Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
Chicago Tribune lovelorn columnist Amy Dickinson had some interesting advice yesterday for a woman whose husband has lost that lovin' feeling. If she doesn't initiate it, there's no sex.
Amy tells the frustrated spouse: "For fun and to try to mix this up a little, you two might develop a verbal or visual cue that is more subtle than simply asking for sex. For instance, when one of you mentions Vice President Richard Cheney, that's your code."
Perhaps Mr. Cheney is even more potent than his liberal opponents know.
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President. After Dean contended that Democrats would need to "find their spine and go toe to toe" with the administration because Republicans "play hardball in a much tougher and more ruthless manner than Democrats," Olbermann brought up Dean's idea of impeaching Bush administration members. Olbermann: "The far end of what you suggest, obviously, would be impeachment, but the merits of that are at best arguable. I think we can probably both recall an occasion in which impeachment actually bolstered a President's popularity. But you wrote recently about impeaching not a President or a Vice President, but members of the Cabinet. How would that work? And is it a practical thing?" (Transcript follows)
Chris Matthews's apparently inexorable plunge off the Olbermann end of the pool continued on Thursday's Hardball.
Matthews [seen in file photo] discussed the Scooter Libby trial with Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff and former associate independent counsel Scott Fredericksen. Matthews put it to Isikoff that the case against Libby is "open and shut," a conclusion that Isikoff declined to endorse.
Fredericksen stated that, to the contrary, there are many defenses available to Libby and that "you've got the Vice-President coming in to testify for him . . . you've got a darn good defense."
As Fredericksen continued to sketch a defense, Matthews interjected:
As Washington prepares for a new balance of power, there has been so much talk of “lame ducks” that you would be forgiven if you thought Vice President Cheney had gone hunting again. But the political phrase of the moment is actually derived not from the hunt for waterfowl, but for riches.
Reading the Globe's Nov 18th piece about vice President Cheney, one can palpably feel their fingers being crossed, their wishes being cast into the wishing well, that Cheney is on the outs with this supposed "big demotion" the paper sees for his immediate future.
In short, will Rumsfeld's abrupt dismissal finally diminish Cheney's unprecedented dominance of Bush? Or did the always cunning vice president read the writing on the wall and decide that it was time for his good friend Rumsfeld to go?
And typically, as with every story about the VP, one quotient missing in the analysis is the president himself, prosaically fitting into the the Cheney-as-puppetmaster story line the MSM has created for him. (Though, now they want to cast James Baker in Cheney's puppeteering shoes)
They even want us to believe that Cheney somehow strong-armed Bush into the Iraq policy and the War on Terror as if 9/11 never occurred.
The Boston Globe's recent article on Dick Cheney's "fate" after the recent elections is an interesting, if not subtle, attempt to make it seem as if the Vice President were somehow on his way out just like Donald Rumsfeld was. Even painting Bush as "forgetting" the VP was in a recent meeting intimating that Cheney is not included in running the country anymore.(Cheney doesn't need Rumsfeld anymore)
Here is the lead paragraph of the story:
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush and the two top Democrats in the House met with reporters on Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney was largely silent, sitting impassively with his characteristic half-smile. "All three of us recognize that when you win, you have a responsibility to do the best you can for the country," declared Bush, apparently forgetting that the vice president was there to make it a foursome.
Half smile? Is that another way of saying smirk -- their favorite attack word against Bush himself?
CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien talked with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday and displayed a snide attitude over the Republicans’ midterm losses. She even tried to goad DeLay into bashing Karl Rove:
O’Brien: "Think Karl Rove is still a genius?"
Delay: "Oh, yes. Just because you lose one ball game doesn't remove your genius."
O’Brien: "Really, you think that -- this is kind of a big ball game to lose. Some people might say, yes, but if you lose the big one, it actually could chip away at your title."
Apparently victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004 don’t mean anything.
Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
CNN’s "American Morning" devoted four minutes of air time, and free advertising, to a faux documentary that includes a digitally created assassination of George W. Bush. The network, which has refused to air commercials for the controversial "Death of a President," instead featured the film’s director on the Friday edition of its morning show. Anchor Miles O’Brien opened the interview with some free promotion in the form of a 13 second clip of the movie. The film's director, Gabriel Range, certainly understood the benefit of what a CNN appearance offered him. He explained late in the interview:
Miles O’Brien: "Some of these theaters that have said no to your film, in the end, all the buzz surrounding this, I guess that might be good for business, huh?"
Gabriel Range: "I think the distributor, New Market, are keen to -- they've got the film out in a lot of theaters. And they're very confident that it will reach a wide audience. I hope the fact you and I are talking about it today will mean that a lot of people will want to see the film. I would say, it's not what you think. Judge it for yourself."
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest anti-Bush, anti-GOP "Special Comment," (also posted on Countdown's Web site) this time accusing President Bush and Republicans of committing the "dictionary definition" of terrorism in trying to scare Americans into voting for them, even contending that "the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party." Olbermann laid blame for the delayed discovery of the remains of 9/11 victims at the feet of President Bush and Republicans. Olbermann: "And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism? You can't even recover our dead from the battlefield, the battlefield in an American city, when we've given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!" (Transcript follows)
Video clip, starting about four minutes into the nearly 11-minute long screed (6:30): Real (4.9 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (4.1 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2.3 MB)
On Friday night, MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough featured opposite takes on a Friday Washington Posteditorial proclaiming that the recent revelation that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the original leaker of Valerie Plame's identity discredits Joe Wilson's accusations about a White House conspiracy to punish him by ruining his wife's career. On his Countdown show, Olbermann slammed the Washington Post for its "startling conclusions" and attacked the logic of the Post's reasoning. On Scarborough Country, Scarborough hit the New York Times and other media, including "left-leaning TV hosts," for not following the Post's lead and correcting its "character assassination" of the Bush team. Scarborough also delved into the inaccuracy of some of Wilson's claims about his trip to Niger and whether it really contradicted Bush's State of the Union claims about Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium. And while Scarborough presented some balance on his show by allowing one of his two guests to defend Wilson (Rachel Sklar after Wilson critic Christopher Hitchens), Olbermann followed his normal routine of choosing guests who will bolster his anti-Bush views, this time in the form of Wilson/Plame attorney Melanie Sloan. (Transcripts follow)
Not since Dan Quayle or Spiro Agnew has there been a vice president that the MSM loved to hate so much. Now, the Chicago Tribune is even going so far as to pick apart vice president Cheney's verbal ticks and making fun, or even assigning perfidy to them.
In an article titled, Cheney's usage of `if you will' is `like' hedging, Tribune "cultural critic" Julia Keller, assumes that Cheney's over usage of the phrase "if you will" amounts to him verbally pausing while he thinks up another lie to tell the people, or at the very least amounts to the VP trying to sound smarter than he relly is.
Her piece is filled with jabs at the VP over a simple phrase ... the type of thing nearly everybody does everyday of their lives. I am sure if you think about your own language usage, you'd realize that you, too, have some phrase you use far too often. From the common "Umm", to "like", "You Know" (and its sister phrase, "you know what I mean"), to "cool" or "dude", many of us have such verbal ticks.
Bryant Gumbel has generated backlash from outgoing NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue for accusing him of keeping the players union chief on a “leash” as his “personal pet,” with Tagliabue suggesting the league may rescind its plan to have Gumbel do play-by-play for games on the NFL Network. But in the same commentary at the end of the August edition of HBO's Real Sports, first aired on August 15, Gumbel also used Vice President Dick Cheney as a foil in castigating the football league's temperament. In his “open letter” to incoming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Gumbel opined: “Although your league is wildly successful, making it fit Dick Cheney's demeanor can't serve you well in the long run. Yeah, football's a business, but it's also a game. Legislating individuality out of the NFL may have been Paul's thing, but it needn't be yours. Have some fun, let others do the same.”
To say that Russian President Vladimir Putin was gruff in his interview with Matt Lauer would be an understatement. While Lauer asked some probing questions, he also offered up an unsolicited critique of Bush administration's rhetoric toward Russia, calling it 'very harsh.' When Putin responded with a nasty jab at VP Cheney over his shooting incident, Matt didn't blink, continuing instead to focus on the tough talk of the Bush White House.
Lauer was in St. Petersburg for the g-8 summit Russia is hosting, and scored an exclusive sit-down with Putin. In the set-up piece, Andrea Mitchell rolled the tape of VP Cheney saying of Russia's energy manipulations: "no legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail."
