On Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Mitchell hosted two liberal guests in a discussion about President Obama’s national service program and the prospects for more gun control laws being passed by Congress in the near future. Speaking to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mitchell repeated a grossly inaccurate statistic that 90 percent of guns used by Mexican drug cartels are manufactured in the U.S. Mitchell: "Mr. Mayor, first to you, why not go after the assault weapon ban, as President Calderone in Mexico is calling for? Ninety percent of the weapons used in the drug cartel crimes south of the border are said to have originated in the United States."
But, as previously documented by Mike Sargent, FNC's William LaJeunesse reported on April 2 that 83 percent of guns recovered from Mexican drug cartels are not from the United States. Most of these weapons are never submitted to the U.S. for tracing because they are clearly not American in origin.
After Bloomberg advocated passage of an assault weapon ban, but later indicated that almost all those killed using guns each day are killed using "illegal handguns," Mitchell did not take the opportunity to challenge the Mayor on just how much impact an assault weapon ban could have if such guns are are so rarely the weapon of choice by criminals. She then moved on to set up New York’s Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy to promote the passage of more gun laws. Mitchell: "And, Mr. Mayor, you mentioned Virginia Tech, Columbine anniversary was yesterday. Only weeks ago, we had the killings of police officers in Pittsburgh and in Oakland. Congresswoman McCarthy, is there any chance that something will be done in Congress? And also the gun show loophole which is sitting out there?"
MSNBC prides itself as being the place for politics, the seemingly clever marketing slogan could be used to describe the network as the place where hosts try to use dirty humor about important political events.
David Shuster, filling in for MSNBC loose-cannon Keith Olbermann on his April 13 broadcast, and his writers probably thought they were pretty clever when they pieced an item denigrating the tax protests by using the sexual term "teabagging." Urbandictionary.com, cited multiple times by one MSNBC guest, describes it as when a man places his testicles "onto someone's face, or into their mouth."
"For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day," Shuster said as he began a soliloquy with about a dozen separate oral sex puns. "But in our fourth story tonight: It's going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they're going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals.
With the Tax Day tea party rallies just three days away, outside of the Fox News Channel, the coverage has been lacking. And, it was something that even Washington Post media columnist and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz acknowledged on his April 12 program.
"The folks at Fox News have found something to be for in this age of Obama," Kurtz said. "They are firmly in favor of tea parties. On Wednesday, that would be April 15th - there will be tax protests around the country on the theme of the original Boston Tea Party. TaxDayTeaParty.com says it was inspired by that rant against President Obama's mortgage aid plan by CNBC's Rick Santelli."
However, Kurtz didn't condemn his network and other networks for lack of coverage - but instead explored the notion that Fox News was giving it too much coverage.
Ed Schultz debuted on MSNBC during the 5 p.m. slot on April 6 with a flashy new set. And although the liberal radio host's "The ED Show" is in its infancy, it has one apparent theme - it's very pro-organized labor.
Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, was even Schultz's first guest. On his second show on April 7, Schultz's opening "OpEd" segment was firmly for the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as card check. And, on his third show on April 8, he invited Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director of the pro-union, pro-card check American Rights at Work organization.
However, there's one detail Schultz hasn't revealed to his audience - a potential conflict of interest. As recently as 2008, Schultz received more than $20,000 from three separate AFL-CIO affiliated labor unions.
It's hard to find an upside to the continuous drumbeat of bad economic news. But on April 7, MSNBC host and Obama cheerleader Rachel Maddow felt compelled to try.
"There is a silver lining here, maybe," Maddow said. "As horrible as the jobs numbers are and as pessimistic as executives across the country appear to be - Americans broadly speaking are actually sort of increasingly optimistic these days."
Maddow cited a New York Times/CBS poll that indicated more Americans think the United States is heading in the right direction, the number who think the economy is getting worse has decreased and more are thinking the bank bailout will help "all Americans" - all of this occurring since President Barack Obama was sworn in back in January.
No wonder this guy professes love for President Obama: neither one cares how much the government spends . . .
Ed Schultz debuted his MSNBC show this evening by calling for universal health care, saying "I don't care how much it costs." There was one area, however, in which Schultz did show more guts than his new colleague, Keith Olbermann.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Wednesday delighted in a comparison of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to the MTV characters Beavis and Butt-head. Shuster singled out the Republican, who gave the GOP response to Barack Obama's February 24 congressional address, for his "hypocrisy watch" segment.
The MSNBC host slammed "Jindal's hypocrisy" for criticizing what he called wasteful spending, including volcano monitoring. (According to Shuster, Jindal is a hypocrite because, while the governor attacked volcano monitoring, he's also asked for comprehensive flood and hurricane funds for his own state.) The anchor gleefully recounted an attack by liberal New York Times writer Paul Krugman: Reading from Krugman's column, he recited, "The intellectual incoherence is stunning. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butt-head." Agreeing with the juvenile insult, Shuster added, "Beavis and Butthead? Well, Krugman didn't say which one Jindal is. Nonetheless, all of us at '1600' agree with the larger point."
A prominent Democrat made news on MSNBC Feb. 11 with his guarantee of new financial industry regulations "comparable" to FDR's New Deal.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., appeared on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" Feb. 11 and told the MSNBC and Air America host that things should be done to limit what financial services can do, specifically when it comes to compensation.
"There's no question about it for the future," Frank said. "Look, there's a problem with the American system and we as liberals should be honoring this. The principle that you don't go back and do things retroactively is a very important liberal principle."
Frank "guaranteed" there would be new regulations forthcoming.
Building on the relative popularity of their 8pm and 9pm slots--Olbermann & Maddow, respectively--MSNBC has begun the search for a personality to fill the currently unfilled 10pm slot. 10pm is currently devoted to a replay of Olbermann's "Countdown."
Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, is making 10 p.m. a priority now. In an interview on Tuesday in a studio on the Mall, hours after the inauguration of President Obama, Mr. Griffin said that the channel needed a third original show in its lineup.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in his latest heart-palpitation over the new era of Barack Obama, inadvertently let the cat out of the bag regarding his network’s transparent to court a left-wing audience.
“This is the network that has opened its heart to change -- to change and its possibilities. Let’s be honest about it. These -- these people watch this network out here,” Matthews gushed Tuesday morning.
Matthews’s co-anchor and fellow liberal Democrat Keith Olbermann, jokingly seconded his observation: “He’s Chris Matthews and he approved that message.” Matthews then made an indirect slam at Obama’s detractors: “We’re not crotchety about change -- stuffy” [audio available here].
Matthews’s latest gush came just before the bottom half of the 11 am Eastern hour of MSNBC’s coverage of the inauguration. He first remarked on the apparent giddiness of the mass of people in attendance for the swearing-in of the 44th president: “Well, there’s one thing you can’t see at home. I have never seen so many teeth in my life. Everybody is smiling. I mean, it’s all teeth out -- when you get close.” Olbermann responded with his first joke: “ A combination of smiling and the weather -- there’s chattering going on.” Matthews then continued about how the crowd seemed “radiant” and how they were “lucky enough to be in this business today, looking out the window here and getting the reaction when the crowd catches your eye. It is such a deal.”
On Tuesday’s Countdown on MSNBC, after a segment with the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson at the end of the program in which he and host Keith Olbermann lambasted Sarah Palin over her recent interview with Esquire magazine, the Countdown host made a crude joke at Palin’s expense as he introduced the Rachel Maddow Show. Olbermann: "But, apropos of Palin, I can’t remember who said this, but it came to mind: What’s the difference between a governor of Alaska and a pitbull? You can train a pitbull to occasionally keep its mouth closed. Do you know who said that? Because I can’t remember."
After laughing hysterically, Maddow responded: "No, I can’t. No, that’s new to me. Is that the safe thing to say here?"
Below is a complete transcript of the exchange from the Tuesday, January 13, Countdown on MSNBC:
I like Pat Buchanan. I do. He's wise, funny and charming. But every so often . . .
Like tonight. If Buchanan wants to criticize Israel's conduct of the current war, and its treatment of the Palestinians, so be it. But in doing so, is it really necessary to employ terms associated with the Nazis? Appearing on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Buchanan accused Israel of carrying out a "blitzkrieg" against Gaza and turning it into a "concentration camp."
Maybe Rachel Maddow watched one too many clips of Bill Clinton during the '92 campaign claiming George H.W. had "driven the economy into a ditch" and that things were as bad as they'd been since the Depression. In the course of trying to lower expectations for Obama to the max on her show tonight, and tracing the history of the economies previous presidents inherited, Maddow claimed that "Clinton took the oath during an economic downturn."
Uh, no. He took office in the midst of an economy that was growing at a fast pace. Don't take my word for it. "Fast pace" was the way economic growth was characterized at the time by the . . . New York Times.
He stopped short of demanding they be branded with a scarlet 'U.' But the suddenly puritanical David Shuster insists that the proper term for Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston is "unwed parents."
Shuster rendered his verdict on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the MSNBC show he's been hosting since David Gregory parted for Meet The Press. Shuster teased the issue at the top of the program, then devoted a segment to it later on.
Given some of the reactions to an item I wrote yesterday about Barney Frank's objections to Rick Warren giving the invocation at the inauguration, let me state for the record that I lean libertarian on marriage. On the one hand, I don't like courts substituting their judgment for legislatures or the will of the people. But in the long run, I think it might be better for government to recognize that marriage is a religious or spiritual institution, and confine its role to enforcing agreements between partners.
That said, I can't help but chuckle at the way the MSM is twisting itself into knots over the Rick Warren issue. The latest, most entertaining episode occured on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, on MSNBC. David Shuster discovered that, contrary to his presumption, civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph Lowery, also on the inaugural program, does not support gay marriage!
Lynn Sweet wants the Obama team to come clean over its contacts with Blago. David Shuster has a different concern. He's hoping the media won't get "adversarial" once the Obama folks get around to releasing their report about who said what to whom.
Shuster made his pre-emptive plea for good media manners on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the MSNBC show Shuster has recently begun hosting now that David Gregory has moved on to Meet The Press.
Sweet, of the Chicago Sun-Times, began with a reasonable reporter's take on the pending release by Team Obama of its accounting of contacts between the President-elect's representatives and Blago and his minions: take your time but be complete. In contrast, Shuster's focus was his demand for media decorum and desire to exculpate Rahm Emanuel before even learning the facts.
Though there's not a ruble's worth of difference between their politics, I normally find Rachel Maddow a kinder, gentler, smarter version of Keith Olbermann. Not tonight. Granted, the Countdown host was on hiatus. But even if Olby had been around, he would have been hard-pressed to outdo Maddow for sheer silliness.
The preposterous proposition Rachel propounded? Republicans just don't want Americans to make good wages. That's how Maddow in part explained the decision of Senate Republicans to oppose the Big Three bailout.
Whoever had the brilliant idea of making Capricia Marshall a guest on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" last night was probably hiding from host David Gregory when the show ended. Marshall turned out to be the least forthcoming guest I have ever seen on a political talk show. The aide to Hillary Clinton put up a smiling stonewall that would make G. Gordon Liddy—who chose a stiff prison sentence over Watergate stool-pigeonhood—proud.
Marshall is the director of Hillary Clinton's political action committee, Hillpac, and former social secretary in the Clinton White House. Gregory had her on in the clear expectation that she would dish on Hillary's prospective appointment as Secretary of State. But Capricia was tighter than the proverbial clam. Try as Gregory might, Marshall wouldn't give up the smallest shadow of a hint of a scrap of a tidbit about anything of interest. Her big revelation? She's excited about the inauguration. Gag Gregory with an NBC "Yes We Can!" commemorative Obama-campaign DVD.
By definition, projection is revealing of what lurks in a person's heart and mind. Arianna Huffington projected tonight, and what she revealed wasn't pretty. So much so, that even her liberal host hastened to diassociate herself from the HuffPo editor. Huffington, grossly misquoting Grover Norquist's famous line about doing away with government, added an infanticidal twist.
Huffington was a guest on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. The two shed crocodile tears about the diminished state of the Republican party. It was in suggesting that, of all things, she and Maddow should head up a Marshall Plan to save the GOP that Huffington engaged in that ugly bit of projection.
Most recent unintentionally hilarious moment on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show -- her interview with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over the upcoming recount in the Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger/reformed court jester Al Franken.
The interview on Wednesday night's show began innocuously enough, with a news caption at the bottom of the screen identifying Ritchie.
Ritchie described the mechanics of the looming recount, which is triggered by state law for margins of victory less than one-half percentage point. The next news caption read, "Sen. Norm Coleman (R) Has 206 Vote Lead Over Challenger Al Franken (D)" (albeit all in capital letters, as with all the captions).
Then came this eye-opener of a caption, presented as fact as with the preceding two when it is an allegation and a kneejerk one at that -- "Before Recount, GOP Trying To Smear Minnesota Secretary of State."
Sayswho ...? All that was needed to make this bird capable of flight were two more words ... "Democrats allege."Adding that, however, might convey an attempt by MSNBC to appear fair and balanced, the last thing its goo-goo viewership wants.
The next presidential election might be four years off, but it's never too early to sow dissension in Republican ranks. So would appear to be David Shuster's creed. Interviewing Bobby Jindal this evening, Shuster was clearly more interested in luring the brilliant Louisiana governor into a fight with Sarah Palin than in exploring the substance.
Jindal was way too savvy and diplomatic to fall for Shuster's transparent ploy, but that didn't stop Shuster—sitting in for David Gregory as host of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—from repeatedly trying.
Message to Scott McClellan: when your guy's gaffe merits a screaming headline at Drudge [see after the jump] about how he's had to apologize for what he said, he's messed up. Big time. But that didn't stop Pres. Bush's former press secretary—turned Soros-paid scrivener—from going on TV and proclaiming that Obama turned in a flawless performance in his debut presser today as president-elect.
McClellan appeared on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," David Gregory's post-election vehicle taking the place of "Race for the White House." In an odd bit of balance, McClellan, who endorsed Obama, was on with former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart. Mika Brzezinski guest-hosted for Gregory. Lockhart went first, and predictably proclaimed that Obama "made no mistakes" in his press conference today. No prize for candor, but what do you expect? Then it was McClellan's turn, and he went into parrot paradigm [with no offense to the baby red-front macaw I'm bringing home tomorrow].
An Obama victory could boost conservative talk show hosts according to CNBC's "Squawk Box" this election day. The show was more skeptical over the future of left-wing talk. Always with the rhetorical questions, Joe Kernen got things started:
Who is going to win in terms of the cable wars? ... Are we going to become totally nonpartisan now? Do you think that we will be able to bury all of our divisions and there won't be any incendiary cable shows anymore? Who wins if Obama wins? What happens to Olbermann? What's Olbermann going to do, or Maddow?
Co-host Carl Quintanilla suggested "television feeds on conflict" and co-host Rebecca Quick followed up by adding that syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh "has done better" when there are Democrats in power.
Kernen said that Limbaugh and Fox News Channel and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity both signed new deals and an Obama win would be "great for them."
If Team McCain needed some "bulletin-board material"—the kind of outrageous taunt from the opposition a coach will pin up in the locker-room to inspire his troops—they got if from Charlie Cook tonight. So confident is the pollster of an Obama victory, he's proclaimed that if McCain wins, he'll go to work bagging groceries or behind a fast-food counter.
Cook was a guest on this evening's Race for the White House. It was in looking at the Electoral College map with host David Gregory that he made his super-sized pledge.
Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR—a self-described progressive media watch group—now a professor of independent media at Ithaca College, invited me to address his class of student bloggers this afternoon. Asked to name some of the fairer MSM journalists, I included David Gregory on my short list. That could understandably come as a surprise to those who remember Gregory from his days as NBC's chief White House correspondent, when he earned the ire of the Bush administration for his often-aggressive style. But I've found that Gregory plays it pretty much down the middle in his new role as host of Race for the White House on MSNBC.
By coincidence, on this evening's show Gregory vindicated my confidence with some tough questioning of an Obama surrogate on the issue of taxes and spending. Gregory went so far as to suggest that Obama's indication that he might not press for immediate implementation of tax increases on higher earners makes McCain's case. Gregory's guest was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. When Van Hollen suggested Obama might postpone his tax-increase plan, Gregory moved in . . .
They [the RNC] are calling voters, cold calls, and saying to them, what about William Ayers and the close working relationship he had [with Obama], which is not true by anybody's count . . . It certainly is a mischaracterization of the relationship. -- Andrea Mitchell to Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), MSNBC 10-17-08.
Andrea Mitchell, meet Stanley Kurtz . . .
It's turning into Andrea Mitchell Day here. Earlier, I noted how Mitchell, measuring the drapes for Obama, predicted that he would run a "bipartisan" administration. Now Mitchell has ridden to Obama's defense, denying that he ever worked closely with Wiliam Ayers.
If you're going base an entire TV show on taking potshots at conservatives and Republicans for anything and everything, you might try to get at least the simple things right - things like grade-school U.S. geography.
MSNBC's Oct. 13 "Rachel Maddow Show" must not have read that memo. After launching into a Keith Olbermann-esque tirade criticizing Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain's geographic campaign strategy, the best and the brightest couldn't correctly label the state of Indiana, mistaking it for Illinois - which ironically is Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's home state.
How unbalanced was MSNBC's "Race for the White House" panel this evening? The two Obama-friendly panelists—Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Richard Wolffe of Newsweek—were ostensibly offset by Philly radio talker Michael Smerconish and Independent Women's Forum head Michelle Bernard. But channeling Dem congressman James Clyburn on this morning's Today, Smerc called the House Republicans "sophomoric." That was nothing. One-upping Smerconish in the pejorative department, Bernard said that every recent McCain move has been "like an epileptic fit."
Joe Scarborough, putting in a long day's work and subbing for regular host David Gregory, teed up Bernard's snipe with a negative take of his own on McCain's behavior.