Debates

By Clay Waters | October 17, 2012 | 4:39 PM EDT

Wednesday's banner New York Times headline on the second presidential debate was studiously neutral: "Obama and Romney Mount Biting Attacks in Debate Rematch." Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny's underlying report played it straight, as did Peter Baker in his front-page "news analysis," under the punchy headline "Punch, Punch, Punch."

But while the Obama cheerleading was muted in print, Times journalists let their slant show during live fact-check of the debate, and especially on the TimesCast. Baker wrote for Wednesday's edition:

By Noel Sheppard | October 17, 2012 | 4:31 PM EDT

"She committed an act of journalistic terror or malpractice last night. If there were any journalistic standards, what she did last night would have been the equivalent of blowing up her career like a suicide bomber."

So said conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh Wednesday regarding Candy Crowley's shameful behavior during the previous night's presidential debate (video follows courtesy Daily Rushbo with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):

By Matt Hadro | October 17, 2012 | 2:43 PM EDT

While CBS This Morning hosts served Vice President Joe Biden softball questions on mostly horserace issues and debate optics, they challenged Paul Ryan to defend his voting record.

"Does Governor Romney believe the President was right to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law? You voted against that act, didn't you?" pressed co-host Anthony Mason. In contrast, when Biden was asked about the Libya fiasco at the very end of his interview, Norah O'Donnell molded it into a more friendly question.

By Clay Waters | October 17, 2012 | 2:12 PM EDT

The second 2012 presidential debate hosted by Candy Crowley got the full court press from the New York Times, with live fact-checking online and a 40-minute TimesCast wrap-up, that found Times reporters wrongly defending Obama and bashing Mitt Romney on a fiery exchange on Libya. Times journalists were highly supportive of Barack Obama's performance and critical of the "peevish" Mitt Romney, who "was arguably showing disrespect for the president," as Jackie Calmes insisted.

Times journalists also falsely insisted that President Obama had called the Benghazi attacks "an act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after, and that Mitt Romney had made a "serious gaffe" when he suggested Obama had not. Yet in fact, as two other Times journalists softly pointed out later in the videocast, Obama was only speaking generally when he said in his Rose Garden speech that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation." Of the Benghazi assault, Managing Editor Richard Berke admitted that Obama "didn't say 'it was a terrorist attack.' It was more of a vague quote."

By Tom Blumer | October 17, 2012 | 1:21 PM EDT

Just before 1 p.m. ET, Rush Limbaugh said the following about CNN's Candy Crowley and her performance as "moderator" last night in the second presidential debate: "In the real world, she would have committed career suicide last night."

Well, Rush, don't discount her ability to self-immolate just yet. The Washington Post reports that Crowley is backtracking on her backtrack (HT PJ Tatler):

By Rich Noyes | October 17, 2012 | 1:09 PM EDT

The liberal tilt of questions selected by CNN’s Candy Crowley was so obvious, even the gang on NBC’s Today — hardly a conservative bastion — thought it remarkable. Correspondent Chuck Todd observed Wednesday morning: “The President also benefitted from many questions posed by the so-called undecided voters, covering issues near and dear to his liberal base....

Going into Tuesday night’s debate, the MRC calculated that since 1992, moderators have called upon voters with a liberal agenda twice as often as those with a conservative agenda. The citizens selected by Crowley matched that tilt exactly, with six pro-Obama/liberal-themed questions, vs. three pro-Romney questions, and two others scored as neutral.

Even worse, Crowley interjected herself into the debate to validate President Obama’s erroneous claim that “the day after the attack [in Libya], I stood in the Rose Garden and told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror....”

By Kyle Drennen | October 17, 2012 | 12:35 PM EDT

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?"

By Noel Sheppard | October 17, 2012 | 11:59 AM EDT

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney first acknowledged on September 20 that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack.

Coming eight days after the President's Rose Garden remarks on the subject, this appears to be in stark contrast to what he and CNN's Candy Crowley claimed in Tuesday's presidential debate.

The following is from Carney's September 20 press gaggle:

By Tom Blumer | October 17, 2012 | 11:48 AM EDT

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:

By Noel Sheppard | October 17, 2012 | 10:52 AM EDT

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):

By Noel Sheppard | October 17, 2012 | 9:24 AM EDT

If you needed any more evidence of just how corrupt America's media are, consider the following.

According to the Washington Times, during Tuesday's presidential debate, reporters actually applauded when President Obama made a snarky comment about Mitt Romney's wealth.

By Noel Sheppard | October 17, 2012 | 8:43 AM EDT

At the end of Tuesday's presidential debate, a plethora of MSNBC commentators enthusiastically called Barack Obama the winner.

Quite deliciously, MSNBC later aired a post-debate focus group in which participants were more impressed with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's performance (video follows with commentary):