Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 18, PoliticsNation show, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry characterized the government shutdown as Republicans "effectively impeaching" President Obama as she fretted that the GOP will create "crisis after crisis" so that Obama "never will have an opportunity to actually enact a second policy agenda."
Host Al Sharpton complained about Republicans talking about thwarting President Obama's agenda:
In an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed a "civil war" in the Republican Party and persistently urged him to blame it on the Tea Party. Instead, Cheney began the exchange by explaining: "I think the most radical operator in Washington today is the President. I think he's trying to take the country in a direction that is fundamentally different than anything we've seen before." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie was undeterred and continued to stoke GOP division: "And you would think that might be a unifying moment for the party but instead you have Senator Lindsey Graham this weekend calling the shutdown 'a political gift to Democrats'....Mitch McConnell said, 'I think we fully acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy is.' That suggests there is a real rift."
Like many a liberal blowhard, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera grabbed estimates from financial analysts that the government shutdown cost the economy billions of dollars. On his radio show Thursday, Geraldo decided he wanted to send the entire bill to Sen. Ted Cruz.
Geraldo also hosted CNN anchor Don Lemon who claimed to disavow “any political affiliation,” and then trashed the Republicans for holding “the American people hostage,” which is “not the American way”:
Remember the saying that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? It appears the president had it in mind on Thursday morning, when Barack Obama held a press conference in which he said: “All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio.”
It's interesting to note that back on Jan. 23, 2009, the new Democratic occupant of the White House admonished the Republicans in Congress: “You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
Continuing to hammer home the Democratic talking point that the Republican Party is to blame for the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gloated: "Politically, it's widely agreed to have been a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a later report, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "For many Republicans, they're now at that acceptance phase after a bruising defeat. Many, are admitting mistakes, assessing some responsibility." She then noted how "one of the most visible and divisive figures in this whole episode," Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "started the day trying to create some goodwill" by greeting visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
ABC on Thursday night took a victory lap in its effort to blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny and other journalists at the network phoned all the House and Senate GOP members who opposed the deal to reopen the federal government. These reporters demanded to know if the lawmakers would give back the salary they earned during the 16-day shutdown.
Zeleny justified, "Since it was Congress that shut the government down, one of the top questions you asked us, should they get paid?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist made no mention of Barack Obama or the congressional Democrats who rejected numerous compromise efforts to reopen the federal government.
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC's Krystal Ball asserted that Tea Party Republicans have been "actually destructive," blaming them for "destroying economic growth in this country," before later fretting that it is "frightening" that "radical elements" in the Republican Party did not "learn a lesson" from recent events. Ball:
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
Norah "we shouldn't editorialize" O'Donnell boosted President Obama mere seconds after the liberal politician finished his Thursday presser about the end of the partial government shutdown. The CBS anchor claimed that Obama was trying to "be, sort of, the grown-up in the room, and to look forward and say, here are the three ways we can now work together. "
O'Donnell later asserted that the President had gone back to his semblance of a bipartisanism in his lecture-like address: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Teasing an upcoming softball interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell wondered: "Does she now hold all the cards after President Obama says the Speaker has lost control?" Mitchell later introduced Pelosi by proclaiming: "John Boehner is gonna have to turn to the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to save the country from default, to put up Democratic votes to get this [budget deal] through." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Near the end of the friendly exchange, Pelosi credited her Senate counterpart for the deal: "I never saw anything like what Harry Reid did. To watch him was to watch a master at work. He was superb, intellectually, politically astute." Mitchell seized on that comment to make a sycophantic segue: "Speaking of masters at work, you have just been inducted, as I understand it, into the Women's Hall of Fame, which is such a high honor. So congratulations to you. "
Fox News host Stuart Varney embarrassed Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, using archived video to expose the congressman’s hypocrisy on the debt limit. Rangel supported raising the debt limit before today’s deadline, of course, but back in 2004, with Republican George W. Bush in the White House, he sang a different tune.
Varney, filling in for Cavuto, set Rangel up by asking him why he wanted to borrow so much money now. Rangel ignored the question, instead expressing his glee at the deal the Senate had reached. He exclaimed, “[W]e have kicked the can down the road and I'm happy.” Varney then made his play: [Watch the video below the break.]
It’s no secret that the liberal media sympathize with the Democrats’ position on the current government shutdown (and on most policy matters, really). Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown underscored that point on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour when she spun the failure of a House bill as a net positive because it was what Democrats were hoping for.
Brown was making a guest appearance on the NewsHour to report on the latest developments in negotiations to end the shutdown. She announced that the latest House GOP bill was collapsing due to a lack of support in that chamber. Brown then gave her two cents on the matter: [See video below the break.]
