After a pattern of attacking Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, on a nightly basis, one of the strategies is becoming apparent - MSNBC is in need of a boogeyman to give a face to the opposition of these radical steps being undertaken to fundamentally change health care in the United States.
So rather than attack where the opposition is wrong on a policy level, MSNBC "Countdown" fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell is going to apply one of the tactics from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" to promote a dramatic shift in the U.S. health care system - "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
"In our number five story on the countdown tonight, the Congressional Budget Office finds that it would leave 18 million people uninsured and the government-run health insurance plan will probably charge consumers premiums that are quote, ‘Somewhat higher, higher than average premiums for the private plans,' end quote," O'Donnell said on the Oct. 30 broadcast of "Countdown." "This is a devastating conclusion for a plan being sold not just as a low-cost option for consumers, especially poor consumers, but as somehow driving private insurance premiums lower."
Want to be noticed by any one of the hosts that have a primetime show on MSNBC's weeknight lineup? Just figure out a way to make Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. the subject matter, and there's an excellent chance either Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow will take a shot at it, or her, during their shows.
In the Oct. 25 Washington Post, George Will penned a column about Bachmann, outlining her ascendancy into the national spotlight, which told of her start in politics and how she grew to become reviled by the left. And it was just a matter time before one of the charming personalities on MSNBC made some sort of remarks about the column, albeit two days later. That came on Olbermann's Oct. 27 "Countdown" broadcast.
How enraged is Keith Olbermann with Joe Lieberman for announcing that he would filibuster a health care bill that contains a government-control provision? Enough that, without presenting any evidence whatsoever, the Countdown host has slyly implied that Lieberman might be on the take from insurance companies in his home state of Connecticut.
You had to listen carefully, but Olbermann slipped the scurrilous suggestion into his diatribe against Liebermann on tonight's Countdown.
Here's something you don't see every day: a far-left media outlet calling out one of the far-left's heroes to defend one of the far-left's most hated conservatives.
Yet that's what happened a few weeks ago when Air America's editor of news and politics took on MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for sexist and misogynistic comments he made about conservative author Michelle Malkin.
As NewsBusters' Brad Wilmouth reported on October 13, Olbermann on "Countdown" that evening called Malkin "a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."
Air America's Megan Carpentier was quite displeased at this sexist display (h/t NB reader Joseph McMahon):
Let's say, hypothetically, someone was to make a disparaging statement about Fox News and conclude as a news outlet it is way outside of mainstream political thought. Well, then the follow-up appropriate question could be where does that put Fox News' competitors who get just a fraction of the cable news juggernaut's ratings?
Michael Wolff, a contributing editor and columnist Vanity Fair and CNBC regular, told MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews on his Oct. 26 program the White House strategy was to marginalize Fox News the same way conservatives once did to liberals, making "liberal" a word with negative connotations. However, he also made the bizarre conclusion that Fox News, which dominates cable news on a regular basis, is "not very popular."
Throughout the previous administration, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann would nightly attack President George W. Bush and members of his administration and regularly bash some conservative personalities for being too cozy with Bush.
However, when he and his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow engage in the same brand of coziness, meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this week, it's no longer an indiscretion. Instead, it becomes justified - since Bush did it. Olbermann appeared on the Oct. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and he and Maddow responded to critics. Maddow asked him to respond to particular comments from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, now a Fox News contributor, that there would be an outcry had the Bush administration committed something similar.
The White House has berated Fox News for days now for purportedly pushing an agenda and calling it news. So Americans may have been surprised when, as reported by Noel Sheppard, Obama invited two of MSNBC's most divisive liberal pundits--Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow--to the White House for an off-the-record briefing.
As it turns out, Maddow and Olbermann were only two of the left's heavyweights at the briefing. Yesterday, TVNewser received from the White House a complete list of names. Virtually all of them have their histories of shilling for the administration or Democrats generally, and of bashing conservatives.
Let us review the colorful histories of these pundits, and the reader can decide whether they "have a perspective," in the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (in the context of a Fox News attack).
Keith Olbermann's recent cheerleading for the Obama adminstration's attacks on Fox News is in stark contrast to how the "Countdown" host felt about the Bush White House criticizing NBC last year for questionable editing done in a "Today" show report.
As NewsBusters' Geoffrey Dickens reported on May 19, 2008, NBC aired a piece that morning which "seemed to blame all of the Middle East's problems on the President's policies."
Later that day, White House counsel Ed Gillespie sent a letter to NBC President Steve Capus accusing the network of deceptively editing answers Bush had given during his interview with Richard Engel "to give viewers the impression that he agreed with Engel's characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it."
Two days later, Olbermann made Gillespie one of his "Worst Persons in the World" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
Less than a week after likening conservative blogger Michelle Malkin to a “mashed-up bag of meat” on his Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann on Monday called out former President George H.W. Bush for daring to call him and fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow “sick puppies,” as Olbermann described Bush’s words from a recent interview as a “weird term."
As he characterized Bush as being hypocritical for making the comment while denouncing the incivility in American politics, Olbermann accused Bush of helping to create the climate of incivility himself in 1988 with the Willie Horton ad, although the ad Olbermann was referring to which showed a photograph of Horton – and which Olbermann displayed images of – was produced by an independent group, the National Security Political Action Committee. The Bush campaign never used Horton’s image, but instead ran the “Revolving Door” ad attacking Michael Dukakis’s support for a prison furlough program.
It was bound to happen - an inevitable character assault on former Miss California Carrie Prejean by a host from MSNBC, the place for misogyny, after K2 Productions, the company that directs the Miss California USA pageant, filed a publicity-seeking, lawsuit.
Prejean unintentionally created a firestorm when she answered a question from self-proclaimed gay rights activist and gossip blogger Perez Hilton during the Miss USA pageant. Her offence was to say that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
In the midst of this week's controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to become a part owner of the St. Louis Rams, one liberal media member has been pounding the table concerning some of the hypocrisy involved: National Public Radio's Juan Williams.
On Sunday, Williams continued to expose the media's double-standard by pointing out how absurd it is that Limbaugh isn't allowed to be an NFL team owner, but MSNBC's Keith Olbermann can be involved in "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts.
Williams made this marvelous point during the panel discussion segment of "Fox News Sunday" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
Perhaps the 41st president still has it in him - at least when it comes to the left crying foul about the so-called uncivil political discourse on right, but being equally if not worse on the left - particularly on MSNBC, the "Place for Politics."
In an interview on Oct. 16 with CBS Radio, former President George H.W. Bush took a very critical tact with MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, deeming them "a couple of sick puppies." (via MSNBC's Oct. 16 "The Rachel Maddow Show")
"I don't like it," Bush said. "I think the cables have a lot to do with it. I'll take you back to when I was president - we got tons of criticism, but didn't seem day in and day out quite as personal as some of these talk show people."
Last fall, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remarked, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
That quote has become part of a rallying cry for conservatives, that those currently in power are trying to create the perception of a crisis to force things through the legislative process that couldn't be done otherwise. That has been dismissed by those on the left as fear-mongering and the party in power is acting in good faith based on what their constituents want.
But on MSNBC's Oct. 14 "Countdown," Newsweek senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman found fault with President Barack Obama's administration for not living up to Emanuel's expectations. On Oct. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee toyed with the idea of stripping health insurance providers of their antitrust exemption and "Countdown" Keith Olbermann suggested members of Congress hold that exemption over insurance companies' heads to force them to go along with the Senate's idea of health insurance reform.
This ought to get the folks at the left-wing noise machine all wound up.
Fox News host Glenn Beck on his Oct. 14 show, after being a regular recipient of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons in the World" on his "Countdown" program, decided to have a little fun by mocking Olbermann and his MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews.
"Now, the President has an entire network devoted to singing his praises," Beck said. "There is a guy at night I love, he's like Shakespearean, he is waxing poetic about his oratory skills, writing soliloquies - got another one I must say about the greatness of Obama's speaking ability. And then another guy is like, ‘I got a thrill is going up my leg' when they just hear him speak. It is incredible."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann spewed bile at conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, accusing her of possessing "fascistic hatred," and comparing her to a "mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." During his show’s regular "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann attacked Malkin for her role in bringing attention to the recent controversy over school children in New Jersey singing a song about President Obama.
Blaming the conservative commentator for death threats made against a woman who posted video of the children singing, Malkin was crudely slammed by Olbermann: "She received death threats and hate-filled voice mails all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." [Audio available here]
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, October 13, Countdown show on MSNBC:
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
"But our winner, Michele Bachmann," Olbermann said, referring to the first place contestant, the "worst" person. "[Fox News host Bill O'Reilly], dimly aware of the world around him, asks her, ‘Now you are a pretty interesting politician, Congresswoman. You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, Michele Bachmann, she's this, she's that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?'"
Well, in a curious turn of events on MSNBC's Oct. 8 "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann told his viewers that those who are opposing Limbaugh's bid for the Rams were the third worst people in the world on this particular day.
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.
Remember back just a few short months ago - when thousands, if not millions, of Americans were protesting out-of-control government spending and other policies favored by President Barack Obama's administration?
Surprised by the resounding turnout, the usual lefty talking heads on MSNBC, specifically on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show," explained the protests away as being fake grassroots aka AstroTurf.
Fast forward to Oct. 7, when both Olbermann and Maddow started laying down AstroTurf of their own. They encouraged free health care clinics to be held in the states of six Democratic senators that are not in lockstep with the left-wing agenda on health care reform.
"You are a pretty interesting politician, congresswoman," O'Reilly said. "You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, you know Michele Bachmann, she is this and she is that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?"
If you didn't already have reason enough to avoid Keith Olbermann's left-wing screeching on Countdown, here's another one: Tonight (Wednesday), for the first time, he will devote his entire MSNBC hour, sans relief for commercials, to a “Special Comment” -- the kind of high-handed pontificating, laced with mean-spirited and cheap insults toward conservatives, so far confined to the last 8 to 11 minutes of the 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT program re-run at 10 PM EDT/7 PM PDT.
“Special Comment Hour” topic: “Health Care Reform: The Fight Against Death.”
"Quite honestly, I don't even know anything about MSNBC," Bachmann said. "It's not a network that I watch and most of the American people agree with that assessment. They aren't watching it either. And that's why Fox's ratings - I mean it's like CNN, CNBC, MSNBC combined. I think Fox even exceeded one of the major networks last week. They're on the ascendency."
Either Richard Wolffe is blatantly shilling for the liberal/progressive agenda in the United States or he really is incredibly cynical about how the Republican Party picks its leader.
Wolffe, appearing on MSNBC's Oct. 5 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," gave his thoughts on the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. Wolffe, a MSNBC regular and former Newsweek columnist, shared his low regard for the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.
"Well, look - it's certainly being clumsy politics," Wolffe said. "And you know today, Michael Steele says he doesn't do policy. Tomorrow he'll say he doesn't do politics either."
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."
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Friday said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) -- he of "You lied" fame -- should be required to take a breathalyzer test before he goes into Congressional sessions where the President is speaking.
Such occurred as O'Donnell was filling in for Keith Olbermann on "Countdown," and discussing with the Nation's Chris Hayes how poorly Wilson represents a GOP that "used to be an image of country club Republicans, well-bred, WASPY, dignified people who just didn't like taxation."
According to O'Donnell, that's all changed, and for the worse (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t NBer Jon, file photo):