It is one thing to trash Jim Lehrer’s moderating behind his back. It’s even worse when you then bring him on your show to praise his performance after you trash him. No one does this better than Morning Joe’s Scarborough who did a complete 180 on his analysis of Lehrer’s moderating skills.
On the morning after the first presidential debate, Scarborough claimed that “Jim Lehrer got rolled over” as moderator on October 3rd. Fast forward to Monday’s Morning Joe when Lehrer appeared in person and Scarborough had suddenly wiped his hands clean of any such criticism. [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
Following in the shoes of fellow NBC News employee Brian Williams, John Heilemann has entered the world of crude humor. Appearing on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner on Monday, Heilemann was brought on to discuss the political dynamics of Wednesday’s first presidential debate.
The segment itself was fairly tame for MSNBC standards until Heilemann compared the current election to the 1996 election between President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole. In Heilemann’s strange mind the only way Dole could have won that year was: [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
Yesterday in the midst of defending his record in a tough interview with Univision, President Barack Obama said that he learned in his term in the Oval Office that "you can't change Washington from the inside" but only from the outside and that "that's how [he] got elected," by appealing to a frustrated electorate to vote for change. At a campaign event later in the day, Mitt Romney seized on the gaffe to jab at the president, saying the voters will be glad to send him home in November. whereby the president all but admitted that Washington can be changed by voting out the sitting president.
But have no fear, Team Obama, MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Politico's Maggie Haberman are here to spin heavily in your favor.
Bill Clinton just turned 66, so perhaps it might seem a bit dated to still find it amusing when feminist TV pundits stumble into sexual double entendres for the intern-exploiting president.
But that's what happened on Now With Alex Wagner on Wednesday. When Time columnist Joel Stein suggested the Democrats might not be able to offer better speeches than Tuesday's slate, Wagner replied if anyone can "sort of be the tentpole here," it's Slick Willie: [Video and transcript below]
Last night, at 8:38 p.m. Eastern, Ted and Pat Oparowski -- who attended church with Mitt Romney in the late 1970s -- shared their heartwarming story of how Mitt Romney took time out of his busy schedule to visit their cancer-stricken son David and to help him settle his affair and write his will when it was apparent the cancer would take his life. Both CNN and Fox News Channel carried the moving account by the elderly couple. MSNBC, however, skipped the speech, instead devoting that time to discussing how Romney's religion will play on the campaign trail, if at all.
Fast forward to noon today. MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner played a few soundbites of Pat Oparowski before showing host Alex Wagner and her panelists Chris Hayes and Karen Finney lamenting that most Americans didn't see it last night. [video update to follow]
As part of her hour-long August 20 special edition of Now about to "women's issues," MSNBC's Alex Wagner devoted a 10-minute-long segment to the so-called pay gap -- women earning on average 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Wagner's guests, Salon's Joan Walsh, Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Lilly Ledbetter predictably did their parts to help Wagner sell the pay gap issue as one with Republicans in the dark ages and Democrats as the white knights. "Why are Senate Republicans still fighting legislation to account for that gap and to make pay equal," Wagner asked Warren at the start of the segment.
But alas, the so-called pay gap is a "a solid statistic" that has been "described incorrectly" in anti-Republican attack ads, Politifact noted back in June (emphasis mine):
Rep. Paul Ryan's 100 percent rating by the pro-life National Right to Life Committee and his support of the "Protect Life Act" are evidence of the Wisconsin Republican's extremism on abortion and as such, should hurt the appeal of the Romney/Ryan ticket with women voters, MSNBC's Alex Wagner argued on the August 14 edition of her noon Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program.
Of course the 100 percent pro-choice record that Barack Obama has with NARAL Pro-Choice America might strike centrist voters as equally "extreme," but Wagner failed to note Obama has never deviated from the NARAL line. What's more, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted AGAINST an Illinois state version of the "Born-Alive Act" which was designed to punish abortionists who kill babies who were born before the abortion procedure was finished in utero. Nothing says pro-abortion extremist like voting against a bill to penalize infanticide, especially considering that a federal version of the bill passed the U.S. Congress in 2002 without any votes in the negative. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
MSNBC colleague and liberal pundit Chris Hayes was the first to jump on the anti-gun bandwagon, and bizarrely focused on suicide instead of the Aurora tragedy. Hayes argued that, "the availability of a gun makes suicide fatality far more likely" even though, it "doesn't make the impulse to do it more likely," ignoring the fact that suicide has nothing to do with the events of last evening.
Herman Cain's new "Cain TV" project, which he announced in a promo video on his Facebook page, will feature not only "critical commentary on issues of the day" but "pearls of wisdom from Herman himself," MSNBC's Alex Wagner snarked in a segment on today's Now with Alex entitled onscreen "This Just Happened."
But the "pearl of wisdom" Wagner showed was a clip of Cain's video taken out of context that sounded completely bizarre in and of itself. What's more, liberal members of Wagner's panel reacted to the out-of-context comment to denounce Cain as "scary."
Since President Obama flip-flopped on his position on same-sex marriage last month, NewsBusters has reported extensively on how the media cover such policy changes differently when made by Republicans such as Mitt Romney.
On MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner Thursday, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele gave the perilously liberal David Corn a much-needed education in this very fact (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
In a particularly petty attempt to pump up President Obama and denigrate Mitt Romney, Tuesday's NBC Today brought on left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner for a supposed pop culture segment that devolved into Democratic campaign talking points. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Natalie Morales touted a new viral video that "reveals details about President Obama and Mrs. Obama's first date." Wagner gushed: "They always sort of had a high bar, as far as their husband and wife interactions.....The First Lady and the President first went and had lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago, then they took a walk down Michigan Avenue, and then they ended the date with a screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. The First Lady said it showed that he was hip, he was culturally sensitive. We know that it all ended in marital bliss."
Politico's media reporter Dylan Byers may not be paid under the table by MSNBC. But his new profile of noontime host Jane Wagner suggests she's far more trendy and influential than her ratings suggest (she's far behind Fox, and even behind CNN). But to Byers, she's subtle, respectful, effective, and yet carefree and easygoing -- and he is a publicist's dream.
There is one tough paragraph of quote in between the cotton-candy mountains: "Ninety-five percent of Alex's show is Democratic pablum fed directly from Obama For America HQ in Chicago." a Republican strategist said. "While it occasionally has insightful guests, the thrust of the show is snide Democratic elites speaking condescendingly to viewers." Byers, on the other hand, is drinking the liberal Kool-Aid, and shamelessly uses Wagner's grateful guests to praise her (so they can keep getting invitations):
When even a panel of liberal journalists thinks the New York Times has gone too far with its Romney-bashing, you know the paper's descending to uncomfortable subterranean depths of bias. With the lone exception of Jodi Kantor, herself a New York Times reporter, the members of today's Now with Alex Wagner panned the Times for its Home section front-pager about Romney's La Jolla, California, home, "The Candidate Next Door." The story was written by political writer Michael Barbaro in a section that usually has to do interior decorating and other apolitical domestic fare.
"Can I call bull on this?" Nation magazine contributor Ari Melber asked. "What they've done here is taken a campaign reporter who covers the campaign with a really thin, silly story, and then put it in the home section." [audio available here; video update coming shortly]
In a segment titled onscreen "What's the Matter with FL," MSNBC's Alex Wagner today continued her network's efforts to flog conservative Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) for his voter "purge." This despite the fact that the "purge" -- which targeted a mere 0.02 percent of registered voters in the state-- has not disenfranchised a single eligible voter and has in fact brought to light noncitizens who were illegally registered to vote. What's more, neither Wagner nor anyone else on her panel informed viewers that the Obama administration itself appears to be violating federal law by not helping Florida with its voter rolls cleanup effort.
To service her network's spin on the matter, Wagner turned to Rolling Stone magazine's Eric Bates and Ari Berman, the latter of whom insisted that the Sunshine State's efforts were part of a GOP effort to "depress the turnout" of Obama-friendly voting blocs.
Liberal historian and biographer Douglas Brinkley is out with a new book about the late Walter Cronkite and in its pages lie plenty of revelations that damage the late anchor's objective journalist "halo," according to media critic Howard Kurtz, who reviewed the book for the Daily Beast. Among other things, Brinkley wrote about how the allegedly Cronkite bugged a committee room at the 1952 Republican convention, how he literally begged liberal Sen. Robert Kennedy to jump into the 1968 presidential race, and how the avuncular family man figure had a penchant for partying at topless bars.
