It appears the love MSNBC feels towards Barack Obama is not unrequited, for last Wednesday, a member of the Administration actually declared in public, "At the White House, as we always like to say, we love MSNBC."
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
An overly eager Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," actually raised the prospect of prosecuting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the CIA interrogation memos as he pressed Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "But how do we do it? Under what law do we go after them?" To which even the liberal Schultz initially balked, as she tried to rein in Matthews: "Well I think we need not to get ahead of ourselves Chris." However Schultz, after Matthews continued to push, relented and gave the MSNBC host a response more to his liking as she warned: "There is no one that is above the law in the United States of America."
Of course if Matthews really wanted to pursue all of those who approved of waterboarding that list would also have to include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to a December 9, 2007 Washington Post story Pelosi along with other Democrats, in September 2002, were given "a virtual tour" of the "CIA's overseas detention sites," shown interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, "But on that day, no objections were raised."
The following exchange was aired on the April 22 edition of "Hardball":
The Dick Cheney-obsessed Chris Matthews opened Tuesday's "Hardball," by taking umbrage with the former Vice President's criticism of Obama declassifying CIA interrogation memos, as the MSNBC host compared Cheney to "The Empire," in Star Wars and called him "The Bush administration's tail gunner, manning his burp gun with that same nasty look we recall from the war comics." Matthews went on to wonder if Cheney's outspokenness was a good thing for the GOP as he questioned, "If the Republican Party really wants to be branded right now as the party of tax cuts and torture?"
Matthews didn't waste any time getting to the Cheney bashing as seen in the following intro to the April 21 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Empire Strikes Back! Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight. Clash of civilizations. Two different views of the universe out there right now. That's what's at war in Washington today. The dark view of Dick Cheney that sees no shame in brutal interrogations. Indeed refuses to blame America for anything. That against the new view of Barack Obama that America does best in the world when it upholds a moral standard and admits past failings.
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
On February 7, 2008, MSNBC's David Shuster claimed Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother Hillary Clinton's, presidential campaign.
Retribution quickly followed. News broke the very next day that Shuster's comments had earned him a two-week suspension. The National Organization for Women (NOW) quickly issued a statement that called on NBC to "skip the sexism and report the news." And while NOW praised NBC for its "swift and decisive action" against Shuster, the group also pointed out "a pattern at MSNBC: insult, apology, insult, apology."
Yet, just over a year later, the network and NOW are hewing to a very different standard when it comes to women on the right. MSNBC personalities refer to a Republican congresswoman as a "Mata Hari," and call a former female Republican vice-presidential nominee a "mail order bride" and characterize her as a dragon and a dog, and there's no apology and no outrage.
For conservative women, it appears the strategy at MSNBC is "insult, insult, insult."
On Monday night's "Hardball," the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore challenged Chris Matthews to come out to one of the many tea parties protesting taxes and the government bailouts, as the former Club For Growth President egged on the "Hardball," host to prove he is "a man of the people," but Matthews ducked the invitation and yelled back: "Steve stay in your box!"
As Matthews was wrapping up a segment with Moore and radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Moore got in the following parting shot:
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Chris! Chris! Chris! My question is you're a man of the people, why aren't you out there at these April 15th rallies? I mean c'mon! You know you, you say, you speak for the middle-class guys?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What is this? Intramurals? Michael Smerconish, thank you and Steve stay in your box!
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," showcased "Saturday Night Live" skewering Joe Biden but he conspicuously ignored the "Weekend Update" clip, from the same show, making fun of his fondness for Obama in which he was depicted as daydreaming about Obama in a "loin cloth." The MRC's Brent Baker caught the clip from this past Saturday's show making fun of Matthews. However Matthews -- who in the past has enjoyed SNL's Darrell Hammond's impersonations of him so much that he invited the impressionist on his MSNBC show -- ignored the most recent quip made at his expense.
The following moment was aired during the "Sideshow" segment on the April 13 edition of "Hardball":
Fresh off the cancellation of his own MSNBC show an unleashed David Shuster, sub-hosting for Chris Matthews on Monday's "Hardball," ranted and railed against "crazy," "conservative" "wingnuts" like Chuck Norris, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for fomenting, "dangerous," "red hot rhetoric," that "inspire some of the crazies out there", like accused cop killer Richard Poplowski, "to do something violent."
Shuster – who apparently wasn't liberal enough for MSNBC's tastes, that he was replaced by liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz – seemed out to show his bosses, that oh no, indeed he was liberal enough for the network's standards, and set out to prove that, right off the bat, in his "Hardball" opening monologue:
DAVID SHUSTER: Who is the real nutcase? North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or any conservative who wants to bomb him? Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm David Shuster, in tonight for Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight, nuclear war games! So what are we to make of North Korea's attempt to send a satellite into space? Even though the launch failed the North Korean rocket did travel some 2000 miles twice as far as an earlier North Korean rocket. President Obama called it "a provocative act," and wants new UN sanctions. Former House Speaker Gingrich says we should have bombed North Korea before the launch. Is Gingrich crazy to talk like that or is it dangerous to hope sanctions will do the trick?....And back for crazy talk for a moment. How in the world do you explain people like Chuck Norris calling for a second American Revolution to defeat President Obama's policies? And what about conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appearing to tell her constituents to start stockpiling weapons and ammunition.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," admitted Barack Obama, along with his wife Michelle this time, gave him yet another "thrill." The MSNBC host gleefully described his feelings at seeing the Obamas arrive in England for the G20 summit this way [audio available here]:
Well there is something cool when they were both - there's a nice ‘60s term. When they were both walking to the helicopter the other day, Marine One, there was something like, when he looked at her, you could just tell he said, "Isn't this something?" You know you could tell like they were experiencing the-, the, I'm getting old here. The grooviness, the excitement of being this First American Couple heading towards Marine One, which is cool in itself, heading from there to Air Force One, to a quick flight across the Atlantic, on your own plane. And to meet with the world leaders as like the centerpiece of the world. What? I get-, I'm saying it again, I'm getting a thrill.
Matthews, who invited the Washington Post's Lois Romano and the Independent Women's Forum Michelle Bernard to join in on the Obama-watching fun, also giddily admitted: "We girls agree. I don't mind saying that. I'm excited. I'm thrilled. Any way I like it all! I like the picture, I like the substance. "
The following is the full exchange Matthews had with his panelists on the April 1, edition of "Hardball":
An enraptured Chris Matthews began his Tuesday edition of "Hardball," by singing Obama's praises, as he arrived in England, cheering: "He is the new us! That's right, President Obama is in London tonight as the new emblem of the American people. He is us, just as to the consternation of our allies and the often cringey-ness of his country men George W. Bush was us for eight years." The charmed Matthews continued his lovefest throughout the program, as he gasped: "We've got Barack Obama as our president and Michelle Obama as our First Lady. We're all immensely proud," and concluded the show admitting he dreamed about the arrival of the Obamas in Europe: "I thought about that scene for months, the first time they get to come as our American couple. To represent us, really in a new way. A kind of a sophisticated new leadership."
The following are the elaborated transcripts of Matthews' Obama-gasms from the March 31 edition of "Hardball":
If you watch MSNBC's "Hardball," you really have to scratch your head and wonder what host Chris Matthews is thinking when he opens his mouth sometimes.
On the March 30 broadcast of "Hardball," Matthews, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Newsweek's Howard Fineman were discussing what they perceived to be a rift between former GOP vice-presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her running mate, former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. based on McCain's unwillingness to commit to supporting Palin as a presidential candidate in 2012. (h/t Breitbart.tv)
Just hours after MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews calls Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the "Mata Hari of Minnesota" and Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi says "a guy huffing glue out of a paper bag" was making more sense the Bachmann, MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann comes in for clean-up duties.
On the March 27 broadcast "Countdown," Olbermann confirms that Michele Bachmann Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at MSNBC. Dedicating the top of his show to Bachmann, Olbermann accuses the Minnesota congresswoman of breaking "several serious laws," for suggesting the American people should rise up against some of the liberal nonsense going on in Washington, D.C.
"The identity of the speaker is unmistakable, but this is not your standard red meat from Michele Bachmann, she may have broken several serious laws," Olbermann said.
An offended Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," was so shocked by Sarah Palin's claim that there wasn't anybody to pray with on the McCain campaign, that he hurled multiple insults Palin's way, calling her, "a little scary," and asked if Palin thought McCain was, "the Anti-Christ?" Matthews was appalled by Palin's recent revelation that she had trouble finding someone to pray with before her vice presidential debate and the MSNBC host worried such talk about "The Deity in a political environment," wasn't "normal."
Matthews' guest panelists also joined in the fray as the Washington Post's Lois Romano declared, "I think it's bizarre and I think it's judgmental," and Mother Jones magazine's David Corn cackled it was "mean and catty." RNC chair Michael Steele was also knocked for a recent profession of faith, as Matthews blurted: "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club,' with this party now? I mean everything seems to be a religious discussion."
Matthews and his panel didn't just stop at insulting Palin's religious beliefs, they also belittled Palin for her hand gestures and attractiveness. Over video of Palin waving at a campaign rally Matthews ridiculed: "You know, doing that windshield wiper wave though is not serious. That's not a serious wave. I'm sorry that's not what you do when you want to lead the free world. That's, that's more like, 'I'm a celebrity and people like me.'
And just before that snide comment from Matthews, Romano and Corn dismissed Palin for her looks:
Would you call getting a 53 on a test "close to brilliant?"
If you're Chris Matthews, and you're reporting about Barack Obama you would, for on Monday's "Hardball," the MSNBC host bragged about his president being "close to brilliant," "amazing," "incredibly on target," and "unbelievable" with his NCAA college basketball tournament picks.
Yet, when you dig into the numbers, out of all the entrants into ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge 2009, Obama currently ranks 2,167,290, which makes his relative score compared to others 53.20 percent.
This means that 46.80 percent of contestants -- or almost half -- are doing better than the President, but that didn't interfere with Matthews' praise (h/t NBer Chris Bennett):
As NewsBusters previously reported, Chris Matthews and Ari Fleischer had quite a debate Wednesday evening wherein the "Hardball" host acted like a shameless Democrat operative and the former White House press secretary behaved with grace and aplomb as he wiped the floor with his poorly-matched opponent.
Matthews must have realized how foolish he looked, for on Thursday he continued his debate with Fleischer, but curiously didn't invite Ari back to defend himself:
I didn`t catch something he said right at the end of his appearance just as I was thanking him for coming on. I didn`t hear it until I watched the 7:00 o`clock edition last night. But a lot of people caught it when it first aired and didn`t like it.
At issue was the following statement by Fleischer (video embedded below the fold along with full transcript):
I'm not sure I've ever witnessed a more disgraceful performance by a so-called journalist than what transpired on Wednesday's "Hardball."
In fact, from the moment MSNBC's Chris Matthews introduced his guest, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, the "Hardball" host went on the attack as if he was interviewing an enemy of the state.
Potentially most disgraceful - even beyond how rudely he treated a former member of the White House and a fellow American - was how Matthews made no pretense concerning his apparent affiliation and undying support for Barack Obama and the Party in power.
Viewers were given a clue early on when Matthews asked, "Doesn`t the economy that you left the country when your party left the country in our hands...?"
Yes, he really said "our hands." He also said, "Let me ask you about the financial crisis which we inherited." But that's just the beginning (video embedded below the fold along with full transcript, h/t NBer bigtimer):
Perhaps David Frum is jealous of all the media adoration Kathleen Parker now receives. Knowing he would be challenged on other media outlets, as he was previously on Mark Levin’s radio show, Frum appeared with MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight. He talked about his recent column in Newsweek titled on the magazine's cover as "A Conservative's Case Against Rush Limbaugh."
Appearing on Hardball to plug his anti-Limbaugh Newsweek article denotes that Frum knew he would be addressing not only the Obama White House but also the mainly liberal fans of MSNBC.
If Frum was truly interested in endearing his article to a right of center audience, obviously, he would have been all over Fox News before he went to MSNBC. Just the fact that Frum wrote his piece in Newsweek and not a conservative publication will make conservatives wonder if Frum will do a political 180 a la Arianna Huffington.
Matthews jumped on the opportunity to prod Frum to say (or at least imply) that Limbaugh is a racist. (My emphasis added throughout) :
“Demonstrating that not even weekends are safe from Democratic Party-sponsored anti-Rush Limbaugh attacks,” Brian Maloney observed on the Radio Equalizer blog on Saturday, “the talk titan is now under fire for a relatively mundane (and actually quite accurate) reference to the shameless political exploitation of Ted Kennedy's illness.”
On Monday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews feared Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, in her nomination fight to head HHS, would be a target of "the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people." Then perhaps realizing he called all pro-lifers terrorists, Matthews feebly attempted to amend the statement, as he tried to clarify, "I mean verbal terrorism."[audio excerpt available here]
The following exchange was aired during the March 2, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's talk about, let’s get to something really tough.
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: Sure.
MATTHEWS: Kathleen Sebelius, very likeable, very impressive. I think of the woman who becomes the governor in Mr. Holland’s Opus, remember the one who comes back?
LOIS ROMANO, WASHINGTON POST: Right.
MATTHEWS: Who becomes the governor, the woman governor. She looks like her, in fact. Is she gonna get through the, the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people?
