As already noted on NewsBusters, former CBS anchor Dan Rather appeared on Monday’s edition of "Morning Joe" and lobbied for a "a strategic withdrawal from Iraq." He also found time to twice bash his "Evening News" successor Katie Couric for dumbing down and tarting up the news. After giving the standard caveat that Couric is a "nice person," he went in for kill. Speculating on the program’s declining ratings, Rather complained to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough that "the mistake was to try to bring the ‘Today’ show ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience."
Rather vociferously derided the media’s obsession with celebrities, in particular the hyperbolic coverage of the Paris Hilton affair. (This is a fair point, but it’s a little odd to be making it on MSNBC, one of the worst offenders in Hilton overkill.) For a second time in the 7:30am hour, he attacked the "superficial changes" made in his absence:
On Wednesday’s "Situation Room," liberal anchor Jack Cafferty argued that, perhaps, it's President Bush, not Vladimir Putin, who is attempting to reignite the Cold War. However, Cafferty might want to consider the fact that fewer pesky journalists seem to mysteriously disappear in the United States than they do in Russia.
During this week’s Republican debate, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer had a suggestion for the national GOP: Be more like liberal Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, this is an idea he’s peddled four times since the midterm elections. Isn’t it sweet when left-wing journalists offer advice to the Republican Party?
Speaking of liberal cable hosts, Keith Olbermann suggested this week that the unraveling of a terror plot at JFK airport was politically timed to help the Bush administration. Yes, Keith, and the Paris Hilton media soap opera is a cover by the White House to distract from the immigration debacle.
What are the odds Ben Affleck would refer to Muslims who believe literally in the Koran as "Neanderthals?" But when it comes to Christians . . .
As NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, Affleck appeared on yesterday evening's edition of Hardball. And while it's true that the actor/director/Dem activist offered a generally innocuous analysis, he did manage to engage in a bit of religious bigotry.
Affleck's foul foray arose in the course of his discussion of the way the various Republican candidates have dealt with the issue of evolution and creationism. Talk turned to the former governor of Arkansas.
BEN AFFLECK: I think Huckabee actually framed his position in a much less dramatic way than had been made out. Which was he said it could be six days, or it could be six epochs, which I thought was much more along the kind of intelligent design lines than his position had been cast. In other words, he had been made out to a little bit of a kind of like a real sort of Neanderthal about it, a literalist.
On tonight's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on actor Ben Affleck to pontificate on the 2008 presidential race and while the liberal actor stuck to safe, conventional wisdom observations on the likes of Rudy, Hillary and Barack he couldn't resist a pointed jab at the current administration. When Matthews recited an emailer’s question about impeaching President Bush, Affleck reasoned it wasn’t necessary since Bush and Cheney are "going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history."
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the June 7th edition of MSNBC’s Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "Scott Trent of North Carolina: 'Mr. Affleck, what is your opinion on the possibility of impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Do you support impeachment for the crimes of the administration?' That's Trent, Scott Trent of North Carolina."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough contacted NewsBusters a few moments ago with the relevant transcript from his June 1 "Morning Joe" program, lamenting in an e-mail that our "follow up blog on Newsbusters... actually omits fact that there was a long discussion started by female athlete re pole exercising. Transcript shows whole thing taken wildly out of context."
Here's the transcript, as forwarded by Scarborough to us after receiving same from Christopher Licht, executive producer of "Scarborough Country":
In what will surely be one of the largest ever, if not the largest, in-kind contributions to a presidential campaign if Al Gore decides to run, NBC Universal announced late last week that its networks will devote an incredible 75 hours of time on Saturday, July 7 to showing Gore's “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.”
In addition to the entirety of NBC's prime time that night hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, CNBC will carry seven hours of coverage from 7pm to 2am EDT; Bravo will show the concerts around the world for 18 hours starting at 8am EDT; and both the Sundance channel and the Universal HD channel will showcase the concerts for 22 hours each beginning at 4am EDT.
Rounding out the 75 hours, mun2 will run a two-hour show at 5pm EDT and Telemundo will air a one-hour special at 7pm EDT. And that's not counting how NBC's press release touted that “MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London.”
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
Conservative blogs are abuzz with a controversial remark MSNBC's Joe Scarborough made on his Friday "Morning Joe" program about Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is mulling over a White House bid.
Check the link if you think I’m kidding, I’ll wait.
Anyway, on Friday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews interviewed the publisher, Eric Jackson of World Ahead Publishing (absolutely must-see video available here). And, trust me, Matthews was having a hard time controlling himself, especially towards the end when he asked his guest:
Chris Matthews began his interview of Dan Bartlett by singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" in his honor. He ended with an apparently heartelt plea that Bartlett, who today announced that he will be leaving his position as counselor to President Bush, not join Fox News.
Bartlett was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In a segment beginning at 5:24 pm EDT, Matthews first sparred with Bartlett over the rift between President Bush and his conservative base over immigration reform. At the end of the interview, talk turned to Bartlett's future plans.
On Tuesday, Chris Matthews made clear his displeasure with the Mexicans who booed the American entrant at the Miss Universe pageant. Matthews was back on the conservative side of the cultural divide today, letting Air America's Mark Green know in no uncertain terms that he didn't appreciate being classified a bigot because he does not support gay marriage.
Green, a perennial candidate for office in New York who now with his multi-millionaire brother has bought Air America out of bankruptcy, was Matthews' guest on this afternoon's Hardball along with GOP consultant Ed Rogers.
At about 5:38 pm EDT, the topic turned to gay marriage.
Yes he leans left. But MSNBC host Chris Matthews was manifestly offended by the Mexican audience at the Miss Universe pageant that booed Miss USA. The Mexicans were adding insult to injury, since the lovely and gracious Rachel Smith of Tennessee had earlier slipped onto her derrière during the evening gown segment of the competititon.
Discussing the matter on this afternoon's Hardball with his panel of NBC political director Chuck Todd, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Tribune, Matthews unleashed on the Mexicans:
That's about the worst PR I can think of for this Mexican immigration bill which is mainly helping Mexicans become legal Americans. . . This young woman smiled right through it. That's class, but [the booing] wasn't very classy.
What is it about immigration though that bothers Mexicans? I mean there are 12 million here illegally. That's fairly benign, even if it is passive, policy. It's hardly predatory. What other country in the world let's 12 million come in there, live there illegally? How can you be mad at that?
Katie Couric may be many things (don’t call her perky), but she’s not subtle. The "CBS Evening News" anchor touted a new special on Walter Cronkite, a journalist who "stood up to the Commander in Chief" during an "unpopular war."
Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now the anchor of ABC’s "This Week," took time out of his interview with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to muse with the Democrat over what it would be like to stand at the House podium behind the first female President. Hmm, who might that be?
In case you somehow missed it elsewhere, NewsBusters has the complete transcript (and video) of the O’Donnell/Hasselbeck dust-up. Thrill as Rosie, who says the media portrays her as a "fat," "loud lesbian," faced off against the feisty token conservative. On Friday, the MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that O'Donnell will not be returning for her contract's final three weeks.
When it comes to anti-war politics, Rosie O'Donnell is one bedfellow Chris Matthews would gladly do without. The MSNBC host made that crystal clear on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews played a clip of O'Donnell's recent slanging spate in which she unmistakably intimated to Elizabeth Hasselbeck that US troops are terrorists, responsible for 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq [itself a grossly exaggerated figure in any case].
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: While I generally sympathize with her point of view, her skepticism about this war, I do have a problem with her suggestion that we're the terrorists, which is clearly what the intent of that conversation was.
Don't you dare call Mika Brzezinski a mere newsreader. Beyond simply enunciating words off the teleprompter, the MSNBC host doesn't hesitate to share her [left-leaning] views with viewers, too.
Take a segment that aired at 3:35 pm EDT today on the topic of gasoline prices. Introducing the discussion, Mika expressed her shock and outrage that sales of SUVs have recently risen despite relatively high gas prices. PoutedMika: "what's wrong with these people? Why do they need them?"
Mika's guest was Tyson Slocum of the liberal Public Citizen group, which is headed by Joan Claybrook, a former Carter administration official. Mika, of course, is the daughter of another Carter administration official, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. A couple members of the extended Carter-administration family, having a friendly chat on a day the former president is making headlines for breaking the unwritten taboo on past White House occupants bashing the incumbent.
On only his second day as a Don Imus-substitute, NBC reporter David Gregory proved that he can promote Democratic talking points in any medium. For the Thursday edition of "Gregory Live," which is simulcast on MSNBC and on radio, the veteran correspondent interviewed Illinois Senator and White House contender Barack Obama and asked him no tough questions.
He began by noting how the Democratic Senator has received "great media attention, great enthusiasm and crowds and people showering you with money." How absurd is it for Mr. Gregory to refer to Obama’s "great media attention" in the third person? After all, it was NBC’s "Today" show, where Gregory sometimes guest hosts, that labeled the Senator an "electrifying" "rock star."
After his fawning preface, Mr. Gregory did manage, finally, to segue into a question:
Proving that he's not a fan of Republicans, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews slammed 2008 GOP contenders on Wednesday for running a "mordant," "negative campaign." Sounding like a Democratic activist, he appeared throughout the day on MSNBC and, at one point, bitterly complained about former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s jibe that Congress spends money "like John Edwards at a beauty shop."
Mr. Matthews condemned the line, which was delivered during a May 15 presidential debate, as "stupid," "embarrassing" and "pandering." (Is it surprising that a Republican would play to his Republican audience?)
Video (1:22): Real (2.25 MB) or Windows (2.54 MB), plus MP3 (1.22 MB).
The "Hardball" host showed up in the 2pm hour of "MSNBC Live" to trash Governor Huckabee for daring to make fun of John Edwards. Responding to a question by host Contessa Brewer about whether Huckabee prepared the line in advance, Matthews could barely contain his contempt:
In 2003, David Kuo resigned from the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and later wrote a book [published just before the 2006 mid-term elections] claiming that the administration was hypocritical in its dealings with religious conservatives.
The MSM had a field day because according to them [as E.J. Dionne wrote here, for example], Kuo was a religious conservative himself. But is that true? What kind of religious conservative, the day after Jerry Falwell died, would go on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson show and say this about the late pastor?:
DAVID KUO: In bringing the pulpit to politics in the very strident, narrow and frankly angry way that he did, he very much damaged the name of Jesus.
Ah, live television--where chipper interns can embarrass even the most self-important anchor types.
Earlier today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer cited the anti-Bush parody web site Whitehouse.org as if it were the official web site of the president. Later in the show, she corrected her mistake, but tried to make it seem she mentioned the phony site on purpose.
It was a really bad error, too, since, as Allahpundit points out, Whitehouse.org is quite over-the-top in its "tribute" to Falwell, having the fictional reverend speak warmly of his "foot-high stack of mostly gay hardcore pornography" on the same page that Brewer quoted from.
For those that missed it, Friday night’s debate on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” between “Imus in the Morning” producer Bernard McGuirk and Rev. Al Sharpton was a fireworks-filled extravaganza (video in three parts available here, here, and here; full transcript follows).
Without question, McGuirk came prepared to take on the man conceivably most responsible for his termination by CBS Radio, as well as his boss’s, Don Imus.
In fact, with McGuirk’s first words, it was made infinitely clear that viewers were in for quite a barnburner: “Let's get ready to box on FOX, I guess, huh?”
After the first question was posed to McGuirk, he tried to explain to the audience that Imus was an equal opportunity offender (readers are warned that some of the language is a bit graphic. As such, proceed with caution):
Discussing this week’s announcement that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will soon be resigning, all three morning shows managed to work in the insulting "Bush’s poodle" reference. "Good Morning America" was the most obnoxious, absurdly claiming that "Bill Clinton’s sidekick became Bush’s poodle."
Speaking of global warming, Diane Sawyer and "Good Morning America" have been promoting liberal environmentalism for quite some time. This week, however, GMA went even further and touted a New York liberal who wants to save the planet by not using toilet paper. Some things, you just can’t make up....
Boycotts are falling everywhere. With the French having elected Sarkozy, American conservatives are feeling good about buying Beaujolais again. And with Imus gone from MSNBC, Hillary Clinton has ended her one-woman boycott of the network's morning-show slot. Hillary had famously shunned the shock-jock's show in the wake of his suggestive shtick at a Radio & TV Correspondents dinner with Pres. Clinton and the First Lady in attendance.
Hillary did a lengthy phone interview at 8:09 EDT today on "Morning Joe," the latest in MSNBC's revolving morning-chat shows in the old Imus slot, hosted by Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who hosts a regular evening show in the MSNBC lineup. At one point during the interview, Joe told Hillary "I'm not kissing up to you at all. Those who know me know I certainly don't do that." But if there were any questions that put Hillary on the spot, I must have missed them. There were points of agreement on health care and other issues. Joe blamed himself for being part of the impeachment effort and closed with a bouquet for Hillary's "unifying" presence.
Yup -- according to Chris Matthews. The MSNBC host suggested that Mitt Romney had landed a "sucker punch" on Sharpton in reacting to the reverend's assertion that "true believers" will defeat the Mormon in the presidential race. Matthews laced his interview with Sharpton on this afternoon's "Hardball" with a number of comments painting Sharpton as the offended, not the offender.
After playing a tape of Sharpton's remark, and Romney's response in which he characterized Sharpton's comment as bigoted, Matthews went off on a riff.
Think all Hollywood elites are Bush-bashing liberals falling in lockstep with the leftwing dogma being espoused by Democrat leaders and the media that support them?
Well, if you do, you'd better prepare yourself for an alternate reality.
Actor Jon Voight, on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” Tuesday evening, made some statements that are likely to get him tossed out of Club Hollywood if he’s not careful.
After a brief discussion about his film “September Dawn,” Voight went into a shocking monologue about what he sees wrong in the nation today, including shots at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and "extremists who really believe all the propaganda that they are being fed on a daily basis by very cunning professionals" (video available here):
We’ve now finished the first two presidential debates, both on MSNBC. Pundits are debating whether they will make a difference in the race, but one thing is very clear: it’s business as usual for the media moderating these things. The Democrats were treated to an amiable chit-chat among friends. The Republicans took round after round of hostile fire from enemies. Nothing ever changes. The Democrats are spoiled like rotten kids, and the Republicans are invited to sleep on a bed of nails, and do so willingly.
But the dynamic now has been made even worse by the petulant petitions and protests of the censorious left, the ones who claim to be "democrats" but want to remove Fox News Channel from the news media. Leftists believe in a media strategy with all the sophistication of holding your breath and turning blue. Fox hatred is required. On the Huffington Post, author Carol Hoenig argued the Democrats should debate on Fox. Even so, her article was headlined "Fox News: A Cancer On Society."
On Friday's Today show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews defended his ludicrous decision to ask the GOP candidates if it would "be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?" Matthews explained the sociological insight: "They all sort of guffawed. Well, that's a particularly Republican response. If I offered that same question up to Democrats...they would be cheering like mad."
So Matthews proved that the ten Republican debaters are not Democrats — was there any doubt? The weird Clinton question was symptomatic of how MSNBC and debate co-sponsor ThePolitico.com spent valuable time asking the GOP candidates questions that reflected the agenda of far-left bloggers, not the concerns of GOP primary voters. A week earlier, while moderator Brian Williams did pose a few right-leaning questions to the Democratic field, most of that debate reflected issues that rate high with Democratic voters. In other words, both debates were dominated by liberal agenda questions.
Has the king of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Keith Olbermann, created a new liberal malady characterized by an almost incomprehensible inability to tolerate any criticism of the MSNBC host?
After reading Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon Monday, one could certainly come to the conclusion that such an affliction exists, and that the two are suffering from this little known psychological impairment “Olbermann Derangement Syndrome."
Before you answer, consider what a John Edwards campaign representative said in April when it was announced that the Democrat presidential candidate from North Carolina wouldn’t attend the September 23 debate sponsored by Fox News as reported by the Associated Press (emphasis added):
In the wake of Democrat presidential candidates canceling debates to be held by Fox News, it only seems fitting that similar concerns are surfacing regarding the inclusion of Keith Olbermann during Republican debates sponsored by MSNBC.
NewsBusters senior editor/MRC director of research Rich Noyes appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" a few moments ago discussing the agenda of silly, liberally-biased questions in last night's GOP debate on MSNBC.
Discussing the agenda of questions posed by Chris Matthews and the reporters from Politico.com, Noyes observed: "It's the kind of stuff you find liberal bloggers complaining about, questions like, 'Is Karl Rove your friend,' 'Do you believe in evolution,' [questions] designed to trip up Republicans and make them look like they were against science. The question from Jim VandeHei, 'What's the deal with the corruption in your party?' This was all a series of very left-leaning questions to G.O.P. candidates. And there's no problem asking Republicans tough questions, but if you look at the tone of the Democratic debate, it was all softballs compared to what Republicans got last night. There's really two different standards for the two parties."
After running down some of the more obnoxious questions thrown at the candidates at last night's debate, Cavuto pointed out how "none of those Republicans was afraid to be at a venue where they knew they would probably get snide questions like this on a network or with a host who has a certain leaning. Yet none of their counterparts in the Democratic Party would dare appear here."
Noyes agreed: "Well, that's true. It's amazing that Democrats are trying to avoid having a debate on the Fox News Channel. Fox News had debates in the last cycle. A lot of the questioners brought in — they were not Fox employees — they were some liberal reporters like Gwen Ifill and Juan Williams, along with some of Fox's own people like Carl Cameron. Nobody had any complaints about that [debate]. Now, because they want to please the left-wing blogosphere, they're acting like if appearing on Fox is somehow a dangerous and terrible thing to do. Here you have Republicans going on MSNBC, which is a really, become a very far-left wing network in the last few months, few years, and they all seemed to have a pretty good time and got their message out."