During a segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room program, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer characterized the ongoing post-election identity struggle in the Republican Party as being between moderates who are “more tolerant on fiscal and social issues” and “staunch” conservatives “who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” Later in the same segment, Gloria Borger, one of the network’s senior political analysts, labeled some of the moderate Republicans being considered for 2010 congressional races as being “very pragmatic choices.”
Blitzer introduced Borger’s analysis by highlighting the “serious battle...brewing in the Republican party....On the one side, moderates more tolerant on fiscal and social issues -- on the other side, staunch conservatives who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” The analyst herself focused on how this struggle was affecting statewide races, specifically in the northeastern states of Connecticut and Delaware. She argued that Republicans in Connecticut “need to put up a moderate candidate in that state to go against Chris Dodd.” She also cited unnamed conservative recruiters in the GOP who were supposedly saying, “we need moderates in the state of Connecticut.”
Three CNN personalities and one regular commentator on Monday’s No Bias, No Bull program all tried to get Republicans Bay Buchanan and Kevin Madden to disown former Vice President Dick Cheney, and agree with some unnamed Republicans who call for him to “just shut up.” Host Roland Martin characterized Cheney’s multiple media appearances recently as “turning into a big problem for the family of Republicans” and that “some Republicans wish the former V.P. would just shut up.”
Correspondent Jessica Yellin and Drew Griffin saw no good in the politician’s media tour, with Yellin labeling Cheney “one of the least popular figures in the Republican Party, aside from Rush Limbaugh.” She asked Buchanan, “Why is it good for him to speak out as such an unpopular guy?” TruTV’s Lisa Bloom agreed with the unnamed Republicans: “I think a lot of Republicans probably wish Cheney was secured in an undisclosed location right about now.”
Leo Penn, the father of famous actor Sean Penn, was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the 1950s and harassed, spied upon and ultimately blacklisted for his political views (he attended a pro-union meeting called to support other black- listees.)
He refused to accuse others, and lost his livelihood for a period of time, but went on to direct many TV shows including Star Trek, The Law and Mr. Jones, and I Spy.
So where are the free-speech warriors? How about Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elitists who think the First Amendment was written solely for their benefit? Penn has made millions playing everything from a stoner in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” to gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain in a horrific attack in San Francisco that also resulted in the death of San Francisco mayor George Moscone.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Oops, she did it again. More semi-nude photos of Miss California surface. So will Donald Trump be forced to say, 'you're fired'?" Later, co-host Julie Chen teased the upcoming segment by exclaiming: "Well, up next, more semi-nude photos of Miss California leak onto the internet. So will Donald Trump end her reign today?"
Correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on Trump’s awaited decision: "Even more semi-nude photos of Carrie Prejean surfaced overnight, adding fuel to a fire that's been building for days. The controversy kicked off when Prejean opposed gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant. In a radio interview, Prejean said the question tested her faith...But there were other temptations. Breast implants paid for by the pageant. And racy photos. Still, Prejean remains the poster girl for conservative causes." A clip was played of an TV ad from the National Organization for Marriage that featured Prejean.
Solorzano went on to explain: "Monday, the directors of the state pageant were clearly angry with Prejean." A clip was played of Miss California USA Co-executive Director Keith Lewis taking a shot at Prejean and the "conservative causes" she has been a part of: "Up until now, we have just been riding along pretty much a passenger on this runaway train. But as of today, that ends...Shame, shame, shame. Shame for taking this young woman and exploiting her to further your own agenda."
It looks like Miss California Carrie Prejean's title is in jeopardy, as Miss California officials appointed first alternate Tami Farrell to attend all events on May 11 and Donald Trump set to announce the fate of Prejean Tuesday, May 12. The ostensible reason is the emergence of revealing pictures of her. But the publication of those photos was a clear attempt to smear Miss California for her defense of traditional marriage at the Miss USA competition in April.
After weeks of controversy, CBS' "The Early Show" finally interviewed a guest on May 11 that defended Prejean and provided another view point.
Current Miss Rhode Island Alysha Castonguay told anchor Maggie Rodriguez that she too had had an incident in which a revealing photo - more risqué than Prejean's - was published in Maxim. Castonguay told the pageant about it and was allowed to remain in the competition.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and weatherman Dave Price described attending Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner and Smith commented on the controversial joke about Rush Limbaugh made by comedian Wanda Sykes: "She told a joke about Rush Limbaugh as being one of the -- one of the hijackers and the reason he didn't make the flight was because he was, you know, on drugs or whatever...And the whole place -- yeah -- so the whole place groaned, and I ran into Keith Olbermann afterwards...And he said 'I'm not sure, I think that was probably -- probably in bad taste.' I said 'what do you think her job is?’"
In one of many jokes attacking conservatives, Sykes remarked: "I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on oxycontin he missed his flight." Apparently, while even left-wing bomber thrower Keith Olbermann thought that was over the line, Smith defended Sykes: "Well, you know what, any comedian, anybody who does that job, their job is to push the envelope...You can't go home -- you can't go home to the community of comedians unless you've gone too far."
Co-host Julie Chen later wondered: "But how did the room react, you guys, who was there?" Smith replied: "They groaned, serious groan...And Michelle Obama, in particular, was very uncomfortable with some of Wanda Sykes." Dave Price explained: "It was pretty much the only groan. I mean, there were a couple of other small ones. But she was -- she was pretty much en fuego [on fire]."
On CNN’s Sunday Morning program, anchor John King revealed that he thought comedian Wanda Sykes’ barb at Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was in poor taste: “You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.” King later brought up the issue with Republican operative Mary Matalin and the Huffington Post’s Hilary Rosen on his own State of the Union program, where Rosen defended Sykes’ off-color joke.
King brought up Sykes during a segment with anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen just before the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour. After briefly mentioning some of President Obama’s act at the dinner, King mentioned how the comedian “did cause some groans and some -- some uncomfortable moments in the room.” Nguyen replied that “we’ve gotten a lot of traffic on our Twitter and Facebook pages” about Sykes’ attack on Limbaugh, and asked how her act went over. The State of the Union anchor answered:
KING: Some people were laughing because most of the jokes leading up to it were very funny, and people were laughing, and then you could sort of sense a little bit of the oxygen come out of the room -- people start to cringe a little bit. You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
The NewsBusters publisher appeared on the May 8 "Fox & Friends" to address how the media consider Hasselbeck "controversial" for teaching her kids to believe the Bible's creation account rather than labeling liberal co-host Behar "controversial" for suggesting that teaching children creationism is "child abuse."
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: So they label Elisabeth as controversial or as the conservative but Joy Behar is always labeled the comedian!
Rush Limbaugh has no problem following black conservatives. But you’d never know it, were you to read the Black Entertainment Television website.
Posted by the amorphous BET.com Staff, the following kneecapping was posted today:
Rush Limbaugh has a problem with leading Black Republicans. In recent weeks, he’s blasted his own party’s chairman, calling Michael Steele “gutless” and too weak to challenge President Obama. And now, the acid-tongued shock jock is hurling barbs at perhaps the most respected Black Republican in America, telling his estimated 20 million listeners to his radio show that former Secretary of State Colin Powell is really a Democrat in a GOP costume.
First of all, Rush Limbaugh, while generally seen as a Republican, is first and foremost a conservative. For Limbaugh, the party is simply an instrument to implement a philosophy - understanding this about conservatives would cause partisans everywhere to understand Limbaugh’s politics much better.
But the inability to understand the difference is not the only problem with this BET article.
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
Call it an ominous warning, but Fox News Channel afternoon host and ratings sensation Glenn Beck on Wednesday cautioned viewers that government is strengthening its grip of power and is not going to stop at the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Beck declared on his May 6 broadcast the government is out of control, noting that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were a weekly occurrence, including efforts to make the TARP bailout more transparent earlier this year from the Treasury Department.
"We've got a government out of control and I'm telling you, it is up to you to control it," Beck said. "These stories of corruption and abuse of power, I'm going to continue to bring them to you as long as I possibly can, and everybody else on this network is dedicated. But it seems like every week this network is filing another Freedom of Information Act request. Even with all the resources of Fox, the truth still can't be fully exposed without you. I ask you, please - help us. Meet us here every day. Tell all of your friends what you learn here. Spread it. E-mail me. Tell me what I'm missing. We will do the best we can to provide you with the information, but it is a little overwhelming."
Nobody wants to be mocked. And if you’re a rock star, surrounded by sycophants for the better part of 35 years, it must be especially hard to deal with being mocked. It makes sense, then, that Don Henley does not like the parody of his song “Boys of Summer,” penned by Chuck DeVore, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Justin Hart, his advisor. But Henley’s copyright-infringement lawsuit is far bigger than one rock star or his feelings. Henley’s lawsuit undermines the First Amendment right to speak freely.
Don Henley makes no effort to hide his political leanings. In addition to performing at scores of fundraisers, Henley has given about $750,000 to partisan, liberal causes, including $10,000 to Barack Obama and $9,000 to DeVore’s soon-to-be opponent, Barbara Boxer. Henley also exploits his music to advance a liberal, political agenda.
ABC's "Good Morning America," which has yet to interview talk show host Mark Levin about his New York Times best selling book on conservatism, featured James Carville on Monday to promote "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." Co-host Diane Sawyer recited passages from the Democratic operative's tome, "Let me read what you write here. 'Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up.'"
Sawyer continued to read from Carville's book: "Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac." An onscreen graphic highlighted past one-party rule and speculated, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?"
Sawyer, to her credit, did challenge the thesis of the book, that Democrats will be in power for decades. She skeptically noted, "But, you know, there's people looking at this who say there's a big hole in this argument. And the big hole is the deficit that is building up, the debt that is building up." The GMA co-host added, "In fact, in ten years, per person in America, $2,700 will be spent just to pay the interest on the debt. Not to pay down the debt, but just to pay the interest." Later, she wondered if Democrats are becoming overly confident.
On ABC’s World News Saturday, and the same day’s CBS Evening News, correspondents suggested that conservative positions on social issues were responsible for the Republican party’s recent electoral misfortunes, as the two programs filed stories about an appearance in Arlington by Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney as part of an effort to rebuild the party’s appeal. ABC cited a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll showing only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, while CBS cited a Pew Research poll finding the number had dropped from 30 percent in 2004 to 23 percent currently.
After a soundbite of Jeb Bush explaining that Republicans needed to spend more time "listening," "learning," and "upgrading our message," ABC’s Rachel Martin contended that "That means moving hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage to the side, and shifting the focus to health care, education and the economy."
And, ignoring the fact that a substantial number of moderate House Democrats have taken conservative positions on issues like guns and abortion to win in their own conservative leaning districts, CBS’s Kimberly Dozier more directly charged that conservative positions on such issues by Republicans had hurt the party: "The trio notably avoided controversial touch stones like gun rights or abortion, which are blamed for driving away moderates and independents." Notably, 65 House Democrats recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating their opposition to a new assault weapons ban.
Brian Alexander, an MSNBC.com contributor with his Sexploration column, has apparently delved into the world of political commentary with this new piece which ties conservatives to viral racism in the media.
The title itself is a little misleading:
Amid swine flu outbreak, racism goes viral
Anti-immigrant hatred spreads on talk radio, Web sites
If we're targeting conservative talk radio, and Alexander is, then the term ‘anti-immigrant' should be corrected. Conservatives aren't anti-immigrant, they're anti-criminal, much like liberals are anti-tax filing. Loving your country enough to request that anyone who wishes to be a member abide by their immigration laws, is not anti-immigrant, and making such an assessment by accusing the entire conservative philosophy as being racist is... well ... anti-intellectual. But then, that is the norm for commentary presented by MSNBC.
Further down in the column, Alexander explains that the real problem isn't just talk radio and Web sites in general. No, the main problem is actually racist conservatives (emphasis mine throughout):
MSNBC anchor David Shuster appeared on Stephanie Miller's left-wing radio show on Thursday to praise the "brilliant," "informed," and "articulate" President Obama and trash the "atrocious" Fox News Channel. Shuster, who is on the same network as the extremely liberal Keith Olbermann, complained, "I mean, look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that's fine. They completely backed it up." [audio for download here]
Just getting warmed up, he continued, "When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful." Shuster attacked the cable network, where he was a correspondent at from 1996 to 2002, for its "insanity." Getting around to the personalities on FNC, he derided, "The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O'Reilly says has been illogical."
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez attacked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, over reports that the beauty pageant contestant had breast implants: "Miss California in another scandal. Did pageant organizers pay for her to get breast implants?" Rodriguez later teased the upcoming segment: "And another controversy for Miss California. This time over just how natural a beauty she really is."
Prejean, who expressed her opposition to gay marriage in response to a question during the Miss USA pageant, has been continually criticized in the media for her views. During the Friday story, Rodriguez remarked: "But first, another controversy for Miss California. But this time it isn't about her views on gay marriage, but rather, about her figure...She said those were her real feelings. But now it appears something about Carrie Prejean may not be so real."
Rodriguez later spoke with the co-director of the Miss California Organization, Keith Lewis, and asked about the organization providing funding for the procedure: "Why does that improve her odds of winning? Why in that meeting don't you discourage her from going that route, rather than help her to pay for breast implants?" Lewis replied: " It's a personal choice. Well, I think that -- I think that it's about how a woman feels about herself. In terms of, for me, it's not a personal choice that I would recommend. But at the same time, I know so many women that have done the procedure, and feel better about themselves and the way they present themselves."
While reporting on the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter on Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Wyatt Andrews explained: "Souter quickly stunned conservatives in 1992, casting the crucial fifth vote to uphold Roe vs. Wade in the landmark abortion case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. Souter evolved into one of the court's more liberal justices."
Andrews went on declare that: "Obama specifically promised to appoint justices who are pro-abortion rights." A clip of Obama on the campaign trail was played: "That's why I am committed to appointing judges who understand how our laws operate in our daily lives, judges who will uphold the core values of our Constitution, that's why I won't back down when it comes to defending the freedom of women." Andrews concluded: "In the search for his replacement, the President will face significant pressure, not just to name a liberal justice, but also to appoint a woman justice."
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter switching to the Democratic Party: "Alright, so you see red states going to blue, though, in this last presidential election...You look at percentage-wise, lower numbers of people who declare themselves to be actual Republicans...Where does the future of your party lie?...Is there room for moderates?"
Smith began the interview by asking Steele: "Olympia Snowe mourned his [Specter’s] loss earlier this week. Rush Limbaugh said he was dead weight, good riddance. Who's right?" Steele was unequivocal: "Rush. I'm sorry, I'm not weeping here. I'm sorry. You know, look, Harry, in 2004, when Senator Specter ran for re-election...he whined and moaned and groaned and convinced the White House, and Senator Rick Santorum, and the Republican leadership at that time, to save his seat, to help him get re-elected. So all this, you know, rank-and-file crazy noise about conservatism, he didn't mind it in 2004 when his seat was on the line."
Eleanor Clift is by no stretch a conservative apologist, but her reporting in Newsweek on the Specter switch exposes an angle that the broadcast networks are omitting: the Machiavellian maneuvers behind-the-scenes to coax Specter to jump the GOP ship.
Of particular interest is Clift's revelation that Gov. Ed Rendell's motive for pushing Specter to become a Democrat was to shut down a potential Democratic rival for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) [emphasis mine].:
Those who know Rendell say he really wants the seat that Specter holds but would not run against his friend. The scenario that was unfolding had Specter losing in the Republican primary to Club for Growth President Pat Toomy, the favorite of Pennsylvania's conservative Republican base, and then had Toomy losing to a Democrat in November 2010. The Democrat suiting up for that task was Rep. Joe Sestak, a retired Navy admiral in his second term, eager to move up, and at 57 years of age, young enough to stake a claim on the seat.
A Sestak candidacy would derail Rendell's future plans.Keeping Specter in the seat at his age, which is 79, makes it far more likely that the seat would open up in the kind of timetable Rendell would hope for.
In honor of President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith decided to take an uncritical look at the President’s performance with liberal commentators Tavis Smiley of PBS and Fareed Zakaria of CNN and Newsweek. Smith asked Zakaria: "Using your book as a template, 'The Post-American World,' in which America is seen not necessarily as the center of this universe anymore, how is this President working against the template of your book?"
Zakaria explained: "If you look at that template, Obama has actually seemed to really understand it, made overtures to the world...even overtures to Iran, to Syria, engaging in the Middle East peace process, even Venezuela. This is, I think, been a great overture. The first movement of the symphony is yet to come." Smith added: "The first 100 days, perhaps, is the overture." Zakaria continued: "But I think as an overture goes, you know, no -- I don't think any president has had as much success as Obama has...this guy gets this new world, this post-American world that I talk about, and he's acting in a way that will secure America's interests."
During the first hour and a half following Senator Arlen Specter’s announcement that he was switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic, CNN pushed the “big message” behind the defection, that “the Republican Party has moved so far to the right, that it is making itself uncompetitive in significant parts of the country, like the Northeast,” as the network’s senior political analyst Bill Schneider (shown at right) put it. He continued that the “Democrats, under President Obama, are really moving to claim the center of American politics.” Anchor Kyra Phillips even used the “center” label as an apparent synonym for Democrat.
Phillips’ fellow anchor Tony Harris turned to Schneider three times over the course of fifteen minutes during the 12 pm Eastern hour of the Newsroom program on CNN. During the first appearance 22 minutes into the hour, Harris asked the senior political analyst, “Could we see more of these defections and switches?” Schneider answered, “Tony, this has been going on for years. Republicans in the Northeast have been defeated....They’ve been losing general elections. The Republican Party -- there’s a big message here, which is that the Republican Party has moved so far to the right, that it is making itself uncompetitive in significant parts of the country, like the Northeast. This is really a cannon shot at them, saying this party is no longer competitive in lots of the country.”
While the media are now painting turncoat Sen. Arlen Specter ( D-Pa.) as a Republican moderate who laments how the party has left him behind, a search through the Media Research Center's archives finds that the MSM have painted the Keystone State liberal anywhere from being a mere "conservative" to a traitorous Torquemada to pro-choicers.
During the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in October 1991, Time reporter Julie Johnson noted on the October 18 edition of "Washington Week in Review" that:
Arlen Specter took on this role as the Great Inquisitor. Some people [feminists] think he pilloried Anita Hill, that with his sort of low-blow hit on perjury, they're saying to a friend in Pennsylvania, who's been pro-choice, been on their side: 'How could you do this to me?'
On June 30 of the same year, NBC reporter Jim Miklaszewski laughably characterized the pro-choice Specter as a conservative pertaining to the abortion issue:
Appearing on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor Monday, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham was asked by host Bill O’Reilly: "What, you're a not a left-wing magazine?" Meacham denied any liberal agenda in the magazine: "No, I don't -- We're not a partisan magazine. We're just not." A skeptical O’Reilly replied: "Come on." Meacham defended his assertion: "We're not. We try to be provocative. We try to break news. We try to contribute to the conversation. You can decide whether we do or not."
O’Reilly asked Meacham about the magazine’s liberal leanings after the Newsweek editor argued in favor of investigations of Bush officials over interrogation tactics. O’Reilly also asked for Meacham’s opinion on a recent political cartoon in the New York Times that criticized those interrogation tactics by depicting the Statue of Liberty brandishing a whip, but Meacham refused to comment: "I'm not going to comment on somebody else's editorial decision." In frustration, O’Reilly replied: "You're an American. Forget you're editor of Newsweek, you're an American. You see this thing, what do you think? You think this is fair?"
O’Reilly went on to reference new photos of prisoner abuse about to be released: "Yeah, do you think this is fair? Do you think that's good for the country? Are you looking forward to putting those pictures coming out next week in Newsweek magazine, of abusing the prisoners, you looking forward to doing that?" He later added: "...you won't comment on that -- on that Statue of Liberty with a whip? Come on, you're an American, too. You know, I'm fighting the battle here alone. It's me and the Wall Street Journal, and couple of other guys on Fox, against a juggernaut of media apathy that you're a part of at Newsweek magazine, with all due respect."
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter seemed to take turns reining in each other’s conspiracy theories as the two discussed the latest on former Vice President Cheney’s request for the release of classified information regarding the results of waterboarding al-Qaeda detainees. Alter charged that former Vice President Cheney is attacking President Obama’s national security policies so that his own popularity will be "resurrected" if there is another 9/11-style attack, as the Newsweek editor called Cheney’s behavior "sick":
It`s the former Vice President who is becoming a forlorn and, I think, soon to be even further disgraced figure. But this is his bid for resurrection. Because what he is betting on – and this is the sick thing to me, Keith – is that if there's another attack that he will then be back as a huge and important figure who predicted that this would happen if we stopped torturing. And this is his bid for historical resurrection.
Olbermann assumed Alter was charging that Cheney desires another 9/11 attack for his own benefit, and actually seemed to halfway defend Cheney, prompting Alter to clarify that he did not actually think the former Vice President was hoping for another attack, but he also contended that it was "not a very patriotic thing to do" for Cheney to call President Obama "weak":
CNN’s resident curmudgeon Jack Cafferty blamed Republican losses in the 2008 election, in part, on their use of the “socialist” label against Democrats during his regular commentary on Friday’s Situation Room. After reporting on a “conservative faction of the Republican National Committee” wanting to use this label against their opponents, and how they petitioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele to consider a resolution about it, he continued by labeling this faction “hardliners.”
Before reading some of the viewer responses to his commentary, he returned to gushing over Michelle Obama, suggesting that she might be president in the future. Cafferty also told one apparently conservative respondent who used the fascist and communist labels to “lighten up.”
The commentator made his regular “Cafferty File” commentary seven minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He began immediately with his swipe at Republicans: “Wolf, it seems like some Republicans still have not figured out that they lost big-time last November, in part, because the American people are sick and tired of their style of politics. Exhibit A: a conservative faction of the Republican National Committee wants the party to brand Democrats as socialists.”
In a news brief on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell implied a link between the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and Bush administration approval of tough interrogation tactics on suspected terrorists: "Soon we will see more pictures of U.S. personnel allegedly abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photos, like these from Abu Ghraib, are being released next month, following a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The group says it is proof that prisoner abuse was widespread. And high-profile Bush administration officials are being linked to those interrogation techniques."
Correspondent Thalia Assuras then reported: "Condoleezza Rice, as National Security Adviser in 2002, verbally approved the CIA's use of waterboarding, the earliest known green light according to a Senate account." Assuras then rhetorically asked: "But her decision alone?" A clip was then played of a so-called expert, Dan Guide, from the left-wing group Center for American Progress: "I don't think that we can identify individuals who are anymore or less responsible within the higher levels of the Bush administration. This was taken as a collective decision." Assuras never mentioned the political affiliation of the organization. Later in the report, Guide lamented limitations on prosecuting Bush officials: "The most significant constraint, at least in my view, is that this entire case would be conducted with classified information."
While discussing the possible prosecution of Bush administration officials over interrogation methods used against terror suspects, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Senator John McCain: "You fought a long battle with the [Bush] White House over this issue, said they ought to follow the Army manual, which the -- the White House refused to...Why do you feel so strongly that those who helped create this policy should not face some sort of recrimination?"
McCain explained his opposition to what he called a "witch hunt": "Because I think, Harry, if you legal -- if you criminalize legal advice, which is basically what they're going to do, then it has a terribly chilling effect on any kind of advice and counsel that the president might receive...this is going to turn into a witch hunt."
"MSNBC News Live" host Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday dismissed the tea party rallies that took place across the country last week as "top down" and not organic, prompting a complaint from a Republican strategist over the network's coverage. The discussion arose during an interview with GOP strategist Karen Hanretty and a Democratic operative over the leadership of the Republican Party.
After Hanretty asserted that the tea parties were an example of grass roots conservative leadership, O'Donnell retorted, "Karen, what was organic about the tea party protest? Those were not from the ground up." She went on to label the nationwide events "top down," which prompted Hanretty to quip, "No. I know MSNBC likes to promote that those were top down, but that's not the case at all." (MSNBC hosts were relentless in their attacks on the the parties. Most famously, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann on April 16 talked to actress Janeane Garofalo, who deemed the demonstrations racist.)