In an effort to insulate President Obama from criticism during the government shutdown and focus all blame on members of Congress, NBC's Today created the Twitter topic #DearCongress to provide "a forum for you to vent." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After urging viewers on Tuesday to use the hastag in their anti-Congress tweets, on Wednesday, the hosts of the network morning touted the success of the effort. Co-host Savannah Guthrie announced "growing public outrage on day two of the government shutdown." In a report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "Across the country, a growing chorus of frustration....Americans stepping up to the mic under the #DearCongress, that launched...here on Today."
Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.
Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]
Quick: how much were Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps cut by the sequester? Zero, you say? Those programs were exempted from sequester cuts, and Medicare was reduced by only 2%? Correctomundo!
So what was Andrea Mitchell thinking when she claimed on her MSNBC show that the sequester "gutted" social programs? You tell me. View the video after the jump.
Jay Leno clearly isn’t pleased with the government shutdown.
On Wednesday’s Tonight Show, the host spent most of his opening monologue railing against the President and Congress concluding with him holding a sign up that read “F U Politicians” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Politico's Dylan Byers is determined to tell us that we didn't see and hear what we really saw and heard, and that Matt Drudge is a filthy liar (Update, 8:20 a.m., Oct. 3: as well as Real Clear Politics —"Reid To CNN's Dana Bash: 'Why Would We Want To' Help One Kid With Cancer?") for relaying what CNN's Dana Bash saw and heard — and reported.
Today, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whined about House Republicans “obsessed with this Obamacare thing” and asserted that "they have no right to pick and choose” which programs to fund and not fund (actually, the Constitution gives them that right, Harry), card-carrying liberal Bash asked him: “But if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?” Instead of turning the tables and saying, “I’ll be glad to do that when I get a clean bill,” he appeared to be on the verge of going into expletive mode, but then answered with a question of his own which should haunt him from here to eternity:
As I noted in a previous previous post today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a CNNMoney.com email tried to spin a 0.4% decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and tiny drops of less than 0.1% in the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ into proof that the government shutdown and the "looming U.S. default" were having awful effects on investors. Given that the ADP Employment Report today was a disappointment and had significant downward revisions to prior months, that was an indefensible stretch.
In an exclusive interview with President Obama on Wednesday, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood lobbed this softball on the political fallout of the government shutdown: "Before the election last year, you said you thought there was a possibility your re-election would break the fever within the Republican Party. Didn't happen. Do you see this moment as a chance, through this political confrontation, to break the fever now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the President proceeded to blame Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, Harwood actually challenged Obama on his attacks on the GOP: "I wonder about your tone lately. I have heard from you an increasing amount of exasperation, an edge, even mockery sometimes....And it gives the impression that you think that your Republican opponents are either craven or stupid or nuts. Is that what you think? And if you think so, does it help your cause to let people see that out loud?"
Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein unleashed a tirade against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and “his Republicans” on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. After co-host Mika Brzezinski read a passage from Thomas Friedman’s scathing indictment of Tea Party Republicans in The New York Times, Bernstein promised, “I’ll go farther than Friedman.” He certainly did: “Eric Cantor and his Republican Party are the most dangerous demagogic force in American politics since Joe McCarthy.”
Wow. That’s a serious accusation by the well-known investigative reporter. But there was more. According to Bernstein, President Obama’s new purpose is to protect the country from these demagogues: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
A sure sign that Dear Leader in the White House is under siege? His most ardent followers in media are sounding like denizens of Radio Rwanda circa 1994.
Latest example -- liberal radio host Stephanie Miller, aka the "Sexy Liberal" (yes, she actually calls herself that) upping the ante with a bedwetter of a caller who feared for his children's safety because of the partial government shutdown. (Audio after the jump)
NASDAQ.com says that the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 58.56 points today. The S&P 500 lost 1.13 points, while the NASDAQ lost 2.96 points. In percentage terms, those losses were 0.39%, 0.07%, and 0.08%, respectively.
Even though there's usually a large element of speculation relating to why the broad markets go up or down on any given day, the pretend know-it-alls at CNNMoney.com seem to have had a pretty obvious preset agenda in their post-close email, as will be seen after the jump:
For two straight days, Nancy Cordes strongly hinted on CBS This Morning that House Republicans were to blame for the ongoing government shutdown. On Tuesday, Cordes hounded GOP Congressman Robert Pittenger: "All the polls show that a majority of Americans don't want to see the government shut down over ObamaCare. How can you say the American people is on your side?"
The correspondent tossed a similar question the following morning at Pittenger's colleague, Rep. Phil Gingrey: "How long are you willing to keep the government partially closed over ObamaCare?" During both reports, she didn't bother to ask such questions of Democratic representatives or senators.
Republicans seem to "prefer [reopening] war memorials to" resuming cancer treatments for "living children." That's the grotesque, hyperpartisan spin that MSNBC's Martin Bashir weaved on his October 2 program, reacting to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's offer to have the RNC pay for five security guards to man the World War II Memorial which the National Park Service, in concert with the Obama White House, has ordered closed during the shutdown.
Bashir made that remark shortly into his Wednesday program before introducing his all-liberal panel of guests. Bashir, of course, failed to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's callous rejection of the notion of passing a funding bill that would re-open the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with it clinical trials to treat cancer-stricken children. The relevant transcript follows the page break. [MP3 audio available here; Video follows page break]:
As Barack Obama wrapped up a speech from the White House on Tuesday, reporter Jon Karl of ABC actually shouted a tough question at the President, wondering, "...If you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Anchor George Stephanopoulos noted that "Obama ignor[ed] a question from our own Jon Karl." Karl's network, on World News and Good Morning America, ignored it as well. NBC and CBS blamed the Republicans.
Instead of repeating his question on World News, Karl parroted Democratic talking points: "Today the President accused Republicans of waging an ideological crusade against Obamacare while he rejected their latest offer to re-open just part of the government." Anchor Diane Sawyer assigned responsibility to the GOP House: "And everywhere tonight, Americans are saying they are fed up with the congressmen who dig in and force the U.S. government to screech to a halt." "A lot of people outraged," she added. Did Obama play a part in the drama? Sawyer didn't say.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sneered that the government shutdown was "being driven by a committed core of Republican members of Congress who are all but assured of re-election in their districts, and just can't be conservative enough for many of the folks back home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joined Williams in blaming the GOP for the budget showdown: "You know, these Tea Party conservatives helped propel Republicans to take control of the House in 2010. And these conservatives, they are the engine behind this current standoff now."
Brett Zongker, the reporter the Associated Press assigned to cover the World War II Memorial story yesterday in Washington, apparently felt compelled to try to find someone who would exclusively blame Congress for the memorial's closure. He failed, but pretended that he succeeded.
For those unfamiliar with the story, in an overrecation to the partial government shutdown, the White House, specifically, the Office of Management and Budget, ordered the open air WWII Memorial barricaded. Anyone attempting to shift the blame elsewhere, e.g., Harry Reid, isn't telling the truth. With the help of several Republican congressmen, a veterans' group there on a long-planned visit breached the "Barry-cades" and openes the memorial. Zongker's report took seven paragraphs to recognize that the congresspersons involved are Republicans, and, as noted earlier, blew his concluding attempt to assign blame (bolds are mine):
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
The shutdown fearmongering continues apace, and Time magazine is dutifully passing along the administration's talking points. Here's the latest: the government work stoppage could drive cash-starved spies into the arms of other countries. It would make otherwise patriotic Americans become traitors.
Last evening NBC Nightly News featured the story about WWII veterans who were denied access to the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. supposedly due to the government shutdown. After being denied entry for about 15 minutes, a group of congressional officials opened the barricades and tape to allow entry of the veterans. To watch this NBC News report you would barely have any idea who lowered the barricades except for a quick innacurate mention of a "bipartisan" group.
The NBC News report with transcript is below the fold. Since this report is inaccurate in what it leaves out, there is also a video interview with Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann which fills in the holes that NBC News very conveniently left out of its report.
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
Just when you think liberal radio host Mike Malloy can't say anything crazier than he already has, out comes another gem.
On Monday as the President and his Party were refusing to compromise with House Republicans thereby setting the wheels in motion for a government shutdown, Malloy called the GOP "religious psychopaths" who "want women to get cancer," "girls to get sexually transmitted diseases," and "Jews to kill everybody in the Middle East" in order to "bring Jesus back!" (video follows with transcript courtesy Radio EQ):
Move over, Lord Voldemort. Ted Cruz has taken your place as the man so evil he must not be named . . .
