Leave it to MSNBC to exploit a shooting by a pair of deranged extremists to push the notion that violence is on the rise as a racist reacting to having a black man in the Oval Office.
That's what MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell did in a segment of the Tuesday edition of her MSNBC program, asking political consultant and former Attorney General Eric Holder spokesman Matthew Miller if the shooting was in part fueled by the fact that “we have an African-American president.”
Tip for liberal journalists: If you’re going to try to smear conservatives every time some homicidal nut shoots innocent people, it’s a bad idea to cite the Southern Poverty Law Center.
When Floyd Lee Corkins tried to shoot up the conservative Family Research Council in 2012, he later admitted he targeted the conservative organization because the SPLC listed the FRC as a “hate group” for it’s “anti-gay” stance on marriage. (Oh, and he brought along a big bag of Chik-fil-A sandwiches to stuff in the dead mouths of his would-be victims.)
On Monday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Willie Geist posed an ominous question to viewers: "How would you feel if you saw someone walk into a store or restaurant with a rifle strapped to his or her back?" Teasing an upcoming story on the topic, he proclaimed: "It's perfectly legal in one state, sparking quite a controversy this morning, we'll explain." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Kerry Sanders announced: "...in Texas, it is legal to carry a long-barreled rifle, a shotgun, as long as you're carrying it openly....But when a group of gun enthusiasts and activists began carrying their long guns into places like restaurants and stores, it started a debate that's raging like a Texas prairie fire." The headline on screen declared: "Texas Gun Fight; 'Open Carry' Movement Sparks Controversy."
In a video segment (HT Twitchy) entitled "How Low Can You Go?" on MSNBC's "Last Word," which the network's web site corrected as this post was being drafted, substitute host Ari Melber, filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell, is seen bemoaning the resignation of a Democratic legislator in Virginia. An accompanying visual originally showed a map of North Carolina. Apparent the answer to the map's captioned question — "How Low Can You Go?" — is, "further south than Virginia actually is."
The far-left network and Democrats in general are apopleptic over the sudden resignation of Demcorat Phillip P. Puckett from the State Senate, giving the GOP a 20-19 majority in that body. As a result, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Puckett's resignation caused "Democratic negotiators ... (to agree) in a closed-door meeting Monday to pass a budget without expanding health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians."
In a Sunday post, Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman charged that a combination of unyielding ideological extremism and efforts to prevent many who might oppose said extremism from voting mean that the Republican party’s creed has “really beg[un] to resemble fascism.”
Longman noted that the DNC recently announced a campaign designed to find and register likely Democratic voters and remarked that while that project is “certainly in [Democrats’] self-interest…it’s also wholly consistent with traditional American values about...the right of everyone to vote…There is no corresponding effort to prevent likely Republican voters from registering to vote or to kick registered Republicans off the voter rolls.”
In a Monday National Journal column about how many Democrats are allegedly saying they have "quit" on Obama — claims I find quite hollow, given that no one asserting this has yet had the guts to go on the record — Ron Fournier quotes "a senior White House official" with a head-shaking take on the Veterans Administration scandal.
Specifically, "Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn't been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama(actually that was seven years ago, plus six other times, Ron — Ed.), a senior White House official conceded privately to me, 'We don't do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.'" If the VA is "small," what in the world is big? And for that matter, what have these people done well, big or small? I suspect that the rest of the press, and Fournier himself, would be absolutely livid if they became aware of such an ignorant statement made by someone in a Republican or conservative administration.
Sarah Palin called out her liberal/Democratic critics in a Twitter post on Monday for firing the "1st shot in the real 'war on women.'" Palin zeroed in on an excerpt from Hillary Clinton's new book Hard Choices, where the former first lady asserted that she refused to attack the then-Republican vice presidential candidate, mere hours after John McCain named her as his running mate.
Mrs. Clinton first noted that "the Obama campaign suspected that her [Palin's] nomination was a blatant attempt to scuttle their hope of welcoming the women who had vigorously supported me [Clinton]," and spotlighted how the operatives of her former primary opponent tried to get the former senator to join their offensive:
Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who "are pretty old now" — will not contact his parents (WSJ's headline says he "has declined to speak to his family").
That news broke several hours after Fox News's Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn't even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams's wacky whine follows the jump:
The seething anger at seeing the Obama administration being raked over the coals by critics of the Bowe Bergdahl exchange of five hardened terrorists for a soldier who left his post, including many Democrats and most prominently his fellow unit members, was apparently too much for the editorial board at the New York Times. On Thursday, they let loose with a poorly sourced and hastily drafted editorial originally entitled "The Politics of the Bergdahl Case." Tim Graham at NewsBusters alluded to this editorial on Friday in covering fake conservative David Brooks's completely predictable defense of President Obama's decision.
Several revisions later — five in all, tracked by an impressive site called NewsDiffs.org — there is a more pointed title ("The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl"). The Times has also had to make two corrections, including an important qualification to a statement made by Arizona Senator John McCain which negated the Times's attempt to go after him (of course, the Times pretended that it didn't). The editorial went on to outrageously impugn the motives, integrity and basic decency of Bergdahl's comrades in Afghanistan and sympathizers who have had the unmitigated gall to help them tell their story to the press.
The belief that President Obama is aloof and detached is found on both the left and the right; the major difference between the two sides on that topic is that liberals don’t always see those qualities as negative.
Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum wrote in a Friday post that he finds it “almost impossible to blame” Obama for “tak[ing] the long view and ignor[ing] all the childish nonsense” generated by both the superficial mainstream media and “the insane tea-party style of no-compromise governing adopted by the modern Republican Party.” Drum says he hopes against hope that the media – the GOP apparently is hopeless -- will join Obama in “act[ing] like an adult.”
On Friday's CNN Newsroom, Kyra Phillips boosted the latest musing of feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte, who deplored Pope Francis's recent advice to married couples to have children instead of going childless and owning pets instead. Phillips let the leftist writer assert that "the very notion that I'm anti-Catholic is completely ridiculous," but omitted the 2007 scandal where Marcotte had to leave John Edwards's campaign for a vulgar anti-Catholic screed.
The anchor also made it clear that she sympathized with her guest's pro-contraception, pro-population control column for The Daily Beast on Friday: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Watch your backsides, conservatives, because your vituperative, ill-considered criticism of both Bowe Bergdahl and the deal that freed him from the Taliban may come back to bite you.
That was the main message from Brian Beutler in his Thursday post on the New Republic's website. Beutler argued that the compulsively anti-Obama right's inclination to believe that "a massive scandal must be lying just below the surface" of the prisoner swap "precipitated a deluge of ugly actions and pronouncements" from many conservative leaders, including "a bunch of unseemly innuendo" about Bergdahl himself.
On Wednesday, Salon's Simon Maloy suggested that the Attkisson-Heritage relationship is a match made in conservative heaven given that Attkisson's Benghazi-related resignation from CBS was an "act of career martyrdom" which made her "a candidate for canonization by right-wing pundits and activists."
"Conservatives," Maloy snarked, "love [Attkisson] for her willingness to flog Obama scandals long after they’ve been debunked and/or ceased being relevant." He added that as it stands, "the Daily Signal will have to lean heavily on whatever gravitas Attkisson provides because the rest of the site is just awful."
Appearing on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Bloomberg News reporter Jeanne Cummings asserted that the highly controversial Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange – which an overwhelming majority of Americans feel has endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers – would have no negative political impact on Democrats in November's midterm elections. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Asked if the deal with the Taliban would affect the elections, Cummings declared: "Generally, no. It's a bipartisan reaction....I don't think this is going to last very long unless Congress comes up with better arguments than, 'We really hated the Rose Garden ceremony.' That compared to bringing a soldier back, for the American public, I don't think they weight together."
In the midst of the VA scandal and the Bergdahl saga, two unfavorable Wednesday stories about Obamacare are garnering relatively little attention.
One appeared at the Associated Press ("NOW APPLICATION 'INCONSISTENCIES' VEX HEALTH LAW"), and reprised something the Washington Post brought out 2-1/2 weeks ago (covered here at NewsBusters) about how "at least 2 million" Obamacare enrollment applications have "data discrepancies" holding up their full processing. The other far more troubling story appeared at Roll Call. It dealt with a separate mountain of unprocessed paperwork in Medicaid. In her reporting, the DC publication's Rebecca Adams revealed how twisted and potentially dangerous the Obamacare-related political motivations are on the left, where pretending that everything is fine is clearly more important than acknowledging and quickly fixing serious – perhaps even deadly serious — problems (bolds are mine):
On Tuesday's CNN Tonight, Don Lemon hounded conservative author Dr. Ben Carson over his October 2013 likening of ObamaCare to slavery and his recent blunt remarks about the V.A. scandal. Lemon acted as an apologist for the President and wondered, "How can you compare a health care program to the brutal oppression and abuse of black people in this country?"
The anchor later asked, "Are you saying the President and this administration don't have Americans' best interests at heart because they're trying to get people health coverage?" He also accused the neurosurgeon of needlessly injecting inflammatory language into politics: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
Far too many journalists in the Washington-Gotham axis believe that any criticism of President Barack Obama must have its roots in cynical right-wing political opportunism and nothing else. At Bloomberg News, in a dispatch time-stamped June 4 at midnight, reporters David Lerman and Kathleen Hunter regaled readers with how the "Taliban Release Gives Republicans Fuel Beyond Benghazi." Some Democrats' concerns about Obama's actions in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl were already known, including substantive issues of national security. But the Bloomberg pair limited the scope of Obama's problem with Dems to notification, while contending that "the demands for more information have come mostly from Republicans, some of whom already have declared their opposition to a deal whose details have yet to be fully disclosed."
The left-leaning New York Daily News also didn't get the memo that any criticism of Obama can only come from the right.
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
In an interview with Dr. Ben Carson for Meet the Press's web-based feature Press Pass, NBC host David Gregory dismissed Carson's call for "a government that placed the Constitution of the United States at the highest level": "There are some people who say that. That's a very highly charged thing to say. Where is the Constitution not placed in the right level today?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Carson gave Gregory a dose of reality: "Because it helps to define what the role of the government is. It doesn't include being in every aspect of our lives....when you take people who are perfectly capable of doing things and you pat them on the head and then you say, 'There, there, you poor little thing, we're going to take care of this and this, you won't have anything to worry about.'"
In what should be considered embarrassing timing, LA Weekly Magazine is running a June 1 cover cartoon showing establishment and anti-establishment Republicans playing tug-of-war with an elephant in the middle. Among those pulling on the anti-establishment side is a hooded Klansman who serves as the primary puller (reproduced after the jump for fair use and discussion purposes; HT Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart via Godfather Politics):
On Sunday's CNN Newsroom, Susan Candiotti slanted toward the liberal opponents of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati's updated morality clause for its schoolteachers. Candiotti played up how the "new contract now has a litany of thou-shall-nots, including no sex outside marriage; no in-vitro fertilization; no remarriage without an annulment; no homosexual 'lifestyle;' and no public support of any of those."
The correspondent sympathized with the plight of one teacher who is "walking away from her dream job after 14 years," due to the archdiocese's "morality clause on steroids," which reemphasizes the Catholic Church's teachings on sex: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
So-called reform conservatives such as David Frum, Michael Gerson, and Ramesh Ponnuru often get relatively favorable attention from liberal journalists -- relative, that is, to Tea Party types, which in turn reinforces the Tea Party's belief that the reformers aren't really conservatives.
Two lefty pundits recently examined the state of reform conservatism. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne penned an article for the spring issue of the quarterly Democracy in which he analyzed the work of certain reformers and discussed how they might pull the Republican party toward the center. He also denounced the GOP's current message discipline in the service of its supposedly extremist agenda -- or, as Dionne put it, "the right’s version of political correctness."
Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is used to carrying water for the Obama administration. Last year, she proudly reveled in how she and her wire service sat on information it had about secret U.S.-Iran negotiations for eight months. My immediate take was that "They didn't report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it." The AP denied it; unfortunately for the self-described "essential global news network," another news organization confirmed that it and AP "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." There's not a chance in Hades that the AP would have similarly accommodated a Republican or conservative administration.
After that heavy lifting, Pace surely found that giving readers the impression in a Friday report about President Barack Obama's sacking of Eric Shinseki that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have more to do with its growing caseload than with incompetence and potential criminality was relatively easy.
In a report at CNBC on Thursday, Dan Mangan covered a "Kaiser Health Tracking Poll" which appears to have been pre-cooked for an administration which would love to have the press give Obamacare even less than the disproportionately low coverage that it has received since a few weeks after HealthCare.gov's diastrous initial rollout.
Mangan eagerly took the bait. His opening sentence: "And the winner by a nose is...shut up about Obamacare!" Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully promoted quotes from Hillary Clinton's new memoir leaked to Politico of the former Secretary of State blasting critics of her mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "If there was any doubt Hillary Clinton's clearly ready to go on offense on this." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There's no doubt at all. In fact, there's a concerted campaign effort." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On CBS This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "...the former Secretary of State strikes a defiant tone about the attack and all the investigations into it..." Moments later, Cordes observed: "Democrats are going to see this as a kind of template for how to talk about the Benghazi attacks. In fact, the Clinton team is reportedly meeting with Democratic groups to explain her tone in the book so that everyone is on the same page."
On Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton led his show bellowing about a "war" against First Lady Michelle Obama's school lunch nutrition efforts as he mocked Republicans for wanting to allow financially struggling school districts to delay implementing nutrition standards.
With the words "GOP's War Against Healthy Children" on screen in the background, Sharpton began:
During a live webcast on NBCNews.com immediately following Wednesday's 10 p.m. ET airing of his interview with Edward Snowden, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams wondered why the National Security Agency was not more receptive to Snowden's claims of unconstitutional spying: "Knowing that in war powers times...the Bush administration use of war powers with Bush and Cheney, isn't the general counsel at the NSA a little bit on guard for a perversion, as Snowden put it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That question was prompted by national security analyst Michael Leiter observing: "Imagine you're the general counsel at the National Security Agency and you get an email which says, 'Listen, I think that you're violating the law here, this is unconstitutional.' And the general counsel gets this note and he says, 'Well, gosh, the Congress has authorized this over and over, the FISA court says it's okay.'"
Monday afternoon, in an error which made it into the paper's Tuesday print edition, reporter Paul Richter at the Los Angeles Times, in a story on the Obama administration's inadvertent leak of a CIA director's name in Afghanistan, was apparently so bound and determined to include a "Bush did it too" comparison that he went with leftist folklore instead of actual history.
Specifically, Richter wrote that "In 2003, another CIA operative, Valerie Plame, was publicly identified by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney, in an apparent attempt to discredit her husband, who had publicly raised questions about the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq" (HTs to Patterico and longtime NB commenter Gary Hall). Apparently no one else in the layers of editors and fact-checkers at the Times was aware that this entire claim has been known to be false since 2006.
Wednesday's New Day on CNN played up First Lady Michelle Obama "taking on House Republicans" because of a proposal to allow school districts to delay potentially expensive efforts to improve school lunch nutrition.
Two plugs forwarded the Obama anti-Republican spin, with the first suggesting that the GOP plan "could make your kids sick," and the second plug asking if Republicans are "playing politics with the health of school kids."
At 6:12 a.m., CNN co-anchor Chris Cuomo provocatively teased: