On a rainy September night in 1972, a man on a ferry bound for Martha's Vineyard tried to throw another passenger overboard. The target of the assailant's attack -- former defense secretary Robert McNamara, then president of the World Bank.
The assault received considerable attention at the time though was largely forgotten in the decades that followed. After McNamara's death earlier this month at age 93, the incident was recounted by University of Pennsylvania professor Paul Hendrickson when he was a guest on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show on July 7.
As she was about to introduce Hendrickson, an incredulous Maddow described the attack and told her audience, "This is not a metaphor" -- which turned out to be exactly how Hendrickson would describe it to Maddow. To which I respond -- it wasn't the only metaphor at work.
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Is Vancouver Sun writer a Daily Kos contributor?
MSNBC's David Shuster on Saturday told his fans at Twitter that he intends to report on some ugly comments made about President Obama's daughter Malia at the conservative website Free Republic last week.
For those unaware, a British Daily Mail article about a peace sign t-shirt Malia was wearing in Rome before the start of the G-8 summit was posted at Free Republic Wednesday evening.
According to the Vancouver Sun, this generated some tasteless remarks (readers are advised to see update at end of post dealing with this writer's possible connection to Daily Kos):
This was inevitable. When the Obama administration effectively took over General Motors, Obama-friendly media hacks were going to tout the company's products . . .
And so it was that on his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz offered up an unpaid infomercial for GM's new Camaro. Most grotesque was Schultz's boast that the Camaro was outselling the Ford Mustang. Take that, private-sector company that declined to take Obama's dime!
MSNBC’s David Shuster and Tamron Hall labeled the circulation of a photo of President Obama allegedly glancing at a teenager’s posterior a “right wing smear,” and singled out Fox News and Drudge as culprits. They brought on a Media Matters spokesman, who accused these sites of being motivated by a “racist stereotype of an oversexed black man being a predator.” They let this accusation go unanswered (audio clip from the promos and the segment available here).
Shuster and Hall promoted the segment on the Obama picture from the start of the 4 pm Eastern hour of MSNBC’s live coverage. A graphic on-screen at the top of the hour pondered, “Right Wing Smear?,” as Shuster read the first teaser: “Plus, smearing President Obama- some on the Right went crazy over this photo they claimed shows President Obama with a wandering eye. But check the tape- the actual video shows a far different story- why the Right was so wrong with this one.”
The MSNBC anchor echoed his “why the Right was so wrong” phrase during the second promo at 19 minutes into the hour: “Up next, what the Right did wrong with that President Obama photo that was splashed all across some conservative websites. Why didn’t they bother to check the tape before making false accusations?” Right before the commercial break which preceded the segment, Hall broke back in with the final promo: “And when pictures do not say a thousand words- heck, when pictures right out deceive- why this misleading photograph was very popular on conservative blogs and conservative papers.”
My dear late father used to say that whenever a person's reaction is disproportionate to the stimulus, something else is at work. Keith Olbermann's "Worsting" of Ann Coulter on last night's Countdown [video] is a good illustration of the principle. Olbermann ostensibly awarded Ann his "Worst Person" for what was, after all, a rather mild swipe at Rachel Maddow, a tongue-in-cheek reference to her "raw sex appeal."
So what had really gotten under Olby's skin? What caused him to call Ann "putrid and evil"? Reference to the Coulter column in question reveals this paragraph, which Olbermann pointedly omitted from his Worst Person spiel:
Soon we'll only hear about Keith when his creepy e-mails using his mother's death to hit on chicks start making the rounds again. (Tip to Keith: When a girl refuses to give you her phone number, her assistant's phone number or her personal e-mail address, and only gives you her assistant's e-mail address, you're not halfway in the sack.)
Listen to Rachel Maddow introduce a guest on her MSNBC show Wednesday night, as seen and heard in the embedded video, and savor a Freudian slip for the ages.
A question that comes to mind -- how does one accurately transcribe this? Is the correct spelling "wretch," defined in my Random House dictionary as "a deplorably unfortunate or unhappy person," or "retch," as in "to make efforts to vomit"?
Fortunately for Maddow, it could have been worse .... Joining us now is New York Times columnist Frank Bich ...
The fast-moving microblogging technology has become a household name. It is the technology that aided the recent Iranian uprising, that gave the global supporters of freedom and justice a way to communicate with the people on the ground in Iran – those poor, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.
Like much of the Internet, it is also sometimes a hive-mind of absurdity.
Case in point: MSNBC’s David Shuster. At approximately 4 p.m., July 7, Shuster graced the Twitterverse with this nugget:
By the way, for all of you watching on DirectTV and wondering why MSNBC is not in HD, ask mr. Murdoch/newscorps, the owner of DirectTV.
Ah yes, the wonderful figurehead of evil corporate moneymongers – the poster-child for all that is wrong (right?) with capitalism, Rupert Murdoch. Surely the mighty Murdoch has decreed that MSNBC be broadcast only in low-resolution on his company’s satellites.
Noted free-speech champion Keith Olbermann has declared that we have to "legally stop" Glenn Beck. The Fox News host's crime? Not reacting strongly enough for Olbermann's taste when a guest made an over-the-top remark. [H/t reader JKF.]
On the June 30 editon of Beck's show, former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer said: "the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to detonate a major weapon in the United States." Apparently Scheuer thinks that's what it would take to shock the country and its leaders back to their senses. Olbermann was infuriated that Beck didn't "scream at him" or otherwise jump down Scheuer's throat, choosing instead to nod gravely while suggesting that would be the last thing OBL would do.
MSNBC anchor and Keith Olbermann wannabe David Shuster is so beside himself with glee over Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation that he's eager to let the whole world -- or at least some 18,000+ followers on Twitter -- know about it 140 characters at a time. In the process Shuster spewed ad hominem attacks on Palin backers on Twitter and endorsed as a knee-slapper a July 3 slam of Palin penned by veteran Democratic hack Paul Begala.
Earlier Sunday evening the regular substitute host for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" snickered over Palin's choice of legal counsel and his "intellectual vapidity." Those comments came on the heels of Shuster lambasting Palin's defenders, including columnist Bill Kristol, as intellectually immature juveniles (tweets are in reverse chronological order):
Still laughing over palin lawyer thomas von flein. Now I'm beginning to feel sorry for palin.
Speaking of intellectual vapidity, check out the 4 page letter from palin lawyer. Sheesh
@laurapocketdem. Good point. I I owe an apology to all middle schoolers. I'm sorry for comparing you to some palin defenders. :)
In announcing that she was stepping down as Alaska Governor on Friday, Sarah Palin noted the unrelenting hostility of liberal media elites. In the barely ten months since she burst onto the national scene, Palin has been scorned and mocked by journalists -- including many supposedly objective reporters -- like few other politicians. Here are a few of the choicer attacks, as compiled from MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter:
"She is a far-right conservative who supported Pat Buchanan over George W. Bush in 2000. She thinks global warming is a hoax and backs the teaching of creationism in public schools. Women are not likely to be impressed by her opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and incest." — Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter in a "Web exclusive" posted on his magazine’s Web site, August 29, 2008.
"[McCain has] done it [picked Sarah Palin] at great cost, because the whole Republican convention...was going to be the slogan, ‘He’s not ready to lead,’ meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it’s just, it’s no contest." — Newsweek’s Howard Fineman on MSNBC’s Countdown, August 29.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: "This [McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin] is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it’s been literally laughter in many places across news-" Host John McLaughlin: "Where is that? See that?" Clift: "In very, very many newsrooms." — Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, August 31, 2008.
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of media attention the networks have given to Michael Jackson? You're not alone, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, and that fact puzzles MSNBC contributor Touré.
"And of course, the Jackson coverage raises a question," Snyderman said. "Has the media been spending too much time covering the Michael Jackson story? Certainly, it's something you can't get away from right now. A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 64 percent of people surveyed think that the coverage of the Jackson story is excessive. Three percent think, too little, 29 percent just about right."
The Democrats spent years complaining that Republicans were questioning their patriotism, so now that they are in power, they certainly won’t question the Republicans’ patriotism just because their views differ on political issue?
Yes, that was a rhetorical question.
After cap-and-trade passed with just eight Republican votes, Henry Waxman, author of the bill, accused Republicans of “rooting against the country … even rooting against the world.”
Considering how much attention the media gave to Rush Limbaugh’s out-of-context quotes about how he wanted Obama’s policies to fail and how Obama was hurting America, I wonder how much attention the media will give to Waxman, an actual politician, for making such antagonistic comments?
Over at TVBytheNumbers.com, we see that CNN has come in third to FoxNews and MSNBC respectively for weekday primetime ratings during the second quarter of this year. This is the first time that MSNBC has come out ahead of CNN ever.
Unfortunately for those of us wishing for a well informed public, it is the Keith Olbermann show that is driving MSNBC's ratings gain over CNN. Apparently Americans are desperately in need of comedy since last January.
At one point during her new MSNBC show today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman proclaimed:
"the White House, their health care agenda continues to be our agenda."
Snyderman would probably say she meant it only in terms of the subject matter the show will cover, not its point of view. But she was, if unintentionally, revealing a larger truth. Just in time for the Obama admin's push on health care, MSNBC has rolled out a show that loyally pushes the Obama plan, right down to the call for nationalization via the so-called "public option."
“Bruno,” a controversial movie about a gay Austrian fashionista is set to debut in the United States on July 10, but the film has already garnered an abundance of media attention due to its over-the-top portrayal of homosexuals. On June 29, MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting” featured a segment the was nothing short of a promotion for the film.
“Bruno” stars Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his controversial 2006 film “Borat,” as well as for his recent MTV Movie Award stunt in which he in character as Bruno, dropped into the theater on a harness and exposed his bare back side to rapper Eminem.
MSNBC's Carlos Watson on Monday provided a friendly forum for New York Times opinion writer Charles Blow to link red states and social conservatism with the hypocrisy of sex scandal-ridden politicians like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. In his June 26 column, Blow attacked right-leaning voters, "And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate."
Talking with Blow on MSNBC Live, Watson cited a questionable study finding the highest rates of online pornography correlate with Republican states. The cable host highlighted this connection and Census data finding that eight of the ten states with the highest divorce voted GOP in 2008. He asked the columnist to explain how one could be pro-family values in light of "seeing these other statistics." Blow attacked, "Well, I mean, I think you have to put Republicans to the side for a minute. It is social conservatism. And that is highly correlated to religiosity. The more religious people are, the more socially conservative they are, particularly on these sexual issues."
As Dan Rather sees it and decrees it, Sonia Sotomayor will make a fine Supreme Court justice. So the former CBS Evening News anchor told MSNBC's Carlos Watson this morning. The pair were discussing the impact of the high court's reversal today of Sotomayor's pro-affirmative action ruling in the New Haven firefighters case.
In Rather's opinion, while Sotomayor would have preferred the Supreme Court to rule the other way, her confirmation will nonetheless sail through, and once she ascends to the bench, she will be "a very good" Supreme Court justice.
On Morning Joe today, Carlos Watson "joked" that fear of Pres. Obama drove Rush Limbaugh to take pills. Watson is not some night-time MSNBC pundit paid to proffer controversial opinions. MSNBC has given Watson the daily 11 AM slot. The network describes him as the host of a "news recap" show.
Watson was riffing off a discussion of Rush's suggestion that Sanford's inability to prevent federal stimulus funds from coming into South Carolina, and his concerns about the federal government taking over, had pushed him to decide that he simply wanted to enjoy life.
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann crossed a line that political commentators and other partisan public figures normally do not traverse as they criticize political figures with whom they disagree -- he engaged in name-calling against the average voters who elected his political targets. During the show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann referred to voters as "idiots" and "buffoons" who voted into office two Republican legislators – Congressman Randy Neugebauer of Texas and State Representative Cynthia Davis of Missouri, whom he also called an "inhuman monster" for expressing her views in opposition to government welfare.
Because Neugebauer -- who is co-sponsoring a bill requiring future Presidents to present a birth certificate to prove legal U.S. citizenship -- answered with uncertainty when he was asked whether he believes President Obama is a U.S. citizen, Olbermann recounted the Congressman's response and snapped: "The people who elected you are obviously idiots. That does not mean everybody else is."
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?
On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, as host Keith Olbermann and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel discussed the apparent murder of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian government forces as part of the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, and the possibility that she will become the visual symbol for her country’s pro-democracy movement because her death was recorded, Engel brought up the infamous Mohammed al-Dura video clip from September 2000 and claimed that the Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli troops – as if this story were not in dispute – even though many who have examined the case closely over the years believe not only that the boy was not hit by Israeli bullets, but that the video purporting to document his shooting and death was likely a hoax.
The exchange from Monday's Countdown show, in which both Engel and Olbermann assumed the al-Dura story to be undisputed:
KEITH OLBERMANN: To the point of Neda Soltan, I don’t know that there’s ever been a revolution, or even a near revolution, that did not have an identifiable face, a martyr, you think of everything from Tiananmen Square to Lexington and Concord-
RICHARD ENGEL: I was thinking more, remember Mohammed al-Dura, the boy who was shot in Gaza-
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes.
ENGEL: -in his father’s arms-
ENGEL: -and who became a symbol of injustice? I think this is a similar moment.
This must be what it's like to listen to pundits in a country with state-run media.
Former president George W. Bush offers what barely passes as criticism of his successor and Obama's media apologists rush to his defense, as if to stanch a wound.
Here's Rachel Maddow and Dallas Morning News political reporter Wayne Slater on Maddow's MSNBC show June 18. In the first portion transcribed below, Maddow teases her discussion with Slater coming later in the show --
In the wake of the revelations about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, considered a potential 2012 GOP presidential contender, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart declared on MSNBC: “Maybe what the Republican Party is going to have to do is skip a generation and wait for the Meghan McCains to come of age so that they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party.” Capehart proceeded to pass along “a little joke” from Post colleague Charles Lane who “said at the rate Republicans are going, the only marriages that will be worth anything are the gay folks getting married in Vermont.”
At about 3:13 PM EDT, anchor Tamron Hall prompted Capehart's comments as she raised the name of the liberal younger McCain in forwarding the view the party must move left: “We've seen a lot of young Republicans, Meghan McCain and some others who've come out and said listen, this party has to modernize. They can no longer turn their backs on gays and tout family values as the way in.”
Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]
At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe. On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:
I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.
Chris Matthews showed up on the Morning Joe set on Monday morning, and he quickly established a pro-Obama hard line. On Iran, he claimed "We are not the good guys. We did not liberate Iran. They liberated themselves from our people." Life under the ayatollahs is "liberation"?
Matthews also insisted that a new New York Times poll showed the American people are instinctively socialistic on health care: "So there is a socialistic sense to it, like Social Security in a positive sense. Nobody wants anybody at the door at the hospital to be kept out when they are sick or dying. There is a social responsibility here that seems to fit like running museums, running zoos. There are certain things we expect government to do."
On Iran, Matthews was pleased that John McCain and Barack Obama were debating how explicitly the U.S. government should sympathize with the pro-democracy protesters, but he clearly came down for Obama and against rotten American policy going back to the arrival of the Shah of Iran in 1953:
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.