On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
How could a liberal actually be upset with the liberal media for their coverage of the 2012 presidential election? Well, Daniel Froomkin of The Huffington Post (formerly of The Washington Post) is furious. His complaint carried the headline “How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign.”
What would that story be? “Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.”
Just like NPR, the PBS NewsHour on Thursday night invited on liberals Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein to pound away at the "extremism" of the Republican Party (Tea Party Edition). Propose defunding public broadcasting, and this is how the Empire strikes back.
Thomas Mann unleashed on the GOP: "They are ideologically extreme, contemptuous of centuries worth of policy, economics and social; scornful of compromise, no use much for facts, evidence, and science, and really not accepting of the political legitimacy of the other party." As if Mann is sounding like he believes in the political legitimacy of the Republicans?
Alex Wagner made an eye-popping remark on her MSNBC program on Wednesday, as she hinted that she agreed with former Obama spokesman Bill Burton's assertion that Ronald Reagan would feel out of place in today's GOP. When Burton claimed that "Reagan wouldn't have a chance in this Republican primary right now," Wagner stunningly replied, "I think he'd be a Democrat probably" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The anchor, a former employee of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, also touted a quote from Thomas Mann of The Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of AEI, who claim in an upcoming book that the Republican Party has become "an insurgent outlier- ideologically extreme...scornful of compromise...and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
NPR marked Christmas morning by whacking at the Tea Party. NPR anchor Audie Cornish handed over her Weekend Edition Sunday microphone to American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein, who gave the Tea Party a B if the goal was to “try and keep government from functioning,” but in “actually trying to make things happen in a constructive fashion, we’re down in the D-minus level, and that’s being generous in the Christmas season.”
Ornstein was much happier a year ago. On the morning of December 23, 2010, he told NPR’s David Welna the country had the “most productive lame-duck session” since the 1940s and Welna added “Ornstein says this lame-duck session was a fitting climax for an amazingly productive 111th Congress.”
Norman Ornstein is a long-time congressional expert (and favorite TV talking head) who works for the American Enterprise Institute. We've established that NBC anchor Brian Williams was citing him after the president's last press conference in support of how historic and wonderful and "productive" this Democrat-dominated Congress has been.
But the fact that AEI has long been a right-leaning think tank can cause reporters to use Ornstein to suggest "even" conservatives are hailing the accomplishments of liberals -- even if it's obvious from his sugary "sundae" quotes that Ornstein is no one's idea of a Limbaugh ditto-head. On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR reporter David Welna played this trick on listeners:
DAVID WELNA: Congress has indeed outdone itself in the final days of big Democratic majorities controlling both the House and Senate.
NORM ORNSTEIN (American Enterprise Institute): To me, hands down, this is the most productive lame-duck session since we started to have serious lame-duck sessions in the 1940s.
WELNA: That's Norm Ornstein. He's a long-time congressional observer at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank. Ornstein says this lame-duck session was a fitting climax for an amazingly productive 111th Congress.