Rush Limbaugh's “Operation Chaos,” the effort to urge conservatives and Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Democratic nomination battle, certainly annoys MSNBC's Chris Matthews who, during primary coverage Tuesday night, denounced the “mischief-making” by “a talk jock.” In the 11:30 PM EDT half hour, Matthews offered a “Keith [Olbermann]-style special comment” about how “anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives.” He called it “a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died,” sarcastically remarking: “I hope you're proud of yourself.” The rant from Matthews:
I have to offer a Keith-style special comment on that. Anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives. What a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died, to use that vote to make mischief. I hope you're proud of yourself. [20-second MP3 audio of this comment]
That followed the contention of guest Michelle Bernard, of the Independent Women's Forum, that Limbaugh did “something positive” which helped Barack Obama “because he's said to African-Americans, ask the Democratic Party 'what have they done for you lately?'” and encouraged African-Americans to force “Republicans and Democrats to compete for the black vote.” For that, she concluded, “I say to Rush Limbaugh: good job.”
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter, also of Newsweek, suggested that voters who support Hillary Clinton's call for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax are "stupid" as he contended that the Clinton campaign team are "assuming that people are too stupid to realize that this is a bad idea that won't save them any money at the pump." Alter later argued that the tax cut strategy may end up succeeding politically for Clinton because "there are a lot of what are called 'low information' voters" who are "not reading the unanimous, unanimous newspaper editorials against this. They're not talking to the environmentalists, the economists, everybody who unanimously believes this is a bad idea. They're, you know, understandably struggling, and at the pump, they're paying a lot for gas, and they want some relief." (Transcript follows)
Want to see how the mainstream media views Fox News? Look no further than Newsweek's Howard Fineman and the way he thinks the Bush administration uses the network.
Fineman, who is Newsweek magazine's senior Washington correspondent and a regular on MSNBC, told an audience at the Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. on May 1 that if you want to know what the Bush administration has in store for Iran, keep your eye on Fox News.
"Now about Iran," Fineman said. "I think there's no doubt they're [the Bush administration] looking to see what can be done there and I would recommend Fox News to you. I can' believe I'm saying this, but if you want to know what's being thrown out there, what balloons are being floated - that's the place to look, okay. That's why you've got to scan all the media."
Though she leavened it with considerable levity, there's no escaping the bottom line: Mika Brzezinski sees Pat Buchanan as a nut. An affable one, to be sure. Even one with interesting things to say. But at heart, a nut. A "crazy uncle" fit for the same crate of cracked pots as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The prelude was Mika's reading of an excerpt from a brilliant essay by Charles Krauthammer in today's WaPo. Writing of Obama's recent attempt to definitively hurl Rev. Wright under the Greyhound, Krauthammer observed:
It's hard to think of an act more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done from the press club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be "contextualized" as something whites could not understand and only Obama could explain in all its complexity.
Turns out the Wright show was not that complex after all. Everyone understands it now. Even Obama.
It appears MSNBC's Dan Abrams is shamefully mimicking colleague Keith Olbermann's somewhat successful strategy to bring in viewers by belittling his competition.
Think of it as the largely unwatched liberal media member's "If you can't beat 'em, bash 'em" motif.
Despite how pathetic it is, it's certainly worked for Olbermann, whose incessant invective aimed at Bill O'Reilly -- interspersed, of course, between vitriolic rants against any politician with an "R" after his or her name, especially if it ends with "Bush" -- has nearly doubled the "Countdown" host's audience to almost a cool million.
At the April 29 Rose Garden press conference, Ryan asked President Bush the following question about the economy:
I talked to [Rep.] James Clyburn [D-S.C.] before this press conference. He said, "As a man thinketh, so are we." And Americans believe we are in a recession. What will it take for you to say those words, that we are in a recession?
Of course the following day, data from the federal government show the U.S. economy in slow economic growth, but far from the six months of negative growth needed for a recession. No matter to Ryan, who today went from applying the "as a man thinketh" logic to a 5-year old liberal media meme about the war in Iraq. Appearing shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT on MSNBC to discuss the 2008 presidential race, Ryan parroted liberal talking points on the Iraq war:
Aren't southern gentlemen supposedly chivalrous? Yet Joe Scarborough, son of the Florida Panhandle, today exploited Mika Brzezinski's less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of sports to lure his Morning Joe colleague into agreeing that the famous former coach of the Indiana University basketball team was none other than . . . Bear Bryant.
The jumping-off point was Joe's wearing of a red sweater today, which as a running gag he claimed was in solidarity with the workers of the world on this, May Day. But when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Hillary supporter, came on toward the end of the show, Scarborough pressed the sweater into double duty.
Dittoheads, you've been dissed. Chris Matthews has dismissed you as "manipulable"— mind-numbed robots, you might say. CNBC's John Harwood seconded the snub. It happened on this evening's Hardball as Matthews mused about the potential impact of Operation Chaos on the upcoming primaries.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How much of a move do you hear, John Harwood, the so-called Operation Chaos is going to play next Tuesday in Indianapolis [sic], the effort by Rush Limbaugh, the lovable Rush Limbaugh, I must say, to encourage Republicans, registered Republicans, to go vote for Hillary just to cause chaos and perhaps get her the nomination? How big a role will that be?
JOHN HARWOOD: My suspicion, Chris, is that's a lot more talk than action. I think there aren't that many voters who can be manipulated in that way to go make trouble in a primary election. And one of the things that's striking--
MATTHEWS: Butwhen you call yourself a "dittohead," it seems to me you've already defined yourself as someone who is, uh, let's put it this way—manipulable.
Was Barack Obama's denunciation of Rev. Wright yesterday just some ginned-up anger, a show for the cameras—and the voters? You might think so, to judge by Andrea Mitchell's surprising revelation on today's Morning Joe . . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What do you think of the Obama statement yesterday? Was it enough to finally put this behind him?
ANDREA MITCHELL: Perhaps, yes. He had to do it. This thing had been a nagging, you know, problem, an open wound really. This was a very public divorce. I should point out, though, that quite to my surprise when he was out on the stump last night, once again Obama was kind of trivializing it, saying "well, my opponents are making fun of me, and trying to define me, and saying I don't put my hand over my heart, and they talk about my former pastor's crazy statements." So he was trying to blame it on McCain, Hillary, whoever, rather than on what he earlier said in a very specific and dramatic way.
I'm beginning to see Joe Scarborough's skirmishes with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe as mere batting practice for the much more serious battles he undertakes in the evening with Rachel Maddow on Race for the White House.
As Noel Sheppard documented, Maddow and Scarborough tangled on April 17th, with Joe possibly having exited the set in the end. The pair were back at it on this evening's "Race," the Air America host this time accusing Scarborough of "tying Barack Obama to Hitler."
Maddow's theme throughout the show was that the media has devoted too much coverage to the Rev. Wright matter. David Shuster, subbing for host David Gregory, lit the fuse.
Chris Matthews invited on former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday’s "Hardball," and not surprisingly tossed softballs at his former boss and prompted him to weigh-in on Jeremiah Wright as he asked: "Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?"
The following exchange occurred on the April 29 edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?
JIMMY CARTER: I don't have any doubt. They'll use everything they can by the racial card. That's what the Republicans have done, at least in the South, ever since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson ran against, against Barry Goldwater. And my mother was Lyndon Johnson's campaign, campaign leader in Sumter county. So yeah I think they will use everything they can against Obama if he gets the nomination.
On last night's "Verdict" with Dan Abrams, Dan and guest [Constitutional Law Professor] Jonathan Turley dissected Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After dissenting with Scalia's claim that it was Al Gore "who brought it (election 2000) into the Florida courts," Turley then made the following claim:
Look, both sides were challenging this question. The funny thing of course is that Al Gore appears to have won Florida. And so, when Justice Scalia says he brought this trouble upon himself, that‘s not exactly fair since he apparently won the state, did not get credit for the state and ultimately lost the presidency over that failure.
Leftist MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked NewsBusters and the Media Research Center in his "Worst Person in the World" segment on Monday night, awarding us the "Worser" prize with a typical sneer: "The nice thing about being on the opposite side of the war with the Media Research/NewsBusters crowd is they're really stupid." Olbermann singled out Tim Graham's Friday post on Nancy Pelosi hailing both the Pope and the Dalai Lama as "Holinesses." Media Matters posted on Friday that President Bush had done the same thing. Olbermann, whose broadcast often cribs heavily from that site, pounced:
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
For a moment, let's step away from the commentary, per se, and focus on the commentators. Liberals love to chide Fox News for its alleged conservative bias. So why don't we see, when it comes to being fair and balanced, how this morning's Fox News Sunday panel stacked up against that of its main competitor, Meet the Press?
Last February, NewsBusters reported the resignation of retired Col. Ken Allard from NBC News as a result of the military analyst's view the network was undergoing a "precipitous retreat from journalistic and ethical standards."
On Sunday, Allard was more specific, claiming, "I thought they really had moved very slowly to the left, and I also thought that when they had the chance to clarify to the fact that they were not moving to the left, they didn't do so."
CNN's Howard Kurtz set this up on "Reliable Sources":
You can tell the Democratic campaign is getting combative when The Huffington Post is forcing Keith Olbermann to apologize. Rachel Sklar of the Huffington media site Eat the Press took exception to Olbermann on Wednesday night suggesting to Newsweek’s Howard Fineman that the Democrats need someone to force Hillary Clinton to quit, "Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out."
Sklar added an update, that an MSNBC spokesperson sent over a brief apology from Olbermann: "It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic ‘he’ gender could imply something untoward. It should've been ‘only the other comes out - from a political point of view.’ You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism." As if Olbermann always calls Republicans for reaction first before he spews.
The notable thing about this exchange is how fiery the Newsweek reporter is about getting Hillary to quit as soon as possible, that Hillary is being childish and she needs adult supervision, since this fight is going on way too long and is doing too much damage to the dear Democrats:
MSNBC's Dan Abrams and the folks in the liberal blogosphere are going to be very disappointed tomorrow when they witness what Chris Wallace says was "a very friendly exchange" between the "Fox News Sunday" host and Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In fact, despite what Talking Points Memo reported Friday concerning Obama doing the program to "take on Fox," as well as Jonathan Kim's ("Fox Attacks") recommendation on MSNBC's "Verdict" that the junior senator from Illinois should "[go] on and just [attack] them," it appears Chris and Barack had an exceedingly civil and informative discussion about the campaign and the issues facing the nation.
As he was driving home from his meeting with Obama, Wallace called in to give a preview of the interview to FNC's "Weekend Live" (h/t Johnny Dollar):
Honestly, the hypocrisy of liberal media members knows no bounds.
On Friday, Dan Abrams of MSNBC voiced extreme displeasure with the announcement that Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama is finally going to be interviewed by Chris Wallace on this weekend's "Fox News Sunday."
This from a man whose very network has hosted numerous presidential debates despite moderators Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann being clearly in the tank for Obama.
Amazingly, this contradiction continues to elude the good folks at MSNBC as demonstrated by the following partial transcript of Friday's "Verdict" (readers are cautioned to have a trash receptacle handy in case of involuntary retroperistalsis):
Who said leftists are opposed to the death penalty? It's just a question of whose neck's in the noose . . .
Many might wax nostalgic for the America immortalized in Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover drawings. Not Keith Olbermann. He longs for the good old days when people like Rush Limbaugh . . . could be strung up. Here's the Countdown host tonight, speaking with Air America's Rachel Maddow:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Legally, we've come a very long way since the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886 when we wound up hanging some anarchist writers, who were not even in the state, as murderers by proxy. And legally there is this question of "temporal remoteness" [separation in time between the statement and the act]. You say this now on the radio, it happens in August. It's not like yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater; it is protected speech. But do you think that Limbaugh has any idea that were he to repeat what he said on the air, say the day before the convention, or during it, he might actually be morally or legally responsible for incitement to riot?
You're a member of the MSM and a Barack Obama backer. But I repeat myself. More specifically, you're Chris Matthews. What better way to promote your guy's candidacy than to claim that Republicans would really rather run against Hillary?
That's just what the Hardball host did on this afternoon's show. Here's his exchange with the–in my opinion–very impressive Republican strategist Todd Harris, who worked for McCain in 2000, and with Dem strategist Michael Feldman.
Chris Matthews remains clueless that support and opposition to Obama for the majority of Americans has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Opposition to Obama has much more to do with his policies and the controversial company he keeps. Listen to the advice he has for Obama:
MATTHEWS: You got to talk like a firebrand because if you‘re carrying their fight for them, they‘re going to like you. You know, a lot of white people root for black athletes because they‘re winning for the home team. People are quite willing to pick up black heroes, if they‘ll win for their side.
As you pretty much have to know by now due to the fact that they won't shut up about it, NBC Universal's "Green Is Universal" campaign is winding down. Begining next week, we'll no longer be hearing the media giant's numerous television properties spreading feel-good environmentalism to viewers and promoting allegedly earth-friendly policies (ethanol, anyone?). I, for one, couldn't be more happy, not just because we'll finally be spared the painful inanity that such reports often entail but also because of the numerous acts of unethical journalism we'll no longer have to witness.
We often hear lefties rage against Rupert Murdoch for allegedly harming the objectivity of his employees by forcing his "right-wing" politics on them. At the same time, however, our journalistic bluenoses routinely turn a blind eye to flagrant corporate-sponsored journalism such as "Green" or the equally disturbing case of an Australian company literally banning its employees from criticizing its own "Earth Hour" campaign.
We all know the reason why media-beat reporters are unconcerned by such actions of course. It's because they support liberal policy goals. Sadly, in the eyes of many left-leaning journalists, good journalism is liberal journalism. As troubling as the fact that NBC News has willingly prostrated itself before its corporate master is, it's probably less disturbing than the fact that the entire "Green" campaign seems to have been cooked up by NBC Universal's own parent company, General Electric, as a way to make money for itself.
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
On Election Night 1990, after the news broke that Sen. Jesse Helms had beaten black Democrat Harvey Gantt, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell mourned "This has really been a heart-breaking race," and compared Helms to racist David Duke. On Thursday, Mitchell was seeing old Helms commercials as she denounced the North Carolina Republican Party ads featuring Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s "God damn America" comments. "This has such deep roots in the North Carolina Republican Party, the Jesse Helms Republican Party," she complained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
During her 1 pm newscast on Wednesday, Mitchell interviewed McCain adviser Jack Kemp, and asked him what the ad says "about the Republican Party." Kemp agreed with McCain’s call to pull the ad, but displeased Mitchell by adding "The American people know exactly what Reverend Wright stands for. That's Barack Obama's problem and it's going to stick for him for a long time to come."
When you're a Clintonite, you're a Clintonite all the way. From your first Monicagate defense, To Hil's last primary day.—with apologies to Leonard Bernstein*
Look next to the definition of "Clinton loyalist" in the dictionary, and you're likely to find a photo of Lanny Davis. The man who would have put Baghdad Bob to shame for his unflinching flackery during Bill's Monica mess is back on the beat for Hillary. Yesterday, Davis wrote a HuffPo column purporting to set forth 10 Undisputed Facts showing Obama's weakness as a general election candidate against John Mccain. As Jake Tapper has observed, some of those "facts" are "both disputed and not facts," including the risible notion that Hillary didn't run any negative ads. Guess the commercial featuring Osama Bin Laden slipped Lanny's mind.
Davis was back at it on today's Morning Joe. After repeating his claim from the HuffPo column that Obama is in a dead heat with McCain in super-blue in Massachusetts while Hillary's up by 15%, Davis took his anti-Obama argument a giant step further. Davis claimed that Barack is on track to lose in a blow-out of epic, McGovernesque, proportions.
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews thought he saw racism in two ads targeted against Barack Obama, but when his media panel full of liberal journalists disagreed he back-pedaled a bit.
First up Matthews ran a clip of what he called a "nasty," ad by the North Carolina Republican Party. The Politico's Roger Simon agreed with Matthews that it was "nasty" but said, he wasn’t sure it was "unfair."
Then Matthews ran an ad hitting Obama for opposing the death penalty in Chicago for gang members and claimed:
"It's a giant permission slip to somebody who doesn't want to vote for him to begin with. And it’s also a permission slip for the Republican Party to use him as a target throughout the general election."
However Simon disagreed with Matthews’ implication that it had a racial tinge as he pointed out:
See that green thing over there? It's MSNBC's fig leaf. The network has decided to take it all off and admit what everyone knew was obvious: that it's trying to become the far-left's cable channel of choice.
That's really about all you can say after learning the news that the MSNBC show "Race for the White House" will now be simulcast live at 6pm ET on Air America, the low-rated radio network for liberals.
"Race" is a nightly show about the 2008 campaign hosted by liberal NBC reporter David Gregory and prominently features Air America host Rachel Maddow as a panelist. The simulcast move is just one of the latest in a long series of leftward moves made by MSNBC since it determined that pandering to the nutroots left could rescue it from the ratings cellar.