"Today" show host Matt Lauer on Thursday inadvertently mixed up the names of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, an error similar to one made by Dick Cheney and used by MSNBC's David Shuster on Tuesday to attack the former Vice President in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch segment. Will Shuster now take on his NBC colleague? Talking with journalist Richard Wolffe, Lauer mentioned a new bin Laden audiotape and jumbled, "In it he mentions Osama, he mentions Barack Obama..." [Audio available here]
On June 1, giving a speech to the National Press Cub, Cheney said of bin Laden, "I don't think he can have much impact now in terms of managing the organization because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile." During a June 2 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment on "MSNBC News Live," Shuster played the clip and then erupted, "Obama, Osama. Good grief!" He sarcastically added, "Now, I'm sure, I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." (The cable anchor also attacked the ex-VP for other reasons in the piece.)
"MSNBC News Live" co-host David Shuster slammed Dick Cheney on Tuesday's program as a hypocrite, complaining, "Your Iraq war inflamed the Muslim world, bred a new generation of terrorists who hate America and cost the lives of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers." The broadside against the former Vice President occurred during day two of Shuster's newly resurrected "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, a feature that mostly goes after conservatives and Republicans.[audio available here]
Shuster complained about an appearance Cheney made at the National Press Club on Tuesday. The ex-VP decried the closing of Guantanamo Bay and defended the Iraq war, asserting that, in the end, it saved lives. The MSNBC host also lambasted the Republican for mistakenly using Barack Obama's name when he meant Osama bin Laden. "Obama, Osama. Good grief," he exclaimed, before sarcastically asserting, "I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." Now, of course, numerous politicians have made such an error, including Ted Kennedy in 2006. Shuster has never made any of them the subject of "Hypocrisy Watch."
Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that the crew over at the Daily Kos was fretting about how conservatives as a whole are equally as complicit in the murder of George Tiller as the shooter himself? And of the details being reported to better understand the background of the actual killer, Scott Roeder, doesn't one major detail involve the posts that he left on anti-abortion Web sites?
With that in mind, how concerned should we be with a blog post that fantasizes about the death of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin?
In a posting titled ‘Michelle Malkin - The Book', an individual using the handle cousinavi, creates a story which refers to Malkin's husband in a derogatory manner more than once, and eventually fantasizes about her choking to death.
Should this story, which appears to be written at a third grade level, be taken for what the ‘writer' intends - a ‘total work of fiction'? Or should it be taken for what it really is, an attempt to get Kos readers to indulge in the ‘writer's' imagination, inciting equally provocative death fantasies about Malkin?
Excerpts below the jump (Warning! Offensive language, equally offensive to those with an education)...
CNN correspondent Carol Costello underscored the left-wing campaign of blame targeting pro-lifers in the wake of the murder of abortionist George Tiller during a segment on Tuesday’s “American Morning.” She stated on the one hand that “criminologists we talked [to] would say it’s unlikely words alone could drive someone to kill, and until we know more about the accused killer, it’s best not to speculate,” but immediately added that “many anti-abortion groups are clearly on the defensive.” Costello also highlighted a sound bite by University of California, Berkeley professor and former Washington Post reporter Cynthia Gorney, who predicted that “they’re going to get a huge backlash against Right-to-Life. You’re going to get a lot of people now saying, see, those people are all crazy. They all advocate violence.”
Anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s report: “We’ve seen it all too often- the emotionally-charged debate over abortion leading to violence. Police say the man suspected of gunning down Dr. George Tiller acted alone. But did anti-abortion rhetoric also play a role?” Come again? The murder of abortionists happens quite rarely. The CNN correspondent then went further in this line: “You know, there’s no doubt- Dr. George Tiller had become the public face of late-term abortions, procedures done in the second trimester, the kind of procedure that evoked extreme emotion in an already emotional debate. Some say a long vicious war of words hastened Tiller’s death. Others say it was the act of one unbalanced man.”
"MSNBC News Live" host David Shuster railed against conservative "hypocrite" Newt Gingrich on Monday, resurrecting a segment from his cancelled program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The cable anchor slammed the former House Speaker for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist on his Twitter page. Shuster noted that Gingrich supported Bush pick Sam Alito in 2006. He then played a clip of the then-nominee saying that when he has to rule on a discrimination case, Altio would think of people in his own family who have suffered bias.
Shuster derided, "Hey, Newt. When you embrace the empathy of a conservative judge, but call the empathy of a progressive judge racist, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong." Now, of course, the obvious difference is that Sotomayor didn't just acknowledge empathy, she asserted in a 2001 speech at the University of California, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
The stated concept of "Hypocrisy Watch" is to call out hypocritical politicians. On MSNBC, however, that usually means Republicans. An April 6, 2009 fax report by the MRC found that before Shuster's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" program was cancelled on April 2, the liberal anchor made conservatives/Republicans the target of "Hypocrisy Watch" 71 percent of the time. Liberals/Democrats accounted for only eight percent of those attacked. So, it's not particularly surprising that Shuster has returned to his old habits.
During live MSNBC coverage in the 9AM EST hour on Monday about the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, guest Dr. Warren Hern, a fellow abortionist and friend of Tiller, declared: "Dr. Tiller's crime was that he helped women and the man who killed him tried to kill an idea. The idea is freedom. So we don't have to invade other countries to find the terrorists. They’re here killing doctors who do abortions. The difference between – the main difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles." Instead of challenging such an incendiary statement, correspondent Monica Novotny simply concluded the segment: "Dr. Warren Hern, thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it." [audio available here]
Earlier in the interview, Novotny asked Hern: "You were quoted as saying that Dr. Tiller's death was ‘predictable.’ What was your reaction when you heard and why do you say that?" Hern explained his statement: "This was not the act of a lone deranged gunman. This is a result of 35 years of relentless and merciless anti-abortion harassment, violence, and intimidation, hate speech and violent rhetoric, and this is the absolutely predictable consequence of that kind of mindless harassment and fanaticism."
CNN anchor Kiran Chetry let an “abortion provider” from Alabama, whose center was bombed by captured fugitive Eric Rudolph, denigrate all pro-life activists who have ever protested in front of such centers as potential murderers during a segment on Monday’s “American Morning.” When the “provider,” Diane Derzis, attacked “the people...who stand in front of these clinics every day....and the only way they see to take care of this is to kill us,” Chetry merely replied, “You don’t believe those words? You don’t differentiate between people who are opposed to abortion and pro-life for their religious reasons, versus those who are promoting violence?” (audio clips from the segment available here)
Chetry’s second question to Derzis during the interview was also rather sympathetic: “What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?” This question, highlighted by Laura Ingraham on Monday, led the talk show host to call for the firing of the CNN anchor.
The anchor began her interview of the abortion clinic owner by asking for her reaction to the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was gunned down in his church in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday. Once she offered her initial reply, Chetry followed-up by explaining Derzis’s connection to past violence against such clinics and asking her “target” question: “Your clinic was the one that was bombed, actually, as well, right, in Birmingham, Alabama, by Eric Rudolph, the suspect who’s now serving time because of that. What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?”
Fresh off the Daily Kos website is a posting entitled, A "Pro-Life" activist took the Life of a doctor who practices abortion today, which illogically takes two sentences to link the murderer to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck (emphasis mine throughout).
A so-called Pro-Life activist took, cowardly, the life of doctor George Tiller, this sunday, while he was attending to a church service. I bet Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the other will praise the killer since "he only killed a liberullllllll" according to them
Grammatical issues aside (something that the Kos seemingly requires from their writers), the incredible leap from the death of George Tiller, to three leading conservative talk show hosts is shocking to people who make their home here on Earth. Four conservative talk show hosts actually, if you consider the phrase ‘and the other', which would presumably be referring to Michael Savage.
More stunning is that this posting was allowed to present the statement - "he only killed a liberullllllll" according to them - as if it is a quote drawn from one of their shows. I would challenge the author, LaurenMonica, or anyone at the Daily Kos to present an audio copy of any of these conservative talk show hosts in which they heap praise upon a killer because, "he only killed a liberullllllll". (On a side note, I also challenge them to present a college transcript which shows they were able to pass English Composition 101).
Of course, this isn't where it stops with the liberal blogs.
During a segment on Friday’s “American Morning,” CNN correspondent Carol Costello used two liberal talking heads to cast doubt on the “judicial activist” label used by conservatives. Costello used three sound bites from Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School, who branded the use of the term as “perfectly juvenile,” and one from NPR’s Nina Totenberg to cast aspersions on conservatives who are concerned about judges legislating from the bench.
Costello’s report, which began 20 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, began by labeling the “judicial activist” term itself an “act” by politicians: “We hear politicians say it all the time, ‘we don't need an activist judge legislating from the bench.’ But what exactly does that mean? Critics roll their eyes when they hear, ‘we don't want an activist judge on the bench,’ when, in reality, that’s exactly what they want. I’m just saying, if that’s true, why not drop the act and tell voters what you really mean?” She further explained that it was a “buzzword that’s got staying power.”
CNN’s Roland Martin on Wednesday’s “No Bias, No Bull” program featured another panel which leaned overwhelmingly to the left, during a discussion about the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8. Four of the five participants -- CNN correspondent Erica Hill, Lisa Bloom of TruTv, New York Observer columnist Steve Kornacki, and the Reverend Byron Williams of Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, California all sided with advocates of same-sex “marriage.”
Rev. Williams, who is affiliated with the liberal People for the American Way, argued that the decision “seems to go against our democratic values.” Hill asked the pastor, “Should that decision on marriage be left up to different religions, different faiths to make, and leave this to be more of a civil matter? And if that’s the case, why should God enter it at all?” Kornacki argued that there was an “inevitability” to the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” explaining that “you’ve got four states legalizing it. You’ve got people under 35 supporting it overwhelmingly. I mean, isn’t this just really a question of time, and we shouldn’t be that exercised about it?” Bloom thought that it was a “huge civil rights issue, and this is the first court ruling that I’m aware of that says that a majority vote -- a bare majority vote, can take away the constitutional rights of a protected minority group.”
CNN host Larry King used many of the arguments that advocates of same-sex “marriage” use during his “Larry King Live” program on Tuesday. Hours after the California Supreme Court upheld the voter-approved Proposition 8 which protects traditional marriage, King used the oft-used comparison between the ban on same sex “marriage” and the ban on interracial marriage in the South, and brought up how the Book of Leviticus condemned other practices like the eating of certain foods besides condemning homosexual sex acts. He also repeatedly asked conservative talk show host Dennis Prager what the “big deal” was about same-sex “marriage.”
During the first segment on the topic, which began 13 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour of his program, King interviewed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of the Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California. The CNN host turned to Dr. Garlow for his thoughts after asking Newsom for his reaction to the Prop 8 ruling: “Doctor Garlow, are you annoyed that those 18,000 can stay married?” After the pastor answered that “we wish they would have not done that” and expressing his gratitude for the court’s decision, King followed up by asking, “From the way the voting has gone over the years, Doctor, does it look like the tide is turning against your position, with other states now -- six states, I believe -- allow it?” Garlow replied, “Well, 30 states have voted on this, and all 30 states where they -- people have been allowed to vote, they have all voted for traditional marriage every single time....Where the people get to express themselves, the average pass rate has been 68 percent. That means seven out of 10 Americans support traditional, natural marriage.”
During a news brief on the Saturday, May 23, The Early Show, CBS’s Priya David used that famous euphemism of liberals, “woman’s right to choose,” to refer to the legal right to an abortion, as the show gave attention to Liberty University’s recent decision to withdraw recognition of the school’s club for young Democrats. She also incorrectly exaggerated Liberty's action by claiming that the Democratic group "won't be allowed on campus anymore" when in reality, according to the school, the group can still hold meetings, but just cannot use the school's name or money.
On the Monday, May 18, Today show, NBC’s Ann Curry also used the term in a story about President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, which allowed the pro-choice President to speak despite being a Catholic university.
Below are complete transcripts of the relevant news briefs from the Saturday, May 23, The Early Show, on CBS, and the Monday, May, 18, Today show, on NBC:
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez was unusually tough on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as she asked the judge’s former clerk, Julia Tarver Mason, about some of Sotomayor's past controversial comments: "...she, herself, has rejected the notion that a judge should decide cases based solely on facts and the law...referring to one case – she hopes that ‘a wise Latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male.’What do you say to critics who say if a white conservative male had said that, he would have been booted out of the judiciary?"
Mason defended her former boss: "Well, I think that comment has been grossly misconstrued, frankly, it was a comment she made in a speech a decade ago, talking about the importance diversity on the court... when she decides a case, she decides it based on the law, as that's appropriate." Earlier Mason had argued that Sotomayor was "legal purist" and "...not someone who is going to try to reach a particular result in a particular case. She calls them straight down the middle, just like she sees them."
Rodriguez later followed up with a question about one of Sotomayor’s most controversial decisions: "Some of her critics are also bringing up a case where she sided against some white firefighters who claimed reverse discrimination in hiring practices...Rush Limbaugh has called her a ‘reverse racist.’ Could that be true?" Mason denounced Limbaugh: "That's an absurd notion. If – Judge Sotomayor is one of the most egalitarian people I’ve ever met...the fact that people from the right are throwing these outrageous allegations right now is just an indication that they don't know much about her record...it was not in any way a radical decision by her. And it was supported by the city of New Haven itself. So if you call her racist, you have to call the entire city of New Haven racist."
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday twice labeled President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “moderate liberal.” On American Morning, minutes after the Latina judge’s name emerged near the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour, Toobin predicted that she would “probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Hours later, during The Situation Room program, he predicted that Sotomayor, if confirmed, would rule as a “moderate liberal, like Ginsburg and Breyer.”
American Morning anchor T. J. Holmes brought on the legal analyst to discuss the Obama nominee. Toobin first outlined that Sotomayor was “a very eminent judge....She brings a certain bipartisan aura, because she was originally appointed to the federal district court by the first President Bush....[T]his looks like a very solid pick, someone who will probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Minutes before on the CNN program, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz referred to the nominee as “moderate and to the left.” Holmes followed up on this note, and asked, “Is that about right?”
ABC News didn’t use any labels such as liberal or progressive to describe Judge Sonia Sotomayor during its Tuesday morning coverage of her nomination to the Supreme Court. On the other hand, when President Bush nominated Justice Samuel Alito to the high court in 2005, the network’s correspondents repeatedly used the conservative label to describe the nominee.
During the first segment of the 7 am hour of Good Morning America, before Sotomayor’s name emerged, This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos summarized who was on President Obama’s short list for the court nomination, including Sotomayor, describing the former or current occupations they have, but no ideological descriptions. When anchor Diane Sawyer asked about “what kind of fight is the White House anticipating” from Republicans in the Senate and “how do they plan to deal with it,” Stephanopoulos further explained that “Republicans and conservatives have already prepared dossiers on all three of the top candidates....I’ve talked to several Republicans in the Senate about this -- that the chances they’re going to defeat President Obama’s nominee are very, very low. The bar they’re trying to set -- they’re trying to have a debate over the future of the court, over the ideological direction of the court.” But he never mentioned Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy or political leaning.
CNN correspondent Joe Johns included a seeming lament in his report on Friday’s Situation Room about the inclusion of an amendment to the so-called credit card reform bill which expands gun owners’ rights in national parks: “How in the world did the credit card bill get so hijacked?” He also only included one pro-gun rights sound bite in his report, as opposed to three from proponents of gun control [audio clips from the report are available here].
Johns introduced his report by juxtaposing beautiful imagery of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rushmore with a picture of a handgun on a rack: “Just imagine: along with the sweeping views of natural beauty at Yellowstone and Yosemite, mixed in with history at Mount Rushmore, that some of the tourists toting diaper bags and binoculars might also be packing heat.” He continued by labeling this juxtaposition, and outlining how congressional opponents of the provision felt about its inclusion and passage: “Extreme perhaps, but absurd is in fact how it looks to some congressional Democrats -- they’re almost apoplectic about how the gun lobby slipped a provision into, of all things, the credit card reform bill, a provision that really has nothing to do with the rights of credit card holders, and a lot to do with the right to bear arms.”
Anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney on his CNN program on Thursday evening about her father’s defense of the Bush administration’s anti-terror tactics. At one point, he asked, “Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we’re much weaker now than ever before? Isn’t that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn’t you make that argument?”
Cooper later asked the former State Department official, “If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn’t be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?” The anchor also questioned whether the CIA actually took care in implementing its enhanced interrogations: “But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?”
While discussing Thursday’s opposing national security speeches by President Obama and former Vice President Cheney, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer acknowledged: "...the fact that the President of the United States had to make this speech, the fact that Congress had turned him down in giving him the money to close Guantanamo, I have to say that on points, I give it to -- to the Vice President on this...Right now I think the Vice President has made his case. And at this point I'd have to say he's winning."
Meanwhile, co-host Harry Smih at least admitted a draw: "I think it behooves everybody who cares a whit about this issue at all, that they go on Youtube, or go online, and read the transcripts of every single word that was uttered. Because both speeches were breathtaking, I think, in their scope, in their pointedness."
While both Smith and Schieffer recognized Cheney’s success at countering Obama on issues like closing Guantanamo Bay, near the end of the segment Schieffer still declared: "I think most people think that Guantanamo is an open sore. That it in many ways it's a recruiting tool for these terrorists." At the same, he acknowledged the newfound difficulty in closing the facility: "But, getting it closed, what do you do with these people? Because, I mean, let's face it, there's some bad dudes down there. And no congressman wants those people brought back in to his home district, even to be put into prison. The President has got to come up with a detailed plan on how he plans to do this."
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."
Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O’Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq." After O’Donnell denounced Cheney’s sleaziness, he went on this diatribe:
He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.
George Soros is a superhero along the lines of Batman and Superman? That's the comparison correspondent John Berman made on Thursday's "Good Morning America." The ABC journalist was reporting on a closed door meeting of billionaires that included liberals such as Soros, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss charitable giving, leading ABC to feature a graphic with Turner as Superman and Winfrey as Wonder Woman. [audio for download here]
And while well known arch-liberal Soros, financier of groups such as Moveon.org, wasn't featured in the silly illustration, he was discussed in the piece, with no mention of his hard-left positions. (Billionaire/Mayor Michael Bloomberg was relegated to being portrayed as a lesser hero, Aquaman.) Soros, who once compared the Bush administration to Nazis, was simply referred to this way: "Together with others in the meeting, including George Soros, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, they're worth more than $125 billion."
Time magazine’s senior editor Amy Sullivan, who, like most of her peers in the mainstream media, is an amateur when it comes to religion, twice implied in May that the pro-life Catholics in the U.S. who are upset about President Obama’s recent commencement address at Notre Dame are more Catholic than Pope Benedict XVI. In a May 16, 2009 article on Time.com, Sullivan, the former aide to Democrat Tom Daschle, and the author of an entire book on how Democrats could appeal to Christians, snarked that the Pope “may find his next trip to the U.S. dogged by airplanes overhead trailing banners with images of aborted fetuses,” due to his purported silence on the matter.
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported breaking news of a terror plot in New York foiled by the FBI: "The FBI busts a home-grown terror plot, arresting four men who planned to bomb synagogues and shoot down aircraft." Later, Rodriguez spoke with terrorism expert and former Bush aide, Juan Zarate, about the failed attack: "There's no question these guys were serious. When they were captured they were planting what they thought were three real bombs inside cars. My question is, how common is this? Are these guys just the minority? Or is this type of thing rampant?"
Zarate responded by specifically citing similar domestic terror plots that were prevented under the Bush administration: "I don't think this is unusual. The FBI has taken down other cells like this in the past. Recall the Fort Dix plot in New Jersey, recall a plot in Chicago to go after malls and civilians walking around malls. So we've seen this kind of home-grown terrorist cell and activity before." In May of 2007, the CBS Evening News actually downplayed the arrest of six suspects in the Fort Dix case, with correspondent Armen Keteyian declaring: "...more than 400,000 names have come under one form of government surveillance or another -- from watch lists to wiretaps. But only a handful of terrorists have been convicted in cases with concrete ties to al-Qaeda."
Reacting to a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele during Tuesday’s 3:00 EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "In case you missed it, we compiled the greatest and the best of Michael Steele. Some people said that a lot of the cliches he used in his speech you could string them together and it would make a bad Hallmark card." An edited clip of Steele’s speech was played, highlighting his calls for Republicans to turn the corner.
A laughing O’Donnell turned to Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons and Republican strategist Phil Musser to discuss the future of the GOP: "Alright, Phil, did you get the point that the honeymoon is over, the navel-gazing is done? There was a lot of this emphasis on turning the page, which is all well and good, but there was no prescription for change in what the Republican Party's going to do. Isn't that a problem?" Musser shot back: "Well, I think Michael Steele is making an important point that you can only be on defense for so long, and with all due respect to your setup, which keeps us on defense, you know, that I think that the Republican Party has acknowledged their sin, certainly paid the measure of price for it and are now in the process of moving forward with proactive ideas."
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and Dallas Morning News political writer Wayne Slater agreed on Tuesday’s Newsroom program that former President George W. Bush appeared to be “controlled by a bunch of bullies,” or that he was “presiding over a reign of bullies, with [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld and Karl Rove pushing a partisan agenda.” Later, as President Obama was getting ready to speak at a meeting with small business owners, Slater sought to correct the conservative critics of the administration’s economic policy: “You have the right wing pounding on him day after day for the...bail-outs...a liberal, a socialist -- and yet, here you have a guy who really is tracking a fairly moderate line.”
Sanchez first had the Dallas Morning News writer on just after the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to discuss a recent article in GQ magazine which alleged that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “held up military aid to New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina.” The CNN anchor first asked, “Why would Donald Rumsfeld not want to help the people of New Orleans in this situation, given that he had his finger on the military relief?”
At the top of Tuesday’s 2:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, co-anchors Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis spoke with Reuters correspondent Jon Decker about a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on the future of the GOP, with Brewer citing Democratic reaction: "Here's the Democratic National Committee's response to Steele: ‘The test of the sincerity of the Chairman's words will be if he and otherGOP leaders stand up to the fringe elements of their party and whether they tell the polarizing faces of the past, including Cheney, Gingrich, and Limbaugh, to stand aside. Unfortunately, they have shown no willingness to do so.’"
In response to the DNC talking points, Decker argued that Steele would have to turn to moderate Republicans: "Michael Steele will have to recruit candidates thatmay not be the typical type of Republican that we've seen in the past few election cycles, the hard right social conservative Republicans. He's going to have to perhaps look to some moderate Republicans, some of the people who have left the party, who have been defeated over the past few election cycles, if he wants to try to be a majority party once again."
At that point, Francis wondered if the GOP should allow the more conservative members of the party to be "crushed" by Obama: "...but in some sense, doesn't it make sense to put a lot of the old faces out there right now? Because almost anybody is going to get crushed in the undertow of President Obama's popularity. So why not make the sacrificial lamb, you know, some of the people that, you know, are part of the old Republican Party, and just let them get crushed for now. Can you see that strategy at all?"
Minutes after she praised President Obama for his “courageous” decision to accept the invitation to speak at Notre Dame, CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield played the role of liberal advocate for the president’s commencement address, grilling one Catholic guest who questioned the university’s decision, while going easy on her other guest who was happy to see Obama speak there. Just as MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell had done on May 14, Whitfield equivocated between the issues of abortion and the death penalty, along with war, in her question to Raymond Arroyo of the Catholic television network EWTN: “So does the death penalty fall into that and also wars...does that fall into that as well?”
Later, when Arroyo brought up how the Catholic teaching on abortion wouldn’t change, even if most of the Notre Dame graduates agreed with the decision to bring the president to campus, the CNN anchor replied, “Well, might it suggest something else, that perhaps the Catholic majority has evolved in its opinion of certain things....Perhaps, it means that there’s a greater understanding in some of the areas that you say...once upon a time there wasn’t.” [Due to the large amount of transcript, the entire text of both segments of the two segments can be read here. Audio clips from both segments are available here.]
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, host Harry Smith helped finish the sentences of ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, while grilling New York Republican Congressman Peter King during a discussion on recent national security decisions by the Obama administration.
Smith began by asking Romero about the Obama administration’s decision to reinstate military tribunals for terror suspects: "The headlines from this -- no evidence admitted gained from harsh interrogation techniques. Hearsay, some hearsay will be admissible in court. To you, Anthony Romero, is there any good news in this?" Romero replied: "First, by continuing with the Bush military commissions, we are going to delay justice. It will take years before we see justice in these commissions." Smith helped to bolster the point: "Because, one, there’s -- already they said at least hundred and twenty days before this can go on."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama’s controversial commencement address at Notre Dame University over the weekend, but dismissed pro-life protesters as interlopers from outside groups: "The President did come under fire, but mostly from university outsiders, anti-abortion activists. But inside that graduation ceremony, his reception was much warmer than some had expected...But the vast majority here welcomed the President with open arms."
Reid briefly described some of the protest efforts: "There were hundreds of protesters waiting for the President when he arrived at Notre Dame. Hecklers who interrupted his commencement speech several times." Reid then declared: "And some who saw an opportunity to re-ignite the national debate on abortion." A clip was then played of Obama’s former Senate race opponent, Republican Alan Keyes: "Barack Obama's deeply committed to what [Pope] John Paul [II] called the culture of death and the murder of innocent children."
Reid’s report did not feature any members of the Notre Dame faculty or student body opposed to Obama speaking or mention a separate commencement ceremony that several pro-life students attended on campus. In addition, Reid failed to acknowledge a recent Gallup poll that showed a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen read some viewer email, including a question from one woman who asked: "Would you be willing to jeopardize your job to report something your bosses or the government wanted to keep hidden?" Co-host Harry Smith used the question as an opportunity to voice his opposition to the Iraq war:
You know, I remember being in Iraq before the war started, we were there just a couple of -- a couple of weeks before the war started and it came, it was really, really clear to me on the ground that this didn't make any sense. And I remember coming back, but there was all this sort of preponderance of opinion that this -- this thing should go on. And I kept thinking to myself, 'this doesn't -- there's -- I'm not connecting the dots everybody else is connecting.' And if I have a regret in my reporting life that I didn't stand up then and say, 'this doesn't make any sense.'