On Friday’s Inside Washington on PBS, host Gordon Peterson used the term "free lunch" to mock Republicans who wish to avoid tax increases while trying to restrain the federal budget deficit. After panel member Jeanne Cummings of Politico predicted a tough fight in Congress over spending, Peterson turned the conversation to Washington Post columnist Colby King. Peterson: "Hold the line on taxes, attack the deficit. Can I offer you a free lunch, Colby?"
After King gave his predictions for the budget fight, Newsweek columnist Evan Thomas accused Republicans of "selling smoking and mirrors," and asserted that "they need to be held accountable by the press." He went on to dismiss the GOP desire to cut taxes. Thomas:
Republicans are going to be selling smoke and mirrors, and they need to be held accountable by the press. They’re gonna be talking about cutting spending, but not big entitlement programs, which is where all the money is. And cutting taxes, which you just cannot do and deal with our fiscal problems. I mean, I’m all for attacking big government, and the Tea Party’s not all wrong about that, but the way that they’re talking about doing it involves a lot of fiction.
The liberal press likes to scold what it sees as lapses in civil rhetoric, usually from conservatives who fail to properly respect the icons of the Left. But as documented by the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2010, the media elite itself lurched into some pretty uncivil rhetoric this year — especially when the targets were Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party and other conservatives.
On Monday’s Tavis Smiley show on PBS, during a discussion with author Robert Putnam to discuss his book American Grace, after Putnam recounted the central thesis that various religions in America - and even non-religious people - tend to tolerate each other well compared to other countries, host Smiley made known his view that tolerance is "decreasing" in America and cited attitudes toward Muslims as a recent example. Smiley:
I'm not so sure that our religiosity these days makes us as tolerant as we think we are. Witness, you know, any number of examples of late - namely, Muslims come to mind - about how our tolerance is, it seems to me, decreasing, not increasing.
Moments later, the PBS host brought up the negative views of America held by some as being a nation that is "arrogant," "elitist," "pompous," and "nationalistic." As he analyzed the book’s title by defining the word "grace" as being "unmerited favor," Smiley continued:
And if American grace is then an unmerited favor, I’m trying to juxtapose that grace with what some see as our increasing arrogance, our increasing elitism, how it is that we could be the beneficiaries of this unmerited favor, this grace, and yet, around the world, we don’t appear to be graceful to so many other people. They see us as arrogant, elitist pompous, and not even just patriotic, but increasingly nationalistic.
On Friday’s Inside Washington on PBS, during a discussion of President Obama’s failure to secure passage of the Dream Act in the Senate, after panel member Evan Thomas of Newsweek asserted that "stupid politics" was behind the bill’s defeat, host Gordon Peterson brought up a quip by humorist Jimmy Tingle that "if they all looked like Norwegians, there’d be no problem."
After introducing the segment with a clip of President Obama speaking favorably of the proposed law that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status and eventual citizenship if they go to college or into the military, host Peterson asked, "Why would you vote against that, Evan?"
Thomas blamed "stupid politics" and complained that the proposal is being "held hostage" by those who want to secure the border first. Thomas: "Stupid politics. I mean, there’s got to be immigration reform. It just hangs over all the head of this. We’ve got to reform, this is a small attempt to cure a small but real problem. But what hangs over it is the need to do a larger reform of the immigration system. We got to find some way to get better control of our borders, we do-"
Peterson interrupted to note that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had voiced an unwillingness to vote for "anything until the borders are secure," prompting Thomas to add, "But it’s held hostage."
After the Newsweek columnist recounted the country’s need for more immigrants who are highly skilled, Peterson brought up the Jimmy Tingle comment about Norwegians as he turned to liberal columnist and panel member Mark Shields. Peterson: "Jimmy Tingle said if they all looked like Norwegians, there’d be no problem, Mark."
Time's Joe Klein, ABC's Christiane Amanpour, and CBS's Lesley Stahl were just three journalists to see an outrageously biased quote of theirs land in the Best of Notable Quotables 2010.
A panel of 46 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers chose the winners, and our news analysts introduce them and a few others in this highlight lowlight reel put together by Media Research Center video producer Bob Parks:
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on Friday said the newly-elected Tea Party members in the House are going to get their hearts broken when they get to the nation's capital.
In her view, expressed on PBS's "The McLaughlin Group," this will happen "as they come up against all the forces in Washington, the same forces that Barack Obama came up against" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Charles Krauthammer on Friday made a humorous comparison between the Taliban's popularity in Afghanistan and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Cali.) approval rating in America that clearly riled Mark Shields.
So put off was Shields on PBS's "Inside Washington" that he not only took issue with Krauthammer's joke, but he also went after something conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said about Pelosi earlier in the week (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Gordon Peterson on Friday asked either a staggeringly ignorant or intentionally provocative question.
On the most recent installment of PBS's "Inside Washington," the host queried his guests, "Why is it constitutional to require Americans to buy automobile insurance but un-Constitutional to force them to buy health insurance?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Charles Krauthammer on Friday scolded Mark Shields and other liberals for "moaning and bitching" about the President's compromise tax plan after months of demanding the White House implement a second stimulus package.
After Shields on PBS's "Inside Washington" predictably criticized Obama for agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts on the so-called rich, Krauthammer marvelously struck back (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, columnist Charles Krauthammer described his role on the political panel show 'Inside Washington': "...it's a very liberal show....it's tag team wrestling in which I don't have a team. It's three on one which I think the odds are rather good that way – for me....we do this exercise every week and it's a good workout."
Host Bill O'Reilly brought up a recent discussion on the broadcast in which Krauthammer called out his liberal colleagues: "You were surrounded by a liberal panel and they were talking about Sarah Palin, which as you pointed out is their obsession, okay?" He then observed: "It was proof that, look, you know, you stack the deck, you're all a bunch of liberals and that's the way it is. I believe that's true and I think most of my viewership does, too." O'Reilly explained that Krauthammer was the sole "token conservative" on the show.
Charles Krauthammer on Friday tore into the liberal media for being obsessed with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
After Krauthammer scolded the "editorial judgment" of the producers of PBS's "Inside Washington" for week after week prominently displaying her as the "only representative of conservatism of any importance" in this nation, the Washington Post's Colby King proved his point (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift doesn't understand why Americans are uncomfortable with the new body scanners being used at some of the nation's airports.
Chatting about the subject on PBS's "McLaughlin Group," Clift sarcastically said, "Maybe we ought to worry about C-T x-rays and so forth - you never can tell when somebody might put that out" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist and PBS regular Mark Shields on Friday actually said on national television that he has never heard a Democratic leader or presidential candidate accuse former President George W. Bush of lying America into the Iraq War.
This was said in response to Charles Krauthammer telling his fellow "Inside Washington" panelists that this all too common media assertion is the "essential untruth of this decade" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNN's Dana Bash asked a great question on Tuesday: were Tina Fey's disgusting remarks about conservative women at the Mark Twain Awards "the first time that PBS has been accused of editing to favor Republicans?"
Almost as telling, CNN's Gloria Borger appearing with Bash on "John King USA" answered, "They edited out something Paul McCartney said that was offensive at one point to Republicans, so probably not" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
By the time PBS broadcast the taped ceremony, the taxpayer-subsidized network had edited out some of Fey's harsher jokes that maligned the former Alaska governor.
NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell appeared in studio on today's "Fox & Friends" to address the controversy, lauding PBS for doing the right thing by making those edits.
Bill Press this weekend said Barack Obama has created more jobs in the past 20 months than George W. Bush did in his entire eight years in office.
As readers will see from the actual data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press's comments made on the "McLaughlin Group" were so false it's laughable (video follows with transcript and commentary):
PBS's Mark Shields on Friday said Sarah Palin's decision to resign as the governor of Alaska is "like Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick."
This astonishingly came moments after he called Nancy Pelosi the most effective House Speaker in his lifetime on the most recent installment of "Inside Washington" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Nina Totenberg said Friday that she's very afraid of the upcoming elections.
Newsweek's Evan Thomas, her co-panelist on "Inside Washington," said historians might look upon November 2, 2010 "as kind of a joke...obviously the political system’s a mess" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday told PBS's Charlie Rose, "I believe that it would be very difficult for the Republicans to take over the House...I would rather be in our position right now than theirs."
