Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared on the Thursday edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and stopped the program cold when he challenged the hosts as to whether they were "going after Democrat members of Congress for why they aren't distancing themselves from Keith Olbermann?" Co-anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who had been discussing the battle between the White House and Rush Limbaugh, were silent for a moment before Brzezinski admitted, "That was a good one. We're all thinking."
Fleischer pressed, "That's my point. It's a one-sided debate because, largely, the press loves it because the press doesn't like Rush." The quip occurred after Brzezinski attempted to trap Fleischer into saying that he would be following the tactics of attacking the radio host, were he in the same situation as the Obama White House. After Fleischer's jibe, Scarborough started sipping from his coffee and attempted to toss the potential network hot potato over to the show's other guest, Mike Barnicle. Scarborough joked, "I'm going to have a – I can't talk right now because I'm drinking. Mike?"A few seconds later, however, the token MSNBC conservative did admit, "No, that was good."
[Special thanks to MRC intern Mike Sargent for transcribing the segment.]
NBC White House political director Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" on Monday to dismiss Rush Limbaugh as "looking backward" and deride the radio industry as a "dying medium." Todd (see file photo above), who was talking with co-host Mika Brzezinski about Limbaugh’s role as a leader in the Republican Party, also suggested a linkage between the radio host and far left bomb thrower Michael Moore. He insisted, "They [Democrats] want to do to the Republican Party what Republicans tried to do to the Democrats with Michael Moore and all that stuff."
Speaking of radio, Todd sniffed, "But, it’s that idea that Limbaugh- even the whole- even the venue that he’s on, radio, not the internet. You know, it’s very ‘90s. It’s very backwards- is looking backwards." He added, "And, you know, radio is a dying medium, potentially- as it is just in general."
He concluded, "It is a backward-looking technology." Of course, it’s the newspaper industry that many would call a "dying medium." (The San Francisco Chronicle is just one of many papers to face bankruptcy recently.)
Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Friday's "Morning Joe" to lament that a new liberal ad featuring Rush Limbaugh would only elevate the status of the "blow-hard bullfrog" conservative host. The liberal group Americans United for Change has a spot running that slams Republicans as a party of no and features a clip of Limbaugh's now famous comment that he wants Obama's liberal policies to fail.
After "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist played the ad, Brown asserted of the commercial, "I adore the 'party of no.' I think it is wonderful." She then complained, "The only thing I do regret though is that this giant, you know, blow-hard bullfrog, you know, Rush Limbaugh is being turned into this big icon."
New Yorker senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg, "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar." [Audio available here.]
Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement.Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"
Veteran Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein appeared on Monday's "Morning Joe" to highlight the "masterful" leadership of Barack Obama in passing a stimulus bill and also to laud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her dedication to service. Challenged by MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan over how much impact Hillary Clinton would actually have as secretary of state, Bernstein, author of the Hillary bio "A Woman in Charge," enthused, "You know, she is somebody who really believes in service. Both Clintons do. Whatever cynicism we might have about the Clintons, she believes in service."
He also asserted that celebrity is important on the world stage and cooed, "And nobody is more celebrated. Nobody is more famous than Hillary Clinton. Nobody can have more effect abroad." Earlier in the segment, the former Washington Post journalist applauded Barack Obama for passing his stimulus bill in a way that maneuvered around a "dysfunctional" Congress. "...The reason Barack Obama is showing such masterful- and I think we can use that word- leadership so far is that he's in the process of solving the problem of the U.S. Congress, the fact that it is a largely dysfunctional institution," he explained.
Despite his tax problems, President Barack Obama's newly minted Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, was sold to Congress as the one who was going to save the fragile financial system.
However, in what was billed to be a big announcement, and Geithner's first major appearance, he failed to deliver. The Treasury Secretary was slated to outline his plan to rescue troubled financial institutions from the toxic assets they had on their books. But he failed to give specifics and the markets suffered; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) nosedived 382 points.
CNBC "Fast Money" host Dylan Ratigan had his own description of Geithner's performance. In an appearance on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Morning Joe," he likened it to "soiling a bed."
With all the populist sentiment generated from the economic slowdown by politicians, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer is seeing eerie similarities with the comments of President Barack Obama and the words of a communist revolutionary.
Cramer, appearing on MSNBC's Feb. 2 "Morning Joe," drew comparisons between remarks between the first head of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and Obama. Obama criticized Wall Street's moneymaking on Jan. 30, when he said there would be a time "for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now's not that time. And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them."
Cramer said that was similar to Lenin's writings. "Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin," Cramer said. "There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.' Look - in Lenin's book, ‘What Is to Be Done?' is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?' which is we have no place for profits."
Most liberal bloggers want to close Guantanamo, and some even want to make those "poor guys in Gitmo" some baba ghanoush. That aspiring terrorist's chef is the "Phoenix Woman" at Firedoglake, who complained about Rudy Giuliani ("everyone's favorite would-be dictator") on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Rudy's offense was citing the New York Times for reporting on a released Guantanamo detainee who is now deputy al-Qaeda commander in Yemen. But she complained:
Again, no names, facts, figures from the torturemongers. Just scare statements. And a chuckle from Rudy as he contemplates the possible deaths of innocents.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on Thursday aggressively clashed with his liberal co-anchor Mika Brzezinski and Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart about Guantanamo Bay and the definitions of torture. After Capehart asserted, "I do think there's a way to protect America without violating everything that we stand for and everything that we are," a clearly agitated Scarborough shot back, "That is bull!"
The MSNBC host continued, "What you are doing and, Mika, what you are doing and the rabid left, not you all, but the rabid left has done for the past seven years, is just say, 'We are going to apply new standards to the Geneva Convention.'" An undeterred Capehart retorted, "How about following the Geneva Convention?" This prompted Scarborough to lecture, "Oh, guess what, Jonathan? We are! Al Qaeda terrorists that don't wear uniforms. How about reading the Geneva Convention! Because, terrorists that try and blow up civilians are not protected under the Geneva Convention."
My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .
Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers. After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
The predicate was a provocative one. Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child. Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.
Far be it from me to sow discord in MSNBC ranks, to stir up old animosities between colleagues there. But if Joe Scarborough is going to do a mocking imitation of Keith Olbermann in full Special Comment rant, well then, blogging ethics compel me to report it.
The jumping-off point on Morning Joe today was Eugene Robinson's current WaPo column. After claiming that he didn't want to kick the president on his way out the door, Robinson proceeded to do just that. The columnist described a variety of measures adopted by the president in prosecution of the war against terror as "departures from American values and traditions." Robinson recommended an investigation if not a criminal prosecution. That led Pat Buchanan and Scarborough to cite, chapter and verse, the ways in which Bush's supposed abrogation of "American values and traditions" were small potatoes compared to the actions of predecessors including Lincoln, Wilson and FDR.
Without mentioning the Countdown host by name, Scarborough closed with an unmistakable impression of Keith Olbermann in pompous Special Comment peroration of the sort that can be seen here.
The exquisite moral sensibilities of the MSM . . .
Would you waterboard an al Qaeda member for three minutes to get information to save the lives of nine passenger-loads of innocent civilians? Chrystia Freeland wouldn't. The US managing editor of the Financial Times made the stunning statement during the course of a classic Morning Joe dust-up today. Joe Scarborough, with help from tag-team partner Pat Buchanan, went after Freeland on her opposition to waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques. At one point Scarborough called Freeland "sophomoric." Later, the exasperated MJ host gave his guest some of the same treatment to which he'd recently been subjected by Zbigniew Brzezinski, telling Freeland "you have no idea what you're talking about."
Finally, under questioning from Buchanan, Freeland went so far as to disagree with the proposition that it would be moral to waterboard someone for three minutes to get information to foil a plot to simultaneously kill nine passenger planeloads of people.
Chris Matthews won't be working alone. Back in November, the Hardball host said it was his job to make Barack Obama's presidency a success. Today, another TV journalist expressed a similar sentiment. Tavis Smiley has declared that "we're all working for Barack Obama" and that "we have to help make Obama a great president." [H/t reader dronetek.]
The host of Tavis Smiley on PBS was a guest on Morning Joe. Reacting to Harry Reid's claim last week that he doesn't work for Barack Obama, Smiley said Reid should "put down the crack pipe." Smiley added "we're all working for Barack Obama." It soon became clear that was no passing quip, but a literal description of how he sees his role.
Could this be the most unvarnished insult to someone's intelligence in the recent annals of major network television? Here was Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking to Joe Scarborough on today's "Morning Joe." [H/t reader Melody.]
You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.
It was Scarborough's exposition of the widely accepted view—shared by Bill Clinton himself—that Yasser Arafat was to blame for the failure of the 2000 Camp David summit, that prompted Brzezinski's remarkable display of disdain.
The ostensible subject was Caroline Kennedy. But in the course of, you know, discussing Kennedy's foundering effort to, you know, be anointed senator, Mika Brzezinski said something of more enduring interest. The Morning Joe co-host provided a telling glimpse into the liberal mindset, as Brzezinski cast her vote for Big Mommy government.
Host Joe Scarborough observed that New York Gov. David Paterson was letting Kennedy twist in the wind. Rather than spending his time taxing everything in sight, the guv would be better off appointing Caroline or someone else, so the new senator could hit the ground running once Hillary is confirmed as Secretary of State, opined Scarborough.
That's when Mika made her pitch for taxes as a tool for reforming those not living the lifestyle approved by the latest member of the Lititz landed gentry.
There was no Memorex around when the brontosauri were bidding bye-bye, but I think we have a pretty good idea of what they sounded like as they were going extinct. Just listen to Brian Williams this morning. Appearing on Morning Joe, the NBC Nightly News anchor lamented the decline of "classically-trained" journalists in favor of guys with "an opinion and a modem."
A question from Pat Buchanan about the ebbing fortunes of the old media set Williams off on a soliloquy he assured us was not self-interested.
The people just don't know Caroline like I do. That was the essence of Andrea Mitchell's defense of the would-be senator after Pat Buchanan analogized her to another nominee who famously flopped. Appearing on Morning Joe, Buchanan unleashed a merciless metaphor.
PAT BUCHANAN: It's not only entitlement. It appears–we are getting close to Harriet Miers country, where Bush put her out there, and it became transparent when people started going after her that she wasn't quite up to this --
Next time you find yourself in a room with Andrea Mitchell, be careful what thoughts you permit to cross your mind. The NBC correspondent evidently has the ability to read them. Defending Caroline Kennedy on today's Morning Joe, Mitchell stated as a fact that Kennedy's press-evading performance in upstate New York was due to her desire not to appear presumptuous.
Continuing her advocacy, Mitchell went on to praise the very remarks Kennedy made yesterday that I found dangerously sleep-inducing. She then dismissed Charles Krauthammer's criticism of Kennedy as "an opinion piece" coming from "the right." For good measure, Andrea accused Andrew Cuomo—a rival for the Senate seat—of leaking to the press unflattering information about Kennedy's failure to have voted in many elections.
Rick Warren had a surprisingly candid response to Ann Curry's question as to whether he would change his views on homosexuality if it were established that people are born gay. The pastor of the Saddleback Church, explaining why such a finding wouldn't cause him to change his position, observed that he is inclined to want to have sex with every beautiful woman he sees, but that that doesn't make it right.
Curry interviewed Warren for a Dateline segment that will be aired tonight on NBC. As noteworthy as Warren's candor was Curry's ostentatious display of righteous liberal anger, captured in the screengrab, while asking Warren whether he is homophobic.
What a difference an administration makes. During the Bush years, if a spokesman or the president himself attempted to dodge a tough question, the media would go into their Sam Donaldson impressions and pundits would see a conspiracy of silence.
But now that it's Obama, the dodging that was once denounced is suddenly celebrated. Thus, appearing on today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell declared "impressive" Pres.-elect Obama's stiff-arming yesterday of a reporter who dared asked Blago-related questions.
The video clip also includes a gratuitous bit of nastiness from Obama adviser David Axelrod aimed at Mika Brzezinski.
It's said that to work, humor must contain a kernel of truth. No wonder David Letterman's effort to wring humor out of the shoe-throwing incident fell so flat. The Late Show host joked that Muntadhar al-Zeidi had been offered a show on . . . Fox News. Letterman was playing off the report that al-Zeidi is reported to be hot-tempered and possess poor journalistic skills.
How lame was Letterman? After airing the "joke" on Morning Joe today, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist gave it a double thumbs-down.
"I will say that when I started [at MSNBC] in 2003, nobody spoke to me for six months. I was a strange man in a strange land," Joe Scarborough is reported to have told Time magazine.
TVNewser's Steve Krakauer noted today that in an upcoming 10 Questions feature the "Morning Joe" host will share his thoughts about his network, which he sees, "right now" to be "a free marketplace of ideas where everybody's invited and opinions clash."
Scarborough added that "as long as I'm fair, I don't think there's a problem at all." There's no word, however, on if Scarborough thinks fairness is strived at by his colleagues Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
Promise, or threat? John Harwood declares "the New York Times isn't going anywhere." The Times correspondent, who also toils for CNBC, made his unconditional claim on today's Morning Joe in response to Joe Scarborough's envisioning of a future in which major news organizations, including the Times, might disappear. Scarborough was concerned that the public would be deprived of the media's investigative function.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The problem is, though, that these people are all being fired. So what are we going to do without a New York Times or a Washington Post or an NBC News? The investigators that hold government accountable.
That's when Harwood sprang to his employer's defense.
Appearing on Friday's "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather chided President Bush for not doing enough during his lame duck period and argued for moving Inauguration Day up to December 1. And although Rather didn't explain specifically what Bush wasn't doing enough about (The financial crisis? The terrorist incident in India?), he did hyperbolically fret, "But, we're in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we've been in since December 7, 1941 and maybe since the time of the Civil War." (As big a calamity as slavery and the dissolution of the Union?)
Addressing the past practice of inaugurating presidents in March, Rather lobbied "Thank heaven, we now swear them in, new presidents, in January. I'd be in favor of moving it up to December 1st."(The former network anchor didn't explain how he would then deal with situations like the protracted 2000 post-election battle.) [Audio available here.]
Always irreverent, Tucker Carlson seems freer than ever to aim a few jabs at his network and the people that work there. On today's Morning Joe, Tucker landed a one-two punch. With all the talk focusing on Detroit, Carlson let the cat out of the bag that NBC is implementing layoffs of its own. Tucker played off that news, tweaking Chris Matthews along the way, by announcing that he too was planning a Senate run, one in which a bailout of the news networks would be the centerpiece.
Tucker, an unreconstructed libertarian, spoke in opposition to the Detroit bailout. After observing that capitalism without failure is like religion without sin, he made his tongue-in-cheek announcement.
"Talk about too big to fail," said managing editor of Time Richard Stengel on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Dec. 4, who was on the program promoting the latest cover story for the magazine entitled, "The Case for Saving Detroit." Stengel:
"I find the fact that so many Americans are unsympathetic to Detroit to be kind of amazing," Stengel said:
We make the case that in fact the, you know, the Big Three have adapted in a lot of ways ... They haven't managed things well, they have too much capacity, but I mean, talk about being too big to fail in a way, right?
The fact is Americans don't understand what collateralized debt obligations are, yet they sort of said, ‘Okay, let's bailout all of these banks and AIG' and yet people feel like, ‘Hmm what about the big car manufacturers?
On Thursday's "Morning Joe," after being told that a critique of his on the auto industry bailout sounded very similar to one made by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, MSNBC political director Chuck Todd told co-host Willie Geist that he dreaded what the people at NewsBusters would say: "By the way, I can't wait 'til our friends at NewsBusters, you know, compare, compare me to Michael Moore. I appreciate that. I appreciate that, Willie."
The exchange occurred after Todd argued that there was a class warfare reason behind the fact that the October financial bailout seemed to have less resistance than the auto industry rescue plan now being considered. He argued, "We are holding the automakers and the UAW to a tougher standard than, it seems to me, that we held the Citibank guys and, it seems to me, that we held everything that's going on with the white collar bailout on Wall Street." [Audio available here]
He later added, "...And maybe it's because we also don't know anybody that works at GM...We don't know those families. But, we do know somebody at JPMorgan Chase." Geist then played a clip of Moore "making almost the same point you're making right now."
Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and gushed that Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the State Department will benefit from the "real wisdom" Bill Clinton has "when it comes to foreign policy." Continuing to fawn over the President-elect's cabinet choices, Bernstein enthused, "And the real thing about this appointment, though, is that Obama is assembling a group of people to unite the country."
The author of the Clinton bio "A Woman in Charge" optimistically added, "He [Obama] wants a political consensus so he can do what other presidents haven't been able to do, which is to move the country in the direction he wants without division down the middle." Bernstein didn't explain how the liberal senator, who's lifetime American Conservative Union score is seven, would "unite the country."
Why does Sarah Palin continue to receive so much media coverage? Peggy Noonan has a theory. The Wall Street Journal columnist believes the MSM is up to what she considers "mischief": attempting to make Sarah Palin the face of the Republican party.
Noonan propounded her premise during an appearance today on Morning Joe.