The Times dispatched its political personality profiler and snarkster-in-chief Mark Leibovich to Florida to report on the hot race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. In the course of his report, Leibovich ran into a conservative in a parking lot who showed "contempt" for the New York Times. (Wonder why?)
Moderate Gov. Charlie Crist looks set to battle insurgent conservative Marco Rubio in the Republican primary in late August. Leibovich's piece, "The First Senator From the Tea Party?" which will appear in the Times Magazine next Sunday, described the reporter's attendance at a Tea Party rally in Orlando, from which he dutifully filed anecdotes about racist attacks, bullying, and birther-paranoia on the part of conservatives.
First, Leibovich sat down with the "embattled Republican" Crist, the "pragmatist" battling "ideological purists" in his own party:
To many Republicans, the governor's biggest sin was his support for the Obama administration's $787 billion economic-stimulus package. That's what comes up the most, although a fair number of conservatives also blame Crist for his seemingly decisive endorsement of John McCain three days before the Florida primary in the 2008 presidential campaign, effectively handing the state to an eventual nominee for whom many conservatives had little use. They see Crist's career as pockmarked with instances of consensus-seeking, deal-making and bipartisanship -- three particularly vulgar notions to a simmering Tea Party movement on the right. Conservatives have tagged Crist as being part of that pariah breed of Republican today: a "moderate." Or worse.
Speaking to Virginia Governor Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pointed out a potential dire situation for Democrats in the 2010 midterm election: “Your party stands to lose a lot in the fall. Its 60 vote majority in the Senate, dozens of seats in the House, as well as Governor seats across the country.”
An on-screen headline posed the question: “Democrats in Trouble?” Rodriguez summed up the circumstances under which Democrats could do well in the fall: “...two things have to happen. One, the economy has to improve, and, two, health care has to not only pass, but show that it’s working.” She assumed that health care passing would be a good thing for Democrats and failed to ask Kaine about the lack of openness in the legislative process.
Rodriguez asked for Kaine’s assessment of the situation. Unsurprisingly, the DNC chair was optimistic about his party’s chances: “I think both are going to happen....I think the passage of historic health care and continued improvement of the economy is going to actually surprise some people in November in terms of how Democrats do.”
In an interview on Fox News Channel’s Studio B on Wednesday, New York Congressman Peter King criticized President Obama for his “race to close Guantanamo,” prompting host Shepard Smith to parrot left-wing talking points on the subject: “[Obama] said that gave us a black eye around the world and studies seem to suggest that’s exactly what it did.”
King went on to staunchly defend the military prison: “I think we should not be giving in just because the terrorists say that Gitmo is a recruiting agent. So is our support of Israel. Does that mean we shouldn’t support Israel?” Smith skeptically replied: “You’re not equating the two, are you Congressman?” He then wondered: “Why is this political football being thrown around so much in the middle of all this?”
Smith later ranted: “Of all the important things to talk this just where we keep these people who want us dead, why do we spend time even talking about it? Why do people care?... In Cuba, we shoved them off to another country and stuck them on the end of an island and given the nation a black eye, if you believe – if you believe President Obama.” King pointed out Smith’s bias: “I think only a person that’s incredibly naive would say that we got – that we deserve that black eye. We got it because elements in the media and elements in the Democratic Party kept parroting that line.” In reply, Smith could be heard off camera sighing in disgust: “Ugh.”
Speaking with Republican New York Congressman Peter King on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Congressman, here you are a Republican talking about everything that’s wrong and everything that went wrong....Tom Kean, who was the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission said quote,‘we should dismiss the partisan bickering over the security failures over this issue.”
Rodriguez went on to place the blame for partisanship on the Republican side of the aisle as she asked: “Do you agree and do you say to your colleagues let’s try to support the President here and get to the bottom of the real issue?” King replied: “I have never made one partisan statement on terrorism since that day....I will give the President credit when I think he’s right. But on the other hand, when mistakes are being made, I think it’s my obligation to speak out because this issue is so vital to all Americans.”
