At one point during her new MSNBC show today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman proclaimed:
"the White House, their health care agenda continues to be our agenda."
Snyderman would probably say she meant it only in terms of the subject matter the show will cover, not its point of view. But she was, if unintentionally, revealing a larger truth. Just in time for the Obama admin's push on health care, MSNBC has rolled out a show that loyally pushes the Obama plan, right down to the call for nationalization via the so-called "public option."
“Bruno,” a controversial movie about a gay Austrian fashionista is set to debut in the United States on July 10, but the film has already garnered an abundance of media attention due to its over-the-top portrayal of homosexuals. On June 29, MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting” featured a segment the was nothing short of a promotion for the film.
“Bruno” stars Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his controversial 2006 film “Borat,” as well as for his recent MTV Movie Award stunt in which he in character as Bruno, dropped into the theater on a harness and exposed his bare back side to rapper Eminem.
MSNBC's Carlos Watson on Monday provided a friendly forum for New York Times opinion writer Charles Blow to link red states and social conservatism with the hypocrisy of sex scandal-ridden politicians like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. In his June 26 column, Blow attacked right-leaning voters, "And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate."
Talking with Blow on MSNBC Live, Watson cited a questionable study finding the highest rates of online pornography correlate with Republican states. The cable host highlighted this connection and Census data finding that eight of the ten states with the highest divorce voted GOP in 2008. He asked the columnist to explain how one could be pro-family values in light of "seeing these other statistics." Blow attacked, "Well, I mean, I think you have to put Republicans to the side for a minute. It is social conservatism. And that is highly correlated to religiosity. The more religious people are, the more socially conservative they are, particularly on these sexual issues."
As Dan Rather sees it and decrees it, Sonia Sotomayor will make a fine Supreme Court justice. So the former CBS Evening News anchor told MSNBC's Carlos Watson this morning. The pair were discussing the impact of the high court's reversal today of Sotomayor's pro-affirmative action ruling in the New Haven firefighters case.
In Rather's opinion, while Sotomayor would have preferred the Supreme Court to rule the other way, her confirmation will nonetheless sail through, and once she ascends to the bench, she will be "a very good" Supreme Court justice.
On Morning Joe today, Carlos Watson "joked" that fear of Pres. Obama drove Rush Limbaugh to take pills. Watson is not some night-time MSNBC pundit paid to proffer controversial opinions. MSNBC has given Watson the daily 11 AM slot. The network describes him as the host of a "news recap" show.
Watson was riffing off a discussion of Rush's suggestion that Sanford's inability to prevent federal stimulus funds from coming into South Carolina, and his concerns about the federal government taking over, had pushed him to decide that he simply wanted to enjoy life.
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann crossed a line that political commentators and other partisan public figures normally do not traverse as they criticize political figures with whom they disagree -- he engaged in name-calling against the average voters who elected his political targets. During the show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, Olbermann referred to voters as "idiots" and "buffoons" who voted into office two Republican legislators – Congressman Randy Neugebauer of Texas and State Representative Cynthia Davis of Missouri, whom he also called an "inhuman monster" for expressing her views in opposition to government welfare.
Because Neugebauer -- who is co-sponsoring a bill requiring future Presidents to present a birth certificate to prove legal U.S. citizenship -- answered with uncertainty when he was asked whether he believes President Obama is a U.S. citizen, Olbermann recounted the Congressman's response and snapped: "The people who elected you are obviously idiots. That does not mean everybody else is."
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?
On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, as host Keith Olbermann and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel discussed the apparent murder of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian government forces as part of the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, and the possibility that she will become the visual symbol for her country’s pro-democracy movement because her death was recorded, Engel brought up the infamous Mohammed al-Dura video clip from September 2000 and claimed that the Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli troops – as if this story were not in dispute – even though many who have examined the case closely over the years believe not only that the boy was not hit by Israeli bullets, but that the video purporting to document his shooting and death was likely a hoax.
The exchange from Monday's Countdown show, in which both Engel and Olbermann assumed the al-Dura story to be undisputed:
KEITH OLBERMANN: To the point of Neda Soltan, I don’t know that there’s ever been a revolution, or even a near revolution, that did not have an identifiable face, a martyr, you think of everything from Tiananmen Square to Lexington and Concord-
RICHARD ENGEL: I was thinking more, remember Mohammed al-Dura, the boy who was shot in Gaza-
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes.
ENGEL: -in his father’s arms-
ENGEL: -and who became a symbol of injustice? I think this is a similar moment.
This must be what it's like to listen to pundits in a country with state-run media.
Former president George W. Bush offers what barely passes as criticism of his successor and Obama's media apologists rush to his defense, as if to stanch a wound.
Here's Rachel Maddow and Dallas Morning News political reporter Wayne Slater on Maddow's MSNBC show June 18. In the first portion transcribed below, Maddow teases her discussion with Slater coming later in the show --
In the wake of the revelations about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, considered a potential 2012 GOP presidential contender, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart declared on MSNBC: “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 that they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party.” Capehart proceeded to pass along “a little joke” from Post colleague Charles Lane who “said at the rate Republicans are going, the only marriages that will be worth anything are the gay folks getting married in Vermont.”
At about 3:13 PM EDT, anchor Tamron Hall prompted Capehart's comments as she raised the name of the liberal younger McCain in forwarding the view the party must move left: “We've seen a lot of young Republicans, Meghan McCain and some others who've come out and said listen, this party has to modernize. They can no longer turn their backs on gays and tout family values as the way in.”
Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]
At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe. On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:
I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.
Chris Matthews showed up on the Morning Joe set on Monday morning, and he quickly established a pro-Obama hard line. On Iran, he claimed "We are not the good guys. We did not liberate Iran. They liberated themselves from our people." Life under the ayatollahs is "liberation"?
Matthews also insisted that a new New York Times poll showed the American people are instinctively socialistic on health care: "So there is a socialistic sense to it, like Social Security in a positive sense. Nobody wants anybody at the door at the hospital to be kept out when they are sick or dying. There is a social responsibility here that seems to fit like running museums, running zoos. There are certain things we expect government to do."
On Iran, Matthews was pleased that John McCain and Barack Obama were debating how explicitly the U.S. government should sympathize with the pro-democracy protesters, but he clearly came down for Obama and against rotten American policy going back to the arrival of the Shah of Iran in 1953:
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.
Does my headline bury the lede? On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."
But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes. Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.
"Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough was due to appear on MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz's "The Ed Show" on Tuesday, in apparent reciprocity after Schultz was on "Morning Joe" that day.
But Scarborough canceled his appearance, Schultz told a caller to his radio show Tuesday, with Schultz saying he wasn't sure why.
Here's how Schultz described it after initially speaking with the caller about Liz Cheney (click here for audio) --
(Update: Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer describes how "the backstabbing has officially backfired" for Scarborough as his badmouthing of conservatives has apparently translated into sluggish sales for new book)
MSNBC's Chris Matthews appeared on Montel Williams' Air America radio show on Wednesday to slam John McCain: "I think McCain put his finger on the idiot button." The Hardball host fumed about McCain's criticism of how Barack Obama has handled the response to Iran's disputed election. He also unflatteringly compared the Senator to Sarah Palin.
After getting a laugh from the Montel Across America host, Matthews reiterated, "I'm telling you, the idiot button." He complained, "That's my new term for when you start putting your finger on the button that's got Sarah Palin's fingerprints on it." Matthews broke off his attack and then explained that McCain is a "very smart, patriotic American."
Walsh's grave transgression: calling the senator, "ma'am." For that, the "Hardball" host treated Walsh as part of the day's "political sideshow," literally, in his June 18 program:
Sen. BARBARA BOXER: Do me a favor. Could you say, "Senator," instead of "Ma'am"? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. So I'd appreciate it. Yes, thank you.
Brig. Gen. WALSH: Yes, Senator.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She sure did, she's been elected three times, by the way. So I guess the question is this: Had he said "sir" to a male senator, would that senator be correct in correcting the general? There is a history, however, and let us not forget, of male-female condescension in the U.S. Senate. Just recall the Anita Hill testimony of not too long ago.
For once I was close to agreeing with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. Then she had to ruin it by reverting to herself.
Maddow was in self-righteous dudgeon on June 9 about news that the Pacific island nation of Palau agreed to accept Uighur detainees from Guantanamo -- for a whopping $200 million --
MADDOW: Well now, today's news, a potential solution. We may be looking at another round of "Survivor: Palau". This time, though, it's the Uighur edition. No decisions have been made yet apparently, but there are talks underway to have Palau accept our 17 woebegotten, innocent Uighur prisoners in exchange for a ton of money. The AP is reporting that the negotiations for Palau to take these 17 guys may involve a promise of as much as $200 million of development aid and budget support and other inducements to sweeten the deal. That would be roughly $10,000 per citizen of Palau. Or looked at it another way, that would be a payment to Palau of $11,764,705 per Uighur.
Introducing Howard Dean, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews indirectly compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ as he introduced the former head of the DNC and 2004 presidential candidate as "the man who really laid out the path for Barack Obama. He was the St. John the Baptist...leading for that fellow." In the Christian faith St. John the Baptist is considered to be the precursor to Jesus Christ, so in Matthews' metaphor of Democratic presidential politics that would have to make Obama, Jesus. [audio available here]
For his part Dean, justifiably, appeared uncomfortable with the comparison, as he appreciated Matthews' promise to "not make any further reference there to the Deity." After that awkward introduction Matthews, in the ensuing segment, went on to call Republicans like John McCain, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney "imbeciles" for their various criticisms of Obama, as he continued his "idiot button" routine that he began on Tuesday's show.
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 edition of "Hardball":
Journalists, take note: Dylan Ratigan should be your model.
Despite working for MSNBC, Ratigan has shown a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners interview style that is quickly gaining him the reputation for being the toughest interview on television. It isn’t often that an MSNBC host can claim to be tough on both sides of the political aisle, but the former CNBC correspondent could probably do it with a straight face and a clear conscience.
This morning, for example, Ratigan was brought in as a hired gun of sorts, to speak with Obama’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Dr. Christina Romer. Typically, in interviews with White House economic wonks, TV personalities can easily be blown away by the technical rhetoric of economists. Typically, these wonks sound very much like they know what they’re talking about, even when they are in fact dodging the question. This was not a typical interview in either regard.
For example, to kick things off, Ratigan asks a rather technical question:
I don't just put my foot in my mouth on television -- I do it at dinner parties, too -- but at least, in that case, it doesn't show up on YouTube. Appearing on Hardball With Chris Matthews on June 5, I compared President Obama with God.
Or at least that's how it seemed to some bloggers and talk-show hosts, who made me a poster child for the argument that the liberal press is hopelessly in love with Obama.
According to MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, the traditionally left-of-center co-host and daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mika Brzezinski has had an awakening about the political leanings of the mainstream media.
"I'm begging Mika to write a book," Scarborough said. "Seriously - about what she's seen because she's seen it through my eyes for the past two years now. I'm definitely serous here. It's been stunning to Mika who's been in the media for 20 years. She will tell you how biased it is."
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann slammed Jonah Goldberg of the National Review during the show’s "Worst Person in the World" segment because Goldberg complained about the treatment of neoconservatives by liberals, as the National Review Online editor recently charged that "mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives – usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel – as an alien, pernicious cabal."
Olbermann, who has a history of blaming conservatives like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly for violent acts by extremists, accused the "far right" of "enabling" recent murders, and then claimed not to have ever heard the term "neocons" associated with a particular "religious or ethnic group." He went on to suggest that the word "neocon" may really be code for "belligerence, pig headedness, stupidity, wasteful, indifference to human life," and "paranoid."
David Letterman "jokes" about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter having sex with A-Rod during a baseball game. For good measure he suggests the daughter would be of interest to Eliot Spitzer, infamous for soliciting a prostitute.
If Ed Schultz condemned Letterman, I missed it.
But let Sarah Palin's acceptance of Letterman's belated apology include thanks to the US military for making freedom of speech possible for all Americans, and Schultz condems Palin as "nothing but political slime."
Yes, that's precisely what the MSNBC host called Palin on his show tonight . . .
An outraged Chris Matthews scolded John McCain, on Tuesday's "Hardball," for criticizing Obama's stance on Iran's elections as the MSNBC host exclaimed: "The difference between the President, who is being very calm and not jumping up and down, and those on the right who are hitting the idiot button right now. And the idiot button is the one often pushed by Sarah Palin,but this week by John McCain and others." Matthews -- who also mocked Sarah Palin for praising the troops in her acceptance of David Letterman's apology -- attacked conservatives in general for engaging in "idiot talk."
MATTHEWS: Okay yeah, let me try to get to your left, let me try to get to your left Lawrence because I feel like getting over there tonight. Snuggling over to your left Lawrence O'Donnell because I disagree with you. I think there's become, there's become this new idiot button on the right where you have to punch this button in order to be considered a real conservative now. "Obama is a socialist on health care. He's a socialist. All his fiscal programs are insanely socialistic." You have to punch that button. Then you gotta say this [Iran] election was "bogus." You gotta punch that button. If you don't talk in that, that right wing, idiot talk you're not considered a conservative any more. The idea of being a thoughtful person is wrong now, politically, on that side of the aisle. That's where I think it's going. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired during the June 16 edition of "Hardball":
If you've ever wondered why the mainstream media didn't show much curiosity about how 20 years of attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church shaped President Barack Obama, there is a perfectly logical explanation. Obama wasn't really there.
According to Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC contributor and former Newsweek columnist that covered the Obama presidential campaign for the weekly magazine, people don't have to worry about the rantings and ravings of Obama's controversial preacher having any impact on his world view because he wasn't there.