Jon Meacham, the liberal host of PBS's "Need to Know," frankly admitted Thursday that media scrutiny of President Bush would far surpass the mild criticism of Barack Obama when it comes to a 10-minute ESPN segment on the President filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket.
Stalwart liberals such as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) agreed.
"My only point is that Bush would have gotten more barbecued for this," Meacham claimed on "Morning Joe" Thursday. "Anyone who thinks that he didn't – he wouldn't – is crazy." The panel was debating the merits of President Obama appearing on ESPN to discuss basketball while Libya is in turmoil and Japan is facing a possible nuclear catastrophe.
Is a pizza about to push Mika Brzezinski over the edge? Seriously. Her frantic reaction to finding her daughter and friend sharing a Domino's has me worried about Mika's state of mind.
Regular Morning Joe viewers know that Mika's dream job would be as Kommissar of the Food Police. Her concern about obesity, particularly of the childhood variety, is commendable. But her solutions--heavy-handed government intervention of the sort Mayor Bloomberg has made infamous--would flout individual liberties.
Things came to a deep-fried denouement this morning, as a quasi-hysterical Brzezinski described her horror at discovering girls . . . eating pizza.
On Friday in its 7 a.m. Eastern hour, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" headlined Thursday's congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims – but only played clips of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim-American who represents only one side of the issue. The show then interviewed him for nine minutes, a lengthy interview for one person on the morning show.
While Ellison received some tough questions, no clips were played of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who is chairing the hearings, nor of Melvin Bledsoe or of Abdirizak Bihi, witnesses who testified about loved ones who were radicalized by Islamic extremists. Bihi's nephew joined a Somali Islamic militia while Bledsoe's son allegedly shot up an armed forces recruiting center in Arkansas.
Later on in the 8 a.m. Eastern hour of the show, "Morning Joe" hosted liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to discuss the hearings. Robinson dismissed King's hearings in his March 11 column entitled "A Modern-Day Witch Hunt."
Former CNBC anchor Donny Deutsch went ballistic Thursday on "Morning Joe" over the situation in Wisconsin. Deutsch called the Republican majority in the state capital "a fascist regime" after they rushed a vote Wednesday night to curb most collective bargaining for public sector workers.
"This is a governor that would not sit down at the table with these people, the Democrats, they walked away," Deutsch ranted. "Now he's doing whatever sleazy, end-run – this is not what this country is built on. This is a fascist regime."
Both Deutsch and MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford were audibly dismayed at the procedural move by the Republicans that caught the opposition in complete surprise, but it was an unashamed Deutsch who doubled down on his criticism by arguing that Gov. Walker and the Republicans were totalitarian.
Twice within the span of a few minutes on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," journalist Carl Bernstein pressed for a gas tax to be implemented to help deal with the nation's budget crisis.
The panel was covering the debate over the deficit taking place in Washington when Bernstein voiced his sentiments. When the question was if the country is truly serious about fixing the deficit, Bernstein replied in the negative. "I'm not sure we are [serious] as a country either, because again, you'd have a gas tax if we were," he quipped. Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski immediately chimed in with her approval.
The liberal Watergate "legend" also hit Republicans for cutting programs that "for the most part...really help people." Could Bernstein have meant National Public Radio as one of these "helpful" programs?
The Wisconsin public sector unions, in agreeing to compromise on their pensions and benefits in exchange for collective bargaining, have apparently done all they could to negotiate with the state's governor – according to "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski Tuesday. The self-confessed Democrat for whom appeal to sentiment is second-nature, Brzezinski painted the governor as "cold" and "mean" in the eyes of Wisconsin voters, to whom the union has "given blood."
"The union has given blood to this guy. They've given everything he's wanted," Brzezinski lamented. "I don't know what more they can do for him."
Brzezinski highlighted polls of Wisconsin voters, which show a majority now have an unfavorable view of the governor. "You know what the voters are saying?" she rhetorically asked. "He's cold. And he's mean. And he doesn't care about the little guy." Wow, it sounds like someone's getting coal in his stocking next Christmas.
All you need to know about why people on the right were dissatisfied with Kathleen Parker as the supposedly conservative counterweight to Eliot Spitzer on the pair's recently-canned CNN show was crystallized on Morning Joe today. The panel unleashed an absolute gush-a-thon over Parker, Mika Brzezinski declaring her "one of my favorite people" and Willie Geist describing her as "a great writer."
For good measure, the MSNBC folks delighted in dumping on rival CNN. Mike Barnicle took top trash-talking honors, claiming Parker had been "brutalized" at the network.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."
The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.
Chuck Todd has developed an interesting device to delegitimize support for Gov. Scott Walker, depicting his backers as uneducated, frustrated, blue-collar people who are willing to "lash out at government workers."
Yup, there's no respectable basis to support Walker and his call for reforms on a collective bargaining system that has nearly wrecked Wisconsin and many other states. No, there's just the irrational reaction of the embittered, ignorant masses.
Todd offered his analysis on today's Morning Joe in explaining that the Obama administration is backing off a bold stand on Wisconsin, given its swing-state status.
If Time-magaziner-turned-WH-press-sec Jay Carney ever tires of defending Pres. Obama, Norah O'Donnell clearly seems ready to step in...
When on today's Morning Joe Donny Deutsch described PBO as having a passive leadership style as evidenced by his approach to Libya, health care and other issues, an indignant O'Donnell piped up, defending the president's passivity.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who was raised a Baptist, criticized Dr. Edward Peters, a Vatican canon law adviser, Wednesday on "Morning Joe," for his call to deny Holy Communion to a public figure who is living "in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church."
"Deny Communion? I'm sorry, and not to get religious here, but Jesus said, you know, 'I didn't come here to heal the healthy,'" Scarborough trumpeted from his soapbox.
"Why don't they first open the books on past priests who have victimized children?" columnist and "Morning Joe" regular Mike Barnicle chimed in, following Scarborough's lead.."That shows rigor. That would be a mistake," CNBC anchor Jim Cramer lampooned the Church.
The issue at hand is not a matter of whether Dr. Peters is "butting in" and questioning Cuomo's faith or unduly condemning him. The Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law 915 explicitly states that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy Communion."
MSNBC's Chris Jansing, referencing a report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on "active U.S. hate groups," asked Wednesday if the rise of radical right-wing groups coincided with the motives behind Jared Loughner's assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
When asked about the "hate groups" report, guest Mark Potok of the SPLC immediately pointed to the rise of "radical right-wing groups" and attributed the rise to "resentment over the changing racial demographics," "frustration over the lagging economy," and "mainstreaming of conspiracy theories."
"The economy since the fall of 2008, of course, has really played into this in terms of unemployment, anger with the bailouts, and so on," added Potok. "It's really ginned-up anti-government feeling, in many ways."
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and regular guest John Heilemann both pulled the class warfare card and pressured Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) Tuesday on why he did not raise taxes on the wealthy to cover the state's budget shortfall, rather than pushing to require union members pay into their pensions.
"You're receiving a lot of criticism for only asking the other side to give, and they have given – on health care and pensions. Are you asking people in your state across the board, including the wealthiest, to give, to help deal with the crisis....and I mean tax increases for the wealthy, or in any way, has anyone else been asked to give?" Brzezinski pressed Walker.
Following up on Brzezinski's question, New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann asked Walker why he cut the corporate income tax rate and chose to go after unions – but Walker corrected him. "We didn't cut corporate taxes," he answered.
For about seven minutes on Monday's "Morning Joe," Chris Matthews celebrated his President's Day fawning over former President Clinton. Matthews had nothing but praise for the nation's 42nd president in anticipation of the documentary "President of the World" – apparently Clinton's new title – airing at 10 p.m. EST Monday on MSNBC.
"You know, Churchill's huge in this country and he's 70-30 back in England, and Nixon is probably 20-80 here, but in France he's about 60-40. You know, he's 100-0 around the world, Bill Clinton," Matthews remarked. Apparently Clinton is more liked around the globe than Churchill.
"He is, I don't know what IQ, what, 160? I don't know what it is" Matthews rambled, in awe of Clinton's intellect. "He studies economics an hour a day," he added. "He gets up every morning and does, like, a daily office....Somebody asked me the other day what makes him click? I said he won't quit. He doesn't want the lights to go out. It isn't complicated. I don't want to go to sleep, mommy."
Mika Brzezinski learned a life lesson this morning: look before you leap to defend liberals . . . [h/t reader Ray R]
At the top of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough referenced the hateful emails he and Mika had received from the left and the similarly ugly signs held by Wisconsin union protesters. Mika reflexively defended the vileness, saying that people were "hurting and really don't feel like they're being heard."
Aww. But later, the show rolled video of some of the Wisconsin signs, including one with crosshairs on Gov. Walker, another calling him Hitler, one accusing him of rape, and of course that great old standard "death to tyrants."
To her credit, Mika did change her tune. View video after the jump.
"Crazy Larry" O'Donnell is at it again. On "Morning Joe" Wednesday, the MSNBC host questioned the entire debate over which government spending programs to slash, asking why the president and Congress are even considering cutting spending in the first place. "I think we've lost a first principle here," he remarked of the situation.
What is this "first principle" O'Donnell speaks of? "Why are we cutting spending in a recession?" he asked. "The recession has not included a jobs recovery yet. I don't think it makes any sense for the government to be downsizing while we don't yet have the jobs recovery." So apparently O'Donnell thinks that in the midst of a recession (which technically ended in June of 2009, although the recovery has been jobless) we cannot afford to cut spending programs, even those outside of Social Security and Medicare.
And at least O'Donnell admitted of no job recovery. As the MRC's Iris Somberg reported today, the major networks largely failed in the last two years to report President Obama's failed promise that the Stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent. Unemployment reached as high as 10.2 percent in the two years and still exceeds 8 percent.
Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson trashes conservative leaders in his latest column – for not taking a clear stand on the Egyptian crisis and for not supporting the populist protests. "Why don't conservatives love freedom?" he provocatively asked, concluding that if conservatives think 1.2 billion Muslims cannot be trusted to rule themselves, "that's not what I call loving freedom." His logic is deafening.
Robinson accused conservative leaders of opposing Obama's Egypt policy simply because they are thinking "heaven forbid the that the president get any credit." He used their "ambivalence" at CPAC – which he characterized as either silence or a vague shot at the Obama administration – to condemn what he thinks is their opposition to freedom in the Middle East.
"Mitt Romney went to CPAC and didn't mention Egypt at all, which was, you'd think he'd be paying attention," Robinson noted. He questioned other conservative leaders for being "so kind of silent, and/or grumpy throughout the CPAC gala, and even beyond, in the case of some conservatives. What we're talking about is freedom, which everybody wants and loves."
For about ten minutes on MSNBC Monday, Harvard History professor Niall Ferguson offered a articulate, detailed, and biting indictment of President Obama's handling of the crisis Egypt – and those disagreeing on the usually Obamaphilic "Morning Joe" panel could offer little of substance in response.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski began the segment reading Ferguson's latest column – which is the latest Newsweek magazine cover story – and asked him to expound on Egypt, saying that "it actually seems like it went pretty damn well." Perhaps she is referring to the many joyful reports from Tahrir Square amidst jubilant masses, or maybe CBS' Harry Smith doling out kisses to the crowd – but Ferguson offered a more dire assessment of the situation.
"You cannot make the foreign policy of a superpower up as you go along," Ferguson stated. He bludgeoned the Obama administration's slipshod policy, calling it "flip followed by flop followed by flip." He added that "they admitted that they had not planned for this scenario. I find that absolutely astonishing."
Tuesday's "Morning Joe" featured guest Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Rauf who tried to establish a mosque two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. The panel praised Khan and her husband as peace-making moderates, and arrogantly questioned why more Americans couldn't accept the mosque at Ground Zero.
"America is the beacon of the world," co-host Mika Brzezinski said echoing Khan's earlier words affirming American freedom. "And yet, we had such a controversy about the community center that you and your husband were trying to start blocks away from Ground Zero," she added, questioning the American "understanding" of the center.
"One of the most depressing things to me was the fact that in 2010, Americans seemed to be less accepting of Muslim Americans than they were even in the months after 9/11," co-host Joe Scarborough lamented from his soapbox. "Why do you think we Americans had such a reaction – again, in New York, a place that's supposed to be the most open-minded and pluralistic?" he asked guest Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine.
What would be worse: if Norah actually believes it--or if she doesn't?
Norah O'Donnell has claimed that the Washington Post and the New York Times provide straight-up information, without bias, of the sort that would be appealing to members of the putatively non-partisan "No Labels" group.
Norah's mind-boggling assertion came on today's Morning Joe during a discussion of AOL's acquisition of HuffPo for $315 million. Reacting to indications that Arianna Huffington may be guiding her creation toward the center and away from its leftist roots, WaPo's Jonathan Capehart argued the move made sense on the theory that people such as those at No Labels are hungry for straight-up reporting. That's when Norah broke in to claim that such unbiased reporting is already being provided by, yup, WaPo and the Times.
On Monday's "Morning Joe," co-host Mika Brzezinski launched into a passionate defense of President Obama's handling of tough press coverage in 2008. Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin retorted that Obama received soft coverage on the campaign trail, and has only recently learned how to face tough interviews. Brzezinski apparently thinks that is "revisionist thinking."
"He was raked over the coal– he had to do a freakin' speech about his race! Are you kidding me!?" Mika exclaimed when she was trying to rebut claims of Obama receiving soft media coverage.
When co-host Scarborough and Time magazine's Halperin agreed that President Obama did not receive tough press coverage as a senator or as a presidential candidate, Brzezinski spat back "No. That is revisionist thinking."
During a Monday morning recap of the Super Bowl, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough asked, tongue-in-cheek, if "right-wing, talk radio conservatives" would blame President Obama for the ghastly national anthem performance by four-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.
Amidst the light-hearted banter, Scarborough turned serious and asked "when we talked about what's driving the week – will conservatives, will conservatives – right-wing, talk radio conservatives – blame Barack Obama for Christina Aguilera defacing the national anthem?"
Time magazine's Mark Halperin, and co-host Willie Geist played along. "Glenn Beck's got the chalkboard going right now," Scarborough continued. "With the dotted line," Halperin added. "He's ready," chimed in Geist.
MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews appeared on Morning Joe, Friday, to slam President Obama's handling of the escalating crisis in Egypt, saying it made him "ashamed as an American." Matthews, who famously declared Obama gave him a "thrill" up his leg, excoriated what he perceived to be the President's disloyalty to Egypt's leader, Hosni Mubarak.
The Hardball host berated, "And Barack Obama, as much I support him in many ways, there is a transitional quality to the guy that is chilling." He added, "I believe in relationships...You treat your friends a certain way. You're loyal to them."
Matthews has previously lauded the authoritarian Mubarak. Pointing out Mubarak's stand against Hezbollah and other extremist elements in the region, the anchor on January 31 wondered, "How can you say he'll easily be replaced? This guy's the George Washington of peace over there."
Is the cat fight a strictly feminine affair, or can a man and woman engage in one? Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski certainly seemed to offer up a fair facsimile of the genre today. The two traded feline fisticuffs on Morning Joe.
Scarborough went first, swiping at Katie Couric for having cavorted on a Miami beach with her beau before departing for Egypt. Mika later retaliated, archly musing about the number of Limbaugh's marriages during a segment featuring Elton John's comments on El Rushbo.
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski broke from the panel discussion Tuesday and implored Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to close the state's so-called gun show loophole. The MSNBC panel was discussing lax gun show laws allowing persons to purchase semi-automatic guns with little or no background check performed on them.
Brzezinski, seemingly abandoning journalism in favor of advocacy, tersely asked Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on camera to close the state's gun show loophole. "Just close the loophole. Governor Bob McDonnell," Brzezinski pleaded, staring into the camera as she singled out the state's chief executive.
Virginia law presently allows private transactions at gun shows to be completed without paperwork. Federal law mandates licenced gun sellers to perform background checks on buyers; private sellers are not obliged by the state to do so.
On Monday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough hinted that President Obama may have been a major catalyst of the current protests against the authoritarian Mubarak regime in Egypt. Scarborough referred to the president's 2009 Cairo speech and wondered if it inspired the present protests.
"Barack Obama, he goes to Cairo, he gives a speech, and he inspires – perhaps he's the one who inspires a lot of these Egyptians to get out into the streets eventually," Scarborough proposed.
The "Morning Joe" panel was discussing the transition of power in Egypt and how it might affect American politics. Scarborough characterized President Obama as on the one hand a possible galvanizing figure in the current push for freedom in Egypt, and yet on the other hand a world leader accused of inaction during oppression of Iranians by their government in 2009.
Just when Joe-mentum was building for Lieberman-Huffington '12!
Say this for Arianna Huffington: she didn't stab Joe Lieberman in the back. On Morning Joe today, the HuffPo founder went for the full frontal assault, telling the outgoing senator to his face "I sincerely hope for the sake of the country that you do not become Secretary of Defense."
Lieberman was not defenseless, at one point condescendingly spelling out for Arianna's sake the name of the author of a report he relied on to conclude Saddam was developing WMD. When Arianna huffed that the report proved nothing, Lieberman sniped "I don't think you've read it, sweetheart."