Live Earth's TV ratings might have been dismal, and the extravaganza took heat for the liberal use of profanity by its performers. But at least the concert series served some purpose: providing comedic fodder for today's "Morning Joe." Host Joe Scarborough and sidekick John Ridley had considerable fun at the expense of Ann Curry, a host of NBC's coverage of the event (see related NB item), whose interview of Al Gore gave new meaning to "touchy-feely."
At about 6:45 A.M. EDT this morning, the MSNBC show rolled a clip from the Curry-Gore interview in which Curry repeatedly grabbed Gore's arm and ended with a manic hand-pump.
John Ridley might be an NPR regular, someone who says he likes the "center-left" and even professes admiration for Al Gore's work. But that didn't stop the "Morning Joe" panel member from ripping Gore on the MSNBC show this morning at 7:20 a.m. EDT for his choice of continuing his Live Earth concert tour rather than being at the side of his troubled son.
A clip was aired of Gore telling MSNBC's Chris Jansing that despite his son's latest run-in, his plans hadn't changed to attend the series of Live Earth concerts around the world. In a mantra reminiscent of his "no controlling legal authority" line from years ago regarding questionable fund-raising, Gore informed Jansing and other media that he was treating his son's situation as "a private family matter." Ridley went off on an extended tirade. Excerpts:
MORNING JOE PANEL MEMBER JOHN RIDLEY: Why isn't he with his son? He's in New York yesterday doing all these media hits. His son is in California. If my son were in crisis, I would be home with my son.
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."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough contacted NewsBusters a few moments ago with the relevant transcript from his June 1 "Morning Joe" program, lamenting in an e-mail that our "follow up blog on Newsbusters... actually omits fact that there was a long discussion started by female athlete re pole exercising. Transcript shows whole thing taken wildly out of context."
Here's the transcript, as forwarded by Scarborough to us after receiving same from Christopher Licht, executive producer of "Scarborough Country":
When it comes to anti-war politics, Rosie O'Donnell is one bedfellow Chris Matthews would gladly do without. The MSNBC host made that crystal clear on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews played a clip of O'Donnell's recent slanging spate in which she unmistakably intimated to Elizabeth Hasselbeck that US troops are terrorists, responsible for 655,000 civilian deaths in Iraq [itself a grossly exaggerated figure in any case].
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: While I generally sympathize with her point of view, her skepticism about this war, I do have a problem with her suggestion that we're the terrorists, which is clearly what the intent of that conversation was.
On only his second day as a Don Imus-substitute, NBC reporter David Gregory proved that he can promote Democratic talking points in any medium. For the Thursday edition of "Gregory Live," which is simulcast on MSNBC and on radio, the veteran correspondent interviewed Illinois Senator and White House contender Barack Obama and asked him no tough questions.
He began by noting how the Democratic Senator has received "great media attention, great enthusiasm and crowds and people showering you with money." How absurd is it for Mr. Gregory to refer to Obama’s "great media attention" in the third person? After all, it was NBC’s "Today" show, where Gregory sometimes guest hosts, that labeled the Senator an "electrifying" "rock star."
After his fawning preface, Mr. Gregory did manage, finally, to segue into a question:
Proving that he's not a fan of Republicans, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews slammed 2008 GOP contenders on Wednesday for running a "mordant," "negative campaign." Sounding like a Democratic activist, he appeared throughout the day on MSNBC and, at one point, bitterly complained about former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s jibe that Congress spends money "like John Edwards at a beauty shop."
Mr. Matthews condemned the line, which was delivered during a May 15 presidential debate, as "stupid," "embarrassing" and "pandering." (Is it surprising that a Republican would play to his Republican audience?)
Video (1:22): Real (2.25 MB) or Windows (2.54 MB), plus MP3 (1.22 MB).
The "Hardball" host showed up in the 2pm hour of "MSNBC Live" to trash Governor Huckabee for daring to make fun of John Edwards. Responding to a question by host Contessa Brewer about whether Huckabee prepared the line in advance, Matthews could barely contain his contempt:
In 2003, David Kuo resigned from the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and later wrote a book [published just before the 2006 mid-term elections] claiming that the administration was hypocritical in its dealings with religious conservatives.
The MSM had a field day because according to them [as E.J. Dionne wrote here, for example], Kuo was a religious conservative himself. But is that true? What kind of religious conservative, the day after Jerry Falwell died, would go on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson show and say this about the late pastor?:
DAVID KUO: In bringing the pulpit to politics in the very strident, narrow and frankly angry way that he did, he very much damaged the name of Jesus.
Romney won, Rudy lost. That's Chris Matthews' take on the GOP presidential debate he moderated on MSNBC last night. Matthews made his views clear during his appearance on this morning's "Today." Meredith Vieira, who interviewed Matthews at 7:09 EDT, seemed to share her colleague's assessment.
TODAY CO-HOST MEREDITH VIEIRA: Winners and losers in your assessment?
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. Well, let me just say I thought that just factually, Giuliani stood out on the issue of abortion rights, clearly. At one point I asked if they would be happy, if it would be a good day for America, if the courts struck down Roe v. Wade, the court decision back in '73 that gave a woman the right to an abortion, and he said 'that would be OK,' Very tentative. And then later on he reasserted his position that he is for abortion rights. So I think that separated him on a big issue.
VIEIRA: Yeah, but Chris, he also said it would be OK if a strict constructionist judge upheld Roe v. Wade. It sounded like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth there.
Judging by the excerpt Tucker Carlson played on his MSNBC show this afternoon at about 4:15 PM ET, Richard Engel's War Zone Diary is a powerful and moving documentary of the NBC reporter's experiences in Iraq. To his credit, Engel has accompanied troops on many combat patrols. Among other clips, we saw particularly compelling footage of Marines on a night mission in the mean streets of Ramadi, in Anbar province, searching for - and finding unharmed - one of their comrades who had gotten separated during an earlier patrol there.
Speaking of combat, Engel did at at one point state that "it is very brutal but after some time you do start to see things from their [U.S. soldiers' and Marines'] perspective."
On this afternoon's Tucker Carlson show, an MSNBC consultant flatly called President Bush a recovering substance abuser. Guest host Joe Scarborough took things a giant step further, seeming to analogize evangelical Christians with such substance abusers.
Joe Scarborough substituted for Tucker Carlson on the latter's MSNBC show today. Discussing President Bush's upbeat mood, despite congressional opposition and the tough slogging in Iraq, Scarborough asked MSNBC consultant Craig Crawford "what's this guy got to be cocky about?"
Crawford: "I would point to the history of anyone recovering from substance abuse. No, seriously. There is a body of thought that those in recovery, like he is, become very absolute about blacks and whites. There's no middle ground. You either take that substance or you don't."
Scarborough: "As a guy who has grown up in an evangelical church, you could also say that about certain people of faith. A lot of people are more pragmatic, but there're some people that go in those church pews, and it's black or white, right?"
Crawford: "Sure, yeah!"
UPDATE 02-20-07: Joe Scarborough has contacted NB to express his very strong objection to this item, which he described as "deeply offensive and intellectually dishonest," claiming it suggested that he is anti-Christian. Said Mr. Scarborough: "the fact that I mocked Craig Crawford with a laugh for suggesting Bush was a substance abuser and then suggested it might be his faith instead that makes him see the world in black and white does not mean I compared the two. Seeing things in black and white is not a negative [in Christianity]." Added Mr. Scarborough: "The fact I am writing a book about how Christians are slandered by the mainstream media and American culture makes your remarks all the more maddening."
From the moment Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of Moveon.org, turned up on this afternoon's Tucker Carlson, something just didn't feel right. Matzzie just didn't fit the Moveon mold. There was no whiff of the angry zealot about him, no sense that Tucker was one misstep away from witnessing a meltdown. Mattzie came across as one more pleasant-enough fellow with a DC organizational gig. Someone who might even have fit in an outfit as conventional and boring, say, as the 2004 John Kerry campaign. Which is precisely where, as the record reveals, Matzzie did spend the last presidential season, working as the Kerry-Edwards director of online organizing.
Matzzie was on to discuss the issue of whether, from the perspective of the left, Hillary needs to do a full-frontal mea culpa for her 2002 vote authorizing the war in Iraq. Carlson began by playing the clip from this past weekend in New Hampshire of a man at a campaign event solemnly informing Hillary that until she admits to a "mistake" on the vote, he and other like-minded people aren't going to hear all the other "great things" she's saying. Hillary trotted out her shopworn line about having "taken responsibility" for her vote -- whatever that means -- while claiming that "the mistakes were made by this president." The specific issue at hand aside, I would encourage people to view the video of Hillary's remarks. Her tone, and her tendency to blame others, are unappealing, and underline her shortcomings as a candidate.
When Carlson asked "why can't Hillary Clinton just apologize?", I fully expected Matzzie to enthusiastically agree. But, au contraire,MoveOn's man responded "I don't think it's about apologies; I think what people really want to hear is how Senator Clinton is going to help get America out of Iraq."
While there's never been much doubt as to where Norah O'Donnell stands politically, I've never heard her express a political position in such unmistakably personal terms as she did this afternoon on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show. Said Norah, discussing the President's imminent announcement of a surge:
"The President has chosen a military solution to the sectarian violence. As Brownback said today, and an increasing number of Democrats, it should be a political solution."
When Tucker countered that the military is traditionally used for the express purpose of ultimately achieving a political solution, Norah again expressed her own view: "Perhaps when there's a clear enemy. But in this case there's not really an enemy. We're in the middle of a civil war between Sunnis and Shias."
Where has Maxine Waters been? It wasn't until she turned up on Tucker Carlson's show this afternoon that I realized how long it's been. Now there is one fun lady. The Representative from California proved the perfect foil, helping Carlson score some wicked points at Nancy Pelosi's expense.
Carlson's fundamental question, and I think it's a good one, is, given that Dems ran and were elected on an anti-war platform, why are they apparently about to go along with the surge? The unstated answer is that they've made a cynical political calculation that it's in their interest to demagogue the issue rather than lead.
Here's how it went down:
Waters: "I certainly, do not trust the President of the United States to lay out a case that is believable . . . I don't trust him. I don't believe him, I won't be supporting it, for sure."
Carlson: "But [Pelosi's] naive enough to believe him. I think I understand the point you're making."
As we noted here, when Andrea Mitchell appeared on The Factor last week, Bill O'Reilly confronted her over NBC's leftward tilt. Andrea not only denied any NBC bias, she also vouched for CBS' and ABC's fairness. For good measure, Mitchell claimed that Chris Matthews is no liberal.
Tucker Carlson fired back on his MSNBC show this afternoon. The gist of his argument: that in attacking Keith Olbermann, O'Reilly was actually promoting the Countdown's lefty host. There was only one problem with Carlson's theory: O'Reilly never mentioned Olbermann. Not once. I watched the Factor segment live, wrote about it, posted a video excerpt and - just for good measure - have gone back and checked the closed-caption transcript and can confirm that not only did O'Reilly not mention Olbermann, he never so much as alluded to him or his show.
On his show yesterday, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson congratulated Diane Sawyer of ABC for leaving the comforts of home to report from North Korea. Judging by her report this morning, you'd have to say the rigors have been worth it. Sawyer has been on a week-long stay in Dear-Leader Land, and this morning she scored an important story. A top N. Korean general flatly told her that his country has the means to deliver a nuclear weapon.
Sawyer: "We asked him what the words of North Korea meant when they said there would be a 'merciless blow' in response to any sanctions? He said he couldn't say specifically but pointed out they have short- and long-range missiles. He said 'President Bush wants us to kneel down. We cannot agree on that. If it continues, I think it will be natural to have war.'"
Who would have thought that Howard Dean would come off looking like the relatively statesmanlike DNC Chair? Dean has acknowledged that Chris Wallace was "tough but fair" in his questioning of Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, Dean's DNC predecessor Terry McAuliffe, with all the class and dignity for which he's known, has attacked Wallace as a Republican "tool," suggesting along the way that Tucker Carlson must be on drugs.
McAuliffe was a guest on Carlson's MSNBC show this afternoon. Tucker touched things off with this observation:
"It's interesting to see the attack machine cranked up again. I notice you're trying to paint Chris Wallace as some sort of right-wing lunatic. I don't think Chris Wallace is a right-winger for one thing. He had Donald Rumsfeld on his show, I'm not here to defend Fox I'm just telling the truth, and he gave Rumsfeld a hard time on 9-11 too. Why is that every time someone calls the Clinton people to account, they all of a sudden start screaming 'you're a right-winger, you're part of the conspiracy against us'? Why can't they evaluate criticism on its own terms?"
Let's play one of our favorite games: WIACHSI, which of course stands for "What If a Conservative Had Said It?"
Ready? OK, let's play. What if a conservative attacked a female liberal icon by calling her promiscuous? How many Dem pols, NOW leaders, assorted Naomi Wolfs of the world . . . and Air America hosts would be popping up all over the MSM to proclaim their outrage?
And yet, on today's edition of Tucker Carlson, Air America host and class-action trial lawyer [nice two-fer!] Mike Papantonio leveled the loose-woman charge at none other than Ann Coulter.
The subject was a new book, "I Hate Ann Coulter", written by four authors who have chosen to remain anonymous out of their supposed fear of "gun-toting abortion-clinic bombing, self-proclaimed wing nuts who follow Coulter."
Call him a shooting star. Like a meteor lighting a brilliant-but-too-brief trail across the night sky, Tucker Carlson is gone in a blaze of glory from Dancing With The Stars.
The end came shockingly fast, as viewers across the country voted by phone and decided Tucker was the celebrity they could most easily bear not to see again. And thus it was that on Wednesday, Carlson was the first to be voted off the dancing island. All of which is a shame, nay, a national tragedy when you consider that . . . we won't be seeing Tucker's lovely partner Elena Grinenko again any time soon.
As the Dancing With the Stars host said, Tucker Carlson - host of the MSNBC show of the same name - "has braved some of the most perilous situations in the world, but now [for] his most intimidating assignment - dancing the cha-cha-cha on national television."
It was Tucker's turn to shine on tonight's episode of Dancing With the Stars. Carlson's professional dance partner Elena Grinenko did her best to lower expectations. Said the sultry Russian "when it comes to Tucker's ability for dancing . . . " She let a grimace express her dubious assessment. But - thanks to MRC's Brent Baker - we have the video: so you be the judge!
Latest dispatch from the MSM moral-relativism front.
MSNBC's Tony Maciulis appeared on the network's 'The Most' show this afternoon to report on a story dealing with Craigslist, the online classifed ad website. A man called Jason Fortuny had posted a fake personal on the Craigslist's Seattle page, posing as an attractive 27-year old woman seeking sex with men. The ad elicited numerous replies, many including explicit photos of the suitors.
Fortuny in turn posted the men's replies, including the photos, on another website, no doubt causing embarrassment if not more for many of them.
'Most' host Alison Stewart asked Maciulis whether the men who submitted the replies "were doing anything wrong?"
The very first line of Patrick Buchanan's official MSNBC bio describes him as a conservative. Fair enough. But is MSNBC as forthcoming about the political leanings of its liberal analysts? I was watching 'The Most' this afternoon when the hitherto unknown-to-me Juliette Kayyem appeared to give her assessment of a national security speech that Pres. Bush gave today before an association of military officers.
Host Alison Stewart introduced Kayyem simply as an "MSNBC terrorism analyst" who had "taken time out" from her Harvard Kennedy School teaching duties to appear.
I was struck by the relentlessly negative tone of Kayyem's comments. For example, Stewart's first question was: "The president continued to talk about us being a nation at war. Is war the right term, and who would the war be against?"
During the course of a conversation with former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin on this afternoon's show, Tucker Carlson described himself as "a real conservative."
But it was just a few minutes earlier, chatting with New Republic editor-at-large Peter Beinart, that Carlson mentioned in passing that he hadn't supported President Bush for president in 2004.
When Carlson stated that he had been wrong to support the war in Iraq [and now opposes it], Beinart retorted:
"You've just made a statement which almost guarantees that you're going to have to support the Democratic candidate in 2008 because there's virtually no chance we're going to have a Republican candidate who says they were wrong to support the war in Iraq. So I congratulate you on flipping over to the other side."
Replied Carlson: "Well I doubt I'm going to support the Democratic candidate. Whether I'll support the Republican candidate is a whole separate question. I didn't last time, I may not this time."
The news photo of MSNBC's Queen of Sensationalist Journalism, Rita Cosby, stalking weirdo John Mark Karr as he is being transported to the Boulder County jail, has already achieved legendary status. All over the web and in the blogosphere, this photo, captured by AP photograper, Jack Dempsey, has become a source of universal mirth, whether from the right or the left. Looking at it one wonders who appears to be more obsessive, Rita or Karr? Proving that a picture is worth a thousand word, this photo is providing much commentary of a humorous nature on the web. One example of such commentary came in the form of a caption contest at the Free Republic. Here is a sampling of the Freeper captions for this photo:
The New York Times might be thankful that it is not on trial with Dan Abrams serving as prosecutor. The impassioned argument he made against the journalistic value of the Times' lengthy account of the Duke rape case in today's paper, Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers, might have sent the paper to the Big House for years to come.
Interviewed by Tucker Carlson, Abrams, who until taking over as head of MSNBC had his own justice-oriented show on the network, came out guns ablazin'.
"I thought it was shameful. I think it was an editorial on the front page of what is supposed to be the news division of the newspaper."
President Bush spoke at the State Department this afternoon, and on MSNBC’s "The Most" the graphic on screen was very telling of how the media have covered Hezbollah as it read:
"Breaking News, President Bush: ‘Hezbollah hides behind innocent civilians.’"
It is common knowledge that one of the tactics used by terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, is to hide among civilian populations in order to either reduce the risk of reprisal or to ensure that if there are repercussions from their attacks, that innocent civilians are killed as well. This is a deplorable tactic but hardly breaking news.
The Financial Times, as posted by MSNBC.com, has unilaterally promoted Hezbollah to a state and re-introduced Syria into Lebanese affairs. On a piece describing the ongoing cease-fire negotiations at the UN, FT said this:
Any agreement between Washington and Paris, as well as London, would
also need approval from other Security Council members such as Russia,
buy-in from Israel, Lebanon and Hizbollah, and the acquiescence of
Hizbollah is a militia. It's not a state, it's not treated like a state, and it doesn't have negotiating power. I suppose ever since the UN let Arafat carry a pistol onto the floor of the General Assembly, and created a special status for the PLO, this line - like much of the UN's vision - has been a little blurry. Still, when there's an existing resolution, 1559, calling for the dismantlement of this militia, saying that a Security Council resolution has to go to Bint Jubeil or Baalbek for approval is making some rather astonishing leaps.
NBC reporter Richard Engel sure has some severely selective sources. On the one hand, he's overflowing with information reinforcing the image of Hezbollah as a kindly humanitarian organization that was providing "supplies and relief" to the residents of Qana. On the other hand, he has "no evidence" that Hezbollah was using Qana residents as human shields for purposes of launching rockets.
Engel reported live from Tyre in southern Lebanon during this afternoon's 'The Most' on MSNBC, with host Alison Stewart. Speaking of events in Qana, Engel claimed:
"I got no indication [the people of Qana] were being held against their will. Just the opposite, it seemed Hezbollah was helping these people, providing them with food and water. These were some of the [poorest] people in the town, those with money had already left. They were staying in this section of town because there was food and water. Hezbollah were giving them supplies and relief."
"'Over the line?' Where was Roger when O'Reilly defended the Nazi SS stormtroopers from Malmedy in World War II? The SS shot 84 American POW's there in 1944, and three different times in the last year, Bill called has called those dead Americans war criminals.