Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR—a self-described progressive media watch group—now a professor of independent media at Ithaca College, invited me to address his class of student bloggers this afternoon. Asked to name some of the fairer MSM journalists, I included David Gregory on my short list. That could understandably come as a surprise to those who remember Gregory from his days as NBC's chief White House correspondent, when he earned the ire of the Bush administration for his often-aggressive style. But I've found that Gregory plays it pretty much down the middle in his new role as host of Race for the White House on MSNBC.
By coincidence, on this evening's show Gregory vindicated my confidence with some tough questioning of an Obama surrogate on the issue of taxes and spending. Gregory went so far as to suggest that Obama's indication that he might not press for immediate implementation of tax increases on higher earners makes McCain's case. Gregory's guest was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. When Van Hollen suggested Obama might postpone his tax-increase plan, Gregory moved in . . .
Editor at large of Time magazine Mark Halperin appeared on Tuesday's edition of "Morning Joe" and admitted "mistakes have been made" in regards to the media's coverage of Barack Obama and that "people will regret it." Analyzing the fawning press that the Democratic presidential candidate has received, he added, "If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful president, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn't done the right way."
Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe," prompted the brief discussion when he opened the MSNBC program by declaring, "But I got to say this, the media, the media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think." He then asked Halperin if journalists are "just in love with history?" Halperin candidly responded, "History and the story is just- it's great for us. It's been great for us. He's a great story." He went on to make his "mistakes have been made" quip, prompting Scarborough to burst out laughing.
Bob Shrum has made an addition to the growing list of things you can't say about Obama, because it's racist: don't you dare suggest Obama's never done anything hard.
Dem Shrum issued his diktat while debating Ed Rogers, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses, on today's Hardball. Shrum seized on and distorted Rogers' statement, manifestly made in the political sense, that Obama had "never done one hard thing," to play the race card.
B.C. and A.D? Get with it, old man. History is henceforth divided into the eras of B.B. and A.B.—Before and After Barack. And George W. might have been "misunderestimated" as he engaged in "strategery." But that's so, like, yesterday. Barack Obama is "pre-deortained." By whom? Spike Lee stopped short of saying God's hand is at work. But he was clearly speaking in quasi-religious terms in discussing The One on today's Morning Joe.
An unintentionally hilarious assertion was made by Alaska State Senator Hollis French on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show Friday night.
Maddow and French were discussing the so-called Troopergate scandal and Gov. Sarah Palin's alleged grudge in firing former Alaska public safety commissioner Walt Monegan for not reopening an investigation of a state trooper who went through a nasty divorce with Palin's sister.
Hollis, a Democrat who led the state legislature's investigation into Palin's actions in firing Monegan last July, cited "severe logical fallacies" in claims made by Palin and her husband Todd, including the Palins' request for reduced security despite their assertions that Wooten was a rogue cop.
Then came the coup de grace from French:
Stop and think about, what good does it do to fire a trooper if you really think he's dangerous?
Imagine that a week before a presidential election, a radio interview surfaced in which the Republican candidate had called for, say, the abolition of Social Security. Now imagine the broadcast networks' reaction to that nugget: "We interrupt regularly-scheduled programming for this Breaking News," followed by 24/7 coverage with talking heads pondering the devastating impact on America's seniors, the overall economy, the future of Western civilization, etc. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman would be booked from now till election day, offering his pained pronouncements.
But how do those same networks react when a radio interview [YouTube after the jump] surfaces of Barack Obama in a call for the redistribution of wealth, in which he laments the Supreme Court's insufficient radicalism in pursuing redistribution and refers to the civil rights movement's failure to develop a better strategy to bring about wealth redistribution as a "tragedy?
Renegade Night on Hardball. First up, Bill Weld. The former Republican governor of Massachusetts, who has endorsed Obama, told Chris Matthews he believed the Dem candidate would, as president, reach across the aisle to govern. Weld didn't—couldn't—cite anything to support his assertion out of Obama's hyper-partisan Senate record in which he's toed the Harry Reid line 97% of the time.
But as apostasy goes, that was small potatoes compared to Christopher Hitchens. The God Is Not Great author who, despite his support for the Iraq war, has also recently endorsed Obama, told Matthews he believes McCain is "borderline senile."
Is Chris Matthews so excited to pounce on any perceived Sarah Palin controversy that he can not get his facts straight? As NewsBusters previously reported, Matthews, in mocking Governor Palin’s alleged ignorance on the role of the vice president, stated incorrect facts on the history of the vice presidency. A further investigation finds that Chris Matthews mangled his facts over the HBO miniseries, "John Adams," as well. First his quote to McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer on the October 22 edition of "Hardball."
"Either she’s right about the vice presidency or I’m wrong. I say the role of the vice presidency, under the Constitution, is limited to breaking ties in the U.S. Senate. It has nothing to do with policy making, nothing to do with Senate leadership on either side of the aisle. There is no policy role whatever for the vice president. If you’ve even watch ‘John Adams’ on television a few months ago, you would know that going in to the very beginning of our democracy. The vice president has a formal role only. She believes somehow that the vice president of the United States has some sort of commanding policy development role and can lead the U.S. Senate. Where does she get this from?"
Let's take a break from the tedious MSM spin on the latest polls, and settle back and enjoy the televised spectacle of two people who patently dislike each other going at it on live national TV.
Former UN Ambassador/current Obama backer Richard Holbrooke was a guest on today's Morning Joe. Observing Holbrooke over the years, he's struck me as someone with, shall we say, a deep and abiding appreciation for his own acumen and importance.
Holbrooke and host Joe Scarborough repeatedly clashed over a host of issues from Biden's latest gaffe to Osama Bin Laden. But beyond the substance, it was the unvarnished animosity between the two that makes this must-see TV.
Amanda Carpenter at Townhall brings our attention to something amazing: NBC and MSNBC are working with ACORN and other left-wing interest groups in a "nonpartisan" effort at "Election Protection." Is that a bad joke, working with ACORN on ballot integrity? An NBC press release on Tuesday announced:
With less than 14 days before Election Day, NBC News and Election Protection will be joining forces to help voters ensure that their vote will count. The news leader and the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition will work together to promote the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline and www.866ourvote.org website so that voters can receive live assistance if they encounter problems, and access the information before they head to the polls now through Election Day.
Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
That would be the same "nonpartisan" lobby group that's staunchly opposed conservative Supreme Court nominees from Bork to Alito.
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
I suppose that mocking Republican candidates is an essential element of a Washington Post editorial writer's job description. Even so, it was jarring to hear the snide comments of WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart [seen right in file photo] about Sarah Palin read on the air today. Not merely did he mock her shopping habits, Capehart came very close to accusing Palin of . . . "child abuse."
Mika Brzezinski, at the Morning Joe helm with Joe Scarborough off on assignment today, led the show with the Politico report that the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150 thousand on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and family. Also aired was a clip of Palin describing the duties of the vice-president to a third-grader, the accuracy of which has been questioned.
Spreading the WordAs we reported earlier, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather noted on today's Morning Joe on MSNBC that the traditional media is largely ignoring Democratic Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden's alarming comment on Sunday: "... (M)ark my words, within the next, first six months of this administration if we win, you're gonna face a major international challenge, because they are going to want to test him...."
Rather pointed out "... (C)ertainly if Sarah Palin had said this it would be above the fold in most newspapers today... (I)f Sarah Palin had said this, the newspapers would have jumped all over it and so would have the major television outlets."
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed with Rather's assessment, saying "I'm seeing spotty media coverage."
Guess who said the following this morning about Joe Biden's latest gaffe—his statement that America would be faced with a major international crisis within the first six months of an Obama administration as foreign forces seek to test the young new president: "certainly if Sarah Palin had said this, it would be above the fold in most newspapers today."
1. Brent Bozell 2. Rush Limbaugh 3. McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer 4. Dan Rather
If you guessed 1, 2 or 3, you'd be a rational NewsBusters reader . . . but wrong. Yes, the answer is 4, Dan Rather. In true man-bites-MSM mode, Rather made the remark on today's Morning Joe.
