Elliot Rodger's spree shooting this weekend has given MSNBC an opening to flog two of its favorite pet causes – restricting gun rights and waging combat against the so-called war on women. Weekend anchors Alex Witt and Melissa Harris-Perry, to their credit, downplayed those two issues while discussing the tragedy on their respective Sunday shows.
But it was former DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney who did not hold back on Sunday’s edition of her show Disrupt. She and her guests immediately tied the incident to the politics of gun control before later playing up the anti-woman angle. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Carol Costello surprisingly raised pro-gun rights points during an interview of Senator Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday's CNN Newsroom. Costello noted the "renewed calls for stricter gun control laws" after Friday's murder spree in California, and pointed out that the Golden State "has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The shooter in this case abided by a background check....How would any gun control law prevent this particular shooter from buying a gun?"
The anchor, who has forwarded gun control in the past, also zeroed on the fact that the deceased murderer began his rampage by stabbing three people to death: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Abortion battleground. The newest state to impose tougher requirements on doctors who perform the procedure. Protecting women or denying them access?" In another tease of the upcoming story minutes later, Holt warned: "...the battle over abortion and a controversial new law about to take effect." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kristen Welker revealed the supposed threat to the abortion agenda: "The legislation requires doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges to a hospital within thirty miles of where the procedure takes place. That change could force three of the state's five abortion clinics to close."
The Associated Press's Charles Babington went so far over the top in his Monday morning dispatch on Republicans, the Obama administration's scandals, and the fall electoral landscape that it's hard to know where to begin.
The fingerprints of Obama administration operatives appear to be all over Babington's report, both in what's included and what's left out. Most notoriously, there is no mention whatsoever of the Veterans Administration scandal. Ah, but there's a specific reference to Democrats who complain that the Benghazi and IRS scandals have been "fading from national headlines" except at the specifically named Fox News. Excerpts from Babington's babbling follow the jump (bolds are mine):
With about 4-1/2 months remaining before early voting begins in the the 2014 elections, three sets of Obamacare-related campaigns are in full gear. The first is seen in electoral contests around the country. The second is a campaign of disinformation and no information being conducted by the Obama administration and its Department of Health and Human Services. The third is a concerted establishment press effort to give cover to Democratic Party candidates no matter what position they take on Obamacare, and to minimize the exposure the administration's deliberate acts of non-transparency receive.
All three campaigns came together in a Monday morning Associated Press report by Bill Barrow and Josh "Lapdog" Lederman. The two reporters avoided any mention of the fact that the administration has decided to "halt" monthly Obamacare enrollment reporting, while giving cover to Democratic Senate candidates around the country who haven't yet figured out how much distance to put between themselves, Obamacare, and President Barack Obama himself (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper noted a CNN panel discussion wherein the network's John King and guest Maggie Haberman of the Politico discussed how furious many Democrats are with President Barack Obama's leadership, especially in connection with the Veterans administration scandal. The broadcast also reveals that the Beltway press corps has been aware of Democrats' misgivings about Obama's leadership for some time. We sure haven't heard much about it, have we?
This is noteworthy because the press eagerly broadcasts evidence of disagreements among Republicans and conservatives, and rarely does so when there is disunity on the left. The odds that we'll see much more of what aired this morning on CNN are therefore quite low. Video and a transcript follow the jump:
According to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, the typical conservative is a frustrated grouch for two reasons: 1) most Americans will never want a government as small as conservatives would prefer, and 2) since hyperideological righties refuse to settle for half a loaf, they've "resigned [themselves] to a lifetime of outright defeats, unsatisfying half-victories, and betrayals."
At the Associated Press on Thursday, reporter Alan Fram covered the Senate's confirmation of David Barron without using the words "filibuster" or "waterboarding."
Given that he was confirmed on a 53-45 vote, it is highly unlikely that Barron's nomination would have survived had Senate majority leader Harry Reid not imposed the "nuclear option" last year to prevent senators from stopping a contentious nomination by requiring 60 senators to approve the idea of even having a confirmation vote. As for waterboarding, Barron's nomination became controversial because he is, as Fram noted, the "architect of the Obama administration's legal foundation for killing American terror suspects overseas with drones." 53 Democratic senators are apparently okay with that, even though many if not most of them have gone apoplectic over the idea of waterboarding known terrorists of any nationality who may have knowledge of their fellow travelers' plans.
On Friday, NPR political director Ron Elving asked in an online article “Is The Tea Party Finished?” Then he answered: “Yes, if you insist on calling it the Tea Party. Because that phrase implies the phenomenon is some sort of organized unit in the usual sense. And the Tea Party never really was one.” You might be able to read some delight between the lines, since the Tea Party wanted to defund public broadcasting.
Elving wrote like he was assembling an obituary: “the energy never really assumed the form of a conventional political party, and it did not build the machinery that could produce reliable candidates and campaigns.”
During the Pentagon Papers controversy over the release of Vietnam-related military and other documents in 1971, if a columnist had written that "the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences," and that "that decision must ultimately be made by the government," he or she would have been tagged in the press as a "(Richard) Nixon defender" and "an enemy of press freedom."
How ironic it thus is that Thursday, in his New York Times review of Glenn Greenwald's new book ("No Place to Hide"), current liberal Vanity Fair columnist and former CNN "Crossfire" host Michael Kinsley used that very language as he went after Greenwald, who has been NSA eavesdropping leaker Edward Snowden's go-between for the past year, with a vengeance. And yes, he did it at the Times, the very newspaper which was at the heart of the Pentagon Papers litigation that was ultimately decided in its favor.
In early May, CBS's morning and evening newscasts spotlighted congressional Democrats' vehement opposition to the formation of a select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 Islamist attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya during 10 minutes and 14 seconds of reporting.
However, when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named five Democrats to the committee on Wednesday, the CBS news programs minimized their coverage of the development. Wednesday's CBS Evening Newsset aside 23 seconds to the story, while Norah O'Donnell gave a 14-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning about the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The Benghazi dozen, five Democrats now agreeing to join seven Republican inquisitors after failing to block the new Benghazi probe. Is it a witch hunt or a truth squad?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview that followed with Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, Mitchell wondered why Democrats would bother being part of the select committee investigating the scandal: "...why the decision by your caucus – and a divided caucus it was – you had your microphone cut off by [House Oversight Committee Chairman] Daryl Issa....you and others, I think, were against playing a role in what could be, you know, a real witch hunt, according to you....Why even play the game?"
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton got nasty on Wednesday’s episode of his program PoliticsNation, comparing Republican-backed legislation to common household pests. The reverend’s remark came at the end of a conversation with Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) on the House GOP’s proposed agriculture budget. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Sharpton and Fattah took particular issue with the budget’s proposal that only rural areas are to receive federal funding for a program to help low-income children get meals during the summer. After thanking the congressman for his time, Sharpton added this metaphor to illustrate what he thinks he’s doing on his show:
Wednesday's World News on ABC minimized any sense of the Obama administration's responsibility in the ongoing V.A. scandal, and spent the least amount of air time on the issue among the Big Three networks' evening newscasts. The program actually aired segments on pickpocketing and custom mobile homes than lasted about a half a minute longer each than their report on the scandal.
Diane Sawyer spotlighted how the President "weighed in – talking tough and talking action" on the "growing outrage over veterans hospitals." Jim Avila noted how multiple V.A. medical facilities in several states are now being investigated, and let the relative of deceased veteran decry the President's handling of the scandal. However, he didn't mention that the wait lists have been around for years – something that CBS Evening News mentioned in its coverage of the controversy: [MP3 audio from the ABC report available here; video below the jump]
Carol Costello and her two clerical guests slammed "climate change deniers" on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom. Costello pointed out a recent sarcastic Tweet by Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak on the climate change issue that "sparked a firestorm," and spotlighted how "religious leaders are more than concerned about statements like that. They're now battling climate change deniers on moral grounds."
The anchor turned to Reverend Mitchell Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network and CNN religion commentator Father Edward Beck as her one-sided panel on the topic, and accused the "deniers" of not only eschewing science, but also being unfaithful to Scripture: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
One would think that Florida Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia can only get so many free passes from the national press before they'll have to acknowledge his serious problems. We'll see.
Back in January, the Associated Press and the rest of the national establishment media managed to limit their coverage of the arrest and ultimate guilty plea of Garcia's chief of staff for illegally plotting to obtain absentee ballot to local outlets. They did this even though — or perhaps because — the Congressman excused the man's attack on election integrity, for which he received a wrist-slap sentence of 90 days in jail, as "a well-intentioned attempt to maximize voter turnout." A week or so ago, there was an ear wax incident, which I'd rather skip. Earlier today, America Rising posted a far more important video, wherein the congressman bizarrely claimed — he says he wasn't serious, but it doesn't sound like it to me — that additional money spent on Mexican border security proves that "communism works."
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd offered an obituary for the Tea Party based on a handful of expected primary losses and sympathized with Democrats hoping for weak Republican candidates in November: "Democrats are watching this Tea Party fade with disappointment....They were counting on a few bad Tea Party nominees to bail them out of a race or two, and as you can see, that might not happen this year." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the segment, Todd gave his assessment of the "struggles" for the Tea Party: "[Kentucky Senator Mitch] McConnell's aggressive campaign is reason number one why the Tea Party has struggled – established Republicans have taken the Tea Party head on....reason number two why the Tea Party has struggled – establishment Republicans have played up their own conservative credentials....reason number three – the defining Tea Party issue of cutting government spending has faded."
Piggybacking on Paul Waldman's "Who Do You Hate?" American Prospect post in which Waldman singled out Sarah Palin and Scott Walker for special scorn, another liberal blogger, the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore, reflected on the politicians ("usually, though not always, on the right side of the fence") who inspire in him "regular fear and loathing."
One of Kilgore's choices is an entire group, "the self-styled 'constitutional conservatives'...[who] don’t just want to beat progressives (and moderates) politically, they want to define us right out of existence."
MSNBC’s Krystal Ball served up a piping hot slice of hypocrisy on Monday evening. Appearing as a guest on PoliticsNation, Ball joined host Al Sharpton in complaining that Republicans have no agenda other than hating Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The co-host of The Cycle declared, "I mean, essentially what the Republican Party has been running on and has been fueled by is emotion. Right? Anger, fear, hatred." [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Anger, fear, and hatred, you say? That sounds eerily similar to the way MSNBC operates. The Lean Forward network regularly tries to stoke anger, fear, and hatred toward conservatives and Republicans. In fact, Ball’s comment came just two hours before Chris Hayes engaged in fear-mongering on his program, All In.
CNN's Chris Cuomo forwarded a liberal talking point about the infighting inside the Republican Party on Tuesday's New Day, as he covered the primary elections in several states that day. Cuomo asked Republican strategist Kevin Madden, "Are you worried that these challenges are pushing your mainstream or establishment or traditional candidates farther to the right than they might be may like?"
The anchor could very well have gotten his talking point from colleague Van Jones, as the left-wing Crossfire host made the same argument just over two hours later during a panel discussion with Republican Ana Navarro: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
If there was ever drop-dead obvious proof that it's more than fair to call the Associated Press the Administration's Press, it's in the opening phrase of the first sentence of the wire service's Monday morning report on the House's select committee on Benghazi: "Republicans hoping to ride their Benghazi investigation to a November election sweep ..." As far as reporters Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper are concerned, there can't possibly be any other motivation for holding the hearings.
Cassata and Klapper's agenda-driven drivel makes several trips into the land of "Republicans say," when the correct words should be: "The facts are." More crucially, Klapper completely ignored two reports he filed on October 10, 2012 which showed that the State Department "never believed" that the murder of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Benghazi attack was inspired by an anti-Muslim video (bolds numbered tags are mine throughout this post):
On Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that a series of congressional primary races were evidence "the ongoing family feud between the Tea Party and the establishment wings of the GOP festers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd detailed how Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell "waged a ruthless campaign" against his Tea Party challenger, then announced: "As tough as Kentucky's been, it's even nastier and more personal in other GOP primaries."
In a Monday evening report at the Associated Press, reporters Bill Barrow and Christina A. Cassidy did their best to try to minimize the impact of a politically disastrous dodge on the part of Georgia Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn.
