The media's ongoing contribution to the Obama reelection effort is fairly obvious: omit or downplay news stories and polling data that cast the Obama administration in a negative light while hyping trivial Romney gaffes or media-manufactured tempests-in-teapots in order to focus the election narrative on the Republican candidate's deficiencies - real or or imagined -- rather than the incumbent Democrat's record.
In an interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up the liberal congresswoman to rip into Mitt Romney over a hidden camera video of him at a fundraiser: "Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for it. I'm sure Democrats view it as a gift from above, but do you think with the big issues facing our country, this is something that should be a substantive part of our campaign?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Predictably, Pelosi was eager for the topic to be an issue in the presidential race: "Absolutely. This is fundamental." She slammed Romney for having "demonstrated the demeaning attitude that...[he] has toward a large segment of the American people." In an odd slip of the tongue, she referred to "Governor Obama," but Guthrie never corrected her.
David Corn of Mother Jones magazine has claimed that the audio and video recording of Mitt Romney taken surreptitiously at a fundraiser was complete...until it was revealed that it had a critical gap of up to two minutes. At first Corn refused to admit to any gap until undeniable proof was presented to him by William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection:
There is a gap in the recording immediately after Romney’s now famous discussion of the 47% of voters who don’t pay taxes. The cut in the audio and video comes while Romney is in mid-sentence, so we actually do not have the full audio of what Romney said on the subject.
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement on Fox News's On the Record Tuesday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Speaking with host Greta Van Susteren about how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's remarks concerning the 47 percent of the nation that don't pay federal income taxes were spot on, Buchanan called Barack Obama a "Fabian Socialist" and "a drug dealer of welfare."
If whoever invokes Hitler first in an argument loses, then place an 'L' next to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson's name tonight . . .
On this evening's Ed Show, slamming Mitt Romney's comments about the 47%, Robinson suggested that Romney sees himself as one of the "ubermenschen." That of course was, by way of Nietzche, one of Hitler's favorite phrases. Video after the jump.
Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu on Tuesday took New York Times columnist David Brooks to task for his Romney-bashing piece "Thurston Howell Romney."
In the middle of a heated debate with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell about the Republican presidential nominee's comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans that don't pay taxes, Sununu asserted, "David Brooks ought to be ashamed of himself for recategorizing what Mitt Romney said" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After CNN pounded away at the latest media-manufactured Mitt Romney gaffe, CNN's Brooke Baldwin remarked on Tuesday that the campaign faces a "tsunami" of "myriad issues."
"Can they right this?" she questioned the Romney campaign's ability to weather the media storm, adding that they face "a tsunami, if you add up the myriad issues within the campaign." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Let's see. The supposed consensus at Real Clear Politics shows Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama by less than three points. As shown yesterday, one of the most recent five polls used in RCP's calculations from CBS and the New York Times is so cooked that it weighted registered Democrats over registered Republicans by 35%-22% -- so you can easily knock more than a point from Obama's lead for that item alone. Rasmussen has Romney up by two, and Gallup has gone from Obama +6 to Obama +1 in just a week.
So naturally, according to John Whitesides at Reuters, it's Romney's campaign which is "reeling" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu made a marvelous observation about the current hyperventilation going on in the press concerning Mitt Romney's just revealed remarks concerning the 47 percent of Americans that don't pay federal income taxes.
Appearing on Fox News's America Live, Sununu said, "You have a liberal media out there is looking for the tiniest little wart that they can blow up into a giant cancer" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Norah O'Donnell played up the possible negative impact of the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Regarding the elderly vote, O'Donnell asked 2008 McCain presidential campaign manager Rick Davis, "Did Mitt Romney just insult many of the people who end up voting Republican?"
Co-anchor Charlie Rose led the interview of Davis with a question on the impact of the remarks, and threw in the reported splits in the presidential nominee's campaign: "So, how damaging is this, and all these reports of dissension within the Romney camp?" O'Donnell followed up with her "insult" hint about Romney, as she cited figures from the liberal Tax Policy Center.
In an interview on CNN's Starting Point, Romney Campaign adviser Bay Buchanan gave an "indictment" of the media for paying more attention to a statement by a candidate than the foreign policy of the sitting President.
"That's an indictment on the media, Soledad, that they would think that some little comment by the candidate is more important than a policy, an entire foreign policy of the President of the United States," said Buchanan. And CNN's Anderson Cooper proved that argument true as he led his show the previous night with tape of Romney and not a report that the U.S. may have had advance warning on a deadly terrorist attack in Libya. [Video below the break.]
Wrapping up a report for Tuesday's NBC Today about the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff laughably proclaimed: "The source who made the secret video insisted to NBC News that the original motivation was not political but simple curiosity, to see what Romney would say in this unscripted setting." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After promoting that assertion, Isikoff added: "But after watching the tape, the source decided the public should hear what Romney said and was encouraged to release it after talks with an Atlanta political researcher names James Carter IV, the grandson of Jimmy Carter..." Isikoff didn't question the fact that Romney made the comments in May but that the video was just released 50 days before the election.
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford stood out as the only Big Three network journalist to play a clip of Barack Obama's infamous "cling to guns and religion" barb at conservatives, as she covered the recently-released secret recordings of Mitt Romney remarking about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government."
Crawford remarked that Obama "spurred similar controversy" with the 2008 comment, but neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today mentioned it in their coverage of the Romney video recordings, which were released by the left-wing magazine Mother Jones. [audio of Crawford available here; video below the jump]
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made one hyperbolic doomsday declaration after another about Mitt Romney's campaign: "This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember....Unemployment is still 8% plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough frantically asserted: "[Republicans] are so depressed this morning, they just can't believe that Mitt Romney is blowing a race against a president who they believe has mismanaged the economy terribly over the past four years.....It is too much for many Republicans to handle." As the segment concluded, the former GOP Congressman went so far as to tell co-host Savannah Guthrie: "I'm going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon."
The hosts and reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday launched a hyperbolic attack on Mitt Romney's "secret tapes," trumpeting the "bombshell" that is sending "shock waves" through the campaign.
The ABC program devoted three segments to the release of tapes of the presidential candidate talking at a fund-raiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly began the show: "Breaking now, Mitt Romney caught on tape at a private fund-raiser. His candid comments causing shock waves." The host intoned that "the campaign [is] rushing to contain the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Just how bad is the media's track record this election season? On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper led his show with a manufactured Mitt Romney controversy instead of news that the U.S. may have had advance warning on deadly terrorist attacks.
Here's how Cooper started his show: "On Libya, late word on what American diplomats may have been told about the threat from Muslim extremists, terrorists, just three days before the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi. We're going to have that, but first, what could be a campaign blockbuster, what Mitt Romney said to big money donors about President Obama voters when he didn't think cameras were rolling." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Clearly, they didn't like what a properly weighted result would have told them, which is that Mitt Romney is in a deadlock with Barack Obama if one uses Gallup's party affiliation numbers from before Democratic National Convention, or that he's up by five points if one opts for Rasmussen's affiliation numbers. In their latest poll, with registered voters, CBS/NYT not only oversampled Democrats, but they took the number of actual responses and further weighted them towards Dems, as seen after the jump.
Keep up the good work, Rachel, even when it's not at all what you intended.
In the wake of last week's deadly attack against the US consulate in Benghazi, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow helpfully provided Mitt Romney with plenty of damning information for use against President Obama in their upcoming debates. (Video clip after page break)
MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson made a comment on the Martin Bashir show Monday that left the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart totally speechless.
Talking about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's position on abortion and marriage, Dyson said, "He needs to speak to his fellow Republicans whose numbers ain’t so hot in that regard, and who watch more porn and go to more strip clubs than other people" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Like their colleagues on NBC's Today show, Monday's CBS This Morning forwarded a recent Politico report about supposed "turmoil inside the Romney campaign," which was stuffed with unnamed sources. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted "this finger-pointing that's going on...and whether or not they mismanaged the messaging in terms of Romney's big convention speech." John Dickerson hyped that "what's extraordinary about this, is that it's all happening in public."
O'Donnell also touted "four different national polls that show that Obama now has the lead on the issue of taxes over Romney. I mean, that has traditionally been where most people trust Republicans more than Democrats."
"The public is waiting for Mitt Romney to say, 'I've had enough of you folks,'" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney this morning. The Media Research Center founder and president noted that unlike President Obama, Romney actually entertained questions from the media after his September 11 statement, where he was subjected to six different iterations of the same question about the appropriateness of his statement the evening prior.
As we now know because of a hot microphone catching an exchange among reporters before the presser, that was a planned ambush by the journalists, Bozell argued [watch the full video below the page break].
On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Howard Kurtz granted the media mantra that Mitt Romney was quick to politicize the Mideast embassy attacks, and added, “But for the next, what, 36, 48, 72 hours, the press made him the issue. Was that fair?” Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page said, “Well, yes...what happened here was quite legitimate.”
Kurtz also talked about whether it looked "a little unsavory" for reporters to be plotting on an open mic how they would all make sure Romney was asked if he "regretted" attacking Obama. New Yorker political writer Ryan Lizza tried to claim it wasn't "conspiring," it was being "a little bit strategic with your colleagues" and should be done more often: [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Monday felt the need to defend Barack Obama from criticism that his policies are at least partially responsible for the recent anti-American hostilities transpiring in the Middle East and other parts of the globe.
During a heated debate with Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Starting Point, O'Brien got a much-needed education on the President's "apology tour" (video follows with CNN transcript and commentary):
Pushing the narrative of Mitt Romney losing the presidential election on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on an article in Politico that "details squabbling among Romney advisers, a lot of blind quotes, anonymous quotes." She turned to political director Chuck Todd and wondered: "Is this a fairly ominous sign for the campaign, that they're already blaming each other anonymously in print?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd proclaimed: "Well, this certainly doesn't happen in winning campaigns, right, Savannah? This is the type of thing you read about losing campaigns. It reads like a pre-bituary, if you will, as if people are looking to see who's going to get the blame for blowing the Republican Party's best chance at knocking off an incumbent president in nearly 30 years."
On September 10, in a writeup which should qualify them for immediate entry into the Journalistm Hall of Shame, the Associated Press's Julie Pace and three other assisting reporters, acting as virtual stenographers for the Obama administration and water-carriers for his reelection campaign, declared that "It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention," while insisting that Obama has the presumptive upper hand in such matters.
Oops. Excerpts from their write-up follow the jump. It would be funny if it weren't so tragically sad (bolds are mine):
After the anti-American hostilities in the Middle East this week, one would think it's pretty obvious why it's in our interest to prevent Muslim extremists from getting nuclear weapons.
Apparently not, for CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer actually asked Sunday, "What is the difference in Iran having a nuclear weapon and Russia having a nuclear weapon or China or Pakistan?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday actually referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "the leader of the Jewish people."
This happened during a Meet the Press interview that included the host vociferously grilling Netanyahu about whether Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was correct when he said, “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the PBS NewsHour weekly pundit roundup on Friday, they reviewed the media's assault on Mitt Romney with the usual NewsHour balance: liberal Washington Post columnist (and former reporter) Ruth Marcus gave Obama an A and Romney an F, and said Romney's remarks were "really disgraceful" and his "doubling down was just unconscionable."
And the alleged conservative, David Brooks agreed, with less passion about Romney's argument: "it was not good." He also joked that Romney's campaign is over. He knows how to please the bosses at PBS. Marcus took the first shot: