CNN’s Carol Costello began a new series on political talk radio on Monday’s American Morning, suggesting it was unfairly dominated by conservatives, and brought on a liberal psychiatrist who theorized that Rush Limbaugh has an audience because he’s “operating like the bully, and if you’re on the playground...you want to be...under the bully’s wing and go along with him and get...some power by proxy.”
The correspondent’s report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was the first installment in a “special series on talk radio,” according to anchor John Roberts. Costello zeroed in on the listeners and why the format “can capture people for such long periods of time.” A graphic on the screen during her report heralded “anger on the air: what listeners don’t know about talk radio.” [MP3 audio available here]
Towards the end of her report, the CNN correspondent played a sound bite from radical left-wing host Randi Rhodes, who speculated that “the reason they don’t passionately listen to liberal talk radio is access” (Costello outrageously downplayed Rhodes’s political leanings by describing her as someone whom “many consider a liberal talker”). The “liberal talker” noted that apparently, “ninety-one percent of talk radio is conservative.” Costello continued that “according to Talkers magazine, liberal talkers fill just nine percent of the nation’s news talk radio on the commercial dial. Change that, Rhodes says, and liberal listeners would listen just as much.”
Monday’s CBS Early Show took time to highlight the selling power of the Obama family as correspondent Dean Reynolds reported: “Bill Grimshaw thinks he has the perfect sales pitch for the house he’s trying to sell on Chicago’s south side....he lives right next door to the Obamas....because of this...special location, the sky could well be the limit.”
Reynolds gushed over how the Grimshaw family was “So close they let Obama use their living room as a backdrop to record a holiday message days before last year’s Iowa caucuses.” He then spoke with real estate agent Matt Garrison, who argued: “We anticipate an Obama – an Obama premium. We don’t know exactly how much that is.” Reynolds wondered: “An Obama premium?” Garrison reiterated: “Yeah, an Obama factor, an Obama premium.” Reynolds further explained: “For example, Matt says living next door to the Nobel Peace Prize winner could make Grimshaw a winner, too.” Garrison remarked: “We certainly think it makes the price go up.”
Earlier today, my NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard posted the disparaging words White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had for the Fox News Channel, a sentiment that Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod echoed on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"Your colleague Anita Dunn told The New York Times this week that Fox News was undertaking a war against the White House, and said the White House would treat Fox the way we would an opponent," Stephanopoulos said.
Can you say "bitter"? That's the vibe Slate.com Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg gave off in an Oct. 17 column, which will appear in the Oct. 26 issue of Newsweek, about Fox News headlined "The O'Garbage Factor."
Weisberg, who once diagnosed former President George W. Bush with a learning disability, contends the Fox News Channel goes beyond just making liberal media elitist like himself cringe - it's actually un-American. Weisberg alluded to the recent rift between the White House and the Fox News Channel.
He contended, with an almost-overdone effort to be self-righteous and snarky, that the analysis of the feud, done on a recent broadcast of "The O'Reilly Factor," was all just too slanted for his tastes. He went along with the left-wing noise machine's notion that Bill O'Reilly, who isn't exactly a Reagan Republican, is some sort of tool of the right-wing.
Once again, the nightly train wreck known as CNN Headline News "The Joy Behar Show" took another jab at conservatism, particularly Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Only this time, Behar threw in a couple of old standbys for whom lefties are fixated upon assaulting - former President George W. Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Behar, on her Oct. 17 CNN HLN program, suggested to radio show talk host and former child-star actor Danny Bonaduce there was a trend - that people who have had struggles with chemical addictions are now outspoken, particularly those on the right that Behar disagrees with.
"Do you see a trend? Rush Limbaugh, Oxycontin. Glenn Beck, alcoholic, Danny Bonaduce, alcoholic ... and George Bush, ex-alcoholic," Behar said.
Perhaps the 41st president still has it in him - at least when it comes to the left crying foul about the so-called uncivil political discourse on right, but being equally if not worse on the left - particularly on MSNBC, the "Place for Politics."
In an interview on Oct. 16 with CBS Radio, former President George H.W. Bush took a very critical tact with MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, deeming them "a couple of sick puppies." (via MSNBC's Oct. 16 "The Rachel Maddow Show")
"I don't like it," Bush said. "I think the cables have a lot to do with it. I'll take you back to when I was president - we got tons of criticism, but didn't seem day in and day out quite as personal as some of these talk show people."
As reported on NewsBusters on Friday morning, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez read his apology on Friday’s Newsroom for running a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh earlier in the week on October 12 [audio available here].
Sanchez hinted to his error in a promo for the apology 37 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “Rush Limbaugh gets denied [his NFL bid], but when it comes to one specific point, I will tell you this: he was right and I was wrong. Sometimes you got to say you’re wrong when you’re wrong, right? I'll tell you exactly what I’m talking about when we come back.”
After going to a commercial break, the CNN anchor came back, and after giving a summary of the controversy, read the apology, which was released earlier, almost verbatim:
Lately there's has been an anti-Wall Street sentiment, propagated by the media that has become exacerbated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit 10,000 Oct. 14.
On CNBC's Oct. 15 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money," was asked by fill-in host Melissa Francis what he thought about the outrage over Wall Street hitting its stride, while unemployment continues to rise.
"What did you think about [Morgan Stanley CEO] John Mack's answer to the big question of the day, which is the divergence between Main Street and Wall Street?" Francis asked. "We see Dow 10,000 - bonuses are back at the same time Main Street is in a shambles."
Cramer took a different and unexpected tact by explaining he was a Spartacist, one who believed in a Communism in his youth. But during that time in his life, he said he became very familiar with the teachings of Vladimir Lenin.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper became the first on his network to acknowledge that some of the quotes used against Rush Limbaugh in his NFL bid were false on his program on Wednesday: “I also should point out, on this program, we did not use the wrong quotes.” Cooper also brought back Al Sharpton as a guest, and the activist again brought up Limbaugh’s “Crips and Bloods” remark, which he took out of context [audio clips are available here].
The CNN anchor began by noting how the talk show host had been forced out of his part in buying the St. Louis Rams by the controversy: “Tonight, breaking news: Rush Limbaugh sidelined, his bid to buy into the National Football League sacked. What happened, and is it fair?” After giving a recap of the controversy, Cooper introduced his guests- Sharpton; Stephen A. Smith, whose has consistently expressed sympathy for talk show host’s bid; and talk show host McGraw Milhaven from St. Louis.
Cooper first hinted that the slavery quote attributed to Limbaugh was false in one of his questions to Smith: “Was the criticism fair, though? Some of the quotes attributed to him- you used one of them about the slavery- that was not something he ever said.” Smith acknowledged his hasty use of the quote, but continued that the talk show host was still a racially-divisive figure:
Last fall, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remarked, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
That quote has become part of a rallying cry for conservatives, that those currently in power are trying to create the perception of a crisis to force things through the legislative process that couldn't be done otherwise. That has been dismissed by those on the left as fear-mongering and the party in power is acting in good faith based on what their constituents want.
But on MSNBC's Oct. 14 "Countdown," Newsweek senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman found fault with President Barack Obama's administration for not living up to Emanuel's expectations. On Oct. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee toyed with the idea of stripping health insurance providers of their antitrust exemption and "Countdown" Keith Olbermann suggested members of Congress hold that exemption over insurance companies' heads to force them to go along with the Senate's idea of health insurance reform.
This ought to get the folks at the left-wing noise machine all wound up.
Fox News host Glenn Beck on his Oct. 14 show, after being a regular recipient of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons in the World" on his "Countdown" program, decided to have a little fun by mocking Olbermann and his MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews.
"Now, the President has an entire network devoted to singing his praises," Beck said. "There is a guy at night I love, he's like Shakespearean, he is waxing poetic about his oratory skills, writing soliloquies - got another one I must say about the greatness of Obama's speaking ability. And then another guy is like, ‘I got a thrill is going up my leg' when they just hear him speak. It is incredible."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes celebrated one GOP Senator’s support for health care reform: “Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
Cordes went on to tout Snowe’s history of going against the Republican Party: “This is not the first time Snowe has bucked her party. In 2006, she helped kill an amendment that would’ve federally banned gay marriage. And she voted in favor of allowing federal funding for stem cell research. This January, she joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.”
After Cordes’s report, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Senator Snowe and wondered why other Republicans on the Finance Committee did not support the legislation: “You’ve described this crisis as like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg and this being an opportunity to turn away from it. If there is no bill, and if there is no Republican support, will they be abrogating their responsibility to avert this crisis?”
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper brought on Rev. Al Sharpton- a person with an actual racially-divisive past - on his program on Monday to expound on his argument that Rush Limbaugh is “divisive” and even “anti-NFL.” Sharpton went so far as to claim that the issue of the talk show host’s involvement in the purchase of the St. Louis Rams is “whether or not the NFL is going to have standards.”
The leader of the National Action Network appeared 23 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, along with former NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris, who was making his second appearance on CNN that day. Cooper first played a clip from Limbaugh’s radio show where the conservative defended himself against his critics. Before introducing his guests, the anchor read an excerpt from Sharpton’s letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Rush Limbaugh has been divisive and anti-NFL on several occasions, with comments about NFL players, including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, and his recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons was disturbing.”
However Brit Hume, now a senior political analyst for Fox News and regarded as a veteran figure at the news organization, took the White House head on. In his "Brit Hume Commentary" segment on Fox News Channel's Oct. 12 "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume, pointed out this "feud" the Obama administration has decided to elevate is a bad idea.
"Every president ends up disgusted with the news media in general and with certain individuals or outlets in particular, but there is an old adage often attributed to Mark Twain that advises against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel," Hume said. "He is speaking of the big media of his day, which were newspapers."
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez read a disputed racist quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh about antebellum slavery on Monday’s Newsroom: “Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name. Here’s a sample- he once declared that ‘slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.’”
Before discussing the Limbaugh controversy with his guest, former NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris, the CNN anchor raised the 2003 scandal involving talk show host’s comments about quarterback Donovan McNabb, reading the statement which got Limbaugh in trouble and leading to his resignation from his job as an ESPN sports commentator. After reading the alleged slavery quote, the CNN anchor read another racially-charged quote from Limbaugh: “In President Obama’s America, white children get beaten up on school buses by blacks.”
This is an actual quote from Limbaugh, which he made on his talk show on September 15, 2009. But, as in the case of the McNabb controversy, he was attacking the mainstream media. Here’s the full context:
Sunday's gay rights rally on Capitol Hill garnered a positive story on the first page of Monday's New York Times National section by reporter Jeremy Peters, "New Generation of Gay Rights Advocates March to Put Pressure on the President." Peters claimed that "tens of thousands" had gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol Sunday to prod Barack Obama to move more aggressively to promote greater equality for gays.
Unlike the paper's hostile coverage of the "tea party" and "9/12" rallies by anti-spending conservatives, the Times's relatively prominent (page A12) coverage of the gay rights rally displayed no hostility toward the beliefs of the protestors and didn't label them liberal, even though a photo slideshow at nytimes.com featured images of Socialist Worker party members marching in solidarity.
Speaking with political analyst John Dickerson on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked about the latest Obama administration attack on Fox News: “Anita Dunn, the communications director for the White House, pushed back against Fox. This is the first time that we’ve seen somebody really come out, out loud and say what she had to say....Now there seems to be a full frontal assault.”
Dickerson replied by describing the White House mud slinging as a win-win: “..the White House website where they talked about the ‘lies of Fox News,’ which is stronger language than you usually hear. This is kind of good for both sides. Fox News sees its viewers – viewership increase, the White House has an enemy. It can galvanize its liberal supporters by attacking Fox News. That’s something that gets cheers in those quarters.”
However, he did follow up by warning of a potential downside: “The problem for the White House, of course, is that it can look a little petty and a little small as it sort of takes it sort of punches down at a cable network. And so they have to make sure that if they’re going to take on Fox News, that they don’t seem overly obsessed by it.” It seems like that ship has already sailed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Washington’s largest gay rights rally in a decade puts pressure on President Obama.” Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the story: “An issue that was on the back burner for President Obama suddenly got turned up to high over the weekend. Thanks to a group that is normally supportive of the President, gay rights activists.”
The Early Show coverage failed to label the protestors as being liberal or part of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party. Instead, they were simply referred to as “gay rights supporters.” White House correspondent Bill Plante explained: “The President has yet to deliver on the promises that he made to the gay community and members of that community are concerned. They’ve gathered here in Washington to remind him of those campaign pledges.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America downplayed the march, only offering perfunctory news briefs. At the top of Today, co-host Ann Curry reported: “Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters took to the streets of Washington DC on Sunday and demanded that the President keep his promise to allow gays to serve openly in the military. They also want the President to work to end discrimination against gays.” She later repeated the exact same brief in the 9:00AM hour.
NBC’s Today show on Sunday devoted a three-minute report to President Obama’s speech to “gay rights” proponents, where he promised a repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The report had several sound bites from homosexual critics of the President, and none from proponents of keeping the policy. On the other hand, ABC’s GMA on Sunday had only one 23-second news brief on Obama’s speech.
If there was any question which side of the ideological blogosphere a lot of the inside-the-beltway media establishment go to regularly, Politico may have just cleared that up.
In an Oct. 11 Politico story headlined "Think Progress makes its mark," which was the top story on its Web site that evening, Daniel Libit paid reverence to the left-wing Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog.
"Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era - a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame - still make its mark in the age of Obama?" Libit wrote. "In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes."
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter grouped conservative talk radio with Islamic radicals, specifically singling out Rush Limbaugh for attack, on Friday’s MSNBC Live. While acknowledging that “everybody agrees it was premature” to award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, Alter singled out the two groups that, in his view, were actually voicing criticism: “You’ve got the mullahs in the Taliban, and then you’ve got Mullah Rush” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Tamron Hall brought on the Newsweek senior editor and MSNBC news analyst minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the segment, Hall noted the “reaction from the world” and the “incredible pressure” that President Obama is facing concerning the war in Afghanistan. Alter replied that “it’s important to know that the award doesn’t go for pacifists....There have been plenty of examples of recipients who’ve been heads of state and...were war presidents. But...I also think it’s important to know who is actually sounding off against this. Everybody agrees it was premature, maybe undeserved. But who’s actually attacking it? Well, you’ve got the mullahs in the Taliban, and then you’ve got Mullah Rush [Limbaugh] -- you know, you have his, his [Obama’s] critics here at home” [video from the segment available below the jump].
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wondered about negative political fallout from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win: “one European commentator who said ‘will this become a poison chalice?’ In other words, is this going to hurt the President rather than help him?...is this going to widen the part of partisan divide rather than bring people together?”
Schieffer spoke with Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who asked: “Clearly a surprise to everyone, including the White House, for the President to be awarded this less than nine months into his term. And already some people are questioning whether he deserves it.” Schieffer expressed that skepticism: “My first reaction was, ‘what?!....It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘we’re giving you the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the election.’...I can’t recall anybody who won this prize for his aspirations. People usually get it for results.”
During 11AM CBS breaking news coverage of the President’s acceptance speech, anchor Jeff Glor got more Scheiffer reaction: “Is this more a commentary on the current administration and the current president or the previous administration, Bob?” Schieffer replied: “It’s almost as if the committee today was giving Barack Obama a prize for not being George Bush.”
CNN’s White House correspondent Dan Lothian, on Friday's American Morning, saw nothing but pluses for President Obama’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize. Lothian guessed that “the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here,” and even went so far to speculate about whether the reward could help the Democrat “push through on...health care as well...so this could help him.”
Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts turned to the correspondent right out of the gate at the beginning of the program at 6 AM EDT. Chetry asked if there had been any official reaction from the White House at that early hour, and Lothian confirmed that the administration hadn’t released any statement at that point. He continued that “two things came to mind when this shocking announcement was made. First of all, that the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here. The President has made overtures and talked about, since he was running for president, that he wanted to be one who would engage in dialogue.” The White House correspondent cited the Obama administration recent work with Iran and the President “trying to get both the Israelis and the Palestinians to jump-start the peace process there.”
"But our winner, Michele Bachmann," Olbermann said, referring to the first place contestant, the "worst" person. "[Fox News host Bill O'Reilly], dimly aware of the world around him, asks her, ‘Now you are a pretty interesting politician, Congresswoman. You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, Michele Bachmann, she's this, she's that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?'"
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
Remember back just a few short months ago - when thousands, if not millions, of Americans were protesting out-of-control government spending and other policies favored by President Barack Obama's administration?
Surprised by the resounding turnout, the usual lefty talking heads on MSNBC, specifically on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show," explained the protests away as being fake grassroots aka AstroTurf.
Fast forward to Oct. 7, when both Olbermann and Maddow started laying down AstroTurf of their own. They encouraged free health care clinics to be held in the states of six Democratic senators that are not in lockstep with the left-wing agenda on health care reform.