In a weekend interview with NBC, Nunn refused to say whether she would have voted for or against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, saying that "it’s impossible to look back retrospectively and say what would you have done if you were there." (And besides, she was working for a not-for-profit foundation at the time, so how could she know?) Additionally, Nunn got so rattled that she invented a new use for the word "architect" — as a verb: "I wished that we had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation." Clearly, the AP's Barrow and Cassidy were hoping for a real answer from Nunn. But they didn't get one. Not even close (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Monday's This Hour, CNN's Michaela Pereira acted as an apologist for the student and/or faculty-led protests in recent weeks that forced out several high-profile speakers from participating in commencement ceremonies: "Isn't it a rite of passage to question authority and to question things and protest things in college? Isn't that what those college years are about – to take a stand?"
Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter also specifically lauded the Haverford College students whose protest led to the withdrawal of their commencement speaker: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Opening Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory proclaimed: "Republican attempts to take down Hillary Clinton are in full swing after a headline-grabbing attack from Karl Rove. So will Republicans stop at nothing to keep her from running in 2016?" Introducing a report moments later, he wondered: "Is this just the start of a Republican strategy to persuade her not to run?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory turned to correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who declared: "...there is no longer any doubt that some powerful Republicans are playing hardball against Hillary Clinton..." Mitchell snidely remarked: "It all started when Karl Rove, once called 'Bush's Brain,' said Hillary Clinton suffered traumatic brain injury after a 2012 fall and concussion."
In a textbook case of damning with faint praise, the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore asserted on Thursday that of all the "dramatically underqualified people" who may run for president in 2016, Ben Carson is the frontrunner.
Kilgore opines that since Carson is black, his popularity with white conservatives "absolve[s] them of any racist motives when they complain about those people on welfare, and indeed accuse white liberals of being the real bigots." (Italics in original.) He adds that should Carson run, "it seems likely he [would] be even more overtly than [Herman] Cain a pure instrument for conservative resentment and—if you will forgive the unavoidable term—whitewashing."
The comedian tapped to take over CBS’s Late Show is showing no signs of diversifying his political comedy to tackle both sides of the aisle, preferring to heavily mock conservatives and Republicans while holding prospective 2016 Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton virtually above reproach..
Take the May 15 edition of the Colbert Report, where host Stephen Colbert devoted a five-minute segment to lambasting Karl Rove for his statement about Mrs. Clinton’s health.. After Colbert praised her “mastery of the facts” and her “unshakeable confidence” at the Benghazi hearings, he lashed out at Rove’s exaggeration of the length of her stay in the hospital, asking “Has Karl Rove lost track of time because he has a serious brain injury?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
As a travelling pastor, Rev. Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, is in a unique position to sense where the political winds are blowing in this mid-term election year. During a visit to the Media Research Center, the elder Cruz said that with just over five months to go between now and Election Day, he sees major conservative gains ahead, including the retirement of Sen. Harry Reid as Majority Leader that would come with Republicans winning control of the United States Senate.
Rev. Cruz has been travelling extensively in recent months, speaking at dozens of pastors’ conferences and political events across the country. In an interview with MRC Latino, he said the “energized” electorate he’s come into contact with is a direct consequence of the cumulative excesses of the Obama administration. [Watch interview excerpts below page break]
Did you catch the story about those conservative Republican male chauvinist pig politicians in Florida who think that it was a waste of time to pass a bill which would make it a crime for a guy to secretly administer an abortion-inducing drug to a spouse or partner he impregnated? How utterly outrageous ... Wait a minute ... It was Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who said that? C'mon, that's not possible. What? There's audio of her saying that on a Florida public radio station? Get outta here. If that were true, the press would be printing and broadcasting stories on her outrageous statement 24/7 ... wouldn't they?
Well, no. The audio of Wasserman Schultz can be found here at WFSU in Tallahassee. Excerpts from the related report by Sascha Kordner follow the jump:
During a four-minute interview with Athena Health CEO Jonathan Bush on Thursday's CBS This Morning about his new book, Where Does It Hurt?, suggesting reforms to the health care system, none of the hosts bothered to bring up ObamaCare or its failures. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bush, nephew of former President George H.W. Bush and cousin of former president George W. Bush, even provided the perfect opportunity to bring up President Obama's health care law, warning against "another great top-down fix" of the industry and instead wanting to "invite entrepreneurs to come into health care."