On Thursday, MSNBC continued its quest to link conservatives with the birther movement- people who don't believe Barack Obama is constitutionally eligible to serve as President. Previewing an unrelated segment on this weekend's tea party convention, Norah O'Donnell played a clip of Obama criticizing those who raise the issue. She then compared, "President Obama sends a message to those who question his citizenship, this as the tea party movement gets ready for its first big convention."
At no point did O'Donnell explain or justify the connection, other than her apparent assumption that tea partiers equal birthers. The MSNBC host interviewed author Rick Scarborough, one of the speakers at the convention in Nashville. During the piece, this MSNBC graphic appeared in large font at the bottom of the screen: "Obama: Okay to Question My Policy, Not My Citizenship."
MSNBC’s David Shuster on Tuesday used a poll by the liberal website Daily Kos to assert that "most Republicans" don’t believe Barack Obama was born in America and, thus, are birthers. Shuster marveled, "...As the Democrats try to talk about working with Republicans, given those numbers of Republican supporters, how is that possible?" [Audio available here.]
Citing a survey that also claims 23 percent of self-identified Republicans want to secede from the union, Shuster quizzed Andy Barr from Politico as to the poll’s meaning. After Shuster correctly noted, "It is a documented fact. The President was born in Hawaii," he used this one poll to declare, "And most Republicans aren't sure, don't believe it; there you haveit."
So, one poll, by a left-wing website (in conjunction with the firm Research 2000), is enough for MSNBC to assert that 58 percent of GOPers subscribe to a bizarre conspiracy? A Rasmussen poll from May of 2007 found that 61 percent of Democrats either believed that George Bush knew about the 9/11 terror attack in advance or aren’t sure. Does that mean that "most Democrats" are Truthers?
MSNBC’s Tamron Hall on Monday interrogated a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and tried to associate conservatism with believing in a bizarre conspiracy theory. Talking to Patrick Hughes of Illinois, she challenged, "For example, one of the questions was, do you think the President was born in the United States? Is that your definition of conservative or is it in the perimeter of a conservative?" [Audio available here.]
Hall prefaced this "birther" query by oddly asserting, "When you say conservative, I know you know that much has been made of this conservative litmus test to be a true conservative in this country." Of course, it was Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) who advocated making this an issue.
According to The Hill, he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Democrats should say, "Ask them, 'Do you believe Barack Obama [is a] citizen of the United States?'" It looks as though Hall was more than willing to repeat Democratic talking points.
On the soon-to-be canceled ‘It’s the Economy’ program on MSNBC on Thursday, co-host Contessa Brewer grilled Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on his calls to reduce out-of-control government spending: “Which programs are you willing to cut? Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?” Gregg shot back: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make.”
Gregg called out Brewer for her unfair framing of the issue: “...nobody’s saying no money for schools....On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.” He went to explain the kinds of budget cuts he would make: “I would freeze discretionary spending, a real freeze, not a – not a freeze plus inflation. I would eliminate the T.A.R.P. money....I would end the stimulus spending effective in June of this year, if not sooner....reform our entitlement programs....I’ve made very specific proposals and I’m willing to stand by them.”
Gregg was far from finished, he described the big government mentality shared by the Obama administration and the liberal media: “The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically. And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they’re going to – that if you do any of this stuff you’re going to end up not funding education.”
David Shuster has left no doubt on what side he comes down in the debate over the planned airing of a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl. Sponsored by Focus on the Family, the ad tells the story of how Pam Tebow ignored medical advice to have an abortion, and instead gave birth to Tim, who of course went on to become a legendary college football player and inspiration to millions for his faith and character.
On MSNBC this afternoon, Shuster hosted a segment on the issue bringing together Charmaine Yoest, head of Americans United for Life and Erin Matson of NOW. Dr. Yoest was no more than a few seconds into her defense of the ad when Shuster began shouting at her.
It was NOW/Shuster united against Yoest, but she handled it as deftly as, well, a Gator receiver beating a double-team to catch a TD pass from . . . Tim Tebow.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday used his Twitter account to repeatedly slam "teabaggers" and their "teabag leader." Shuster was defending a segment he hosted on MSNBC where he derided the "far-right" elements of the tea party movement. Writing on Twitter he derided, "Highly amusing to see teabaggers claim [Scott] Brown a [sic] referendum on Obama...when Brown himself denied it and distanced himself from teabaggers."
Referring to those who are unhappy with him using a vulgar sexual term to describe a political movement, Shuster retorted, "For all who object to the term 'teabaggers,' please direct your frustrations to [correspondent] Griff Jenkins at Fox News. He came up with it." (It's not clear why this lone example makes the word acceptable.)
Using the term for a third time, Shuster Tweeted to @AdamCassandra: "The issue is International ANSWER wasn't behind ALL the war protests as your teabag leader alleged. Try thinking sometime." This was in reference to his Wednesday segment on MSNBC.
MSNBC’s David Shuster on Wednesday used the victory of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts as another opportunity to trash the tea party movement. Teasing an interview with one of the organizers, he smeared, "The first anniversary of President Obama's inauguration. The Hitler mustaches and the Joker and everything else." [Audio available here.]
Talking with the grassroots director of FreedomWorks, Brendan Steinhauser, Shuster rejected the notion that the tea partiers are part of the political center. The host derided, "Right, but is it the dead center when you see signs like the signs that we just showed that are easy to find at a tea party protest of Obama as a Marxist? Obama as a socialist? Obama with a Hitler mustache?" A feisty Steinhauser repeatedly knocked down Shuster’s talking points: "Well, no. Those signs with Barack Obama as Hitler, that comes from Lyndon LaRouche PAC. It’s clearly on the sign and that’s a left-wing guy."
Regarding the Senate election in the Bay State, Shuster lamented, "Brown's win could be good news for the tea party movement, which didn't seem as frightening to independent voters in Massachusetts as Democrats had hoped."
During the 12:00PM ET hour of live coverage on Tuesday, MSNBC displayed a poll that showed deceased founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, losing to sitting New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in a possible Democratic primary for the seat. Considering Ford’s ties to big business and non-living status, his 17% to Gillibrand’s 41% was a respectable showing.
In reality, the Siena Research Institute poll described the race between Gillibrand and former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who has entertained the possibility of challenging her in the midterm election. Perhaps a Henry Ford campaign would have promised a Model T in every garage.
MediaBistro’s TVNewser discovered humorous error and as poster Kevin Allocca pointed out, Harold Ford Jr. has served as an MSNBC political analyst.
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?”
In this edition of NewsBusters Notable Quotables comedy web show, NBC bids “good riddance” to Sarah Palin, MSNBC’s David Shuster is a defender of the faith, and ABC promotes their boy genius George Stephanopoulos. Enjoy!
To view current and past episodes in a larger screen format visit the NQ Show channel on the Media Research Center’s video sharing website Eyeblast.tv.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday attacked conservatives who have a problem with the liberal agenda of the film Avatar, dismissing their arguments as "shameless and crazy." Shuster and New Live co-host Tamron Hall seemed bewildered by right-wing complaints about the environmentally-themed movie.
Talking with film critic Mike Taibbi, Shuster derided, "Could this be just about the political strategy of punching up? That the Weekly Standard, or whoever wants to criticize, they can get a little bit of attention for their point of view, as shameless and crazy as it may sound, by attaching themselves to a movie that's doing so well?"
During the 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster claimed that Fox News political analyst Brit Hume "denigrated Christianity" when suggesting that scandal-ridden golfer Tiger Woods convert to the faith.
Shuster made the comments while discussing the issue with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, asking: "Doesn’t it also denigrate Christianity when you do that on a Sunday political talk show? This isn’t church, this isn’t some sort of holy setting, this is a political talk show....Doesn’t that minimize the significance of Christianity, when you bring a discussion of Christianity into a conversation about politics?"
Buchanan replied: "He’s not denigrating Christianity....A lot of us feel that there ought to be more discussion of religion in politics and religious beliefs and what’s moral and right and wrong." Shuster pressed him: "And you don’t think this diminishes Christianity in any way?" Buchanan shot back: "What do you think, the religion’s dropped a peg or two now?" Shuster sarcastically responded: "I do think it diminishes the discussion of Christianity....This wasn’t the ‘700 Club,’ this wasn’t ‘Theocracy Today.’"
Imagine it being as hard to fire an incompetent airport screener as it is to fire an incompetent teacher. Think that might have any implications for our safety and security? Evan Kohlmann apparently doesn't. In fact, the NBC terrorism consultant thinks opposition to unionizing the employees of the Transportation Safety Administration is "nonsense" and "ridiculous."
Kohlmann made his comments on MSNBC this afternoon in the course of condemning Sen. Jim DeMint for opposing TSA unionization. The Republican senator from South Carolina has put a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers to head the TSA because of the nominee's apparent intent to unionize the TSA.
David Shuster teed up Kohlmann's tirade [the video bears watching to see just how contemptuous Kohlmann appeared] . . .
Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O’Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: “You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it’s the Republicans’ fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?”
Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: “...it wasn’t necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don’t want sunlight on the bill, it’s that simple.”
Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, ‘look, if we – if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.’”
Appearing Monday on MSNBC during the 10AM ET hour, CNBC White House correspondent John Harwood worked to whip up support for the health care bill passed by Senate Democrats while slamming its liberal opponents: “...so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done...”
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Near the end of the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed the ClimateGate scandal only to claim there was no scandal in the emails that seemed to show climate scientists manipulating global warming data: “I mean is someone using differences in semantics to try and play up a controversy that’s not really there?”
Brewer spoke with Politico reporter Erica Lovely about the emails in which scientists referred to a “trick” to conceal evidence that contradicted predicted warming trends. Brewer explained: “...there’s a Penn State scientist Michael Mann....He says the word ‘trick’ doesn’t actually refer to any kind of deception, but to a very well-known accepted data technique.” Lovely saw nothing improper in concealing data: “They wanted to keep it out of some of the international reports that the United Nations would be looking at, you know, just to – to move the global talks forward.”
After Brewer suggested the use of the word “trick” as “just semantics,” Lovely agreed: “Sure....They’ll use language that maybe to us would look like, you know, something fishy is going on. But to them this is just everyday speak.” Lovely again defended their actions: “...they’ve been working so many decades trying to get some traction on the global warming science that they really can’t afford to have much detracting science get out.”
Talk show host Dick Cavett, whose TV show went off the air in 1982, appeared on MSNBC, Friday, to trash Sarah Palin as a "know nothing" and someone who has "no first language." Mostly, however, he seemed interested only in talking about himself, prompting News Live host Norah O’Donnell to chide, "Dick, this segment is about Sarah Palin, not about you, Dick." [Audio available here.]
John Harwood, New York Times writer and CNBC contributor, co-hosted and kicked off the segment with this condescending question: "Let me ask you what you make of the Sarah Palin phenomenon and, in particular, the argument that some people make, well, she might not be a good President, but she'd be a good talk show host. You think so?"
Cavett clearly wanted to bash Palin, but he really wanted to tout his own brilliance and a column he wrote for the New York Times over a year ago: "The subject is a dear one to me because I wrote a notorious, apparently, column about Sarah Palin called the Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla for my Times Online blog. And, you know, it is interesting. When you are quoted for something you said on the air, it's one thing. But, when they quoted something you wrote, it is pleasing in a different way."
H/t MRC's Jeff Poor. I urge people to read the blog entry that Jackie Seals, the impressive young lady that O'Donnell confronted, has written about her experience. Not only does it provide fascinating background material about just what a set-up O'Donnell devised, it also catches Norah out in a fib.
As you'll note from an earlier update at the foot of this item, after O'Donnell began catching heat for her stunt, she went back on the air to defend herself. Among other things, responding to charges she had confronted a young girl, O'Donnell twice claimed that her interview subject "voted in the last election."
Just one problem: Jackie informs us that she is . . . 17. Maybe Norah got confused with ACORN voting standards, but 16-year old conservatives [the age she would presumably have been at last year's election] don't go to the polls.
Have a close look at the screencap [larger image after the jump]. Notice what MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell is holding in her left hand? Those are notes, with factoids from the 2008 presidential campaign. She's reading from them to challenge a Sarah Palin supporter who was waiting in line at the book signing yesterday in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We all remember how back during the '08 campaign, MSM reporters would challenge people attending Obama rallies with uncomfortable truths about their candidate, along the lines "would you still support him if you knew he had the most liberal voting record in the Senate?" Or not. I certainly can't remember any MSMer confronting an Obama supporter in such a way.
But let people line up to express their admiration for Sarah Palin . . .
MSNBC anchors David Shuster and Tamron Hall on Thursday lashed out at a speech Dick Cheney gave that was critical of Barack Obama, speculating on whether the Vice President is of a "rational, healthy mind." Attempting to attack the Bush administration’s handling of Afghanistan for eight years, News Live co-host Tamron Hall dismissed, "Is it selective amnesia?"
Shuster and Hall seemed particularly upset over Cheney’s speech on October 21 where the Vice President accused Obama of "dithering" on an Afghanistan strategy and also being "afraid" of making a decision. Talking to Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, Hall bristled, "As a woman, of course, I read in all kinds of machismo with this language, you are afraid to come out with a decision, almost taunting there."
The liberal Shuster could barely contain himself. Commenting on Cheney’s frail physical condition, he taunted, "What do you think he is after here, assuming that he is of some sort of rational, healthy mind?"
In the 9AM ET hour of Morning Meeting on MSNBC Thursday, host Dylan Ratigan teased his colleague Contessa Brewer over her confusing Jesse Jackson with Al Sharpton on Wednesday: “And did you call Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton the other day?....Can we talk about that later?.... I think there’s some humor to be had in all this.” An embarrassed Brewer sarcastically remarked: “I would love to talk about this.”
While anchoring 2PM ET coverage on Wednesday, Brewer mistakenly introduced Reverend Jesse Jackson as Reverend Al Sharpton. After Jackson clarified his identity, she apologized: “I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton...I know who you are, Reverend Jackson.”
As promised, the blooper was again brought up later in Thursday’s 9AM hour as MSNBC contributor Toure joked: “Contessa?....I’m not Al Sharpton....Just want to be clear on that.” Ratigan joined in: “This is not Al Sharpton....You understand that?” Toure went on to add: “I know you have that all black people look alike thing going on.” An upset Brewer shot back: “It wasn’t that. It’s – you know what, Toure?....Listen, thank you for clearing it up. I really appreciate that. Kind of you.” Ratigan declared: “Yeah. I'm not Al Sharpton either, Contessa, just for the record. I know I kind of have a slight resemblance.”
Showing that Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have become interchangeable, in the 2:00PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer mistakenly introduced Jackson as Sharpton: “Joining me now to talk about this and the nation’s real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton....I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton...I know who you are, Reverend Jackson.”
Brewer was just starting to bash capitalism as she made the error: “A Goldman Sachs adviser....Brian Griffith says, quote, ‘we have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.’” She then sarcastically asked Jackson: “What’s your reaction to hearing someone say, you know, when it comes to income inequality, all’s well, the rising tide floats all boats?” Before replying, Jackson had to clarify his identity: “I’m Reverend Jesse Jackson.” Which prompted Brewer’s apology. Jackson went on to argue that Griffith’s claim was a “vulgar statement.”
At the top of the 4:00PM ET hour of MSNBC Live, co-anchor David Shuster claimed the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll “numbers appear to back up the concerns of mainstream Republicans worried about the impact of birthers, tenthers, and town hall screamers....moderates have been frightened away and party identification has dropped to the lowest level in nearly three decades, since Nixon and Watergate.”
Shuster later introduced a debate segment on the issue, declaring: “if a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News is any indication, the GOP is in the worst shape it’s been in nearly three decades. Asked which party they identified themselves with, 33% said Democratic while just 20% said Republican.” What he failed to mention was that the poll also showed that those who identified themselves as conservative stood at 38%, a two-point increase from the last poll conducted on September 12. However, liberal identification stood at just 23%, a one-point decrease from the September poll.
During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.
On Monday, Shuster revealed the supposed source of the false quote: “Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like ‘slavery had its merits.’” Speaking with columnist Stephen A. Smith later that afternoon, Shuster’s co-host Tamron Hall wondered: “Should a person who says there are merits with slavery be able to have this privilege of owning a team?”
As result of the ensuing controversy raised by the false quotes reported by MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets, Limbaugh was removed from an investment group that was considering purchasing the St. Louis Rams football team.
The quotes were widely cited as real by several sports writers and on CNN and MSNBC in the past week as proof that Limbaugh was a racist who did not deserve to own part of the St. Louis Rams football team. But the Huffington Post has now removed them, saying the author has not been able to substantiate them.
[UPDATE: CNN's Rick Sanchez also, apologizes, sort of, via Twitter: "our bad."]
This editor’s note appeared early this evening on the 2006 blog by the liberal Huberman, who was pitching his then-new book, 101 People Who Are REALLY Screwing America:
On the June 3, 2009 Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow cited a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh in which the radio host supposedly said he wanted to award Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin the Medal of Honor. Since Limbaugh expressed interest in becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams in October, several MSNBC hosts have repeated that and other false quotes.
Reacting to Limbaugh calling then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Maddow declared: “When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.” Maddow’s dishonest rant was originally reported by NewsBusters’ D. S. Hube.
Before lying about Limbaugh, Maddow attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for also labeling Sotomayor as racist and not fully retracting his statement: “Last week, Mr. Gingrich used Twitter to declare that Judge Sotomayor is a Latina woman racist. Today, he issued a statement that seemed designed to take credit for retracting that comment without actually retracting it.” Viewers are still waiting for MSNBC to retract its charge of racism against Limbaugh based on fabricated quotes.
MSNBC contributor Touré on Wednesday continued the network's vitriolic, slanderous attacks on Rush Limbaugh. Discussing the radio host’s bid to buy the St. Louis Rams, the cable commentator smeared, "Several NFL players have already said they would not play for Rush because they know he would love to say he owns a plantation full of black men." [Audio available here.]
When Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan mock protested, "No, they don't know that," the one-named Touré reiterated, "They feel it." Ratigan gave in and played along, "Okay, they feel that." Despite calls from the Media Research Center, MSNBC has repeatedly refused to retract false quotes that have the conservative star endorsing slavery.