Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
This could be something of a first: a major MSM player admits there's a case to be made that the media is incredibly biased against Republicans.
As I noted here, when Tom DeLay accused the media of bias on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer stonewalled: "I'm not going to let it, you know, end with that assumption, congressman, because I clearly don't agree with it."
But appearing on this afternoon's Harball, DeLay successfully wangled an admission from host Chris Matthews.
TOM DELAY: If [Craig] has been found guilty of what he's been accused of, then yeah. But I do know that the Republicans will do something about it. I do know that if he were a Democrat they would rally around him and they would not do something about it. I do know that the national media is incredibly biased against Republicans that find themselves [in trouble] --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's a charge which I've heard before and I can understand why you make it. You make it a lot. Sometimes you have a case to make. Sometimes.
On the Wednesday night edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews and David Shuster continued to use the Larry Craig scandal to bury the GOP and while Matthews declared "the downfall of" Bush's party was "driven by every movement of the body politic" it was his colleague Shuster who outdid him when, after running down a litany of GOP troubles ranging from Craig to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, charged: "It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
Is the White House going to pull a Lucy again with the football trick all over again? For months, President Bush has been asking us to wait for a report from General Petraeus. How many times did we hear that phrase, Wait for the report from General Petraeus? Now we learn that the White House is going to write the report - the White House! - and that the general will testify publicly before Congress only after the report has been written by Bush‘s people.
And later as he hosted a panel discussion on the topic:
Chris Matthews' "Hardball" producers let the host down, as neither Sen. Pat Leahy or Rep. Henry Waxman accepted Matthews' invitation to grill Karl Rove on tonight's 5pm edition of Hardball. However that didn't stop Matthews from taking a few shots of his own at the President's adviser, as he called Rove a "bum," and sarcastically commented on Rove's genius as he greeted viewers of the August 13th edition of "Hardball" this way:
Matthews: "Can President Bush think without the man they call his brain? What about all those great ideas like dividing the country over Iraq and leaving New Orleans to drop into the sea? A country without Karl Rove calling the shots? Let's fear for the Republic. Let's play Hardball."
Apparently Hardball host Chris Matthews has a bit of a problem keeping his lust in check on the air. On Friday evening's Hardball, Matthews was interviewing CNBC's Street Signs anchor, Erin Burnett, about the latest Wall Street news when suddenly he switched gears as you can see in this video. The official transcript isn't up yet on the MSNBC website but here is a transcription of the conversation as best I could understand it:
MATTHEWS: Could you get a little closer to the camera?
BURNETT: What is it? Is it (garbled) in strangely?
Two military veterans almost came to blows on MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday evening as they debated the war in Iraq, and what presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-New York) would do if she wins the White House.
On the left was anti-war activist Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org, who became known to most conservatives when he prevented a uniformed soldier from speaking at a YearlyKos breakout session last Friday.
On the right was Move America Forward Vice Chairman, and two-time New York Times bestselling author Buzz Patterson.
As the sparks began to fly early, I'm going to just role the tape (video available here), and allow you to read along with the transcript that follows (h/t Melanie Morgan):
On tonight's Hardball, Mike Barnicle, substitute-hosting for Chris Matthews, used the tragedy of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis to call for bigger government and wondered, "Does this help the Democrats?" All throughout tonight's show, Barnicle repeatedly pressed his guests to call for an increase in the size of government and at one point even demanded: "Government's gotta get bigger!"
First up Barnicle asked the liberal Barney Frank where he would find the money to pay for bridge repair. After Frank responded that he would "end the war in Iraq" and raise taxes to improve America's infrastructure, Barnicle took the Congressman's cue to advance the tax hike/big government theme for the entirety of the show.
The following are just some of the exchanges as they occured on the August 2, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
Does the MSM have the vaguest clue about what makes Republicans tick? For months the liberal media has been propounding the absurd notion that John McCain's quest to obtain the Republican presidential nomination has been undermined by his support for the Iraq war. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart seems a good guy, but he has now added a clueless coda to that misperception, suggesting that McCain's efforts to repair his relations with the religious right has done him in.
Capehart was part of a panel on this afternoon's "Hardball." Mike Barnicle guest hosted for Chris Matthews, and asked the question "is John McCain gone?"
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIALIST JONATHAN CAPEHART: At least for me, as a member of the press, when John McCain . . . called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," I thought now there's straight talk, that's someone standing on his own two feet. But then, when he walked away from that recently, I thought wait a minute, what happened to straight talk?
Fortunately, the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti was there to set him straight.
Judging by the media's reaction one could assume the Hillary campaign isn't displeased by the release and subsequent publication by the New York Times of her college letters. During the roundtable portion of tonight's Hardball the media panel dissected how her letters during her college days affected her campaign and they mostly agreed they only serve to help humanize the notoriously cold candidate.