On Friday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota appeared on Hardball and pounded away at Barack Obama’s associations with his long-time minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright and bomber Bill Ayers, suggesting that the media should be investigating these associations with very anti-American voices, and that if John McCain had these associations, the media would be all over it. Chris Matthews couldn’t stand it. But he was nothing compared to others on the left – like the ones who started a Censure Bachmann website. Or raving left-wing talk show host Mike Malloy (the former CNN news writer!), who wildly associated the conservative Republican with Nazis, and death in general:
She represents a district in Minnesota, she's a Republican of course, and she’s a hatemonger. She’s the type of person that would have gladly rounded up the Jews in Germany and shipped them off to death camps. She’s the type of person who would have had no problem sending typhoid smeared blankets to Native American families awaiting deportation to reservations. She’s the type of person that I’m sure believes that the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam was good and the use of depleted uranium in Iraq served a purpose. This is an evil bitch from hell. I mean, just an absolute evil woman.
Keith Olbermann cowardly responded to the jokes John McCain made about him at Thursday's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner by attacking Gov. Sarah Palin.
After showing some of the hysterical jibes made at the charity event by McCain and Barack Obama, the "Countdown" host on Friday picked up a microphone, and while doing an astoundingly poor impersonation of a nightclub comic, launched into a tremendously unfunny attack on both members of the Republican presidential ticket (video embedded right):
They [the RNC] are calling voters, cold calls, and saying to them, what about William Ayers and the close working relationship he had [with Obama], which is not true by anybody's count . . . It certainly is a mischaracterization of the relationship. -- Andrea Mitchell to Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), MSNBC 10-17-08.
Andrea Mitchell, meet Stanley Kurtz . . .
It's turning into Andrea Mitchell Day here. Earlier, I noted how Mitchell, measuring the drapes for Obama, predicted that he would run a "bipartisan" administration. Now Mitchell has ridden to Obama's defense, denying that he ever worked closely with Wiliam Ayers.
You might know Barack Obama as the most liberal member of the Senate, a hyper-partisan who toed the Harry Reid line an amazing 97% of the time. But Andrea Mitchell sees in Obama a bipartisan president in the making. Appearing on Morning Joe today, Mitchell came close to speaking of an Obama presidency as a given, just managing to curb her enthusiasm. And wait till you see the people she cited as evidence of Obama's bipartisan proclivity.
John McCain and Barack Obama attended the annual white-tie Al Smith dinner in New York last night. CNN carried their attempts to be funny during Larry King Live. McCain launched on MSNBC:
McCAIN: And some advocates for Senator Obama are less restrained in their enthusiasm, even in the media. All right, he usually is at table 228, for example, my old friend and Green Room pal Chris Matthews. He used to like me, but he found somebody new -- somebody who opened his eyes, somebody who gave him a thrill up his leg. (Laughter) And we've talked about it. I told him maverick I can do, but messiah is above my pay grade.
Has Mike Barnicle called Sarah Palin stupid? Seems that way. In a Huffington Post column that Mika Brzezinski read on today's Morning Joe, Barnicle, referring to Palin, wrote of the:
preposterous pronouncements of a woman whose candidacy is an insult to intelligence.
Let's deconstruct. The normal formulation is an "insult to our intelligence," used to describe an assertion that is obviously unbelievable. For example, you might say Barack Obama insulted our intelligence when he claimed against all evidence during this week's debate that his only tie to ACORN is his past representation of the group in a lawsuit. But when Barnicle writes that Sarah Palin's candidacy is an insult not to "our" intelligence, but to intelligence itself, it's hard to read that other than as suggesting Palin is something other than smart. Throw in his reference to "preposterous pronouncements" and there's little doubt that the person Barnicle intended to insult is Palin herself. Mika seemed to acknowledge that Barnicle meant to slur Sarah, observing, after reading that last line, "that's rough stuff."
After playing an exchange from last night's presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, thought he was watching an old "Looney Tunes" cartoon, as he chuckled: "Sometimes I think I'm watching Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd here." In this case Matthews believed McCain, in the role of Fudd, was being outwitted, once again, by that "wascally wabbit," Obama.
Recapping Wednesday's presidential debate TV journalists were struck with how Barack Obama conveyed an “appeal to the center” while a “sarcastic” John McCain showed “disdain and contempt” and was hurt by being too much of a right-wing “ideologue” whose “worst moment” came when he raised the name of William Ayers.
Also noteworthy: On NBC, Ann Curry pressed six undecided voters to “raise your hand if you know of people, and be honest here, who may not vote for Barack Obama because of his race.” And NBC anchor Brian Williams asked Hillary Clinton to assess Sarah Palin: “Is Governor Palin qualified to be Vice President or President?”
On “Nightline,” George Stephanopoulos went three for three for the Democrat -- four for four if you add in Biden over Palin -- in declaring Obama the “winner.” Read on for our recap.
Imagine that Chris Matthews was interviewing the former head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, someone who helped engineer the election of a Republican House member after the incumbent Dem had been caught in a sex scandal. Now imagine that same Republican was currently stuck in a sex scandal of his own, and just that afternoon a credible report emerged that he might drop out of the race. What are the odds Matthews wouldn't have raised the new scandal with the former RCCC chairman? About as good as Keith Olbermann suddenly endorsing McCain-Palin after tonight's debate, you say? Agreed.
Yet when Matthews had Rahm Emanuel on his show this evening, the Hardball host failed to raise the matter of Tim Mahoney with Emanuel, the hyper-partisan Dem and former DCCC chairman. This despite the Politico's report that Mahoney might be dropping out, he who won Mark Foley's seat after the Republican was forced out of the race in 2006 after sordid details emerged of his text messaging with male House pages.
There was one amusing moment: after defending William Ayers as a "distinguished professor," Emanuel balked at calling him a "good guy" on the grounds he didn't know him. Right.
Chris Matthews spent the entire first segment of Tuesday night's "Hardball," questioning Sarah Palin's "intellectual ability" to lead but Republican Congressman Dan Lungren wasn't having any of it, as he countered: "You want to talk about my friend Joe Biden who made at least 10 misstatements in the last debate," and even made fun of Matthews' Obama fondness, as the California Congressman fired back: "Chris she does not send a tingle up my leg like Barack Obama does to you."
After playing a clip of Palin on Rush Limbaugh's radio show today, Matthews seemed dumbfounded that anyone believed Palin was capable of serving in the White House as he pressed Lungren:
Are you confident in Governor Palin's ability to help lead this country in complicated times? The person you just heard from, in one of the rare moments we've had where she spoke without notes, without a script?
After Lungren expressed his confidence in Palin's experience, Matthews made fun of Alaska's population as he told Lungren: "You have more constituents than the Governor of Alaska." When Lungren retorted with the "tingle" slam the "Hardball" host scoffed:
National Review's David Frum on Monday accused MSNBC's Rachel Maddow of intensifying the ugly tone that exists in politics today.
Appearing on "The Rachel Maddow Show," the former Bush speechwriter, after watching the first part of the program from the Green Room "in horror," was apparently "unprepared for the sarcasm and anger" that is the show's -- and the network's! -- trademark.
As a result, when he "was asked about how awful and hateful the John McCain campaign was" instead of his recent trip to Afghanistan as planned, Frum, feeling "a little grouchy," marvelously replied (video embedded right, h/t Hot Air):
If you're going base an entire TV show on taking potshots at conservatives and Republicans for anything and everything, you might try to get at least the simple things right - things like grade-school U.S. geography.
MSNBC's Oct. 13 "Rachel Maddow Show" must not have read that memo. After launching into a Keith Olbermann-esque tirade criticizing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's geographic campaign strategy, the best and the brightest couldn't correctly label the state of Indiana, mistaking it for Illinois - which ironically is Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's home state.
On what should be the crowning day of his professional career, one hopes for his sake that Paul Krugman wasn't watching Morning Joe. For news of his economics Nobel was met by the crew with ridicule that even Mika Brzezinski couldn't resist. Andrea Mitchell tried to uphold the Krugman honor, but—as seen in the screencap—even she couldn't suppress a smile at the award's arrant absurdity.
Joe Scarborough piqued Mika's curiosity with his teasing of the news, while guest Jim Cramer saw the award as confirmation that America is well on the way to socialism.