If there was ever any doubt National Public Radio had a political slant, check out the animated video posted on the network's Web site. That should clear up any doubt.
This video dated Nov. 12, 2009 was created by Mark Fiore, a political animator, who NPR reports is described by The Wall Street Journal as "the undisputed guru of the form." The video demonstrates for viewers how to speak "tea bag," which is a term lefties for whatever reason seem to find absolutely hilarious. (h/t Jesse Hathaway via Bob Parks). Transcript as follows:
Moderator: Finally, learning a new language doesn't have to be hard. You can be fluent in conversational tea bag in just a few short minutes. Lesson one: Don't get distracted by the confusing words of other languages. Character: I think the public option and the competition it would foster would really -- socialist, socialist. Moderator: Good, very good. Lesson two: If you're having trouble understanding the words of others or being understood yourself, use teabag's stronger, more descriptive words. Character: The Nazi, Nazi, Nazi
The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown targeted Rush Limbaugh for ruining 2009, particularly after Obama’s inauguration, on Thursday’s Today show on NBC, blaming him for the “big discord and toxic atmosphere in politics,” and likened him to the “the bad fairy at Sleeping Beauty’s christening” for uttering his famous words about the President, “I hope he fails” [audio clip available here].
Brown slammed the talk show host just hours after he was hospitalized for chest pains. The British-born journalist appeared with commentator Nancy Giles and comedian Andy Borowitz nine minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour for a panel discussion on the past year. Substitute anchor Erin Burnett turned to Brown first and asked, “What do you think was the most important moment of 2009?”
Brown unsurprisingly chose the Obama inauguration, and after gushing over the moment, set her sights on Limbaugh:
MSNBC.com’s Steve Adubato went so far to compare Sarah Palin’s notoriety to a reality show during a segment on Wednesday’s Today show on NBC. Adubato acted as an apologist for Levi Johnston’s move to open his child custody dispute with Bristol Palin: “Sarah Palin’s reality show that she’s been on for the past couple years...It has an impact on this baby as well....and it’s not good for the kid either.”
The MSNBC.com “media analyst” and former Democratic politician appeared with former prosecutor Wendy Murphy just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour for a panel discussion about the Johnston-Palin custody case. After asking Murphy about Johnston’s move to open the case, substitute anchor Erin Burnett turned to Adubato for his take. “Steve, what’s your point of view? I mean, it’s pretty clear he [Johnston] wants it open because he sort of wants to build his brand and his name and a reality TV career but that’s a high standard. I mean, why should they allow it to be open?”
Adubato almost immediately set his sights on Sarah Palin and her apparent role in the custody dispute: “Listen, Sarah Palin is a major figure in this...she’s said things about this kid. The daughter Bristol has said things about this kid. Here’s the problem: you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be Sarah Palin, use your public platform to trash this kid in certain cases, and then say- you know, for the right of the kid , who’s one, let’s make sure that we keep it private....I understand this kid’s smart enough- his lawyers are smart enough to take advantage of the fact that they’ve trashed him publicly. It’s his only platform.”
On Tuesday’s Today show, NBC’s Jenna Wolfe singled out Sarah Palin and grouped her with “flabby thighs, cheap men, [and] rude people” as subjects some people chose to ritually “purge” from their minds in an annual event in New York City called “Good Riddance Day.” Participants wrote down their worst memories of 2009 on sheets of paper and fed them into a giant shredding machine to mark the upcoming new year [an audio clip from the report is available here].
The NBC correspondent began her report, which aired 50 minutes into the 7 am hour, by briefly describing the concept of the “Good Riddance Day” event in midtown Manhattan: “It’s the crossroads of the world. People flock here for the shows, the shopping and the shredding? Right smack in the heart of Times Square, they are purging like mad. This is ‘Good Riddance Day,’ where before you ring in the new, you say adios to the old.” She then listed her examples of what people fed into the shredder, highlighting one piece of paper that had the name of the former Alaska governor written on it: “Whatever you hated in ‘09- flabby thighs, cheap men, rude people or Sarah Palin, just write it down and rip it up. The ex’s are the most popular purges.”
In keeping with the tradition of the holidays - the minds at MSNBC, the place for politics if you're of the lefty persuasion, decided rate the top 10 political stories of the decade.
And leading this gang of masters of the political journalism universe was "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who on the broadcast of his Dec. 24 program, announced that conservative activism, mainly the tea party movement was the eighth biggest story of the decade - but labeled "angry white voters" (emphasis added).
"Welcome back to ‘Hardball' - our number eight political story of the decade, angry whites at town hall meetings across the country," Matthews said. "Lawmakers heard the wrath of angry voters."
The New York Daily News is demonstrating that PDA's (Palin Derangement Awards) just never go out of style - celebrating yet another triumph in liberal media condescension by judging Sarah Palin to be one of 2009's worst celebrity parents. Palin shares the limelight with the selfless and humble parents of the balloon boy, David Hasselhoff, the Pez dispenser emulating Octomom, and Courtney Love.
Having recently secured Politifact's ‘Lie of the Year', in which one is seemingly bestowed the honor of liar simply for pointing out obvious questions involving a so-called ‘death panel' known as the Independent Medicare Advisory Board - (In other words, ‘Lie of the Year' translates to ‘Questions We'd Rather You Didn't Ask') - Palin finds herself with little time to celebrate.
So, in a quick turnaround from the high that is winning a prestigious award from a non-fact-checking fact-checking Web site, Palin finds herself having to hastily accept the honor of Worst Celebrity Parent.
And what does the New York Daily News base this label on? A quote from the attention deprived Levi Johnston, who once claimed in a Vanity Fair interview that Palin referred to her baby Trig as being ‘the retarded baby'.
On Dec. 22, when Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he would be switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it was to be expected MSNBC, the so-called "Place for Politics" would spin it in anyway imaginable. But Rachel Maddow decided to use the left's favorite boogeyman, the tea party movement, to denigrate conservatives and distract from what could be real problems for House Democrats.
Angry, frustrated, troubled, disappointed, disgust, disrespect - words not normally associated with holiday season. However, they were words Katie Couric used to describe where she sees the mood of country right now.
Couric, the anchor of the "CBS Evening News," in a live Facebook video chat on Dec. 22, took on illustrating her view of the populace - a not very sunny picture (emphasis added).
"I think more distant - I hate to say that, but I think, I think the economic situation in this country, I think, when people are struggling, that sometimes they need a place to vent their rage and to channel their rage and I think, I feel like right now in many ways, we're a very angry nation," Couric said. "Very frustrated, troubled and disappointed in many ways in terms of people feeling that the American dream just isn't within their reach. I mean I still think it's a place of incredible opportunity and entrepreneurship. But I just think that, I don't know - maybe it's because what I do for a living, I feel that the country is pretty polarized right now."
Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O’Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: “You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it’s the Republicans’ fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?”
Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: “...it wasn’t necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don’t want sunlight on the bill, it’s that simple.”
Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, ‘look, if we – if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.’”
Remember Barack Obama's pipe dream put forward during the 2008 presidential election cycle - that he was going to usher in an era of "post-partisanship" and change from "the politics of usual" in Washington? How's that working out? Not so well according to NBC "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory.
Gregory appeared on NBC's Dec 21 "The Tonight Show" and was asked by host Conan O'Brien about the prospects of health care reform becoming a reality - which Gregory praised as some sort of monumental achievement.
Good on the Post for printing this letter from a reader who caught liberal columnist E.J. Dionne in the act of hypocrisy:
E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.
Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.
In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen went so far to compare the Senate’s cloture vote early Monday morning on ObamaCare to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. Seconds after the Senate concluded its vote, Gergen lamented the party line vote, and contrasted it with the unanimous finding of the Supreme Court which ended the segregation of schools [audio clips from segment available here].
The analyst appeared during CNN’s midnight special coverage as the Senate concluded its debate on its version of health care “reform” legislation. Sixteen minutes into the 1 am hour, anchor Tom Foreman asked the perennial White House advisor about the expected partisan vote: “What’s wrong with the Democrats simply saying- fine, you don’t want to vote with us? This is entirely ours.”
In an interview in which he hit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee repeatedly from the left, George Stephanopoulos pleaded with Sen. John McCain to "name an issue next year where you are going to be joined at the hip with President Obama." [audio available here]
The live interview via satellite occurred six hours after McCain joined the other 39 Senate Republicans in voting against cloture on the Senate version of Democratic health care legislation.
All but two of Stephanopoulos's questions dealt with health care,the other two with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Transcribed below are Stephanopoulos's agenda of questions, which you'll notice buffet McCain from the left, and/or paint Republicans are the party responsible for keeping the Senate from wrapping up its business until Christmas Eve, even though it is Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who controls the legislative calendar:
Centering a Friday night story on how, as anchor Katie Couric explained, “Republicans are doing everything they can to block” the “health reform” bill, “including delaying tactics in this race against the clock,” CBS put front and center Senator Robert Byrd's “shame, shame” admonition of Republicans.
Reporter Nancy Cordes began her story by showcasing the aging Democrat: “As he was wheeled into the Senate chamber shortly after 1:00 AM, 92-year-old Robert Byrd made it clear how he felt about being pulled out of bed to vote.” CBS showed a wide-shot of the Senate chamber with the area around the wheelchair-bound Byrd lightened with his words on screen as viewers heard the matching audio picked up by a nearby microphone: “Shame, shame.”
Cordes elaborated: “His ire was directed at Republicans who intentionally dragged out debate on a defense spending bill, hoping that in turn would hold up the health care bill Democrats desperately want to pass before Christmas.” She soon demanded of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: “What's the point of forcing these votes to be held at the dead of night on Christmas eve? Why not just move along?”
New Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos and the rest of the morning show crew couldn’t help laughing at Sarah Palin on Thursday. News anchor Juju Chang highlighted a story broken by the tabloid TMZ that the former vice presidential candidate was seen at a Hawaii beach wearing a blacked out McCain visor. [Audio available here.]
After Chang noted that Palin said she was simply trying to be "incognito," Stephanopoulos, the former Democratic operative, started giggling and scoffed, "Trying to be incognito? Okay. That’ll do it."Joining in, Chang, who is also new to the show, joked, "Apparently there were no other hats to be found."
Global warming alarmist Sam Champion piled on as he began the weather report: "Every shop on the beach in Hawaii sells visors for about $5.99...Just in case no one knew." Co-host Robin Roberts marveled, "Now, that’s truly going rogue. That’s truly going rogue."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats “are tantalizingly close” to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to “thwart” the legislation using “stall tactics.”
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: “Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday.” She lamented that “...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.”
After explaining that “Senate business got tied up for three hours,” Cordes declared: “Democrats were predictably outraged.” She concluded her report: “And that’s the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats’ goal of getting this bill passed.”
In the third part of an interview on MediaBistro.com’s Media Beat, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared some thoughts on various media personalities. He labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck “controversial,” while hailing MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann: “Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith.”
Rather bizarrely went on to explain part of his admiration for the left-wing bomb thrower: “For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan....give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.” Rather did manage to say one kind word about Beck, calling him a “talented TV personality.”
TVNewser columnist Gail Shister also asked Rather’s thoughts on his Evening News replacement Katie Couric. Rather’s assessment of her was not as enthusiastic as that of Olbermann: “Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.”
CNN’s Larry King equated efforts against further regulation of the banking industry to letting the mentally ill run their psych wards on his program on Monday. King pressed conservative columnist S. E. Cupp: “Banks are lobbying against a bill to tighten regulatory controls. Are you going to let the inmates run the asylum? You don’t think we should regulate banks?” [audio clips from the segment available here]
The CNN host moderated a panel discussion on the economy during the first segments of the program. The panel surprisingly leaned to the right on economic issues. Besides Cupp, King had Penn Gilette and Larry Elder, both libertarians, and liberal former Clinton administration official Robert Reich. After the host used the “inmates run the asylum” idiom in his question, the columnist first answered that “we do need regulation, but it’s putting them in a really tough spot.” King interrupted with a blunt one-word question: “So?”
CNN’s David Gergen played up the difficulties that President Obama has faced on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360, underscored the importance of the coming week for the executive, and compared him to an iconic movie damsel in distress: “For a president who’s had more trials than anybody I can remember in a long time, sort of ‘The Perils of Pauline’ all year, this has become a climactic week for his presidency.”
Host Anderson Cooper brought on the senior political analyst to comment on the latest development on the health care debate, the Obama presidency in his first months, and the President’s upcoming trip to the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen. Cooper first asked Gergen about the potential for congressional liberals to turn against the proposed health care “reform” bill if the Obama administration cuts a deal with Senator Joe Lieberman over his objections to a Medicare “buy-in” for people 55 and older: “So, David, dropping the Medicare buy-in, could we be seeing- I mean, a liberal revolt in the wake of this? Because, I mean, a lot of people haven’t been following the minutia of this, but, basically, that idea of expanding Medicare to 55 and above, that was all for liberals, who were angered over the public option being dropped out.”
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
The USA Weekend supplement in many Sunday newspapers across the country carried a tiny report from academe this weekend on the question "Are you easily disgusted?" Vi-An Nguyen explained that if you are, then you’re probably a conservative:
Imagine taking a sip from your drink, only to realize that it belongs to a stranger. Grossed out? If so, then you may be a conservative thinker.
High "disgust sensitivity," or a tendency to react strongly to things you think are gross, can predict political conservatism, researchers say. Less turned off? That could indicate more liberal views.
Two recent studies link disgust sensitivity with conservative attitudes on gay marriage and abortion. In one, 181 participants were tested for how they'd react to unpleasant situations, such as finding an unflushed toilet in a public restroom. Then they were asked about their political leanings. Researchers found a correlation between being easily disgusted and politically conservative.
Perhaps there is something obstructing the view overlooking Rockefeller Plaza, where MSNBC broadcasts "Countdown" nightly because the show's host, Keith Olbermann fails to see the existence of a news media with a liberal bias.
On MSNBC's Dec. 14 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann came to the defense of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" executive producer and noted left-winger Dick Wolf. The Dec. 9 episode of Wolf's program featured a killer who targeted the children of illegal immigrants and in that episode, one of the characters, played by John Larroquette, blamed conservatives "like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck" for inciting violence against immigrants. That prompted O'Reilly on Dec. 10, the next broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," to fire back at Wolf.
And that led Olbermann to respond to O'Reilly, five days later, which deteriorated into Olbermann making the seemingly laughable assertion there is no such thing as the liberal media. Olbermann began his tirade by attacking Andrew Breitbart, who is launching a Web site called "Big Journalism," which will take on "the Democratic-media complex."
A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.
"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.
Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.
Friday's Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News showed a pre-recorded interview with Roseanne Barr in which Barr opined that, although Sarah Palin is "likable," the "stuff she says is half nuts," and she's "half crazy and out of her mind." Barr -- who herself has a recent history of doing such bizarre things as appearing in Heeb magazine dressed as Adolf Hitler removing Jewish gingerbread cookies from an oven -- went on to declare that Palin is "like a slave to these, you know, right-wing men. That’s like the only way a right-wing woman can make it."
Barr soon added: "The only way a woman can make it in the right wing, or the conservative, whatever the hell you want to call it, Republican, is to be against all other women. And that is what she does."
Ironically, just moments later as she and Behar expressed disapproval at the man who recently threw tomatoes at Palin, Barr was critical of liberals who have treated the former Alaska governor "badly because she's female," calling it "disgusting." Barr: "I don’t like where she is treated like badly because she’s female. I think that’s so wrong, and I think the left and the liberals are disgusting to do that."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, December 11, Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News: