At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer portrayed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as an ungrateful and disgruntled ex-employee: "Blindsided. President Obama's former Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on his old boss – the man who awarded him the Medal of Freedom – in a blistering new memoir. This morning, what may have made him turn?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted: "President Obama's decision to keep George Bush's defense secretary, a Republican, has now blown back on the White House." Like Lauer, she made sure to note how Obama had honored Gates: "Gates gave no hint of his resentment when he left the cabinet two years ago and President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor."
I kept looking for any sign that Ta-Nehisi Coates, described as "a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues," was kidding in his Monday afternoon column about Melissa Harris-Perry when he called her "The Smartest Nerd in the Room." He wasn't.
When last seen here at NewsBusters, Coates was pretending that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has consistently widened during the past 20 years, when the reality is that almost all of the widening has occurred during the past five years for which data is available. That delusion is nothing compared to his assessment of Harris-Perry, excerpted after the jump (bold is mine):
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about Al-Qaeda forces seizing control of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, anchor Brian Williams went out of his way to blame the President George W. Bush for the deteriorating security situation: "U.S. fighting forces are gone from Iraq. But as so many predicted when President Bush chose to go to war there after 9/11, the fighting has started up again." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, in the report that followed, correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin featured a sound bite of President Obama – not President Bush – celebrating the "historic moment" of an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal from the country after failing to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government. Mohyeldin noted: "Some warned the U.S. withdrawal left a security vacuum."
Just when it seemed that NBC's Meet the Press couldn't sink any lower, ratings for the last three months of 2013 for the Sunday morning news/interview show fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 1992. That development has added to the speculation that liberal David Gregory might be on his way out as host.
From October through December, NBC's program came in third place for total viewers -- behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week -- and the numbers among viewers in the important demographic from 25 to 54 years of age collapsed to their lowest level in the program's history.
In a report for Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker eagerly promoted efforts by President Obama to use class warfare against Republicans leading up to the 2014 midterm elections: "President Obama will aim to reboot his presidency this year after a rocky 2013. The first item on the agenda will be extending unemployment insurance benefits....In his weekly media message, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for leaving those benefits out of last month's budget deal." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A clip played of Obama ranting: "And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We're a better country than that." Moments later, Welker proclaimed: "The President will also renew his call for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Another piece of a Democratic strategy designed to paint Republicans as the party of the rich ahead of the fall elections."
Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of conservative Christians making plans to push their agenda, liberal guest Frank Schaeffer charged that Republicans have a "pathological hatred" of President Obama, asserted that the GOP's goal is to "Stop the first African-American President from succeeding at all costs," and then drew a parallel with racist opposition to school intregration decades ago.
After recounting conservative concerns about same-sex marriage, Schaeffer continued:
In June, the Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn filed a report with the following headline: "Kathleen Sebelius: Exchange enrollment goal is 7 million by end of March." She reported in her first two paragraphs that "7 million" is "how many people the Obama administration hopes to enroll in its new health insurance marketplaces by the end of March."
Apparently that clearly expressed target isn't supposed to matter now, and the White House is trying to pretend that it never existed. Of course, the press, including the Politico, has been helping them.
On Thursday, the New York Timescalled for the Obama administration to enter into a plea bargain or offer clemency to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden in order to bring him back to the United States.
On PBS’s McLaughlin Group Friday, syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan observed during a discussion about this issue, “There is an inherent conflict of interest between journalists and so-called whistleblowers” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Discouraging headlines are appearing about the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, the war U.S. troops won in 2008. Bloomberg News notes, "Al-Qaeda Fighters Take Fallujah as Iraqi Army Attacks." The Washington Post reports that an "Al-Qaeda force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq."
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, the headline writers are apparently more interested in making sure that as few readers as possible take an interest in the story, based on the non-descriptive headline they have chosen to employ:
On Thursday night’s edition, the PBS NewsHour held a discussion about President Obama’s prospects for making 2014 more successful than 2013. Of course, the panelists defined success as the president enacting more of his left-of-center agenda.
Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal posed a “really interesting strategic choice” that he thought the White House had to make: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Obamacare's designers appear to have assumed that life is completely static. As far as they're concerned, people who are single don't marry, women don't have children, married couples don't sometimes divorce, individuals and families don't move, and workers don't change jobs. I say that because HealthCare.gov will from all appearances not accommodate any of the aforementioned common life changes. Seriously. (I'm not about to test that assertion myself; the site is still hopelessly not secure, remember?)
A very weak headline at an Associated Press report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar carried at Yahoo News attempted to limit the damage, perhaps in hopes that smartphone users and others won't click through and see how awful and far more sweeping the problems are (bolds are mine):
Of the three major networks, only NBC ignored a major new study with a dire warning about ObamaCare: The President's health care law will likely make things worse in emergency rooms, not better. CBS investigated the story on Thursday's Evening News and Friday's This Morning. ABC allowed a mere 20 seconds on Good Morning America, but still beat NBC's silence.
On Evening News, Sharyl Attkisson revealed, "Despite hopes that expanding Medicaid would decrease expensive and unnecessary hospital visits because the poor would have access to doctors and preventative care, today's study finds the opposite." Attkisson featured MIT professor and co-author Amy Finkelstein. She explained, "What Medicaid does is it makes not only primary care now free for individuals but also the emergency room. And as I teach my undergraduates, when you lower the price of something people tend to buy more of it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
A recurring theme during the Obama presidency has been that, despite the distinct sense he gives of a man who sees himself as “above it all,” the president is a regular down-to-earth Joe. His efforts to connect with the hoi polloi have not always succeeded. His most recent attempt, enrolling in Obamacare, was sullied by the revelation that he didn’t actually dirty his own hands navigating the exchanges — his “staff” enrolled for him — and the gesture was purely symbolic anyway.
Harold Simmons, the Texas billionaire who has served as chairman of the board of the Media Research Center, died Saturday. If you've enjoyed any of MRC's work over the years, one major force keeping the televisions on was Mr. Simmons. So we were especially disgusted (if not shocked) when the New York Times obituary carried the headline "Harold Simmons Dies at 82; Backed Swift Boat Ads."
That’s not a positive for the Times: MRC’s Clay Waters documented in their news pages in 2004, they used the word “unsubstantiated” next to “Swift boat ads” on no less than 20 occasions (but never for the phony National Guard charges against President Bush.) Times obituary writer Emma Fitzsimmons used the word "discredited" after she began with the "attack ad" politics:
On the Monday, December 30, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Richard Wolffe -- executive editor of MSNBC.com -- mocked "ObamaCare haters," tagging them as the "biggest losers of the year," as he appeared as a panel member to select awards in various news categories for the year 2013.
As he suggested that the reduction in glitches at Healthcare.Gov solves ObamaCare's problems, Wolffe compared opponents to people still "fighting the Second World War on a lost island."
After host O'Donnell asked who was the "biggest loser of the year," Wolffe began his gloating:
Barack Obama's favorability rating is in the toilet, there are crucial midterm elections next year that could decide the fate of his presidency, and what do you think his pollster wishes from the media in 2014?
According toPolitico's Mike Allen, Joel Benenson hopes "playbookers" will "[g]o one year without reporting any public polling data."
Appearing on the Monday, December 30, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart charged that, in the year 2013, Republicans had "told" women, young people and minorities to "go bleep yourself" as he divulged his choices for "worst political move" of the year.
Drudge's headline linking to a Politico item by Carrie Budoff Brown and John Allen about the Obama administration's plans to aggressively identify and promote Obamacare successes in 2014 ("White House Plans to Step up Obamacare Propaganda in 2014") is far better than the tired one Politico itself used ("White House looks to spread good Obamacare news").
What Team Obama plans to pursue will be propaganda, because as it identifies and "spread(s) good news," it's going to have to ignore a far larger volume of bad news. An NBC investigative report (video at link; HT Political Outcast) two days ago about the situation at a Michigan car dealership makes that point about as well as it can be made (bolds are mine):
On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton asserted that Republicans "don't care" about the unemployed whose unemployment benefits are expiring and went on to accuse Republicans of having a "heartless ideology that says if you're out of work, you're out of luck."
As NewsBusters previously reported, the New York Times on Sunday published a controversial front page piece about the events surrounding last September's attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It immediately evoked harsh criticism from House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) who said on Fox News Sunday, "[T]hat story is just not accurate."
On Monday, Congressman Peter King (R. N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism, shared Rogers' disgust with the Times while telling Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg the paper is trying to "help Hillary Clinton and also to take an issue away from Republicans no matter who the Democratic nominee is" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Since the left-wing nonsense coming out of Hollywood can be just as obnoxious as anything you’d find on MSNBC, the MRC’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2013” once again includes our annual Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity.
Past winners of this prestigious prize include: actress Jessica Lange in 2002 (“I despise him [George W. Bush]. I despise his administration and everything they stand for.”); The View’s Rosie O'Donnell in 2007 (“I just want to say something: 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?”); and actor/director Rob Reiner in 2010 (“My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader, because all they’re selling is fear and anger and that’s all Hitler sold.”)
This year’s winners and corresponding videos after the jump.
The New York Times on Sunday published a highly controversial report claiming the September 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, did not involve al Qaeda, and was as the Administration originally stated a spontaneous demonstration in response to an American-made anti-Islamic video.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) completely refuted the article saying, "[T]hat story is just not accurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The White House and its media minions want you to believe that everything is going swimmingly with ObamaCare since repairs were made to Healthcare.gov.
Quite the contrary, Iowa's KCCI TV reported Friday that the 16,000 people in that state who applied for health insurance via that website need to reapply due to a delay in paperwork (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR sports-and-culture correspondent Mike Pesca appeared on MSNBC's "Up With Steve Kornacki" on Sunday to discuss the Winter Olympics in Russia and how Obama is sending gay Olympians and gay tennis legend Billie Jean King instead of going himself. Kornacki asked Pesca "What is your sense of what the atmosphere is going to be like for gay athletes? And just in general, the atmosphere is going to be like at these games?"
Pesca began by mocking America: "Yeah, well, they`re going to have protest zones which seems un-American -- except, you know, America has used them for political conventions and stuff." Then he turned to quoting how Obama's decision is a "brilliant snub" of "soft power" that leaves Vladimir Putin sputtering at Obama's cleverness.
Thursday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC displayed a classic example of how liberals fail to grasp the basic logic of people's economic decisions or, even when they are aware of economic principles, they still find reasons to be dismissive of a predictable outcome that goes against how they wish the world would function.
As host O'Donnell convened a group to discuss an article by Carl Gibson of ReaderSupportedNews.org about why it makes more economic sense for a young, healthy person to pay a $300 fine than to spend thousands of dollars for insurance since they cannot be denied coverage for a preexisting condition later, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein explained how ObamaCare could result in there being "no system that is affordable to take care of" elderly and sick people.
During Thursday afternoon's edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports, the MSNBC host joined NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd and USA Today reporter Susan Page in stating that the troubled implementation of the Affordable Care Act has diminished the political status of Barack Obama and resulted in negative poll results from people all across the country.
The discussion was part of a “year-in-review” segment, when Mitchell claimed that the “unhelpful” insurance industry has generated “a big piece” of the ObamaCare program's troubles because, as Page noted, some of the negative developments that are taking place “are not related” to the Affordable Care Act. Todd agreed, noting that the program is “clearly being used by the health-care industry to hide bad – to hide unpopular moves.”