With a little help from Joe Scarborough, Valerie Plame Wilson tried this morning to paint herself as someone who, far from seeking "Vanity Fair" fame, had celebrity thrust upon her in a moment of distraction. Right.
And try this quick quiz:
Q. Is it possible to get through an extended interview of Valerie Plame Wilson without mentioning Richard Armitage?
For a moment, let's put aside minor matters like Iraq, Iran and $1 trillion Dem tax proposals and focus on something important . . .
Appearing on today's "Morning Joe," CNBC's John Harwood made a strong defense of Rudy Giuliani's announcement that the avid Yankee fan is rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series. And by the end, he even got University of Alabama alum Joe Scarborough to admit that under certain circumstances he would root for Auburn -- the Tide's arch in-state rival. Then again, Harwood failed to persuade at least one Bronx native . . .
The issue arose in the context of Hillary's campaigning.
JOHN HARWOOD: You notice she got in a little dig about Giuliani and the whole Red Sox thing.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I like that. Tell our viewers about that.
For years now, Valerie Plame has been the toast of the liberal glitterati, a celebrated combat specialist against the Vast Bush Conspiracy. Every move the former CIA employee has made has oozed political and commercial calculation. She struck a book deal with Simon & Schuster worth more than $2 million. She struck a movie deal based on the book deal with Warner Brothers for millions more, so she can be played as a patriotic heroine on the silver screen by Nicole Kidman or Naomi Watts. How many millions more? Two million? Five million? Don’t wait for the media to ask. They're too busy playing her as victimized.
In the Clinton years, any opponent in a Clinton scandal was assumed to be overwhelmed with greed, desperate to get an agent and make millions with lies about the president, to sell "trash for cash." Since she's been encouraged to wage political war by Hillary Clinton, none of these assumptions have been applied to Valerie Plame, or her husband, Joe Wilson. Here’s a rundown of the Plame interviews and the number of questions about the Wilsons making millions:
Notice Norah O'Donnell glancing down? Although the screen graphic refers to the Lewinsky scandal, the MSNBC anchor was at that moment discussing the Democrats's $1 trillion tax proposal with Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rangel is the key mover behind the tax plan.
O'Donnell, obviously reading from a document, described the proposal as a plan "to eliminate the alternative minimum tax and ease the tax burdens of most Americans by asking the rich and some corporations to pay more."
Was it just a slip of the tongue, or did Josephine "Josie" Hearn of Politico just let her liberal slip show? On this evening's "Tucker," she sure seemed to wax enthusiastic over a positive poll result for Hillary.
Norah O'Donnell subbed for Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show this evening, and talk turned to the latest LA Times|Bloomberg poll, which put Hillary at 48%, with Obama at 17% and Edwards trailing with 13%. Norah invited Hearn to comment.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Josie, it just shows she's continuing her wide margin on just about every demographic, right?
See Update at Foot -- FEMA Administrator flatly debunks Garamendi
Good on Tamron Hall.
On the one hand, as I've noted here and here, Hall let her liberal leanings show more than once when serving as a "Morning Joe" panelist. But the MSNBC anchor is also the daughter of a career Army man, and clearly knows and respects the military.
When Dem John Garamendi, the California Lt. Gov., appeared on MSNBC this afternoon, Hall took the occasion to challenge him over the misleading remarks about the California National Guard that he made yesterday to Chris Matthews during an interview in which he also spoke most ungraciously, as I noted here, about Pres. Bush's impending visit to California.
As wildfires rage throughout Southern California, media have predictably begun to blame this awful natural disaster on President George W. Bush much as they did almost exactly two years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
On Tuesday evening, MSNBC's Dan Abrams set up an interview with California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.) thusly:
But the fire storms in California`s raising tough questions about what the National Guard is extended too much to handle emergencies at home. Back in May, before the fire started, "The San Francisco Chronicle" reported that the California National Guard was down a billion dollars worth of equipment. Two hundred and nine vehicles in Iraq, including 110 humvees and 63 military trucks. According to report the California guard should have had 39 diesel generators on hand. They say it had none. The Kansas governor raised similar concerns earlier this year when she said the deployment of National Guard troops to Iraq hurt the emergency response to a deadly tornado in her state. The question -- is this another unanticipated cost of a prolonged and expensive war effort?
On Wednesday morning, CNN's John Roberts asked a similar question of FEMA Administrator David Paulison:
See update at foot -- ESPN teases football player for dressing like Tinky Winky.
