Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in tagging Tea Party Republicans as "crazies" as O'Donnell fretted over whether conservative activists Charles and David Koch would be able to convince Tea Party Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling issue.
[***UPDATED*** October 11, 11:15 ET, More analysis and full transcript added]
In an interview with Senator John McCain for The Daily Beast's annual Hero Summit on Thursday, the blog's editor-in-chief Tina Brown launched into an unhinged rant blaming conservatives for the government shutdown: "The story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how do we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul's bitch?...Why aren't the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We're always saying why don't, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
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.]
Wrapping up a report on the government shutdown for Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander eagerly promoted negative political fallout for Republicans: "Both parties are taking a hit in their approval ratings as a result these days. But the damage to the Republican brand appears to be proving to be much worse. A new Gallup poll...shows only 28% of Americans say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party, that's the lowest number since they began asking that question twenty-one years ago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What Alexander didn't bother to mention was an Associated Press poll that showed President Obama's approval rating having dropped to 37%, with disapproval at 53%. Following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer made a feeble attempt to provide balance to the slanted coverage: "No picnic in that [Gallup] poll for the Democratic Party either, but the Republicans seem to be taking the bigger hit at the moment." Again, no mention of Obama's low approval rating.
So here's an angle on the federal government shutdown that you're not getting from the liberal broadcast media.
With non-essential personnel furloughed, federal regulators have not been at work, which is a huge blessing to an overregulated American economy, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board noted today. Indeed, new regulations published in the Federal Register have slowed to a trickle since the work stoppage began on October 1:
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Appearing on the Tuesday, October 8, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Joy Reid asserted that Republicans are "taking hostages" and have "shot a hostage" as they "went ahead and shut the government down." She began her over the top metaphor:
Shortly before the conclusion of the October 9 edition of his MSNBC Live program, anchor Thomas Roberts treated Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to a softball interview regarding the pro-amnesty Camino Americano rally held Tuesday on the National Mall, which she attended. Roberts failed to pose any tough policy-oriented questions to Schakowsky on the matter of immigration reform, nor did he bring on another guest who disagreed with the Democrat-favored approach to the policy.
But what takes the cake is how, at the end of his brief chat with the liberal congresswoman, Roberts cheered Schakowsky for getting arrested Tuesday subsequent to the rally, gushing that "it's good that your rap sheet is getting longer for a great cause." Schakowsky was arrested for blocking a public street near the Capitol, not for expressing her views on immigration reform legislation [MP3 audio available here; watch the video below the page break].
Liberals have grown increasingly angry at Republican “gerrymandering” as a cause for today’s “crazy” conservative House, that Republicans represent overwhelmingly anti-Obama districts and are in no danger of losing. They often completely ignore that many minority Democrats represent overwhelmingly pro-Obama districts and are in no danger of losing. (In response to Voting Rights Act-caused racial gerrymandering, we have silly-looking districts like Mel Watt’s in North Carolina. See PJ Media for more.)
In Tuesday’s USA Today, black columnist DeWayne Wickham -- a former reporter for U.S. News & World Report magazine -- took this willful blindness to new heights, and bizarrely made it sound like a white conspiracy that Republican districts are so white the House GOP “looks like a Klan klavern”:
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrung his hands over Congress, particularly Republicans, not yet reaching a budget deal to end the government shutdown: "...the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd responded by removing the criticism of "both sides": "You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in." [Watch the video after the jump]
Despite them being so "dug in," Todd hoped for "good news" of Republican surrender: "House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here."
On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a segment to blaming a "fatal flaw" and "quirks" in the U.S. Constitution for making it possible for government shutdowns to happen, as he suggested that parliamentary governments are preferable because they make it more difficult for divided government to exist.