Eager to declare Republican defeat in the budget showdown on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "As John McCain said, Republicans have to understand, 'We lost this battle.' Let's put this very simply, after a shutdown that lasted 16 days, a shutdown led by House Republicans who wanted to undermine the President's new health care law, by the end of today, those Republicans may leave with little to nothing...to show for it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie used the same talking points in an interview with Republican senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte minutes later: "Some of your Republican colleagues over there [in the House] said you guys are the 'Senate surrender caucus.' Are you angry, embarrassed, frustrated?...Do they still need a reality check today? Do you agree with what Senator McCain said, which was essentially, 'This fight is lost, it's time to move on'?"
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor accused the Heritage Foundation of "strapping dynamite to the bridge" in trying to influence the agreement to end the government shutdown, and went on to mock Heritage President Jim DeMint as wearing "clown pajamas."
After host Al Sharpton griped about DeMint being a "far, far right" influence on congressional members, Taylor complained:
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, after beginning a segment about a conservative rally in D.C. by displaying a Confederate Flag in the background, host Chris Hayes asked if connecting the Confederate Flag to the Tea Party was "fair" based on just one instance of its display.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams continued to blame Republicans for the government shutdown, asserting that the budget impasse "traces its history back to a determined core of GOP House members who are vehemently against ObamaCare and were willing to shut down the government because of it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, he took it a step further by hinting at a way to get rid of such troublesome members of Congress holding up President Obama's agenda: "These members happen to be from very conservative districts where they won by big margins, and their jobs are secure more or less. And in both parties there are congressional districts that are set up by the states to keep the parties in power. But some believe if the system stays this way, our politics will kind of stay this way."
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll produced a finding that must have delighted the entire NBC staff. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans blame congressional Republicans for the current government shutdown, while 31 percent blame President Obama. For the record, 13 percent said both were equally to blame. The pollsters did not allow respondents to blame Democrats in Congress.
This may have been one finding from a survey of only 800 adults in a nation of more than 300 million people, but MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt and her correspondents were so thrilled with the result that they repeated it nine times over three hours of Weekends with Alex Witt on Saturday. [See video below the break.]
Piers Morgan still can't basic details about the gun rights debate right, even after his protracted involvement in the controversy, as he revealed on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Morgan incorrectly claimed that the First Amendment – not the Second Amendment – protected the right to keep and bear arms: "I have no problem...with a family exercising their First Amendment (sic) right to defend their families with a handgun at home."
The CNN host also praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his prominent vocal and monetary support of gun control, and took President Obama to task for his apparent lack of action on the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Apparently desperate to claim that 17 percent government shutdown is causing pain, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, decided that the Empire State Manufacturing Index's decline from brisk expansion to modest expansion was "a sign that the partial government shutdown may be weighing on the economy." Rugaber wrote what he did despite the actual report's emphasis that both business and labor market conditions "held steady," and its accompanying observation that manufacturers' borrowing costs have increased.
Though the headline at the AP's national site is a neutral "NY FACTORY ACTIVITY GROWS MORE SLOWLY IN OCTOBER," the one accompanying the story at some outlets (e.g., here and here — "Survey shows NY factory activity grows more slowly in October, signaling shutdown impact") is not. The four-paragraph story, presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, follows the jump:
Monday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly ginned up the ideological struggle inside the Republican Party as it covered the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chip Reid spun the face-off inside the House Republican caucus as being between "staunch" Tea Party-aligned representatives inside the House and "mainstream" Republicans.
Reid later played up how House Speaker John Boehner could "face a dilemma" if the Senate came up with a compromise to end the shutdown, and that Boehner "can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or...he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell wrung her hands over "angry Tea Party protesters" who gathered in Washington over the weekend to denounce the Obama administration's politicization of the government shutdown being "whipped up" Sarah Palin and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the program, she contemptuously remarked to The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "I'm really struck by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin over the weekend at these protests saying that it's, you know, terrible to be taking advantage of veterans....who was it who started playing politics with this thing in the first place?"
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 11, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called the Tea Party Republican faction a "very small minority" and accused them of causing "economic destruction."
After host Al Sharpton noted polling finding that Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is substantially more popular with Tea Party Republicans than other groups, Milbank responded:
In an interview with Republican Senator Bob Corker on Monday's NBC Today – after Democrats sabotaged a bipartisan Senate deal to raise the nation's debt limit over the weekend – co-host Savannah Guthrie was still determined to place all blame for the budget impasse on the GOP: "As you well know, the polls have been absolutely devastating to Republicans. Do you think that Republican Party deserves credit or blame, however you want to put it, for this shutdown and now this looming crisis with the debt ceiling?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Corker responded: "...in fairness, the other side of the aisle seeing what they thought was weakness, also moved to a place that was an overreach....I don't really focus on who gets blame, I was elected to try to solve problems and I think we're on the verge of possibly doing that today."
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein of ABC News teamed up recently for an online interview with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Posted to the ABC News/Yahoo! News “Power Players” blog, the interview consisted mostly of Karl and Klein trying to get Jindal to criticize his fellow Republicans, particularly those in Congress.
Karl got right down to the GOP-infighting business with his first question: [Watch the video and read the accompanying article here.]
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
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.]