Like a youngster stubbornly unwilling to admit that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, Keith Olbermann seems unable to accept that Tinky Winky is gay. Perhaps the MSNBC host should check with some of his more sophisticated friends.
President Bush has shown that he can be empathetic, sensitive and decisive. But those qualities eluded him for days after Hurricane Katrina . . . He didn't cancel his vacation until two days after Katrina struck and didn't visit the region until four days after the storm. -- "A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina", USA Today, 9-9-05
USA Today's broadside is typical of the MSM criticism leveled at Pres. Bush for his failure to visit New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So, now that President Bush has announced that he will be visiting California on Thursday while the wildfire flames are still burning, naturally the MSM and Dems will put politics aside and laud his decision, right?
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Neal Gabler implied on FNC's "Fox News Watch" that he wanted the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol to go to Iraq and be killed so that he could attend the conservative writer's funeral.
On Monday, FNC's John Gibson took issue with Gabler's despicable comments during his radio program, calling Gabler a "lowlife," and "a coward" because "he will not come on the air to defend the things he says."
The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to distill wisdom into kernels that make sense to millions of Americans. He gave good examples of that talent in the course of his appearance on today's "Morning Joe."
Rush began by praising CNBC's Erin Burnett, a frequent "Morning Joe" contributor.
File this one under "Mental Images We Could Do Without."
Discussing her attempt to straddle the Iran issue, Chris Matthews has accused Hillary Clinton of a "wide stance." For some time, the "Hardball" host has been making the point that while Hillary now claims she voted for the 2002 Iraq resolution only for purposes of authorizing more diplomacy, at the time everyone and his uncle knew that it was a war authorization.
For example, interviewing Hillary advisor Howard Wolfson on "Hardball" back in July, Matthews stated: "Anybody who didn't think we were going to war in the months leading up to the war in Iraq wasn't paying attention."
Today, Matthews employed the infelicitous metaphor for purposes of accusing Hillary of pulling a similar stunt on Iran.
CNN decided to not to break away from its almost non-stop coverage of the California wildfires as President Bush formally awarded a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan the Medal of Honor, as its competitors Fox News and MSNBC aired the ceremony at the White House live.
The Medal of Honor went to Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who died in the line of duty in 2005 during operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Murphy received the first Medal of Honor awarded from Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush made the decision to give Lt. Murphy the nation’s highest military honor on October 11.
Given his show's modest ratings, it's unlikely that Keith Olbermann would be in a position to make a multi-million dollar donation to charity anytime soon. But let's imagine he did. Do you think that, in a segment on a related subject, NBC might find a moment to mention Olbermann's generosity?
So do I.
But "Today" managed to get through its report this morning about Rush Limbaugh's auctioning off of the Harry Reid letter . . . without mentioning that Rush has publicly pledged to match the $2.1 million winning bid.
A few days after 9-11, President Bush, in an impromptu moment on the White House lawn, referred to the war on terrorism as a crusade. What does that have to do with the vile claim Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) made this week that Pres. Bush sends our soldiers to Iraq to have their heads blown off for his "amusement"?
Nothing that I can see. But on this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews dredged up that and a couple other statements from the president's past and staged a segment asking whether they were worse than Stark's line. Note the graphic in the screencap, in which MSNBC absurdly asks "who should apologize, Rep. Stark or Pres. Bush?"
Did I miss the joke? Was there something funny about what Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said on the floor of the House, claiming that President Bush sends our soldiers to Iraq to get their heads blown off for his amusement? Craig Crawford can apparently see some humor in it.
Crawford appeared on today's "Morning Joe," and while the MSNBC political analyst certainly didn't approve Stark's statement, he did try to soft-pedal it, smilingly portraying it as just one more outburst from a congressional scamp.
On Thursday's "Countdown," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that President Bush "hates" kids because of the President's veto of the SCHIP funding bill, as the "Countdown" host teased the show: "Why does President Bush hate American kids?" Olbermann also suggested that it was "refreshing" to see Democratic Congressman Pete Stark refuse to apologize for accusing President Bush of gaining "amusement" at U.S. troops having "their heads blown off" as he asked of guest Jonathan Alter: "Did you not, in that, obviously he went to extremes there, but was there not something refreshing about his at least refusal to back down when somebody came after him?" (Transcript follows)
Olbermann teased Thursday's show while showing the words "Unhealthy GOP Vote" on-screen:
Hillary Clinton doesn't just want to give us all free healthcare and fix things in Iraq. No, she's set her sights much, much higher -- nothing short of "repairing the world." At least, so says her avid supporter, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).
In the wake of Hillary's "National Women's Finance Council Summit," a campaign event in which she explicitly appealed to women to vote for her because of her sex [raising $1.5 million along the way], Lowey was a guest on this evening's "Tucker." Host Carlson was prodding the congresswoman to explain just what it is about a woman president that would be different from a man.
On Wednesday, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin picked up and expanded on the story of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough lauding Al Gore, first reported in NewsBusters. Levin described "Morning Schmo," what he calls "Morning Joe," as "a program I rarely watch" and railed against Scarborough's declaration that "Al Gore wins" on global warming. The host also cited "our friends at the Media Research Center and NewsBusters" for bringing the comments of the "MSLSD" host to light.
Levin derided Scarborough's assertion that Gore has been proved right. He exclaimed, "We have zero control over [weather cycles] and in about 15 or 20 years, the cycle will slowly be pushing in the other direction and Al Gore and all the other freaks will be very, very embarrassed..." A transcript of the segment can be found below. Audio can be found on Levin's website (about 15 minutes into the October 17 program.):
A voguish Dem theme is that America's reputation in the world has been eroded and that the next Dem president will restore it. Hillary Clinton has gone so far as to propose appointing Bill as a "roving" [I'll say] ambassador for such purposes. We can safely ignore such fluff as so much presidential-season silliness. A great nation's reputation is forged not by its goodwill ambassadors, but by its actions.
But while the bad-mouthing of America might be written off as so much election-year posturing, there is in fact an important, ironic lesson to be drawn, and it was on display during today's "Morning Joe." For her "must-read" of the morning, Mika Brzezinski chose a USA Today column by Alan M. Webber, "From afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power", and paraphrased this paragraph from it:
On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough declared, "Al Gore wins." Referencing a story in the New York Times on how global warming is dividing the 2008 GOP field, the former Republican congressman predicted that by the next election, all candidates would adopt Gore's agenda. He conceded, "Yeah. We called him an idiot in 1992, we Republicans, and about 16 years later, we agree with him."
Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski, the daughter of Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was only too happy to pile on. In addition to calling Republicans "slow" for dismissing global warming, she claimed it "takes you guys a while" to come around. Scarborough could only reply, "You know what thegood thing about being a Republican is? Never having to say you're sorry."
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on an NBC-owned station, the network is getting ready to bombard citizens with a weeklong manmade global warming propaganda blitzkrieg that's destined to make Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his Norwegian sycophants smile like a polar bear that's just bagged a juicy seal.
It appears the good folks at NBC didn't feel they lost enough money -- and good will! -- pushing this absurd issue down citizens' throats during July's failed "Live Earth" concerts.
Be that as it may, this campaign, cleverly called "Green is Universal" - I guess they couldn't think of anything better that rhymes with "Reading is Fundamental!" - is "part of the company's ‘Get On Board' effort to improve the environment by reducing greenhouse gases, raising awareness about green issues and accelerating change in the media and entertainment industry."
Hmmm. Take out that nonsense about GHGs and green issues, and that sounds like NewsBusters' goal!
As reported by Multichannel News (emphasis added to enhance comedic value):
The MSM's McCain mania of 2000, the hysteria of the Straight Talk Express, might be history. But some of the liberal media's infatuation with John McCain clearly lives on. It was on display during today's "Hardball" in Chris Matthews's friendly, respectful interview of McCain. The most telling point came as Matthews suggested that compromising his principles exacts a psychic cost from McCain, whereas Mitt Romney does so without problem. Matthews began by teeing up a very comfortable question for the Senator from Arizona.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: On the questions of who's the real Republican, now the issue has come up here with Romney saying he's from the Republican wing of the Republican party. He stole the phrase obviously from Howard Dean, when he was "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party." Is that a fair claim?
This could be a first: someone accusing Paul Krugman of being insufficiently insulting to conservatives.
That someone is, unsurprisingly, David Shuster, the rabidly anti-conservative MSNBC "correspondent." Shuster is appearing on [was exiled to?] today's "Morning Joe." When it came time to share his "must-read" of the morning, Shuster eschewed Krugman's column, "Gore Derangement Syndrome," observing that "Gore is a little bit passé at this point."
Give Shuster credit for sensing that Americans have had enough of Al, thank you very much. But that didn't stop Mika Brzezinski from citing that same Krugman column as her must-read. Figures. And when she did, Shuster pouted that Krugman hadn't used the pejorative.
Appearing on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," media critic Howard Kurtz and co-host Chris Cuomo marveled at the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has a new book on the subject, claimed that the top three network anchors kept "framing the story in such a way" that the bad news finally had an impact. While Cuomo and Kurtz discussed the declining ratings of the network newscasts, somehow, media bias never came up as a reason. Over on FNC's "O'Reilly Factor," however, anchor Bill O'Reilly did broach the subject with Kurtz. Asked to name a conservative at either CBS or NBC, the media critic came up with the name of that well known right-winger, Brian Williams.
Who would be the best candidate to help conservative Republican primary voters pick their nominee? That answer is, of course, obvious: Chris Matthews. The liberal anchor presided over a Republican debate this week and asked such insightful questions as whether the U.S. would "have gone to war in Iraq if we weren't so dependent on Middle East oil?" Chris, why not just chant, "No blood for oil"?
Sure, we know when we're being used. The folks at "Morning Joe" are well aware that if baring some liberal leg is likely to cause us to cover them, mentioning NewsBusters by name virtually guarantees that an item will follow here in short order. But if the MSNBC show wants to play the homely-if-roundheeled high school girl striving for attention, NB is happy, as the popular QB of liberal-media busting, to oblige.
And so it was that on this morning's episode, newsreader Mika Brzezinski, much like the girl at the beach who "accidentally" lets the bikini strap slip, made a transparently intentional "mistake," confusing Dick Cheney with Darth Vader. That in turn prompted host Joe Scarborough, in mock horror at Mika's exposure of too much liberal skin, to call for NewsBusters. The incident occurred during Mika's 6:11 A.M. EDT newsreading of an otherwise innocuous item.
Appearing on Thursday night's "Hardball," liberal actor Ben Affleck joined host Chris Matthews in hashing over what Matthews called Jimmy Carter's "fearless" criticism of Dick Cheney, GOP "jingoists" and "crazy" right-to-carry laws.
Interestingly enough, next to Matthews, Affleck seemed more moderate, at least in his responses to the "Hardball" host's liberal baiting, as the actor deemed Carter's attack on Cheney was "almost inappropriate," and admitted, "I'm probably less of a gun control guy than Rudy Giuliani is." However Affleck did agree with Matthews that Mike Huckabee's "crazy" support of right-to-carry laws wouldn't stop increased violence in the cities.
In a free-swinging democracy such as ours, rare are the restraints on political speech by our elected representatives. One exception are rules of decorum, such as those governing the House of Representatives that prohibit members from speaking in negative personal terms about their colleagues and other officials.
There is a similar, unwritten rule by which former presidents do not criticize their successors. And while the occasional lapse has occurred over the history of the republic, no president has so thoroughly trashed the tradition as Jimmy Carter, who has made stinging criticism of the Bush administration a virtual art form. Earlier this year, for example, Carter publicly labelled the Bush administration "the worst in history."
Ann Coulter did her best to drop a bomb on the October 10 episode of "Tucker" on MSNBC. At the conclusion of her interview, Ann Coulter announced (video) that the National Enquirer was just reporting that John Edwards had an 18-month affair while on the campaign trail. You can read the story here.
Before going any further, this allegation must be met with a healthy degree of skepticism. First of all, the story is originating from the National Enquirer, which in and of itself, raises questions as to the story's reliability. Secondly, Coulter had a notorious run-in earlier this year with Elizabeth Edwards on an MSNBC episode of "Harball." Coulter would have every motivation to repeat a salacious tabloid sex allegation about John Edwards.
With that said, though, you would think that the mere allegation would be worthy of a media frenzy based upon its recent behavior. The media have extensively covered the "bathroom sex" case of Senator Larry Craig. Before that, the media happily reported when Sentator David Vitter's phone number showed up in the records of the "DC Madam." Even before that, the Mark Foley story lingered for a month during a crucial point in the 2006 campaign.
“[W]ell, we’re coming to you from the Ford Performing Arts Center,” co-moderator Maria Bartiromo said during the October 9 CNBC “Closing Bell.” “And there’s a lot of buzz and excitement around. We're just about an hour away from the debate and of course, this is the first national presidential debate focused only on economic issues. We'll be talking taxes, trade, housing, broad economy, foreign relations, protectionism.”
But it didn’t end up that way. While there were four questioners, co-moderator Chris Matthews was the most obvious in asking questions that had little to do with the economy. Out of his 49 questions, 28 were largely non-economic.