Displaying a stunning double standard on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gave Vice President Joe Biden plenty of room to applaud President Obama's debate performance, while fellow co-host Matt Lauer hammered Congressman Paul Ryan on issue after issue.
In her first question to Biden, Guthrie wondered if the President had "repaired the damage from his lackluster performance in the first debate," then followed up with: "Is the President's strategy here to beat Romney by disqualifying him in the minds of voters?" Meanwhile, Lauer began his interview with Ryan by asking essentially the same question: "A lot of the reporting this morning says that the President was the aggressor and may have won back some of the momentum lost after the first debate. Would you agree with that?"
In my Monday post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) about the "Million Muppet March," the astroturfing Obama-supportive operation being managed by Michael Bellavia -- a gentleman whose animation firm "just so happens" to have Sesame Workshop as a major client -- I questioned how he and the rest of the group can be so sure that they "can just use the Muppet characters ... at a brazenly political event without worrying about consequences."
My take on this morning's "march"-related news is that "march" organizers have quietly been prevented from doing so. That's because they're not calling it the "Million Muppet March" any more. It's now the "Million Puppet March." The remarkably incurious Associated Press, in a brief report this morning (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes), unskeptically relayed the group's pathetic name-change excuse:
Candy Crowley is rightfully coming under fire for acting like a biased referee in Tuesday night's presidential debate.
On CNN's Starting Point Wednesday, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut.) scolded Crowley saying, "It wasn't necessarily your place to try to be fact-checker" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Mitt Romney senior adviser John Sununu had another contentious encounter with CNN's Soledad O'Brien Wednesday.
At the conclusion of their lengthy Starting Point segment about Tuesday's presidential debate, O'Brien thanked her guest for coming with Sununu responding, "It's always good to come on the groupie channel" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
During Tuesday's post-debate coverage on CNN, as the panel discussed moderator Candy Crowley giving cover to President Obama's attempt to defend his initial flawed response to the Benghazi terrorist attack, CNN correspondent John King blamed former Governor Mitt Romney for giving Crowley the opening to undermine the GOP candidate's criticism of Obama for taking so long to recognize that the attack was a premeditated act of terrorism.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m., CNN anchor Anderson Cooper had raised the subject as he defended Romney's reasoning and suggested that Obama was taking himself out of context to cover his own tracks. Cooper:
A little over a half-hour before the debate, Matthews went on a tirade against the pro-life movement. His fury mostly centered on Rep. Paul Ryan, whose pro-life views, according to Matthews are akin to Sharia law that is practiced and advocated by radical Islamists. He also sounded the alarms that the Republican ticket may want to “operate [the United States] under a religious theory.” After exposing the theocratic conspiracy of the Republicans and the Sharia enemies within – Matthews came off as utterly unhinged.
Debate moderator Candy Crowley admitted on CNN's Debate Night in America that Governor Romney was “right in the main” but “picked the wrong word” on the Obama administration’s immediate response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
Immediately following the second presidential debate, Crowley was repeatedly asked for her thoughts on what she had just witnessed first-hand at Hofstra University. On everyone's mind was the foreign policy discussion between the two candidates, in which Crowley defended the president for what he said in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12 about the Benghazi consulate attack that occurred the day before. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
At the conclusion of the second presidential debate on October 16, Chris Matthews could hardly control himself when he confidently declared that President Obama "clearly" won the debate. In fact, he proclaimed that President Obama had "punched Romney hard"during their ninety-minutes showdown. It sure sounds like the rhetoric of a man who stated that "all that came before" in American history –"led to" Obama.
Minutes after the second presidential debate ended on Tuesday, ABC pundits Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile brushed off the three-plus minute advantage of speaking time President Obama had over Mitt Romney under CNN's Candy Crowley's moderation. Dowd asserted that this imbalance would lead to "conservatives and Republicans attacking Candy Crowley, and when that happens, that is a sure sign that President Obama won this."
Brazile seconded this taunt: "When Republicans lose debates, they always find something wrong with the moderator or the referee." The two ABC panelists didn't give such an assessment after the first debate on October 3, even though liberals, such as Howard Fineman, attacked moderator Jim Lehrer.
After embarrassing herself with her incompetently biased attempt to “fact check” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate, CNN correspondent Candy Crowley has already began trying to save her shattered credibility. In a panel discussion afterward, a fast-talking Crowley tried to spin away her offensive conduct by admitting that Romney was indeed correct in casting blame on the Obama Administration for falsely blaming an anti-Islamic video for attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“It was one of those moments, and I could even feel that here, you know, when you say something you’re not expecting,” Crowley insisted, admitting she simply couldn’t help herself from unprofessionally inserting herself into a heated dispute between presidential candidates.
CNN correspondent and second presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley disgraced herself tonight, repeatedly intervening to save a floundering President Obama and showing why many Americans were rightfully suspicious of her ability to moderate a presidential debate fairly.
Her most outrageous act tonight was her incorrect seconding of Obama's statement that he declared the Libya terrorist attacks to be "terror." While Obama did indeed use the word, this is not what he meant by it. Instead, he was simply referring to "acts of terror." There was no mention of Al Qaeda or any of its affiliates with respect to the actual attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
Conceivably the biggest moment in Tuesday's presidential debate was when moderator Candy Crowley injected herself into the discussion siding with Barack Obama on remarks he claimed he made in the Rose Garden following the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Long-time Democrat campaign strategist Joe Trippi said on Fox News shortly after the debate's conclusion that this looked like "the ref just threw the flag" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted the blame for the avoidable tragedy that occurred in Benghazi last month, one would think the media would be a little more critical of an administration that initially tried to cover it up with misinformation. While this sounds like a logical presumption, it hasn't been the case. Clinton was applauded for "falling on her sword" and taking responsibility for failing to protect those who were killed in the attack on the consulate.
MSNBC's Martin Bashir and his contributors didn't seem to think an apology was necessary however, blaming the Republicans in Congress for imposing cuts on foreign aid and embassy protection instead. In other words, it was all their fault and the Romney campaign has no right bringing it up. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
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Former debate moderator (and liberal journalist) Carole Simpson has been making the media rounds before Tuesday's presidential debate, giving President Obama the edge and implying that the standards for debate moderators are sexist. She continued that on Tuesday's Starting Point.
She gave Obama the town hall-style debate advantage as a "people person" and "touchy-feely." In contrast, she cited criticism of Romney "that he doesn't relate to ordinary people." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Anderson Cooper cited the liberal Tax Policy Center debunking Mitt Romney's tax plan on Monday, without noting that one of the authors admitted the plan could still work with different assumptions. He waited until the end of his report to admit that the studies in question were "making assumptions."
"[A] bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there's really no way of making the numbers work, that is, unless the middle class pays more," Cooper reported on the night before Tuesday's presidential debate. That is misleading, since the study admitted reliance on "certain assumptions" and one of its authors said the plan could work. The TPC report was released in August.
In a fawning softball interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Ryan Seacrest was eager to know how she helps the President during debates: "What did you say to him when the two of you walked backstage after the first debate?...Have you spoken to him about the prep?...does he make eye contact with you? Does he look at you for encouragement?"
The First Lady explained: "I'm perched. I'm looking at him. I'm smiling. I'm giving a thumbs up if he can see it....I assume that he can, so I make sure that I'm always giving him that positive love."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, during a panel discussion previewing the second presidential debate, co-host Matt Lauer mandated that Mitt Romney answer charges that he's moderated his positions: "How does Mitt Romney answer that question tonight of, 'Why have you moved to the middle, have become more moderate in these closing weeks?'"
Former McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt rejected Lauer's assertion: "I don't think he has to answer that question." Lauer immediately interrupted: "What if he's asked that question?" Former Democratic governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm joined Lauer in ganging up on Schmidt: "Oh, I think he does. He absolutely does."
The New York Times Sunday Styles profile by Amy Chozick of Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, "A Messenger Who Does the Shooting," reads as a bit behind on current events (many Sunday profile-type pieces are written several days in advance).
It comes off like a snapshot from before Cutter shamelessly politicized the Libya attack last Thursday by suggesting the only reason anyone cared about Benghazi was the Romney-Ryan campaign. And Chozick must have written the profile during that extremely brief time when the Cutter-inspired emphasis on Big Bird seemed hip and clever, not desperate and out of touch.
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham doesn't think the liberal media's bar is very high for Barack Obama to get wildly favorable reviews after Tuesday's upcoming presidential debate with Mitt Romney.
Appearing on Fox & Friends early Tuesday morning, Ingraham said, "He can sit there playing Angry Birds on his iPhone and I think they’ll go, 'Oh wow, masterful performance'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tonight’s town hall-style presidential debate will ostensibly feature questions from undecided voters, but the evening’s agenda will really be decided by the moderator, as CNN’s Candy Crowley will select which of the more than roughly 80 voters in the room will actually get a chance to talk to the candidates.
Reviewing the five previous town hall debates, the journalist-moderators have tended to skew the agenda of these so-called citizen forums to the liberal side of the spectrum, but not always. Overall, questions have been twice as likely to favor liberal causes versus conservative ones.
Of the four liberal-media moderators selected by both parties at the Commission for Presidential Debates, CNN's Candy Crowley is the fairest. She's a longtime political-news pro, but that doesn't mean that in her long tenure at CNN, she doesn't have a "paper trail" (video trail) of liberal bias.
On Fox News this afternoon, James Pinkerton cited MRC’s research [see below] and said “I think things look pretty good for Obama.” Alan Colmes shot back, “Didn't the New York Times profile yesterday show that Candy Crowley was likely a Republican and worked for Dole or something? Colmes was oh, so wrong.
Liberal journalist Carole Simpson is at it again. The former debate moderator returned to CNN and cast doubt on Mitt Romney's expectations while building up President Obama's, on Monday.
"I would have to say he [Obama] would have the edge in this debate," she mused. "One of Mitt Romney's problems throughout the campaign season has been does he relate to ordinary people?" she asked before adding "I'm not sure he can." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Monday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd analyzed the state of the presidential race following a series of new national polls showing a slight Romney lead: "Well, look, the first debate really did sort of shift things....the numbers I've seen, and in talking to both campaigns, something shifted fundamentally."
However, only four days earlier, on Thursday's Today, Todd argued the debate was "not as helpful to Romney as he might have hoped," leading co-host Savannah Guthrie to conclude: "Alright, so the debate had maybe not as much of an impact." That was as the ABC and CBS morning shows highlighted Romney's clear momentum.
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien just can’t stop herself from appearing like she works for the White House rather than the supposedly most trusted name in news.
This was so apparent on Monday’s Starting Point that guest Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, asked her, “Am I debating with the President's campaign?” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):