Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
Donny Deutsch said something on MSNBC's Morning Joe that was worth listening to.
I'll give you a moment to scrape your jaw off the floor.
Donny Deutsch, in addition to being a former CNBC host, is also a former advertising executive. So when the following exchange takes place, you know he's actually speaking from some experience:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Donny Deutsch, when I was running for office, in Congress, as a challenger I prayed every day the person that was thirty points ahead of me in the polls would bring up my name. When I became the incumbent, my challenger could have burned down my house - and I mean it - I would have never mentioned his name.
DONNY DEUTSCH: Marketing 101.
SCARBOROUGH: Why are they doing this?
DEUTSCH: I am shocked. Here you have, it's the analogy of - you have Morning Joe, it's a big, serious show. And let's say there was a little public access guy in, somewhere in Des Moines calling you out, and you calling him back. They are elevating Fox. Think about this. It's the President of the United States, the commander of the free world, versus a television network with a couple million viewers. It's a ratings bonanza. It's insane - they should just be dismissive and laugh at them.
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).
Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."
Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."
Today, Joe Scarborough continued his feud with Rush Limbaugh, insinuating that the talk radio legend is not a true conservative.
For the second time today, I’m looking ‘round the office, wondering whether I’m being punked.
Hot on the heels of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize – won for the stellar achievements (?) of the first ten days of his presidency – we find out that Joe Scarborough believes himself to be the only true heir to the mantle of Reagan and Buckley – at least, among the radio talker set.
On this morning’s edition of Morning Joe, Scarborough and the Brew Crew had the following exchange:
What a morning at Morning Joe! First, a "senior White House official" sent an email calling Joe Scarborough an "a-----e" for mocking Pres. Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. A bit later, responding to Rush Limbaugh's depiction of Scarborough as a "neutered, chickified moderate," Scarborough repeatedly claimed that Pres. George W. Bush had Rush's "testicles in a blind trust."
Scarborough and Time's Mark Halperin—whom no one would accuse of being a right-wing hack—had some good-natured fun with the Nobel news. A laughing-out-loud Scarborough suggested among other things that Marisa Tomei was more deserving of her Academy Award. But the Messiah will not be mocked, and it wasn't long before NBC's Savannah Guthrie, on the set, announced that she had received an email from "a senior White House official" telling Joe to "stop being an a------e" [spelled out in the original, according to Savannah]. Mika Brzezinski tried to soft-pedal the insult, claiming the White House was "joking." Real side-splitter! Is this the new standard of civility from Dems so offended by "you lie"?
No Peace Prize is likely to be awarded to Scarborough or Rush Limbaugh anytime soon. War has broken out between the two. Scarborough initiated hostilities by criticizing Rush for reveling in PBO's Olympic failure. Rush returned fire yesterday, calling Scarborough a "neutered, chickified moderate." This morning, Scarborough repeatedly claimed that W had Rush's "testicles in a blind trust" for eight years. Joe asserted that he had early and often warned Republicans against profligate spending during the Bush years, while others stood by in support of the president.
After ripping Rush Limbaugh yesterday, Morning Joe sports reporter Fred Roggin today announced he would henceforth be keeping his mouth shut on the subject--after getting an earful from his wife.
As we had noted, during his Morning Joe sports slot yesterday Roggin took a number of shots at Rush and his quest to purchase an interest in the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Among other barbs, Roggin falsely claimed that Rush had been "canned from ESPN for racist remarks about Eagle's quarterback Donovan McNabb."
A chastened Roggin had this to say this morning . . .
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
In the news today, the President and Oprah attempt to snag the Olympics from Rio, a Congressman yells something dumb on the floor of the House (not a Republican!), and double standards abound.
Meanwhile, back on the Hill, there's a humble bill involving the entire health care system of the United States making its way through the Senate. Lawrence O'Donnell is not usually so honest and brazen about the liberal agenda as he was during this morning's appearance on MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, but one can certainly be thankful that he was.
According to O'Donnell, there are now three new tax brackets in this legislation, a new 35% tax rate on certain private health insurance plans, and half of the health care legislation now being debated is a massive new tax bill. O'Donnell made the following comparison:
While Hollywood only rarely (and often by accident) produces something worthy, at least they’re always good for a laugh.
On today’s edition of Morning Joe, the pop culture guest du jour was Carole King, prolific and famous songwriter for Hollywood’s golden music days. Now the NewsBusters readers of greater life experience may initially have a “Don’t Bring Me Down” reaction – until one gets to this quote:
I want them to learn that they’re there, and that they [wilderness in the United States] need to be protected in the future, because we have about 97 percent of our American land is developed. And the number, that three percent keeps dwindling, dwindling. We’ve got to keep our national parks in our minds as we go to protect new wilderness – which, new wilderness is really preserving the status quo. It’s a new designation, same old God-given land.
There is an inside joke for the veteran viewers of MSNBC’s morning show, ‘Morning Joe,’ which refers back to a time when Joe Scarborough was in a heated debate with Zbigneiw Brzezinski (Mika’s father) over the behind-the-scenes content of President Clinton’s Camp David accords. The elder Brzezinski grew rather frustrated with being out-shouted by Scarborough, and delivered the following zinger:
“You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.”
This crushing critique could also be applied to today’s appearance of the New York Times’ Sam Tanenhaus, author of 'The Death of Conservatism,' on that same show. Tanenhaus delivered the following two opinions with an admirably straight face:
SAM TANENHAUS: Yeah, and it was interesting to go to the Clinton school and tell the audience there that the last conservative president in America was Bill Clinton.
The Politico’s Mike Allen appeared on Wednesday’s Morning Joe to both defend the mainstream media’s decision to ignore the ACORN controversy and agree that a double standard is at work. Commenting on a piece he wrote about the subject, the former New York Times reporter spun, "And what we heard was news executives saying that there's so much out there. Two wars, health care, a President who's struggling, that they didn't have time to focus on this."
Asserting that, somehow, Americans should appreciate the media’s efforts to spike coverage of ACORN, He cheered, "I think we should be grateful for that filter so that you go to places- NBC News, Politico, others- that you can trust and you’ll know that what is there is accurate and not speculation." Grateful? How can viewers be expected to trust a source when that outlet ignores certain inconvenient stories?
Entrapment n. In criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the "criminal."
It's turning into quite the morning for NBCers to defend the left on Morning Joe . . .
First, Chuck Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM failed to adequately report on Van Jones, suggesting coverage would have been a waste of time. Later, Norah O'Donnell came on and suggested that the video of the ACORN employees giving advice on how to evade the tax laws in setting up a brothel with young illegal aliens "might be viewed as entrapment."[H/t FReeper mimaw.]
I've been trying to give Chuck Todd the benefit of the doubt when it comes to classifying him as part of what Rush would call the state-controlled media. But that indulgence was strained to the breaking point on Morning Joe today when Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM had under-covered the Van Jones story and suggested that delving into his background would have been a waste of MSM time.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You say this has been a Republican obsession, ACORN. It certainly hasn't been an obsession in the media. Mike Allen said the mainstream media was slow on the Van Jones story, also slow on this [ACORN] story. Is that a fair charge?
"[I am] against this most monstrous of all meddling on the part of authority: the meddling with the subsistence of its people. . . . [One must] manfully . . . resist the very first idea, speculative or practical, that it is within the competence of government . . . to supply the poor with necessaries. . . . To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government. It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it." -- Edmund Burke, 'Thoughts and Details on Scarcity', 1795.
Jon Meacham strikes me as a knowledgeable man. Surely the author of a well-regarded biography of Andrew Jackson knows his history. Ignorance thus cannot explain how the Newsweek editor could with a straight face describe Barack Obama as "the real Burkean in American politics right now." Yet on today's Morning Joe, Meacham effectively depicted Obama as the bearer of the torch of the man often described as the father of modern conservatism . . .
If Joe Scarborough is right, this could be a game-changing blow to Barack Obama . . .
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough left no doubt that he believes the Obama administration acquiesced to the release by the British government of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie murderer and terrorist.
Scarborough was reacting to reports suggesting that, contrary to initial claims, the release was done at the behest of Gordon Brown's British government, and was not an independent move by Scotland.
Savannah Guthrie is apparently very smart. Guthrie was a member of the prestigious Order of the Coif (which has nothing to do with promoting good scalp health, nor with seventeenth-century headwear) while earning a J.D. from Georgetown Law, highlight her ability to learn dull and boring things very quickly.
Lost among the dusty tomes of Georgetown, however, was the fact that Ronald Reagan was a very nice guy.
On the Friday edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the Brew Crew was discussing the apparent Zen-like calm of the Obama White House. Guthrie, drawing on her spectacular knowledge of the Reagan era, noted the difference in temperament between the Reagan and Obama administrations:
Jonathan Capehart let the mask slip on just how much the MSM is one with Pres. Obama and Democrats at large. Here's the WaPo editorialist on Morning Joe today, discussing the daunting task of selling ObamaCare to a doubting public:
"We've got two problems here. We: I should say the administration or Democrats have two problems."
Sorry, Jonathan. Cat out of bag. Toothpaste out of tube. Bell rung.
Q. How can you tell that Hillary is blowing her African tour? A. When even supporters like Tina Brown says she needs to get back home ASAP . . . and hit the gym.
The Daily Beast head made her candid comments on today's Morning Joe. Mika Brzezinski made a spirited defense of Hillary, claiming her latest gaffe—putting Florida 2000 in the same boat as Nigeria's notoriously rigged elections—was no big deal. But Scarborough, Buchanan and Barnicle all said it was past time for Hillary to return. And Brown put in the unkindest cut of all . . .
On today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough was shocked to hear from Mark Halperin of Time and co-host Mika Brzezinski that most people in the MSM don't admit that the press is biased, and to the contrary most in the MSM see themselves as "right down the middle."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So you're saying that most people in the mainstream media don't admit that the press is biased?
MARK HALPERIN: I don't think so. You take a survey around the news room --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No, they don't admit it: I agree that.
The poor, benighted little people. They just don't understand what a wonderful hopey-changey world Pres. Obama is offering them . . .
Andrea Mitchell has suggested that the problem Pres. Obama is facing in selling his health care plan to Americans who already have coverage is that people "may not know what's good for them." [H/t reader Restless 1]
Mitchell made her condescending comment on today's Morning Joe.
Lawrence O’Donnell failed spectacularly on today’s "Morning Joe" this morning. The Democratic pundit wasn’t alone in that effort, as co-host Mika Brzezinski, and journalists Martin Savidge and Mike Barnicle all failed to correct his gaffe.
Apparently, the MSNBC political analyst is under the impression that Sarah Palin’s selection as Vice President drove down female support for the John McCain ticket – and claims that polling numbers back him up.
Conservatives are used to hearing liberals gloat about how the island paradise that is Cuba provides free health care to its fortunate denizens. Apparently there's now yet another country that we have to look up to: Rwanda.
On her MSNBC show this afternoon, Dr. Nancy Snyderman proclaimed herself "jealous" of Rwanda, which reportedly provides health insurance coverage to 90% of its citizens.
Snyderman's guest was Mary Robinson. The former President of Ireland is now in charge of "the Ethical Globalization Initiative" at the hoity-toity Aspen Institute. Snyderman seemed intent on drawing her guest into making invidious comparisons between the US and the rest of the world.
Generations past and present of the Washington Post heaped abuse on Sarah Palin today. Appearing on Morning Joe, Carl Bernstein called Palin "ignorant," a "demagogue" and a "flake." Current WaPo editorialist Jonathan Capehart chimed in to second Bernstein's emotion "100%."
Pat Buchanan stepped in to explain Palin's appeal.
In the grand scheme of things, Donny Deutsch's radical prescription for health care might not count for much. Just a former-ad-man-turned-pundit spouting off. But let's consider. Deutsch is well-off and presumably harbors no electoral ambitions. He is free to say whatever's on his mind. And he is immersed in the liberal media-political culture. Is Deutsch giving voice to the radicalism that Obama/Pelosi/Waxman harbor but dare not fully express?
Appearing on Morning Joe today, Deutsch offered a two-part plan for health care:
Make the rich pay for it: "I'm an extremist. I'm for redistribution of wealth."
Sooner or later, liberals will learn to not provoke Liz Cheney on issues of national security.
Those who watch the news for information other than the tragic death (and subsequent funeral circus) of Michael Jackson have most likely heard of the most recent round of accusations made by congressional liberals against the Central Intelligence Agency. On the July 14 “Morning Joe,” the former vice president's daughter issued a thrashing of Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who (one would guess) did not adequately prepare to argue about the laws concerning when the CIA is required to brief Congress.
Robinson first submits the following:
EUGENE ROBINSON, Washington Post columnist: Hi, Liz, how are you? I have a question. I actually have a question for Liz in a minute, but you know, look, it's inconvenient that there is a law, there is a 1947 law that requires that Congress be briefed on significant intelligence operations or activities or anticipated significant intelligent activity, so it seems to be clear that they should have been briefed. And if the Vice President told the CIA not to brief Congress then that was wrong.
That certainly sounds correct, at least on the surface – if that’s the law, that’s the law.
Although almost eight months have passed since last year's elections, Palin Derangement Syndrome continues to manifest itself throughout America's press.
As NewsBusters' Mike Sargent reported Tuesday, Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum is gravely afflicted with the illness, and needs to see a team of doctors quickly if he ever wants to be taken seriously by anyone other than the extreme Left.
With that in mind, Palin documentarian John Ziegler had a fascinating radio interview with Politico's Mike Allen Wednesday that shed some light on how PDS works and why it's so pernicious.
To set this up, Allen was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" earlier in the day, and defended Purdum's piece (15 minute audio available here):
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling: