On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid showed up for a phone interview on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR to discuss shredding the filibuster for presidential appointees. A very polite Rehm asked if this might make partisanship worse.
“I'm sorry to smile, as you can't see on radio, but more dysfunction? I mean, gee whiz,” Reid replied. But underneath the Nevada-nice routine came an attack out of nowhere on black libertarian judge Janice Rogers Brown as one of the “extreme right wing people” the Senate confirmed in the Bush years.
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Friday did their best to downplay Senate Democrats' Thursday move to curtail the Republican Party's filibuster power. The two newscasts devoted a combined 39 seconds to the controversial vote, which ABC's Dan Harris labeled a "bold move". GMA apparently thought the potential marriage of serial killer Charles Manson was more important, as it devoted over two minutes of air time to that eyebrow-raising story. [audio of the ABC and NBC coverage available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, Friday's CBS This Morning spent nearly three minutes on the "historic change in the Senate", as Norah O'Donnell put it. O'Donnell also wondered, "Will Democrats regret invoking the nuclear option?"
Never one to let facts get in the way of the proabort narrative, Mark Sherman at the Associated Press characterized today's 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow Texas's abortion law to stand while on appeal as one rendered by "the court's conservative majority."
Really? Anthony Kennedy is one of the justices in the critical "Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which reaffirmed in principle (though without many details) the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." That's hardly "conservative," though Sherman at least applied the "liberal" label to the four dissenters. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On her 1 p.m. ET MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell whined about Senate Republicans blocking some of the President's recent nominees and worried about the impact of Obama's sagging poll numbers: "...in terms of presidential power, polls affect votes....this is diminishing the President's clout, when he can't frighten – you know, have enough political weight to frighten everybody into line to try to peel off some Republican votes." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Noting that one of the nominees was sitting Congressman Mel Watt, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray warned: "You know, this something where we've often seen filibusters, we've seen nominations being blocked, but this is getting into very rare territory here."
British historian Niall Ferguson brought a breath of fresh air to the set of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, effortlessly cutting through the show’s typical left-wing spin.
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were engaged in their new favorite pastime – slamming Ted Cruz and other GOP “extremists” – when Ferguson jumped in and suggested that President Obama may also be culpable in the current budget impasse: [See video below.]
Ideologically-driven conservatives on the Supreme Court seem determined to nix a campaign contribution limit in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, thus dealing a blow to the fight against corruption of American politics.
Anthony Mason played up President Obama's $89 restaurant tip on Monday's CBS This Morning, underlining that "when it comes to tips, President Obama is tops." However, the network has yet to cover a Monday story from the New York Times that pointed out the "uncomfortable reality for the White House: the administration has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
In fact, none of the Big Three networks have covered writer Annie Lowery's scoop on the air, which cited critics of the President from the left on the issue of the administration's Cabinet gender gap.
Sarah Palin, call your office. PolitiFact, you've been refuted again.
In the later sections of a Wall Street Journal column on Sunday (in Monday's print edition), former Vermont Governor and unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean wrote in opposition (HT Twitchy) to Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, calling it "essentially a health-care rationing body." We'll let former Alaska Governor Palin take it from there with her August 7, 2009 Facebook post (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Well, yesterday, a third federal court, this time the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, rebuked the president for unconstitutional recess appointments, as Tal Kopan of Politico reported here. Yet once again, the liberal broadcast news media showed absolutely no interest in the development, censoring the story from their July 17 evening newscasts and July 18 morning news programs.
While NBC and CBS covered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell having a "war of words" over GOP opposition to some of President Obama's nominees, neither network detailed the hypocrisy of Reid considering the so-called "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibustering of such nominees.
On Thursday, Time's Michael Scherer cited numerous quotes from Reid decrying the tactic in 2005, when Senate Republicans – then in the majority – toyed with the idea. In one statement, Reid warned that such a move would "set a new precedent – an illegal precedent – that will always remain on the pages of Senate history – a precedent that will thrust us toward totally eliminating the filibuster in all Senate proceedings, a precedent that will eliminate the essential deliberative nature of the Senate..."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered President Obama picking Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor and nominating Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador: "They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center."
Amid sound bites of Obama praising both women, Todd joined in extolling their accomplishments: "Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children."
Reporting the breaking news on Wednesday's NBC Today that President Obama had named U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be national security advisor, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd portrayed Rice as a victim of Republican attacks: "Rice, who had become a Republican punching bag during the whole Benghazi controversy....this is a bit of a defiant move by the President to his Republican critics." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on his 9 a.m. ET MSNBC show, The Daily Rundown, while discussing GOP opposition to Rice's promotion – and her nominated replacement as U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power – Todd proclaimed: "And beating up on two women, I think, would be something that the Republican Party brand doesn't need." Lois Romano of Politico chimed in: "They don't need it, but they – they haven't had much, you know, problems beating up on Susan Rice."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning minimized Susan Rice's refuted claims about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi as they covered her appointment as national security adviser. Charlie Rose and John Dickerson dwelt more on outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon's term, with Dickerson only vaguely mentioning how Rice was "the focus of so much controversy in the Senate."
The only time that a CBS News personality specifically mentioned Benghazi during the segment was when Gayle King wondered if President Obama's decision to choose the current U.N. ambassador to succeed Donilon was a "message to Republicans who came down hard on Susan Rice during the Benghazi hearings."
Earlier this afternoon, Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters noted that "The owner of Newsweek, the troubled liberal weekly news magazine, has confirmed reports that it is trying to unload the money-losing operation even despite the fact that it jettisoned its print edition last year."
A Tuesday morning puff piece on poor, besieged, downtrodden, regretful Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder posted by Daniel Klaidman at the Daily Beast, Newsweek's online umbrella, perfectly illustrates why the operation continues to shed readers and contributed mightily to a reported $8.8 million loss last quarter. Get out the waist-high-boots for this one:
You just knew this was bound to happen. Some on the left are trying to blame George W. Bush for Obama's IRS fiasco. Take for example Mediaite's resident Obama apologist Tommy Christopher, who wrote a much ado about nothing post on May 16 insinuating that this egregious abuse of government power stems from former Bush appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman – and that credit for clearing this whole thing up will go to Obama.
Christopher penned this piece using Martin Bashir’s May 16 broadcast, which featured Joy Reid of the Grio and Republican strategist Ron Christie. During the exchange, Christie was forced to admit the Shulman was a Bush appointee, but so what? This scandal happened under Obama. The IRS executed this plan in 2010, and Shulman –and his successor Steve Miller– knew about it since the spring of 2012. There is no doubt the agency lied about their knowledge of their employees’ malfeasance, and it happened under the Obama administration. Nevertheless, Christopher dutifully wove his spin, concluding:
When a reporter makes an assertion about someone else's beliefs or motivations, he or she is supposed to offer something up as evidence, say a direct quote, something that person has written, or even something someone else close to him or her has said.
Politico's Josh Gerstein offered nothing of the sort in his coverage of Eric Holder's "you can't touch me" attitude, though he provides plenty of evidence to support my characterization of Holder's outlook. Gerstein, without a shred of support, wrote the following in describing what he believes Republicans and conservatives are trying to accomplish in pursuing the myriad scandals in the Obama administration which have burst forth during the past two weeks, along with others, including but not limited to Operation Fast and Furious, which occurred during the Obama administration's first term (bolds are mine throughout this post):
CBS again paid homage to Caroline Kennedy on Tuesday's CBS This Morning as they hyped her possible nomination to be the next ambassador of Japan. During her report, Jan Crawford featured liberal historian Robert Dallek, who gushed over the apparent worldwide reputation of the presidential daughter's family: "The Kennedys, generally, have an extraordinary, continuing hold on the public's imagination, both in this country and abroad."
Dallek later asserted that the U.S. might be "sending somebody as ambassador to Tokyo who is representative of the best in American culture." The correspondent also touted how Kennedy "would have an opportunity to test her political skills, but also, she would be able to put the Kennedy name back on an international stage" if President Obama named her to the key diplomatic post.
So, Politico jumped the shark on gay marriage yesterday in reporting that Justice Elena Kagan that she had a ‘gotcha’ moment during yesterday’s hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act.
But a real ‘gotcha’ moment would have been if Politico did their homework and resurrected Kagan’s past comments about gay marriage from 2009, when she was awaiting confirmation to the post of solicitor general and she insisted in the answer to a questionnaire that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”
In Elena Kagan's DOMA 'Gotcha' Moment, Jennifer Epstein and Josh Gerstein gushed that:
In a brief item Friday at Politico, Donovan Slack reported that President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Concerning Republican senators' opposition to her nomination, Slack said it was "because they said she had a record of advocacy and an activist view of the judiciary" without citing specifics. It's almost as if Slack knew he had to write something, but wished to keep a rare Republican success at stopping an objectionable court nominee as vague and quiet as possible. In early March, the folks at Eagle Forum compiled a useful list of how awful Halligan would have been had her appointment made it through the Senate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Monday, President Obama tapped Thomas Perez, currently the head of the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, to take the helm at the Department of Labor, replacing outgoing Secretary Hilda Solis. This will be the third controversial Cabinet appointment after Brennan and Hagel. In covering the story, Peter Baker of the New York Times mentioned Republican opposition to his nomination, but failed to mention Perez’s radical past preceding his service in the Obama administration, much less his controversial actions while at Justice.
