When he’s not gushing over the Obamas, you can make a fair bet that CNN commentator Jack Cafferty is bashing conservatives, and he returned to one of his favorite subjects of scorn during his regular “Cafferty File” segment on Thursday’s Situation Room -- Sarah Palin. He labeled three quotes from a recent speech the Alaska governor gave as “painful.” He concluded his commentary by remarking that “whoever said truth is stranger than fiction must have met this woman.”
The CNN commentator also hinted twice during the segment that the Alaska governor was unintelligible. During the commentary, the commentator remarked that Palin “talked about why the Republicans lost in November, and seemed mostly to blame the press, at least I think that’s what she said.” Later, after Blitzer stated that the governor would be visiting Washington and that they were going to try to have her on the program, Cafferty laughed and replied, “Well, let’s hope so. Maybe you can understand her.”
Both MSNBC’s David Shuster and CNN’s Rick Sanchez pulled their scoop straight from Media Matters’ blog, and focused on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments criticizing President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, instead of the controversy over the speech itself. Shuster targeted the former Speaker of the House during the “Hypocrisy Watch” segment on Tuesday’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue program, saying that Gingrich was “already telling Notre Dame what to do,” even though he wasn’t Catholic yet and had gone through two divorces.
Almost a day later on Wednesday’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez devoted a whole segment to Gingrich’s Tweet, and also brought up the divorce issue: “Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist taking a shot at President Obama. He seems to infer that the president shouldn’t talk to a Catholic university because of quote, ‘values.’ Should Newt Gingrich, thrice married, go there? Really?”
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed President Obama’s Tuesday night press conference with Republican Senator Richard Shelby and asked: "The President will head to Capitol Hill today to sell his budget and last night he wondered why Republicans who have been critical of it haven't come up with an alternative budget. What's the answer?"
After Shelby explained that Republicans have serious concerns about the President’s budget, Rodriguez quickly ran to Obama’s defense: "Senator, the President said that even if he takes out all this spending from the budget, he'll still have a deficit, as evidenced by the $1.3 trillion deficit that he inherited from the Republicans." Shelby responded by declaring: "...we had a deficit, but nothing like this...This is scary. I believe we've reached the tipping point now, the tipping point, and if we tip over, it's a point of no return. We're looking at inflation and financial and economic destruction. We cannot go down this road."
Perhaps not fully listening to what Shelby was saying, Rodriguez exclaimed: "But it looks like we are, and what good does it do the American people to -- to point that out? Why not work with the President to try to reach a compromise?" Shelby replied: "Well, I don't think we should compromise destruction of our economic system. And this is where we're going here."
Mainstream media journalists delighted in joining left-wing bloggers in mocking President George W. Bush over his penchant for verbal miscues, often when speaking off-the-cuff. Of course, President Bush wasn't too prickly on this point and on occasion made self-deprecating jokes about his penchant for mangling the English language.
Yet when it comes to right-of-center bloggers playfully mocking President Barack Obama's dependence on the teleprompter, don't expect most journalists to yuk it up with conservatives.
In his newly released book ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ author Mark Levin criticizes the mainstream media for its systematic support of left-wing causes. In chapter 8, entitled "On Enviro-Statism," Levin focuses on the media’s slanted coverage of global warming and points out its confusion on the subject:
In 1975, scientists again raised the specter of global cooling. A famous article appearing in Newsweek magazine, titled "The Cooling World," concluded, "The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down."...In 2008, the same Newsweek that gave weight to the false science of global cooling published an article titled "Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year’s Extreme Weather."
Levin goes on to expose CBS’s Scott Pelley as a diehard global warming advocate:
Consider CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. When asked why his reporting on global warming did not acknowledge the views of skeptics, he replied, "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier? This isn’t about politics or pseudo-science or conspiracy theory blogs. This is about sound science."
MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," filled in on Monday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a "60 Minutes" clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?"
Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused, "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster continued to obsess over and taunt Karl Rove on Tuesday's program, even taking the fight to Twitter. Shuster, who has named Rove a hypocrite three times so far in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, appeared gleeful that "Bush's Brain finally did respond via Twitter." The political operative told Shuster, through the social networking site, simply to "wait until the book. You're in there."
Shuster retorted on his Twitter page by sarcastically instructing Rove, "Next time, try defending yourself 'like a man,' - mano y mano as I've repeatedly invited you to do." It's odd that Shuster would expect Rove to come on the MSNBC program, considering that he has heaped nothing but invective on the former Bush aide.
As veteran readers of NewsBusters know, a good deal of liberal media bias comes in subtle labeling and phrasing. Today's Washington Post provides an excellent example of just that in a Metro section article pitting "victims' advocates" against "gun rights advocates" in a story about new gun restrictions lobbied for by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) and approved by the Maryland House of Delegates.
The House yesterday approved two measures that make it easier for judges to confiscate the guns of people accused -- but not yet convicted -- of domestic violence. Brown had "campaigned for the proposals in the name of his cousin, who was killed last year by an estranged boyfriend," staffer Rosalind Helderman noted.
Meanwhile a separate bill by a Republican legislator that would make it easier for persons filing restraining orders to be granted concealed carry permits was defeated "along heavily partisan lines. Maryland is a "may-issue" state where the state police have wide latitude in denying concealed carry requests:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann hosted left-wing actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo to discuss FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg’s recent enumeration of the "five worst offenders" of what Bill O’Reilly called the "far-left smear machine,"and Garofalo took the opportunity to paint conservatives as angry racists who inspire violence from some of their non-intellectual followers. Garofalo: "The right wing has a way of always having an enemy, whether it be immigrants or Arabs or brown-skinned people, black-skinned people, homosexuals, women. They all, kind of, rally around an enemy, an other, that they can get mad at. And death does occur."
After accusing conservative activist Grover Norquist of "handing out talking points" to a "right-wing machine," and after mentioning former Vice President Cheney’s recent contention that President Obama’s policies would endanger the nation’s homeland security, Garofalo called the "personality type" that she claimed motivates some non-intellectual conservatives a "scourge" and an "unfortunate part of our society." Garofalo: "A lot of the people in the right-wing base are not the most intellectual people in the world, not the most savvy people in the world, and they are definitely quick to anger, and quick to blame other people. ... it's a very sad, sad thing, and it's part of the human nature of a personality type that tends to identify as Republican or conservative. And it's an unfortunate part of our society. It's a scourge on our society." Olbermann concurred: "It is, indeed."
Deciding that he hadn’t gotten enough of lauding President Obama, CNN’s Jack Cafferty used another of his CNN.com commentaries on Tuesday to sing the Democrat’s praises: “Whether it’s creating commissions for women and girls, ordering the investigation of President Bush’s use of signing statements, or jamming a huge stimulus package through Congress, the man is working his tail off. And he seems to be loving every minute of it. It’s almost as though our president was born to do exactly what he’s doing. He’s leading, and boy, is that refreshing.” He also returned to another one of his favorite subjects -- bashing former President Bush: “What a welcome change to feel like someone is running the country instead of running it into the ground.”
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Monday worried that "conservative fear mongering" about President Barack Obama could be "seriously dangerous." A graphic for the segment hyperbolically read, "Stoking Hatred?" Shuster brought on Republican strategist Brad Blakeman and Democratic counterpart Chris Kofinis to discuss the topic. [audio available here]
In a tease for the piece, Shuster played clips of former Vice President Dick Cheney asserting that Obama has made America less safe and of Fox News host Glenn Beck. The MSNBC anchor asked, "The inflammatory rhetoric from the wing nuts, is it merely entertaining or seriously dangerous?" With a complete lack of irony, Shuster spoke of FNC's Beck and wondered, "Shouldn't there be some standards at some of these other networks? I mean, that's a problem, isn't it? There's no standards." Keep in mind, on May 14, 2008, Shuster's colleague Keith Olbermann accused then-President Bush of "murderous deceit" and told him to "shut the hell up!" Would that be an example of the "standards" that Mr. Shuster would like to see?
Near the end of the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Monday, anchor Norah O’Donnell attacked former Vice President Dick Cheney for arguing that the Bush administration should not be blamed for the economic crisis, exclaiming: "Can't blame the Bush administration? Well, let me show you this. The unemployment rate during the Bush administration rose from 4.2% to 7.6%. Poverty jumped from 32.9 million individuals to 37.3 million. The number of uninsured jumped from 41.2 million to 45.7 million, and the budget -- the inherited budget surplus of $120 billion and now it's a $1.3 trillion deficit." O’Donnell failed to note that the unemployment rate only jumped in the final few months of the administration, after the economic crisis hit.
After O’Donnell’s rant, which sounded like a list of Democratic talking points, she turned to Republican strategist Phil Musser and asked: "Phil, does the Vice President have any credibility left when he says don't blame the Bush administration, with numbers like that?" Musser responded: "Look, I think that the Vice President is giving his view point on the last eight years and clearly, the figures that you point out are the figures that you point out, not all of those should be laid at the Bush administration's feet." Musser went on to link O'Donnell's comments with the strategy of the Obama White House: "...clearly your seeing out of the White House now, the strategy of linkage of yesterday...If that's where they're going with this, I think it's totally counter-productive and not useful."
In what was an otherwise critical story about President Obama signing an earmark-laden spending bill despite promising an end to such pork barrel projects, on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid decided to mention a modest earmark by former Idaho Senator Larry Craig: "And it's not just Democrats, about 40% of the earmarks were inserted by Republicans. Even retired lawmakers. Remember Republican Senator Larry Craig, arrested in a bathroom sting? He retired, but his legacy lives on through a million dollars in earmarks for Idaho." If Reid wanted to cite much more egregious Republican offenders he could have picked Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who had $114 million in pet projects, or Missouri Senator Kit Bond, who had $86 million. Of course, neither of them were recently involved in sex scandals.
Other than the Craig mention, the piece was unusually tough on Obama, as anchor Katie Couric began the broadcast by declaring: "Also tonight, he campaigned against earmarks, but today President Obama signed a bill loaded with them behind closed doors." Reid reported: "The last thing the President wanted was a high-profile ceremony as he signed a bill stuffed with pork barrel spending...behind closed doors, it was, critics say, business as usual, as the President quietly signed a $410 billion domestic spending bill. 1,100 pages loaded with about 8,500 pet projects known as earmarks, inserted by members of Congress without legislative review...Some are the handiwork of former lawmakers who now work for the President. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has $6.5 million in projects for Illinois."
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty returned to his routine of bashing conservatives and Republicans in a column published on CNN.com on Tuesday titled “GOP becoming a cartoon.” He accused the Republican Party of “pandering to the right wing nuts that comprise Rush Limbaugh’s radio audience,” and listed this as the primary reason that the GOP lost the 2008 presidential election. Cafferty also bashed Republicans for being too busy “obstructing Obama's programs and criticizing the Democrats’ spending plans that are aimed at trying to bring the country out of a horrible recession.”
The commentator began by criticizing three notable Republicans -- Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and Michael Steele. He labeled the Louisiana governor “embarrassing” for a small grammatical error. Cafferty denounced Palin (a regular target of his ire during the presidential campaign), accusing her of performing a “tawdry grab at a few dollars that didn’t belong to her,” after the Alaska governor decided to reimburse the taxpayer dollars she used to pay for the travel expenses of her children. But he saved the most stinging language for the Republican Party chairman, simultaneously jabbing Limbaugh in the process: “Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, down on his knees apologizing to the helium-filled poster boy of the conservative right? Pathetic.”
At the top of the 8 a.m. EST hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming interview with John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain: "And young Mac attack. Senator McCain's daughter, Meghan, takes aim at conservative Ann Coulter and tells us about her post-election dating issues." Later, co-host Harry Smith opened the segment by declaring: "Senator John McCain's daughter, Meghan, has left the campaign trail and found herself working in the blogosphere as a writer for The Daily Beast. And on it she has written some tough things about Ann Coulter as well as her ongoing search for Mr. Right, or Mr. Far Right."
After Smith asked her about her "search for Mr. Far Right," he turned his attention to her recent criticism of conservative author Ann Coulter: "Well here's one of the things you wrote about Ann Coulter, who's been a guest on this program in the past, we had interesting conversations, ‘I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.’" McCain replied: "And I think it's hard for me to explain to my friends that are in their 20s, when these icons of the party say radical things. I have a friend that's Jewish. She made anti-Semitic comments. It's hard to defend-" Smith interjected: "The Jews need to be perfected and stuff like that." McCain replied: "Yeah, which obviously, I completely disagree with and think is crazy."
MSNBC host David Shuster continued his dogged pursuit of Rush Limbaugh on Monday, hosting a segment with an onscreen graphic that screamed, "Is Rush Toxic for GOP?" After discussing a birthday celebration in honor of Senator Ted Kennedy, Shuster asserted, "About the only thing that might have put a damper on Kennedy's celebration were some jarring comments from conservative heavyweight Rush Limbaugh."
The supposed "jarring comments" by the radio host were made last Friday during a discussion of how the White House has been using Kennedy's ill health as a kind of an inspirational reason to pass national health care. On his show, Limbaugh noted that before "it's all over it [the bill] will be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill." On Monday's "MSNBC News Live," the host brought on Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon and Roll Call editor Erin Billings who both agreed that Limbaugh's comment went over the line. Billings asserted, "I would say that Rush Limbaugh is certainly playing into the divisive figure that the Democrats are accusing him of being." Bacon claimed that "people" were deriding the remarks as "not the right tone."
In the midst of a segment on Rush Limbaugh on Sunday morning's Reliable Sources portion of CNN's State of the Union, host Howard Kurtz scolded his journalistic colleagues for a remark which “totally got missed by the media,” how CNN host D.L. Hughley charged “that the Republican convention 'literally looks like Nazi Germany.' I don't understand how he can get away with saying that. I think that is an outrage.”
Kurtz, the Washington Post's media reporter, interjected his criticism after guest Amanda Carpenter of the Washington Times, and formerly with TownHall.com, had defended RNC Chairman Michael Steele's characterization of Limbaugh's rhetoric as “ugly,” a slam on Limbaugh he made on Hughley's show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, last weekend. She guessed Steele was thinking of “Rush Limbaugh's interpretation of 'Barack the Magic you know what,' so when he said 'ugly,' that was ugly, that was a very ugly part of the discussion that was in the run up to his election.” (Of course, “Barack the Magic Negro” was a song parody inspired by a black writer who used that term in a Los Angeles Times op-ed about Obama.)
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich specializes in spunky profiles of politicians -- hostile profiles of conservatives, flattering ones of liberals.
His latest, on controversial Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, "Republicans Looking for a Reliever in Kentucky," fell safely into the former category, crammed with personal attacks ("questions about his mental fitness") and colorful insults(Bunning's "a bit of a screwball"). The headline is a reference to Bunning's former fame as a baseball pitcher.
Leibovich's latest is similar in tone to his profile of another conservative Republican, former Rep. James Sensenbrenner ("commonly described as 'prickly,' 'cantankerous' and 'unpleasant'"). By contrast, Leibovich has been quite kind to liberals like Al Gore (a "compelling" "pop-culture icon") and Sen. Chris Dodd (a "happy warrior" in a "joyous orbit").
