On Wednesday evening, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and the NBC Nightly News both covered the Elizabeth Edwards/Ann Coulter controversy, noting that the Edwards campaign has eagerly used their run-ins with Coulter to raise campaign money. ABC's Jake Tapper uniquely noted this week's fundraising deadline for the presidential race, while relaying the Edwards campaign's success at raising "Coulter cash." Tapper: "Just as Coulter has a book to promote this week, Edwards has a fund-raising deadline. Enemies can have their uses."
NBC's David Gregory noted the Edwards campaign's immediate use of yesterday's flap to solicit campaign money, but the network also failed to put one of Coulter's controversial quotes in proper context, thus making it appear worse than it actually sounded in full. On Monday's Good Morning America, while answering a question about her joke from last March about John Edwards being a "faggot," Coulter suggested there was a double standard between the outrage over her remark and the greater tolerance by the media and liberals of a question by Bill Maher about whether the world would be a better place if Vice President Cheney had been assassinated. (Transcripts follow)
On this afternoon's "Tucker Carlson" on MSNBC, the eponymous host mentioned that Barack Obama had travelled to NYC to seek the support of Charles Barron of Brooklyn. Carlson knows Barron well, the NYC Councilman being a frequent guest on Tucker's show. Carlson described Barron as a "pretty straightforward racist, pretty straightforward black nationalist, anti-white character, exactly the kind of person you would not expect Obama to be courting." He then asked guest Jonathan Alter: "What is Obama doing?
SENIOR NEWSWEEK EDITOR JONATHAN ALTER: "Well, I think Obama wants the support of everybody, and I think the question is whether he can have a tent that's actually as big as the United States . . . The whole point of his campaign Tucker is to say "don't judge me by any one of my supporters, I'm trying to get a super-big tent here" . . . I think it would be unfair to hold any of his supporter's politics, you know, hold him accountable for what Charles Barron thinks.
Tucker wasn't buying, and drew the logical analogy.
MSNBC HOST TUCKER CARLSON: If Rudy Giuliani went down and asked David Duke for his support, would you say, "you know, it's unfair to hold Rudy Giuliani accountable for what David Duke said?" No, of course not! You'd write a cover story attacking him. That's a ludicrous point.
“Elizabeth Edwards should look close to home when it comes to ‘hatefulness and ugliness’ for it was her husband’s Democratic presidential campaign that hired two official bloggers who attacked ‘Christofascists’ and insulted Christians and their faith in the most repulsive words imaginable, which I won’t repeat here. Go Google Amanda Marcotte and Holy Spirit.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo portrayed the previous day’s on-air debate between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter as a one sided lecture from the ‘08 contender’s wife. The ABC program edited out or didn’t play either of Coulter’s best verbal barbs.
The conservative author’s zinger, that John Edwards’ use of her name to raise money is better"than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor," was bluntly cut out. And although GMA found time to play Mrs. Edwards’ denunciation of the conservative commentator as hateful, the program skipped over a retort by Coulter that described Mr. Edwards’ law practice as "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
In a related note, MSNBC’s "First Read" page now admits that the ambush by a 2008 candidate’s wife was a preplanned event between the network and the John Edwards campaign:
By now, most people in America have viewed the scene from Tuesday’s “Hardball” when Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, called in to dress down Chris Matthews’ guest, conservative writer Ann Coulter.
After seeing the coverage of this matter Wednesday morning, a revelation made at MSNBC’s “Hardblogger” emits a bit of a rodent aroma leading one to believe that this entire incident was set up not just to embarrass Coulter, but possibly to advance the current Democrat push to squash conservative talk radio (emphasis added):
Update (Ken Shepherd | 09:16 EDT): Matthews appeared with Joe Scarborough a few minutes ago on MSNBC to discuss the matter. Expect more coverage in a followup post on NewsBusters shortly.
Chris Matthews should keep his evening job. Appearing on this morning's "Today," the Hardball host was manifestly bleary and off his game.
Matthews was in, at 7:12 am EDT, to discuss with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira the dust-up on last night's "Hardball," reported here by NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens, between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards. Matthews couldn't keep his names straight. He first referred to Coulter as "Ann Edwards," then recycled the "Ann Edwards" moniker in referring to Elizabeth Edwards.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well that was a pretty tough [translation: pro-Coulter] crowd, and if you think Ann Edwards is over the top, she had a lot of people behind her last night who agreed with her.
And later . . .
MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, you're dealing with a real-life situation with Ann Edwards' medical challenges, which we all know about, and the fact that they did lose their son Wade, and you don't make jokes about that.
It'll be busy at MRC this morning, as both ABC and NBC played up Elizabeth Edwards dressing down Ann Coulter by phone on "Hardball" last night. (Matthews trashed Coulter as a "Today" guest this morning. More to come.) Wire services like AP and newspapers like The Washington Post are on the story today, but several important elements are missing from this story. None seem to question the ethics of MSNBC staging this unusual telephone sneak attack on Coulter.
More importantly, no one seems to be questioning Elizabeth Edwards attacking Coulter for the "language of hate" when the Edwards campaign hired Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan as official bloggers, who attacked "Christofascists," smeared Pope Benedict as a dictator, and mocked the core doctrines of Christianity as excuses for misogyny. Mrs. Edwards was a player in hiring those feminist bloggers and their language of hate. Why is the liberal media ignoring the pot calling the kettle black?
Assume for a moment that you were a co-host on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and you were given the assignment to interview outspoken conservative writer Ann Coulter.
With everything going on in the world – from Iraq, to immigration, even to Gore-made global warming – what would be the first topic you would ask Coulter to address?
Well, ABC’s Chris Cuomo Monday chose none of those issues, and instead decided to ask his guest about a joke she made several months ago regarding Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards' sexual preference (video available here):
Myra Langerhas of "Snarking Dawg" had this pointed take on those vaunted "campaign finance reform" champions at the liberal New York Times that I thought I'd share with you:
Typical editorial from every litterbox's paper of record. Boil it down
to bones - 'Bong hits 4 Jesus' banner by a high school student during
class hours demands 1st Amendment protection, but an ad from a private
group that asks Senators to vote on judicial nominees needs to be
censored by the Federal Gubmint.
Wow, and the 'smart guys' read this fodder.
Our very own Clay Waters scoops out that litterbox regularly. You can track his record of the Times' droppings at TimesWatch.org.
In its rush to paint yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that struck down an issue ad ban contained in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, the Chicago Tribune described the case as a win for President Bush and the GOP, even though the Bush administration's lawyers lost the case in question and even though the case benefits liberal activist groups as much as it does conservatives. What's more, Bush's appointees to the court actually restrained the conservative majority from taking a bigger swipe at the campaign finance law.
Here's the lede from the Tribune staffer David Savage:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave President Bush and Republican
leaders two important 5-4 victories Monday by clearing the way for
corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's election and by
shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in
Oh really? President Bush signed the campaign finance bill into law, it was his Federal Election Commission that pleaded and lost the case, and he's not able to run again for reelection, yet somehow he won yesterday by virtue of his Federal Election Commission losing?
What's more, Republicans, conservatives, and business interests can certainly benefit from the change in the law, but so can Democrats, liberals, and labor unions, a point that the Washington Post's Robert Barnes picked up on in his reporting, which tracked favorable reaction from labor and business leaders:
Here's how USA Today's Joan Biskupic started her June 25 article on the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the case in which the Court struck down a televised ad ban in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. (emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to corporate and union financing of broadcast adssubtly attacking candidates for federal office before an election, in a 5-4 decision that is likely to make it harder for Congress to regulate campaign financing in the future.
The decision also could bring about a new flood of corporate and big-money spending on the 2008 elections.
If I didn't know better I'd think she were auditioning for a PR job with the John McCain for President campaign.
Here's how Biskupic colleague Jill Lawrence of the paper's "On Politics" blog tracked McCain's reaction to the ruling (emphasis mine):
Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban interest groups from running issue ads close to an election. The McCain-Feingold Act bans any issue ads by interest groups that mention a candidate running for reelection from airing within 60 days of a general election (and 30 days before a primary), even if the ad does not expressly advocate voting for or against the named candidate.
The way Ariane de Vogue of ABCNews.com reports it, the ruling is not a victory for free speech and political participation, but a blow to "reform." (emphasis mine):
Reigniting the debate over campaign finance regulation, the Supreme
Court struck down a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on
That legislation, also known as the McCain-Feingold law,
restricts corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at
election time using general funds. Proponents of campaign finance
reform fear Monday's ruling will create a major loophole in the
legislation and cause an influx of so-called "sham issue" ads that
McCain-Feingold was created in part to combat.
On June 3, NBC’s “Meet the Press” marvelously demonstrated how wonderful a panel discussion can be when there are an equal number of liberal and conservative pundits present as reported by NewsBusters here.
Three weeks later, host Tim Russert stocked his panel exclusively with liberals: David Broder of The Washington Post, John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal and CNBC, Gwen Ifill of PBS’ Washington Week, and syndicated columnist Roger Simon.
As a result of there not being one conservative present, the discussion was the usual twenty minutes of Bush-bashing, Hillary sycophancy, and attacks on all politicians with an “R” next to their names.
In fact, the liberal bias this Sunday morning came early and often immediately after Russert’s first question: (video available here with relevant segment beginning at minute 22:45):
Barbara Walters, who sometimes plays an objective journalist on TV, chose this week to endorse "Sicko," Michael Moore’s left-wing screed about the health care industry. The veteran news anchor enthused, "Everyone should see it." Conservatives shouldn’t be surprised by this type of propagandizing, however. Last year, Walters endorsed Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth." (See blog for link.)
Speaking of the "The View," an ex-host from that program, Meredith Vieira, gushed on Monday’s edition of "Today" that Hillary Clinton is "unbeatable" and a "teflon candidate." Later in the week, Matt Lauer, a co-anchor on the NBC program, touted Mrs. Clinton’s "Sopranos" parody. He declared it "a hit" and "clever." The other network morning shows were similarly impressed.
Update (Ken Shepherd): Maloney tells me he'll be on the John Gibson radio program on Fox News radio shortly after 6:20 p.m. to discuss this.
As NewsBusters reported here and here, liberals around the country are carping and whining about conservatives having too much control of AM radio.
In fact, just yesterday, the Center for American Progress issued an outline as to what needs to be done to counter what it views as an unfair dominance of the airwaves by conservatives.
With that in mind, Brian Maloney has taken a look at the data collected by the Center to identify just how bad things really are for those poor liberals trying to compete with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al.
What Maloney found – not surprisingly – was that the Center fudged the numbers a bit to make it look like things were much worse than they actually are (emphasis added throughout):
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.
The left-leaning American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which organized the soapbox, was quick to cheer for the most mundane of liberal catch phrases while descending into boos and hisses at the very mention of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The supposedly “free speech” left are out in force trying to silence all voices in the media with views different than their own just in time for the 2008 presidential campaign.
Potentially more worrisome, one liberal advocate in the middle of this debate has close ties to the Clintons, although it is quite unlikely the press will convey such when its recommendations are disseminated with their predictable stamp of approval.
With that in mind, the left-leaning Center for American Progress published a report Thursday detailing how conservatives dominate the talk radio dial, and exactly what needs to be done legislatively for liberals to wrest control over this medium (emphasis added throughout):
Has John McCain acknowledged reality and all but thrown in the towel on his run for the Republican presidential nomination? An editorial in today's Boston Globe might make you think so. In McCain's fighting stance, an ode to McCain's position on immigration, the Globe mentions that "McCain, an Arizona Republican, spoke about the immigration bill's chances in a meeting with Globe editors on Monday."
For the record, the Globe editorial predictably praises McCain for his "principled stand" against "an ugly nativist streak in his own party."
As we all know, Andrea Mitchell having told us so, Chris Matthews is no liberal. However the Hardball host did emphatically state on this afternoon's show that, at least when it comes to health care, he agrees with Michael Moore.
Matthews had just aired an impromptu interview that MSNBC's David Shuster had snared with Moore when the filmmaker appeared on Capitol Hill today on the occasion of this week's release of his latest work, "Sicko," regarding health care in the United States. In both Shuster's depiction of Moore's views, and in Moore's own statements in the course of the interview, Moore made clear that he wants to eliminate private-sector participation in health care insurance.
As Shuster put it: "in this movie, Moore calls for the end, the end, of for-profit healthcare."
In the aired interview, Moore described private-sector insurers as a "racket" and said "I want private insurance companies out of the equation."
So how did Matthews react to Moore's call for the killing of private-sector health care?
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case. Healthcare in this country is not working.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announcing he’s leaving the Republican Party is a little like Madonna announcing she’s leaving the Catholic Church. Was he ever really a paragon of the GOP? Speculation abounds that he’s running for president on the Ross Perot egotistical-billionaire plan, with press reports citing his intention to spend a cool $1 billion of his personal fortune. That will surely create a headwind, but a big part of the wind beneath his wings will be the support he hopes to generate from the national media.
And it’s happening already. Bloomberg’s third-party spoiler ambitions were heavily promoted by two news magazines – a big promotional cover story in Time with fellow RINO Arnold Schwarzenegger titled "The New Action Heroes," and a two-page editorial by U.S. News & World Report owner Mort Zuckerman titled "What to Like About Mike."
This is not to say these magazines believe what America really needs is a successful media magnate in the White House. If they did, they would have done the same publicity favors for Steve Forbes.
Coming back from a commercial break that included a plug for "the best reporting, the power of NBC News" on "Super Tuesdays," MSNBC's Chris Matthews was caught uttering an expletive, complaining about the content of the network's programming.
The "Hardball" host complained that "we're all reacting here and putting on shit" with the network's breaking news coverage pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP to become an independent.
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program used an attack by an aide to presidential candidate Sam Brownback on fellow contender Mitt Romney to delve into the former Massachusetts governor’s religious beliefs and whether bigotry will derail his campaign.
Comparing the treatment of Romney’s religion to past campaigns, Dan Harris asserted that this sort of thing "happened for orthodox Jews when Joe Lieberman ran for vice president in 2000."
But unlike in 2000, when Joe Lieberman ran for vice president on a liberal Democratic ticket, Mitt Romney is running a social conservative. And thus, Harris alternated from wondering if "a resurgence of the type of bigotry the church has faced since it was founded 177 years ago" might torpedo Romney’s bid, to speculating on the "uncomfortable questions" about Mormon beliefs:
For those that don’t think our enemies are watching the activities surrounding America’s antiwar movement, just consider that several Syrian media outlets reported Cindy Sheehan’s resignation as peace activist last month.
In fact, one Syrian columnist actually did a significantly better job than any major American journalist.of accurately tying Sheehan's disgust with Democrats to their failure to live up to their 2006 campaign promises.
Something interesting is happening between the new and old media: the more Democrats move to the left to please liberal bloggers, the more mainstream press members express disdain.
On Wednesday, following in the footsteps of the Washington Post’s David Broder and Time’s Joe Klein, and just days before Democrat strategist Bob Beckel, NBC’s Tim Russert jumped on the “Netroots Are A Danger to Democrats” bandwagon.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” Russert seemed incredibly at ease with both co-hosts as he made statements that had to shock conservative and liberal viewers alike.
On June 12, all three morning shows parroted DNC talking points and declared President Bush a "lame duck." "Good Morning America" solemnly noted that the phrase would likely follow Bush throughout his trip to Capitol Hill. (Apparently this is the theory that if the networks say something enough, everyone will believe it.)
Speaking of "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a groveling interview with Michael Moore in which he backtracked from calling the liberal filmmaker’s new movie a stunt. "Look, I like the stunt," he corrected.
When two mainstream media outlets like CNN and the New York Times converge as they did on Thursday's "American Morning" and discuss Hillary Clinton, you might expect sugar-coated discussion of the leading Democrat presidential contender. But that wasn't the case when "American Morning" co-host Kiran Chetry interviewed New York Times correspondent Don Van Natta Jr., who is the co-author of a new book on Hillary Clinton entitled "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton."
The funny thing about "news" magazine blogs is that there's not much difference in editorializing quotient between the magazine and the blog posts. "Anonymous" Joe Klein is a Time columnist, officially, but he has all the partisan tics that the other MSM political gurus have. In looking at the latest Hillary polls showing her solid support among downscale women, Klein argued on Time's Swampland blog:
I suspect that Hillary's showing among women has the most significance. Something has happened here. You see it on the campaign trail. A lot of previously skeptical women have decided that Clinton's Methodist rectitude is needed to clean up the mess the frat boy made in Washington.
It's always entertaining to hear Klein -- who lied his face off for many best-selling weeks about authoring his millionaire-minting Clinton roman a clef Primary Colors, even to his Newsweek bosses -- pronounce on rectitude.
If conservatives win a primary, they can not go on to win a general election according to the Washington Post’s Tim Craig. In his post primary analysis, Craig cited two primary victories for conservative Republicans, and spun it as "troubling signs for the [Republican] party."
The two defeated incumbent moderates include Martin E. Williams of Newport News and J. Brandon Bell II of Roanoke. In fairness, it is defensible to suggest a moderate Republican would fare better in Newport News (John Kerry narrowly carried the city in 2004). However, George W. Bush carried Roanoke by 30 points that same year, and it would be ridiculous to suggest a conservative can not prevail there.
Updates below. (Close look at whiteboard in video calls Ann Coulter a "whore," etc.)
By now you may have heard about "Obama Girl," an attractive young woman dancing and singing a tune about having a "crush" on the Democratic presidential hopeful. It's all the rage on the cable news nets this afternoon. Doing some digging around the Internet, however, I was unable to find who exactly is behind the viral video phenomenon, but I did find it was registered through GoDaddy.com, the Web site registrar made a household name for its racy TV ads.
At any rate, "Obama Girl" Leah Kauffman (see update) doesn't appear to be a random young woman with a camcorder and Internet savvy. Her video "I Got a Crush on Obama" serves as the inaugural media stunt for BarelyPolitical.com, a Web site created on May 30 that has a skimpy "about us" section: