In a mild shock -- mild because it's mentioned before the elections, but probably won't be when it really matters after the polls close -- Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda at the Associated Press, in a story about how the last opposition TV station in Venezuela is being sold to an insurance magnate who is reportedly "friendly with government," noted the extraordinary handicaps that Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate faces as he attempts to unseat the Chavista successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez in April's upcoming elections.
Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Not surprisingly, most of the folks on MSNBC have being having a field day Thursday ridiculing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his historic filibuster the day before.
Doing his part on the Martin Bashir show was MSNBC political analyst David Corn who said that Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter to Paul “had a very silent FU in it” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
As Joe Scarborough said, "this is liberal on liberal on liberal violence. I love watching it." He was referring to the intra-squad liberal dogfight, spurred by Rand Paul's filibuster, that broke out on Morning Joe today over the use of drones by the U.S. government. H/t NB reader Ray R.
Though former car czar Steve Rattner played a supporting role, the two main combatants were Sam Stein of the Huffington Post and Richard Wolffe of MSNBC itself. Stein criticized the lack of guidelines that the Obama administration has established for the use of drones on U.S. citizens, supporting Paul's argument that it should be an easy question for the Obama admin to answer. In the other corner, Wolffe was the internationalist, suggesting all terrorists should perhaps be entitled to the same due process, be they Saudi, Kuwaiti or American. Stein and Scarborough had to enlighten Wolffe about the special protections the Constitution extends to U.S. citizens. View the video after the jump.
It's as if Associated Press reporter Paul Haven saw colleague Frank Bajak's pathetic obituary of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez earlier today (covered by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters) and said: "Oh yeah? I can outdo you."
That he did, in an execrable report excerpted after the jump which should be saved to the hard drive and shown as evidence that anyone who calls the wire service "the Authoritarian Press" is not at all out of line (bolds are mine):
CNN, which if I recall correctly severed formal ties with the Associated Press some time ago, quoted former congressman Joseph Kennedy II's reaction to the death of Venezuela's authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez as follows: "President Chavez cared deeply about the poor of Venezuela and other nations around the world and their abject lack of even basic necessities, while some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend" ... There are close to 2 million people in the United States who received free heating assistance, thanks to President Chavez's leadership. Our prayers go out to President Chavez's family, the people of Venezuela, and all who were warmed by his generosity."
Here is how Christine Armario at the AP, with the help of Steve LeBlanc in Boston, sanitized Kennedy's remarks:
Frank Bajak of the AP lionized Venezuelan autocrat and "fighter" Hugo Chavez minutes after his death on Tuesday, playing up in the second sentence of his item how the "former paratroop commander and fiery populist...outsmarted his rivals time and again." Bajak later hyped Chavez as a "master communicator and savvy political strategist."
Ping-pong diplomacy worked with China, so why not b-ball diplomacy with North Korea? Mika Brzezinski is clearly not buying that line of logic. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski confessed to being "angry" with George Stephanopoulos for having the extraterrestrial otherwise known as Dennis Rodman on This Week to discuss his recent trip to North Korea, which included meeting with its new leader, Kim Jong Un.
Mika didn't spare her fellow MJ panelists, calling them "idiots" when they persisted in discussing Rodman's trip and TW appearance. View the video after the jump.
The Morning Joe panel was tough today on the Obama White House for threatening Bob Woodward by telling him he would "regret" his reporting that it was the Obama administration that had devised the sequester, In the course of the opening segment, various panel members described the Obama White House response as "mickey mouse," "pathetic" and "childish."
But at the same time, a theme emerged that there was nothing unusual about a White House trying to intimidate reporters. Mark Halperin said "the Bush White House regularly would engage in the same kind of tactics." And Joe Scarborough and Andrea Mitchell shared stories of having been threatened by the Bush and Reagan White Houses, respectively. Andrea named names. Scarborough did not. H/t readers Ray R. and cobokat. View the video after the jump.
Remember when Washington Post In The Loop columnist Al Kamen launched another frivolous, liberal pandering contest for participants to name Hillary Clinton’s memoir to make things “a little easier” for her? Kamen is known for his inside the Beltway commentary on politics within Washington, which probably explains why bureaucrats love him. Well, after a strenuous vetting process, the winners are in, and it’s full of liberal boot-lickers, pro-Obama journalists, and former staffers of Joe Biden.
The top three that were the most interesting were from Alfred Friendly, Jr., a former reporter for Newsweek and the New York Times, who suggested Hard Times, Soft Power as his title for Hillary’s memoir. Does anyone else feel that the name sounds like a title suitable for the Adults Only section of the Clinton Presidential Library bookstore?
Syndicated columnist George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday made a marvelous observation about the upcoming Academy Awards.
In his view, “Zero Dark Thirty” should win as best picture as a “rebuke to Senators Levin, Feinstein, and McCain who have enough to do without being movie critics and falsely accusing that movie of taking a stand on torture it does not take” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On the eve of Sunday's Academy Awards presentation, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden has made a strong statement about the hunt for Osama bin Laden film "Zero Dark Thirty."
In an interview to be aired on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday, Hayden said, "If you look at the movie, it was artistically true, not factually true. Artistically, it portrayed the CIA interrogation program, but factually it was overwrought and inaccurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
David Letterman seems more concerned with President Obama's drone program than most of the media.
On CBS's s Late Show Monday, the host aired a mock video of Obama using a drone strike to help him sink an errant putt while playing golf with Tiger Woods (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC continues to lead the way in belittling any and all Republican attempts to stand up to President Obama. On Sunday’s Today, David Gregory rehashed the common left-wing talking point that Republicans are opposing Obama at every turn merely for the sake of being obstructionist.
Commenting on Republican opposition to the Chuck Hagel nomination, Gregory said, “There’s no question that this looks to be similar to what people are criticizing Republicans for doing on the economy or on spending, on these various battles they’ve had over the debt, which is just trying to jam the president up.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked NBC's David Gregory a question Sunday that should be asked of virtually every media member in this country.
During a heated exchange about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year, McCain said to his Meet the Press host, "Do you care whether four Americans died?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The same network that wondered if Sen. Rubio's sip of water was a "big deal" is now asking just why Republicans are "so fixated on Benghazi" when they asked Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel about the Libya fiasco.
"This, despite testimony on Benghazi from General Petraeus, Hillary Clinton, Admiral Mike Mullen, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, General Martin Dempsey, among others. But it's not enough," an obviously flustered Carol Costello huffed. The CNN headline later flashed, "Why are Republicans so fixated on Benghazi?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Last week’s second episode of The Americans (the third episode will run tonight, February 13, on FX), dramatically ended with a scene showing the horror realized by KGB operatives at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC when they learn President Ronald Reagan intends to build “a ballistic missile shield” – aka the Strategic Defense Initiative. (video below)
The Americans is centered around husband and wife KGB sleeper agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Ronald Reagan becomes President.
It’s been four years since President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney left the White House, but MSNBC’s Chris Matthews can’t miss an opportunity to trash the former vice president every chance he has. After playing a recent soundbite of Matthews's favorite bete noir, Matthews asked Howard Fineman, the editorial director of the Huffington Post, “Where do you learn to be that evil?”
Speaking to his all-liberal panel, which included Joan Walsh of Salon.com, Matthews went on a bender against Cheney from everything from the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame -- he blamed the wrong person for it, by the way -- to the decision to go to war with Iraq. Matthews began his spittle-laced rant:
In today's "Can Someone Help Me Get My Foot Out of My Mouth" segment, the astonishingly pompous and self-righteous MSNBC regular Julian Epstein made an absolutely delicious faux pas Monday while excoriating the character and accomplishments of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In an appearance on the Martin Bashir Show, Epstein derisively described Cheney as "a guy who failed to get Osama bin Laden in Bora Bora" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed Sunday to block the cabinet confirmations of John Brennan and Chuck Hagel if he doesn't get full disclosure from the White House concerning the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Graham said, "No confirmation without information."
Suppose our enemies declared war on us—and we didn't show up? In a variation on the pacifist line from the 60s, that's essentially what Chris Hayes has proposed as American policy.
On his MSNBC show this morning, the hopelessly naive Hayes suggested that rather than debating "big war"—boots on ground—versus "small war"—targeted strikes—we go for a third option "no war." In Hayes's fantasy-land, America declares the war on terror over and "declares itself at peace." View the video after the jump.
On PBS's Inside Washington, the perilously liberal syndicated columnist Mark Shields noted the "inconsistency" and "hypocrisy" of the Left being "muted in their criticism" of President Obama's drone attacks (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Conservatives have long joked that the national press corps see Barack Obama as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Today, Newsweek – at least what’s left of it, an online product for tablets and e-readers – made it official.
Sure, you might be cool with Barack Obama calling up a drone strike on an American citizen. But don't forget: a Republican [shudder!] could become President!
That was the Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart's warning to Donny Deutsch when the ad-man-turned-pundit proclaimed he had no problem with the president, under desperate circumstances, ordering a drone strike against an American. View the video after the jump.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made news last Sunday when he once again claimed that enhanced interrogation techniques aka torture led to the United States assassinating Osama bin Laden.
During his confirmation hearing Thursday, CIA Director nominee John Brennan appeared to dodge a question from Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about this claiming he didn’t have enough information to comment on whether Panetta was right or wrong.
With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas.
For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009. None of that was mentioned on the show.