CNN International’s Jonathan Mann labeled Rush Limbaugh the “anti-Obama” in a CNN.com article on Friday, and condescendingly listed the reasons why the talk show host is the antithesis of the president: “Rush Limbaugh isn’t black, slim, stylish or well schooled.” He later described why Democrats are so eager to portray Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party: “They think that Limbaugh, 58, is the very personification of an ugly Republican stereotype: he’s a small-town college drop-out, an angry white man, who they believe offends the ethnic, urban and educated Americans the Democrats want to attract.”
Mann, a native of Montreal, Canada, seemingly wrote the article with an overseas audience in mind. He began with the assumption that the whole globe is familiar with President Obama and that his major domestic opponent on the airwaves needed to be introduced: “It seems like the whole world knows all about Barack Obama, so let me introduce you to the anti-Obama, the second most interesting man in American politics.” After giving his “black, slim, stylish or well schooled” line, the CNN anchor went on to describe Limbaugh further, repeating some other common liberal characterizations of the talk show host: “He’s a Republican with no elected office but a powerful hold on his party and a place in the news once again. Limbaugh is the host of a radio show heard across the United States, a big-bellied man who bellows into the radios of millions of people. He’s confident, uncomplicated and almost always on the attack against Democrats, feminists and anyone on the Left.” In so many words, the impression Mann gives is that Limbaugh is a right-wing, overweight simpleton.
During the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Thursday, anchor Norah O’Donnell teased an upcoming segment on Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party: "Coming up, is the party of Lincoln in danger of becoming the party of jell-o? Why conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh could be a liability for the Grand Old Party." O’Donnell was referring to an Newsweek article by columnist Jonathan Alter and later spoke to him about it: "I want to read from your piece. You write, 'everyone knows he has jumped the shark culturally, becoming a black-shirted joke even as he dominates the headlines. But it's worse than that for Republicans, Limbaugh has taken the great GOP calling card -- toughness -- and shredded it. The party of Lincoln is in danger of becoming the party jell-o.' Explain further."
Alter elaborated on his argument: "Okay. Norah, the great strength of the Republican Party for the last 75 years has been strength. The fact that they are a tough party and their rhetoric has been tough. They were tough against the New Deal. They were tough in a Cold War. They were tough on Monica Lewinsky. If you can't even stand-up to Rush Limbaugh, if the dittoheads come after you and you wilt and then apologize for perfectly legitimate criticism of a radio talk show broadcaster, how tough is that. You look wimpy, you look weak, you look whiney." According to Alter, by not denouncing Rush Limbaugh for being tough on Obama, the Republican Party is not being tough.
Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared on the Thursday edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and stopped the program cold when he challenged the hosts as to whether they were "going after Democrat members of Congress for why they aren't distancing themselves from Keith Olbermann?" Co-anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who had been discussing the battle between the White House and Rush Limbaugh, were silent for a moment before Brzezinski admitted, "That was a good one. We're all thinking."
Fleischer pressed, "That's my point. It's a one-sided debate because, largely, the press loves it because the press doesn't like Rush." The quip occurred after Brzezinski attempted to trap Fleischer into saying that he would be following the tactics of attacking the radio host, were he in the same situation as the Obama White House. After Fleischer's jibe, Scarborough started sipping from his coffee and attempted to toss the potential network hot potato over to the show's other guest, Mike Barnicle. Scarborough joked, "I'm going to have a – I can't talk right now because I'm drinking. Mike?"A few seconds later, however, the token MSNBC conservative did admit, "No, that was good."
[Special thanks to MRC intern Mike Sargent for transcribing the segment.]
At the top of Wednesday’s 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Well, the back and forth between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele continues. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the GOP's approval is sinking fast, only 26% of those polled give the party a positive rating." O’Donnell spoke to Jennifer Skalka, editor of the blog Hotline On Call, and asked her about Rush: "Rush Limbaugh, today, really upped the ante, for the first time, saying he wants to challenge Barack Obama to a debate on his show...What's he doing? Is he walking into the trap that the Democrats, including President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, set? Which is to try and anoint and make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Republican Party."
Skalka replied: "Well, you kind of get the feeling that Rush Limbaugh is enjoying being the face of the Republican Party, whether or not that hurts the chairman of the RNC and congressional Republican leaders, Rush Limbaugh is another big personality." O’Donnell followed Skalka by wondering: "But politically speaking, when we showed the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, that the party's approval ratings are 26%. And they've done polling that shows Rush Limbaugh is very unpopular with the independents. How does it hurt the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh as the face in many ways?"
Liberal New York Times reporter turned liberal nytimes.com blogger Timothy Egan's latest rant against conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh, "Fears of a Clown," was propped up on the front page of nytimes.com on Thursday for the delight of the paper's liberal audience.
Last February, Egan called Limbaugh "talk radio's leading gasbag." Today, after lamenting about the ubiquity of Limbaugh on the radio, Egan piled onto the White House-driven bash-Rush bandwagon, focusing on Limbaugh's speech to the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which was broadcast live on FOX News and CSPAN.
As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I used to find Limbaugh to be an obnoxious but entertaining companion, his eruptions more reliable than Old Faithful. But now that Limbaugh has become something else -- the face of the Republican Party, by a White House that has played him brilliantly -- he has been transformed into car-wreck-quality spectacle, at once scary and sad.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Wednesday stepped up his attacks on Rush Limbaugh and suggested that if congressional Republicans "align themselves with Rush's statements about wanting the President to fail, they appear unpatriotic." For the second day in a row, Shuster berated a conservative guest about the radio talk show host. He repeatedly encouraged former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to disagree with Limbaugh and complained, "And, Ari, first of all, when Rush says that all Republicans want the President to fail, Limbaugh's wrong, right?" [Audio available here.]
At one point, Shuster wondered why Republicans couldn't just denounce the "childish" comments by the radio host. He then seriously suggested that GOP members should say, "And we need to isolate Rush Limbaugh because we do have important issues to talk about." Later in the segment, the MSNBC anchor reiterated his assertion that Republicans might be unpatriotic. He challenged, "Ari, is it unpatriotic for somebody to say they hope the President fails?" After interrupting a responding Fleischer, he continued, "...Is it unpatriotic- since patriotism was such a crucial theme in the run-up to the Iraq war in the way the Bush White House defended it- is it unpatriotic to say that you hope the President fails?"
Deep down, Ed Schultz is shallow, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.
Case in point: Schultz's trite, cliched comparison of conservative talker Rush Limbaugh's remarks before a boisterous CPAC audience with Hitler addressing a Nazi rally.
Schultz, the top-rated liberal radio host in the nation, watched Limbaugh's speech on TV last weekend -- with the sound turned down -- and was convinced he saw "striking" parallels to the German dictator.
Here's what Schultz said on Monday's show, preceding his criticism of Limbaugh with praise for the late radio giant Paul Harvey (click here for audio) --
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to “fact check” Representative Mike Pence’s appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn’t follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.
Before introducing Burns, Sanchez played a clip of Representative Pence stating that he fought President Bush “on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I’m going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts.” The CNN anchor then made his introduction of the Media Matters president, omitting the left-wing stance of Burns’ organization: “Eric Burns is joining us now. He’s with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I’ve been called.”
The latest Stephanopoulos entry on ABC News needs a reality check, in a big way, and Erick Erickson of RedState hit it perfectly.
The Democrat-turned-born-again-journalist posted the following story on his ABC News blog today, claiming that Eric Cantor had repudiated Rush Limbaugh's CPAC rhetoric:
“Defending his attacks against President Barack Obama's economic plans, Limbaugh said Saturday to the conservative conference, "What is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundations?"
Cantor today rejected Limbaugh's rhetoric.
"So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the president fails is not the Eric Cantor, House Republican approach?" I asked.