In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
[***UPDATED*** 17:30 ET: More analysis and full transcript added]
Appearing on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC 1 p.m. ET hour show on Tuesday, Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy slammed the press for not doing its job in pointing out the hypocrisy of ObamaCare being delayed for certain groups but not for all Americans: "...the media won't even ask the question about, 'Why are you [the Obama administration] treating families different than big businesses?'...That's how pathetic, I think, news reporting has become, when we won't ask tough questions to the administration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That response was prompted by Mitchell ranting that Republican calls for a one-year delay of the ObamaCare individual mandate was a "non-negotiable demand." Moments later, after Duffy explained that the GOP has "been incredibly reasonable, making a small ask," Mitchell was aghast: "Do you consider it a small ask that he [Obama] get rid of the central part of his health care plan that was upheld by a – by the vote of a presidential election, and the United States Supreme Court." Duffy replied: "Andrea, hold on. That's your spin." Mitchell laughably asserted: "That's not spin."
MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter on Saturday continued the liberal media pattern of siding with the Obama administration on the current government shutdown. Appearing on Weekends with Alex Witt, Alter claimed that House Speaker John Boehner is not acting in a “patriotic fashion” and “can’t even deliver a pizza,” as Team Obama says.
Fill-in host Mara Schiavocampo had asked Alter about the unidentified Obama official who told The Wall Street Journal that the White House was “winning” the shutdown, but Alter got off track and started ripping into Speaker Boehner. He huffed, “[E]verything he's doing is to protect his own skin. I wish I could say that he was acting in a patriotic fashion, but he's just not.” [See video below.]
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney's answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won't have to wait to see how the nation's healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let's get the Blaze's rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):
"This is a welcome change for Democrats who thought Obama was too accommodating to Republicans during previous crises," Bolton noted, adding, "Simply put, they believe less is more when it comes to Obama’s involvement in negotiations with the GOP" (emphasis mine):
In a story published early this morning by Manu Raju at the Politico which is primarily about Senate Majority Harry Reid's plans to aggressively pursue reelection in 2016, the Nevada senator took shots at the establishment press for "trying so hard to be fair that you are unfair."
Proving Reid wrong in real time, Raju failed to mention Reid's response last week to a question by Dana Bash at CNN — which by the way, as Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted earlier today, has been pounding Republicans ever since as if to compensate. Bash asked Reid if it would be worth it to continue to fund clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health if doing so could help one child with cancer. His answer, on tape: "Why would we want to do that?" Excerpts from the Raju's report follow the jump (HT Ed Driscoll; bolds are mine):
On Monday, the hosts of NBC's Today eagerly played clips of Saturday Night Live bashing Republicans over the government shutdown. In the morning show's 7 a.m. ET half hour, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall played a clip of SNL host Miley Cyrus doing a parody music video blaming the GOP for the shutdown and gushed: "I think she [Cyrus] might become a member of the five-timers club. You know, the group of hosts who've hosted five times." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour, co-host Willie Geist touted: "7th day now of the shutdown. Let's look at the bright side, the SNL side, how they handled it....Weekend Update...had an interesting take on the shutdown's winners and losers." A clip played of SNL cast member Seth Myers ranting: "Loser, John Boehner. I feel sorry for you buddy. It's exhausting watching you trying to maintain your dignity while wrangling those Tea Party maniacs. You're like Seinfeld if they're were 30 Kramers."
Who does George Stephanopoulos work for? ABC News or the Democratic Party? In a This Week Interview on Sunday, the former operative to Bill Clinton foisted the blame for the government shutdown on John Boehner and House Republicans. During the 13 minute interview, Stephanopoulos repeatedly started questions this way: "The Democrats say...The Democrats, including Senate Democrat Harry Reid, have said...But Mr. Speaker, [Obama] says...The President has pointed out..." Six times, the anchor began his query with an observation over what the Democrats "say" on this issue.
Rejecting the concept of Democratic responsibility, Stephanopoulos touted Majority Leader Reid, noting that he "has said he's more than willing to have a conference, more than willing to have a negotiation, but not under the threat of a government shutdown, not under the threat of a default." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The anchor offered to mind read, lecturing of the shutdown: "But Mr. Speaker, this is clearly not what you want."
