Linda Douglass, the former ABC News reporter and current senior advisor to the Obama campaign, lashed out at John McCain and Mitt Romney by labeling them “extremely conservative on social issues” in an interview on Saturday’s “Morning Joe.” Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski failed to point out that liberals like Obama can be extreme in their views on social issues, too.
After Douglass repeatedly played up the foreign policy experience of Obama’s chosen running mate Sen. Joe Biden, Brzezinski asked Douglass about Biden’s experience in dealing with economic issues, especially if Romney, known for being well-versed in economic issues were to become McCain’s running mate. Douglass touted Biden’s experience with economic policy before inexplicably twisting her answer to include abortion.
You know the old software programmer's excuse: "that's not a bug. That's a feature!" John Harwood of CNBC/NYT has produced a political variation on the theme to buff up Joe Biden. Biden's gaffes, including the racially-insensitive ones, are actually . . . "a strength."
Harwood was chatting with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on a special Morning Joe edition today, and the topic of Biden's famous "clean and articulate" comment about Obama arose. Biden also made headlines of course with his crack about 7-11s being populated by people with Indian accents.
JOHN HARWOOD: He is not somebody who is infused with political correctness, the verbal equivalent of putting his pinky up when he opens his mouth. So this is what, the way ordinary voters are as well. They're not always worried about sort of calibrating every single word by "ooh, is this racially insensitive?" That's something that Joe Biden brings as an asset to the ticket. The gaffes actually show one of his strengths.
Andrea Mitchell's floating of the Obama-camp accusation that John McCain cheated by overhearing Obama's responses at the Saddleback forum, as NewsBuster D.S. Hube reported, isn't the first time the NBC correspondent has made herself propagator-in-chief of Obama's conspiracy theories. As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard has noted, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has now written NBC to protest Mitchell's behavior. Here's an excerpt from his letter to NBC News president Steve Capus [emphasis added]:
[I]nstead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points.
In asserting a "pattern" of such behavior by Mitchell, what did Davis have in mind? Almost surely it included a very similar stunt that Mitchell pulled in connection with Obama's cancellation of his planned visit to injured troops while in Germany for his speech in Berlin. As I noted here at the time, Mitchell passed along the Obama camp's unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that McCain had pulled strings with Pentagon buddies to have them withdraw permission for the visit.
Could the NBC honchos be a tad touchy about criticism of the Beijing Olympics—especially when it comes from its own talent pool? Was there a kernel of truth in Mika Brzezinski's light-hearted warning that MSNBC's Morning Joe crew would "get a call" if it persisted in its mocking of the games for whose broadcast rights the Peacock Network has over the years paid billions?
When the subject of the Olympics arose during the opening segment of today's show, the panel went into an extended coughing fit, coupled with cracks about tanks in Tiananmen Square. Mika joined in the joshing for a while, before finally putting her foot down . . .
When Bob Herbert, a columnist for the New York Times since 1993, recently charged in his column that the Republican Party deliberately targets black Democrats using ads featuring attractive white women to exploit racial resentment, and claimed as proof that the GOP does not run such ads against opponents who are white, the liberal columnist could have disproved this thesis by consulting a 1994 article in the paper he writes for regarding that year's Virginia Senate race involving former Senator Charles Robb, a white Democrat. The New York Times article, titled "THE 1994 CAMPAIGN: THE AD CAMPAIGN; The Senate Race in Virginia: Robb and North Trade Barbs," from October 15, 1994, describes an ad run by Republican Oliver North's campaign depicting the Playboy cover image of Tai Collins, a young blonde with whom Democrat Robb was romantically linked. (Transcript follows)
Warning: excessive adulation of Barack Obama is harmful to the vision and can in extreme cases cause hallucinations.
We're all familiar with how an Obamania overdose produced strange tingling sensations in Chris Matthews. A new, virulent strain of the affliction has now emerged, claiming its first victim in the person of Bob Herbert, who on live national TV saw visions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument where none existed.
The NYT columnist, a guest on today's Morning Joe, expanded on the theory set forth in his column of this past Saturday, Running While Black, that the McCain campaign ad mocking Obama as a Paris Hilton/Britney Spears-type celebrity was actually "designed to exploit" racist anxiety about black men and white women. Herbert lumped the McCain ad with the "call me" ad the RNC ran against Harold Ford, Jr. in his Tennessee senate race.
It was in describing the McCain ad that Herbert's symptoms surfaced.
Thank you, Andrea Mitchell. No, really, I mean it. Thank you for providing some of the clearest evidence yet of just how much the press corps following Barack Obama has blinders on for its man. Mitchell has let it be known that "the people covering the campaign" don't think Obama played the race card with his currency crack. Andrea appeared on Morning Joe today just before 8 AM EDT.
ANDREA MITCHELL: I have to tell you that the people who heard Barack Obama say what he said Wednesday night—and it's very similar to things he's said in Paris and Berlin and a lot of other stops—it's very self-deprecating. He says "I don't look like other people who have been President of the United States," most people who watched that, I don't know very many people who've watched that, and the people in the audience, the reporters, have never interpreted it, have never inferred from that, that he is making some kind of racial statement, but that's the way the McCain camp says that they took it, and Rick Davis by putting it out there, sure --
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Andrea, excuse me for a minute. How can it be self-deprecating when he says, when Barack Obama says, that John McCain's camp is going to say "I look different"? Or when he says they're going to try to scare you because I'm black. How is that--because I've heard "self-deprecating" a couple times--how in the hell is that self-deprecating?
David Shuster surely knows better. Wherever you come down on the issue of who's playing the race card, one thing is glaringly, blindingly, incandescently obvious: when Barack Obama says McCain will point out Obama doesn't look like the other guys on the currency, the Dem candidate is doing much more than making the innocuous point that he is the first black major-party presidential nominee. Yet that is precisely how Shuster chose to misinterpret Obama's remark on today's "Morning Joe." Fortunately, Tiki Barber was there to run to daylight through the gaping hole in Shuster's line of logic.
The show began with a clip of Obama intoning his stock line that Bush and McCain will try to "make you scared of me" by pointing out, among other things, "he dudn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills. You know?"
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it fall, did it really fall? If a supporter of a campaign scores a vitriolic tune and nobody reports the lyrics, does the song matter? MSNBC hopes not.
On the July 31st "Morning Joe" during the "News You Can't Use" segment, co-host Willie Geist brought attention to a recent rap song penned by platinum selling rapper and Barack Obama supporter, Ludacris . The song calls for Senator John McCain to be paralyzed. Geist first attempted to down play the hate-filled nature of the song by saying "I think it's an actual controversy. Isn't it? Some are saying it is."
Geist proceeded to play only a short non-offensive part of the song. Guest-host David Shuster agreed that the tame lyrics MSNBC selectively showcased were "pretty good."
Disclaimer: Yes, Joe and Chris. We know Jim was joking.
Money maven Jim Cramer is a self-described Democrat, one who idolized Lenin back in his Harvard days [Cramer's, not Lenin's] and was on the verge of tears over the downfall of his old college buddy Eliot Spitzer. But one Dem not high on Cramer's list is Jimmy Carter, so much so that Cramer feigned dismay to be informed that—contrary to his [tongue-in-cheek] belief—the former president is still among the living.
The host of CNBC's "Mad Money," a guest on today's Morning Joe, was buoyant about the economy, saying the surge in oil prices is over and that happier, if not downright happy, days are ahead. It was when he cautioned people about being sure not to exceed FDIC insurance limits on their bank deposits that Carter came up . . .
On the July 30 "Morning Joe" esteemed New York Times list best-selling author Pete Hamill filled in as a co-host and with one extremely blockheaded statement proved once and for all that very smart people can say very stupid things. The former editor-in-chief of the New York Post tried to pin defeat in Vietnam on John McCain.
Hamill delivered the obtuse statement at the end of a discussion about Barack Obama's hubris. That talk was centered on a Washington Post article that claimed Barack Obama opined "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."
Chuck Todd has some advice for John McCain: embrace Ted Stevens' demise. The NBC News political director made his suggestion in the course of kibitzing McCain campaign strategy with Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe.
CHUCK TODD: Joe, why isn't McCain jumping on this Ted Stevens thing? He hated Ted Stevens.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: He did!
TODD: He should be dancing on this guy's political grave today. This is the John McCain Republican party versus the Ted Stevens Republican party. And he ought to be, he ought to be gloating today. And he's not touched it.
UPDATE: The original version of this item reported Joe Scarborough's statement, as transcribed below, that there were no Republicans on his MSNBC staff, with executive producer Chris Licht confirming Joe's assertion. Joe has been in touch to say he and Chris Licht were speaking tongue in cheek and that the remarks about there being no Republicans on the Morning Joe staff were a joke.
Mika Brzezinski is appalled to learn that the Bush Justice Department had a hiring preference for politically simpatico people. And Mika apparently believes Joe mischaracterizes her as a liberal.
The jumping off point on today's Morning Joe was Mika's reading of a news item on an article in today's New York Times about an internal Justice Department report concluding that "senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions." Scarborough saw this as SOP in Washington.
May he live to be 120, but when Bob Shrum eventually goes to his reward, his epitaph could read "Here lies Shrum. He thought he was great. But his presidential record . . . was 0-8."
After Shrum taunted Pat Buchanan on today's Morning Joe as "living on Mars" for supposedly overestimating the power of affirmative action as an issue, Pat fired back, reminding Shrum of his dubious lifetime achievement of having consulted on eight losing Dem presidential campaigns with nary a win.
Sure, the elite media might overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. But so what? That's apparently Mika Brzezinski's opinion. Check out the exchange between Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe today at 7:50 AM EDT, triggered by Scarborough's insider take on the MSM's adulation of Obama.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: OK, Willie, come on. We've got to call these people out. Because we know people that work in the media, print. I mean seriously, they are, Tucker had it right: they're like ninth-grade girls.
. . .
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I actually, really reject this love affair notion.
SCARBOROUGH: Come on.
BRZEZINSKI: What? I do.
SCARBOROUGH: Because you are absolutely drunk on the Kool-Aid.
Are reporters in the business of reporting fact or rumor? Andrea Mitchell, for one, doesn't scruple to circulate "scuttlebutt" that if true would be deeply damaging to John McCain.
Barack Obama's cancellation of plans to visit injured military members at bases in Germany has drawn considerable attention and criticism. On today's Morning Joe, Mitchell passed along an Obama-campaign inspired rumor that McCain used his Pentagon connections to sabotage the Obama visit.
Don't blame Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., member of two influential banking committees - the Senate Finance Committee and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs - for IndyMac's collapse, says CNBC's Erin Burnett.
Burnett, host of CNBC "Street Signs," disagreed with a claim by MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough that a letter to regulators from Schumer caused a run on the beleaguered bank IndyMac, which eventually led to its failure and takeover by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
"I don't think Chuck Schumer caused a run on the bank," Burnett said on MSNBC's July 24 "Morning Joe." "This is the new world of banking. Companies, banks come out and they say, and they say, ‘Oh my gosh - our stock's down 20 percent. It's being manipulated. Please come in and help us government. Oh my gosh, there's a run on our bank - let's blame it on a senator.'"
Many McCain fans are no doubt bracing for the waves of European adulation that are about to break over Barack Obama, the MSM avidly reporting the scenes. With polls showing Obama with a 50+ percentage-point lead across the Old Continent [the French leading the Obamaphile way at 64-4%], the Dem candidate is assured of ecstatic crowds wherever he goes. Euro-Obamamania begins in Berlin today, with a speech by the candidate at the "Victory Column" in Tiergarten park.
But could all the adoration backfire? That emerging theme has found expression in two very different ways this morning. On the one hand, a scholarly exposition by Prof. Thomas Madden, writing at NRO—who draws parallels to the world of ancient Greco-Roman politics—and in more colloquial fashion by Joe Scarborough.
Here's how the Morning Joe host put it today at 6:34 AM EDT, in an exchange with Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist. Republican strategist Mike Murphy got in a good line at the very end.
Keith Olbermann’s tired hour-long rehashing of liberal talking points on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” are legion and often unremarkable in and of themselves. Same noise, different night. But it is noteworthy when a fellow MSNBC host has had enough and calls out Olbermann. That is exactly what happened when “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough rebuked the “Countdown” host for a misplaced attack on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the opening of Olbermann’s July 22 “Countdown.”
Olbermann began his show by ridiculing McCain for claiming that the surge was responsible for the success of the Anbar Awakening. Olbermann opined:
Me and Mrs. Jones, we've got a thing going on. We both know that it's wrong, but it's much too strong to let it go now. -- Billy Paul, "Me and Mrs. Jones"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting there's anything untoward between Mika Brzezinski and the Dem presidential candidate. But like the star-crossed couple of the song, the two do share a tragic bond, trapped as they are in an inability to admit they were wrong in opposing the surge.
The depths of Obama's denial emerged during a five-minute segment of his recent interview with Katie Couric. Couric tried repeatedly to pin Obama down on why he says he still would have opposed the surge, even knowing as he does know that it has succeeded. As Couric put it: "People may be scratching their heads and saying, 'Why?'" I'd encourage people to view the exchange, which comes at the five-minute mark of the interview. CBS video and transcript here.
And there on today's Morning Joe was the other half of the duo in denial, Mika Brzezinski. With Joe Scarborough playing the role of Couric-like inquisitor, Mika tried to talk about anything but the way Obama was wrong about the surge.
The things people will do for love. Take David Shuster. So eager is the Obama inamorato to cover for his man, he's willing to sacrifice all semblance of reason. Faced with the implacable fact that Obama was wrong in opposing the surge, Shuster has been reduced to claiming that Americans don't care about the surge's success. Shuster made his descent into abject sycophancy on today's Morning Joe. The jumping off point was a clip from an interview of Obama by ABC's Terry Moran [Brent Baker has the full report on the interview here].
TERRY MORAN: If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge?
OBAMA: No, because, keep in mind that-
MORAN: You wouldn't?
OBAMA: Well, no, keep in mind, these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. You know, hindsight is 20/20. But I think that, what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.
After a clip was aired of McCain hammering Obama on his opposition to the surge, Shuster slipped on the flippers and goggles.
Just when I thought Obama lovin' was regulated to the political commentators and reporters at MSNBC, I was sadly mistaken. Even entertainment reporters need to show their support! June Sarpong, took some time on her appearance on "Morning Joe" today to gush about Obama's upcoming stops in Europe and talk about America losing its standing with the international community.
Sarpong was on the show to talk about the movie "Dark Night" setting box office records but who cares about movie records when we have Sen. Obama running for office! Since she's British, interviewer Willie Geist couldn't help but ask her how Obama's perceived in the U.K. Her response was a glowing endorsement of the Illinois senator. (Video below page break)
On this morning's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, co-host Tiki Barber asked guest Dan Rather about his feelings regarding the recent Jesse Jackson imbroglio -- his "off mike" comments about Barack Obama. In the middle of praising Jackson, Rather referred to Barack Obama as "Osama bin Laden" -- and none of the four "Morning Joe" co-hosts reacted (nor did Rather).
Question: Will the media pick this up? That one of America's longest-serving network news anchors referred to one of the two presidential candidates as the world's most wanted terrorist -- and no one in the room seemed to notice?
While you ponder, here's what the former anchor of the "CBS Evening News" said (h/t to FiveThirtyEight who first noticed this blunder!):
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough slammed the "hacks" at "The Daily Show" on Wednesday for only making fun of Republicans and giving a free pass to Democrats. Discussing a July 15 New York Times piece that described how TV comics and talk show hosts are hesitant to make fun of Barack Obama, Scarborough mocked, "I never want to hear anybody from 'The Daily Show' or any of these other shows ever saying again, 'We speak truth to power.' 'Cause you know what they do? They speak truth to Republicans."
After admitting that Republicans have made many mistakes over the last seven years, the MSNBC host continued to eviscerate the crew at the "The Daily Show" and others: " But, please, don't be subversive, because you're not. Because you're a hack. You're a hack for the Democratic Party and you only tell jokes about one side." New York Times journalist John Harwood, appearing on the program as a guest, attempted to stick up for the comics by justifying, "I don't think they are hacks for the Democratic Party. People write about what's funny to them. And the stuff that's funny to them is, is the stuff that comes out of what they see that they want to make fun of from Republicans."
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
How insulated is the MSM? In how much of a liberal cocoon does it exist? For an answer, consider the vile cartoon displayed here. My guess is that the great majority of NewsBusters readers are familiar with it. But John Harwood—of the New York Times and CNBC—has never seen it.
That became clear on today's Morning Joe. The topic was the TV comedy world's double-standard, in which Republicans are regularly skewered but the laff factory suddenly shuts down when it comes to mocking Barack. A New York Times article on the matter was the jumping off point, and Joe Scarborough had a field day ridiculing lefty comedians' hypocrisy in piously claiming to "speak truth to power." The truth, said Scarborough, is that the comedians lay off Obama not because there's nothing funny about him, but because they're "in the tank" for the Dem candidate.
Towards the end of the segment came this stunning exchange:
Mika Brzezinski might be an Obama backer, but she really should sit down with Hillary Clinton. The woman who turned $1,000 into $100,000 could clue her in to the workings of the commodities markets. Be it cattle or crude oil, the concept's the same: these are "futures" markets in which prices are set on traders' expectations of what conditions will be some time down the road.
Mika's need for urgent remedial help on the matter became evident during the first minutes of today's Morning Joe. Ostensibly fulfilling her news-reading function, Mika veered from the prepared text to inject her own editorializing to the effect that lifting the offshore drilling ban today wouldn't lower gas prices for ten years.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Time for a look at some of today's top stories. President Bush is calling on congress to lift its ban on offshore oil drilling. On Monday the president ended a long-standing moratorium on the practice, saying new drilling would ease pressure on fuel prices [going off-script to inject her own views] -- in about ten years. Critics argue the production of gas from the offshore --
Look for Mika Brzezinski outside the Danish embassy. True, the Danes had nothing to do with the New Yorker's publication of the Obama cover. But what more time-honored locale to protest an irreverent cartoon of a figure adulated with religious fervor?
Mika has condemned the New Yorker cover as "dangerous." Why dangerous? Mika doesn't quite say. But by darkly musing about unspoken perils that derive from the mocking of Obama, she would apparently place irony about her candidate off limits. Mika sounded the alarm on today's Morning Joe.
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Barnicle accuses Jesse Jackson of "corporate blackmail."
Two veteran members of the Senate, two entirely different treatments from Andrea Mitchell. Reverence for Ted Kennedy; scorn for Strom Thurmond. Guest hosting in Mika Brzezinski's spot on Morning Joe today, Mitchell, emotion in her voice, hailed Kennedy as "valiant" and a "hero." As for Thurmond, Mitchell mocked that he wasn't alive even when he was in the Senate.
The reference to the late South Carolina senator arose in the context of a discussion of the way in which, with the nomination of Barack Obama, the torch of Dem leadership has been passed to a new generation, whereas the same isn't true in John McCain's GOP.
Got to be good looking 'cause he's so hard to see Come together right now Over me—The Beatles, "Come Together" (1969) [YouTube]
Bob Herbert just doesn't get it. As Noel Sheppard has noted, in his NYT column today Herbert accuses Barack Obama of "lurching right when it suits him, and . . . zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash." The NY Times columnist goes on to condemn the candidate for "pandering to evangelicals;" agreeing with Justices Scalia and Thomas on a "barbaric" interpretation of the 8th Amendment; and playing a "dangerous game" with his "shifts and panders."
No, no, no, Bob! That's not what's happening at all. Obama isn't flip-flopping. He's simply fulfilling his pledge to bring us together. What makes Herbert's obtuseness all the more infuriating is that enlightenment was just a stroll down the corridor away, to the office of Gail Collins. Herbert's fellow Times columnist explained what is really going on during her appearance today on Morning Joe.