You almost expected The Edwin Hawkins Singers to turn up on set. For, short of Hillary raising her right hand on the steps of the Capitol some time in January of 2009, it just doesn't get much happier for Today than this morning. In one fell news cycle, George Bush and Enron evil-doers laid low.
It couldn't have come quick enough for Katie Couric. Interviewing Tim Russert on the president's mea culpa performance of yesterday, in which he and Tony Blair admitted to mistakes in his handling of Iraq, she asked:
"Do you think both men should have tried this approach sooner?"
Lest anyone think that the president's remorse will appease the MSM, it was obvious that, now with a taste of blood, the liberal media pack will only call for more. Couric wasted no time in going after Donald Rumsfeld:
On last night's Hardball David Gregory seemed to be pushing Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld out the door. Not once but twice Gregory suggested to two separate guests the best way for the administration to get back on track is to can the Vice President and Secretary of Defense: "Susan Molinari, can the President get any traction if he does not dismiss his Vice President or the Secretary of Defense? If he doesn’t do something that large?" Then later to Newsweek's Jon Meacham: "But didn’t reducing Karl’s role speak to the bigger issue for Josh Bolten, which is can he really make any kind of splash? Can he get anybody to notice if big figures, the biggest of the figures, be it the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense are not dismissed?" And before the show ended even Margaret Carlson got into the act: "He’d have to change the big jobs. Secretary Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney even, although I know that’s hard to do."
Actor Dennis Quaid was on this morning's Today show promoting his new movie American Dreamz whose movie poster proclaims: "Imagine A Country Where The President Never Reads The Newspaper, Where The Government Goes To War For All The Wrong Reasons And Where More People Vote For A Pop Idol Than Their Next President." But according to Quaid the movie is, "not a political statement," and that he’s "not a Bush-basher." Katie Couric outed Quaid as a Gore voter in 2000 but tried to give him cover by noting he voted for Bush in 2004, however she had praise for Quaid’s co-star Mandy Moore’s performance in Saved, a movie that mocks Christians.
Has Meredith Vieira started her stint on the Today show early? The future NBC anchor already knows how to ask combative, loaded questions to conservatives. On the April 12 edition of The View, she posed this query to the Vice President:
Vieira: "You know what, I’ve got a question for Vice President Dick Cheney. Given your low approval ratings these days, why would you want to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals games yesterday?...He got cheered and he got booed."
Vieira, in a segment that started at 11:05AM EDT, seemed honestly puzzled as to why someone would want to throw out the first pitch on opening day. She continued, "But this is a man we rarely see, so why do you think yesterday he made that decision to go out and throw that ball?"
When things got a bit contentious this morning between conservative Jim Pinkerton and liberal Ellen Ratner on Fox & Friends Weekend's 'Long & the Short of It' segment, Pinkerton proposed a peace plan that other warring parties might well wish to adopt: "let NewsBusters.org sort this out."
The bone of contention was just what what it was that President Bush declassified - some would say leaked - and that Scooter Libby is in turn alleged to have provided to the press - presumably in the person of Judy Miller of the NY Times.
Ratner: "This was a Nixon bad-list kind of trick [presumably a reference to Nixon's 'enemies' list] to get . . . "
Host Kiran Chetry [back from maternity leave - and beautiful as ever, I might add]: "Why?"
That didn't take long! Back in the MSM's Watergate heyday, it took a while for a steady drumbeat of revelations, stories and allegations to gather sufficient momentum. The pace has apparently quickened in the modern liberal-media world. On this morning's Today show, speaking of the allegation that President Bush authorized the disclosure of information by Scooter Libby, Matt Lauer asked Chris Matthews: "scale of 1 to 10, [where] 10 is a deal-ender, where does this fall?"
Matthews didn't hesitate: "heading to 10."
Even Lauer seemed taken aback: "Really, that big?"
For good measure, Matthews later analogized VP Cheney to Henry II having put out a hit leading to the murder of a dissenter in his administration.
Is there something in the water at NBC/MSNBC? Laughing gas in the ventilation system, perhaps? Earlier today, I posted the photo below, showing Matt Lauer dissolving in laughter on this morning's Today show. It happened when Katie made her momentous announcement that she was leaving for CBS. Matt pretended to take it totally in stride, making to move right on, intoning "also coming up in this half-hour" in his best canned host-voice before bursting out.
This evening, it was Chris Matthews' turn to double over in laughter. Now granted, Matthews had a better excuse - his guest was the daffy Howard Dean. Matthews managed to keep a straight face when Dean first claimed that the Democrats "want to bring this country back together again so everybody is respected," and then proceeded to lash out at every Republican within arm's reach.
On March 24, the Today show featured a segment on the Vice President’s personal needs for hotel visits. The piece, which aired at 7:20AM EST, featured three references to Cheney’s requestthat all televisions be tuned to Fox News. A few days later, the Smoking Gun, the website that broke the Cheney story, did a follow up on John Kerry’s requirements. The NBC series has yet to cover this. And if they did, they would probably not report this demand:
"Newspapers: all local plus New York Times, Washington Post"
Reporters for rival networks of Fox News had unkind things to say about Dick Cheney's preference for Fox when staying at hotels.
MSNBC's "The Abrams Report":
"And he wants brewed decaf coffee and all the televisions must be tuned to the home team, Fox News. Horrors to think he might encounter other networks while flipping the channel himself on his way over... It's got me thinking I should make some demands of my own. From now on whenever I travel, I want a bottle of wine waiting, not just any wine, but fine wine. I want the TV tuned to MSNBC."
CNN reporter Carol Costello said on "American Morning":
"And, yes, all the TVs set to C -- no, to Fox News."
To which anchor Soledad O'Brien quipped, "Not really a shocker on that front."
Jack Cafferty on CNN's "The Situation Room" used his trademark "F-word network" putdown.
On CBS and "Face The Nation" Sunday, host Bob Schieffer had an interesting exchange with his guest, Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney, who will rarely do Sunday morning interviews, was again pressed with questions of his almost expected and impending "resignation."
Also reported in a story titled "White House Shake-Up Isn't Needed, Says Cheney"by Douglass K. Daniel for the Associated Press (AP) as well, it seems the media fascination and obvious distress with the vice president's unabashed conservative views continue.
"He said 'Hello, Wendy, this is Jay Leno,"' the Sherman Oaks resident remembered. "`I'm calling about the letter you wrote and I want to apologize. I just want to let you know we make mistakes sometimes and we don't mean to hurt people."'
On the Tuesday night edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked if Cheney would "see the light" and retire.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well Mike Wallace announced his retirement today, and Mike Wallace who I thought never would retire. If he retires, maybe Cheney's gonna see the light. What do think? No? No takers on that?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I'm not sure if Cheney would see it that way.
Here's a little more from Brian Lamb's interview with Keith Olbermann on C-SPAN, in particular, more of his denying a liberal bias, lamely vowing he "goes after power," Republican or Democrat, and his explanations for why he has a regular "museum" of VHS tapes of his shows to preserve himself for posterity.
About halfway through the C-SPAN hour, Lamb played a typical "Countdown" clip, with Olbermann mocking Harry Whittington for suggesting the Cheney shooting accident happened on a "Friday" instead of a "Saturday." Lamb was a little blunt:
Lamb: "As you know, anybody watching this will see bias right there."
On yesterday’s syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews worried Cheney might start a war over his "crowd pleaser" comments because Iran’s nuclear ambitions are now "a matter of national pride for Iranians." Howard Fineman for his part is taking Al Gore seriously again and claimed a new movie featuring Gore is going to turn him "into a cult figure." During the show’s prediction segment where Matthews asks the panel to "tell me something I don’t know," Fineman gave offered this scoop:
Howard Fineman: "Chris you know how Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives? Well there are in politics and two of the big names you're gonna be hearing in the ‘08 cycle for president Newt Gingrich and Al Gore. Mark my word the movie about Al Gore and his crusade on global warming is gonna turn him not into, only into a cult figure on the campaign trail but a real candidate."
Is Chris Matthews rooting for civil war in Iraq? It's hard to interpret his words otherwise when, after asserting that officials in previous administrations and former President Bush had warned that going into Iraq would lead to civil war, Matthews observed:
"The problem is it took a little time for this to take shape."
"The problem," Chris?
Matthews' hoping for the worst was just the capper on the Bush-bashing fest he conducted with Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show. Those nature documentaries of vultures on the Serengeti plain have little on the way Matthews and Lauer went after President Bush's political bones.