Call it Chuck Todd's Profile In Pusillanimity . . .
Given a chance to express his personal opinion of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Todd--NBC's chief WH correspondent--mumbled, stuttered, stumbled and ultimately punted, saying it was "an awkward thing."
Chuck's duck-and-cover came during a Morning Joe segment today devoted to analyzing Gibbs in light of a GQ article about him by Robert Draper, who appeared on the show. After Draper, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough gave their brief takes on Gibbs, Scarborough offered the floor to Todd . . . who proceeded to give his best deer-in-the-headlights impersonation. View video here.
We won't try to weave too much political-cultural significance into the spat that erupted on Morning Joe today. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacle as Joe Scarborough struggled to get in a word edgewise with Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation.
Scarborough was seeking to cite statistics showing that by a ratio of about 40:20, more Americans identify as conservatives than as liberals. That, he argued, makes it hard for Dems like Obama to govern from the left, and suggests that lefties like vanden Heuvel should cut the prez some slack.
If only Sarah Palin hadn't promoted the likes of Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell, Republicans would be on the verge of winning the Senate majority. That was Joe Scarborough's thesis on Morning Joe today, culminating in Scarborough saying that he hopes Sarah Palin "is proud of herself" for having killed the GOP's chances.
Scarborough sought to inoculate himself against criticism from the right, insisting he would have wanted to see a "mainstream conservative" in the Nevada and Delaware races. Warned Joe: "right-wing freaks, don't email me going 'you're a RINO.'" View video after the jump.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell claimed the GOP's top goal was to ensure Barack Obama is a one term president – and Joe Scarborough thinks that is "pathetic." Apparently, Scarborough was hoping that the Republicans would work with President Obama on bipartisan legislation, and put the political battles on the backburner.
Ron Brownstein, columnist for the National Journal and President of Atlantic Media, reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has, as the GOP's top goal, to unseat President Obama in 2012.
"That is embarrassing!" Scarborough exclaimed. "I want to take control of the Senate so I can worry about an election two years away," he mockingly imitated the Republicans.
Brownstein cast it as a sign of the times. "In a Juan Williams-fired world, everybody is looking to sharpen the divisions, clarify the differences, and fire up the base, and that may be more of what we see over the next two years than in '95-'97," he remarked.
Scarborough, however, was still up in arms. "Can I just say it for the record?" he remarked of the GOP's goal. "That is pathetic."
On Monday's "Morning Joe," co-host Joe Scarborough cast Fox News as an unabashedly conservative network while trumpeting his own show as a neutral voice of sanity in a polarized news environment. "In this world of Balkanized cable news outlets...it is kind of nice being Switzerland," he gloated, asserting the neutrality of his "Morning Joe" program.
"This show is a safe house where people can come and talk whether they are on the right or the left," Scarborough described his MSNBC morning show. "But there aren't many places left like that outside these three hours."
"Morning Joe" by-and-large leaves guests the freedom to express their own opinion. But Scarborough's assumption leaves out the fact that an overwhelming number of liberal guests and analysts appear on the show. Jon Meacham of Newsweek, former MSNBC host Donny Deutsch, and Tina Brown of The Daily Beast are three of many liberals who appear regularly on "Morning Joe."
In contrast, a far-right conservative appearing on "Morning Joe" is rare. MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan is one of the few conservative voices appearing regularly on the show. RedState's Erik Erickson appears infrequently and contributors from publications like National Review appear rarely if ever.
With less than two weeks before Election Day, the media elite continue to disparage the GOP’s Tea Party candidates while saluting the greatness of the über-unpopular Democratic Congress and its leader, Nancy Pelosi.
On This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour — apparently oblivious to the decades of liberal mockery hurled at Ronald Reagan and William Buckley — cited those leaders as exemplifying “a long and venerable tradition” of “intellectual conservatism.” Her goal was to insult today’s conservatives: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it, but it’s extreme.” Conservative George F. Will educated Amanpour: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley...”
The White House is opening a press bureau in New York City at 30 Rock – or so it seemed with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski parroting the administration's talking points, one after the other, on today's "Morning Joe."
Brzezinski has mentioned in the past that the White House e-mails her during segments, and she seemed thoroughly briefed by the middle of Tuesday's show.
When Politico's executive editor Jim VandeHei explained that frustrated big business donors have been giving to the Republicans under a cloak of anonymity thanks to the Citizens United ruling, Mika retorted with the White House's argument.
"Jim, what the White House will say, though, is that the reason why the big business is hostile at this point is because they've taken them on, and they've put some rules in place that they're maybe not that comfortable with," Mika answered. "[They will say] this White House has done something actually to try and fix the system."
CBS reporter Lesley Stahl was very confused on Monday's "Morning Joe". She just couldn't figure out why there are so many women involved with the Tea Party.
Stahl received a basic civics lesson from two unlikely personalities: columnist Mike Barnicle, and Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of "The Death of Conservatism".
Tanenhaus noted that economic issues are of particular importance to women, and therefore that women are going to be more active when their economic livelihood is threatened. Barnicle suggested that since women generally handle household finances, the illogic of deficit spending is especially clear to them (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Caroline May).
President Obama has accomplished so much during his tenure with so little gratitude from the American people, lamented the Monday panel for MSNBC's "Morning Joe." What is to blame? Poor marketing by the White House, the panelists answered.
"Where is the celebration over what has been done and accomplished in the face of all this anger and vitriol in Washington?" complained co-host Mika Brzezinski. "No credit. No credit at all for what he's accomplished," lamented "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl.
Like something from the novel Frankenstein, Stahl cast Obama's rescue of the economy as a doctor saving the life of a horrible burn victim. "He saves the guy's life – this is our economy...but the guy wakes up and he's got scars all over his face, and that's all he sees, that's all anybody sees," she described.
"And how – what's the doctor supposed to say? And that's what [Obama] is fighting, he's fighting an economy that just won't give him anything."
So after so much has been accomplished, why are the Democrats not campaigning on the Obama agenda?
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell and Mika Brzezinski believe the Republicans should be open and transparent about the interest group sources of their campaign money, even though Democrats play by the same rules and don't have to reveal their sources.
Their reasoning was that the GOP has pulled in 40 to 50 million dollars more than the Democrats have from interest groups this campaign season. The MSNBC colleagues made their points on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"Citizens United allows non-transparent donations to be made. We don't know what's being given to these groups," O'Donnell warned. "You talked about how much Wall Street has donated to President Barack Obama, but we know about it. It was disclosed."
"Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough countered that the same applies for Democrat interest groups.
When I think of people well-suited to lead a crusade against declining public civility, somehow Whoopi Goldberg doesn't spring to mind. Yet there was The View co-host on Morning Joe today, promoting what Amazon describes as: "her new book of observations [that] takes a funny and excruciatingly honest look at how a loss of civility is messing with the quality of life for all of us."
And sure enough, Whoopi engaged in a [seemingly endless] discussion with the MJ folks on the subject. Mika read a passage from the book in which Goldberg bemoaned the rise of "political incivility." Added Whoopi "it's not just the politicians. It's also just human beings interacting."
You mean, human beings like . . . Whoopi Goldberg? Just last month, while the debate over the Ground Zero mosque was raging, our Lachlan Markay caught Whoopi in a blatant breach of civility.
The final government unemployment report before the midterm election was released Oct. 8 showing a loss of 95,000 jobs in September, and an additional 15,000 losses in July and August and an unemployment rate still at 9.6 percent.
But Gallup warned on Oct. 7 that the BLS report was "likely to understate" the job losses in September. By its calculations the unemployment rate is actually much higher at 10.1 percent.
"Gallup's modeling of the unemployment rate is consistent with Tuesday's ADP report of a decline of 39,000 private-sector jobs, and indicates that the government's national unemployment rate in September will be in the 9.6% to 9.8% range," Jacobe wrote.
Apparently everyone needs to take the President at his word when he says he is a committed Christian, according to MSNBC. The network's "Morning Joe" crew thinks that those who still question the sincerity of President Obama's faith are "haters" and "knuckleheads."
During a townhall meeting at a New Mexico residence, President Obama proclaimed that he was a "Christian by choice." He said that he came to the faith recently, believing that the Christian precepts of "being my brother's and sister's keeper" and "treating others as they would treat me" defined the kind of life he wanted to live.
In lieu of the quote, Scarborough referenced his own Southern Baptist roots and asserted that Obama is without a doubt a Christian. "When he says things like 'Jesus died for my sins. I'm saved by God's salvation,' that's about as definitive as you can get," he claimed. "At this point, if jackasses out there question his faith, they're just haters."
Scarborough even went so far as to say that to be Christian is to accept Obama at his word.
There I was this morning, innocently watching Morning Joe, when suddenly an NBC promo popped up, starring—you guessed it—the prez. It would have been bad enough if this had been a government PSA. But this was a promo for an NBC Universal initiative called "The More You Know," dedicated, its website informs us, to providing "critical" health messages. [You can be sure one thing it won't be "critical" of is . . . ObamaCare.]
Gee, I wonder which "cable news show" Joe had in mind . . .
In a seeming shot at Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough has predicted that "certain cable news shows" will stir up a "fake controversy" tonight over whether Sarah Palin was booed on Dancing With The Stars [she wasn't].
Here's the background: Bristol Palin performed on DWTS last night, and Sarah was there in the front row to support her. Jennifer Grey [of Dirty Dancing fame] also competed last night. Her backers in the audience began to boo when her scores, which they judged to be too low, were announced. That happened just before the show cut to an interview with Sarah Palin. Some have tried to suggest that the audience was booing Palin. But the crowd in fact cheered when Sarah appeared, and as Willie Geist said "my staff and I have studied the tape. They were not booing [Palin]."
Prior to tonight's debut of Lawrence O'Donnell's new show, The Last Word, MSNBC has been running promos where O'Donnell proclaims how much "political pressure there is on everyone involved" in governing decisions and that it leaves him "respecting every one who steps into that room to do that," adding he's "gonna disagree with some of those people" but will always "respect the strength it takes to go on in there." Well "respect" was the last thing O'Donnell displayed to a couple of guests that appeared with him on various MSNBC programs.
Back on the February 12 edition of Morning Joe, he was such was in such a rage against former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, going as far as to blame that administration for the 9/11 attacks, host Joe Scarborough actually had to call the proverbial whistle on him and stop the program, to let him cool down. However, when they got back from a commercial break O'Donnell launched into yet another tirade as he called Thiessen a "torture-monger." (video below the fold)
Perhaps O'Donnell's worst performance came on the October 22, 2004 edition of Scarborough Country when he want lashed out against Vietnam veteran John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth for daring to challenge then presidential candidate John Kerry's veracity, as he repeatedly called him a "liar" and charged he did nothing to stop the war.
The following are transcripts of those unhinged attacks by O'Donnell:
Patricia Sellers of Fortune magazine posted a little piece on how NBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed the morning stars of NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC on their wake-up rituals for media writers. On the Today team, Meredith Vieira sets the alarm for 2:30 am, Al Roker at 3, Matt Lauer at 4:10, and Ann Curry at 4:30. But guess just how much prep time Joe Scarborough puts in? Almost zero. But surprise, he's been told to play to a typical liberal each day:
Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, boasted, typically, that he's the real Master of the Morning Universe. He hops out of bed at 5:30 a.m. (sometimes later, if he's feeling really cocky), throws on his clothes, and arrives at the studio by 6 a.m., when Morning Joe goes on the air. No sweat, says Joe, if you live close by.
By the way, I wake up each day to Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brezezinski. And I'm a big fan of the show. Scarborough said yesterday that when he came up with the idea for the program and pushed to get it on the air, MSNBC President Phil Griffin gave him a piece of advice: "Pretend you have an audience of one. And pretend it's Tim Russert."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough – who when a Republican congressman voted to impeach President Clinton – seems to believe that a former President should be able to legally run for office again after taking "a term or two off." His comments followed a gushing slew of praise for former President Bill Clinton, and he noted that many viewers "are just sitting there thinking 'Why can't [Clinton] run for President in a couple of years?'"
"It seems so short-sighted, just because the Republicans were upset that FDR was President for four terms," Scarborough complained of the 22nd Amendment, ratified during Truman's second term but passed out of Congress four years earlier in March 1947. Republicans did control both houses of Congress then, but the amendment would have excluded then-President Harry Truman and was supported by some Democrats.
Co-hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski conducted a glowing interview of the former president at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
Does he want to lose his job at MSNBC the way Donny Deutsch did? Joe Scarborough seems to have a devil-may-care attitude towards criticizing his outspoken colleagues, liberal blowhards Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann. Simply refer to past episodes here, here, here and here.
While not mentioning them by name on today's "Morning Joe," Scarborough featured outlandish barbs from his colleagues Schultz and Olbermann as examples of what not to do in trying to "keep calm and carry on," as the show was trying to preach to its viewers.
For the second straight day, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" ran a segment titled "Keep Calm and Carry On" – Scarborough's favored slogan of late, he even features in his profile picture on his Twitter account – dedicated to throwing water on the political fire created by the fringe Left and Right and promoting more calm, moderate, bipartisan candidates and positions. Tuesday's segment featured a game show format where Joe and co-host Mika Brzezinski asked questions with obvious answers – for instance, does such-and-such rabid quotation by such-and-such talk show blowhard merit the label "Keep Calm and Carry On?"
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" has recently delivered some strange messages of bipartisanship and moderation to its viewers. These included lecturing would-be Koran-burner Florida pastor Terry Jones on loving one's neighbor before cutting him off without opportunity to answer, and showcasing a "Bipartisan Health Challenge" – a group of politicians and journalists walking three kilometers around the National Mall to promote fitness and bipartisanship.
The MSNBC morning show featured a slightly odd segment Monday – which Newsbusters' Mark Finkelstein first reported on – echoing New York City Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to support moderate political candidates and combat angry political messages from fringe candidates. The "Morning Joe" crew seemed to fully endorse Mayor Bloomberg's message,attacking "political extremists who are dominating the airwaves."
Of course, the extremists the brew crew has in mind are conservatives such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who compared putting a mosque near Ground Zero with a Nazi sign displayed near a Holocaust memorial.
In a strange departure from Morning Joe's typical spontaneity, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski issued what was clearly a scripted, teleprompted, manifesto this morning. The statement purported to be non-partisan condemnation of "angry voices" and a call, citing a WWII poster, to "keep calm and carry on." But even a cursory analysis reveals that the manifesto's message suits Dem themes to a 'T', and carries clear echoes of a recent partisan speech by Pres. Obama at a political event.
The manifesto amounted to a condemnation of the "angry voices" and the "political extremists" who, claimed Scarborough, "are dominating the airwaves and dominating the national debate." But at this juncture in American political history, the anger is understandably more present on the right. The Dems, after all, control both houses of Congress and the White House, and have used their power to promote a big-government agenda on everything from health care to trillion dollar spending schemes to higher taxes. You're darn right we're angry! In instructing us to calm down, Joe and Mika are really seeking to sap the vitality from the political movement that threatens to sweep Dems from office.
Lauding Jon Stewart's biting humor and criticism of today's politicized media, NY Magazine columnist Chris Smith called him "Cronkite, the most trusted man in America" in his piece featured on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday. The show's panel largely agreed with him and emphasized that Stewart is bi-partisan in his comedy.
"The right provides better raw material, but Stewart's complaints are bi-partisan," Smith writes in his column "America is a Joke." On MSNBC, Smith described Stewart as a "comedy opportunist, you know, where people do mockable things – left, right, in-between."
The show's co-host Joe Scarborough joined Smith in diffusing the myth that Stewart is a raging liberal. "Over the past year, he's been every bit as tough on the Obama administration as Republicans on Capitol Hill," he asserted.
Mika Brzezinski is no poker face, regularly letting her feelings show as she reacts to the stories of the day. But when it comes to emoting, the Morning Joe co-host outdid herself today, reacting to the criticism the panel leveled at Jimmy Carter for his ungracious bashing of the late Ted Kennedy.
In a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, a clip from which Morning Joe aired, an embittered Carter flatly says the failure to get national health care during his administration was Ted Kennedy's "fault." Carter accused Kennedy of "deliberately blocking" Carter's proposed legislation, in order to deny him a major legislative achievement.
Mika, daughter of Carter's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, has a history of defending Carter on the show. Check the video as Mika grimaces in discomfort, and interjects various rebuttals, as her fellow panelists unload on the 39th president.
Dubbed as "ultra right wing extremist" and "crazy," Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell and her Tea Party supporters have been smeared by every major broadcast and cable network since she won the Delaware primary against GOP establishment candidate on Tuesday night.
This is mudsliging at its ugliest. Pure character assassination. These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency ever again.
The MRC demands the media Tell The Truth! about the Tea Party, its momentum and the revolution of people whose votes are proving America is fed up with Washington.
Here are just some of the latest smears by the liberal media:
The trashing of Christine O'Donnell continues. Two days after Karl Rove took to the air to scald his party's newly-nominated candidate, Mike Barnicle has declared that O'Donnell won't win because she's not merely "different," but "crazy."
On today's Morning Joe, the former Boston Globe columnist fumbled and fumfered when asked to back up his allegation with facts. And speaking of facts, Barnicle had his badly wrong when it came to the number of votes O'Donnell won in the primary. But that didn't stop him from slurring the Delaware Republican.
Appearing on MSNBC to present his magazine's feature piece critical of the "Baby Boomer" generation, James Bennet of The Atlantic named George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton as the three worst "baby boomers" who did the most harm to the country's political culture and its economy.
"It'd be hard not to point to George W. Bush as having done a lot of damage," Bennet asserted. Bush, he added, "created a lot of programs that costed us a huge amount of money, without a lot of regard for what the effects are going to be on the folks that are going to have to pay for those for many years."
Bennet also blamed President Clinton and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for failed policies. However, Bennet was quick to reference the "surpluses as far as the eye could see" at the end of the Clinton administration, as a counterweight to Clinton's damage while in office. He bafflingly lauded President George H.W. Bush's tax hike as "politically brave" and which helped create the prosperity of the Clinton years.
Last Friday Mika Brzezinski and Morning Joe engaged in some strange and possibly unprecedented TV "journalism." They invited Terry Jones—the potentially Koran-burning pastor—on the show via live feed, gave former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham the chance to lecture him about Christianity and implore him not to proceed with his plan . . . then summarily cut the feed without giving Jones the chance to say word one in response.
"We don't really need to hear anything else" declared Mika, as she shut down the pastor's microphone.
A number of bloggers, including NB's own Matt Hadro and me, noted and criticized Mika's bizarre move. But there was Joe Scarborough on the show today, mockingly writing off Mika's critics as "crazy people."
In what had to be the ultimate in condescension and elitism, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" brought Pastor Terry Jones on the show merely to lecture him on Christianity, cutting him off before he could even respond. Co-host Mika Brzezinski explained to him "we don't really need to hear anything else, so thanks." Newsbusters' Mark Finkelstein first briefly reported on this segment this morning.
Panel member Jon Meacham, the departing editor of Newsweek, briefly preached to Pastor Jones on Jesus' New Testament message of love and forgiveness and then appealed to him "as a fellow Christian" to not follow through with his threats to burn the Koran. Then, before Pastor Jones responded, his live feed was cut and co-host Mika Brzezinski continued with the show, saying that they did not need to listen to Pastor Jones.
"The central message of the New Testament is forgiveness, and to put oneself in the place of another," Meacham lectured Pastor Jones on planning to burn copies of the Koran. "And so I would simply appeal to you, as a fellow Christian, that the course you suggested is going to be incredibly dangerous, and would ask you to desist in the name of New Testament theology."