As NBC’s Today reported from Chicago on Monday, they went a little overboard in playing up Hillary’s Chicago credentials – especially her Chicago Cub fan credentials. It’s a little odd for NBC to tout her as a Cub fan just a few weeks after NBC’s Tim Russert asked her in a September 26 debate who she would root for in a potential Cubs-Yankees World Series and she straddled: "I would probably have to alternate sides." The Russert exchange was omitted from the gooey story oozing that "Not since Abraham Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas have two Illinois homegrowns drawn so much attention."
Matt Lauer welcomed viewers to Chicago and strangely and inaccurately claimed Hillary is "these days" claiming Chicago as her home: "Welcome to a split edition of our show on this Monday morning from New York and Chicago. Of course they call this place the Windy City but it's not because of the weather, it's because some long-winded politicians. And these days two very prominent politicians are calling this place home, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that's made for some tough choices among the locals. NBC's Lee Cowan joins us now to find out if either of these people has a home-field advantage. Lee, good morning to you."
Last Sunday, NewsBusters introduced readers to Media Matters for America, the left-wing organization behind the recent smear campaigns against conservative personalities Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
In the days that followed, although news outlets and leading Democrats continued to reference articles written by this shadowy group, few details were offered about the organization behind them, and virtually nothing was shared concerning its founder, David Brock, who in a short period of time a decade ago remarkably went from a staunch enemy of the Clintons to one of their strongest supporters.
As National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote in Sunday's New York Post, "Brock was once a right-wing hatchet man, penning a book, ‘The Real Anita Hill,' and some articles in the American Spectator on the Clintons that for a time earned him considerable notoriety on the right and hatred on the left."
Despite the influence Media Matters currently has with the mainstream media, Brock's extraordinary political metamorphosis ten years ago, though obviously a journalist's dream, has received little recent attention from press representatives typically clamoring for such juicy dish (emphasis added throughout):
If Dems and Republicans are at odds over everything from Iraq to healthcare, there's one thing that has brought many of them together: shared criticism of the leading GOP presidential contenders for their decision to skip the recent debate moderated by Tavis Smiley, billed as oriented to the concerns of black Americans.
But beginning on yesterday's "Meet the Press" and continuing on today's "Morning Joe," Pat Buchanan has not hesitated to make a pragmatic political case in defense of the Republican candidates' decision. And alone, at least among pundits I've heard, he drew an interesting parallel to the venues the leading Dem candidate is skipping.
Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton appeared on all five Sunday morning interview shows, but not all raised two controversies of interest to conservatives and, even when they did, not all took a tough approach to her lack of condemnation of MoveOn.org's “General Betray Us” ad and the donations gathered for her by now-captured fugitive Norman Hsu. ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert brought up both matters -- though Stephanopoulos did so in the gentlest way -- CBS's Bob Schieffer asked about Hsu and not “Betray Us,” while Fox's Chris Wallace and CNN's Wolf Blitzer skipped Hsu but raised “Betray Us.”
No one pressed Clinton on how at the hearing with General Petraeus she said his report required “the willing suspension of disbelief.” Only Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, pointed out how Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution condemning the MoveOn ad: “Senator, you have refused to criticize the MoveOn.org ad about General Petraeus. And in fact, this week you voted against a Senate resolution denouncing it.” In contrast, on ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos presumed Clinton was disturbed by the ad as he asked: “Why not speak out earlier?” On the Hsu case, Stephanopoulos approached the issue from the concerns of other Democrats: “A lot of people look at this and say they're afraid they're going to go back to the days of 1996 when there were some campaign finance violations that many Democrats feel cost President Clinton a couple of points in the final days of the election. How do you assure them that's not going to happen again?” Only NBC's Russert, on Meet the Press, used Hsu to remind viewers of Johnny Chung's illegal 1996 donations to the Bill Clinton campaign.
As NewsBusters reported, the Senate voted Thursday to condemn MoveOn's "General Betray Us" ad, even though most Democrat presidential candidates including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) opposed the resolution.
