In his Entertainment Weekly column, horror writer Stephen King lauded the AMC program Breaking Bad for "examining the American dream: shiny and addictive on top, hollow at the core. And dark. Very dark." (Hasn’t King made millions of dollars off the "hollow" American dream?)
In his December 11 piece, King ranked the program as the best on TV and gushed over the "brilliant, terrifying, shocking" show. In a unique choice, he also praised Rachel Maddow as "insightful" and "pretty in a no-nonsense way."
Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher with lung cancer who begins selling methamphetamine. King cooed that the program "started as an indictment of the drug culture and America’s shoddy treatment of those who fall victim to catastrophic illnesses..."
Today, it sounds like the president has finally reached that point with the Senate Democrats and their increasingly aggravating health-care squabbles. He's ready to issue a steely "Enough." And not a minute too soon.
Not a minute too soon? Isn't Connolly supposed to be an objective reporter, not a cheerleader for a political party and its agenda? Oh, that's right, this is Newsweek, the magazine whose editor actually aspires to a smaller (and more liberal?) audience.
CNN’s John Roberts and his guest, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, pushed for President Obama to break a campaign promise to not increase taxes on those who make less than $250,000, and implement a more “broad-based” tax hike. Sachs revealed his leftist stance by blaming the trillions of dollars in debt on not taxing the rich and banks enough and calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The CNN anchor, who described his guest, a regular contributor to the left-wing Huffington Post, as merely a “leading international economic advisor, and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University,” first asked about the possibility of the country going bankrupt. Sachs didn’t waste any time to bring up his tax solution: “We’re not going bankrupt, but we’re not managing properly, and the gap between what we’re spending every year and what we need to spend and what we’re taxing is a persistent gap....Nobody wants to talk about the ‘T’ word...taxes. It’s the most reviled word in America...and yet, the fact of the matter is that there is no way to cut to close that gap just by cutting because the most basic things that we are doing- Social Security and health care and so forth- eat up all of that revenue.”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats “are tantalizingly close” to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to “thwart” the legislation using “stall tactics.”
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: “Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday.” She lamented that “...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.”
After explaining that “Senate business got tied up for three hours,” Cordes declared: “Democrats were predictably outraged.” She concluded her report: “And that’s the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats’ goal of getting this bill passed.”
Remember all those blog posts from the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan bashing Sarah Palin for employing a ghostwriter? Well, it turns out many of those posts may have been written by...a ghostblogger! Apparently Sullivan's busy schedule prevented him from writing everything on his site, so, without informing his readers, he employed a few ghostbloggers to write in his name.
Daily Dish readers were surely surprised at the announcement--posted by one of the ghostbloggers on Saturday--given Sullivan's insistence that his "one-man blog" is "honest" and "personal". They may have been a bit perturbed to learn, in Ace's words, that "half the blog isn't personal to Sullivan at all, and all of it is dishonest."
It's one thing to justifiably criticize an author for dubious claims. It's quite another to assert that the same author supported something heinous he adamantly opposes. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow did both over the last two weeks.
Maddow's regular viewers have recently learned a great deal about Ugandan politics, as nearly every broadcast of her show since late November has featured a segment on proposed legislation in Uganda calling for harsh penalties against gays, including execution.
On Wednesday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos exposed some of the left-wing rage being directed at Senator Joe Lieberman, especially on the Internet. Moos’s examples of “liberal hate” at the Connecticut politician ranged from fantasy Hanukkah gifts, such as a muzzle, to a YouTube video of a woman having her cats attack a string which stood in for the senator [Moos's full report is available here].
The correspondent’s latest light report for CNN highlighted Liberman’s “new low among liberals.” Along with the multiple examples of leftists mocking the senator on YouTube.com, Moos noted the strong reactions from “progressive radio hosts,” such as Mike Malloy, and attacks on liberal blogs like The Huffington Post and Daily Kos:
In the third part of an interview on MediaBistro.com’s Media Beat, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather shared some thoughts on various media personalities. He labeled Fox News host Glenn Beck “controversial,” while hailing MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann: “Love him, as a person, as a journalist. Don’t always understand what he’s trying to do on his program, but I like Keith.”
Rather bizarrely went on to explain part of his admiration for the left-wing bomb thrower: “For one thing, he’s a Yankee fan....give him credit. That Keith Olbermann has been with the Yankees through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, and I really respect that, among other things about him.” Rather did manage to say one kind word about Beck, calling him a “talented TV personality.”
TVNewser columnist Gail Shister also asked Rather’s thoughts on his Evening News replacement Katie Couric. Rather’s assessment of her was not as enthusiastic as that of Olbermann: “Good lady, comes from a journalistic family. Has had a difficult transition but seems to be in a better place now.”
