During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about a new survey on how Americans view the 1980s, co-host Willie Geist noted an interesting political finding: "If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58% would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Weatherman Al Roker couldn't let that data be reported without putting his own spin on it: "But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably – I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted." Geist agreed: "Relative to what you see now, absolutely."
During a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michelle Kosinski took gratuitous shots at Margaret Thatcher while detailing funeral plans for the former British prime minister who died Monday: "...many feel this is appropriate that it will not be a state funeral because she remains so controversial....How controversial is Thatcher still today?...in Glasgow, jubilant dancing in the streets." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kosinski did explain that a friend of Thatcher's "was quoted as saying that [Thatcher] herself did not want [a state funeral], thinking it would be a waste of money." However, during a news brief in the 9 a.m. ET hour, anchor Natalie Morales stated Kosinski's initial remark about the funeral plans as fact: "Although Thatcher will receive a large ceremonial funeral with full military honors, it will not be state funeral. Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, was apparently too controversial for that honor."
On a day largely devoted to remembering Margaret Thatcher, one of the 20th century's greatest conservatives, would it really have been too much for Morning Joe to have had on at least one conservative guest to discuss her legacy? Apparently, yes.
Morning Joe's lineup of political guests today leaned 100% left: Jon Meacham, Al Hunt, Cokie Roberts, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Obama aides Robert Gibbs and Melody Barnes, Tony Blair, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mayor Michael Nutter, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Orth and Joe Klein. Joe Scarborough sometimes like to boast in such circumstances that his presence more than counterbalances the liberal avalanche. But on the major political issue of the day, gun control, Scarborough was just one more voice among many ripping Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. More after the jump.
Monday's CBS This Morning played up the domestic critics of Margaret Thatcher as they covered the breaking news of her death. Mark Phillips, reporting from London, spotlighted how Thatcher was once called "Plunder-woman" by a British union leader, and how she was "contentious here, famous for breaking the back of the very strong labor movement in Britain." Phillips also noted how the former prime minister was "a figure both reviled and revered."
During a retrospective on the "Iron Lady", correspondent Elizabeth Palmer ballyhooed how Thatcher's "trademark helmet hair, cut-glass accent, and bullying style became a staple of British satire".
Appearing on Monday's Today, Abby Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, offered kind words eulogizing Margaret Thatcher: "What we know about Margaret Thatcher is she's a woman with so much courage...She really sticks to her convictions, and that's rare today. I think she really paved the way for women in politics....her legacy will be remembered forever." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales seized on Huntsman's comments as the "perfect segue" to a panel discussion about the political aspirations of Hillary Clinton. Co-host Willie Geist declared: "Absolutely, our Take Three, talking about the woman who could be the leader of this country, about 35 years or more than after the fact in Great Britain, Chelsea Clinton speaking out this morning on speculation that her mother will once again run for president."
As news broke of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Monday morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer turned to correspondent Michelle Kosinski in London, who proclaimed Thatcher was "Known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics, she was also quite controversial during that time for reducing the power of the trade unions." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a full report that followed, correspondent Martin Fletcher used similar language to describe the tenure of the British leader: "She was known as an iron lady, both loved and loathed....Consensus and compromise, they said, were not in her vocabulary. She'd won a bloody war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, took on Britain's powerful labor unions. She ignored IRA hunger strikes....Determined, dynamic, and deeply controversial, Thatcher leaves an indelible mark on the world's political landscape."
The Big Three networks' Friday morning newscasts all highlighted the "backlash" over President Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" compliment of California's Kamala Harris. But in addition to ignoring First Lady Michelle Obama's recent "single mother" gaffe, as of Saturday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to report on the President's erroneous claim about the use of an automatic firearm at the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Democrat made the false statement at a Wednesday fundraiser in California. Mr. Obama asserted, "It is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country...but also make sure that we don't have another 20 children...gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Friday morning shows all devoted air time to President Obama labeling California Attorney General Kamala Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country" at a fundraiser on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, a panel on NBC's Today tried to explain away the remark. Willie Geist asserted, "I think he [Obama] was making a joke." CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell was tougher on the President: "Maybe, [it] was not the right thing to say."
However, the Big Three newscasts didn't report that Mrs. Obama also got caught in a verbal misstep on Thursday. ABCNews.com's Arlette Saenz devoted a Friday morning item to how Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a "single mother" during an interview with WCAX, a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
CNN joined the New York Times in hyping Ronald Reagan's liberal activist daughter saying her father would have approved of same-sex marriage. Thursday's Starting Point devoted a whole segment to Patti Davis' claims and hosted her openly-gay friend who gave credence to her argument.
