Are the Fox News Channel and MSNBC bad for America?
Such was implied on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz invited the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, "USA Today Live's" Lauren Ashburn, and the BBC's Matt Frei on his program to discuss the "increasingly partisan nature of cable news."
By the end of the conversation, Ashburn said "[T]he bottom line is this is not good for society," and Zurawik agreed: "That's absolutely right...The effect on society and on this democracy of this angry, polarizing, bitter kind of putdown conversation is dangerous."
Not surprisingly, Kurtz and his guests didn't include CNN amongst the partisans, with the host making sure to regularly inform his audience that "CNN, by and large, tries to play things down the middle, with liberal and conservative guests taking each other on."
Despite the obvious bashing of competitors while falsely holding his employer up as the model of impartial journalism on cable, the discussion was actually quite interesting (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section begins at 11:44 with commentary to follow):
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has said a lot of disgraceful things in his tenure as "Countdown" host, but on Thursday evening, he attacked former Vice President Dick Cheney in a fashion that should make all of America's enemies both here and abroad proud.
To give you an idea of the level of hatred and invective on display, this was the opening sentence of Olbermann's "Special Comment" concerning Cheney's speech to the American Enterprise Institute Thursday:
Neurotic, paranoid, false to fact and false to reason, forever self-rationalizing his inner rage at his own impotence, and failure dripping from every word, and as irrational, as separated from the real world, as dishonest, as insane as any terrorist; the former vice president has today humiliated himself beyond redemption.
But that was just the beginning, for moments later, Olbermann said Cheney was "culpable, morally, ethically" for 9/11: "At best, you are guilty of malfeasance and eternally lasting stupidity. At worst, sir, in the deaths of 9/11, you are negligent."
What follows is a video of this abomination along with a full transcript, some lowlights, and videos of Cheney's actual speech:
Clarity can come from unexpected places -- even that unlikeliest of sources, MSNBC.
Such has been the case with a pair of recent guests on "The Rachel Maddow Show" who made a series of surprising statements -- albeit only in the context of MSNBC.
Example one -- Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, appearing on Maddow's show May 12 and criticizing Dick Cheney's assertion that harsh interrogation of captured al Qaeda prevented terrorist attacks after 9/11 --
WILKERSON: You'll notice that Cheney always says, seven and a half years or almost eight years, no terrorist attack and so forth. That's because he has the honor of being, or the dishonor of being the man on whose watch 3,000 Americans died. More Americans died from a terrorist attack under Dick Cheney's leadership, if you will, than any other president in our history.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) is the parent company of the major media conglomerate NBC Universal, which owns media outlets NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. At times that has led to the lines between corporate advocacy and journalism being blurred.
That was certainly the case when GE's CEO Jeff Immelt appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" May 20 to discuss the White House meeting of President Barack Obama's 16-member Economic Recovery Advisory Board headed by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker.
Immelt used his platform at CNBC to make the case for a cap-and-trade program to curb emissions - something Obama has called for and one Congressional committee is debating this week.
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
Who did MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell feature to respond to Michael Steele's Tuesday speech about the future of the Republican Party? Chris Shays, the liberal, former Republican congressman with a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 44, appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to critique the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
After Shays insisted that Dick Cheney shouldn't be deciding who is and isn't a solid member of the GOP, Mitchell complimented, "Chris Shays, a good Republican." Responding to the Steele speech, Mitchell pontificated, "No mention of Dick Cheney. No mention of Rush Limbaugh. Is he [Steele] trying to move the party to a broader party, one that would include you? You were the last standing moderate from the northeast."
Chris Matthews, on the syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show" over the weekend, likened Dick Cheney's recent media appearances, to defend the Bush administration and to criticize Obama on national security policy, to Glenn Close's stalker character from the 1987 film "Fatal Attraction." Before playing a clip of the movie Matthews made the cinematic comparison: "Well some say Cheney's refusal to move on reminds them of Groundhog Day but you could also say it's like that more frighteningly relentless Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.' Like Cheney she was not gonna be ignored." After playing the clip in which the Close character utters the famous quote, "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan." Matthews then threw it to Newsweek's Howard Fineman:
MATTHEWS: Howard what do you think? Cheney? "Fatal Attraction?" What do make? Will not be ignored, this guy.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Ha, ha. Yeah, yeah I don't think he's going to boil the rabbit. Let's put it that way.
MATTHEWS: Or come out of that bathtub like that other scene in that movie! Everybody is gonna go see Fatal Attraction again.
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the May 17 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Instead of performing as an anchor, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell became a liberal sparring partner to the Cardinal Newman Society’s Patrick Reilly on the network’s Thursday afternoon programming over President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. Invoking her Catholic upbringing, she used the common left-wing tactic to equate the Church’s unequivocal teaching against abortion with its skepticism of the death penalty, and asked if former presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan shouldn’t have addressed prior commencements for their support of capital punishment. O’Donnell also inquired as to why Reilly was “advocating a Catholic Church that advocates division” [audio clips from the segment available here].
Before introducing Reilly, the MSNBC anchor began the segment, which started 20 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, by reading recent poll numbers from Quinnipiac University which found that 60% of Catholic voters answered negatively when asked if Notre Dame should disinvite President Obama. She then turned to her guest and asked, “What’s your point? Why are you organizing this protest?” Reilly answered, “The protest has nothing to do with the president in particular. This is a concern that Catholics have had for decades now, that many of our Catholic institutions have lost a sense of Catholic identity, and Catholics are drawing a line in the sand, saying that the Catholic University of Notre Dame ought to be choosing those who it honors based on its Catholic principles and values.”
On the face of it, the idea of the government being able to regulate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted into the atmosphere seems absurd. After all, it's a gas emitted by, among other things, human breathing.
That's the point Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, was making when he criticized the new policy that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 - much to the chagrin of MSNBC "The ED Show" anchor Ed Schultz.
"The Republican from Texas, Barton has already made it clear he's one of Congress' biggest deniers on man-made climate change," Schultz said during his "Psycho Talk" segment on his May 13 broadcast. "Now he's got a new one. The Congressman spoke with Newsmax - there's a news source - on Monday. Now, based on his interview, if you were a runner, I'd be a little bit of nervous about your favorite sport."
Anchor Andrew Mitchell presented radical homosexual activist Dan Savage, most famous for licking doorknobs in the campaign office of Republican Gary Bauer in an attempt to infect him with the flu, as an expert on the Catholic Church and Catholic issues during her MSNBC program on Wednesday afternoon. She introduced Savage, who writes a graphic sex-advice column called “Savage Love,” as the “editorial director for Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger...political commentator and social critic.” Mitchell lead into her question about President Obama’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame by stating that the editor was also “sensitive and very well aware of the cultural fault lines within the Catholic community.” She did not mention the Bauer incident during the segment, nor the fact that Savage is an atheist who thinks the Catholic Church is a “criminal organization.”
Mitchell had Savage on as a guest just before the bottom half of the 1 pm Eastern hour of her Andrea Mitchell Live program. She brought up President Obama’s upcoming commencement addresses at Arizona State University and Notre Dame as a topic, and how in the case of his speech at the Catholic school, “critics are taking issue with the president’s positions on gay rights, abortion rights, and stem cell research.” After giving her introduction of the “editorial director...political commentator and social critic,” Mitchell asked, “Why is Notre Dame, which has long, you know, had this tradition from Theodore Hesburgh on -- especially, you know, during the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, of being a broad tent -- why is the Notre Dame commencement so controversial this time?”
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer stated yesterday after pageant owner Donald Trump proclaimed Carrie Prejean would continue her reign as Miss California, that the controversy over her defense of marriage as one man and one woman "is a good jumping off point for a conversation about same-sex marriage, about hypocrisy."
Based on Brewer's softball interview with "celebrity gossip columnist" Perez Hilton, it's clear she does not want a conversation. She wants Prejean to apologize for her beliefs and to Hilton.
Update #2 (16:15 EDT):Greg Hengler of Townhall.com has video of the interview mentioned in my first update. He notes that while Brewer is hot under the collar, the student she talked to didn't seem to care that Obama was not receiving an honorary degree tonight.
Update (14:45 EDT): A few minutes ago Brewer pressed an ASU student for his thoughts on Obama not receiving an honorary doctorate. As usual, she was quite irate at the perceived snub.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer is bound and determined to maintain a grudge on behalf of President Obama against a university at which he's honored to give the Class of 2009 commencement speech this evening.
David Shuster, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on Tuesday's "Hardball," absurdly asserted that Dick Cheney "didn't know" about al-Qaeda before 9/11. After playing a clip of the former Vice President on "Face the Nation" stating that "On the morning of 9/12...there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda," Shuster ignored the "great deal," qualifier and insisted to his guests that somehow Cheney was clueless about the threat of the terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Shuster's guest, former Cheney aide Ron Christie, corrected Shuster, pointing out "that's one snippet taken out of context...Of course we knew about al-Qaeda," but that didn't stop Shuster from pressing his case as he claimed Cheney approved "torture," because he didn't know about al-Qaeda.
The following exchange was aired on the May 12 edition of "Hardball":
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Tuesday's "Morning Joe" to rail against the "crazy jihad" and "one-man...hate-fest" of Dick Cheney. Brown, who is now the editor of the Daily Beast website, trashed the former Vice President for constantly appearing on cable news programs to attack the current administration and for claiming that Barack Obama is making America less safe. [Audio available here]
After asserting that Cheney is about as popular as Pakistan's President, Brown sneered, "In some ways, I kind of admire this kind of crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did." Remarking on the Vice President's claim during Sunday's "Face the Nation" that he prefers Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell, the liberal journalist mocked, "'Cause when he said on that show that Rush Limbaugh, rather than Colin Powell, was the face of the party, it was like once again, that huge, fat crazy frame fills the screen and becomes the face of the party."
MSNBC anchor David Shuster continued his outspoken disdain for anyone that supports traditional marriage. Directly after Donald Trump announced Miss California Carrie Prejean could keep her title on May 12, Shuster asked "Can I vomit?"
In a typical rant, Shuster repeated his criticism of Prejean:
"Can I vomit right now? I mean, literally. Can I vomit?" Shuster said. "Doesn't this represent everything that is wrong with the superficial nature of these pageants? I mean, she talked about how women can make a difference in the world. She lied. She avoided taking personal responsibility. She blamed others whether it's Perez Hilton or the photographer."
During Trump's press conference Shuster commented on his Twitter page, "Prejean, who got cosmetic surgery before the pageant, just spoke of ‘how women can make a difference in the world.' Absolutely revolting."
Once upon a time, the press was virtually obsessed with the “with us or against us” foreign policy stance of the Bush presidency. Pundits swung from rhetorical chandeliers, screaming that such a dichotomous approach would alienate the rest of the world - that our “arrogance,” as they called it, would thin our list of allies dramatically.
But that doesn’t seem to apply to the media when the matter is domestic policy and the viewpoint is socially conservative.
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer posted on her Twitter feed this morning:
The L.A. Times is reporting that CNN's star talker Anderson Cooper has seen his ratings in a steady decline all year. It's so bad that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is starting to gain on Cooper's numbers for the first time ever.
MSNBC is still at the bottom of the Cable barrel, but with Cooper's plummeting ratings, MSNBC is suddenly looking competitive.
Here’s a shocking statement about the behavior of the White House Press Corps at the Correspondent’s Dinner: “What I saw the other night was like a bunch of teenage girls waiting for a Bay City Rollers concert, ready to scream at their the top of their lungs.”
The content of this statement is not nearly so shocking, however, as who said it – a member of the media, one Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. That’s right, a member of the media is actually talking about media bias. And even more bewildering, he wasn’t the only one. Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, agreed:
BRZEZINSKI: I definitely agree with you, I saw that there, Joe, and even the people running the behind the scenes trying to figure out what shots to put on the air, were like, ooh look at Michelle Obama, she looks so good. Go to him, go to him! What? [...] They were in love. It was weird.
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
Keith Olbermann, who in March scolded Fox News's Brit Hume for admitting that he often used information provided by the Media Research Center in his "Special Report" program, has once again channeled material taken directly from the far-left, George Soros funded, Clinton front-group Media Matters for America.
Even better, the story was actually precipitated by an article read on the air Friday afternoon during -- wait for it!!! -- Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
But before we get there, embedded below the fold is the video and partial transcript from Friday evening's "Countdown" on MSNBC:
Chris Matthews just can't get it up. The Democratic Party label that is.
On the May 8 "Hardball", the MSNBC anchor noted in his Political Sideshow segment that Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Bob Brady (Pa.), are up in arms about erectile dysfunction drug ads running on television and are sponsoring legislation before the House to ban television stations from running ads for drugs like Viagra and Cialis from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Democratic congressmen argue the ads are indecent for children. [get audio for download here]
While the legislation's premise seems prudish at worst and laughably silly at best, Matthews insisted that the congressmen, who are "regular guys" and "both friends of mine" were simply "looking out for the kids." All the same, he failed to give the Democratic Party credit for threatening the cold shower of government regulation on the drug commercials.
Chris Matthews apparently thinks the GOP is just one big bag of crazy.
MSNBC's "Hardball" host challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on the Republican Party's commitment to addressing climate change during the May 5 broadcast. Matthews claimed to Pence that the GOP is not passionate about environmentalism because, "There are people that really are against science in your party who really do question not just the science behind the climate change but the science behind evolutionary fact, that we were taught - you and I - in our biology books. They don't accept the scientific method. They believe in belief itself."
Matthews prefaced his argument with, "There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we've discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible."
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
Hear all that shattering glass? That's David Shuster's house. The MSNBC host threw his latest rock when he snidely thanked Samuel Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber for a "lesson in tolerance" during the 11:00 hour of MSNBC's live news coverage on May 5.
And now a lesson in tolerance from Joe the Plumber. In an interview with Christian [sic] Today, he says we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, even has some friend who are gay. But he says he doesn't let his gay friends, quote, anywhere near his children. Oh, and according to Joe, queer is not a slur. It just means strange and unusual. Thank you, Joe the Christian.
Christianity Today asked Wurzelbacher about his views on same-sex marriage at a state level and he responded:
On Thursday’s Countdown show, Michael Musto of the Village Voice made an appearance to help MSNBC host Keith Olbermann lambast Miss California, Carrie Prejean, because of her expression of opposition to same-sex marriage. After Olbermann set up the segment by revealing that Prejean had received breast implants paid for by the Miss California organization, Musto made a number of crude sexual jokes, and even cracked that she was like a "Klaus Barbie Doll," presumably a reference to Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, who was a Gestapo officer responsible for thousands of deaths during World War II.
Referring to the Miss California organization, Musto cracked: "They also paid for Carrie to cut off her penis, and sand her Adam`s Apple and get a head to toe waxing. I know for a fact that Carrie Prejean was Harry Prejean, a homophobic man, who liked marriage so much, he did it three times. Now he`s a babe who needs a brain implant. Maybe they could inject some fat from her butt. Oh, they have?