Chris Matthews spent most of Monday night's "Hardball," laying out a blueprint for how Barack Obama can hit John McCain on the economy, as he compared the GOP presidential nominee to Herbert Hoover.
Opening the September 15 show, Matthews greeted viewers with the following teaser:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is John McCain talking like Herbert Hoover? Depression or just depressing? Let's play "Hardball."...Did John McCain really mean to say the "fundamentals of the economy are strong?" Herbert Hoover, who presided over The Great Depression, said quote, "the economy is fundamentally sound." So is it fundamentally good politics to say, with the stock market plunging, that things are hunky-dory?
Then, in the first segment, Matthews kept pressing Sen. Charles Schumer about why Obama wasn't being more aggressive against McCain on the economy:
Immediately following the interview, CNBC Media and Technology Editor Dennis Kneale observed the demeanor of Nelson and warned the scandal would be exploited by Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., for political purposes.
CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night used an Interior Department sex and drug scandal to snidely frame a story around how “the Bush administration has long been accused of having too close a relationship with the oil industry. Just how close is documented in new reports just out today.” The ABC and NBC evening newscasts also ran full stories on three new reports from the Interior Department's inspector general about the staffers of the Minerals Management Service, mostly in Colorado, but refrained from the overtly political characterization.
Turning to reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Couric opined: “This sounds pretty embarrassing.” Attkisson agreed as she immediately brought President Bush into the story: “It is, Katie. The investigative reports were released a day after President Bush had a private lunch with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the man in charge of the agency at the heart of the scandal. That was behind closed doors. Today's embarrassment was very public.”
"Good Morning America" on Monday featured liberal New York Times columnist Tom Friedman as an energy expert to "fact check" John McCain's policies on the subject and advocate for higher taxes. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer never referred to Friedman's economic policies as liberal, despite the fact that he repeatedly made assertions such as this: "But, you know, there's really no effective plan to make us energy independent without what I call a price signal, without either a carbon tax or a gasoline tax that's really going to shape the market in a different way."
Sawyer began the segment by noting both candidates have plans for energy independence. She then asked, "Are they going to achieve it? Do they mean it?" However, the ABC host didn't ask Friedman to "fact check" Obama's plan. Instead she simply recited the Democrat's plans for eliminating Mid East Oil. And while Friedman freely attacked McCain's policies, he responded to a clip of Obama talking about investing more money into alternative energy by, again, complaining about a lack of gasoline tax: "Unless we have a floor onto the price of gasoline that really keeps that behavior going, you can't throw enough money at this problem."
CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernen took a moment during a panel discussion September 2 to take a shot at the onslaught of coverage over presumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy.
You know as a member of the media I'm just kind of embarrassed with the media. The media says, "Yeah it shouldn't matter, it's not going to matter, we're not going to cover it" and then they put it on the cover of every paper.
Earlier in the broadcast Kernen told chief Washington correspondent John Harwood he did not think the family incidence was as big a deal as the media was making it out to be:
Felt a little bit like the guy in Casablanca, shocked, you know: teen sex in Alaska, John. Probably not that much of a shocker I guess, right? Not a whole lot. I guess bowling, yeah, It's a little lonely probably up there, right, John? ... I don't understand everybody at the same time saying that this is not going to be a big deal ... the press is going to be responsible about this, Barack Obama please don't make anything of this, but then it's the cover of every paper like it, you know, like matters.
"Good Morning America" criticized fees charged to customers who return rental cars without a full tank of gas - part of a standard car rental agreement.
"The only thing more expensive than gassing up your car these days is not gassing up your rental car," reporter Elisabeth Leamy explained to viewers on August 29. She said companies across the nation charge as much as $8 per gallon for cars returned unfilled.
While a lot of the members of the mainstream media were scratching their heads, trying to figure out just who Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was, CNBC actually came through with an almost immediate positive response.
The August 29 broadcast of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" featured two of the network's prominent personalities analyzing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's choice of a running mate. "Closing Bell" host Maria Bartiromo and "Kudlow & Company" host Larry Kudlow said McCain's decision was wise.
Bartiromo, who was set to feature Palin in an upcoming CNBC special on energy, called the governor a "terrific choice."
BARTIROMO: "I can tell you a lot about Gov. Palin just from my conversation with her and from the day that we spent with her and that is she challenged the establishment in Alaska. She is very, very popular in Alaska and what she brings to the table predominantly is her knowledge and her know-how of energy. That's the bottom line."