With this in mind, it seemed logical that when Clinton was Tim Russert's guest on Sunday's "Meet the Press," and MoveOn's ad came up, the host would have asked the junior senator from New York about this vote, and why she opposed the amendment.
Amazingly, Russert never did.
In fact, as the following partial transcript of this part of the interview demonstrates, Russert not only let Clinton off the hook on this issue, but appeared to assist her in clarifying her point (video available here):
Ron Brownstein is a liberal. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.
On Sunday, the national affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a liberal notwithstanding, went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to discuss the just-announced imminent departure of Karl Rove from the White House.
Like many of the really disingenuous liberal shills in the media, Brownstein chose to ignore extremely pertinent facts as he disparaged the soon-to-be-former Administration member:
The left-wing AFL-CIO union labor and Human Rights Campaign gay rights forums with Democratic presidential candidates held last week “suggest to me that the Democratic base is really the middle American base now,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson declared on Sunday's Meet the Press. During the roundtable, Carlson, now a columnist for Bloomberg News and Washington Editor of The Week magazine, asserted that an “amendment to discriminate against gays” is not politically viable and “as the middle class feels in trouble, the labor position becomes a majority position.” She contended that “the person who won” the AFL-CIO “debate was the steel worker who stood up and said, 'I worked for 36 years and every morning I sit across from my wife, and I say' -- to the steel company -- 'why don't have I health care and why don't I have a pension?' They're bewildered by what happened.”
Folks that watched Sunday's "Meet the Press" debate between former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tennessee) and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas might have witnessed the final transformation of the Kossack leader from Netroots chief to Democrat Party operative.
Ignoring the actual lack of substance in the discussion, one thing was made impeccably clear: Markos is now fully ensconced in today's Democrat Party, while Ford and his centrist DLC are persona non grata.
By no means does that validate Moulitsas' absurd claims that Kossacks and Netroots members represent the center of American politics as reported here and here. However, the inanities and hypocrisies uttered by Moulitsas Sunday could easily have been stated with a straight face by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
For instance, read the following nonsensical assertion made by Markos if you have the stomach for it, and ask yourself how many of the current Democrat leaders and presidential candidates could have said the exact same thing (video available here):
After the press spent last weekend gushing over liberal bloggers with nothing but glowing coverage of the YearlyKos convention in Chicago, the media's fascination with the Netroots continued with reckless abandon this weekend.
On Saturday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, to be followed by a debate on Sunday's "Meet the Press" between the head Kossack and the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Harold Ford, Jr.
Are media recognizing the power of the Netroots, or just trying to assist their efforts to move the Democrat Party further and further to the left?
Regardless of the answer, Moulitsas continued to posit in the Post the same absurd assertion from his keynote address last weekend that he and his ilk represent the center of American politics (emphasis added):
The Clinton campaign's attempt to raise money off a Washington Post fashion report on her cleavage drew a very odd sports comparison from CNBC/Wall Street Journal pundit John Harwood on Sunday's Meet the Press: "for her to argue that she was not aware of what she was communicating by her dress is like Barry Bonds saying he thought he was rubbing down with flaxseed oil, okay?" NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell played her usual role of Hillary defender, saying "This was so marginal. This was microscopic evidence of...inappropriate attire." She told Harwood "Sometimes a blouse is just a blouse." Mitchell also claimed it could be a political plus" if Hillary "can connect with women and say, 'You see what we have to put up with? This is the way they trivialize us,' it helps her on—in just about every level."
Four years ago, syndicated columnist Bob Novak wrote an article about a man few Americans had ever heard of that included information about this man’s wife who also was practically an unknown entity.
This set off a media firestorm, and, given that the president at the time was a Republican, included the usual misinformation from the usual suspects.
Four years later, regardless of no one actually being charged with the crime of outing a CIA operative, or a special prosecutor not concluding that the wife in question actually was outed, the media, hell-bent on destroying a Republican president, refuse to report the truth.
Might this change given Novak’s appearance on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” wherein he once again addressed details surrounding this scandal that seem impossible to penetrate the mental block the press have created regarding this matter (video available here, partial transcript follows, h/t Hot Air)?
On June 3, NBC’s “Meet the Press” marvelously demonstrated how wonderful a panel discussion can be when there are an equal number of liberal and conservative pundits present as reported by NewsBusters here.
Three weeks later, host Tim Russert stocked his panel exclusively with liberals: David Broder of The Washington Post, John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal and CNBC, Gwen Ifill of PBS’ Washington Week, and syndicated columnist Roger Simon.
As a result of there not being one conservative present, the discussion was the usual twenty minutes of Bush-bashing, Hillary sycophancy, and attacks on all politicians with an “R” next to their names.
In fact, the liberal bias this Sunday morning came early and often immediately after Russert’s first question: (video available here with relevant segment beginning at minute 22:45):
Something interesting is happening between the new and old media: the more Democrats move to the left to please liberal bloggers, the more mainstream press members express disdain.
On Wednesday, following in the footsteps of the Washington Post’s David Broder and Time’s Joe Klein, and just days before Democrat strategist Bob Beckel, NBC’s Tim Russert jumped on the “Netroots Are A Danger to Democrats” bandwagon.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” Russert seemed incredibly at ease with both co-hosts as he made statements that had to shock conservative and liberal viewers alike.
In April, NewsBusters commended HBO for actually having a balanced panel on “Real Time”: “Maher ought to try this format of having two liberals (including himself) and two conservatives more often, for a much more balanced discussion ensued than normal, making for one of the most interesting 'Real Times' of the season so far.”
For a change, Tim Russert employed the same strategy on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” inviting on Democrat strategists James Carville and Bob Shrum, and Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy.
What ensued was an absolutely marvelous discussion largely centering on presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle without the normal vitriol and inflammatory rhetoric we observe when there are either only liberals on the panel or a sole conservative.
The Today show’s very belated attack on Rush Limbaugh on Monday, complete with Hillary’s minions comparing the hilarious Al Sharpton parody to a "minstrel show" (complete with blackface film clip), reminds me: how did NBC cover the last blackface controversy? That would be leftist blogger Jane Hamsher Photo-shopping Joe Lieberman in blackface on The Huffington Post last August 2 as she claimed he was an "integral part of the GOP’s bully machine for the last six years."
NBC didn’t. A Nexis search for terms like "minstrel show" and "blackface" found no mention of the blogger who stepped over the line. On the August 6 edition of Meet the Press, in a segment featuring Lanny Davis for Lieberman and Jim (brother of Howard) Dean for Ned Lamont, host Tim Russert ended with a very weak tip to the bloggers in that race:
Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
That truth is even more painful for the increasing number of people who fall into a separate tax structure called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Those qualified for the AMT face a flat tax rate of as much as 28 percent.
Lately, a number of politicians have been crying out for AMT reform to save the middle-class, but the media has a faulty memory when it comes to who is responsible for the AMT monster.
“House Democratic leaders, in an effort to upstage Republicans on the issue of tax cuts, are preparing legislation that would permanently shield all but the very richest taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax,” reported The New York Times on April 9. “Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul,” was the headline.
Former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel was one of Tim Russert’s guests on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” As amazing as it might seem, he made some truly shocking and compelling statements about the Iraq war and the war on terror that virtually no Democrat or media member is willing to accept or report:
First, Koppel made it clear that America’s premature departure from Iraq would turn the entire Persian Gulf region into a battlefield between Sunnis and Shia, “something the United States cannot allow to happen”
Second, he said the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the war on terror that “has been going on for the past 24 years” starting when “the precursors of Hezbollah blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon” in 1983
Finally, he stated that America’s departure from Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of when it occurs, will not represent the end of this battle, but, instead, that it is just “going to be a different war” after that point.
Meredith Vieira was in a light-hearted mood at the top of this morning's "Today," joshing with substitute co-host Ann Curry about the estrogen on the set and kiddingly offering to leave her husband for the winner of the Mega Millions lottery. But we shouldn't have let the idle chatter fool us. When it came to discussing the repercussions of the Libby conviction, Meredith's leopard-skin blouse should have been a clue -- because she pounced.
Discussing the trial with NBC host-turned-star-prosecution-witness Tim Russert [file photo], Meredith displayed and read this quotation from Republican strategist [and former Dole campaign manager] Scott Reed that appeared in a New York Timesarticle this morning:
“The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney. It’s hurt him inside the administration. It’s hurt him with the Congress, and it’s hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate.”
Vieira then asked Russert: "Is this the beginning of the end, do you believe, for the Vice President?"
It's a bit early for a Passover Seder, but Tim Russert recited his own version of the Four Questions on this morning's Meet the Press. Not once, not twice, but four times Russert put questions to Jack Murtha clearly designed to provoke the anti-war congressman into taking a verbal swing at Vice-President Cheney. Murtha refused to rise to his host's bait. Russert began by displaying Mr. Cheney's recent statement [displayed below]. Palpably fishing for an irate, headline-grabbing response, he put this provoking question to Murtha:
"How does it feel to be linked with Al-Qaeda by the Vice-President?"
When it came time to pass an anti-war resolution, the Democrats were no better than a bunch of timid pre-teens on Halloween. That was the view Matt Lauer expressed in a colloquy with Tim Russert on this morning's "Today."
Lauer: "The Democrats in the Senate failed to pass this vote so they could even debate this Iraq strategy and there's even some who are talking about possibly bringing up the idea of revoking the 2002 authorization to go to war. If they can't pass a kind of symbolic vote, how do they ever have the kind of strength to do something more serious?"
Russert agreed that "it's going to be very difficult."
Matt wasn't done: "Looking at what happened in the House . . . over the weekend, basically the House did pass this resolution saying they oppose the surge in troops, but put yourself in the position of Joe and Mary Smith, living somewhere across this country right now, and you've watched these politicians for more than a month talk about passing a symbolic vote. Does it amount to little more than them ringing someone's doorbell and running away?"
The trial of Scooter Libby is providing some pretty revealing insight into the mindset of the Washington press. This Sunday's Meet the Press featured an unabashed series of self-glorifications that make it no wonder the general public is turning elsewhere to get its news. The pedestal that the press places itself upon has grown so high now that they appear to believe themselves, at last, above the law. Tim Russert’s disastrous dance with Libby attorney Theodore Wells last week left him gun-shy enough to allow Howard Kurtz to frame the discussion. Kurtz began by expressing sympathy for Russert’s position on the witness stand, describing Russert as ‘cautious, hesitant, as anybody would be.’ There was no criticism of Russert’s failed memory, no suggestion of the responsibility of a journalist whose statements may end up sending a man to prison. Instead, Kurtz chastised those outside the beltway that have become deluded with the idea that the Washington press is in fact part of the political game:
"And I think that the people out there who don’t follow this all that closely think that we have become part of the club, too much the insiders. And that is a problem for journalism."
Listen closely to what Kurtz doesn’t say- he doesn’t say that becoming ‘part of the club’ is a problem for journalism. He says that the misconception on the part of those out of the loop that journalists have become part of the club is a problem for journalism. So apparently all they have to do is let us all know the truth, and the problem disappears. Precise work from the author of a book called Spin Cycle.
It is a common maxim that sometimes those who most loudly decry a sin are in fact the most guilty of it. The trial of Scooter Libby has become a troubling affirmation of that maxim, at least from my vantage point in the media room at the Prettyman Courthouse.
The Washington press has been giddy since the name Joe Wilson was first thrust into the limelight by the tag-team of the New York Times opinion page and NBC's Meet the Press. This week's court proceedings reminded us how invested Big Media has been in the prosecution of White House staff over Wilson's now-debunked claims. Consider this excerpt provided by Libby's defense from an appearance by NBC's Tim Russert on the Don Imus show:
"It was like Christmas here last night," describing the anticipation of indictments coming down over the leak case. "Santa Claus is coming. Surprises! What's going to be under the tree?"
Not that there was ever much doubt where Tim Russert aligns, but it was nice to get concrete confirmation on today's Meet the Press. Grilling John Edwards over his vote to authorize the war and his expression of support for it as late as 2004, Russert pointed out that Obama had staked out a firmly anti-Iraq war position before the conflict began.
Russert displayed a two-part graphic of Obama's 2002 statement, which concluded with the words: "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
Russert then shot at Edwards: "His judgment was on the money."
Sparks flew on the set of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, after Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole observed about Iraq, “It’s almost as if the Democrats, you know, it’s like they’re content with losing because to pull out, to withdraw from this war is losing. No question about it.”
Both moderator Tim Russert and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel immediately berated Dole for her statement, but this morning a liberal Boston Globe columnist reveals the real Democratic mindset on Iraq, suggesting the U.S. must “accept defeat” in Iraq.
Dole made her comment about 40 minutes into the hour-long debate between the GOP senatorial and congressional campaign committee chairman and their Democratic counterparts. After Russert brought up a Vanity Fair article quoting some Iraq war supporters as criticizing the way the war has been handled, Dole responded by going after the Democrats’ position of withdrawing troops regardless of whether their mission has been accomplished.
On this morning's Meet The Press, Tim Russert tried to pass off the editorial in the "Army Times" and sister publications calling for Donald Rumsfeld's noggin as having some special significance. RNCC Chairman Tom Reynolds didn't let him get away with it. Reynolds exposed those so-called "military newspapers" as nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today.
Russert flashed the panel of the editorial shown here, and asked Reynolds:
Viewers of the Maryland Senate debate between Michael Steele and Ben Cardin on Sunday's "Meet the Press" might not have been surprised that the soundbite that "Today" plucked out the next day was the one showing the Republican being pressed about being a Bush-lover. But wait: did Tim Russert balance out that line of questioning with asking Cardin about his fervent support for Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or even Barbara Mikulski? Why, no. Two weeks ago in a Minnesota Senate debate, Russert caused Republican Mark Kennedy to distance himself from Bush, then pressed Democrat Amy Klobuchar to distance herself from Hillary Clinton. That balance didn't occur yesterday. Here's the snippet of Russert that Meredith Vieira offered Monday:
(AP) London, March 2, 1867: Karl Marx, a rising star among centrist economists, announced today the publication of the first volume of his treatise, 'Das Kapital'.
OK, perhaps I exaggerate a tad. But is there any man of the left that the MSM is unwilling to cast as a "centrist" or moderate, particularly when he is seen as a potential Democratic presidential nominee?
The Associated Press offers a perfect case in point this evening. This article reports Barack Obama's acknowledgement on today's Meet The Press that, earlier protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, he is indeed contemplating a run for the presidency. Writes the AP:
"In recent weeks, his political stock has been rising as a potentially viable centrist candidate for president." [emphasis added]
These days, it is almost as telling what little gems media organizations choose to hide from the public about their own polls as what they share. The release of the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is a fine example. As NewsBusters reported, the good folks at the “Today” show on Thursday seemed quite giddy over numbers that suggest the Republicans are in a lot of trouble in the upcoming midterm elections. However, as is typical, what wasn’t shared from this study conceivably gives a different picture.
For example, as is typical these days, news organizations don’t like to share the political affiliations of those questioned. Certainly, you can’t blame them, for this might give the public some pause to trust the veracity of the data. This instance was no exception, for those that were either “strong Democrat,” “Not very strong Democrat,” or “Independent/lean Democrat” totaled 43 percent of the respondents. The tally for “Strong Republican,” “Not very strong Republican,” and “Independent/lean Republican” was only 37 percent. As such, 16 percent more Democrats or those who leaned Democrat were polled versus Republicans and those who leaned Republican. Color me not surprised.