Today's Morning Joe featured a strange trope in which Cruz was being unmistakably referred to by various members of the panel, but, at least in the first hour, never mentioned by name. Instead, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist variously alluded to Cruz as "one Republican senator specifically" or as one of "a couple of Republican senators" or "certain members of the Senate." Why the aversion to calling Ted Cruz by name? Were the Morning Joers trying to deprive Cruz of publicity? View the video after the jump.
The folks in office administration at the Politico had better put in for extra janitorial help. With all the horse manure their reporters are slinging during the partial government shutdown, it's gotta be getting knee-deep in those hoary halls.
One of the more egregious examples of insufferable obsequiousness today came late this morning via Edward-Isaac Dovere and Reid J. Epstein. You see, in their narrow world, President Barack Obama's stature has done a sudden and complete turnaround because he and Harry Reid have chosen to shut down the government (HT the Weekly Standard; bolds are mine):
Corrected from earlier | "After three years of last-minute deals, delayed decisions, and acrimonious finger pointing, the process for one of Congress's most basic functions—spending money—finally buckled and broke down Monday night," the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta sighed in the opening paragraph of his October 1 story, "Breakdown Is New Norm in Spending Fights."
"Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the House and Senate have been directed to pass annual budget resolutions setting targets for government spending levels and then work out the differences," but "Congress in recent years has abandoned its traditional budget and appropriations process," Paletta noted. Yet nowhere in his 21-paragraph story did the Journal scribe lay any blame at the feet of Senate Democrats and their leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though the upper chamber failed to pass a budget in nearly four years, only doing so in March.*
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Carson Daly turned to a woman on the Today show plaza for her reaction to the government shutdown. "Judy from Chicago" proceeded to bash Republicans and praise President Obama: "I think all of this amounts to is the Republicans are against President Obama. They don't want the President to be successful. I think he is the best president we have had in a very long time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She continued: "I think they need to work together. They knew for a long time this was coming to this. How about they don't receive any paychecks, just like everyone else?" Daly agreed: "Right. That's good thoughts. Thank you, Judy."
Monday night’s edition of ABC World News was a double dose of advocacy as Diane Sawyer and her team essentially served as a mouthpiece for President Obama’s position on the government shutdown and his health care law.
Sawyer led the broadcast, of course, with the government shutdown, which was then only a few hours away. She stated President Obama’s perspective on the matter: “The president expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.” But rather than follow that up with a Republican viewpoint, Sawyer threw to chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for a report on the shutdown. He began his package by playing a clip of Obama warning us all about the economic impact of a shutdown. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC reporter Jeff Zeleny on Tuesday afternoon excitedly told viewers that "cracks" are "emerging" in the Republican opposition to the government shutdown. His example of this? A GOP congressman already on record opposing a shutdown. Following live coverage of Barack Obama's speech, the journalist related, "But a couple cracks emerging, including a congressman from Virginia, a military district, Scott Rigell. He says, 'enough is enough. It's time to move on with this.'"
However, on the September 20 World News, Zeleny reported, "We caught up with Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia, the only Republican to go against his party." On that day, the reporter featured a clip of Rigell exclaiming, "And I've not heard from any members who thinks that shutting this government down is a good idea." [Video of both clips below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews dismissed Republican attempts to delay ObamaCare as a futile effort: "The President was elected – reelected again. He won this fight over health care....the President will not give up his baby, and I think they know that. That's why this is a scary fight. They've gone to ask Obama to give them something he can't give them, which is his health care bill." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews also ranted about Republican members of Congress having strong political support in their districts: "230 congressional districts are Republican. They voted against this President, they voted for a Republican congressmen. Those congress people, men and women, can't be defeated on this issue. They know they can fight to the death on this....[the President] can't stop those people because they're unbeatable in their districts."
Only at the very end of their article did Rogers and Miller mention that the Democratic National Committee is having a fundraising field day off the work stoppage. There was, however, no mention that the DNC desperately needs the cash because they're drowning in red ink. Reported Fortune magazine's Tory Newmyer yesterday morning: