CNN's Howard Kurtz on Sunday took David Gregory's side of the controversial birther issue over that of Bill O'Reilly.
After Gregory pestered House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) on last week's "Meet the Press" to rail against those that believe Barack Obama wasn't born in America, O'Reilly chastized him on Monday's "O'Reilly Factor" for wasting precious air time on this matter leading Kurtz to weigh in on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Howard Kurtz on Sunday pointed out a delicious irony involving MSNBC and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).
After complaining about CNN's decision to air the Congresswoman's response to President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, MSNBC spent the next several days giving far more attention to her than to the official GOP respondent (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting blame game has been in full swing since the moment shots were fired in Tucson Saturday.
With this in mind, Howard Kurtz invited conservative talk radio host Steve Malzberg and Mediaite editor-at-large Rachel Sklar on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" to fight over whether all the finger-pointing at right-wing figures like Sarah Palin is justified or another example of media madness (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A conservative writer likely unknown to most NewsBusters readers scolded Politico's Roger Simon Sunday for trying to connect Sarah Palin to yesterday's shootings in Tucson, Arizona.
Surrounded by liberals on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle said what would be obvious to most journalists if they weren't always so quick to tie extreme acts of violence committed by a white male to prominent right-wing figures (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a guest on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, Steve Roberts - who has worked for both the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report - after conceding that the Tea Party movement is important, dismissively asserted that the movement "didn’t win. You only won a couple of seats." Roberts:
I think that they are an important part of the American landscape. Now I don't think they're as important as they think they are. I mean, you had people coming into Washington this week and saying, wait, we won. No, you didn't win. You won a couple of seats, and you got to deal with everybody else.
After host Howard Kurtz wondered "did the media kind of turn on" President Obama and claimed that the media had not spent enough time giving credit to Obama for his recent legislative successes, leading to guest Thomas Frank of Harper’s to bring up complaints against Obama by disaffected liberals, Roberts asserted that there is no liberal media bias:
Time magazine's managing editor said Sunday with respect to the decision to publish intelligence information recently exposed by WikiLeaks, "Our job is not to protect the U.S."
Chatting with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Richard Stengel claimed that irrespective of the harm these released documents did to America's national security, "Our job is to publish and be damned" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former President Jimmy Carter on Sunday claimed that Fox News implants "completely false images" of Barack Obama while also distorting the facts about legislation before Congress.
Speaking to Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Carter practically blamed all of the current president's problems in the polls on the cable news network (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz pressed guest Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post on her hypocrisy for calling for more civility in political discourse even while she is a regular guest on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on MSNBC. After Kurtz asked if MSNBC was as much of a problem as FNC, she charged that "misinformation" disseminated by FNC is "monumental" compared to MSNBC:
Definitely not as much of the problem. Have they exaggerated? Yes, they would admit it themselves. But the constant barrage of misinformation being put out by Glenn Beck, by O'Reilly, by Hannity is just monumental. I mean, this is a factual record that has been compiled of what they're saying.
She also rationalized her appearances with Olbermann by giving him credit for a lame apology the MSNBC host once addressed to Jon Stewart after Stewart called him out for viciously attacking Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Huffington: "Well, Keith Olbermann actually apologized for that statement, for that particular statement. Have you ever seen anybody apologize except maybe Glenn Beck when he called the President a racist?"
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank on Sunday said conservative commentator Glenn Beck is dangerous.
Discussing his new book about Beck with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Milbank said, "When a man is frequently talking about Hitler and Nazis, and then you see the Tea Party rally with the same quotations of Tea Parties and Nazis... you have to say, where does all this come from and why is it suddenly out in the open?"
This came moments after Milbank stated, "While you can't be blamed for any individual act, it is evidence that he is disseminating a very dangerous doctrine."
When Kurtz questioned him about whether or not he really believes this, Milbank responded, "I think it's been manifestly true that he's dangerous" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Howard Kurtz on Sunday bashed Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity for calling Delaware's Democrat Senatorial candidate Chris Coons a Marxist.
Coons, while a student at Amherst College in 1985, wrote an autobiographical article for the school newspaper called "Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist."
Despite Politico's Alex Isenstadt bringing this piece to light on May 3, Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources" expressed dismay with the conclusion folks like Beck and Hannity have come to concerning its contents.
"It was a joke, a clear and obvious joke." said Kurtz. "That's also a good description of those who are passing off this ancient article as evidence of some communist past" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tina Brown, the founder and editor of the online publication the "Daily Beast," said Sunday that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck "has become sort of the white Malcolm X."
Chatting with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Brown said of Beck, "I think that he's a fascinating demagogue, actually."
She continued, "It's white racial politics, in a sense, because he's really saying -- a lot of his message is, you know, that Obama is a racist."
And continued, "[Beck] talks about God, but when you drill down to what he's actually saying, he calls [Obama] a Nazi and socialist who's taking over the country. I mean, his language is extremely inflammatory" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a guest on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, the Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford – formerly an MSNBC political analyst – admitted that the mainstream media have "listen[ed] too much to the Democratic message" that the Tea Party movement will harm Republicans rather than Democrats in this year’s congressional elections. He further charged that the media are "playing into that Democratic message that these candidates are insane." Crawford:
Sometimes we're wrong when we listen too much to the Democratic message. That's the Democratic party message, that the Tea Party is bad for them [Republicans]. I think we should scrutinize that a bit more, be a little more skeptical of it. The other is that they're all crazy. And that's the trouble with focusing on all these statements and everything. We're playing into that Democratic message that these candidates are insane.
A bit earlier, after host Howard Kurtz observed that the media do not "respect" Tea Party candidates and "some of us seem to be looking down our noses at these insurgents," Crawford lamented: "Yeah, and I hate to see the mainstream media doing that because I certainly respect them and their politics. They have been very successful."
Howard Kurtz on Sunday smacked down liberal talk radio host Bill Press for saying the Park Service allowing Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" event at the Lincoln Memorial was like "granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11th at Ground Zero."
Towards the end of the opening segment of CNN's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz surprisingly brought up last Friday's disgraceful editing job by ABC's "Good Morning America" that Beck himself said was like something Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would have done.
When finished with this admonishment, Kurtz went right after Press who was seated directly in front of him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, during a discussion of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, after Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson recommended that the mosque be moved as a compromise, NPR’s Michel Martin – formerly of ABC News – compared relocating the mosque to similarly treating a Catholic church after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Even though McVeigh -- who described himself as "agnostic" despite his Catholic parents -- timed the bombing to coincide with the second anniversary of the Waco disaster to signal that he was motivated by revenge, Martin ridiculously responded: "Did anybody move a Catholic church? Did anybody move a Christian church after Timothy McVeigh – who adhered to a cultic, white supremacist cultic version of Christianity – bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma?"
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, August 22, Reliable Sources on CNN:
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Walsh responds, claims this isn't what she said!
Joan Walsh on Sunday said former USDA official Shirley Sherrod is allowed to say anything she wants about racism -- including calling Fox News and Andrew Breitbart racist -- because her father was killed by a white man.
Discussing last week's controversy on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Salon's Editor-in-Chief actually claimed, "The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses, and the white justice system never found the murderer guilty."
"She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to."
When Matt Lewis of Politics Daily asked incredulously, "Any way she wants to," the sparks began to fly (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS's Bob Schieffer on Sunday said the reason he didn't ask Attorney General Eric Holder about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case on last week's "Face the Nation" was because he didn't know about it.
Chatting with Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Schieffer said, "This all really became a story when the whistleblower came out and testified that he'd had to leave the Justice Department and so on. And, frankly, had I known about that, I would have asked the question."
"I was on vacation that week. This happened -- apparently, it got very little publicity. And, you know, I just didn't know about it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Howard Kurtz on Sunday used a Keith Olbermann tactic of selectively editing and cherry picking from a Rush Limbaugh radio transcript to make the conservative talk show host look racist.
In a "Reliable Sources" segment dealing with the embattled Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Kurtz played a highly-edited clip of statements Limbaugh made Tuesday about this issue.
Unfortunately, just as MSNBC's Olbermann did on his "Countdown" program, Kurtz never told his viewers that Limbaugh was referring specifically to comments that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker made on last Sunday's "This Week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
At this point, we all know the Dave Weigel saga, which is as a so-called blogger for The Washington Post, he made some disparaging remarks about the people he covered as a conservative beat blogger.
That eventually led to his resignation at the Post and he addressed it on CNN's July 4 "Reliable Sources." Weigel was asked by host Howard Kurtz if in this day and age it was "an uncomfortable fit" for someone to have a lot of opinions and still be a blogger. And according to Weigel, there was despite attacks from what he called "partisan anti-media groups."
"I think there's room for it. I mean, but I think it's going to be the source of a lot of attacks from, you know, partisan anti-media groups who just want to score points against mainstream media organizations," Weigel said. "So, people have to be ready for that. You have to be ready to defend your opinions."
Lara Logan, CBS’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, took to CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to accuse Michael Hastings, who was interviewed by Howard Kurtz in the preceding segment, of using subterfuge and Rolling Stone of pushing an agenda in their hit piece on General Stanley McChrystal, both of which unfairly tarnished McCrystal and will lead to more military wariness toward the journalists. Logan castigated Hastings:
The question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal's? Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.
As for Hastings’ insistence he didn’t break any “off the record” ground rules, Logan declared: “Something doesn't add up here. I just -- I don't believe it.”
The subterfuge really infuriated Logan: “What I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he's laid out there what his game is. That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do....Clearly, you've got someone who is making friends with you, pretending to be sympathetic, pretending to be something that they're not...”
Howard Kurtz on Sunday said most mainstream media outlets "really blew it this week" in how they reported North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge's attack on students.
"Most treated it as intriguing footage or a good gossip item, but the guy went bonkers when approached by two young men with a video camera," Kurtz said near the end of CNN's "Reliable Sources."
After playing the video of the incident, Kurtz surprisingly asked, "Remember how the media went nuts over that tape of Republican Senator George Allen using the word 'Macaca?'"
He continued, "By minimizing this footage of a Democratic congressman, most news organizations have enabled their critics to charge once again that they have a double standard" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It's one thing for a so-called journalist to claim media members in 2008 were all taken with the historical notion of electing the country's first black President, but it's quite another to say they were right in doing so.
Despite the seeming absurdity, this is exactly what the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the New Yorker magazine told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz Sunday.
During the "Reliable Sources" interview of David Remnick, Kurtz noted that in his new biography about Barack Obama, Remnick wrote, "[D]uring the campaign...Obama received generally adoring press coverage."
After giving a few examples, Kurtz asked, "What came over the press in 2007 and 2008 when it came to Barack Obama?"
Readers are likely to find some of Remnick's answer quite disturbing (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Howard Kurtz on Sunday said an inconvenient truth that few in his industry would care to admit: "Helen Thomas has been saying all kinds of questionable things in [the White House] press room for the past decade, but her colleagues, for the most part, had given her a pass until now."
This indeed is the real lesson behind last week's retirement of the nation's longest living member of the White House press corps: she for years was allowed by her colleagues to regularly get away with what most of them knew was unacceptable behavior.
Interesting that media members are learning this lesson only when one of their own falls from grace. The question is whether or not they'll recognize that they should always be scrutinizing each other's performance in order to maintain the integrity and professionalism key to an industry that is charged with policing government and the politicians that serve our very nation.
This seems especially important given how the same people now admitting they let Thomas get away with media malpractice ignored all journalistic standards during the last presidential campaign and have continued to do so since Barack Obama was inaugurated.
Consider that as you watch Kurtz and his panel discuss the Thomas affair on the opening segment of Sunday's "Reliable Sources" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary, full transcript at end of post):
It's turned into something of a week for TV hosts, if not to bite, then at least to nibble hard on the hands that feed them . . .
First, as noted here, on Friday Joe Scarborough passed along the comment of an unnamed conservative biggie who wondered "what the hell [Rand Paul] was doing on MSNBC?", where during an interview with Rachel Maddow he caused controversy with his comments on the Civil Rights Act.
Today, it was Howard Kurtz's turn. In the wake of Campbell Brown's withdrawal from CNN, in which she cited her show's poor ratings, Kurtz, host of Reliable Sources also on CNN wondered whether the network's business strategy of offering news in contrast to the opinion-oriented programming on Fox News and MSNBC is "viable." For good measure, Kurtz also managed to suggest that Brown, Connie Chung and Paula Zahn—all of whose CNN shows failed—weren't strong enough personalities to attract an audience during the 8 PM hour, up against the likes of O'Reilly and Olbermann. Ouch!
Howard Kurtz on Sunday actually asked if right-wing pundits are hoping for another successful terrorist attack against our nation in order to harm President Obama politically?
Potentially even worse, this disgraceful question was posed to a far-left leaning blogger who certainly was going to say "Yes."
Discussing the media's coverage of the Times Square car bomb attempt with his guests on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz asked if conservative commentators risk "looking a little churlish if they complain about a bomb that didn't go off?"
What ensued will likely make a lot of those commentators as well as NewsBusters readers quite upset (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A truly extraordinary thing happened on CNN Sunday: a mainstream media representative actually took Rush Limbaugh's side in a dispute with Bill Clinton.
As readers are likely aware, the conservative talk radio host and the former President exchanged words last week over who was to blame for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
"Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz broached this subject in Sunday's second segment eliciting a rather surprising response from Reuters' global editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland:
I have to say, on this one I'm on Rush Limbaugh's side...I'm not accusing Rush Limbaugh of being guilty of too much balance, but I do think blaming the media is a very weak thing for politicians and businesspeople to do. And I think we in the media should really be pretty, pretty careful before we agree with the criticism.
Not surprisingly, Salon's Joan Walsh didn't agree, and once again found herself alone in her perilously liberal views as the cameras were rolling (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Ana Marie Cox on Sunday compared the Tea Party movement to the anti-war women's group Code Pink.
Appearing on CNN's "Reliable Sources," the GQer formerly known as Wonkette wasn't at all bothered by Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans disrupting Karl Rove's book signing last week.
"It's not infringing on Karl Rove's right to speak to have someone else interrupt him."
She continued, "Code Pink was to Fox News, you know, what the Tea Partiers are to MSNBC now. I mean, Code Pink was the group that the Republicans and the GOP and Fox News wanted to have represent the Democratic Party" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):