Historically, there are two kinds of White House reporters: those that confront officials with the strongest critique and demand a response (think ABC’s Sam Donaldson, who dogged Bill Clinton in the late 1990s just as he had Ronald Reagan in the 1980s); and those who see their job as simply repeating the White House spin of the day.
Reporting this morning on the Obama administration’s push for another $100 billion in spending, supposedly for “job growth,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie fell into the second category. Rather than amplify the growing chorus of critics who argue that we can’t afford more massive spending when the previous “stimulus” was so expensive and ineffective, Guthrie on NBC’s Today saluted the President for making a “judgment call” that “all economists” could support:
This is a budget where the President makes a judgment call. He's asking for $100 billion to spur job growth, things like tax cuts for small business, tax breaks to increase wages. And he's doing this knowing that it will drive up the deficit, certainly even more in the short term, but all economists agree the real way to get a chunk out of the deficit is to increase hiring.
Poor Barack Obama. In becoming president he inherited the "hollow prize" of the United States of America. That was the astounding theory suggested this morning by Melissa Harris-Lacewell.
The Princeton professor of politics and African-American studies bemoaned the president's predicament on Morning Joe today. Apparently this "hollow prize" theory is in vogue in certain circles, used to decry the plight of African-Americans who only rise to powerful political positions in "hollow prize" places like Detroit.
The president of NBC has officially responded to Joe Scarborough criticizing Keith Olbermann for his attacks on Scott Brown.
In a memo obtained by the Huffington Post, Phil Griffin told his on air staff: "We do not publicly criticize our colleagues. This kind of behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated."
Griffin was addressing comments made by MSNBC's Scarborough about Olbermann. As NewsBusters reported Monday, the "Morning Joe" host first tweeted his disapproval of the "Countdown" host's comments about Brown -- "How reckless and how sad" -- reiterating on his program Tuesday morning, "Sad and pathetic.
As a result, Griffin sent out the following memo Friday (h/t TVNewser):
"These bank bonuses, I would say, are a sin of Biblical proportions," Wallis said. "But to pick on the banks alone misses the point. It's a symptom, I think of a real erosion of societal values because new maxims have taken us over - ‘greed is good,' ‘it's all about me and I want it now.'"
A small group of liberal talking heads may be realizing that opposition to Obama is not, in fact, wholly irrational. Though it would be a bit too hasty to proclaim it a trend among the mainstream media, it has been a refreshing break from the smears usually hurled at the right by the nation's pundits.
First was Chris Matthews, who stunningly turned right and voiced his concern about an excessively large federal government, as Noel Sheppard reported this morning. NBC's David Gregory also came to his senses today, and admitted--his prior statements notwithstanding--that the Tea Party movement has been advocating the same principles that led to Scott Brown's victory yesterday (h/t Mary Katherine Ham).
Speaking on this morning's Morning Joe, Gregory characterized yesterday's special election as a sincere populist backlash against unpopular policies. The election was "about incumbency and whether government's working for you," he said. "That's what really cuts through all this is whether government is working for the people. That's what's fueling the Tea Party movement."
There are times when speaking in a stream of consciousness is a good and wholesome thing. None occur in front of a camera, as evidenced by the public escapades of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch.
The former ad-man took to today’s “Morning Joe” set yesterday morning to offer the following wisdom in reference to the impending Massachusetts electorate:
He is a traditional-looking middle-aged white male. We’re going back to basics, we’ve obviously had our first African American president we’ve had the female candidates and what-not – you look at him, he looks like the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate, and is there a visceral comfort in that for people? I’m just curious from real kind of sociological point of view.
TVNewser has a transcriptpar excellence, for your reading pleasure. In sum, Mika Brzezinski has gone off the Big Media reservation again, in a good way. Let’s just say she unwittingly (?) offers praise for a cable news network with much better ratings.
In an interview for her new book, Brzezinski spoke with Julie Menin about the partisan nature of today’s American media:
BRZEZINSKI: "I've worked in the mainstream media for all the networks and I will say what people aren't saying. It's got a liberal world view. There are great people working at the networks, and they're mostly Democrats, ok? They try really hard to be objective, really hard and they do a great job at it, but the balance is not there within the objective mainstream media. It's not, it is not and I'm not sure how we fix that. I hate the polarizing extremes that we're seeing on cable where there's these sort of ‘Think my way or you’re evil’ kind of subliminal message or cartoonish type characters on the right and the left.
Interesting enough – but even more piquing is Brzezinski’s solution to the problem of a partisan media:
Not that they were BFFs before, but Joe Scarborough has now definitively de-friended Keith Olbermann . . .
As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard reported, Olbermann last night unleashed an absurdly over-the-top Special Comment at Scott Brown, calling him "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees."
Joe Scarborough thereafter tweeted that Olbermann's Special Comment was "reckless and sad." On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough fired similar remarks at his MSNBC colleague on live national TV . . .
In a bizarre twist of logic, on Monday’s Morning Joe program on MSNBC, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin argued that if Democrat Martha Coakley lost the race for the Massachusetts Senate, it would improve chances of health care reform passing: “I actually think they may get health care more easily than if they win.”
While Halperin acknowledged that losing the Senate seat that once belonged to the late Ted Kennedy would be a “disaster” for Democrats, he explained the supposed upside: “...if she wins, if they hold the seat, they’re still going to have to come up with a deal and then they’re going to have to have two votes, the House and Senate. They’re going to have to go through, you know, the torture of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson deciding if they can deal with the compromised bill.” Halperin seemed convinced a Coakley loss could avoid all of that torturous democracy.
Later in the 12:00PM ET hour of live coverage on Monday, anchor Monica Novotny referred back to Halperin’s Morning Joe comments and asked guests Richard Wolffe and Larry Sabato about such an analysis of the situation: “In a discussion about this race earlier this morning on our air, the point was made that perhaps it’s better for the Democrats if they lose this seat....What do you think?”
[H/t NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick.] How panicked is the MSM at the prospect of a Scott Brown victory tomorrow? So much so that Chris Matthews has stooped to seeking to use Scott Brown's Protestant religion against him in heavily Catholic Massachusetts . . .
The Hardball host made his despicable pitch during a Morning Joe appearance today.
Joe Scarborough has expressed serious doubts as to his Republican affiliation, and made clear that House GOP whip Eric Cantor "is not my friend." But caution to those who assume Joe has gone left: he has clarified to this NewsBuster that his critique of the GOP comes from the Ron Paul-esque right . . .
Scarborough's stunning comments came on today's Morning Joe in response to Dem Bob Shrum's taunting of Joe over his ostensible GOP membership, in the context of Pres. Obama's attempt to rescue Martha Coakley from the rubble of her campaign.
Coming back from commercial this morning at the MSNBC Clown Kingdom, the bump-in video clip was one of Sarah Palin’s interview with Glenn Beck. Palin stated that it took all of the Founders to come up with the Constitution, but that George Washington (as the leader) would necessarily rise to the top.
Brzezinski was asked by a member of the audience why she is sometimes reluctant to be more vocal with her ideologically liberal views on their show. She explained that wasn't necessarily her role.
"There's a lot of different things going on with my role," Brzezinski said. "You know sometimes, see - and most of the time, he's taking on three Democrats at the table and I find myself more moderator, making sure the voices are all being heard and that civility prevails, which is something that is really important to us."
Does the name Jeremiah Wright ring a bell with Mika Brzezinski?
The Morning Joe co-host sought today to explain the pass Pres. Obama gave Harry "negro dialect" Reid by claiming that PBO has "worked to transcend racial issues for decades." The skeptical look on Joe Scarborough's face [see still after jump] as Mika uttered her assertion was priceless.
Let's take a stroll down memory lane with Rev. Wright [h/t Bump Shack], and consider that as far as the record shows, PBO never uttered a peep as his pastor made the following remarks, and to the contrary chose this man to wed him and Michelle and baptize his children:
Rolling Stone, a music magazine in the same sense that MTV is a music-video channel, was featured on this morning's edition of Morning Joe. Their cover story is not about the latest escapades of Kanye West or Lady Gaga; instead, they have chosen to write about global warming. Before anyone asks, none of the above recording artists (to my knowledge) have recorded a song which would have spawned this article.
"As the World Burns," is the eyes-bleeding hyperbolic title of the article. Contents: The 17 people whom Rolling Stone calls "climate killers." And the first target of the article: Billionaire investor and ardent Obama supporter, Warren Buffett:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You put Warren Buffett on that list, I thought he was an Obama supporter?
"Well, why we're not aware of it - I think we need an Al Gore of water, has not yet step forth to sound the clarion about the risks and opportunities, frankly," Solomon said. "[I]t's in plain sight. It's overtaking oil as our scarcest natural resource. And, just as oil reshaped the politics and the economics and even the national security issues of the last century, water is about to do so today."
Not a surprise, but still noteworthy: a heavy MSM hitter is now strongly suggesting that, post-NWA 253, a senior Obama admin official will be walking the plank.
Say what we will of her, but Andrea Mitchell has her sources. So when the NBC correspondent declared on Morning Joe today that she suspects "somebody is either going to be resigning or forced to resign," we can pretty much take it to the [Federal Reserve?] bank.
The combatants were Pat Buchanan and Spencer Ackerman of the lefty Washington Independent. The topic was the treatment of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Buchanan wanted the budding terrorist classified as an enemy combatant in order to extract the maximum amount of information from him. Ackerman, in ACLU mode, favored having young Umar tried in federal court and given all rights extended to US criminal defendants.
My antennae went up when at the end of their debate, Buchanan saw Ackerman off by wishing him "Merry Christmas." A bit of Googling reveals that Ackerman, who describes himself as a "very short Jew," has recently written of his "deep-seated contempt for white gentile culture."
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
What politicians say to get elected can come back to haunt them and vilifying the lobbyist profession to score campaign points is going to do that to President Barack Obama, according to MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-anchor Joe Scarborough.
"Listen, the Obama administration is in trouble right now," Scarborough said. "We got a lot of friends in the Obama administration right now and they're in trouble because Barack Obama made promises during the 2008 campaign that he would not allow lobbyists to work in his White House. Well sometimes you want lobbyists working in your White House. You want lobbyists working in Congress. You want lobbyists working for the city of Houston, Texas, because you don't get that job as lobbyist because you got a good smile. You get the job as lobbyist because you understand an issue better than everybody else."
Will ObamaCare cover memory loss? Howard Dean better hope so. On today's Meet the Press he seemed to suffer a serious memory lapse, claiming he had said he would "vigorously" support Pres. Obama's re-election [H/t reader Melody]. Problem: we have the video of Dean on Morning Joe of December 17th saying just the opposite: that he would "not vigorously" support PBO's 2012 re-election bid.
So noteworthy was Dean's "not vigorously" declaration at the time that it caused a gleeful Joe Scarborough to burst into laughter and repeat it. Not a decibel out of Dean to dispute what Joe had heard. As I reported at the time, here was Dean on December 17th:
Check out the video. After his brief, listless and cliché-ridden speech in Copenhagen ["time for action, not words," "we should live in the future, not the past"] that aired live on Morning Joe today, Pres. Obama makes the hand-shaking rounds on the podium.
He continues the glad-handing off the podium, until he spots someone and breaks into . . . a bow [screen cap after the jump]. With all the mulling around, it's hard to determine exactly what's going on. It looks like he might have been exchanging bows with a man in the scrum surrounding him. But PBO's bow seemed to go beyond the perfunctory head-nod that in the circumstances surely would have satisfied, say, Japanese etiquette.
Yesterday, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs took shots at Howard Dean and his opposition to ObamaCare, suggesting the good doctor didn't know what he was talking about.
It was payback time this morning, as Dean announced that he would "not vigorously" back Pres. Obama's re-election bid.
The former DNC Chairman expressed his tepid support for Obama, Part Deux on today's Morning Joe in response to new poll data indicating Pres. Obama's popularity, and public support for ObamaCare, have fallen to all-time lows.
Joe Scarborough suggested that Dean would be accused of dragging down his party and helping Republicans.
"Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference," Palin wrote. "The president should boycott Copenhagen."
The op-ed, specifically that paragraph, drew the ire of some prominent lefties, including The Daily Beast's Editor in Chief Tina Brown and Time magazine political columnist Joe Klein. Brown said Palin's call on Obama to boycott was "grandstanding" without basis on MSNBC's Dec. 9 broadcast of "Morning Joe."
Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform. Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:
MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?
MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'
Surely no one would be foolish enough to defend Harry Reid's statement analogizing ObamaCare opponents to those who resisted the abolition of slavery, right? Um, may I introduce you to Donny Deutsch?
On Morning Joe today, the ad man suggested to RNC Chairman Michael Steele that there was nothing wrong with Reid's analogy. When Steele didn't deign to dignify Deutsch's absurdity with a response, a nasty little stand-off ensued . . .
For the dog-bites-man news category: Joe Scarborough had a moment of intellectual schizophrenia today.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist and Politico.com executive editor Jim VandeHei were discussing a Politico story about internal political pressures at National Public Radio (NPR). Apparently, NPR's top political correspondent Mara Liasson was asked by NPR executives to reconsider her appearances on Fox News, for concerns over Fox's perceived political bias.