported the latest details on the phone hacking scandal in Britain involving a Rupert Murdoch owned tabloid and declared: "Damage to the company [News Corporation] may have already been done. And some say it is about time."

Gosk noted that included, "actor Hugh Grant, who in recent months has led his own campaign against the tabloids." A sound bite was played of Grant: "we're talking about pretty nasty people." Gosk went on to speculate that the scandal may spread and put "pressure on Rupert Murdoch's worldwide media empire," which of course includes Fox News. She also argued that in Britain, Murdoch's "political support...has all but disappeared."

By Tom Blumer | July 13, 2011 | 5:54 PM EDT

He said it, he meant it, and there's no denying it.

On Monday, in a statement carried at the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the New York Times (Page A8 of Tuesday's print edition), and elsewhere, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad: "The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked. And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that."

That sound you hear is a Democratic Party meme shattering into teeny tiny pieces. The attempts to put Humpty Dumpty together again, both by Panetta himself and the establishment press contingent following him, have been pathetic and ineffectual, which is what happens when one is up against succinctly stated truths.

By Tim Graham | July 13, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

ABC's George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday night's Charlie Rose show to discuss what Rose described as "the political implications of the debt-limitation talks." Rose tried to compare Obama to Clinton. Stephanopoulos resisted the idea that Obama was more "cautious."

In fact, when asked how Obama is doing overall, Stephanopoulos pulled out the old line about how nobody "in our lifetime" has been dealt a tougher hand coming into the White House, as if Ronald Reagan had it easy faced with Carter-era inflation and unemployment. Grading on a recession curve, he's "done remarkably well," said George:

By Clay Waters | July 13, 2011 | 5:20 PM EDT

The New York Times's chief economics writer David Leonhardt proposed his usual solution – tax hikes – to the ongoing budget and debt-ceiling battles between congressional Republicans and President Obama in his confidently titled Wednesday column “Why Taxes Will Rise In the End.” Leonhardt struggled to ponder why his fellow citizens stubbornly refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

Polls show that most Americans are opposed to raising the federal debt ceiling. Even when the Pew Research Center included the consequences in its question -- a national default that would damage the economy -- slightly more people were against raising the ceiling than were for it.

How could this be? Above all, I think it reflects a desire to return to the good old days. Not so long ago, nobody was talking about tax increases or Medicare cuts, and the federal budget seemed to be in fine shape. If only we could get back to the past -- get spending under control, as the cliché goes -- we’d be O.K. The debt ceiling, with its harsh finality, offers the chance.

Unfortunately, this nostalgic view depends on a misunderstanding of the budget. It imagines a budget in which the United States indefinitely has the world’s highest medical costs, its largest military, an aging population and, nonetheless, taxes that are among the world’s lowest. Economists have a name for that combination: a free lunch.

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 13, 2011 | 4:30 PM EDT

Despite the fact that the White House press corps is comprised mostly of members who are ardent liberal Democrats who want to see President Obama triumph over Republicans, it has grown increasingly clear that the feeling of respect is not mutual.

The White House made that apparent today by laying down a new rule for reporters covering Obama's news conferences there: No more shouting questions at the president.

By Clay Waters | July 13, 2011 | 2:47 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes’s latest front-page story on the budget battle displayed typical Times’s labeling bias, with “angry conservatives” but no liberals. Calmes also paid the Republican leadership a backhanded compliment for trying to stop their conservative base from provoking a financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Calmes claimed on the front page that Obama was “repositioning” himself as a centrist (after years of the Times insisting he already was one).

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 13, 2011 | 2:28 PM EDT

Earlier this morning, Washington Times blogger Kerry Picket discovered an unusual listing on the popular movie rating website Rotten Tomatoes. The new Sarah Palin documentary, 'The Undefeated,' was categorized not only as a documentary, but also as science fiction and fantasy.

Since Picket's blog was posted, the science fiction and fantasy tag has been removed, but it begs the question of why the film was categorized in the same listing as the fantasy tales of 'X-Men,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' and 'Transformers' in the first place.

By Tim Graham | July 13, 2011 | 12:28 PM EDT

Unsurprisingly, Fox-hating National Public Radio has eagerly embraced the nasty scandal of phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, which included dastardly deeds like hacking into the phone messages of abducted 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose parents thought she might be alive because a tabloid reporter was messing with her phone.

NPR was so excited by this scandal that they sent media reporter David Folkenflik to London, and he’s filed eight reports in the last week – and starred in a one-hour Diane Rehm Show devoted to the “Murdoch Tabloid Scandal” on Tuesday, in which the name “Murdoch” was used 70 times.

By Kyle Drennen | July 13, 2011 | 12:07 PM EDT

On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry talked to left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews about the debt ceiling fight, who cheered Senator Mitch McConnell's plan to give President Obama sole authority to raise the nation's credit limit: "...the White House seems to be happy that somebody on the other side realizes how dangerous this is going to be next week."

Later, Matthews went further in his praise for McConnell, pleased that the Senate Minority Leader was moving away from conservatives: "I think what the White House is happy about is that finally Mitch McConnell who's a leader, just like the President is a leader, is separating himself from the protesters out there on the Right."

By Scott Whitlock | July 13, 2011 | 12:05 PM EDT

Of the three morning shows on Wednesday, only NBC's Today speculated that Barack Obama might be using "scare tactics" with his dire warning that, barring a deal on raising the debt limit, Social Security checks in August might no be mailed out. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos simply asserted that the "debt crisis in Washington is getting very scary."

Stephanopoulos uncritically repeated, "And President Obama for the first time yesterday saying that Social Security recipients in August may not receive their checks."

In contrast, NBC's Matt Lauer, skeptically asked, "Scare tactic? President Obama warns millions of Americans Social Security checks may not go out next month if lawmakers fail to reach a deficit deal."