MSNBC's prime-time "town hall" on immigration reform yesterday exemplified one of the more unseemly elements of media bias: brazen political advocacy disguised as an "honest conversation."
Attempting to pass itself off as a forum for voices on all sides of the immigration issue to elevate the dialogue, "Beyond Borderlines" featured droves of liberal guests who dismissed, admonished, and overwhelmed only token conservative opposition.
From the outset of the program, conservative guests were disadvantaged and drowned out. The "conversation," which touched on a wide-range of issues related to immigration reform, was steered by hosts Lawrence O'Donnell, who is a self-described socialist, and Maria Teresa Kumar, who is executive director of Voto Latino, a liberal immigration reform group.
Mike Cutler, one of the few guests who offered a contrasting perspective on the issue, was repeatedly attacked by Kumar, who oscillated between the conflicting roles of questioner and answerer, and the other panelists.
Lawrence "Crazy Larry" O'Donnell was back to his former self during MSNBC's Election Night coverage Tuesday. During the 9 p.m. EDT hour the MSNBC anchor claimed that if Rand Paul holds to his "principles" and filibusters an attempt to raise the debt ceiling, it would destroy the United States' credit rating and possibly spark a worldwide depression. O'Donnell also pressed House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the matter.
After Cantor refused to give O'Donnell a direct answer to his oddball question, the frustrated MSNBC host ranted that he didn't want to see Cantor on MSNBC again.
In the beginning segment, O'Donnell was giving commentary after live coverage of Rand Paul's victory speech. Paul, he noted, will soon be pressed to vote on raising the debt ceiling, something which O'Donnell asserted is vital to the health of the U.S. economy.
Just days after MSNBC President Phil Griffin claimed his cable network does not use air-time to support Democratic candidates and liberal causes, evening host Lawrence O'Donnell yielded over two minutes of his eponymous program to feature MoveOn.org's latest anti-Republican advertisement in its entirety.
O'Donnell introduced the partisan attack ad as a get-out-the-vote push: "Sometimes you have to take unusual steps to get out the vote. MoveOn.org, with the help of actors Olivia Wilde from 'House' and Romany Malco from 'Weeds,' has produced a warning from the future to show you what could happen if Republicans win this election because you didn't vote."
After playing the entire ad uninterrupted, which urged voters to "STOP THE REPUBLICAN TAKEOVER!!" and predicted that if the GOP takes back control of Congress in November because liberals don't go to the polls, Republicans will merge with "the big corporations that fund them to create RepubliCorp," the MSNBC host immediately cut to a commercial break.
Instead of analyzing the attack ad on its merits, O'Donnell gave MoveOn.org free ad time.
What do Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, a domestic terrorist who was developing a nuclear weapon, and Tea Party activists concerned about lavish government spending have in common? Nothing, unless you're a newly-minted cable news anchor with a liberal agenda.
Interviewing a Time magazine writer who conducted an in-depth investigation into right-wing militias, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on the September 30 "Last Word" tried to draw a parallel between the reported resurgence of extreme militia groups and the rise of the Tea Party.
"The surge in recruits to what could be the training ground of our next Timothy McVeigh parallels the rise of the Tea Party and includes at least one man who had serious plans to kill the president by going nuclear," warned O'Donnell, before enlisting the help of Barton Gellman, author of "Locked and Loaded: The Secret World of Extreme Militias," to connect the dots.
"What's the answer to the Tea Party racist question?"
Galloping into the 10 p.m. Eastern timeslot as the white knight of truth, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, host of "The Last Word," challenged left-wing writer Matt Taibbi on September 29 to answer this incisive question.
Eager to discuss the subject of his latest conservative hit-piece, Taibbi imparted the sort of thoughtful analysis viewers should expect from a Rolling Stone political reporter: "My answer is it's not so much about hating black people for these people, I think it's more about believing in this preposterous fantasy that white people are some kind of oppressed minority in the age of Obama."
After belittling the Tea Party for its "incredibly stupid" worldview, Taibbi pointed to the grassroots movement's "collective narcissistic" behavior as the source of its alleged stupidity. A seemingly entranced O'Donnell concurred with Taibbi's diagnosis, then invited the correspondent to press on:
Liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow will host an April 19 special on Timothy McVeigh's 1995 act of terrorism and how it "puts into perspective the threat posed by anti-government extremism."
In an ad for the program, Maddow lectured, "It doesn't have to lead to violence, but it can and it has. We ignore this, our own very recent history of anti-government violence and the dangers of domestic terrorism, at our peril."
In a previous commercial for the special, an announcer questioned, "15 years later, can McVeigh's words help us understand today's anti-government extremists?" Will the left-wing host attempt to connect tea partiers and conservative activists to violence?
It was the MSM version of "win one for the Gipper." A manifestly moved Andrea Mitchell told a Dem congressman that with Pres. Obama having put so much on the line for health care reform, "you've got to get this for him."
Mitchell, ostensibly a "correspondent," her voice brimming with emotion, made her heart-felt plea to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) during her 1 PM MNSBC show today.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Bottom line, what happens if you don't get health care for this president is, this is really all-or-nothing for the sense of his power, his legacy, he's invested so much in this, in this first year. You've got to get this for him.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday used the very loaded term of "denier" to deride global warming skeptics. Talking to liberal host Rachel Maddow, she referenced Sarah Palin’s opposition to the Copenhagen climate conference and chided, "Her Facebook entry says, you know, ‘Mr. President, boycott Copenhagen.’ How do you rationalize the deniers and the impact that they are having?" [Audio available here.]
"Deniers" is a word that climate skeptics find quite offensive, as many liberals equate not believing in man-made global warming to denying that the Holocaust occurred. (In March 2006, CBS reporter Scott Pelley famously compared, "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?")
A dismissive Maddow moved beyond dictionary-approved words while insulting Republicans. She asserted that conservatives will either accept reality or respond, "'We don't believe the problem is real' and become a denialist [sic] about it." A denialist?
Liberals like to style themselves as being above ageism, lookism, sexism and judgementalism when it comes to sexual predilections. But in one fell show, Ed Schultz managed to indulge in all of the above.
If a regular fan of MSNBC primetime were to chime into a water cooler conversation with the words, "Terror plot? I haven't heard of any terror plot?" such an MSNBC devotee couldn't be blamed for not knowing about one of the big news stories of the past two weeks.
While the arrest of terror suspect Najibullah Zazi -- who admitted to training with al-Qaeda in Pakistan and is believed to have been planning to target New York City -- featured prominently on every broadcast network evening newscast in the past couple of weeks as well as some evening shows on CNN and FNC, there was barely a mention during MSNBC's primetime schedule of the terror plot described by NBC Nightly news anchor Brian Williams as "one of the more serious terror plots since 9/11."
Kent Jones, a guest on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," branded the MRC's Culture and Media Institute a "usual suspect" in the fight against gay marriage.
Dubbed the "matrimonial recreation correspondent" by Maddow, Jones mocked conservative arguments against gay marriage during a report of George Takei's (Mr. Sulu for the Trekkies out there) scheduled appearance on the "Newlywed Game" alongside his spouse, Brad Altman.
Jones noted that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa "didn't cause the apocalypse" and called Takei and Altman's appearance on the game show a "little marital victory," before launching into the "Star Trek" jokes:
You might have figured this was coming, that when dust settled from the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C., the brain trust at MSNBC would attempt to frame it as negatively as possible.
And MSNBC's resident left-wing curmudgeon-in-training David Shuster didn't disappoint. The former host of the canceled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" took a report from the Huffington Post debunking attendance figures and attempted to belittle the event. The story focused on an old photograph that had been circulating on some minor conservative blogs showing a huge crowd for the Sept. 12 march.
Shuster asked Washington Examiner columnist and author of "The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money" if some conservative blogs were going to circulate a phony photo, why should the movement have any credibility? But Carney didn't take the bait and instead showed that MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets were committing a similar offense.
What would Jesus do? Well, Ed Schultz thinks he knows - that is on health care reform at least.
Schultz, on his Sept. 2 MSNBC program, "The ED Show" told viewers he believed Jesus would vote for a government public option. That, he said, was to the dismay of some on religious right, or what he used the pejorative "Bible thumpers" to describe.
"Now, I have been referring to the health care reform deal as the real moral issue of our time," Schultz said. "I believe Jesus would vote yes for a public option, but some Bible thumpers don't see me eye to eye on this one."
Schultz later elaborated on his statement, likening "fixing health care" to a moral obligation.
The announcement of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death came at 2 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 26 and a little over 15 hours later, two prominent liberal voices were scheming as to how the president and other Democratic leaders could use his passing to advance a political agenda.
Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC host Ed Schultz's Aug. 26 program and was asked by Schultz if it somehow could be used to push "real reform" for health care.
"The passing of Ted Kennedy - could this be a rallying cry for progressives to carry this fight through and to see real reform and health care in this country?" Schultz said. "Because, of course, I think everybody on the left knows that this was his passion, this was his cause."
To liberal media outlets, Warren Hern, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country, has been worthy of praise as a doctor who boldly stands up for his beliefs in the face of intimidation - a lonely humanitarian braving violent death for the sake of his patients.
That's the picture painted by TV and other media. What's missing from the portrait is Hern's belief that humans are "malignant ecotumors," his refusal to be called an abortionist, and his strident denunciations of the pro-life movement.
Attention has turned to Hern in the wake of the May 31 murder of Kansas late-term abortionist (and Hern friend) George Tiller. Since then, Hern has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR. Print media, including the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune have cited him.
Esquire magazine devoted 9,000 words to Hern in its current issue, which sparked his Aug. 12 appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show and praise from Keith Olbermann.
If Napoleon was right about not interfering with an [in this case political] enemy in the process of destroying itself, this could be a time for Republicans to lay low. According to Ed Schultz, the left could be on the verge of an anti-Obama crack-up.
On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz said to the face of a senior admin official that the left is seriously considering dumping support for the president.
Schultz's guest was reporter-turned-Obama-spokesman Linda Douglass. The point of Schultz's exercise was to hold Obama's feet to the fire for the way the prez is furiously backpedaling away from his pledge that any health care bill "must" contain a public option.
On today's Meet The Press, Rachel Maddow demanded to know whether Dick Armey was a member of a coalition with the Tea Party Patriots, a group she alleges to promote "violence." Moderator David Gregory joined in the cross-examination of Armey, head of Freedom Works.
It's not enough that much of the mainstream media cheered on Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008 or browbeat former President George W. Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan to force Republicans from control of Congress. No, it's time for a "progressive television network" and for left-wingers to support radio hosts that are sympathetic to liberal causes according to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
You may have thought there already was a "progressive" cable network in MSNBC and left-wingers sort of had an opportunity to support Air America, but that didn't quite pan out as anticipated - though it's still hanging on. Nonetheless, Sanders, a self-described socialist, appeared on MSNBC's Aug. 13 "Rachel Maddow Show" and blasted Fox News and conservative talk radio. He blamed both for creating obstacles to Democratic Party led efforts to fundamentally alter health care in the United States. But he also said it's time the left attempted to replicate the right and created their own left-wing networks.
When it comes to insulting people opposed to ObamaCare, you might say Ed Schultz has plumbed new depths . . .
On his MSNBC show this evening, Schultz branded people turning up at town halls as "dumber than Joe the Plumber." For good measure, he added a variation on the Washington Post's old canard about certain conservatives being "poor, undereducated, and easy to command."
It's been a long time since MSNBC could pretend to be anything but a shill for liberal politicians, policies and causes. Any remaining doubts about that can be dispelled by surveying the network's recent coverage of the controversy over gays in the military.
Cable news' self-described "place for politics" covered the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" administrative policy six different times between July 27 and July 29. Opponents of the current policy were able to state their case unchallenged, while network anchors made it clear that they were themselves in favor of allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve in the armed forces. Not one defender of the current policy appeared in any of the conversations about "don't ask, don't tell."
Conversations about the policy, which bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military, were keyed around the actions of Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress, kicked-off a seven city tour sponsored by the gay rights' activist group Human Rights Campaign to increase public support for his bill that seeks to allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Gillibrand announced that the Senate Armed Services committee agreed to hold a hearing on the policy in the fall, the first since 1993, when former President Bill Clinton instituted the policy as a compromise.
Overcompensation: (psychiatry) an attempt to overcome a real or imagined defect or unwanted trait by overly exaggerating its opposite.
Today brings a prime example of the phenomenon in the person of Brian Williams, overcompensating for his image as a pampered straight arrow by joking about having a vast staff of servants, looking forward to the prospect of watching some nude male swimming, and, yes, doing meth to get going in the morning.
This was inevitable. When the Obama administration effectively took over General Motors, Obama-friendly media hacks were going to tout the company's products . . .
And so it was that on his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz offered up an unpaid infomercial for GM's new Camaro. Most grotesque was Schultz's boast that the Camaro was outselling the Ford Mustang. Take that, private-sector company that declined to take Obama's dime!
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of media attention the networks have given to Michael Jackson? You're not alone, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, and that fact puzzles MSNBC contributor Touré.
"And of course, the Jackson coverage raises a question," Snyderman said. "Has the media been spending too much time covering the Michael Jackson story? Certainly, it's something you can't get away from right now. A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 64 percent of people surveyed think that the coverage of the Jackson story is excessive. Three percent think, too little, 29 percent just about right."
At one point during her new MSNBC show today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman proclaimed:
"the White House, their health care agenda continues to be our agenda."
Snyderman would probably say she meant it only in terms of the subject matter the show will cover, not its point of view. But she was, if unintentionally, revealing a larger truth. Just in time for the Obama admin's push on health care, MSNBC has rolled out a show that loyally pushes the Obama plan, right down to the call for nationalization via the so-called "public option."
“Bruno,” a controversial movie about a gay Austrian fashionista is set to debut in the United States on July 10, but the film has already garnered an abundance of media attention due to its over-the-top portrayal of homosexuals. On June 29, MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting” featured a segment the was nothing short of a promotion for the film.
“Bruno” stars Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his controversial 2006 film “Borat,” as well as for his recent MTV Movie Award stunt in which he in character as Bruno, dropped into the theater on a harness and exposed his bare back side to rapper Eminem.
On Morning Joe today, Carlos Watson "joked" that fear of Pres. Obama drove Rush Limbaugh to take pills. Watson is not some night-time MSNBC pundit paid to proffer controversial opinions. MSNBC has given Watson the daily 11 AM slot. The network describes him as the host of a "news recap" show.
Watson was riffing off a discussion of Rush's suggestion that Sanford's inability to prevent federal stimulus funds from coming into South Carolina, and his concerns about the federal government taking over, had pushed him to decide that he simply wanted to enjoy life.
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?