"Patti said she never spoke to her father about gay marriage," reported anchor John Berman. Nevertheless, CNN deemed the post-mortem claims of Regan's liberal activist daughter, who dropped her last name while in college and carved her own liberal path, newsworthy. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As of about 4:30 p.m., a search at the Politico on "Hillary Clinton" (in quotes) returned about 20 results -- for April alone. While a few of the results are teases for longer items, that's out-of-control coverage of someone who officially left government weeks ago.
The reasons for the obsession, of course, are to try to convince Mrs. Clinton to run for president in 2016 and to clear the field of other Democrats who might think that a strong presidential resume does not consist of 25 years of playing the good wife for a political and behavioral scoundrel, eight years as senator from a state in which she never live until the year she first ran for election, and four years as Secretary of State which ended in "What difference does it make?" after four Americans died in Benghazi on her watch. The lastest Politico offering from Maggie Haberman indicates that we can expect the website's obsession to continue indefinitely, because they think, or want us to think, that "average Americans" are just as obsessed:
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America." [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
Editor's Note: What follows is a speech delivered by Neal Freeman from March 23 in Amelia Island, Fla., entitled "Lessons for Today From the Immortals: Buckley and Reagan." Mr. Freeman is an award-winning TV producer credited with more than one thousand programs for national broadcast. He served as an executive with the Hearst Corporation before founding his own advisory firm, the Blackwell Corporation. Mr. Freeman also served in the Reagan administration as the director of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Looking over this audience, I sense that I may have been around the political track a few more laps than most of you. I can tell you that every lap is unique in its own way -- and that the lap we completed last November was uniquely disappointing. Rarely in my experience has a winning candidate appealed to meaner spirits. Never has a winning candidate seemed less interested in calling his countrymen to reconciliation and common purpose. When has an American President, even in the afterglow of victory, seemed so small?
As you all are painfully aware, it is the settling judgment of the commentariat that the light of the American day is beginning to fade. They say that we are on the downslope of history and headed for inconsequence. That’s highly unlikely, in my view, but it may help to remember that ours is not by a wide measure the darkest day in the American story. Heed the words of Abrhama Lincolm, speaking from the pitch-blackness of December 1862: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion . . . We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”
Here's a case of "name one party and not the other."
Though there is no question that arrests made this morning in connection with an alleged plot to rig the 2013 New York City mayor's include Republicans, and that they of course should be identified as such, there is also no question that the very first person named in the breaking Associated Press story which follows the jump is a Democrat, and should have been tagged as one:
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts still haven't covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as of Monday morning. ABC, CBS, and NBC have maintained their coverage blackout despite the graphic witness testimony and the in-your-face courtroom antics of Dr. Gosnell's defense attorney during the first two weeks of the proceedings. The Philadelphia physician is charged with murdering seven newborn children at his decrepit abortion facility.
This glaring omission by the broadcast networks would have continued, if Peggy Noonan hadn't provided the first mention of the murder trial on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC. The Wall Street Journal columnist spotlighted the "haunting and disturbing story of this doctor", and pointed out how coverage has been "hard to find."
I guess we had better start paying closer attention to how the establishment press labels -- and mislabels -- congressional districts.
The headline at the Associated Press at a lengthy column composed by Charles Babington bemoaning the lack of willingness of Ohio First District Congressman Steve Chabot to "compromise," i.e., sell out his principles, reads as follows: "PARTISAN DISCORD FINDS ROOTS IN TOSS-UP DISTRICTS." Uh, Chabot won the district in the 2012 elections by 20 points. Babington's attempt to justify the "toss-up" classification also falls flat:
At the Weekly Standard's blog today, Daniel Halper relayed a pool reporter's notes from the Easter service President Barack Obama and his family attended this morning. The highlights from the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon's sermon" included the following statement: "It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back ... for blacks to be back in the back of the bus ... for women to be back in the kitchen ... for immigrants to be back on their side of the border."
Two years ago today, I chronicled wire service reports which appeared shortly after John Hinckley's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 reporting that schoolchildren in many parts of the country cheered when they heard that he had been shot.
At the time, I suggested that school teachers and administrators who were appalled at the reactions might have been protesting a bit too much. Today, I located a 2004 item at National Review by Stanley Kurtz about another group which was happy to hear about the assassination attempt. The left's hypocrisy about "civility" -- and for that matter, basic human decency -- clearly goes way, way back:
At the Politico, Darren Samuelsohn reports that "The public has largely tuned out the Democrats’ repeated warnings about ... (what will happen) if the sequester cuts stay in place." He also notes in a separate report that Republicans "Republicans are winning the sequester wars," and that "even the White House admits there’s little chance of reversing all the cuts."
Of course, what's in question here mostly aren't "cuts" at all, but reductions in projected spending increases, as pollster Scott Rasmussen explained in his note accompanying a recent poll his organization did on the topic:
Actress and Tennessee resident Ashley Judd announced today that she is not running for Senate in Kentucky.
Politico has two items on this political development. The main story by Maggie Halberman and Manu Raju defensively describes her as "an eighth-generation Kentuckian." The second is a very short post from Caitlin McDevitt linking to the longer original which merely excerpts five paragraphs from the longer item. It's at that post where a commenter made the following observation:
In two New York Times columns in a row, George W. Bush-era White House reporter Frank Bruni has giddily borrowed Sen. John McCain's description of conservatives like the drone-filibustering Sen. Rand Paul as "wacko birds" ("Rand Paul’s Loopy Ascent").
When you’ve got loons the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin fluttering about, I suppose it’s easy not to seem like such a wacko bird yourself.
We've come to expect this sort of thing from MSNBC, but the Associated Press should be ashamed of itself. In a story about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signing into law a new voter ID law requiring a photo ID to vote-- which may be provided free-of-charge to indigent Virginians, by the way -- the AP strongly suggested the bill is an attempt by Virginia Republicans to prevent a Democratic presidential candidate from winning the state in 2016.
"Republican majorities in the Virginia House and Senate pushed the bill to passage one year after a more modest GOP-sponsored voter identification law failed to prevent President Barack Obama from winning Virginia for the second presidential election in a row and a Democratic U.S. Senate victory," the AP noted in the fourth paragraph of their March 27 story. As you can see in the full story pasted below, this was in the context of hyping a liberal Democrat's charge that requiring voter ID is akin to Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement efforts (story accessed via FoxNews.com, emphases mine):
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
AP Reporter Dina Cappiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has put up what I guess is supposed to be an analysis of President Obama's possible actions relating to "climate change" that is so bad that an adequate critique would require a college term paper -- at one of the few colleges left which doesn't brainwash and intimidate students into believing the alleged unassailability of contentions about man-caused "global warming."
So other than noting that Cappiello "somehow" forgot to note a Bloomberg News report about Obama's plan to "expand the scope of a Nixon-era law that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution" to now include "climate change" -- an action which if carried out to its full potential could stop virtually any project anywhere -- I'll just post key paragraphs and let commenters have what promises to be virtually endless fun picking Cappiello's work apart:
On Thursday in Ramallah, as Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard blog noted, U.S. President Barack Obama "addressed the assembled journalists while standing under a Yasser Arafat banner." Arafat is rightly considered the “father of modern terrorism.” Since U.S. establishment press coverage is non-existent, I'll take readers to an outraged Nile Gardiner at the UK Telegraph to express how utterly offensive Obama's silently condoning Arafat's legitimacy really is:
In a brief item Friday at Politico, Donovan Slack reported that President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Concerning Republican senators' opposition to her nomination, Slack said it was "because they said she had a record of advocacy and an activist view of the judiciary" without citing specifics. It's almost as if Slack knew he had to write something, but wished to keep a rare Republican success at stopping an objectionable court nominee as vague and quiet as possible. In early March, the folks at Eagle Forum compiled a useful list of how awful Halligan would have been had her appointment made it through the Senate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As hard as the establishment press has worked over the years to make certain politicians appear to be somehow out of touch with the situation of average Americans, you might think that two legislative leaders complaining about cuts in their Congressional offices' allowance might be news. One whined that her aides, some of whom "earn" in excess of $100,000 per year, are being "priced out" of a good lunch on Capitol Hill.
Don't be silly. The press only cares about making Republicans and conservatives appear out of touch. The complainers in question are Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also heads the Democratic National Committee, and longtime Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia. The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard noted Schultz's and Moran's whining on Wednesday:
Silly me. I thought a "balanced budget" was defined as one where receipts equal outlays and there is no surplus or deficit during the period involved.
Not to David Espo, who is chief congressional correspondent at the Associated Press. In an "analysis" piece which looks more like a tool to begin reframing the language of "balance" to mean what Barack Obama and his Democratic Party really want it to mean -- namely to describe a "budget" containing deficits as far as the eye can see that has lots of tax increases and "spending cuts" which based on the historical record never materialize -- Espo showed once again why it's more than fair to call his employer and its journalists "the Administration's Press" (bolds are mine):
On Friday's Morning Edition, Mara Liasson lined up talking heads who support RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' Monday report that advises Republicans to "embrace...comprehensive immigration reform" and "change our tone" on issues championed by homosexual activists. Liasson failed to include soundbites from traditional marriage supporters and anti-illegal immigration activists.
The correspondent hyped, "What's happening inside the Republican Party on immigration is as sudden as a tsunami." She later spotlighted how "potential Republican presidential candidates...are beating a tactical retreat in the gay marriage war."