Toyota is facing harsh scrutiny from the media and lawmakers - perhaps with justification. But there could be consequences for the U.S. economy.
And as Toyota (NYSE:TM) executives have endured two days of congressional hearings on the issues surrounding their potentially widespread defective products, the most aggressive questioners have been lawmakers from Michigan, home of the Big 3 automakers. A fact that led CNBC "Squawk Box" co-host Becky Quick to question if the federal government, with a huge stake in General Motors and Chrysler, are being a little unfair with Toyota on her Feb. 24 broadcast.
"We've heard from some congressmen, especially those later on in the show about the people and Congress people who are questioning Toyota at this point saying, they are doing this because the government has this big stake in GM?" Quick said. "To me, that seems a little crazy."
Appearing in the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim claimed that President Obama's latest version of health care reform was actually a conservative approach: "We actually already have a Republican bill, and it's the one that Obama has proposed....It's all about choice. Everything in it is a Republican kind of free market-based idea."
Speaking to anchor David Shuster, Grim continued his bizarre argument: "The idea that this is a Democratic bill, you know, that this is some left-wing plot, some government takeover that they're going to ram through the Senate, is the part that's the problem. This is a very centrist, leaning conservative health care reform bill."
The segment also featured Sally Pipes, author of "Top 10 Myths of American Health Care," who dismantled Grim's assertions: "I disagree with Ryan that this is a conservative blueprint that the President has put forward. It's very much not what the Republicans are talking about in terms of changing the tax code, portability, reducing mandates. What this is about is getting government more involved in our health care industry."
MSNBC news anchor David Shuster on Tuesday linked the terrorist act of flying a plane into an Austin IRS building with growing concern over big government. After describing the horrific crime last week of Joseph Stack, Shuster connected, "While that's extreme, a recent NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll found that when it comes to the federal government, 46 percent of Americans say it is not working well and needs large reforms." [Audio available here.]
Shuster wondered how America got "to this point" and then looked back at tea party protests over the last year. At no time did he explain to his viewers that Stack's suicide note expressed a hatred for capitalism, an opinion not shared by most tea party members.
After recapping unemployment rates and Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Shuster returned to his effort to connect unhappiness with government to terrorism: "Then, last week, anti-government sentiment came to a tipping point for one deranged man in Texas. He crashed his airplane into a building that housed the Austin offices of the IRS."
Near the end of the Tuesday 3 p.m. EST hour on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster invoked the riveting “Toyota hearings” currently taking place on Capitol Hill as an excuse to compile a grab-bag of liberal gotcha moments – consisting of Joe McCarthy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate – and ignore historical events unfavorable to liberals.
He also seized upon the opportunity to chide Fox News in the context of Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and currently works for the network. “North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he’s doing now. Hmmm…” said Shuster.
CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference begins Feb. 18. Conservative leaders will rally the troops before the mid-term elections in November and discuss the future role of conservatives in politics.
One person who will not be in attendance is Meghan McCain, despite the year-long media attempt to make citizens believe she is somehow representative of conservatives. She tweeted on Feb. 11, "I have no idea where this weird rumor I am speaking at CPAC came from, it isn't true and I will not be attending or speaking."
McCain, the 25-year-old daughter of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and a writer for The Daily Beast, has taken it upon herself to tell the GOP what needs to be fixed within the party. Because she calls herself a Republican, media outlets have perpetuated the notion that she is also conservative. By doing that, they've pushed a liberal social agenda that directly conflicts with conservative values.
Writer Kathleen Parker, herself no stranger to conservative bashing, praised McCain last spring as "one smart cookie" who "in a matter weeks ... has created a brand, presenting herself as a fresh face of her daddy's party and voice of young conservatives."
Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and a contributor to MSNBC, suggested last summer that "maybe what the Republican Party is going to have to do is skip a generation and wait for the Meghan McCains to come of age so they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party."
Conservative talk radio and political blogs all jumped on Vice President Joe Biden’s claim on CNN’s Larry King Live Wednesday night that the successful resolution of the Iraq war “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.” Biden and President Obama, then both Senators, strongly opposed President Bush’s 2007 troop surge that marked the turning point in the war.
On his Thursday show, Rush Limbaugh scoffed that “I was all set to say that I think maybe Obama is dumber than Biden, until I heard that....This is worse than chutzpah, folks. This is insulting everybody’s intelligence.”
But during the 2pm of MSNBC Live on Thursday, anchor Tamron Hall -- noting that "the Right [is] really honing in on this comment" -- sought reassurance from the Huffington Post’s “senior congressional correspondent” Ryan Grim, who insisted that Biden was correct. “If you can have 90,000 troops leave there, and if it were still a stable country, then actually leaving the country would be a great achievement,” Grim declared, adding: “And it would also, it’s worth nothing, be an achievement for the anti-war movement.” [Video at right, audio link here.]
Grim also refused to see any connection between Bush’s troop surge and the resulting drop in violence: “It’s an open question exactly what led to the decrease in violence that coincided with the surge.” And he deplored how conservatives blame Obama for the poor state of the economy, but refuse to let Obama take credit for the success in Iraq: “This is just utter nonsense.”
Even though his cable TV news network may not have that many viewers in relative terms to his competitors, MSNBC's David Shuster apparently has some clout when it comes to getting things done in Washington, D.C. - at least on a municipal level.
Shuster, making effort to give his viewers some "perspective" of his personal experience with the reason record-breaking snowfall in Washington, D.C., showed pictures of scenes near his Washington, D.C. home - complete with unplowed snow and a downed tree on MSNBC Feb. 12.
"And to give you some perspective on what it's been like for all of us here in Washington, D.C., on residential streets that don't get plowed," Shuster said. "First up, this is a picture my wife took on Sunday in front of our house looking north of 32nd Street," Shuster explained. "This was after the first storm that dumped about 23 inches and before the second drop of another 12. And here's a photo from the same angle last night, the weight of the second storm caused one of the trees to fall down yesterday morning breaking windows in that apartment building on the right. We have street parking and here's what 35 inches of unplowed snow does to cars."
Even though, the day after it aired on the Super Bowl broadcast, the consensus on the Focus on the Family advertisement featuring former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was that it wasn't as bad as the left had feared, at least one person that isn't going to let it go.
On MSNBC's Feb. 8 "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough made the point that the TV spot played during the Feb. 7 game was inoffensive and painted the opponents of it as being upset about nothing.
"One other thing too, talking about the soft touch - Focus on the Family's ad with Tim Tebow was soft, it was subtle and it made all the people who criticized it over the past week look like shrill idiots," Scarborough said. "It was a mom talking about a son she loved - her take with soft music."
MSNBC on Friday continued to mock and deride the "controversial" tea party movement. Host David Shuster commented on the group's Nashville convention and asserted that it's "full of workshops, meetings, funny outfits and speeches." Setting the tone for how the conventioneers would be portrayed, Shuster introduced the segment by playing a clip of an unidentified woman.
"I just couldn't sit down anymore and not do anything, because it reminded me of what happened during the reign of Hitler," the woman asserted. Couldn't MSNBC have found someone complaining about spending or the size of government? Reporter Domenico Montanaro dismissed keynote speaker Sarah Palin. He wondered if "she's a politician first or a political celebrity first, now."
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."