In case traditional news outlets "forget" to tell you, Uncle Sam announced this morning that second-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was revised sharply upward to 3.3% from the late July's advance estimate of 1.9%.
Dude, where's my recession?
Y'know, the recession that Barack Obama claimed we "almost certainly in" back in mid-July?
Believe it or not, there are supposedly legitimate economists out there who, despite today's news, still insist that we are in a recession -- right now! -- and have been for some time. And of course, reporters are finding them, and quoting them.
Earlier this week, when it was clear that a significant upward GDP revision was in the works, "journalists" at MarketWatch and CNNMoney.com, with the help of their "experts," did everything they could to downplay its impending significance. One even called it a "mirage."
Former president Jimmy Carter told Harry Smith on CBS's "The Early Show" August 27 that he predicted "oil companies will hold down oil prices a little bit, you know, to try to help the Republican ticket."
Carter also said that the economy would be the most important issue, "as it was when Bill Clinton was elected the first time."
The former president also said it was "surprising and gratifying" when presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., carried Georgia in the primary "over two attractive white candidates-Hillary Clinton and John Edwards."
Greg Hunter, a CNN correspondent for "Your $$$$$,"made the same prediction that oil prices would go down as the election nears on the June 16 broadcast. "[T]hey're going to drive that price down, they're going to pop the dollar up, they're going to drive the price down, they're going to work this, say, for the election," he said.
Partly because this story doesn't fit preconceived liberal storylines and partly because the Democratic Convention is taking up all the oxygen in the mainstream media, you can expect this story to remain buried in your newspaper and be given little if any attention on cable news networks.
From page 17 of today's Financial Times, "US drillers to get $1bn court award" comes news of how federal government red tape often holds up oil companies for drilling on leases they've already sunk billions of dollars into (emphasis mine):
A US federal appeals court ruled yesterday that 11 oil and gas companies should receive more than $1bn awarded to them in 2006 after the government effectively changed the terms of leases to drill off the California coast.
The US Court of Appeals was upholding a 2006 ruling that the government had breached the leases when changes in federal law materially interfered with the companies' efforts to develop the oil and gas reserves off California.
The case points to the difficulties US oil and gas companies have developing oil and gas resources in the US.
So if a government program has been failing for decades, should you A) Privatize it, B) Get rid of it altogether, or C) Throw millions of dollars at it and hope that Americas somehow feel compelled to reenact scenes from "Some Like it Hot."
The answer is C if you were watching CNN this morning.
"American Morning" pointed out that high gas prices were the reason ridership on Amtrak was up 14 percent and then pushed for more funding for the government-sponsored program through a recent Senate proposal.
"The problem for Amtrak of course though is that they haven't had a single new passenger car since 1990," said personal finance editor Gerri Willis on the August 21 broadcast. "Their cars, even the locomotives are old and aging; they're asking Congress for help. Dick Durbin has introduced legislation into the Senate to try and do something about that. Interestingly he says that Thanksgiving is going to be a wake up call for Americans as we all try to go visit relatives for the holidays."
"What they need is new track, because every Sunday it's like this all the way up," said co-host John Roberts simulating a bumpy train ride with his anchor chair.
During an interview with Larry King, Bill Maher went on a diatribe about the stupidity of the American people, because he is dumbfounded by 2/3 of Americans who believe that offshore drilling will bring gas prices down. King, not realizing he was about to insult the average caller who phones into his show each evening along with the millions who watch him in his own audience, simply asked Maher if he agreed with essayist H.L. Menken who said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
A study released today by the slightly left-of-center Project for Excellence in Journalism confirmed what many NBers have suspected for a while: the media's negative coverage of the economy affects public opinion.
According to PEJ, the public's concern about the economy as an issue has always outstripped that of the media. That's pretty normal considering that America's economy is one of the few large news stories that affects the average person.
Where things change, however, is in the public's perception. There seems to be a direct correlation between increases in negative media reports about the economy and lower amounts of public confidence in the economy:
Maybe it was a stab by Charles Gibson to provide a national group therapy session for his 8 million viewers, but the ABC "World News" anchor aggressively questioned ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson on the August 14 broadcast for "obscene" profits and asked him to "justify" the company's success.
"As we said earlier, Rex Tillerson - who is the board chair and CEO of ExxonMobil, doesn't talk often to the press," Gibson said. "His company has reported remarkable profits in the first half of this year. The high price of gas brought ExxonMobil close to $22 billion in profit - in profit - for the first half of this year. I asked him how he justifies that amount, that some see as obscene."
But Tillerson explained to Gibson it was the nature of a large business that performs an incredible amount of transactions.
For the third weekday as Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii, John McCain on the campaign trail received more hostile coverage from the broadcast network evening newscasts -- to the extent they bothered to cover the presidential campaign. In a full story on CBS, Dean Reynolds recalled how McCain promised “to conduct a respectful campaign,” but citing McCain's celebrity ad, charged “now it frequently seems respect takes a backseat to ridicule.”
NBC, which also didn't touch the campaign on Monday or Tuesday, ignored it again Wednesday, though in a story on TV ads during the Olympics Chris Jansing asserted the Obama ads deliver “optimism and hope” while McCain's have a “more negative tone.” For the first time this week, ABC skipped the campaign, but anchor Charles Gibson raised Obama's “windfall profits” proposal with Exxon Mobil's chief: “When the public sees the kind of profits that the oil companies are making, isn't it fair that they wonder, 'why not?'”
It's not often that you can point to The Washington Post as the voice of reason, but the paper has its moments. One such was the August 12 oil drilling editorial that debunks three major "‘truths' masquerading as fact" about offshore drilling.
The piece, headlined "Snake Oil," showed how groups like the liberal Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) misconstrue the issue in their opposition to expanded drilling. The NRDC has recently taken out ads in the Post and other papers detailing its opposition to drilling - downplaying the amount of oil available offshore, claming existing leases are going unused and maximizing the environmental "danger" of drilling.
While the editorial argued against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because it "should be preserved," the Post went on to explain why drilling offshore makes sense.
The paper explained how the estimates of 18 billion barrels of oil offshore are based on old measurements. Data from the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) are out of date. In a similar situation, the Post wrote, the department estimated 9 billion barrels were beneath the Gulf of Mexico. "By 2006, after major advances in seismic technology and deepwater drilling techniques, the MMS resource estimate for that area had ballooned to 45 billion barrels."
Chris Matthews: Back With an Obamania Vengeance . . .
If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, perhaps he should appoint Chris Matthews Commissar of Gosplan, the Commission charged with developing the economy's Five Year Plans. The Hardball host, back from vacation, displayed the enthusiasm of a dutiful apparatchik in praising an Obama ad that in turn amounted to a pitch for central planning.
During the "ad wars" segment on this evening's Hardball, Matthews first played a McCain ad that hit Obama over his plans to raise taxes and his lack of readiness to lead. After Andrea Mitchell suggested that the ad is "the wrong tone for the [NBC] Olympics," during which it's playing, Matthews wondered whether McCain is "the Grinch that stole the Olympics," and suggested a "taste test," comparing Obama's ad. Here's the ad's text:
VOICEOVER: The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind [images of electricity-generating wind turbines.] The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels. The hands that build today's cars can also build the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. Barack Obama: a new vision for our economy. Fast-track alternative fuels. Create five million jobs developing home-grown energy technologies. Because America's future is in our hands.
It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"
The mainstream media has relentlessly hailed Al Gore as a visionary for urging America to get off oil but has essentially ignored the fact that Gore is personally invested in the most cutting edge oil extraction technologies. Media types have called Gore's speech "heroic" and "inspirational."
And the fawning continues. For urging the end of oil in America in a speech last month, Bob Herbert of the New York Times says Gore "is offering us the kind of vision and sense of urgency that has been so lacking in the presidential campaigns," and that his plan is a "visionary energy challenge." Columnist Marsha Mercer says Gore "has big ideas." The Baltimore Sun cheers that Gore's plan "offers the best chance to give the United States a brighter energy future and a cleaner environment."
The Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson writes that the next president should "see what Gore thinks about running the Department of Energy, or the EPA, or both." The Honolulu Star Bulletin writes that Gore's "alarm should be taken seriously." Tom Osborne opines that "Gore's challenge suggests a can-do confidence" in Americans. Not heeding Gore's call "brings the world closer to that tipping point that spells global catastrophe," argues the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gore "provides a voice of reason," says the Centre Daily Times (Pennsylvania). Columnist Marianne Means says he's "a prophet in his own time." The Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, N.Y.) opines that Gore "does serve to keep the environment in the public conscience." The Contra Costa Times (California) said Gore "made a point that is well worth heeding."
The media continue to have Obama's back after his ridiculous claim tire inflation could be a substitute for oil drilling in a speech at a rally in Missouri on July 30.
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt is the latest in a long line of media personalities expressing irritation that McCain is using the presumptive Democratic nominee's tire inflation comment in his campaign against Obama. Witt interviewed former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on August 7 about McCain's strategy.
"But sir, when John McCain picks up this tire-gauge issue and you know - throws it about back and forth, doesn't he just perpetuate the problem?" Witt asked. "I mean, if you were advising him, wouldn't you say, ‘Can you leave it alone?' or does it work for him?"
Maybe it is because NBC has the broadcast rights for the Summer Olympics being held in China, but big gas-guzzling, greenhouse gas-emitting automobiles made by General Motors are seen as a plus for the communist nation's embrace of capitalism.
The August 6 "NBC Nightly News" featured the Chinese people's love of troubled U.S. automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) - an indicator interpreted as an acceptance of capitalism.
"What would Chairman Mao think?" CNBC correspondent Phil LeBeau asked. "Six decades after the Communist Revolution, China has become the hottest capitalist engine on earth. And ironically, some of the most revered symbols of success in today's China are Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet."
Joe Scarborough has estimated that 95% of the elite media will pull the lever for Barack Obama. Even so, evidence continues to mount that the MSM is beginning to view the Dem candidate with a more discerning eye. The latest example comes from an unexpected corner, that occupied by NBC correspondent Martin Savidge. As NewsBusters has reported, on everything from climate change to Jesse Helms to the Jena Six, Savidge has consistently toed the liberal media line.
But on MSNBC this afternoon, interviewing an Obama supporter, Savidge surprisingly suggested that Obama was "a bit of a liar" on the subject of oil industry donations that he and John McCain have accepted.
Aside from being tagged a racist, it now appears that any press member who dares ask presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama a tough question will be accused of acting as a proxy for John McCain.
Such was the case Tuesday when the junior senator from Illinois was being interviewed on Las Vegas's CBS affiliate.
The video embedded right along with the following transcript show a very testy and almost offensive candidate that appears uninterested in being challenged on his energy positions:
A new Gallup poll shows that Republicans who are staging a revolt on the House of Representatives might be tapping into an anger shared by the American people concerning high energy prices.
In a rather surprising result, "Americans rate price gouging by the oil companies, price gouging by foreign oil producers, and a lack of effective action by Congress as the most important reasons why the price of gasoline is so high -- essentially equating congressional inaction with price gouging."
Makes one wonder how much attention media will give this poll in the next 24 hours.
Well, the Associated Press is certainly living up to its new rules of being opinion editorialists instead of reporters if the following headline is any indication: "Obama links energy troubles to unpopular Cheney." This was unleashed on the world by the AP on August 5. So, I ask you, does "unpopular Cheney" sound more like opinion than it does simple news reporting?
Certainly we can face facts that the liberal press has succeeded in pillorying Vice President Cheney since almost the minute he stepped into the VP Mansion at the United States Naval Observatory. It is, therefore, a fact that Cheney has a low approval rating. But it seems to me that the headline branding Cheney "unpopular" is somewhat unseemly and opinionated as opposed to newsworthy.
See &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/64ad536a6d&quot;&gt;Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad&lt;/a&gt; and more &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.funnyordie.com&quot;&gt;funny videos&lt;/a&gt; on &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.funnyordie.com&quot;&gt;FunnyOrDie.com&lt;/a&gt;
As we'll detail below, David Shuster literally laughed in the face of a senior Republican today, and earlier on MSNBC Andrea Mitchell blithely dismissed the McCain energy plan as unrealistic. But there was one point of light, you might say, during the network's afternoon coverage. When Shuster briefly held a Dem congresswoman's feet to the fire on the question of Obama's vote for the 2005 Bush energy bill, what ensued was one of the more hapless—and ergo entertaining—dodges of the political season. Shuster's guest was Allyson Schwartz, a Dem congresswoman from Pennsylvania.
DAVID SHUSTER: Congresswoman, during the event in Ohio today, Barack Obama attacked the Bush-Cheney energy policy. But didn't Barack Obama vote for the 2005 Bush-Cheney energy bill?
Schwartz's first foray was the old politician's standby: ignore the embarrassing question and give your canned spiel on something you want to discuss.