CNN’s Larry King equated efforts against further regulation of the banking industry to letting the mentally ill run their psych wards on his program on Monday. King pressed conservative columnist S. E. Cupp: “Banks are lobbying against a bill to tighten regulatory controls. Are you going to let the inmates run the asylum? You don’t think we should regulate banks?” [audio clips from the segment available here]
The CNN host moderated a panel discussion on the economy during the first segments of the program. The panel surprisingly leaned to the right on economic issues. Besides Cupp, King had Penn Gilette and Larry Elder, both libertarians, and liberal former Clinton administration official Robert Reich. After the host used the “inmates run the asylum” idiom in his question, the columnist first answered that “we do need regulation, but it’s putting them in a really tough spot.” King interrupted with a blunt one-word question: “So?”
The exposure of ClimateGate and the impending failure of the Copenhagen climate summit have the global warming community on the ropes. And to add insult to their injury, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has taken his one-man truth squad to Copenhagen, to continue to underscore just how absurd the idea of anthropogenic global warming is.
That has drawn the ire of the left, which knows it's losing momentum here and abroad as the Copenhagen summit is nearing the end. And that has enticed two prominent left-wing heroes, MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to taking on Inhofe.
On Olbermann's Dec. 14 broadcast, he awarded Inhofe the second-place prize in his "Worst Persons in the World" segment, based on Inhofe disputing the so-called "warmest decade on record" talking point that is a favorite of global warming alarmists and is based on narrowly interpreted climate data.
Former "Crossfire" host Bill Press apparently cannot distinguish between news and opinion. He is furious that his application for press credentials with the congressional press corps was denied due to content on his website urging readers to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to vote for health care legislation in the Senate. He cites numerous examples of CPC members that host opinion content, but neglects to differentiate between their commentary and their news coverage.
"Senator Joe Lieberman said he will vote against Harry Reid's proposed health reform bill that includes a public plan option. Call Senator Lieberman's office and tell him he's wrong to do so, and should vote FOR it," wrote Press on his site, billpressshow.com. The CPC forbids its correspondants from being "engaged in the prosecution of claims or the promotion of legislation pending before Congress."
Press was puzzled, however, that news outlets such as the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Venezuela TV, and Pacifica Radio were granted CPC membership, given the presence of opinion content in each of their outlets. "Irony? No, that's sheer hypocrisy," he wrote for the Huffington Post today.
CNN’s David Gergen played up the difficulties that President Obama has faced on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360, underscored the importance of the coming week for the executive, and compared him to an iconic movie damsel in distress: “For a president who’s had more trials than anybody I can remember in a long time, sort of ‘The Perils of Pauline’ all year, this has become a climactic week for his presidency.”
Host Anderson Cooper brought on the senior political analyst to comment on the latest development on the health care debate, the Obama presidency in his first months, and the President’s upcoming trip to the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen. Cooper first asked Gergen about the potential for congressional liberals to turn against the proposed health care “reform” bill if the Obama administration cuts a deal with Senator Joe Lieberman over his objections to a Medicare “buy-in” for people 55 and older: “So, David, dropping the Medicare buy-in, could we be seeing- I mean, a liberal revolt in the wake of this? Because, I mean, a lot of people haven’t been following the minutia of this, but, basically, that idea of expanding Medicare to 55 and above, that was all for liberals, who were angered over the public option being dropped out.”
A breaking dispatch from the Associated Press sure makes it look like Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (picture at top right is from his Wikipedia entry) is engaging in extortion directed at the institutions of higher education that happen to be within the city's borders. The ostensible reason for the stickup is to shore up the city's foundering pension system.
It will be interesting to see how or if the AP develops this story in the coming day before the possible Wednesday vote.
Also, the "first-of-its-kind" tax that Ravenstahl wants to impose has gotten surprisingly little national notice since he first proposed it in mid-November.
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
Perhaps there is something obstructing the view overlooking Rockefeller Plaza, where MSNBC broadcasts "Countdown" nightly because the show's host, Keith Olbermann fails to see the existence of a news media with a liberal bias.
On MSNBC's Dec. 14 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann came to the defense of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" executive producer and noted left-winger Dick Wolf. The Dec. 9 episode of Wolf's program featured a killer who targeted the children of illegal immigrants and in that episode, one of the characters, played by John Larroquette, blamed conservatives "like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck" for inciting violence against immigrants. That prompted O'Reilly on Dec. 10, the next broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," to fire back at Wolf.
And that led Olbermann to respond to O'Reilly, five days later, which deteriorated into Olbermann making the seemingly laughable assertion there is no such thing as the liberal media. Olbermann began his tirade by attacking Andrew Breitbart, who is launching a Web site called "Big Journalism," which will take on "the Democratic-media complex."
Liberals are so incensed at Connecticut Senator Joe Liberman's refusal to vote for ObamaCare, that they have taken to attacking his wife, who works for a prominent breast cancer organization. Their ad hominem assaults and wild speculation about the Senator's supposedly evil motives reveal their hypocrisy when it comes to political centrists, and their desperation concerning health care legislation.
At Huffington Post, FireDogLake founder and breast cancer survivor Jane Hamsher revealed that her request to the Susan G. Komen foundation that money raised to find a cure not be used to pay Mrs. Lieberman's salary went unheeded. Hamsher went on to accuse the Lieberman couple of conspiring to sink health care reform in order to line their own pockets.
Hamsher accuses Mrs. Lieberman using "her association with her husband the Senator ... in order to secure these lucrative positions and advance the interests of her clients" at a lobbying firm for which she is a consultant. This contention, Hamsher claims, is "unquestionable," though she offers no evidence to support the accusation, other than speculation about the couple's income.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith enthusiastically proclaimed: “A frustrated President Obama gets set to read the riot act to the heads of America’s top banks.” Minutes later, Smith claimed it would be a “tough day for America’s biggest bankers” as the President planned to admonish them over executive compensation and lending practices at a White House meeting.
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed with a report on the meeting: “...the bankers are likely to get an earful when they meet with the President later today and he previewed some of his frustrations over their bonuses and over their reluctance to make loans on 60 Minutes.” Plante referred to an interview the Obama gave to 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft Sunday night, but none of the Early Show coverage mentioned the numerous parts of that interview in which Kroft grilled the President on topics ranging from Afghanistan to health care reform.
Managing Editor's Note: The following is a reprint of Michael Moriarty's original December 14 post to Big Hollywood. Moriarty, you may recall, played a prosecutor in the first few seasons of the long-running NBC drama "Law and Order."
Well, I think I’ve been fairly calm and forgiving of "Law and Order" for about fifteen years. Living outside of the U.S. has certainly helped in more ways than one. Out of sight, out of mind. "Law and Order" has, for years, been just a press of the remote away from non-existence.
However, recent events have "Law and Order" just begging for my reassessment. I hardly expected my old television series to be the clown act that leads the American viewing audience into an increasingly predictable pile of hard left propaganda.
In an unusually tough interview with President Obama on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Steve Kroft described the President’s West Point speech as being “greeted with a great deal of confusion” and that “some people thought it was contradictory.” He later said of the health care bill: “some people think is incomprehensible....I’ve not met anybody who’s read it.”
Kroft began the interview by asking about the new Afghanistan strategy and made some observations about Obama’s announcement of the plan: “In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional....There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?” Obama argued: “...that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made.” And then hit the Bush administration: “...one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’”
Kroft went on to note that the speech: “was greeted with a great deal of confusion.” A testy Obama interjected: “I disagree with that statement.” Kroft rephrased: “...it raised a lot of questions. And some people thought it was contradictory. That’s a fair criticism.” Not according to the President: “I don’t think it’s a fair criticism....There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that.” Obama then touted a Bush administration success to make his point: “...that’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge.”
"And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him," Klein wrote. "At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score."
Schultz courageously told listeners Aug. 8 that "I don't mind telling people that they're stupid." (The examples cited here all come from Schultz's radio show, with links to audio embedded in the quotes).
As for Fox News, Schultz opined Oct. 21, "if you think they're legitimate, you're stupid."
The last two times I remember this happening -- with Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s and New York City Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s -- it at least took a few years for exasperated establishment media liberals to blame the system for a favored politician's difficulties in achieving his agenda, and to call the country and Gotham, respectively, "ungovernable." Afterwards, Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani proved the whiners spectacularly wrong.
Matt Yglesias at Think Progress is years ahead of those prior hand-wringers. A bit less than 11 months into the Obama administration, the Think Progress blogger considered by many to be one of the far left's opinion leaders is moaning about how tough it has recently become to get anything done. Poor baby.
A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.
"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.
Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.
Has anyone else noticed how chilling it has been during the past few days? Not chilly (though it's been that too). Chilling.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared, in the Associated Press's words, that "greenhouse gas emissions are a danger and must be regulated."
The AP, in the item just linked, and many other news outlets carried U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donahue's warning that regulations based on EPA's declaration could lead to "a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project."
Two days later, in an item carried at FoxNews.com that says it was the result of contributions by Fox's Major Garrett and the AP, a White House official confirmed the legitimacy of Donahue's stated fear (bolds are mine):
Administration Warns of 'Command-and-Control' Regulation Over Emissions
Friday's Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News showed a pre-recorded interview with Roseanne Barr in which Barr opined that, although Sarah Palin is "likable," the "stuff she says is half nuts," and she's "half crazy and out of her mind." Barr -- who herself has a recent history of doing such bizarre things as appearing in Heeb magazine dressed as Adolf Hitler removing Jewish gingerbread cookies from an oven -- went on to declare that Palin is "like a slave to these, you know, right-wing men. That’s like the only way a right-wing woman can make it."
Barr soon added: "The only way a woman can make it in the right wing, or the conservative, whatever the hell you want to call it, Republican, is to be against all other women. And that is what she does."
Ironically, just moments later as she and Behar expressed disapproval at the man who recently threw tomatoes at Palin, Barr was critical of liberals who have treated the former Alaska governor "badly because she's female," calling it "disgusting." Barr: "I don’t like where she is treated like badly because she’s female. I think that’s so wrong, and I think the left and the liberals are disgusting to do that."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, December 11, Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News:
CNN’s Jack Cafferty all but endorsed a global version of China’s oppressive one-child policy on Friday’s Situation Room. He repeated the argument of Canadian journalist Diane Francis, that population control is the only way to fight global warming, and mentioned the opposition of “fundamentalist leaders” and others only in passing. All but one of the viewer e-mails that Cafferty read endorsed the idea.
The CNN commentator raised the population control issue eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour during one of his “Cafferty File” segments. Though he didn’t give much of a hint as to his stance on the proposal at first, Cafferty made it much more clear after he read his “Question of the Hour:”
In an interview with actor Matt Damon on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the star’s role in a liberal documentary on American history: “‘The People Speak,’ based on one of Damon’s favorite books, ‘A People’s History of The United States’....examine’s America’s founding and expansion from the perspective of the revolutionaries, rebels, and rarely heard voices of dissent.”
Damon described the left-wing revisionism as “an honest look at – at where we’ve come from and the idea that all of these changes have been struggled for by everyday people.” Smith also spoke with the book’s author Howard Zinn and wondered: “Does it seem like this is an extra good time to be making a version of this book into a movie?” Zinn replied: “we want this history to speak to our present situation. What is our present situation? War. So in many ways the film, I think, speaks to things that are going on now.”
On Wednesday, Zinn proclaimed his anti-war views on NBC’s Today: “I believe the best way to support the troops is to bring them home. You’re not supporting them when you’re keeping them there and for not a good reason.”
Liberal Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo concluded his final program on Friday after being passed over for the hosting job in favor of the liberal George Stephanopoulos. During the show, Stephanopoulos and Cuomo shared what incoming news anchor Juju Chang called a "man hug."
But, when given the chance to sit next to sit next to Stephanopoulos on the couch, Cuomo opted to wedge himself against weatherman Sam Champion. (See video above.)
Stephanopoulos appeared on the program earlier to discuss Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. The former Clinton operative gushed, "A speech for the history books." After the piece, Cuomo awkwardly praised Stephanopoulos: "It’s been some of the toughest news not to break to all of you that George is coming here. He’s a good friend of mine. I’m so happy for you and excited. Anything I can do to help you?"
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times dismissed the ClimateGate scandal during an interview on Thursday’s Situation Room on CNN, labeling it “nonsense” and an “idiot debate.” Anchor Wolf Blitzer only pressed Friedman slightly when he repeated his call for a “price on carbon that would trigger mass innovation in green technology,” meaning a large surtax on fossil fuels.
Blitzer raised ClimateGate during the second half of his interview with Friedman: “Let’s talk about ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ and global warming; this conference that’s under way in Copenhagen right now. The release of these e-mails, what’s called ‘ClimateGate,’ how much damage does that do to those who say man does have this significant role in global warming and this whole debate takes a new twist as a result of that?”
The New York Times columnist immediately played the “denier” card, and pointed to his favorite country, China, as an example of a society that wasn’t paying any attention to the scandal:
Battling the "Democrat-media complex" is hard work, but Andrew Breitbart shows no signs of letting up. He announced today in an interview with Mediaite that he will launch a new site entitled "Big Journalism" in January designed solely, in his blunt words, to "fight the mainstream media."
Big Journalism will be the latest addition to the prominent network of Breitbart's sites, which include aggregator Breitbart.com, video site BreitbartTV, and center-right blogs Big Government and Big Hollywood. After Big Journalism, he told Mediaite, will come Big Education, Big Tolerance, Big Jerusalem, and Big Peace.
As for Big Journalism, Breitbart says he is determined to combat liberal media outlets "who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic party agenda."