One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
For a moment, let's step away from the commentary, per se, and focus on the commentators. Liberals love to chide Fox News for its alleged conservative bias. So why don't we see, when it comes to being fair and balanced, how this morning's Fox News Sunday panel stacked up against that of its main competitor, Meet the Press?
Last February, NewsBusters reported the resignation of retired Col. Ken Allard from NBC News as a result of the military analyst's view the network was undergoing a "precipitous retreat from journalistic and ethical standards."
On Sunday, Allard was more specific, claiming, "I thought they really had moved very slowly to the left, and I also thought that when they had the chance to clarify to the fact that they were not moving to the left, they didn't do so."
CNN's Howard Kurtz set this up on "Reliable Sources":
You can tell the Democratic campaign is getting combative when The Huffington Post is forcing Keith Olbermann to apologize. Rachel Sklar of the Huffington media site Eat the Press took exception to Olbermann on Wednesday night suggesting to Newsweek’s Howard Fineman that the Democrats need someone to force Hillary Clinton to quit, "Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out."
Sklar added an update, that an MSNBC spokesperson sent over a brief apology from Olbermann: "It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic ‘he’ gender could imply something untoward. It should've been ‘only the other comes out - from a political point of view.’ You could've called for reaction first if your main motive had merely been criticism." As if Olbermann always calls Republicans for reaction first before he spews.
The notable thing about this exchange is how fiery the Newsweek reporter is about getting Hillary to quit as soon as possible, that Hillary is being childish and she needs adult supervision, since this fight is going on way too long and is doing too much damage to the dear Democrats:
MSNBC's Dan Abrams and the folks in the liberal blogosphere are going to be very disappointed tomorrow when they witness what Chris Wallace says was "a very friendly exchange" between the "Fox News Sunday" host and Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In fact, despite what Talking Points Memo reported Friday concerning Obama doing the program to "take on Fox," as well as Jonathan Kim's ("Fox Attacks") recommendation on MSNBC's "Verdict" that the junior senator from Illinois should "[go] on and just [attack] them," it appears Chris and Barack had an exceedingly civil and informative discussion about the campaign and the issues facing the nation.
As he was driving home from his meeting with Obama, Wallace called in to give a preview of the interview to FNC's "Weekend Live" (h/t Johnny Dollar):
Honestly, the hypocrisy of liberal media members knows no bounds.
On Friday, Dan Abrams of MSNBC voiced extreme displeasure with the announcement that Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama is finally going to be interviewed by Chris Wallace on this weekend's "Fox News Sunday."
This from a man whose very network has hosted numerous presidential debates despite moderators Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann being clearly in the tank for Obama.
Amazingly, this contradiction continues to elude the good folks at MSNBC as demonstrated by the following partial transcript of Friday's "Verdict" (readers are cautioned to have a trash receptacle handy in case of involuntary retroperistalsis):
Who said leftists are opposed to the death penalty? It's just a question of whose neck's in the noose . . .
Many might wax nostalgic for the America immortalized in Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover drawings. Not Keith Olbermann. He longs for the good old days when people like Rush Limbaugh . . . could be strung up. Here's the Countdown host tonight, speaking with Air America's Rachel Maddow:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Legally, we've come a very long way since the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886 when we wound up hanging some anarchist writers, who were not even in the state, as murderers by proxy. And legally there is this question of "temporal remoteness" [separation in time between the statement and the act]. You say this now on the radio, it happens in August. It's not like yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater; it is protected speech. But do you think that Limbaugh has any idea that were he to repeat what he said on the air, say the day before the convention, or during it, he might actually be morally or legally responsible for incitement to riot?
You're a member of the MSM and a Barack Obama backer. But I repeat myself. More specifically, you're Chris Matthews. What better way to promote your guy's candidacy than to claim that Republicans would really rather run against Hillary?
That's just what the Hardball host did on this afternoon's show. Here's his exchange with the–in my opinion–very impressive Republican strategist Todd Harris, who worked for McCain in 2000, and with Dem strategist Michael Feldman.
Chris Matthews remains clueless that support and opposition to Obama for the majority of Americans has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Opposition to Obama has much more to do with his policies and the controversial company he keeps. Listen to the advice he has for Obama:
MATTHEWS: You got to talk like a firebrand because if you‘re carrying their fight for them, they‘re going to like you. You know, a lot of white people root for black athletes because they‘re winning for the home team. People are quite willing to pick up black heroes, if they‘ll win for their side.
As you pretty much have to know by now due to the fact that they won't shut up about it, NBC Universal's "Green Is Universal" campaign is winding down. Begining next week, we'll no longer be hearing the media giant's numerous television properties spreading feel-good environmentalism to viewers and promoting allegedly earth-friendly policies (ethanol, anyone?). I, for one, couldn't be more happy, not just because we'll finally be spared the painful inanity that such reports often entail but also because of the numerous acts of unethical journalism we'll no longer have to witness.
We often hear lefties rage against Rupert Murdoch for allegedly harming the objectivity of his employees by forcing his "right-wing" politics on them. At the same time, however, our journalistic bluenoses routinely turn a blind eye to flagrant corporate-sponsored journalism such as "Green" or the equally disturbing case of an Australian company literally banning its employees from criticizing its own "Earth Hour" campaign.
We all know the reason why media-beat reporters are unconcerned by such actions of course. It's because they support liberal policy goals. Sadly, in the eyes of many left-leaning journalists, good journalism is liberal journalism. As troubling as the fact that NBC News has willingly prostrated itself before its corporate master is, it's probably less disturbing than the fact that the entire "Green" campaign seems to have been cooked up by NBC Universal's own parent company, General Electric, as a way to make money for itself.
It is NBC Green Week, after all, so who can blame Andrea Mitchell for recycling two dilapidated defenses of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Mitchell's heart didn't seem wholly in it, but like a burned-out public defender going through the motions, Andrea apparently felt constrained to mount some kind of defense of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's controversial remarks. And so she trotted out two hoary chestnuts:
that's the way it's done in African-American churches, and
On Election Night 1990, after the news broke that Sen. Jesse Helms had beaten black Democrat Harvey Gantt, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell mourned "This has really been a heart-breaking race," and compared Helms to racist David Duke. On Thursday, Mitchell was seeing old Helms commercials as she denounced the North Carolina Republican Party ads featuring Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s "God damn America" comments. "This has such deep roots in the North Carolina Republican Party, the Jesse Helms Republican Party," she complained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
During her 1 pm newscast on Wednesday, Mitchell interviewed McCain adviser Jack Kemp, and asked him what the ad says "about the Republican Party." Kemp agreed with McCain’s call to pull the ad, but displeased Mitchell by adding "The American people know exactly what Reverend Wright stands for. That's Barack Obama's problem and it's going to stick for him for a long time to come."
When you're a Clintonite, you're a Clintonite all the way. From your first Monicagate defense, To Hil's last primary day.—with apologies to Leonard Bernstein*
Look next to the definition of "Clinton loyalist" in the dictionary, and you're likely to find a photo of Lanny Davis. The man who would have put Baghdad Bob to shame for his unflinching flackery during Bill's Monica mess is back on the beat for Hillary. Yesterday, Davis wrote a HuffPo column purporting to set forth 10 Undisputed Facts showing Obama's weakness as a general election candidate against John Mccain. As Jake Tapper has observed, some of those "facts" are "both disputed and not facts," including the risible notion that Hillary didn't run any negative ads. Guess the commercial featuring Osama Bin Laden slipped Lanny's mind.
Davis was back at it on today's Morning Joe. After repeating his claim from the HuffPo column that Obama is in a dead heat with McCain in super-blue in Massachusetts while Hillary's up by 15%, Davis took his anti-Obama argument a giant step further. Davis claimed that Barack is on track to lose in a blow-out of epic, McGovernesque, proportions.
In Chris Matthews's mind, a bigot is someone who's "culturally conservative" on race. Matthews equated the two on this evening's Hardball in attempting to explain exit polling from yesterday's PA primary showing that 38% of white Catholic Democrats wouldn't vote for Obama in the general election.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, somebody who doesn't like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers. I'll call them Reagan Democrats, John [Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News], they're Reagan Democrats: people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front. They like to think of themselves as Democrats on the economic issues, but when it comes to the squeeze, on some of these cultural issues--didn't this all come up earlier about three weeks ago in San Francisco, this conversation.
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews thought he saw racism in two ads targeted against Barack Obama, but when his media panel full of liberal journalists disagreed he back-pedaled a bit.
First up Matthews ran a clip of what he called a "nasty," ad by the North Carolina Republican Party. The Politico's Roger Simon agreed with Matthews that it was "nasty" but said, he wasn’t sure it was "unfair."
Then Matthews ran an ad hitting Obama for opposing the death penalty in Chicago for gang members and claimed:
"It's a giant permission slip to somebody who doesn't want to vote for him to begin with. And it’s also a permission slip for the Republican Party to use him as a target throughout the general election."
However Simon disagreed with Matthews’ implication that it had a racial tinge as he pointed out:
See that green thing over there? It's MSNBC's fig leaf. The network has decided to take it all off and admit what everyone knew was obvious: that it's trying to become the far-left's cable channel of choice.
That's really about all you can say after learning the news that the MSNBC show "Race for the White House" will now be simulcast live at 6pm ET on Air America, the low-rated radio network for liberals.
"Race" is a nightly show about the 2008 campaign hosted by liberal NBC reporter David Gregory and prominently features Air America host Rachel Maddow as a panelist. The simulcast move is just one of the latest in a long series of leftward moves made by MSNBC since it determined that pandering to the nutroots left could rescue it from the ratings cellar.
Could it be a continuation of Hillary's winning shot-and-a-beer strategy? Appearing on Morning Joe the day after her PA primary win, Clinton popped the top on an even six-pack of cackles. Perhaps her good humor was inspired not only by her victory, but by Joe Scarborough's unabashed [if possibly facetious] pandering, describing himself and sidekick Willie Geist as Hillary's "only shameless flacks in the media."
For your listening pleasure, I've edited a clip of Hillary's cavalcade of laughs. Watch and listen here.
Hillary made the rounds of all the morning news show, and as is her wont was relentlessly on message:
sloughs off NY Times editorial criticizing her negativity
she leads in actual votes [including Michigan and Florida and while I'm not quite clear about this, possibly excluding caucuses and counting only primaries]
OK for superdelegates to discount elected delegate count.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary, co-anchor Chris Matthews brought up the possibility that the North Carolina Republican Party would run an "overtly racist" campaign against Barack Obama, as the MSNBC host harkened back to the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt. Matthews: "North Carolina will be interesting, and I think that if the Republican Party goes back to the old trick it did with the days of Jesse Helms and Harvey Gantt and running a campaign which is overtly racist, I think that will be a mistake if they do that. I'll wait and see if they do that." (Transcript follows)
After referring to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, co-anchor Keith Olbermann brought up the possibility that John McCain could also be attacked for connections with controversial people: "There is a lot that could be thrown at the Republicans by the Democrats and the past associations of Senator McCain, or even some of the current ones."
Update 7:50 PM: Chris Proclaims Polls Closed 1/2 Hour Early! See foot.
The problem with Chris Matthews playing footsie with the idea of running for US Senator from Pennsylvania: when he says something nowadays, how can you tell whether he means it, or is just trying to position himself for a possible run?
Take this evening's Hardball, during which Matthews castigated Joe Lieberman as having been a "terrible" running-mate for Al Gore in 2000. Kiki McLean, a senior Clinton advisor, was Chris's guest. McLean mentioned that she had been an aide to Lieberman in 2000, and to Gore when he was the Veep candidate [1992?]. That set Matthews off.
Granted, there's lots of time to go, but it's not going to be easy to catch Mika Brzezinski, the early clubhouse leader for the Year's Most Inapt Metaphor.
Barackophile Brzezinski made her bid for the prize during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe, accusing the Clinton campaign of having pounced on Obama like . . . lemmings.
Let's set the stage: the topic was a TV commercial Hillary's running in PA that, in touting her readiness to confront any crisis, briefly flashed an image of Osama Bin Laden. A headline [see screencap after break] in Today's NY Post claims the commercial employs "scare tactics" and the "fear factor." Joe Scarborough suggested that as tough tactics go, the ad was in fact small potatoes compared to truly brass-knuckled methods employed in the past. After playing a clip of Obama responding by touting his own leadership credentials, Scarborough complimented the candidate for not complaining.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed worried by Hillary Clinton's pledge during Wednesday's debate that "if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation." Olbermann suggested Clinton had "set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen." After the MSNBC host contended that Clinton's pledge "may be further to the right than the Bush administration," liberal talk radio host/MSNBC analyst Rachel Maddow further charged that an "immediate threat by Iran" was merely "invented by neo-cons." Maddow: "Hillary Clinton, of course, put an exclamation point on it by talking about poleaxing our entire approach to foreign policy in order to counteract this immediate threat by Iran, which has been invented by the neo-cons." (Transcript follows)
Referring to the debate, Olbermann teased the April 17 Countdown show: "The only real news, if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation. Did she set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen?"
On Saturday, NewsBusters reported that former White House advisor Karl Rove recently sent a letter to MSNBC's Dan Abrams asking him to identify exactly what investigative research was done to verify allegations by the network that Rove was involved in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
On Thursday's "Verdict," Abrams told his audience, "Karl Rove has sent me an angry five-page letter," but chose not to share ANY of its contents, or address ANY of the 58 questions posed to him by Rove in the correspondence.
Instead, Abrams continued to point fingers at his target of disaffection (video embedded upper-right):
In today's episode of "As The Left Eat Their Own," a tape of Hillary Clinton complaining after Super Tuesday that activists from MoveOn.org "flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support [her]" was published at The Huffington Post Friday.
This has set off a predictably hostile reaction from the liberal blogosphere, and was considered such a bombshell that Barack Obama-loving MSNBC actually began Friday's installment of "Verdict" with this revelation.
But, before we get there, here's the text of Hillary's remarks (audio embedded upper-right):
Although many press outlets have reported a so-called nefarious connection between former White House advisor Karl Rove and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, none has focused as much attention on this conspiracy theory as MSNBC.
In the last four months, MSNBC has addressed this issue thirteen times, with nine involving former General Manager Dan Abrams.
Seemingly fed up with the continued unsubstantiated and poorly researched reporting by Abrams, Rove sent him a rather strongly-worded letter on April 13 (emphasis added throughout, h/t NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez via NBer Jonah Johansen):
Hillary–gone in a week? Yes, if you believe Michael Smerconish.
The Philly-based radio talk show host was the only Pennsylvanian on the panel on this evening's Race for the White House on MSNBC. He saved his bombshell for last. Nothing in the kibitzing preceding the show-closing Predictions segment foreshadowed Smerconish's surprising suggestion. But when it came time to break out the crystal ball, Smerconish unloaded.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Mine's a two-parter. Part one: Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama 51, Hillary Clinton 49%. Part two: Thursday, 4 PM Eastern: Hillary Clinton suspends her campaign.
For those that are luckily unfamiliar, Rachel Maddow is one of the darlings of the extreme-left in this country. A regular on MSNBC's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann, the Air America Radio host is also a panel member on that network's "Race for the White House" with David Gregory.
Another panel member is Joe Scarborough, and those that have watched this program since its inception know that he holds Maddow in as low esteem as any self-respecting conservative would -- or any sane American, for that matter.
With that as pretext, on Thursday's show, Scarborough apparently had enough of this liberal antagonist; during the following exchange, he unhooked his microphone, walked off the set, and didn't return (video embedded upper right):
In our nation's history, there are few images more heroic, more sacred in a civil sense, than that of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Time has now twisted, and enlisted, that image for its "war on global warming."
Time editor Rick Stengel, making his regular Thursday appearance on Morning Joe to tout the week's cover story, naturally thought it was a wonderful idea. He also explained why Time decided to editorialize in favor of a "massive" effort to combat global warming.
The cable network MSNBC has refused to air an advertisement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg,on the grounds that the ad is too "controversial."
The ad, below, features each of the three leading presidential candidates pledging to make it harder to buy guns at gun shows, and images of three mayors urging viewers to call Congress and ask that a bill closing the "gun-show loophole" be passed.
The ad is airing on CNN and Fox, and on affiliates around the country, a Bloomberg aide said.
Los Angeles Times reporter and blogger Andrew Malcolm drew an interview on MSNBC Tuesday for his report at Top of the Ticket that Oprah Winfrey is suffering in popularity due to her endorsement and campaigning for Barack Obama. (MSNBC also blamed a popular YouTube video called The Church of Oprah Exposed). Malcolm and Don Frederick reported that while Oprah certainly boosted Obama’s star power, it came with a price:
But little attention has been paid to the effect of Obama on Oprah. Now along comes Costas Panagopoulos, an assistant professor of political science at New York's Fordham University, to ask and answer just that question.
Writing at Politico.com, he suggested Winfrey has paid a price for getting into the dirty business of politics. By August 2007, a CBS poll found her favorable rating had dropped, from 74% to 61%. Recently, her rating dipped a bit more, to 55%.