Yet on the May 31 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, neither Brinkley nor Wagner nor anyone else on the panel brought up any of those interesting revelations, focusing instead on such trivialities as how Cronkite, who got his start in the wire service UPI, perfected his on-air news-reading skills. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break] [Related: Read the MRC's Cronkite "Profile in Bias" here]
On the April 30 edition of NOW with Alex Wagner, panelist Robert Traynham had the courage to confront the liberal panel on the Left's hypocrisy on a gender "pay gap" and the so-called War on Women. The panel took off in typical liberal fashion with Wagner criticizing Mitt Romney and all Republicans for showing a lack of empathy about how women's median pay in America is about 77 percent of the median pay for men.
In response, Traynham called out Wagner for her liberal attacks by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Left on the subject. Traynham skillfully reminded Wagner and his fellow panelists that former Obama staffers Anita Dunn and Christine Romer were quoted on the record in a book published last year criticizing the unequal pay women within the Obama White House receive. Romer also was quoted by liberal journalist Ron Suskind as having said she felt treated like a "piece of meat" by Obama staffers. [Video follows page break MP3 audio here.]
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops speaking out with concern about the Paul Ryan/GOP budget plan is a "step in the right direction," according to liberal MSNBC host Alex Wagner.
Catholics "are not a monolithic voting bloc," MSNBC host Alex Wagner reminded her panel on her Friday Now program. "There are a lot of Catholics in the country, and I could name a few, who think that the Church, you know, has been far too vocal on issues that don't matter and not nearly vocal enough on those that do." Apparently to Wagner, the USCCB's pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and anti-ObamaCare contraception mandate are those pesky, inconsequential policy matters that the bishops waste their time on.
On Thursday’s edition of her Now program, MSNBC host Alex Wagner and her colleague Lawrence O’Donnell along with The Nation’s Ari Melber took to the air to smear the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on the subject of voter ID laws. ALEC, a liberal blogger bogeyman, has become MSNBC’s new punching bag and the liberal guests took the opportunity to attack the organization from all sides.
In a discussion regarding the merits of showing an ID to vote, Wagner, an alumna of the liberal Center for American Progress, conspiratorially claimed that, “voter ID is cooked up by Republicans to disenfranchise minority voters.” In other words, it's the work of evil, racist Republicans! [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
As Politico's Dylan Byers reported on March 22, MSNBC insists that its programming from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern is straight news, rather than "point-of-view" programming. Clearly Alex Wagner of the 12 p.m. Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program hasn't gotten the memo.
Take today's program, for example, where Wagner mischaracterized a bill working through the U.S. House aimed at curtailing the interstate transportation of minors for the purpose of evading a state's parental consent/notification laws on abortion.
On today's edition of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, ObamaCare apologist and Rahm Emanuel sibling Zeke Emanuel insisted that the lack of a "severability clause" in the health care overhaul legislation was simply an "oversight, not an intention." Neither host Alex Wagner nor any panelist interjected to correct the record.
In fact, severability was not inserted into the ObamaCare legislation as part of a legislative strategy by the Democrats who shepherded it through Congress. Boston Globe's Noah Bierman explained as much in the March 29 paper (emphases mine):
Taking the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously is just, well, backwards to liberal journalists. Take Ari Melber of The Nation. Sitting on the panel on the March 26 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, the MSNBC contributor dismissed as "retrograde" the notion that the ObamaCare individual mandate -- the provision forcing Americans to buy private health insurance or else pay a fine to the federal government -- violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Melber, a former John Kerry presidential campaign staffer, made the remark in the midst of comments wherein he suggested the Obama administration could see a stunning victory before the high court, despite the conservative nature of the tribunal:
On Friday’s edition of MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner, former DNC Communications Director Karen Finney (and occasional MSNBC host) used the tragic death of Trayvon Martin to viciously attack Republicans across the country. The segment started out examining the role of gun laws in our society and quickly turned into an assault on Republicans, following comments made by liberal-host Wagner.
Wagner made the claim that, “We had a map of the 25, 26 states with stand your ground laws. You can actually overlay a map of the red states in this country.” Such divisive rhetoric fed into the liberal talking point for Karen as she went on a tirade. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Today Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Republicans unveiled a budget and tax reform plan. But for Center for American Progress alumna Alex Wagner, it was Christmas morning, with the Ryan budget as a handy cudgel with which Democrats and MSNBC could bludgeon politically hapless Republicans.
"[S]ome Democrats are calling it Christmas in March," MSNBC anchor Wagner quipped on her March 20 Now program as she presented a quick overview of the "nuts and bolts" of the plan such as "repealing the Affordable Care Act," simplifying the federal individual income tax down to two brackets, 10 and 25 percent, and reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
What better day for MSNBC to push its phony "War on Women" meme than International Women's Day? Morning anchor Chris Jansing neatly tied today the network's war on Rush Limbaugh with its epic battle to distort the political fight over the contraceptive mandate into an imagined titanic clash over "women's health."
For the segment, Jansing tag-teamed with colleague Alex Wagner as well as regular contributor Michelle Bernard. Jansing also brought on liberal journalist and "American Way of Eating" author Tracie McMillan , who was mourned as a victim of Limbaugh because the talk show host called her an "authorette," facetiously adding, "What is it with all these young, single white women, overeducated -- doesn't mean intelligent."
After airing a clip of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad featuring female Democratic candidates for key U.S. Senate races this November, MSNBC's Alex Wagner effusively praised the campaign ad as an excellent response to the "Republican assault on women's health." The ad "really isolates the guys in Congress who are voting for this" and the women that stand as bulwarks against this," Wagner gushed. Panelist Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times agreed, adding, "The smartest line was said by Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator, when he said that if there were 83 women in the Senate, not 83 men, they wouldn't even have a debate on birth control and contraception."
Yet at no point in the segment on the March 2 Now with Alex Wagner did the host or anyone else bring up the fact that of the 17 women members of the U.S. Senate, four of them, all Republicans, voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would allow private employers to opt out of insurance coverage for procedures or drugs that violate their religious or moral convictions, such as contraception.
Lawrence O’Donnell, on Thursday’s The Last Word, actually had his production team make up a graphic of Rush Limbaugh’s sex life. As a way to mock the conservative talk radio host’s take on a Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, who petitioned Congress for subsidized birth control, the MSNBC host and his panel looked over a timeline of Limbaugh’s marital history.
O’Donnell snarked: “Throughout that entire interpersonal sex life he has produced exactly zero children. So this is a man who has not only been practicing birth control for well over 30 years, he has perfected it.” Then O’Donnell’s colleague Alex Wagner got into the act when she added: “It’s probably good...that there have not been offspring from Rush’s many unions.” (video after the jump)
Well, self-confessed Second Amendment foe Alex Wagner seems determined to not let Monday's deadly school shooting go to waste. For a third day in a row, Wagner complained about the nation's political climate when it comes to gun control legislation, even as Wagner seems to concede that new legislation would do little if anything to prevent school shootings from actually happening.
In the past few days, Brown University-educated journalist Alex Wagner has shown a penchant for deliberately distorting a remark that former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) made on the campaign trail, wherein he slammed as a "snob" President Obama for, as Santorum believes it, Obama's having said every American should go to college.
Wagner repeated the distortion again on the Leap Day edition of Now with Alex Wagner. Fortunately for her viewers, a campaign staffer was on hand to address the distortion.
Sure, there is really "no way, theoretically or otherwise" that yesterday's school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, could have been prevented, self-confessed Second Amendment opponent MSNBC's Alex Wagner noted in a closing commentary on her eponymous program this afternoon. She then immediately delving into a gripe that America's fruited plain is riddled with incredibly lax gun laws thanks to that most evil of evil bogeymen, the "gun lobby" [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]:
If you were to believe MSNBC's Alex Wagner -- which, I'm sure you don't -- GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is anti-college, believing the acquisition of higher education to be a mark of snobbery.
"Is it hypocritical, given Rick Santorum and the fact that he holds not one, not two, but three degrees -- more than the president, -- for him to allege that having a higher education is a form of snobbery?" Wagner pressed Santorum campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart on today's edition of Now with Alex Wagner. I don't know what they teach at Brown University, where Wagner went to college, but one hopes it has nothing to do with Wagner's deliberate mischaracterization of Santorum's recent swipe at President Obama.