Joe Scarborough on Monday continued to spin for Barack Obama, this time defending the President’s war strategy in Afghanistan and placing blame on the American people. Citing a New York Times columnist, the Morning Joe host complained, "And as Frank Rich said, the President's best political ally on Afghanistan is apathy. Americans don't care that their sons and daughters are going off to fight and die for a war that really has no end game."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed. She derided, "Maybe if most Americans actually cared beyond the ones that have to go and serve we would have different outcomes.”
While Scarborough reacted with some criticism, he was empathetic with the President because, “If Barack Obama takes the troops out and does what I'm saying he should do, Republicans will kill him. Every time a poppy is grown in Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time a woman is tortured in Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time anything goes wrong, they will blame Barack Obama."
MSNBC’s David Shuster on Friday slammed conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele as "un-American" and "extreme" for criticizing Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win. The liberal co-host of News Live applauded the President’s speech on the award and asserted, "...It makes the harsh comments from Michael Steele, from Rush Limbaugh, the rest, seem even more extreme and, as some would argue, un-American." (Audio available here.)
Arguing that Obama came across as humble for stating that he’s not worthy to be in the same category as some of the other nominees, Shuster told co-anchor Tamron Hall that the remarks "made some of the conservatives look silly." Hall herself found the President’s reaction to be "incredible" and unquestioningly cooed, "...The President started out his speech, or address this morning, saying that his daughter Malia walked in and said, ‘Dad, you won the Nobel Peace Prize. And, by the way, it is our dog's first birthday.’"
File this one under the "no duh" department. On tonight's Hardball, Chris Matthews attempted to outline his stance on illegal immigration but prefaced it by declaring: "I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role."
Matthews uttered what has to be the Understatement of the Week, during an exchange with Ron Reagan Jr. and former John McCain spokesman Todd Harris, on the June 12th edition of MSNBC's Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "But let me ask you guys, I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role. I’m just not comfortable playing it. But I would like to see a liberal policy of immigration, a liberal policy of letting people come into work but dammit, enforce the law and stop the B.S.! Stop the undocumented workers and the clever language used. All the time, anything but enforcing the law."
Chris Matthews is not a liberal. Andrea Mitchell has told us so. Yet there are times when our fervent belief in that tenet is strained. Such as on this afternoon's "Hardball," when the only two moments from last night's GOP debate that Matthews singled out for praise were when candidates adopted liberal positions: McCain opposing torture and Rudy sticking up for abortion.
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Last night in Columbia, South Carolina, the two GOP frontrunners showed profiles in courage: McCain opposing torture, Giuliani defending abortion rights. . . Here's Senator McCain on the issue of torture last night; I was very taken with these words . . . You know, I don't offer strong opinions all the time on this show [of course not], I usually bow to the guests. But I am so taken with that . . . I know he scored, Chuck [NBC political director Todd] no points last night but he scored one with me . . . Anybody's who's ever been in uniform is against torture, and it's the pencil necks, if you will, the armchair generals who always like wars a lot except when they or their family members might be in those wars.
The MRC has been following the media’s reaction to the death of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi all day. Much of the coverage has been focused on downplaying the significance of the event. Now we have a new angle. MSNBC anchor Milissa Rehberger hosted First Look, the early morning coverage of Zarqawi’s death. At 5:45AM EDT, in an attempt to give her audience a full picture, this is how she described the life of a brutal murderer:
Milissa Rehberger: " I just want to take a pause for just a second to bring everyone up to date on who Abu Musab al Zarqawi really was, other then the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in an air strike this morning. We are told that he had a troubled childhood where he grew up in Jordan, that he dropped out of high school, that when he was 20-years-old, he went to Afghanistan and joined Al Qaeda."
MSNBC's First Read continued its obsession with gas prices to the exclusion of, well, all other economic news this past week. A rough word-count of economic reporting on First Read's blog shows that of 3500 words devoted to economics, 3250 were about gas prices. This does not include a Monday posting ostensibly about the Dahab bombing that spent the second paragraph talking about oil prices.
Ironically, First Read is aware of the problem, even if they don't know that they know. On Friday:
Asked in the April 21-24 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll who is most responsible for high gas prices, 37% of those polled say the oil companies are most responsible. Oil-producing nations rank second at 22%, while only 15% lay the most blame at President Bush's feet and 4% say Congress bears the most responsibility.
Last week, we noted how MSNBC's First Read blog had reprinted the New York Daily News's misquote of a CNN poll about how oil prices were affecting families. In the poll, 23% said that gas prices were having a "severe effect," 46% said they were having a "moderate effect." The Daily News and First Read both reported 69% under the "severe effect" label.
On Tuesday, we quoted a New York Daily News article, which cited a CNN poll showing that 69% indicate gas prices are causing them severe hardship. However, the actual poll finds that 69% say these prices are causing them "hardship", not "severe hardship."