The liberal media’s effort to demonize Sen. Ted Cruz continues. On last Friday’s episode of PBS’s Inside Washington, the mostly left-leaning panel of journalists piled on the criticism of the junior senator from Texas. The attacks were focused on Cruz’s questioning of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation battle. Moderator Gordon Peterson presented the topic like this: “The Tea Party activists love this guy for being so aggressive. I’m wondering how this aggression so early in his career plays on in the Senate.”
But according to panelist Evan Thomas, a Politico contributor, Cruz is not merely aggressive; he is dangerous: “You need to watch this guy, because there are a lot of demagogues out there, but not that many who are that smart. He is really, really smart, and that makes him potentially dangerous.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporting on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to serve Obama as secretary of defense, the New York Times' Jeremy Peterstried to imply as he has before that the Republican move to filibuster Hagel, who bombed in hearings, was both uncollegial and unprecedented.
But Peters had to stretch in his Tuesday piece, limiting his examples to the narrow fact that Hagel is the first secretary of defense nominee to be threatened with a filibuster (ignoring the many other Republican nominees filibustered by Democrats, as well as the Democrats' outright rejection of Republican nominee John Tower in 1989).
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
On her 1 p.m. et hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell mounted her high horse in condemning Republican senators who questioned defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel about his connection to what turned out to be a fake organization: "Without even checking the factual basis for their questions....You can ask anything and create a sound bite, and then people pick it up in social media, and it's off and running." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
People in glass houses should not throw stones. Mitchell infamously aired a deceptively edited clip of Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race that made him seem out of touch. In September of 2011, she took Republican House Speaker John Boehner wildly out of context and accused him of being "disrespectful" to President Obama.
Ten years ago, then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) held together a Democratic filibuster of President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Tom Curry of NBCNews.com notes that Republicans tried to end debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote seven times before eventually giving up. Frustrated with Daschle's obstructionism, President Bush called for filibuster reform, which Daschle dismissed out of hand, insisting,"The Senate is always going to be the Senate."
Fast forward to February 19, 2013. Appearing on MSNBC's The Cycle in part to promote his new book about the U.S. Senate, co-host Krystal Ball dutifully read back to Daschle a line from his new tome about the filibuster being abused. At no point, however, did Ball or anyone else on the panel, including token conservative S.E. Cupp, point out the Center for American Progress fellow’s hypocrisy.
NBC continues to lead the way in belittling any and all Republican attempts to stand up to President Obama. On Sunday’s Today, David Gregory rehashed the common left-wing talking point that Republicans are opposing Obama at every turn merely for the sake of being obstructionist.
Commenting on Republican opposition to the Chuck Hagel nomination, Gregory said, “There’s no question that this looks to be similar to what people are criticizing Republicans for doing on the economy or on spending, on these various battles they’ve had over the debt, which is just trying to jam the president up.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wait a sec: aren't liberals supposed to be the edgy dudes who like to buck the established order? The ones who glorify guys with the guts to "speak truth to power"? So what could possibly have turned these hipsters into a bunch of suddenly stodgy sourpusses reaching for their Miss Manners? Looks like in-your-face is no longer in style when the upstart in question is—horrors!—a conservative!
Continuing his campaign for proper etiquette--and against Ted Cruz--Frank Bruni appeared on Morning Joe today. The New York Times columnist recently wrote a cranky column calling Cruz an "an ornery, swaggering piece of work." Bruni took things one stodgy step further, calling Cruz a "whippersnapper." Frank fulminated over Ted's temerity in actually voting against the august John Kerry. View the video after the jump.
Ed Schultz was in seventh heaven, lionizing Elizabeth Warren [new first name 'Sheriff'] for the way she grilled financial regulators for failing to take big banks to trial.
Just one teenie-weenie factoid Ed failed to mention: those two regulators he showed Warren scalding during his MSNBC show tonight were appointed by, yup, President Barack Obama. View the video after the jump.