In a dramatically one-sided report on Monday's NBC Today about the government shutdown, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared: "President Obama is sticking to his guns, demanding Republicans end the shutdown by passing a so-called 'clean C.R.,' a budget extension without any changes to the President's health care law." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After a brief sound bite of Speaker John Boehner explaining that such a bill could not pass the Republican-controlled House, Alexander offered more administration spin: "The White House is challenging Boehner to put that to a test. And a pro-Obama group is accusing the GOP of being irresponsible."
White House staff aren’t the only ones looking for sob stories about folks affected by the government shutdown. The media are doing what they can to assist. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, lends a hand with “Shutdown becomes real for local residents.” The article begins:
Edgar Mullins, of Richton Park, and Justin Jones, of Chicago Heights, became victims of the federal government shutdown on Thursday.
They lined up early in the morning in front of the Social Security Administration office in Chicago Heights.
The office was open for business but wasn’t offering new or replacement Social Security cards, the reason Mullins and Jones were there.
Republicans are godless anti-government zealots responsible for a federal government shutdown that will literally kill people, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged in the closing "Clear the Air" commentary on his Friday, October 4 program.
But in a not-so-clever twist, the ever-sanctimonious Bashir -- who has a penchant for selective Bible-thumping to push liberal agenda points -- sought to enlist the nonpartisan Senate chaplain, Dr. Barry C. Black, to condemn Republicans for him. The relevant transcript is below the page break, as is the video of the segment:
If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time.
It's a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government "shutdown." The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.
The political stalemate leading to the so-called shutdown of the federal government has shown with devastating clarity how official Washington is consumed with symbolism over substance.
The symbolism begins with the word shutdown itself. Despite the noise and fury in Washington, the vast majority of Americans haven't noticed any change in their daily lives because most of the federal government has not shut down. It is functioning as normal. Social Security checks go out, and the military is still on duty.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a full report on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health being stopped under the government shutdown: "And there are the millions who are feeling the impact of this shutdown very close to home and across this country, including some for whom this standoff feels very much like a matter of life and death for them."
In the story that followed, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "The NIH funds research nationwide. At its headquarters, a lack of funding means 200 patients, including 30 children, each week will be turned away from clinical studies." What he failed to mention was that congressional Republicans proposed a bill to provide the needed funding, but were rebuffed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
CBS This Morning has a long established history of conducting softball interviews of liberal/Democratic guests, while unleashing on conservative/liberal ones. But on Friday, the morning newscast surprisingly hounded Rep. Nancy Pelosi on the ongoing government shutdown. Obama supporter Gayle King repeatedly pressed Pelosi about "people [who] are just saying...work it out....both sides have to be willing to leave something on the table."
Anthony Mason underlined how "Senator [Harry] Reid called some Republicans anarchists. You've called them arsonists....How do you get a meeting of the minds when people are talking like that?" Norah O'Donnell also wondered about "a scenario...where Democrats would be willing to give on a larger budget deal – the grand bargain coming back, and giving on entitlements, so that we can move forward." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation, during a discussion of the government shutdown, MSNBC's Krystal Ball characterized congressional Republicans as "tak[ing] the whole government hostage," and "threaten[ing]" the "constitutional balance."
After host Al Sharpton fretted over the operation of FEMA and the National Hurricane Center during the government shutdown, Ball responded:
Appearing on CBS's Late Show on Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ranted to liberal host David Letterman about Republicans in Congress being to blame for the government shutdown: "It's about a small – they've been called the suicide caucus in the U.S. House, about 80 members.....right now they have a hold on the House of Representatives....because of this caucus, this cabal, nothing moves." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Letterman was eager to join in bashing the GOP: "If we wanted to blame someone....Would it be crazy Ted Cruz? Would it be – can we blame him for this?" Williams replied: "Ted Cruz is the leader of a lot of this."
On Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, at the end of a discussion on the government shutdown, substitute host Alex Wagner tried to marginalize Tea Party conservatives as only representing "two percent of the public" after guest and MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe blamed the congressional Republican leadership for allowing Tea Party members to have so much influence. Wolffe: