In what was an otherwise critical story about President Obama signing an earmark-laden spending bill despite promising an end to such pork barrel projects, on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid decided to mention a modest earmark by former Idaho Senator Larry Craig: "And it's not just Democrats, about 40% of the earmarks were inserted by Republicans. Even retired lawmakers. Remember Republican Senator Larry Craig, arrested in a bathroom sting? He retired, but his legacy lives on through a million dollars in earmarks for Idaho." If Reid wanted to cite much more egregious Republican offenders he could have picked Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who had $114 million in pet projects, or Missouri Senator Kit Bond, who had $86 million. Of course, neither of them were recently involved in sex scandals.
Other than the Craig mention, the piece was unusually tough on Obama, as anchor Katie Couric began the broadcast by declaring: "Also tonight, he campaigned against earmarks, but today President Obama signed a bill loaded with them behind closed doors." Reid reported: "The last thing the President wanted was a high-profile ceremony as he signed a bill stuffed with pork barrel spending...behind closed doors, it was, critics say, business as usual, as the President quietly signed a $410 billion domestic spending bill. 1,100 pages loaded with about 8,500 pet projects known as earmarks, inserted by members of Congress without legislative review...Some are the handiwork of former lawmakers who now work for the President. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has $6.5 million in projects for Illinois."
The Treasury Department oversees the Internal Revenue Service. But if the Secretary of the Treasury - or any other political appointee being considered for the Treasury Department - didn't pay his income payroll taxes, it doesn't matter. That's the message from House Banking Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and he blamed the fourth estate for acting like it does matter.
"I think it's a problem, although I will say this - for the media to blame that entirely on the Senate seems to me a little bit self serving," Frank said. "I mean, the media is the problem here, in part. It is the over-focus on part of people in the media to relatively minor infractions that causes this. I guarantee you my colleagues would not on their own be doing this. So I do think we are in a culture now where a lack of perfection exacts too strong a toll, but that's the politicians reacting to the media."
During the 8:30AM EST half hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a fawning news brief on Michelle Obama’s first 50 days as First Lady: "In the seven weeks since the new President was inaugurated, the new glamorous First Lady has found her place in a glamorous world. Thalia Assuras has a look at Michelle Obama's successful new life." Assuras began her report: "Everyone wants an invitation to her parties. She's graced several magazine covers. Even Oprah is giving up a slice for the first time. She's the focus of fashionistas, those buff arms igniting commentary, and websites produce constant chatter."
Assuras went on to describe how Michellle Obama had surpassed other First Ladies: "Michelle Obama has created a stir like no other First Lady...Style watchers caution that all new First Ladies cause excitement, but Mrs. Obama is a celebrity who embodies a new generation...That thing, that polls show, produces more positives than recent First Ladies at the outset of past administrations."
Assuras spoke with Washington Post gossip columnist Amy Argetsinger, who exclaimed: "People are sort of reacting to her the way they would to a movie star...She's the youngest First Lady we've had in a while, but she's also got a charisma about her. She's got the height of a fashion model, she looks great in clothes. And, you know, there's kind of that Jackie O thing going on." Following Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal giving the Republican response to Barack Obama’s address to Congress last week, Argetsinger remarked about Jindal: "I found his [pyschotic killer Charles] Manson eyes disturbing."
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen incorrectly declared: "Reversing course. President Obama lifts the ban on embryonic stem cell research today...But is the President going far enough?" During the later segment, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had to offer a correction: "And we should say, this under President Bush was not banned or illegal, except now we're getting federal funding."
The segment began with a report by correspondent Bill Plante: "...for those who believe that stem cells bring healing, there's no debate...Henry Strongin-Goldberg was sick with a rare blood disease that took his life when he was just 7...Henry's parents, Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg, believe their son's chance of survival ended when President George W. Bush signed an executive order in August, 2001 banning the federal government from funding embryonic stem cell research." Plante’s over 300-word report only gave only 21 of those words to critics, allowing David Prentice of the Family Research Council to mention: "In terms of scientific advances, I don't think we're going to see anything from this. This is more an ideological move."
Following Plante’s report, Rodriguez spoke with CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips about the President’s decision: "In what kinds of diseases or ailments, specifically, do you think we may see advancements?" Phillips replied: "People are most excited about the neurologic illnesses, things like Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's...hopefully cure spinal cell injuries...hope in treating diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke. So really millions of people could be -- could be affected by this research." Phillips left out a recent case of embryonic stem cells causing cancer in an Israeli teenage boy.
On the far left, MoveOn.org has been instrumental in energizing its members to organize, protest, and vote for liberal causes and candidates. They were vehement opponents of George W. Bush and vitriolic protesters of both of Bush's wars.
The media might not let you know it, but MoveOn's e-mails to members now sweetly boast of Barack Obama and his new proposals as "ambitious, amazing, and unapologetically progressive." It quotes a New York Times columnist for emphasis:
Dear MoveOn member,
Want to see what change looks like? Real change?
Well, here it is. Last week, President Obama unveiled his budget -- his blueprint for America – and it's ambitious, amazing, and unapologetically progressive. As Paul Krugman said, it will set America on a "fundamentally new course."
President Obama called his budget "a threat to the status quo," and trust me, the status quo noticed. Oil companies, big banks and insurance companies are already mobilizing to stop it.2
Unfortunately, most folks don't realize how far-reaching and progressive the plan is – that's where we all come in.
At the end of Thursday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid reported important breaking news about President Obama's graying hair: "...the rate at which President Obama is adding salt to his pepper is what’s surprising, even if his inner circle says ‘no big deal.’" Axelrod observed: "The gray seemed to be on him from the moment he took the oath. There was talk during the campaign that maybe he was dying his hair gray to look more seasoned, but his barber says bunk." He later concluded the report by declaring: "If there's any consolation for Mr. Obama, it's that gray equals gravitas, and a president can never have too much of that."
Perhaps a good example of the President’s "gravitas" would be the gift he gave to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a diplomatic visit this week: a 25-DVD box set, including such films as E.T., The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars. So far, neither CBS nor any of the networks or cable channels have covered this Obama gaffe.
It’s not surprising that despite this incendiary remark, Hughley is still considered to be a “valued colleague.” As my fellow NewsBuster Tim Graham reported earlier on Thursday, it was none other than CNN president Jonathan Klein who put the comedian on the network, and gave him the green light to “run amok” on his program.
During the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Thursday, anchor Norah O’Donnell teased an upcoming segment on Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party: "Coming up, is the party of Lincoln in danger of becoming the party of jell-o? Why conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh could be a liability for the Grand Old Party." O’Donnell was referring to an Newsweek article by columnist Jonathan Alter and later spoke to him about it: "I want to read from your piece. You write, 'everyone knows he has jumped the shark culturally, becoming a black-shirted joke even as he dominates the headlines. But it's worse than that for Republicans, Limbaugh has taken the great GOP calling card -- toughness -- and shredded it. The party of Lincoln is in danger of becoming the party jell-o.' Explain further."
Alter elaborated on his argument: "Okay. Norah, the great strength of the Republican Party for the last 75 years has been strength. The fact that they are a tough party and their rhetoric has been tough. They were tough against the New Deal. They were tough in a Cold War. They were tough on Monica Lewinsky. If you can't even stand-up to Rush Limbaugh, if the dittoheads come after you and you wilt and then apologize for perfectly legitimate criticism of a radio talk show broadcaster, how tough is that. You look wimpy, you look weak, you look whiney." According to Alter, by not denouncing Rush Limbaugh for being tough on Obama, the Republican Party is not being tough.
Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared on the Thursday edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and stopped the program cold when he challenged the hosts as to whether they were "going after Democrat members of Congress for why they aren't distancing themselves from Keith Olbermann?" Co-anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who had been discussing the battle between the White House and Rush Limbaugh, were silent for a moment before Brzezinski admitted, "That was a good one. We're all thinking."
Fleischer pressed, "That's my point. It's a one-sided debate because, largely, the press loves it because the press doesn't like Rush." The quip occurred after Brzezinski attempted to trap Fleischer into saying that he would be following the tactics of attacking the radio host, were he in the same situation as the Obama White House. After Fleischer's jibe, Scarborough started sipping from his coffee and attempted to toss the potential network hot potato over to the show's other guest, Mike Barnicle. Scarborough joked, "I'm going to have a – I can't talk right now because I'm drinking. Mike?"A few seconds later, however, the token MSNBC conservative did admit, "No, that was good."
[Special thanks to MRC intern Mike Sargent for transcribing the segment.]
At the top of Wednesday’s 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Well, the back and forth between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele continues. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the GOP's approval is sinking fast, only 26% of those polled give the party a positive rating." O’Donnell spoke to Jennifer Skalka, editor of the blog Hotline On Call, and asked her about Rush: "Rush Limbaugh, today, really upped the ante, for the first time, saying he wants to challenge Barack Obama to a debate on his show...What's he doing? Is he walking into the trap that the Democrats, including President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, set? Which is to try and anoint and make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Republican Party."
Skalka replied: "Well, you kind of get the feeling that Rush Limbaugh is enjoying being the face of the Republican Party, whether or not that hurts the chairman of the RNC and congressional Republican leaders, Rush Limbaugh is another big personality." O’Donnell followed Skalka by wondering: "But politically speaking, when we showed the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, that the party's approval ratings are 26%. And they've done polling that shows Rush Limbaugh is very unpopular with the independents. How does it hurt the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh as the face in many ways?"
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to “fact check” Representative Mike Pence’s appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn’t follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.
Before introducing Burns, Sanchez played a clip of Representative Pence stating that he fought President Bush “on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I’m going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts.” The CNN anchor then made his introduction of the Media Matters president, omitting the left-wing stance of Burns’ organization: “Eric Burns is joining us now. He’s with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I’ve been called.”
The latest Stephanopoulos entry on ABC News needs a reality check, in a big way, and Erick Erickson of RedState hit it perfectly.
The Democrat-turned-born-again-journalist posted the following story on his ABC News blog today, claiming that Eric Cantor had repudiated Rush Limbaugh's CPAC rhetoric:
“Defending his attacks against President Barack Obama's economic plans, Limbaugh said Saturday to the conservative conference, "What is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundations?"
Cantor today rejected Limbaugh's rhetoric.
"So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the president fails is not the Eric Cantor, House Republican approach?" I asked.
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan reported on the Obama administration’s effort to improve relations between the United States and Russia by abandoning a missile defense system proposed under the Bush administration: "It's become one of the most contentious issues dividing the U.S. and Russia. American plans to deploy a missile defense system on Russia's doorstep...The Obama administration's willingness to even open discussions on the issue is a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy under President Bush, who dismissed Russian objections. That dispute helped bring U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point since the break-up of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago. Today the President made it clear he's already started to change that."
Rather than offer any criticism, Logan cited Steven Pifer of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, who declared: "It seems to me that when we're looking for issues on which we can signal to the Russians that we're prepared to be more flexible and listen to some of their concerns, missile defense is one." At the top of the broadcast, anchor Katie Couric teased the segment by describing Obama’s proposal as an "intriguing suggestion."
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty flat out admitted in a CNN.com commentary on Tuesday that he is “developing a crush on America’s first lady,” Michelle Obama: “Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He’s good, but she’s utterly fascinating....Mrs. Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It’s like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows.”
Such high praise for a member of the Obama family isn’t something new for Cafferty. Almost a week earlier, the CNN commentator gushed over President Obama’s seeming calm in the midst of all the serious issues that the country faces: “...[O]ur president seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
During a 6-minute segment on the Saturday Early Show on CBS, co-host Erica Hill spoke with liberal journalists Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report, and Steven Kornacki of the New York Observer, about the future of the Republican Party. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Leslie Sanchez was also part of the panel discussion, but was only allowed 44 seconds to speak during the segment, frequently being cut off by Hill, Zuckerman, and Kornacki.
Zuckerman described the future of the GOP this way: "Obama's popularity is surging and the support for the Republican Party is declining, in part because if there is any symbol of the Republican Party, it was Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, speaking after President Obama, and articulating a philosophy that was so completely discredited under the Bush administration that it's hard to imagine that they think they're going to do anything other than consolidate their support in a very small number of arch-conservative districts in the United States."
Kornacki shared a similar view, suggesting Republicans give up on conservative principles and simply follow Democratic Party ideals: "Republicans in Congress, the Republicans on talk radio, on Fox News, Republicans who are dominating the party and driving the philosophy of their party right now and they are denying reality...2008 was a revolt against the excesses of the Reagan philosophy, and the Republicans right now seem to be saying...'we got to click our shoes together three times, repeat our favorite Reagan catch phrase and poof, we're going to be good again.' It's not going to work. The public is looking for people who want government to take a leading, active, and aggressive role. Republicans aren't even speaking to that."
The Democrats campaigned to take over the reins of the majority in Congress by promising to "drain the swamp" of a "culture of corruption" by the Republican Party. Examples of Democratic corruption or self-dealing go largely unnoticed. For two weeks now, the national media has ignored a Los Angeles Times report that Rep. Grace Napolitano has paid herself more than $150,000 in interest on $150,000 she loaned herself in her initial 1998 House campaign. (The Whittier Daily News later amended that figure upward to $205,922.) With the exception of the Hannity show on Fox News, no one else in the national media has noticed. Andrew Zajac reported on February 14:
Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) has collected tens of thousands of dollars in personal income by charging double-digit interest on money she lent her campaign 11 years ago and soliciting donations from Washington lobbyists at "debt retirement" fundraisers.
Teasing a fawning segment on First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric declared: "And the lady of the house feeling right at home." Couric later introduced the segment: "And finally tonight, ever since Abigail Adams moved into the White House in 1800, every First Lady has brought her own personal touch to the executive mansion, and the city of Washington. As Bill Plante tells us, the new First Lady is busy making her mark."
White House Correspondent Bill Plante gave a glowing review of the First Lady’s first month: "For Michelle Obama, welcoming famous Americans to the White House seems effortless...But the new First Lady goes from traditionally elegant and formal to relaxed and casual with ease. Just days before this tribute to Stevie Wonder, she charmed culinary students in the White House kitchen, talking about how tough it is to get her kids to eat vegetables...Michelle Obama's been to all the usual places around Washington -- the Kennedy Center, Fords Theater, and nationally, she's been on the covers of Vogue and People magazine...After a month, it's already clear that Michelle Obama won't be content to stay behind these well-guarded gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
Plante concluded his report by observing: "She's also been touring government agencies, but it's her message to local children that seems most important to her. As she tells them over and over, you, too, can be President or First Lady...And it's her ability to connect that could make her mark as First Lady."
CNN personalities Jack Cafferty and David Gergen continued the chorus of praise for President Obama on Wednesday evening for his first address to a joint session of Congress, twenty-four hours after he had given it. During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on The Situation Room, Cafferty gushed that the Democrat “had that place in the palm of his hand for the entire time he was in that room” and, despite all the serious issues he discussed during the speech, that the president “seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a segment on Tysheoma Bethea, a 14-year-old girl who attended Obama’s address to Congress: "President Obama has said one of the biggest adjustments of his new job is living in a bubble. Now, to combat that problem, he started to read a handful of letters everyday from average Americans. One letter, written by an eighth grader from Dillon, South Carolina, caught his eye, and her story caught ours."
Correspondent Mark Strassmann then reported: "Thanks to Tysheoma Bethea, everyone at J.V. Martin Junior High now shares the audacity of hope...Last night, the 14-year-old watched President Obama read America her letter to Congress, a plea to build a new school for her small town." Strassmann described the situation at Bethea’s impoverished school and how Obama had instantly inspired them: "Too often at J.V. Martin Junior High dreams die early. 85% of students live below the poverty line. This school, built in 1896, is falling apart. For generations here, hope has been in shambles. The dropout rate is 60% and the daily fight is against a poverty of the spirit. But last night, this junior high reconnected to hope."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Tax the rich. New details on how President Obama plans to pay for his $3 trillion budget." Later, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Obama’s proposed budget in a matter-of-fact way with little skepticism: "It spends almost $4 trillion. That's trillion with a 'T.' And the deficit is $1.75 trillion because of spending on the recession. And it raises taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for some new proposals on health care. The president wants to set aside $634 billion over the next ten years as a down payment on health care reform. He'd get the money by lowering the limit on tax deductions for high earners and by trimming some Medicare spending."
In Plante’s report, Politico’s Mike Allen was quoted: "This budget is going to have some highly symbolic cuts to show people that tough choices are going to be made." Plante elaborated: "Those include what officials call 'massive cost overruns' at the Defense Department. A phase-out of direct payments to farmers making more than $500,000 a year. Elimination of the federal mentoring program, a Bush administration initiative which is labeled ineffective. And closing the loophole which allows Wall Street investment managers to pay income tax at the rate of only 15%."
While discussing President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress and the Republican response given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez observed: "And Americans loved it. The polls show that they're very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it's not going to work.’" Rodriguez made the remark while speaking with Democrat Dee Dee Myers and Republican Dan Bartlett. She turned to Bartlett and asked: "Do you think the Republican Party's taking the right approach, Dan, being so vocal with their objections?"
At the top of the show, Rodriguez interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and asked: "...the Republican party came out with their own charismatic, young, dynamic, ethnic spokesperson after the speech and said ‘we don't buy it, we're not on board.’ Are you taking any of their objections into account? Are any of their objections legitimate in your view?" Biden replied: "Sure. I'm sure there's -- there's some legitimate objections they have. But what I don't understand from Governor Jindal is, what would he do?...if you choose the inaction that Governor Jindal is talking about, how responsible is that? While people are just sinking into the abyss."
CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen was positively aglow after hearing President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening: “This was the most ambitious president we’ve heard in this chamber in decades. The first half of the speech was FDR, fighting for the New Deal. The second half was Lyndon Johnson fighting for the Great Society, and we’ve never seen those two presidents rolled together in quite this way before.” He later gushed over the agenda set by the executive during his speech: “I think we’re watching one of the greatest political dramas of our time” [audio available here].
Gergen made the remarks as he participated in a panel discussion during a special post-speech edition of the network’s Anderson Cooper 360. Eleven minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of the program, host Anderson Cooper asked the analyst for his immediate reaction to his speech. After making his lofty comparison, he underlined the apparent ambition of President Obama: “I think most people would have felt just trying to recover from this recession and stop the flow of blood, and get a recovery going would be enough for one president. He’s saying no, no, no -- we’re going to do health care reform this year....Do energy -- we’ll do education. Thankfully -- do national service, and we’re going to cut the deficit.”
It’s not even April 1 yet, and Keith Olbermann is already expressing fears that President Obama "is acting disturbingly like President Bush," because of a number of recent decisions by the Obama administration to continue policies similar to those of President Bush, which Olbermann recounted on Monday's Countdown while the words "Four More Years?" displayed at the bottom of the screen. The MSNBC host then introduced his guest for further discussion: "Here to help us tell the two men apart, Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post."
Responding to Huffington’s hope that Obama’s decisions would only be temporary, Olbermann queried that if, "after one of these six-month reviews – renditioning, for instance – continues on or other detentions without legal rights? What happens then?" prompting Huffington to convey her willingness to oppose Obama: "Well, everybody who cares about what are the fundamental American values of fairness and justice and due process needs to vociferously and unambiguously oppose the Obama administration. I don`t think there is any alternative to that."
In commemoration of the one-month anniversary of the Obama family moving into the White House, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "For the last month, as President Obama has settled into running the country, the first family has settled into life at the White House. While President Obama has been trying to repair our failing economy, First Lady Michelle Obama has become his number one advocate. Visiting five federal agencies this month,plugging her husband's economic stimulus plan."
Rodriguez went on to describe the Obamas hitting the Washington D.C. social scene: "In one month, the Obamas have engaged in their community, reading to school kids and visiting community organizations...They've become part of the local scene, eating out and attending a performance at the Kennedy Center. They're familiarizing themselves with their new home...They just hosted their first black-tie dinner and have entertained nearly 200 school children at the White House. But above all, in five weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Obama have learned their role as parents-in-chief to daughters Malia and Sasha."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with FDIC Chairwoman Shelia Bair and asked: "I can't think of a better morning to have you here, because all the talk is about the bank and if you look at the cover of The Washington Post, there it is, the n-word, 'nationalization,' which you have said you would be surprised if we get to that point. But isn't it maybe going to be a necessary evil?" On February 16, Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor: "Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
After Bair downplayed the possibility of a government takeover of banks, Rodriguez countered: "But it sounds to me like it's a very real scenario that the government could wind up owning a majority stake in these banks if these stress tests show serious cracks because the stock is worth so little now, we don't have to put that much money in to own a majority." Bair replied: "Well, I think the inter-agency statement that was released yesterday indicated a strong presumption in favor of private control. And I think we would like to continue that. It's a very tough thing to run a bank." Rodriguez responded: "You would like to but is it realistic, do you think?"
During the Monday 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell interviewed conservative film maker John Ziegler, creator of ‘Media Malpractice,’ a documentary on media bias against Sarah Palin, and denied any such bias: "Well, let me ask you, you called the treatment of Sarah Palin and her family a, quote, 'media assassination, one of the greatest public injustices of our time.' Is that a little strong? Are you and her a little thin-skinned?"
Ziegler responded by pointing out O’Donnell’s own anti-Palin bias: "The evidence is overwhelming. It's continuing today. I mean, just a few weeks ago, Norah, you incorrectly stated on the air Sarah Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist during the campaign." NewsBusters reported on O’Donnell’s January 29 smear of Palin.
O’Donnell criticized part of Ziegler’s documentary: "Let me ask you, in your documentary you cite examples of media bias by Saturday Night Live, that that's media bias. Aren't those comedians?...How's that media bias?" Ziegler explained: "Poll after poll shows that more people get their news from comedy shows because the line between entertainment and news, as this network has shown time and time again, has virtually evaporated...MSNBC used to be a news organization, now it's an advocacy organization, and SNL is actually thought to be a news organization."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of himself talking to left-wing actor Sean Penn following the Oscars Sunday night: "In a night full of first-time winners, Sean Penn took home his second Oscar as best actor for his emotional performance as slain gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk. I caught up with him and other big winners at the Governor's Ball." During the interview, Smith admitted to Penn: "As I sat watching the film, seems to happen to me more rare these days, but I wept openly during several scenes in the film because it really is a film about a civil rights movement." On December 10, Smith interviewed Penn’s Milk co-star, James Franco, and called the film "a must-see."
Earlier in the broadcast, a clip was played of Penn describing his feeling’s about the Oscar win during a press conference after the award show: "That means a lot to myself and to everybody involved, not only in the movie, but to anybody who believes in equal rights for other human beings." However, no clip was played of Penn’s actual acceptance speech, in which he declared: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."
Sean Hannity invited radical-left actor Richard Belzer to his "Great American Panel" on February 13, and Belzer was hardly returning the honor. After Belzer tried to play professor and suggest that Reaganism was Hobbesian and "antitheticallly opposed" to John Locke and Jefferson, he raised his hand to interrupt, and then decided to offer his other arm in a "Heil Hannity" salute. When will lefties stop comparing conservatives to Nazis? Here's how Belzer greeted Sean's discussion of the "We're All Socialists Now" cover of Newsweek:
SEAN HANNITY: The headline is we're all socialists. This is the single biggest spending bill in the history of this country, transfer of wealth to the government.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Rick Sanchez both poked fun of Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his on-air commercials for Stanford Coins and Bullion, which is part of the Stanford Financial Group led by Robert Allen Stanford, who has been in the news recently due to charges of fraud. It was the Huffington Post on Wednesday that pointed out the talk show host’s spots for Stanford. Olbermann named Hannity his “Worst Person in the World” on Thursday evening for the radio spots for Stanford.
Nineteen hours later, on Friday afternoon’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez gave the misleading impression that Hannity was still doing the live spots even after the news of the investigation into Stanford came out: “Sean Hannity unabashedly endorsed Robert Allen Stanford on the air to millions of potential customers -- the same Fox News host who calls President Obama a socialist.” An on-screen graphic during Sanchez’s segment indicated that his source for the story was the Huffington Post, while another graphic asked, “Who’s Your Friend, Sean?”
On Friday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Heidi Collins failed to mention ACORN’s role in sponsoring a rally against foreclosures in an Oakland, California neighborhood. During her brief, video clips from the protest clearly showed the presence of the group’s signs, name, and logo.
Collins characterized the rally as “[a]nger over the foreclosure crisis pouring out into the streets of Oakland, California -- protesters had a rally in a neighborhood where last month, more than 165 people lost their homes, or now face the possibility of foreclosure. They’re vowing to stop the banks from taking control of the properties.”
Local media in the San Francisco Bay area did a better job of covering the protest. A news brief in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday mentioned ACORN by name: “Community group ACORN...is launching a campaign to encourage families in foreclosure to refuse to leave their homes. The group staged a rally...at the East Oakland home of Rosa Gonzalez, who has been foreclosed upon but not evicted. ACORN held similar events at foreclosed homes in Los Angeles, New York, Tucson, Baltimore, Orlando and Houston. About 100 ACORN members and local residents listened to speeches urging a moratorium on foreclosures.”