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews cheered how "hip," "today," and "youthful," the Obamas looked at last night's address to Congress before immediately transitioning into offering this backhanded blurb for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): "If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby!" While it is fair to say you won't be seeing Jay-Z performing at CPAC any time soon, the comparison to a Star Trek convention crowd was definitely a dig at conservatives' expense. However Matthews did go on to out himself as a former CPAC attendee: "So if you can't catch a Star Trek convention you've got CPAC coming here. It's always fun. Because I grew up as a conservative. I liked a lot of this stuff."
The following references to CPAC occurred on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
MATTHEWS DURING SHOW INTRO: And the Conservative Political Action Conference begins its three day meeting tomorrow in Washington. And take a look at some of the panels being offered. "Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals Are Destroying the American Election System." "Will Congress Take Your Guns?" "The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria." If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby.
Attempting to explain last night's off-camera "Oh God!" exclamation before Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, at the top of Wednesday's "Hardball," claimed he was taken aback by "The odd, antebellum look of the scene. Some people heard my reaction at the time," which contrasted with his view of Obama's address: "He wowed us! That's the running headline from last night's presidential address to the Congress. Barack Obama gave a great speech." This naked display of bias was so transparent that it caused guest panelist, former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay to point out the obvious: "Listening to your introduction somebody is gonna accuse you of being biased."
The following is Matthews' entire opening monologue and then DeLay's reaction as it was aired on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
“Oh, god,” why did he have to use that word? According to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP “outsourced” the Republican response to a young, successful Indian-American governor who “had nothing to do with Congress.”
They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican party. They had to outsource to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to.
First of all, one might point out that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. Furthermore, Republican governors are quite important members of the party. The idea that the GOP was bringing in an outsider is flat out wrong.
In a Wednesday segment on worries President Obama, in not ruling out renditions and water-boarding, may be “slipping back into the dirty old ways” of “torture” supposedly employed by the Bush administration, Hardball host Chris Matthews blurted out: “Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife?”
When guest Michael Smerconish's answer didn't satisfy Matthews, he turned to Salon's chief, Joan Walsh, and expounded on the scope of who he thought could be physically treated like a dangerous terrorist: “Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this [Bush] administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera?...Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home?”
Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"
After playing a clip of a "Saturday Night Live," skit – in which two Republicans argue over who is smarter, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh -- Matthews asked his guest panelists Harris and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, to evaluate how powerful Limbaugh was within the GOP in the following exchange, as it was aired, on the February 18, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That joke, which was, "That we wouldn't want to speak anything unfavorably of Rush Limbaugh, our god-
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thou shall not speak ill of Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: -the oracle of thieves, you know, the great oracle of Delphi," rather. Is he that big in your world? I mean really do you look up to him as the smartest person in America?
When "Hardball," guest and former John McCain adviser Mark McKinnon suggested Barack Obama, in his first few days in office, is discovering what George W. Bush found out, that being President is "a hard job," Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's show, vehemently disagreed, saying Obama "doesn't look he's having a hard time...he's Fred Astaire out there...he still moves around with incredible alacrity."
The following exchange was aired during the February 11 edition of "Hardball":
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER JOHN MCCAIN ADVISER: But I'll tell ya he's discovering one thing that President Bush did early on and that, that's this is a hard job Chris. It's a really hard job.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah but he's not saying that.
KAREN FINNEY, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's saying, "It's the job. I know this is what I signed up for."
Former White House chief-of-staff Andrew Card's suggestion to Barack Obama that his administration should continue the Bush fashion code of wearing a jacket and tie in the Oval Office, out of respect, ignited Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," to unleash an angry litany against Bush's foreign and domestic policies and then condemned, "If that's dressing for success I prefer shirt-sleeves."
The following rant from Matthews occurred during the "Sideshow" segment on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews is rooting for Barack Obama to get his so-called stimulus package passed so much, he offered him advice on how to sell it, on Thursday night's "Hardball," and cautioned him if he doesn’t succeed in that sales job he'll "let us down."
Matthews, the former Jimmy Carter speechwriter, offered the following piece of advice to Obama on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Between Election 2008 and the early moments of the Obama administration, it was assumed a new New Deal was coming complete with massive infrastructure projects. But, now the stimulus package is so full of other things even some of the most unlikely news outlets have noticed.
In an amazing moment of clarity, resembling the end of a Hardy Boys novel after Frank and Joe solved a mystery, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews questioned the meager infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill that passed in the House of Representatives on Jan. 28 by a 244-188 margin, without a single Republican vote during "Hardball" that night.