Is there no bridge too far for Joe Scarborough to cross in defending charges of liberal bias against his NBC/MSNBC employers? On last night's Scarborough Country, Joe adopted a position so sycophantish, even Keith Olbermann might have been embarrassed by it.
Scarborough suggested that NBC News had done the right thing in assembling a panel on the Iraq surge composed exclusively of experts hostile to the President Bush's proposal. Scarborough's suggestion came in the course of a segment on Bill O'Reilly's revealing interview with Andrea Mitchell last week, during which he confronted her on NBC's liberal bias. Video: Real (4.3MB) or Windows (5MB) PlusMP3 (795 KB)
As we noted here, when Andrea Mitchell appeared on The Factor last week, Bill O'Reilly confronted her over NBC's leftward tilt. Andrea not only denied any NBC bias, she also vouched for CBS' and ABC's fairness. For good measure, Mitchell claimed that Chris Matthews is no liberal.
Tucker Carlson fired back on his MSNBC show this afternoon. The gist of his argument: that in attacking Keith Olbermann, O'Reilly was actually promoting the Countdown's lefty host. There was only one problem with Carlson's theory: O'Reilly never mentioned Olbermann. Not once. I watched the Factor segment live, wrote about it, posted a video excerpt and - just for good measure - have gone back and checked the closed-caption transcript and can confirm that not only did O'Reilly not mention Olbermann, he never so much as alluded to him or his show.
One of the most overused anti-Bush analogies at this point in 2007 is Hurricane Katrina. Geoff Dickens found it even surfaced last Wednesday in reference to the rough cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein's execution. MSNBC's "Hardball" crew found this comparative analogy to be not only logical, but delicious enough to repeat, as Geoff Dickens reported after watching last Wednesday's show. Reporter David Shuster found "critics" to make this odd connection:
"A White House spokesman later said President Bush has not yet seen the Saddam video. The images have been part of an international discourse for days. And critics say the President`s detachment is reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, when the President didn’t appreciate the aftermath or public uproar until an adviser showed him a tape several crucial days later."
It was hard to tell what was making Andrea Mitchell angrier: Bill O'Reilly's assertions that NBC has a liberal bias, or his repeated and perhaps ungentlemanly references to the lady's "30 years" of experience. In any case, the look on Andrea's face was unmistakable: she was not the happiest of campers.
Mitchell appeared on this evening's Factor for purposes of touting her new book. But kudos to O'Reilly for taking the occasion to directly confront a leading NBC light with the network's undeniable leftward tilt - which Mitchell proceeded to flatly deny.
This is must-see video, which you can see here, but let me entice you with these two tidbits.
How do you know when things have jumped ugly at Hardball? When host Chris Matthews himself has to jump in to separate the warring parties, even warning a Dem consultant to lay off the ad hominems.
Bob Shrum is always spoiling for a fight. In contrast, Ron Christie is normally mild-mannered and affable. But the former aide to Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had definitely eaten his Wheaties this afternoon.
The video portrays things beyond my poor power of description, but the fur began to fly when Shrum accused Christie of using talking points. Things went downhill from there.
I'd say Christie landed the single most-telling blow of the evening. Shrum gave him an opening, calling for the cut-off of funding for the Iraq war at a date certain, claiming "this is how we've always ended wars. We honored Gerald Ford last week for helping to end the war in Vietnam. And that's how it was ended - the funding was cut off."
Christie pounced: "Now you're going to tell me that's how we end wars? We actually end wars when we achieve our objectives that we've set militarily."
In 2006, one of the most shameless Democrat pols in the media was certainly MSNBC correspondent David Shuster who repeatedly and consistently behaved more like a left-leaning political operative than a television journalist. On Wednesday’s “Hardball,” Shuster made it clear that objectivity and impartiality were not on his New Year’s resolutions list.
As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein has been reporting, Chris Matthews has been virtually foaming at the mouth lately concerning his desire for American troops to be immediately withdrawn from Iraq. On Wednesday, his partner in crime nicely set up the 7PM EST installment with an antiwar rant that could have been performed by Cindy Sheehan (video available here).
After showing a brief clip of President Bush asking the new Congress to “set aside politics and focus on the future,” Shuster complained, “But the president made no mention of the Iraq War.” Then, the rant really began. The reader is hereby warned to put a lobster bib on to protect clothing from the foam spewing out of Shuster's mouth:
Has anyone checked the video to see if Chris Matthews was part of Cindy Sheehan's noisy protest that brought Rahm Emanuel's press conference to a halt the other day at the Capitol? Because Matthews has been on an absolute anti-war rampage. As noted here, in the days preceding Nancy Pelosi's ascension to the speakership he was demanding that she use the power of the purse to cut off funding for the war. Yesterday afternoon he snapped at Matt Lauer when his NBC colleague opined that the Democrats have no choice but to fund the war so long as US troops are in the field.
Matthews continued his campaign on last night's Hardball. Check out these excerpts from his conversation with Dem strategist Hilary Rosen and former Republican representative Susan Molinari:
Demanded Chris of Rosen: "Will the Democrats do what they promised to do in the campaign or will they let the voters down again and not stop this war?"
And here I thought Chris Matthews reserved his hardballs for his guests, not his colleagues . . .
To use one of Imus's favorite phrases, there are "tension conventions" breaking out all over MSNBC today. Earlier, I noted the shots Andrea Mitchell took at Nancy Pelosi over her "unseemly, imperial" celebrations marking her ascension to the speakership.
Later, things got a bit ugly between Chris Matthews Matt Lauer over the funding of the war in Iraq. It was a very rare display of real anger between fellow members of the NBC/MSNBC stable. Alluding to President Bush's speech of yesterday calling for the Democrats to avoid the kind of politics that will lead to stalemates, Lauer asked Matthews:
"What kind of stalemate are we going to see over Iraq in Congress?"
Has that blizzard in the Plains blown all the way into Hades? On the day of Nancy Pelosi's congressional coronation, a rhetorical shot was taken at her from an unexpected quarter, that of Andrea Mitchell.
Interviewing veteran Dem congressman John Dingell of Michigan, Mitchell asked:
"Are you happy with this big celebration that Nancy Pelosi has planned for herself? Is it a bit unseemly to have Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett and the dinners and the lunches and the brunches and the trip to Baltimore to rename the street in honor of her. Isn't this a little bit too imperial?"
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a corrected version of the original item. Imus's guest was Mike Barnicle. The original item, displayed briefly, incorrectly identified Imus's guest as Chris Matthews. My apologies to Chris Matthews and our readers.
H/t to reader PJG.
Does it get any more foul than this? During the 8 AM ET hour of Don Imus's show this morning he and Mike Barnicle fantasized about how various Republicans would react to being hung on the gallows.
Note: this item was prepared from the closed-caption transcript. It will be reviewed and corrected as appropriate in the course of the morning. Video: Real (3MB) or Windows (3.5MB) PlusMP3 (555KB)
Journalists just can't resist highlighting how the late President Gerald Ford expressed disagreement with President George W. Bush's Iraq policy and with Vice President Dick Cheney's adamant pursuit of it. A fresh example: Barely two minutes into MSNBC's Saturday coverage of Ford's funeral, Newsweek political reporter Howard Fineman ruminated about how “the interesting thing is that Gerald Ford himself, toward the end of his life, in conversations with Bob Woodward...said basically I disagreed with the idea of going to war in Iraq and he wondered about Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld,” who “were known for their probity and caution and for their lack of ideology, for their realistic view of the world. How was it, Ford wondered toward the end of his life, that those two guys, part of that all-star team of realists, had gotten hooked up in what Ford regarded as a mistaken war?"
Tom Brokaw took the occasion of the ceremonies attending the death of President Ford to take shots at the foreign policy of both Presidents Ford and Reagan. Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC during the 6 PM ET hour, Brokaw observed: "President Ford and Henry Kissinger, fairly I think you can say, were over-infatuated with the Shah of Iran. Iran was an important launching pad for the United States should a war with the Soviet Union break out. It was also the source of great oil [sic], but there was already at that time very strong evidence in Iran that there was an Islamic uprising that eventually overthrew the Shah of Iran."
The Shah fell largely because Jimmy Carter abandoned him. Is Brokaw saying the US should have jumped earlier on Ayatollah Khomenei's bandwagon?
Entertainment Weekly TV critic Ken Tucker put both Keith Olbermann and Rosie O'Donnell on his Best of TV List for 2006.
6 Countdown With Keith Olbermann MSNBC The best anchor in the biz right now books off-the-beaten-pundit guests, refuses to maintain the ridiculous pose of ''objectivity,'' and is funny as hell. Which is where some of his competitors wish he'd go.
7 The View ABC Detonate the small nuclear bomb called Rosie O'Donnell and watch a mere chitchat show explode with barbed wit and fierce sociopolitical debate. She's forced Elisabeth Hasselbeck to try to learn how to form coherent thoughts, made a revitalized Joy Behar her ally in common sense, and frequently left her boss Barbara Walters speechless.
At the absolutely Bush-loathing website Buzzflash.com, there are Olbermann for President buttons. He is, they say, "the first-tier reality-based, progressive cable commentator" who has walked on "the path to becoming the contemporary heir to the courageous, succinct truth-telling of Edward R. Murrow." The love letter continued:
Olbermann's commentaries on the Bush Administration and America's promise are so succinct, articulate, and withering that they leave you breathless. You keep thinking, "How did the corporate media poobahs let someone so straightforward, eloquent and truthful on the air?"
In an age of media stenographers, Olbermann doesn't pull any punches. And he's not just hard hitting; he connects the dots too. In short, he puts the insane failure and duplicity of the Bush administration in context, a rare thing indeed on television and in the media in general.
A rather extraordinary conclusion was reached by members of the panel on Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show” – the economy is strong. What makes this so earth shattering? Well, because the host prior to the elections – which, by the way, were only about seven weeks ago – regularly talked about how badly the economy was doing, and didn’t challenge those espousing similarly bearish viewpoints.
Yet, now that the elections are over, it’s okay for Democrat pols like Matthews to admit that which was clearly verboten prior to November 7. And, in this instance, not only did the host speak bullishly for a change, so did Dan Rather and Norah O’Donnell.
Matthews opened the show asking his guests what the best news for President Bush was in 2006. Rather amazingly answered: “The Dow and the economy. I’m not saying it will last, but the longer it lasts, the better it is for him, and I think it was the highlight of the year.”
The Dow and the economy were the highlight of the year? Really? Wouldn’t it have been nice if you folks recognized this before Election Day? Yet, Rather wasn’t the only one having such an astounding epiphany, as Norah O’Donnell agreed:
It goes without saying that if you're the Commander-in-Chief, among the first people whose criticism you'd want to take into account would be . . . Hollywood movie stars. At least, that would seem to be Chris Matthews's opinion.
Now that times are difficult in Iraq, it’s easy for the media to claim they are simply reporting the bad news that is obvious to everyone. But how did networks such as CNN and MSNBC report more positive events? According to a new study by the MRC, overall, Fox News generated the most balanced coverage of news on the ground, while the other two cable networks consistently emphasized negative stories. FNC also displayed the highest enthusiasm on days such as June 8, when U.S. air strikes killed al-Qaeda in Iraq mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Over on MSNBC, while the anchors generally reported the event as good news, the network also chose that day to broadcast four stories on military deserters. On this seemingly happy occasion, CNN aired two reports on the already heavily hyped Haditha case.
Interviewing Rick Davis, chairman of John McCain's presidential exploratory committee, on MSNBC at about 11:45 AM today, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell [NB file photo] demanded to know why McCain had hired Terry Nelson as his campaign manager. She described Nelson as "the man who was behind that dreadful commercial against Harold Ford. This is John McCain, the victim of these kinds of attacks in the South Carolina primary and other primaries back in 2000."
"Dreadful"? How about "funny and on the mark"? Who declared the ad "dreadful" other than the DNC and the MSM?
On this afternoon's Hardball, the old lawyer's adage rose up and bit Chris Matthews hard: never ask a witness a question to which you don't know the answer. Matthews's guest was retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro, Chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. Matthews's substance and tone left no doubt that he wanted his questions as to the availability of sufficient troops to pacify Baghdad, and the advisability of using Guard and Reserve troops as part of such a "surge," answered in the negative.
Matthews: "Do we have the troops to dramatically increase our complement of troops in Iraq, sir?"
Punaro: "Absolutely. Between our active military and the number of troops we have in the Guard and Reserve, should the Commander-in-Chief, on the advice of the combatant commanders in the field and with the concurrence of the Congress make the decision that we want to increase the size of the force in Iraq, we certainly have the ability to surge those forces."
Chris Matthews’ interview with actor Matt Damon, which was recorded last week, was aired on Monday’s “Hardball”. Apart from what was reported here Saturday, Damon also made some disparaging remarks about Dick Cheney (video available here), while Matthews addressed what it would be like to waterboard the Vice President...I kid you not.
Conceivably the most amazing part about this interview was the whole idea that Chris Matthews was actually discussing the war in Iraq with an actor as if Damon was some kind of expert on geopolitics. For instance, after Damon suggested that the entire war was a “PR battle,” Matthews asked the audience if they agreed. This met with great applause. When it died down, Damon said: “There’s no other reason to rush that fast to war unless you know you don’t have it. They didn’t have it.”
Matthews followed this up as if he was questioning Colin Powell:
On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews depicted Bush as a proverbial Nero, fiddling as Iraq burned and claimed Bush was led into war by "jugheaded neo-conservatives." Matthews also absurdly questioned Dennis Kucinich if Democrats weren't pushing harder for troop withdrawals because: "They're afraid the media will jump on them if they say, 'let's get out of that country now?'" Which begs the question does Matthews even watch his own network?
First up Matthews greeted viewers with this opening salvo:
Matthews: "Tonight, the President fiddles while Iraq burns. He said he will not be rushed into changing policy. Meanwhile, a new poll shows most Americans now think we're actually losing in Iraq. And we can't do more to stop the civil war. Let's talk a Republican senator who says its criminal to keep on this way. Let's play Hardball."
After a prolonged absence for health reasons Chris Matthews returned to the airwaves last night and as if making up for lost time quickly returned to bashing Bush over Iraq. As part of Hardball's College Tour, Matthews brought former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to join in the bashing and within the first few minutes of the show asked Edwards if Bush going to Iraq "was a daddy thing," and if he thought it was "scary" that "a President of the United States of limited ability," was able to create a "firestorm of almost messianic nuttiness."
One of the more interesting double standards in the media and politics is how folks on the left are allowed to make sexist remarks – or, in the case of a former president, exhibit obviously sexist behavior – with total impunity. Yet, the same actions by someone on the right will be met with so much scorn as to threaten the individual’s career.
A fine example of this occurred on Tuesday’s “Hardball” when host Chris Matthews made some extraordinarily sexist comments to former Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth. So as not to offend anyone, the partial transcript of this exchange follows in the “Read More” section. Furthermore, the must-see video is available here:
How out there is Eric Alterman? MSNBC, the network of Keith Olbermann, he who has accused Pres. Bush of fascism and called for his impeachment - fired him, presumably for being too extreme.
But not to worry, Alterman's column, 'Altercation,' was promptly picked up by David Brock's Media Matters. For my sins I recently subscribed to the column's email list. Reading through this evening's edition, one thing emerges: Eric Alterman is one angry guy. In the course of one mere column, Alterman vents his bile in these diverse directions:
"This notion of a leftist alliance with Islamic radicals is often trumpeted by crazy people like [David] Horowitz."
"Virtually the entire world -- at least the part that's paying attention [hates Pres. Bush]."
Good-natured advice to reporters making headlines by exposing the ignorance of government officials on national security matters: keep your facts straight yourselves.
There's been a rash of stories in recent days about the shocking ignorance of various government officials when it comes to bread 'n butter facts about the war on terror. First there was a report by Lisa Myers of NBC revealing how little some top FBI officials knew about various terrorist groups and leaders.
Just in the last couple days, Jeff Stein the National Security Editor at Congressional Quarterly, has been getting a lot of play with his story of similar ignorance on the part of incoming House Intelligence Commitee Chairman Silvestre Reyes [D-TX]. Reyes didn't know that Al Qaeda was a strictly Sunni group, nor did he have command of the basics about Hezbollah.
Ana Marie Cox of "Time" magazine asserted that the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, shames the White House and pondered whether it was a "...genetic experiment to extend the lineage," on Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning." Cox, appearing in the 6:00 hour, alluded to Ms. Cheney’s sexual orientation on several occasions and emphasized that she is the vice president’s "gay daughter."
Cox claimed that the Bush administration is "falling apart" because the news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is the best they’d received recently:
"This administration’s really falling apart though, I do agree. I think, you know, you know times are bad when the best news the White House has had recently is, you know, Dick Cheney’s gay daughter is pregnant. Like, he’s going to be a granddad, that’s pretty much it."
Is Keith Olbermann just a modern-day reincarnation of the crazed anchorman depicted in the 1976 Academy Award-winning film “Network?” In a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article published Tuesday, KO said no (emphasis mine throughout): “‘I am not Peter Finch walking around the streets of New York in my pajamas as Howard Beale muttering to myself and saying, 'I must bear my witness.' It's not like that.’"
One NewsBusters’ contributing editor didn’t agree with Olby’s position:
“My concern is that people are mistaking his show for real news," said Noel Sheppard, a blogger with NewsBusters.Org, a Web site founded by conservative media watchdog Brent Bozell. "But there's no question he is indeed Howard Beale. The whole Paddy Chayevsky [sic] concept in 'Network' was that news had to be entertaining. You had the anchorman flip out one day, and the ratings exploded. The same is going on with Keith Olbermann, who really does get into a snit like Beale did."
As a little background, the film “Network” was based on a fictitious media outlet whose ratings were doing very poorly, in particular, its news division.
MSM types and their soulmates in the Dem party like to profess their deep and abiding respect for average Americans. But in an unguarded moment this afternoon, MSMer-in-good-standing Jonathan Alter pulled back the curtain on his disdain for them.
Discussing the wildly enthusiastic reception that Barack Obama received in New Hampshire yesterday, Alter -a Newsweek writer and NBC consultant - told host Joe Scarborough:
"If you had been there you wouldn't have been under any illusions about the extent of interest in him. this was a huge crowd. It would have been a huge crowd by any standards even right before an election. 1,500 people. Very, very enthusiastic. Very interested. So he's not going to have to do this 'Joe Schmo's living room' thing in New Hampshire. He's way past that."
Guest hosting this afternoon's Hardball, Mike Barnicle claimed to decry the politics surrounding the Iraq Study Group's report. But when it comes to political cheap shots, does it get much lower than this comment by Barnicle himself?
"Since the report was issued, I think 19 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Does anybody really think about that at the top level here today in terms of the report? Is it all just the politics of it?"