Following the failure of former Senator Chuck Hagel to receive enough votes in the Senate on Thursday to be confirmed as defense secretary, NBC, ABC, and CBS all immediately turned their ire on Republicans for daring to object to President Obama's appointment.
On Friday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales fretted over the "partisan standoff." In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd mentioned Republican reasons for blocking the nomination, but brushed them aside as he concluded: "Ultimately, Hagel's issues with his former GOP colleagues are personal."
On today’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough repeated the fib that our country is currently operating without a secretary of defense. After playing a clip of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) explaining the Republican ill will toward nominee Chuck Hagel, Scarborough unleashed his venom:
You know... for the 66,000 troops currently serving in Afghanistan and for the families all across America this morning, I'm sure they're glad to know that we don't have a secretary of defense in place and we're not going to because of a seven-year-old political grudge. [Video after the break. MP3 audio here.]
In his brief time in the United States Senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is already making a name for himself on Capitol Hill, with the February 15 edition of Politico suggesting that his “no-compromise, firebrand style could turn off voters.”
In the 36-paragraph article, Politico’s Manu Raju waited until the 18th paragraph to include any direct quotes from the freshman Tea Party senator. What's more, Raju peppered the piece with numerous anecdotes meant to cast Cruz's assertive style in a negative light:
Behind closed doors, some Republican senators report that Cruz, in his stone-cold serious prosecutorial style, speaks at length when it’s far more common for freshman to wait before asserting themselves, particularly ones who were just sworn in.
From the day President Obama nominated him, the New York Times has oozed sympathy for the plight of Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense. Times reporters have warned darkly of the disappearance of congressional "comity" and "courtesy" (as if the clubbiness and glad-handing endemic to the U.S. Senate represents some shining exemplar of good government) among Republicans, who dare suggest Hagel came off grossly uninformed and confused on foreign policy issues in his congressional hearings.
NBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"
By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:
Martin Bashir once again demonstrates that he represents the bottom of the admittedly deep MSNBC barrel . . .
On his MSNBC show this afternoon, Bashir suggested to a female guest that by his questioning at the Senate confirmation hearing of John Brennan, Senator Marco Rubio sought to demonstrate that he had "very strong testicles." Bashir elicited nervous laughter and a duck of the head from guest Karen Finney. View the video after the jump.
Complaining about Senate Republicans being dissatisfied with former senator Chuck Hagel's refusal to turn over information related to speeches he delivered that were financed by foreign sources, MSNBC's Tamron Hall this afternoon took a conservative blogger out of context to suggest that even conservatives were frustrated with how the Senate GOP -- which, by the way, is the minority party in the Senate and lacks the votes to thwart a Hagel confirmation -- was handling the confirmation process.
In a February 8 NewsNation segment entitled "Hagel Holdup," Hall lamented that Republican "senators are also demanding that Hagel give them copies of every speech he's made in the past five years. It's a process Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin says, quote, 'could be the most inept and disorganized confirmation effort in recent memory.'" While Rubin did write that Friday morning, the Post blogger was referring to the Obama administration and Mr. Hagel, not Republicans. From "A critical weekend for the Hagel nomination" (video follows page break; MP3 audio here):
A Wednesday report by Keith Laing at the Hill failed to point out a quite obvious contradiction during departing Transportation Secretary LaHood's appearance on NPR's Diane Rehm show.
From all appearances, based on the video available at her site, Rehm, once LaHood launched into a predictable rant about how our transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, didn't ask -- and should have asked -- why the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the stimulus plan accompanied by those ubiquitous Recovery Act promotional signs seen at road construction projects didn't stabilize things two or three years ago. Excerpts from Laing's lackluster effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The Senate's "advice and consent" role doesn't require it to rubber-stamp a presidential appointee for secretary of defense who senators believe would weaken America in this increasingly dangerous world.
Notwithstanding former Sen. Chuck Hagel's diminished view of the post — "I won't be in a policymaking position" — the secretary of defense is an exceedingly important position and must be filled with someone who understands the complexity and gravity of the threats we face.
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
Surprised they didn't opt for the auto da fe analogy . . .
On Chris Hayes's MSNBC show this morning, Ali Gharib, editor of the "Open Zion" blog at the Daily Beast, described the questioning of Chuck Hagel at his Senate confirmation hearing as "a Republican purge" and a "Maoist public shaming." Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone begged to differ, finding it more reminiscent of "Stalin." View the video after the jump.
Sure, Chuck Hagel might have been a bumbling, stumbling mess at his confirmation hearing yesterday. But the real story was how awful were the Republicans who questioned him. That was the collective judgment of today's Morning Joe panel.
For example, so contemptuous was Joe Scarborough of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, that the Morning Joe host announced that he would not even mention him by name. "Clown show" was the panel's operative phrase for the Republican performance. Andrea Mitchell, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle et al. joined in the Republican roasting. View the video after the jump.
I don't know about you, but when I want to know how William F. Buckley, Jr. would have felt about an issue, I always consult Arianna Huffington and Joe Scarborough. But seriously, who would you trust more to reflect how Buckley would have felt on an important issue of the day: the editors of the National Review--the magazine that WFB founded--or the combined wisdom of Huffington and Scarborough? In an editorial published before Hagel's nomination became official, the Editors at National Review wrote: "Chuck Hagel is a very poor choice for the next secretary of defense," concluding that he was "definitively not the man who should be the next secretary of defense."
But on today's Morning Joe, when Huffington asked "don't you think William F. Buckley would be endorsing Chuck Hagel now?", Scarborough responded with an emphatic "yes!" View the video after the jump.
As my NewsBusters colleague Scott Whitlock pointed out on January 9, networks such as ABC and CBS, slammed the president for a lack of diversity in his second term administration, particularly with women. Whitlock wrote the “correspondent Jon Karl chided, ‘Well, some critics are looking at that emerging second-term cabinet and wondering, where are the women?’ He touted a New York Times article fretting about the "all-male look" of the new picks.
Oddly enough, concerns over diversity don't seem to be a problem for liberal Obama cheerleader and Washington Post In the Loop columnist Al Kamen. Now, with some major news outlets slamming for his apparent abandonment of women within his inner circle, Kamen asks for us to view this within the context of ‘musical chairs’ in his January 11 post – with fellow WaPo colleague Emily Heil.
Exactly three years ago, on January 7, 2010, during a press conference regarding the 2009 attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan declared to reporters: "I told the President today I let him down." That admission of responsibility for a major intelligence failure was completely absent from Monday's network morning show coverage of President Obama nominating Brennan to be CIA director.
While NBC, CBS, and ABC focused much of their attention on the President's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense and the likely confirmation fight that would result, Brennan's nomination was only a brief side note.
During a retrospective on 2012 on the December 30, 2012 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood ludicrously oversimplified the continuing scandal over the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Osgood conspicuously omitted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances five days after the assault, which conflicted with intelligence agencies' early conclusion that the attack was pre-planned.
The journalist's 14-second look at the story merely consisted of two sentences noting who died in the American installation and one of the most recent developments [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Norah O'Donnell helped Bob Schieffer hype his upcoming segment with actor/director Ben Affleck on Thursday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell played a clip of the soon-to-be aired interview and remarked, "He sure does sound like a politician. He won't give you a straight answer!"
Schieffer ballyhooed Affleck's supposed credentials to be a possible replacement for Senator John Kerry, who could be named the next Secretary of State [audio available here; video below the jump]:
After a decent story by political reporter Jeff Zeleny Tuesday, the New York Times expressed in an op-ed a racially charged, far-left view on the appointment of African-American Republican Rep. Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate: as a "token," the GOP's human equivalent of the racist poll tax and literacy test.
Besides offensively decrying in his op-ed Wednesday the appointment of Scott, the first African-American senator from the South since 1881 and the only black senator in the current Senate, Adolph Reed Jr., University of Pennsylvania professor and contributor to the hard-left Nation, also tackled "the thinly veiled racism" of the Tea Party.
Following Hillary Clinton’s illness last week, which prompted a fainting spell and a mild concussion, Good Morning America on Tuesday morning hyped the busy career of Ms. Clinton, proudly dubbing her the “Most Traveled Secretary of State.” The story began with GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former President Clinton operative, mentioning that Ms. Clinton is, “On the mend now" although "she may be still out of action for most of her remaining time as Secretary of State."
ABC News Correspondent Reena Ninan described in detail the accident Ms. Clinton experienced, as this was the second time in eight years the Secretary has fainted because of a stomach bug. While Ninan and Stephanopoulos both emphasized the rest Mrs. Clinton requires, neither mention the fact that as a result the Secretary will miss the December 20 hearing scheduled to receive her testimony on the September 11 terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. You may recall that Clinton's State Department received numerous complaints from the late Amb. Chris Stevens about insufficient security on the ground in Libya. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Following Susan Rice’s abrupt withdrawal from being considered for Secretary of State, NBC's Andrea Mitchell felt it important to sneer that Republican opposition to Ms. Rice was racially motivated.
Speaking on MSNBC’s The Cycle Thursday afternoon, Mitchell’s immediate analysis of Rice’s withdrawal was that, “this is not going to help Republicans at all, the fact that a woman and a woman of color has been forced out of a confirmation process even before she was nominated.” Andrea Mitchell must have forgotten that four years ago, Republicans in the Senate confirmed an African-American woman named Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State. But that wouldn't fit the liberal narrative NBC and MSNBC continue to peddle that Republicans have racist motivations behind their objections to Rice’s nomination to Secretary of State. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
In an exclusive interview on Thursday's NBC Rock Center with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice following her withdrawal of her name to be secretary of state, host Brian Williams worked to portray her as a victim of unwarranted political attacks: "She's been under withering attack for weeks....Were you set up? Were you a victim of circumstance? Bad data? Bad information?...Are you blameless in all this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to her Sunday show statements on the Benghazi attack, Rice responded: "I'm not a victim. I wasn't set up....I don't think anybody is ever wholly blameless, but I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't mislead. I didn't misrepresent. I did the best with the information the United States government had at the time."
Moments after news broke of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration to be secretary of state, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC's Martin Bashir to denounce those he deemed responsible: "It was all driven, in many cases, by some conservative outlets who were making her the center of the Benghazi story....[which] never made a lot of sense. She sort of became a victim of this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Left-wing host Bashir teed up Todd by reciting Rice's resume and declaring her to be "amply qualified" for the cabinet post, but that "so much of the criticism of her seemed to suggest that she was not, and that was dressed up under the guise of these attacks following what happened in Benghazi" Todd lamented that Rice not having a "full PR team" meant she "was more susceptible to this type of where one story where she could become the victim of these attacks very quickly, it could take hold."
Following Senator Jim DeMint’s abrupt resignation to run The Heritage Foundation, much has been made over who South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley might name to replace him. One name mentioned is that of African American Congressman Tim Scott, a prospect which prompted MSNBC anchor Richard Lui to sneer: "... Is the South ready for a black Senator?"
On Friday’s MSNBC Live, Lui baited fellow MSNBCer Melissa Harris-Perry into trashing the South as intolerant. Surprisingly, she did not fall into this trap. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
After the cast of NBC's Today gushed on Tuesday over President Obama's "very fashionable decision" to possibly appoint Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as an ambassador, on Wednesday, regular panelists Donny Deutsch and Star Jones scoffed at the idea, with Deutsch declaring: "I'm not quite sure somebody who edits a fashion magazine is qualified to be a liaison to one of our biggest allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While the morning show's supposed journalists touted the news and made a joke out of ambassadorships being handed out to big Obama campaign donors, Deutsch and Jones, reliable fans of the President, spoke out against the notion. Deutsch took the cronyism to task:
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered the news that President Obama may make one of his major campaign donors, Anna Wintour, an ambassador: "Going Vogue? A report this morning that the President could appoint Vogue's famed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be his next ambassador to England or France. More on what could be a very fashionable decision." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a panel discussion later in the show, fellow co-host Willie Geist excused the obvious patronage job: "This is not unusual...I think something like 30% of appointees to ambassadorships are political, as a reward for people who raise a lot of money." That prompted a round of jokes about giving money to Obama to get an appointment. Fill-in news reader Tamron remarked: "[Wintour] raised more than $500,000 for his campaign, so we need to get on the ball....We need to get it going..."
In an attempt to dismiss Republican criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's misleading September 14 Sunday show statements about Benghazi, on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus asserted: "I don't think this is really about some comments that were basically right, that she made on Sunday talk shows." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Marcus was prompted to make the declaration after Mitchell tried to paint GOP critics as a combination of sexist and racist: "There have been issues raised as to whether she was being attacked, criticized because she's a woman, because she's African-American....is there a double standard here? Have we had others who've gone on Sunday television talk shows, made mistakes, and not been punished as severely as Susan Rice?"
Striking a sympathetic tone toward the U.N. ambassador on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lamented: "It was another one of those days for Susan Rice....who again found herself today in the middle of a power struggle between some Republicans on the Hill on one side, and the President..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly described a moment in a recent Obama cabinet meeting: "With Hillary Clinton nodding her approval, the President sent a strong message to Senate Republicans, 'Don't mess with my U.N. Ambassador.'" Mitchell observed: "For Rice, a welcome signal that her nomination is still alive, despite another brutal day on Capitol Hill."
In what would appear to be a sure sign that the Obama administration's leftist allies, perhaps with the President's go-ahead, are preparing to throw current U.N. ambassador Susan Rice under the bus, Alex Guillen at the Politico reported at 6:14 p.m. on information that has from all appearances been public for at least three months, but which the National Resources Defense Council's On Earth blog noted about an hour earlier.
Rice's offenses? She "holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline." That's indeed troubling, but it was just as troubling when leftists up to and including the editorialists at the Washington Post were accusing anyone objecting to Rice's potential nomination of being presumptively racist. Excerpts from Guillen's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
It’s one thing for a leftist pundit to appear on MSNBC and smear Republicans as racist and bigoted. It’s another when the editor of MSNBC.com, a supposedly professional journalist, joins the ranks of liberal pundits slamming the GOP for its criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments following the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi.
Appearing on Tuesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Wolffe started off the show by having the audacity to claim, “there has been a witch hunt against every prominent person of color that has served alongside this president.” [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
At the end of Joe Klein's stupefying defense of Susan Rice and the Obama admin's misinformation campaign on the Benghazi outrage on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Time's Klein whether President Obama had invited him to play golf, "because you are just gobbling up the talking points like Thanksgiving turkey." H/t NB reader Carmel.
Here were some of Klein's astounding assertions: There are no unanswered questions about Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens had all the security he wanted. Rice's talking points were "absolutely accurate"--it was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists. Al qaeda was not involved in the attack. Not clear that reports from Stevens asking for more security exist. View the video after the jump.