Newsweek columnist and editor Jonathan Alter appeared on Friday’s Hardball and slammed Rush Limbaugh as the "great blowhard of our time." Host Chris Matthews prompted the quote when he discussed how Limbaugh had criticized him on his radio show for calling Barack Obama the "last brother" of the Kennedy clan. Referring to Ted Kennedy's death, Matthews snarled, "What is the matter with these people? Can't they take a week off, Jonathan? Just take a week off. It's a funeral."
Responding to the Hardball anchor’s complaint, Alter attacked, "If Ted Kennedy is one of the great senators of our time, Rush Limbaugh takes the crown as the great blowhard of our time." The Newsweek editor derided, "There's nobody who would have criticized Rush Limbaugh if he had talked about a brother because there's so many other things to criticize him for, other outrageous things that he says almost every day on the radio."
Appearing on MSNBC’s New York Times Edition on Friday, the paper’s ‘Week in Review’ editor, Sam Tanenhaus, lamented one of Ted Kennedy’s flaws: "There’s a further paradox to this, which is we sometimes forget, I mean, all of the wonderful things being said about this extraordinary figure Edward Kennedy, that he was partly accountable for Ronald Reagan’s ascendency."
Previewing his latest New York Times column on Kennedy to host John Harwood in the 2:00PM ET hour, Tanenhaus went on to explain: "Ted Kennedy challenged the incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, in 1980 and weakened him in that election and that brought Reagan into power."
Just prior to that declaration, Tanenhaus praised Kennedy for his "idea of governance [that] was really premised in the big vision of New Deal liberalism. That all the forces of government could be marshaled to improve the conditions for the greatest number of people, in particular, the excluded and the disadvantaged." In contrast, Tanenhaus claimed "the great Republican leaders, beginning with Barry Goldwater and really capped by Ronald Reagan, had no interest in governance. Ronald Reagan said government is not the solution, it’s the problem."
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN correspondent Dana Bash reported on Senator Ted Kennedy’s alleged “deep Catholic faith,” and zeroed-in on how he “used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination,” but chose a clip of his bungling a biblical citation. “My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink” [audio clip available here].
Anchor Heidi Collins introduced Bash’s report, which shared a similar theme to AP’s report from Friday morning: “Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.” The CNN correspondent then highlighted how “Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.”
New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg paid tribute on Friday to Sen. Ted Kennedy as one of the last remnants of a more collegial, less combative U.S. Senate. But she neglects to point out how Kennedy himself corroded the institution he claimed to hold in such esteem.
Jay Lindsay quoted almost exclusively from liberals in his report on Ted Kennedy’s Catholicism for the AP on Friday. Only one of those excerpted by Lindsay was a conservative, not counting Catholic Church officials.
The AP correspondent led his article, titled “Kennedy’s Catholicism source of comfort, conflict,” with some glowing language, but at least portrayed how the deceased senator was not always a faithful believer: “Sen. Edward Kennedy was raised from birth to cherish his Catholicism, and it became both a source of comfort and conflict throughout his life. The son of the country’s most famous Catholic family defied church teachings when he divorced his first wife, then was granted an annulment only after he admitted he wasn’t being honest when he promised her he’d be faithful. His most significant and public break with the church came with his support for abortion rights.”
Lindsay followed this summary about the Democrats’s “significant and public break” with Church teaching by countering that “Kennedy also advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war.” While the Church does do significant work on those three issues, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their opposition to the Iraq war, they do not raise to the same moral importance as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, contrary to what many Catholic dissenters might say.
Douglas Brinkley continued his use of religious imagery to gush about the legacy of Ted Kennedy and his apparent Catholicism on CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday. Brinkley did his best to paper over the many moral downfalls of the senator: “He’s asked to be forgiven by people. He did a kind of a redemptive work throughout his whole career. He would fall off the wagon....But he constantly said, I can do better.”
Near the end of the 12 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Tony Harris asked the liberal presidential historian and CBS commentator, “You hear...about some of the failings in the senator’s life, and what is it about us as people that- on a day like today- a day like yesterday, we are willing to, in many cases, look past some of those failings, and focus in on the positive arc of a person’s life?” Brinkley played up Kennedy’s Catholic background, and instead using the “martyr” term he used on Wednesday, used more general religious language in his answer:
Thursday's front-page New York Times tribute to the last days of Sen. Ted Kennedy was penned by the paper's political profiler Mark Leibovich.
Leibovich reliably showers love on liberal Democrats, as shown in his profiles of "happy warrior" Sen. Chris Dodd and "compelling pop-culture icon" Al Gore, but doesn't care much for Republicans like the "cantankerous" Rep. James Sensenbrenner or Sen. Jim Bunning ("a bit of a screwball").
The once-indefatigable Ted Kennedy was in a wheelchair at the end, struggling to speak and sapped of his energy. But from the time his brain cancer was diagnosed 15 months ago, he spoke of having a "good ending for myself," in whatever time he had left, and by every account, he did.
As recently as a few days ago, Mr. Kennedy was still digging into big bowls of mocha chip and butter crunch ice creams, all smushed together (as he liked it). He and his wife, Vicki, had been watching every James Bond movie and episode of "24" on DVD.
He began each morning with a sacred rite of reading his newspapers, drinking coffee and scratching the bellies of his beloved Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash, on the front porch of his Cape Cod house overlooking Nantucket Sound.
In the early hours of Wednesday, reporter John Donvan narrated a tough, comprehensive look at the life of Ted Kennedy, one that went so far as to assert that the Senator was sometimes "a let down, an embarrassment to his family, to his party, to himself." However, this eight and a half minute segment, which looked into Chappaquiddick, Kennedy’s cheating at Harvard and other scandals, aired at 2:30 (11:30 on the west coast) in the morning, during a special, late night edition of Nightline.
A much shorter, sanitized version of the piece was replayed on the August 26 edition of World News With Charles Gibson. It left out the harsh words about being a "failure," the accounts of public intoxication and affairs, all of which were featured in the Nightline segment.
"It feels a bit like 9/11 on Martha's Vineyard. End-of-summer weather is achingly beautiful but the mood is melancholy because of Teddy." [click image at right to see larger image of screen capture]
Thus wrote Matt Cooper, editor of Conde Nast Portfolio on his Twitter page a few hours ago. The former Time magazine White House correspondent, who also writes for Huffington Post, walked back his statement a bit later after some criticism from other Twitter users:
Didn't mean to equate Teddy's death with the murders of 9/11. Only meant small similarity: beautiful weather, tragic feel. HT @thetonylee
Cooper followed that with two other tweets to JP Freire of the Washington Examiner and Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher magazine, respectively:
At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."
Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."
Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"
Sounding like a close friend or relative of Senator Ted Kennedy, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "A life that was able to bring friends and enemies together....We’ll hear from one of those foes who became a friend as we broadcast from the John f. Kennedy Presidential Library where the body of Uncle Teddy will arrive today and lie in repose."
Moments later, Rodriguez continued the unusually personal reporting on the death of the Massachusetts Senator: "This place dedicated to a slain American president will today serve as a shrine to his younger brother, a beloved American senator....we were joking here that we think all this wind today is sort of fitting for the Kennedys. The tousled hair, a perfect day for sailing, a wonderful day for the Kennedy family and the public to gather here, at this of all places, to remember Ted Kennedy. Sort of symbolic, Chris, I think, of the older brother looking down, looking after the younger brother."
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer and other ABC journalists spun liberal legislation by Ted Kennedy as gifts to the whole country. While bills related to the senator appeared on-screen, Sawyer gushed, "Can you see this going by? It's a scroll. And it's going to continue. We will not finish it before we take a break, because it's Senator Kennedy's legacy."
Correspondent John Berman uncritically enthused, "If you're in a wheelchair, that ramp is thanks to Ted Kennedy. If you earn the minimum wage, you make more because of Ted Kennedy." Certainly he championed the legislation, but is Kennedy solely responsible for individuals making the minimum wage today?
The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times trumpeted the legacy of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday by running headlines which used quotes from notables about the deceased senator without quotation marks. The AP’s report by Glen Johnson and Philip Elliott heralded the President’s superlative about Kennedy without stating it was Mr. Obama’s words: “Obama mourns Kennedy, greatest senator of our time.”
Ari B. Bloomekatz’s entry on the blog of the LA Times highlighted the statement from the Catholic archbishop of the City of Angels: “Cardinal Mahony calls Kennedy a champion of the powerless” (an odd statement from the Cardinal, as Kennedy was a staunch defender of “abortion rights,” and who is more “powerless” than a baby in the womb?)
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday spun Ted Kennedy’s political career as one of a "happy warrior" who should be looked to for direction in "these bitter times." However, it’s hard to square this description of Kennedy with the vitriolic speech the Senator made in 1987 condemning Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reporting on Kennedy’s death soon after it was announced, Moran noted that Kennedy was a liberal and rhapsodized, "He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior." The Nightline anchor closed out his report by cooing, "And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now."
Old fashioned joy? Kennedy certainly sounded bitter and angry when he took to the Senate floor on July 01, 1987 and trashed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s America as a place were "blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters" and "rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
During the 2:00AM ET hour of CBS’s Up to the Minute on Wednesday, shortly after news broke of Senator Ted Kenney’s death, historian Douglas Brinkley exclaimed the Massachusetts Democrat was: "...going to be a – a martyr because of all that he’s done and he very well might help, in death, Obama get his health care plan."
Fill-in anchor Michelle Gielan discussed Kennedy’s legacy with Brinkley, soon turning to the current debate over health care reform: "And one of those causes that he was championing was health care reform, and yet, he had to sit out these last few months. How difficult was that for him?" Brinkley began his response: "Well, it was very difficult for him....he’s been forced to be sidelined and unable to talk at town hall meetings. It’s been hard not to watch the nightly news and kind of wish that you had a fiery old Ted Kennedy there, arguing his points for universal health care, it could have made a difference."
Those pesky wabbit Wepublicans, complained MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, always waising the bar on Democrats.
During her show Aug. 20, Maddow recruited former WNBA player Sue Wicks to shoot baskets in studio to illustrate alleged machinations by the GOP. Here's what Maddow had to say after Wicks nailed one of her shots --
MADDOW: Sinking a shot on a regulation, 10-foot hoop, yeah, it's not a sure thing but with effort and focus you learn how to do it. These are the rules. Or these were the rules, OK?
You know why you never hear about the Senate needing 51 votes to pass anything any more? It's because since the Republicans have been in the minority in the Senate, they've taken a once rarely-used exception to the 51-vote rule and they've turned it into a new rule. It's called the filibuster and it means that the minority won't even allow something to be voted on without 60 senators giving it the nod.
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ has a great "name that party" catch today. Malor noted that at least three major news outlets all failed to note the high-powered Democratic Party ties of one Hassan Nemazee, a businessman arrested this morning on a charge of bank fraud against Citigroup:
Reporting on the First Family vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, CBS reporter Chip Reid excitedly exclaimed: "One thing that’s going to give a huge boost to the economy is all the Obama paraphernalia...t-shirts, it’s baseball caps and magnets and coffee mugs and glasses. And restaurants are selling the ‘Baracko Taco.’ Bars are selling ‘Ale to the Chief.’ And all of it is selling like crazy."
Reporting for Monday’s CBS Early Show, Reid actually held up a number of Obama t-shirts while reciting the litany of presidential souvenirs for sale on the Massachusetts resort island. He concluded his report by declaring: "So if the President wanted to find someplace where he would be welcomed with open arms, he sure found it here in Martha’s Vineyard." Early Show co-host Russ Mitchell remarked: "Part of the Martha’s Vineyard stimulus plan, I guess." Reid agreed: "Exactly."
ABC News anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a hostile interview of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Monday’s Good Morning America. Noting Steele hadn't used the term “death panel,” Cuomo asked if it was "a sign of positive progress." He also wondered why Steele wasn't bashing insurance companies, since when there is "excess in the system, it always comes back to the insurance companies."
The GMA anchor interviewed the RNC chairman 15 minutes into the 7 am hour. He zeroed in on Steele’s op-ed plugging a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights" which ran in the Washington Post on Monday. After Steele first summarized what was in the proposal, Cuomo brought up the hyped “death panel” term, which is a central part of the debate over ObamaCare:
“Now Mr. Steele, here in this health care bill of rights -- very interesting what is not here, the word ‘death panel’ is not anywhere in here. Is this a sign of positive progress, that we’re not going to talk about death panels anymore as a scare tactic?”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed commentator Dick Morris about his latest book critical of the Obama administration, Catastrophe. After reading the book’s full title, Rodriguez observed: "This title, though, Mr. Morris, can’t you see a lot of people dismissing it right off the bat as alarmist? It screams at you."
In response, Morris pointed out the dire state of the economy: "9.5% unemployment, four quarters of negative growth, our car companies in receivership, our health care program about to be taken over, and banks being nationalized, and I’m alarmist?"
Rodriguez replied by citing recent media spin that the recession is over: "Well what about the positive indicators? Because not so long ago, it was on the cover of every magazine, the topic of every cable show and Sunday morning show, that we were kind of digging out of the recession. We saw three straight months of rising home sales, the stock market up more than 40% since March. Ford beat expectations. Doesn’t that count?"
Following MSNBC coverage of ObamaCare protesters legally carrying guns, on Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation condemned the liberal network for "using deceptively-edited video from a Phoenix, Arizona anti-tax rally on Monday to invent a racial stereotype in its on-going effort to demonize and marginalize American firearms owners as ‘racists.’"
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, MSNBC correspondent Contessa Brewer, along with Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan and pop culture analyst Toure, depicted all gun-carrying protesters as being "white," "racist," and even a threat to President Obama’s life. Brewer cited one such gun-toting protester, but used highly edited video footage that did not reveal the man was actually African-American.
On Thursday morning, CNN downplayed the partisan nature of “legendary” Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to backtrack on a 2004 change in Massachusetts state law which allowed Democrats to hold on to John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the election. While anchor John Roberts and correspondent Dana Bash explained the circumstances of the 2004 change, Bash merely labeled it a “political irony.”
Roberts gave two news briefs about Kennedy’s letter to Massachusetts officials during American Morning, summarizing that the commonwealth “changed [the law] in 2004 requiring a special election because then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could have appointed someone had Senator John Kerry won the presidential election....Senator Kennedy wants there to be an interim appointment before a special election just to make sure that the state’s covered.” The anchor didn’t include any mention of the health care issue in either of his briefs, which is a clear factor in play with the liberal senator’s request.
All of weeks ago, Ed Schultz reacted with disgust on his radio show to news that Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told other Republicans that Obama's attempt to enact massive health reform could be the president's "Waterloo."
Here's Schultz on July 21, responding to DeMint's remark while interviewing Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: So, Jim DeMint basically is showing where the Republicans really are. They just want to, they want to Waterloo the president.
Yes, "Waterloo" as verb. And yes, Schultz actually talks like that.
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez accused anti-ObamaCare activists of forwarding “misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases” during a segment with “progressive” pastor and Obama apologist Jim Wallis on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. Sanchez placed the blame on the protesters relying “exclusively [on] right-wing media and right-wing television channels.”
The anchor brought on Reverend Wallis, the head of the “progressive Christian group Soujourners,” to discuss the phone-in town hall meeting he was hosting with President Obama. Midway through the interview, Sanchez raised the “wild behavior that we’ve seen in some of these health care forums” and made his first accusation against the anti-ObamaCare protesters: “When you hear, for example, some of the misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases, like calling things death panels and saying that people are going to be- old people are going to be killed, including some of them spread by people who profess to be Christians. How do you- how do you reconcile that as- as a Christian yourself?”
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Daniel Sieberg reported on a young global warming activist from California: "...everyday citizens of all ages are doing their part to raise awareness of climate change....15-year-old Alec Loorz takes his message across the country, using poles to illustrate the predicted sea level rise if nothing is done to prevent global warning."
At one point, Loorz declared: "All of lower Manhattan would be underwater." That’s not the first time such a claim was made on the CBS morning news program. On November 5, 2007, Early Show co-host Harry Smith interviewed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about a proposal to impose a national carbon tax and declared that "Manhattan will be underwater by 2050" if global warming was left unchecked.
On Wednesday, Sieberg went on to tout Loorz’s activism: "Alec’s voice also has the support of a former vice president. At the age of just 12, he applied to be part of Al Gore’s network of official speakers. It took some persistence, but eventually, Alec was accepted....And Alec’s cool factor certainly isn’t lost on his friends and family members."
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally...wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip....there are questions about whether this has racial overtones....white people showing up with guns."Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.
Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "...there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president....we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "...then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."
Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.
The news isn't just that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals nationwide. That's old hat. The big news from Gallup is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the union, including supposedly uberliberal Vermont and Massachusetts.
Hey, if you can't poke fun at someone whose name dovetails with that of a potentially devastating neurological disorder ...
MSNBC cable show host Rachel Maddow demonstrated what passes for humor on her show Aug. 12 when she said this about Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette of Ohio --
MADDOW: Next up on the bizarre health-care debate circuit, Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette attended a town hall event in his Ohio district yesterday. There, he very responsibly urged his audience to be civil. (cuts to footage of LaTourette)
Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”