"The thing I noticed... the smell change. You can smell the fuel. There's a very large carbon footprint out here. Were we taxing this, it would be expensive," Fox New Channel anchor Shepard Smith quipped to colleague Neil Cavuto, in live coverage from Washington shortly before 4 p.m. on Inauguration Day.
Smith and Cavuto were watching the slow-moving presidential limousine make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the presidential parade reviewing stand.
During Tuesday morning’s inaugural coverage on MSNBC, when spectators were heard booing President Bush as he was introduced, Chris Matthews seemed to become uncomfortable and criticized the protest as "bad form," remarking, "Don’t do that. Don’t boo, don’t boo, don’t boo." But minutes later, when protesters could be heard singing "Hey, hey, goodbye," co-anchor Keith Olbermann seemed to suggest that he was only bothered by the behavior because it distracted attention from Michelle Obama’s introduction. Olbermann: "Far be it for me to have been critical of anyone critical of this President, obviously, but, unfortunately, during that demonstration, something of the introduction of Mrs. Obama was lost because people were singing the, they still are, the ‘Hey, hey,’ song from various sporting events over the year, towards the 43rd President."
Ironically, just a minute earlier, Matthews seemed to praise his network for embracing Obama’s "change," and remarked that the spectators at the inauguration were part of MSNBC’s audience.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the January 20 inaugural coverage on MSNBC, which aired at about 11:32 a.m.:
Sitting in a Washington bar with the Morning Joe crew on MSNBC Tuesday morning, former NBC anchor grew emotional remembering the 1960s. "I get very emotional. It has been hard for me to walk through the streets. And I think that the day is going to be very emotional." Brokaw even grew bold enough to tell the "bigots and rednecks" he met in the Sixties "when we were evolving as a country" to suffer through the Obama inauguration: "Take this. You know?"
The Morning Joe crew was discussing how Barack Obama was so different than past administrations in their lack of drama and in-fighting:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: As I was explaining to my wife, as my conservative brethren continued to beat me up, 'Why do you say, you know -- this guy is not going to be a leftist, how do you know he will not?' -- I said because of the people he is surrounds himself with. They are steady people. They are professional. A lot of ugliness you have seen in White Houses over the past 16 years, absent with this group.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in his latest heart-palpitation over the new era of Barack Obama, inadvertently let the cat out of the bag regarding his network’s transparent to court a left-wing audience.
“This is the network that has opened its heart to change -- to change and its possibilities. Let’s be honest about it. These -- these people watch this network out here,” Matthews gushed Tuesday morning.
Matthews’s co-anchor and fellow liberal Democrat Keith Olbermann, jokingly seconded his observation: “He’s Chris Matthews and he approved that message.” Matthews then made an indirect slam at Obama’s detractors: “We’re not crotchety about change -- stuffy” [audio available here].
Matthews’s latest gush came just before the bottom half of the 11 am Eastern hour of MSNBC’s coverage of the inauguration. He first remarked on the apparent giddiness of the mass of people in attendance for the swearing-in of the 44th president: “Well, there’s one thing you can’t see at home. I have never seen so many teeth in my life. Everybody is smiling. I mean, it’s all teeth out -- when you get close.” Olbermann responded with his first joke: “ A combination of smiling and the weather -- there’s chattering going on.” Matthews then continued about how the crowd seemed “radiant” and how they were “lucky enough to be in this business today, looking out the window here and getting the reaction when the crowd catches your eye. It is such a deal.”
Reflecting on the mood of the crowd at Barack Obama's Inauguration, NBC's Tom Brokaw likened it to when he was present for the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. During NBC's live coverage of Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday, Brokaw declared, "It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution," and while Brokaw noted "a communist regime," was not being overthrown he pointed out, "an unpopular president is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment." [audio available here]
The following Brokaw blurb was aired at around 10:02am EST on NBC's January 20 pre-Inaugural speech coverage:
There's no pleasing the greeniacs, I suppose. Eco-evangelism knows no holiday as environmentalists take aim at the buses ferrying caravans of Obama fans to the swearing-in.
Perhaps showing that the only criticism of Obama the print media finds worthy of printing is mild critiques from the left, today's "Inauguration Watch" digest in the Washington Post has the story in a 5-paragraph squib printed on page B4:
Environmental advocates are concerned about the impact on air quality caused by the thousands of buses that are descending on Washington.
Clean Air Watch Director Frank O'Donnell said the "virtual armada of diesel buses" rolling into town might actually have a positive impact. Black clouds of soot might be exactly what it will take to raise awareness for policy change, he said.
During live coverage of President Bush leaving on the presidential helicopter immediately following the swearing in of Barack Obama, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric got reaction from liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, who observed: "Keep in mind, a lot of Americans are thinking it's pretty cool that he's leaving, too. A lot of Americans didn't take him as the real president after the Gore election in 2000. He's been very controversial. And a lot of people voted to get rid of Bush policies. So, and for some people are cheering the helicopter leaving, because they felt stuck for eight years." Couric agreed: "Right. Some people cheer in support, and some people, as Doug said, cheer because he's getting out of town."
