Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
On the Thursday edition of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough slammed media outlets, such as AP and The Hill for misrepresenting what Ann Coulter said in her now famous on-air debate with Elizabeth Edwards. He also attempted to set the record straight by playing an extended clip of her appearance on the June 25 "Good Morning America," which started the whole controversy.
But first, Scarborough and contributor Willie Geist derided the misrepresentations of Coulter’s statements from various media outlets:
Joe Scarborough: "I want you to read, Willie, from The Hill, really quickly. Just read this line from The Hill. This is what The Hill and the Associated Press and what other wires are saying about what Ann Coulter said on GMA. Read it, Willie."
Willie Geist: "This week Coulter proclaimed, quote, ‘If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot,’ end quote."
As the media continue to pile on Ann Coulter in the wake of her being ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” a disturbing yet predictable double standard is emerging.
On the one hand, Coulter is being pounded for using “hate words,” so much so that Matthews advocated Wednesday that people not buy her books.
Yet, Edwards and her Democrat presidential candidate husband John appear to be getting a pass regarding the hiring of two anti-Christian bigots back in February as official bloggers for his campaign.
In fact, Mrs. Edwards was interviewed this morning by ABC, CBS, and NBC to get another chance to speak about Coulter's "hate words." Yet, not one host asked her any questions concerning these bloggers.
With that in mind, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement Thursday:
On Wednesday evening, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and the NBC Nightly News both covered the Elizabeth Edwards/Ann Coulter controversy, noting that the Edwards campaign has eagerly used their run-ins with Coulter to raise campaign money. ABC's Jake Tapper uniquely noted this week's fundraising deadline for the presidential race, while relaying the Edwards campaign's success at raising "Coulter cash." Tapper: "Just as Coulter has a book to promote this week, Edwards has a fund-raising deadline. Enemies can have their uses."
NBC's David Gregory noted the Edwards campaign's immediate use of yesterday's flap to solicit campaign money, but the network also failed to put one of Coulter's controversial quotes in proper context, thus making it appear worse than it actually sounded in full. On Monday's Good Morning America, while answering a question about her joke from last March about John Edwards being a "faggot," Coulter suggested there was a double standard between the outrage over her remark and the greater tolerance by the media and liberals of a question by Bill Maher about whether the world would be a better place if Vice President Cheney had been assassinated. (Transcripts follow)
Chris Matthews followed-up his, now infamous, staging of the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards throwdown by inviting on John Edwards to join his wife in the pile-on of the conservative columnist. On tonight's Hardball, Edwards condemned Coulter's "hate-mongering" but Matthews never brought up the fact that Edwards' own staffers spewed some pretty hatefulthings, or that Matthews on the very same show compared conservative students to violent inbred hicks. While Matthews did mention Edwards campaign has used Coulter to raise money, most of the interview was full of softballs.
On this afternoon's "Tucker Carlson" on MSNBC, the eponymous host mentioned that Barack Obama had travelled to NYC to seek the support of Charles Barron of Brooklyn. Carlson knows Barron well, the NYC Councilman being a frequent guest on Tucker's show. Carlson described Barron as a "pretty straightforward racist, pretty straightforward black nationalist, anti-white character, exactly the kind of person you would not expect Obama to be courting." He then asked guest Jonathan Alter: "What is Obama doing?
SENIOR NEWSWEEK EDITOR JONATHAN ALTER: "Well, I think Obama wants the support of everybody, and I think the question is whether he can have a tent that's actually as big as the United States . . . The whole point of his campaign Tucker is to say "don't judge me by any one of my supporters, I'm trying to get a super-big tent here" . . . I think it would be unfair to hold any of his supporter's politics, you know, hold him accountable for what Charles Barron thinks.
Tucker wasn't buying, and drew the logical analogy.
MSNBC HOST TUCKER CARLSON: If Rudy Giuliani went down and asked David Duke for his support, would you say, "you know, it's unfair to hold Rudy Giuliani accountable for what David Duke said?" No, of course not! You'd write a cover story attacking him. That's a ludicrous point.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
“Elizabeth Edwards should look close to home when it comes to ‘hatefulness and ugliness’ for it was her husband’s Democratic presidential campaign that hired two official bloggers who attacked ‘Christofascists’ and insulted Christians and their faith in the most repulsive words imaginable, which I won’t repeat here. Go Google Amanda Marcotte and Holy Spirit.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo portrayed the previous day’s on-air debate between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter as a one sided lecture from the ‘08 contender’s wife. The ABC program edited out or didn’t play either of Coulter’s best verbal barbs.
The conservative author’s zinger, that John Edwards’ use of her name to raise money is better"than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor," was bluntly cut out. And although GMA found time to play Mrs. Edwards’ denunciation of the conservative commentator as hateful, the program skipped over a retort by Coulter that described Mr. Edwards’ law practice as "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
In a related note, MSNBC’s "First Read" page now admits that the ambush by a 2008 candidate’s wife was a preplanned event between the network and the John Edwards campaign:
By now, most people in America have viewed the scene from Tuesday’s “Hardball” when Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, called in to dress down Chris Matthews’ guest, conservative writer Ann Coulter.
After seeing the coverage of this matter Wednesday morning, a revelation made at MSNBC’s “Hardblogger” emits a bit of a rodent aroma leading one to believe that this entire incident was set up not just to embarrass Coulter, but possibly to advance the current Democrat push to squash conservative talk radio (emphasis added):
Update (Ken Shepherd | 09:16 EDT): Matthews appeared with Joe Scarborough a few minutes ago on MSNBC to discuss the matter. Expect more coverage in a followup post on NewsBusters shortly.
Chris Matthews should keep his evening job. Appearing on this morning's "Today," the Hardball host was manifestly bleary and off his game.
Matthews was in, at 7:12 am EDT, to discuss with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira the dust-up on last night's "Hardball," reported here by NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens, between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards. Matthews couldn't keep his names straight. He first referred to Coulter as "Ann Edwards," then recycled the "Ann Edwards" moniker in referring to Elizabeth Edwards.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well that was a pretty tough [translation: pro-Coulter] crowd, and if you think Ann Edwards is over the top, she had a lot of people behind her last night who agreed with her.
And later . . .
MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, you're dealing with a real-life situation with Ann Edwards' medical challenges, which we all know about, and the fact that they did lose their son Wade, and you don't make jokes about that.
On tonight's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews blind-sided his guest, conservative columnist Ann Coulter, with a live call from Elizabeth Edwards. The wife of presidential candidate John Edwards proceeded to demand Coulter stop her "personal attacks" on her husband, but Coulter shot back that at least she wasn't "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
The following is the full transcript of the exchange as it occurred on the June 26th edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "You know who's on the line? Somebody to respond to what you said about Edwards, yesterday morning, Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today, we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards go on the line, you're on the line with Ann Coulter."
Bill Dedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for MSNBC, recently filed a report on the MSNBC website that won’t win him any Pulitzers. He investigated political donations made by journalists, and found a resounding liberal tilt: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes, and only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
Does this prove cause and effect, a subsequent tilt in the liberal media’s coverage of the news? No, but to believe there is no causation at play here is ludicrous: if a survey of journalists found that 86 percent were donors to the National Right to Life Committee, would anyone dispute labeling the media "pro-life"?
The talk radio lines were ablaze with commentary. Predictably the news media reacted with near silence. Fox News, of course, was on it. MSNBC television lightly covered the result on TV – but refused to discuss the media bias angle. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post filed a good story, as did a few other "mainstream" newspapers, but that was it.
Mika Brzezinski is at it again. As noted here and here, the daughter of Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor is inclined to inject her personal political views into her MSNBC newsreading role.
At 6:10 am EDT on today's "Morning Joe," Mika read an item reporting that Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) had called for a change of course in Iraq and expressed support for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker and Lugar's fellow Hoosier, Lee Hamilton.
Mika couldn't restrain herself, archly asking:
MSNBC NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Whatever happened to the Iraq Study Group, because I believe President Bush asked for those pieces of advice, correct?
Host Joe Scarborough immediately called Mika on her editorializing.
MSNBC HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, Mika, if you write for the front page of the New York Times, they don't let you go into the editorial room.
The MSNBC report about 144 journalists donating to leftwing causes 9 to 1 over conservative causes has resulted in news staffers being let go, including a reporter and a cartoonist.
KTPM Omaha fired reporter Calvert Collins, who had posted her photo with a congressional candidate on her Facebook page with the caption, "Vote for him Tuesday, November 7!"
"In a way, I'm glad this happened to me at age 23, and not 33," Collins said, "and I will learn from it."
Being fired is probably not the lesson she expected to learn.
Freelance editorial cartoonist Paul Fell will no longer be drawing cartoons for the Lincoln, Nebraska "Journal Star" due in large part to snide comments he made when it was disclosed that he had donated $450 to Maxine Moul, a Democrat candidate for Congress. Editor Kathleen Rutledge wrote,
I’m not sure what derangement syndrome Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is suffering from, but on Friday’s “Hardball,” he actually blamed the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center on President Reagan’s rollback of CAFE standards in 1986.
I kid you not.
To set this up, Kennedy and conservative talk show host Melanie Morgan were invited on to discuss profits that are currently being made surrounding “solutions” to anthropogenic global warming.
That precipitated the following set of almost unbelievable inanities from Kennedy (video available here, relevant section begins at 2:10):
The discussion ended up being a classic battle between a capitalist who believes that free market forces are determining programming on the radio dial and a leftist who feels ownership is to blame for the scarcity of liberal talk shows.
In fact, Schultz actually was rather hypocritical in his position as demonstrated by the following (video available here):
When it was announced Tuesday that China surpassed the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, NewsBusters asked, “Will Media Notice?”
In reality, the answer is a mixed windbag, with most press outlets totally ignoring the revelation, and a few actually blaming the problem on – wait for it! – the United States. I kid you not.
However, before we address that stupidity, it first must be relayed that not one of the television news outlets bothered reporting the Chinese CO2 data at all. It appears that television news divisions only feel CO2 is a problem if it’s emitted by American corporations or citizens.
As for the print media, the few that did cover this story either gave it very little attention, or made some fairly predictable excuses for why it’s okay as the planet nears its seemingly inevitable doom at the hands of greenhouse gases for China to be the leading “polluter.”
For instance, the New York Times devoted a total of 83 words to this story in its “World Briefing Asia” section Thursday on page A12 (no link available):
Chris Matthews actually came out for a pardon for Lewis "Scooter" Libby, but he had a catch, "Send him to Iraq." On tonight’s Hardball the MSNBC host, during a discussion about whether Bush should pardon Libby, threw out the following wacky proposal on the June 21 edition of his show:
Chris Matthews proposed to former Cheney aide Ron Christie and former Assistant Attorney General Robert Raben: "I got an idea, I got a solution. Pardon him but send him to Iraq in uniform and put him on the front. Send him to the front. He supported the war, send him to fight it! Hey look a lot of guys have to go fight that war, didn't do anything wrong....In the old days the judges would take a working class kid who got into a scrape with the law and say, 'Junior want to go jail or do you want to go join the Army?' They should say the same thing to Scooter Libby. 'Want to join the Army?'"
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.
The left-leaning American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which organized the soapbox, was quick to cheer for the most mundane of liberal catch phrases while descending into boos and hisses at the very mention of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Pam Meister picked up on the MSNBC investigation into journalists' political contributions. Nearly 87 percent of the journalists gave exclusively to Democratic candidates.
Now some journos are reacting, and it seems the ones at Time magazine don't see the big deal.
I haven't myself made any political donations since I've been with
Time, as far as I remember, owing mostly to being a cheap bastard.
(Time's policy allows political donations, although according to
MSNBC's list, only one staffer has taken advantage of that, so I'm
guessing most of my co-workers are as tightfisted as I am.) Scratch
that: I did attend a fundraiser for John Kerry in 2004, which I believe
Mrs. Tuned In paid for, that consisted of a $20-a-ticket concert in a
friend's backyard by children's folk-rock musician Dan Zanes. There is
probably no more yuppie-Brooklyn phenomenon than a Toddlers Against
Chris Matthews couldn’t contain his giddiness, first noted here, when he praised Michael Moore’s Sicko movie on tonight’s Hardball. After he sent his correspondent, MSNBC’s David Shuster, to chase down Moore on Capitol Hill and get an exclusive rant from Moore against the "rackets" that are American health care companies Matthews yelped: "You know I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case and health care in this country is not working."
The following is the full segment including Shuster’s interview with Moore as it occurred on the June 20th edition of Hardball.
As we all know, Andrea Mitchell having told us so, Chris Matthews is no liberal. However the Hardball host did emphatically state on this afternoon's show that, at least when it comes to health care, he agrees with Michael Moore.
Matthews had just aired an impromptu interview that MSNBC's David Shuster had snared with Moore when the filmmaker appeared on Capitol Hill today on the occasion of this week's release of his latest work, "Sicko," regarding health care in the United States. In both Shuster's depiction of Moore's views, and in Moore's own statements in the course of the interview, Moore made clear that he wants to eliminate private-sector participation in health care insurance.
As Shuster put it: "in this movie, Moore calls for the end, the end, of for-profit healthcare."
In the aired interview, Moore described private-sector insurers as a "racket" and said "I want private insurance companies out of the equation."
So how did Matthews react to Moore's call for the killing of private-sector health care?
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case. Healthcare in this country is not working.
As Newsbusters previously documented, NBC is giving 75 hours of air time to Al Gore and his global warming alarmism with his "Live Earth" concert. On June 20 MSNBC, NBC’s cable channel, ran featured Janet Larson from the Earth Policy Institute, a global warming alarmist, to paint a scary picture for the future.
Host Contessa Brewer started with her editorial comment "it was downright scary," and as Larson continued her frightening predictions, Brewer asked softball questions like "are [government officials] likely to listen to this study?" and "is there anything we can do to help change this?" Brewer never mentioned the cost of combating a scenario that may not materialize. The entire transcript is below.
Coming back from a commercial break that included a plug for "the best reporting, the power of NBC News" on "Super Tuesdays," MSNBC's Chris Matthews was caught uttering an expletive, complaining about the content of the network's programming.
The "Hardball" host complained that "we're all reacting here and putting on shit" with the network's breaking news coverage pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP to become an independent.
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
UPDATE 6-20; Joe cites NewsBusters: At 6:07 am EDT on June 20, Joe Scarborough cited NewsBusters as the blog that had criticized Mika Brzezinski as a snob for her comments about Rosie. He added that yesterday the blog had called Mika on her "half-a--ed" apology.
View video here of Joe discussing NB's criticism of Mika.
Yesterday, in Mika's Snobby Sneer, we reported on the elitist swipe that Mika Brzezinski took at Rosie O'Donnell. The MSNBC newsreader had poo-poohed the idea of the erstwhile "View" co-host taking over "The Price is Right" from the retiring Bob Barker. Said Brzezinski: "The problem is she's going to look like the people who run down the aisle all excited."
We had also observed that a running theme of the banter between Mika and "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough is the latter's teasing of the former over her privileged upbringing as the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor.
So how did Joe open this morning's show at 6 am EDT?
MSNBC HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: You know, you hang out with the elites, day in and . . . Your mother raised you right yet you go around making fun. I looked at the blogs yesterday, I read the blogs all the time.
MSNBC'S MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I can't.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, you should. They kind of went after you yesterday.
A staple of "Morning Joe" banter is the eponymous Joe Scarborough's teasing of newsreader-cum-co-host Mika Brzezinski over her fancy upbringing as the daughter of former Carter NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski. Defending herself against the elitist charge on the MSNBC show this morning, Mika twice referred to herself as having grown up among "Polish hillbillies."
But when it came to commenting on popular culture, Brzezinski condescended to both Rosie O'Donnell and average Americans in a way worthy of the high-browest [neologism] of snobs.
At 6:57 am EDT, Scarborough made reference to retiring game show host Bob Barker's recommendation for his replacement.
MSNBC HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: Bob Barker [said] Rosie O'Donnell would be a great replacement for him on "The Price is Right."
MSNBC'S MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The problem is she's going to look like the people who run down the aisle all excited.
Chris Matthews grew "verklempt," he said, on Wednesday night’s Hardball, as he pondered how a class reunion made plain for him that some people watch him every night, and trust him like people trusted Walter Cronkite. From there, Matthews and his guests took up the subject of objectivity in journalism:
Ana Marie Cox, Time.com: "I also want to say that this idea about voice being very important to the current viewer and, and Eugene’s right that it’s true, that this idea that we should be aiming for objective truth in, in journalism is a relatively new thing for us."
Chris Matthews: "I agree."
Cox: "And I think what’s important is that people trust, they could trust an unbiased [sic], they could trust a biased source."
Matthews: "Okay, this country was built on biased reporting."