CNN contributor and Democrat extraordinaire Paul Begala's Bush Derangement Syndrome got the better of him during a panel discussion on Tuesday's AC360 (as Mary Matalin correctly pointed out later in the segment) when he compared Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal's lie about serving in Vietnam to Condoleezza Rice's 2004 gaffe where she called former President Bush "my husband" [audio available here].
Thirty-one minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, anchor Anderson Cooper asked Begala about Blumenthal's statement earlier on Tuesday where he claimed he "misspoke" his false claim about serving during the Vietnam War: "I think only politicians use that word 'misspoke.' Other people call it a lie or just a mistake. But he says he accepts responsibility for misspeaking. What do you make of that?"
The CNN political contributor's answer started out in a reasonable manner, but soon descended into the bizarre, to use his own word. Cooper even expressed his utter surprise that Begala had somehow fit the Bush administration into his answer (the rest of the panel erupted in laughter at Cooper's retort, and obviously at Begala's expense).
CNN founder Ted Turner, who thinks Christianity is a "religion for losers," apparently believes that the Gulf oil spill could actually be God sending us a message that drilling for oil is bad. Will media liberals read him the riot act as they have Sarah Palin for making similar claims?
"I'm just wondering if God's telling us he doesn't want us to drill offshore," Turner told a CNN interviewer. Recent coal mine disasters, Turner said, may also be signs that "the Lord's tired of having the mountains of West Virginia -- the tops knocked of of 'em so they can get more coal. Maybe we ought to just leave the coal in the ground and just use solar and wind power."
So far the legacy media have been completely silent on Turner's claims (shown in a video below the fold), in stark contrast to Sarah Palin's statement that the construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline was God's will.
[Update, 6:06 pm Eastern: CNN ran a slanted commercial promoting Tuchman's report on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday afternoon, touting how then-Cardinal Ratzinger apparently "resisted" Bishop Cummins's requests to expel the abuser from the priesthood. (see video at right).]
CNN's Gary Tuchman revisited a three-week-old story on a priest abuse case in California during a segment on Monday's AC360, and did his best to cast Pope Benedict XVI's handling of the priest's removal from priestly life (laicization), when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, in the worst light possible. Tuchman omitted key details about the case which clarify the then-cardinal's conduct in handling it.
Anchor Anderson Cooper gave a slanted introduction to the correspondent's report, which aired 46 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour: "Protecting predator priests instead of their prey- that is at the center of the growing sex scandal rocking the Catholic Church. And as we've been reporting, questions surrounded Pope Benedict XVI...Well, tonight, an accusation from survivors of abuse in California, that the future pope delayed the removal of a pedophile priest, and as you'll see if in our '360' investigation, the most damaging evidence may have been put in writing."
On April 13, at a dog-and-pony show with advertisers, CNN's Jim Walton told participants: "We are the only credible, non partisan voice left, and that matters." True comedy gold.
An accurate offer by Walton to the attending advertisers, in a variation on an old Soviet joke about the wonders of their communist system ("We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us"), might have gone likes this: "We can pretend to do journalism, and you can pretend we have an audience."
It's gotten so bad that CNN's supposedly weak sister Headline News is routinely walloping it during prime time. Here's how the latest three available days as reported at Media Bistro (April 20, April 21 and April 22) turned out (all figures in thousands):
Stuart Elliott of the New York Times's Media Decoder blog reported on Tuesday that CNN, a network known for its consistent liberal bias, is now incredibly touting itself as "the only credible, nonpartisan voice left" on cable television. Elliott noted that this spin was being pitched by the network at a Tuesday morning event for advertisers at the Time Warner Center in New York City.
The New York Times writer highlighted the meeting hosted by CNN executives, and their overall strategy: "In a presentation to advertisers and agencies on Tuesday morning, executives of CNN indicated how they plan to counter the growing ratings of — and buzz about — the rival Fox News Channel: play up their channel’s identity as an objective source of news." Elliott quoted Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, as using the "credible, nonpartisan voice" phrase, and tried to put the face on his network's poor ratings during the first quarter of 2010: "[Walton and CNN executive vice president Greg D'Alba] alluded to the recent spate of news articles about CNN’s poor ratings...as Fox News...and MSNBC...stay ahead of CNN in prime time. Mr. Walton referred lightly to 'all the great coverage we’ve had' and Mr. D’Alba said that “there’s no way” the complete story was being told about CNN’s performance."
Painting conservatives as racists is a favorite pastime of the mainstream media and a recent move by Republican Virginia governor Bob McDonnell gave them more ammunition to do just that.
McDonnell issued a proclamation on April 2 stating April would be Confederate History Month, but failed to note the role slavery played in the U.S. Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865. Commentators and journalists seized upon McDonnell's omission as proof that conservatives are inherent racists, despite an apology and later inclusion in the proclamation of a strong statement condemning slavery.
In his apology, McDonnell called slavery an "abomination" and explained that the proclamation was "solely intended to promote the study of our history, encourage tourism in our state in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and recognize Virginia's unique role in the story of America."
These allegations of racism against conservatives have percolated in the media since Barack Obama's election in 2008. "Confederate" or "Confederacy" has been used 60 times in news reports on ABC, CBS and NBC since November 4, 2008, but it's this proclamation, coupled with the anger over the recently passed health care reform, that had some in the media wondering if conservatives were ready to wage Civil War Redux.
The "obesity epidemic" is the fault of poor individual choices and sedentary lifestyles, but in the news, blame typically falls on companies, rather than on the individual. CNN has attacked grocer stores, restaurants and food manufacturers for creating supposedly "addictive" products and in story after story called for more food regulations, taxes or other intervention.
CNN's hearty appetite for food control has gone on for years. They've waged a war on obesity all while promoting government meddling like higher taxes on drinks made with "cheap" corn syrup to fight the "obesity epidemic," health zoning prohibiting fast food restaurants from South L.A. and trans-fat bans just for starters. CNN even criticized supermarkets for wanting customers to buy products from them, back in 2006.
CNN's ratings woes continue. The cable news network trails its three competitors in every prime time slot. The Fox News Channel, meanwhile, is enjoying record ratings.
Even Joy Behar, HLN's pseudo-newscaster at the 9 pm slot, beat CNN's Larry King Live 21 times during the first quarter of 2010. King suffered the worst ratings of his CNN career.
Anderson Cooper, who used to rely on King's historically impressive viewership for a ratings boost of his own, dropped 42 percent of his viewers. All this despite his coverage of major news events this year such as the Haiti earthquake and the health care battle on the Hill.
CNN's Anderson Cooper brought on anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor on his program on Friday to discuss the Church sex scandal. Unsurprisingly, O'Connor, who infamously tore up a picture of then-Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992, has engaged in lesbian relationships, and went on to be "ordained" in a schismatic dissident church, spent much of the interview blasting Pope Benedict XVI.
The anchor aired the first part of his interview with O'Connor 15 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. Cooper never brought up the celebrity's open dissent with Church teaching and practice during the interview, and only referred to her as a "singer." In his first question to his guest, he referenced her recent Washington Post column (in it, she actually urged her fellow Irish to stop attending Mass, but Cooper never raised this controversial proposal): "Sinead, in The Washington Post, you talk about this letter of apology that Pope Benedict wrote to the people of Ireland, and you say the letter is an insult to the people of Ireland. Why?"
You really have to wonder what was running through Vice President Joe Biden's head when he leaned toward President Barack Obama and said "this is a big f**cking deal." Did Biden think that after nearly a year of campaigning for health care reform he was alerting Obama to something new?
But Biden isn't the first vice president to allow an expletive slip in a public forum in this day and age of a geared up media apparatus. Back in 2004, then-Vice President Dick Cheney let the F-bomb slip in remarks he made to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., over political disagreement between the two.
CNN went into full tilt in promoting its upcoming pro-gender "reassignment" documentary "Her Name Was Steven" with Anderson Cooper's interview of Chastity "Chaz" Bono, the daughter of Sonny Bono and Cher, on his AC360 program on Thursday. Cooper very sympathetically interviewed Bono, and threw softball questions, even going so far as to ask, "How do you like shaving?"
The anchor heralded the "extraordinary transformation" of his guest at the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour, and noted that "in a rare interview, he [Bono] talks about life as a man and the journey he's still undergoing." Prior to the first segment of the interview at the bottom of the hour, Cooper aired a report from CNN's Gary Tuchman on "how Chastity became Chaz." The correspondent confused the English language to the point of referring to Bono with a male possessive pronoun at the beginning of a sentence, and then referring Bono as "she" within the same breath.
Liberal publisher Arianna Huffington on Tuesday expressed sympathy for Fox News host Glenn Beck.
Appearing on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" to talk about Beck's bizarre interview with Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) earlier in the day, Huffington said, "And, to his credit, Glenn Beck...apologized to his audience for wasting an hour of their time."
She surprisingly continued, "I never thought anything would make me feel sympathetic towards Glenn Beck, but having to interview Eric Massa for an entire hour make -- made me really feel for him" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):
This will certainly be mulled over by the talking heads in the mainstream media for days to come.
At her 2010 Conservative Political Action Committee speech on Feb. 20, conservative author and commentator took the usual shots at the former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, but she also let it be known that the she's not a fan of the mainstream media. And she showed how the media totally missed it with the future of the GOP.
"What a difference a year makes," Coulter said. "This time last year, the Republican Party, according to the media - it was finished, dead," Coulter said. "It was the beginning of the Democrat's thousand-year reich."
Ordinarily, one wouldn't take much notice of a gallon jug losing only a drop or two of water a day. But if you came back a year later and saw it half-empty, that would get your attention.
Such is the case with the steep ratings declines at CNN and MSNBC. A year ago, they already trailed Fox News badly -- so badly that Fox's audience in a given hour of prime time was sometimes greater than CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News (HLN) combined.
CNN analyst Paul Begala stuck to his Democrat guns, or elbows on Tuesday night's Anderson Cooper 360. He urged Obama to keep pushing a liberal agenda and challenge Scott Brown: "Let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop." Brown made a pledge to get along and work together, and Begala said lay him out:
BEGALA: The one thing I might counsel them, though, if I was still working there, would be, you know, you show your character in defeat sometimes a lot more than you do in victory. And this is a moment, I think, perhaps the president can show his character. Does he really believe in this stuff, or does he just sort of folds his tent and go home? Watching him in the campaign, I think there's a lot more steel in that spine than perhaps Mr. Obama's critics think.
I saw senator-elect Brown saying he wants to play basketball with the president. The first thing I thought of it, yes, good, and let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop. Barack Obama is going to have to shift into a much more tough-minded fighting mode there as a populist mode. If he wants to sort of answer this very strident [Brown] speech we saw...
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Jessica Yellin spun the rise of Republican candidate Scott Brown as coming from “folks here in Massachusetts [who] are feeling angry and scared. They’re angry and scared about the economy, about jobs...and especially in this state, about health-care reform....[Brown] has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, reporting on location from Haiti, brought on Yellin 41 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program to discuss the potential effect of the Massachusetts special election on the Democrats’ push for ObamaCare. He addressed the liberal conventional wisdom on the senate race in his first question to the CNN national political correspondent: “Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you’d assume she’d win that with a walk. What’s happened?”
Yellin pinpointed the apparent cause of Martha Coakley’s (the “well-known, well-funded Democrat”) difficulty as coming from voter discontent:
On Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper extensively questioned authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about their new book “Game Change” on subjects other than Sarah Palin, unlike his earlier interview of the writers on 60 Minutes. Most of the two segments from the interview dealt with Bill and Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2008 presidential election and in the Obama transition.
During the first segment, which began 20 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, Cooper only briefly touched on Senator Harry Reid’s “Negro dialect” comment about President Obama, asking one question on the topic. For the remaining five minutes of the segment, and for the additional five minutes of the second segment, the CNN anchor questioned Halperin and Heilemann about several episodes involving the Clintons during the Democratic presidential primary race, and about Obama choosing Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state. These ten minutes on his CNN program is practically the same amount of time Cooper devoted to the subject of Sarah Palin during his 60 Minutes interview of the authors.
Cooper revisited the race issue when he raised the subject of Bill Clinton’s “coffee remark” to Ted Kennedy about then Senator Obama during the second segment minutes later:
On New Year’s Eve, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 assessed the Best and Worst of 2009 with correspondent Tom Foreman (formerly of ABC). There were some conservative voices (Leslie Sanchez, Ben Stein) to balance out snarky liberals (Joy Behar, Time’s Rob Stein), but when you looked at the actual best and worst declarations about politics, Foreman wasn’t exactly matching CNN’s claims to walk the news down the middle:
Worst lack of awesomeness: the battle over health care reform.
Worst cheap shot: Rep. Joe Wilson’s "You lie!"
Best political theater: town hall meetings "where insults were traded like baseball cards."
Best bus tour: big crowds at Tea Parties.
Best laugh: for President Obama, who still has a health bill on the table.
Best pick by the president: Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Worst photo-op: the party-crashing Salahis.
Best power couple: Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Worst retreat: Sarah Palin resigned as Governor.
Best counterattack: Palin’s best-selling book. "Facts? Who needs them?"
Despite last year's oral-sex-insult fiasco, left-wing comedienne Kathy Griffin is co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper again in 2009. On Wednesday night's Anderson Cooper 360, Griffin joked to CNN anchor Erica Hill: "This year, there's a stipulation in my contract, which I'm almost sure is not in yours or Wolf's or Jack Cafferty's, which is if I cuss like I did last year, by accident, I -- I have to write the [pay] check back."
Griffin stood out for calling Carrie Prejean a "moron" for opposing gay marriage, and then displayed her own lack of intelligence by suggesting current FBI director Robert Mueller was actually head of the CIA. Oops. Is that close enough when grading on the celebrity curve? Here's the first half:
ERICA HILL: But what I really need to know, speaking of guys, whose team are you on, looking back at 2009? Are you Team Larry King or Team Carrie Prejean?
CNN’s David Gergen played up the difficulties that President Obama has faced on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360, underscored the importance of the coming week for the executive, and compared him to an iconic movie damsel in distress: “For a president who’s had more trials than anybody I can remember in a long time, sort of ‘The Perils of Pauline’ all year, this has become a climactic week for his presidency.”
Host Anderson Cooper brought on the senior political analyst to comment on the latest development on the health care debate, the Obama presidency in his first months, and the President’s upcoming trip to the UN’s climate change conference in Copenhagen. Cooper first asked Gergen about the potential for congressional liberals to turn against the proposed health care “reform” bill if the Obama administration cuts a deal with Senator Joe Lieberman over his objections to a Medicare “buy-in” for people 55 and older: “So, David, dropping the Medicare buy-in, could we be seeing- I mean, a liberal revolt in the wake of this? Because, I mean, a lot of people haven’t been following the minutia of this, but, basically, that idea of expanding Medicare to 55 and above, that was all for liberals, who were angered over the public option being dropped out.”
Anderson Cooper reused a segment from CNN’s 2007 special “Planet in Peril” on his program on Tuesday, where he traveled to Greenland with a climate scientist to visit a melting glacier. The same scientist, who believes in manmade global warming, also appeared live with Cooper, and dismissed the ClimateGate scandal. The CNN anchor did not have any skeptics of manmade climate change on his program.
Cooper preceded his replay of his glacier report (which came 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour) with news briefs about the latest developments on the climate change debate: “Late word tonight that Sarah Palin is now calling for President Obama to boycott the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. In an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, Palin says the leaked e-mails from a leading climate research group call into question the proposals being pushed at the two-week conference. Meantime, a U.N. weather agency made news today at the meeting when it said the current decade will likely be the warmest on record, and 2009 will probably be the fifth hottest year.”
Though none of this who appeared during the two-year-old segment- Cooper, Jeff Corwin of the Animal Planet cable network, or the climate scientist, Dr. Conrad Steffen of the University of Colorado- explicitly mentioned the manmade component of the ice melting, Dr. Steffen played up the most dire predictions of sea level rise:
On Friday night's Anderson Cooper 360, the CNN anchor tried hard to spin bad polling news for Obama. "In the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll, 48 percent, less than half, said they approve of President Obama's performance, while 50 percent disapprove. The question is, how significant is this shift? Some folks will say, 'Look, it's just one poll.'"
But any White House would shudder at the tumble. CNN's poll on November 13-15 was 55-42 approve, and just three weeks later, it's 48 to 50. On Friday, NBC's Chuck Todd observed on Twitter, "CNN's poll had consistently shown the president with a slightly higher approval rating than either the Gallup, Pew or NBC/WSJ surveys."
Cooper brought in analyst David Gergen to explore whether this kind of tumble has been a historic problem for presidents. They puzzled over the biggest collapse, among non-college educated whites, guessing that's about the economy, not war.
COOPER: So it's not so much about Afghanistan, which was obviously a big story this week, and liberal Democrat dissatisfaction with him sending in more troops. It's really about money, the bad situation a lot of folks are still in?
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin fretted in a column in the November 23, 2009 edition of The New Yorker that “abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized,” and even turned his ire on some in his left-wing camp, including President Obama. He accused “many modern pro-choice Democrats,” including the President, of ceding “the moral high ground” to pro-lifers.
Toobin began his “Not Covered” column by outlining the history of abortion, particularly in the U.S.: “Abortion is almost as old as childbirth. There has always been a need for some women to end their pregnancies. In modern times, the law’s attitude toward that need has varied....Throughout this long legal history, the one constant has been that women have continued to have abortions.” The analyst continued with his lament that the legalized murder of an unborn child isn’t more accepted, given the “constant” he had outlined: “It might be assumed that such a common procedure would be included in a nation’s plan to protect the health of its citizens. In fact, the story of abortion during the past decade has been its separation from other medical services available to women. Abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized.”
CNN’s Roland Martin picked up where Anderson Cooper left off on Monday’s AC360, claiming that there’s “the beginnings of a civil war” in the GOP and that Tea Party protesters “want to radicalize the right” in the party. Martin also claimed that the Democrats are more of a “big tent” than Republicans: “You have a Democratic Party that has no problem having liberal...moderate...and conservative Democrats.”
The liberal political contributor appeared with Tea Party Express’s Mark Williams for two segments starting three minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. Cooper first sought Martin’s take on the New York 23rd congressional district race. Unsurprisingly, he forwarded the Chris Matthews/mainstream media spin on the contest: “There is no doubt you are seeing the beginnings of a civil war play out, in terms of folks who are saying that we do not want moderates, in terms of being involved in this party.”
Later in the segment, after Williams highlighted how Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava endorsed Democrat Bill Owens after she withdrew from the New York 23 race, Martin struck back with his “big tent” claim about the Democrats: “You talk about endorsing a Democrat. I’m sure Mark has no problem with former Democrat Joe Lieberman saying he’s going to campaign for Republican candidates....You have a Democratic Party that has no problem having liberal Democrats, moderate Democrats, and conservative Democrats. What Republicans are saying is, we don’t want any liberal or moderate Republicans. We only want conservative Republicans, and you cannot expand a party nationally only having just conservative Republicans. You’re not going to win long-term.”
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Anderson Cooper forwarded the media’s new talking point about the New York 23 congressional race, that “Tea Party protesters and other conservative voices are...driving moderates out of the GOP.” Correspondent Tom Foreman continued on this note, stating that “angry conservatives...[are] forcing the party to choose between...its base and attracting more moderate Americans.”
Cooper led the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program with the question, “Does the Republican Party have room for moderates?” The anchor outlined that “state and local elections tomorrow may have profound national effects, and President Obama and Sarah Palin are a big part of it. Two governor’s races may test the President’s ability to get others elected or turn into a referendum on his presidency.” He continued with the media’s new spin on the electoral contests, as if it was a matter of fact: “As for Sarah Palin, she, Tea Party protesters and other conservative voices are front and center, driving moderates out of the GOP.”
If you were a cable TV host whose audience size is obliterated by O'Reilly's, buried by Beck's, hammered by Hannity's and slam-dunked by Susteren's, would you really go around mocking someone else's ratings?
Appparently yes, if you're Ed Schultz. The host of the miniscule MSNBC program went out of his way this evening to belittle the ratings of Dennis Miller's radio show . . .
Schultz's snide comment came during his Psycho Talk segment.
Comedian Wanda Sykes brushed aside her low blow about Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys failing as no big deal on CNN’s AC360 on Thursday: “Was it...too far for that room? Yes, it was...but, hey, you shouldn’t invite me....I think everybody would have been disappointed if I hadn’t gone too far. Sykes also gushed wildly over President Obama during the interview: “He is like the George Clooney of presidents.”
Anchor John King, filling in for Anderson Cooper, interviewed Sykes 45 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, and brought up the issue of the Limbaugh crack mid-way through the interview: “As you know, there were one or two lines [from Sykes’s appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner] that got a little bit of a gasp and a groan in the room. One of them was when you were making fun and criticizing Rush Limbaugh.” After playing a clip of the line in question, he asked, “Any regrets for that? As you know, there was a big gasp in that room. Washington wasn’t quite ready for that one.”
CNN featured pro-illegal immigration activist Isabel Garcia of Tucson, Arizona on two programs on Wednesday night, and inadvertently caught her giving inconsistent answers regarding a 2008 protest where she participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona [audio clips from programs available here].
Correspondent Soledad O’Brien featured Garcia in the first segment of her ‘Latino in America’ miniseries at 9 pm Eastern, where she was labeled as an “unapologetic champion of people many Americans love to hate- illegal immigrants.” After detailing her involvement with a high-profile deportation case, O’Brien stated that Garcia had “nothing to do with creating the pinata and only picked it up to defuse” the anti-Arpaio protest. The CNN correspondent cast a sympathetic light on the activist by noting how she has apparently received death threats for her work.