So absurd were these comments that New York magazine posted a brief piece at its Daily Intel blog with the headline "Denial Is Just a River in Egypt to Nancy Pelosi" (partial video of Pelosi's moronic exchange with Rose follows with transcript and commentary):
Mark Shields on Friday accused the White House of making up the story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns.
Appearing on PBS's "Inside Washington," Shields said of the issue the Administration and many of their media minions have been harping on for over a week, "It was absolutely fallacious on their part. And they made it up, the White House did" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin seemed to misunderstand conservative complaints about judicial activism as he seemed to suggest that any court rulings that strike down legislative action could be considered part of judicial activism. The CNN analyst charged that the Supreme Court of the United States has recently engaged in "conservative judicial activism" in its enforcement of the First and Second Amendments.
Missing the point that "judicial activism" often involves a distortion of the Constitution's words to find legal precedent that does not exist, Toobin characterized recent decisions by a "very aggressive conservative wing" of the court as activism: "But what we have seen in recent years is conservative judicial activism, telling Congress you can't ban, you can't regulate campaign finance the way you thought, you can't – state legislatures, city councils – you can't impose gun control. So you have a very aggressive conservative wing of the party telling the democratically elected branches what to do."
Minutes earlier, he had described Chief Justice John Roberts as "very, very conservative."
Conservative commentator Monica Crowley and Newsweek's Eleanor Clift got into another heated debate on PBS's "McLaughlin Group" this weekend.
This time, the perilously liberal Clift claimed policy proposals set forth in the Republican "Pledge to America" were "extreme."
"They should have just stood aside and let [the upcoming elections] be a referendum on the Democrats," claimed Clift.
"This election is a referendum on progressivism," countered Crowley. "What Eleanor refers to as extreme politics, as extreme policies in the Pledge, we are talking about cutting taxes, limiting government, cutting the deficit."
This angered Clift who screeched, "Don't misquote me" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Think President Barack Obama has thin skin? How could one not, after the attacks on media personalities like Rush Limbaugh or his on-the-record comments about the liberal blogs and Fox News?
On PBS’s Oct. 2 broadcast of “Inside Washington,” NPR’s Nina Totenberg pointed out the left-wing blogosphere has been critical of Obama, yet she chalked it up as just being “whiny.” “Inside Washington” panelist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer responded, and pointed out the president’s “thin skin,” in the wake of his remarks about his cable channel in a recent Rolling Stone interview.
“You would think that the presidency is slightly higher than the left blogosphere, but it is not, and that is what the problems,” Krauthammer said. “The president has an unbelievably thin skin, left or right. His obsession with Fox is a good example of that.”
It’s one thing for the Obama administration to refuse to admit that throwing more than $800 billion in so-called “stimulus” at the recession hasn’t worked. But on Friday night’s Washington Week roundtable on PBS, New York Times national correspondent Jackie Calmes accepted the idea that “it’s too early to say” how Team Obama should be graded while unemployment remains high. That’s called charitable procrastination:
NANCY YOUSSEF, McCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: So how would you rank or rate the administration on its economic policy? Can you give it a rating this soon, or is it too early to say?
JACKIE CALMES, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it's too early to say when unemployment remains stuck at 9.5 percent. Most people think that -- most economists who aren't partisan think we will avoid a double-dip recession, but, and that the stimulus did work, but it, you know -- maybe should have been more of it, or better designed.
A few seconds earlier, Calmes complained that after the "stimulus" bill passed, “things worked so slowly that people still to this day think it was a failure”:
Charles Krauthammer on Friday had a heated debate with the Washington Post's Colby King over what the Tea Party stands for as well as who its leader is.
As the panel on PBS's "Inside Washington" discussed Delaware Republican senatorial nominee Christine O'Donnell's surprising victory Tuesday, the conversation naturally gravitated towards the conservative movement reshaping the face of politics.
"They [the Tea Party] have a litmus test that goes into being right to life, social conservative issues that they're strong on," said King.
Krauthammer pounced, "Look, I hate to say this, but I think that is completely wrong."
The battle was on (video follows with transcript and commentary):