Later, Couric asked Brinkley about Bush’s farewell press conference, particularly about the president’s defense of his response to Hurricane Katrina: "Doug Brinkley, you wrote a book all about Katrina and I was just curious to get your reaction to how the president assessed his performance vis-a-vis that disaster in that last news conference." Brinkley went on a left-wing rant:
He created a fairy tale for himself. Everybody knows the Bush Administration did not do a good job during Katrina. In fact, August, 2005, is the turning point. Even the national media -- which had been intimidated by the Rove White House for a while -- they changed. I was in New Orleans for the storm and the media was so angry at the seemingly lackadaisical response of the federal government and then the fact that the President of the United States did a flyover, didn't put his boot heels on the ground in Louisiana or Mississippi, didn't touch the flood waters. Many people I talked to remembered Hurricane Betsy in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson went there in the dead of night with a flashlight in his face saying 'this is your president.' Our president was AWOL during Katrina and it's, I think, probably going to be one of the hardest parts of his legacy to somehow fix by writing it -- changing it in a memoir or something.
"Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, who has been gushing over Barack Obama from the very start, filed an enthusiastic report on Monday's show and asserted that "confidence is what President-elect Obama is all about." Over video of the train ride that took the Democrat to Washington, the veteran ABC correspondent cooed, "It has been a grand journey all the way to the great moment tomorrow."
During the segment, which recounted how Obama was preparing to assume the presidency, Moran only talked to advisors and fans of the (then) President-elect. After one supporter, who accompanied Obama on his train ride, declared that they were all one big family, the "Nightline" anchor dutifully recited, "That's the spirit his advisers say he wants to summon in the nation when he speaks for the first time as president tomorrow."
Less than an hour before Barack Obama took the oath of office, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson spotted former Vice President Al Gore arriving at the inauguration, and Gibson fantasized about how this could have been Gore's last day in office, not George W. Bush's.
"Had he gotten a second term," Gibson began before correcting himself, "had he been elected president in the first place in the year 2000, and then gotten a second term -- he would be there as the outgoing President of the United States."
Over on NBC, Tom Brokaw merely pointed out how Gore would be an advisor on climate change to the new president, while CBS's Katie Couric enthused about how such high-profile individuals from different parties seem to get along so well at inaugurations.
The blog post by Havana-based Portia Siegelbaum began by insisting that:
Expectations are almost as high among Cubans as they are among Americans as the countdown to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama speeds up.
Of course, far-left rhetoric notwithstanding, the United States is a republic with two major parties and a healthy tradition of freedom of speech and press, whereas Cuba is a totalitarian throwback to the Soviet era.
Yet Siegelbaum failed to note that President Raul Castro is a dictator unanswerable to the call of change from his people.
What's more, the CBS reporter practically laid the entire blame for Cuba's poor economy not on the failures of Communism and dictatorship but the long-standing U.S. embargo:
During Tuesday morning’s inaugural coverage on MSNBC, Chris Matthews twice compared the Bush family to the Romanovs as he contended that the Bushes are now likely to go into hiding because of President Bush’s unpopularity: "It’s going to be like the Romanovs, too, and I mean that. There’s a sense here that they are fallen from grace, that they’re not popular, that the whole family will now go into retreat." Even liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson had to call him out on the exaggeration as it sounds like he says in the background that "it didn’t happen exactly like the Romanovs," referring to the overthrow and execution of the Russian royal family after the Bolshevik communists seized power in 1917.
A few minutes earlier, claiming "this isn’t a partisan statement," Matthews raised the possibility that Obama could give such a good speech that he would join the "oratorical Mount Rushmore" of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy in making memorable inauguration speeches. Matthews: "And it seems like there’s a third opening there for Barack Obama. It’s almost the oratorical Mount Rushmore, that there’s so much open space among those Presidents. And only two stand out. And this isn’t a partisan statement. This is a fact. There’s FDR. There’s JFK. And there may be Barack Obama."
"Good Morning America" kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted, "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope." (audio clip here)
The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."
Updated: 2009-01-20 18:30:39
As a comparison, how did "Good Morning America" begin its coverage of President Bush's second inaugural on January 20, 2005? For that show, an announcer narrated: "This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush. Live from the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings." There was no flowery introduction, no repeating of campaign talking points, just a simple opening accompanied by pictures and videos of past inaugurations.
"Don't you hate it when you pop a bottle of champagne and it's flat? So, too, with some of these inaugural balls," Washington Post gossip gals Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts alerted their readers in the January 20 edition of "The Reliable Source."
While none of the official PIC balls have been cancelled, the unofficial ones that have been cancelled or are on life support to be the ones geared towards the average Joe Sixpack and to America's military veterans:
If you nabbed a ticket to one of the official balls sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee tonight, you're fine. But some of the other high-profile parties have been canceled or are still scrambling to cut costs and sell last-minute tickets, leaving ballgoers disappointed or out in the cold.
The People's Ball at the Grand Hyatt announced a blue-light special yesterday: Tickets slashed $100 -- to $250! The American Music Ball, hosted by Dionne Warwick, which planned two big-name events at the Marriott Wardman Park, was scrambling to sell enough tickets ($450 for the Legends ball with George Clinton, Chaka Khan and the Temptations; $350 for the Urban ball with Ludacris, Fantasia, and Cedric the Entertainer) for the show to go on -- and it wasn't looking good last night, said sources.