Joan Walsh of Salon.com declared: "I think they're intensely humanizing...So I thought there were a net gain, positive, for her." Walsh even encouraged her own daughter to read them for inspiration: "I have a teenager, so I want her to read them and remember, you know, it's, that we all have days like that."
The current political buzzword is "naive." That's of course what Hillary called Obama, and he has responded in kind. But when it comes to being an ingenue, Obama has a long way to go to top Sally Quinn, grande dame of the DC set and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee. Here's what she said on this afternoon's "Hardball."
SALLY QUINN: The fact is that the new word these days is 'dialogue.' [Ed.: New? Well shut Socrates mouth!] And so many of these dictators, quote, dictators [Ed.: we wouldn't want to offend Assad or Kim Jong Il] are really sort of shallow people who are looking for respect, andif you talk to them, you can immediately sort of get them down and get them on your side.
Appearing live on the "Hardball Plaza," leftist film-maker Michael Moore pitched his movie "Sicko" and called for Bush and Cheney's impeachment, all in front of live audience and sympathetic "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. On tonight's edition of "Hardball," Matthews devoted the entire hour to Moore and praised "Sicko" as "amazing film-making," wondered why Americans were afraid of "socialized" medicine and stood by as Moore charged Bush and Cheney should be led out of the White House on a "perp walk" and be imprisoned for their war crimes.
The following are some of the more over-the-top moments from the July 23rd edition of "Hardball:"
There was an epic dust-up on this afternoon's show between feminist Naomi Wolf and conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan.
At the risk of burying the lead a bit, I can't resist observing that Naomi Wolf might just be the most passively aggressive woman in America. She has an amazing, infuriating, ability to keep a smile plastered on her face while saying the nastiest of things. It took her no more than a few seconds to get into it with guest host Mike Barnicle on this evening's Hardball. Barnicle invited Wolf to comment on the WaPo story about Hillary showing cleavage on the floor of the Senate, introducing her as a Democratic consultant and former advisor to Al Gore who had advised him to wear earth tones. But before responding, Naomi had some correctin' to do.
NAOMI WOLF: Mike, let me just stop you right there. You basically have not done your homework, no offense [right]. First of all, I'm not a Democratic consultant, I'm a writer. Second of all, I was advising Gore 2000 on women's issues that I've been talking about for 15 years . . . so you've just been, the Republican National Committee came up with a bunch of urban legends, and I'm afraid they pulled the wool over your eyes.
Pretty aggressive. Yet Wolf managed to maintain a brilliant, nay, beatific smile throughout. But when it came to aggression, Wolf was just clearing her throat.
While interviewing far-left antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews said he sympathized with her point of view that enough money should be appropriated to bring the troops home and end the war in Iraq. Video of the exchange is available here.
In all the time I've been monitoring the liberal media, rarely have I seen a host assail a guest with the ferocity David Shuster displayed in going after Fouad Ajami today. Shuster, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, was seemingly infuriated by a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Ajami had written that analogized Scooter Libby to a fallen comrade who, pursuant to the Soldier's Creed, should not be left behind.
Set forth below are excerpts from Shuster's diatribe against Ajami, the Lebanese-born Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins. But words alone don't do justice to the vituperation with which Shuster expressed himself. I urge readers to view the video. I might note that Ajami, perhaps inured to hyperbole by his many years in the Middle East, reacted to Shuster's verbal assaultswith equanimity.
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami [never does Shuster refer to him by the honorific "Professor"], do you really believe Scooter Libby is like the 3,600 soldiers killed in Iraq?
AJAMI: I really don't need to be lectured on the soldiers killed in Iraq. I spent an enormous amount of time in Iraq. I've spent an enormous amount of time with the American soldiers in Iraq . . . I have a nephew serving with the American military as a lieutentant . . .
SHUSTER, interrupting: Which makes all this even more puzzling, with all due respect Mr. Ajami [translation: with no respect at all], to take someone like Scooter Libby and to compare him with somebody like your nephew or somebody who's actually wearing the uniform raises an awful lot of questions, and we're just trying to get at those questions [right].
AJAMI: You're following in the footsteps of Paul Krugman, who had a column in the New York Times. You have to be able to handle a metaphor. This really was a metaphor . . .
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami, if it was a metaphor, why didn't you point out that it was a metaphor in your column? "Metaphor" is never in your column.
Elizabeth Edwards is even more of a hypocrite than NewsBusters readers already think. Everyone knows that during the infamous “Hardball” phone-call confrontation, Mrs. Edwards criticized Ann Coulter's “hate speech” and her “personal attacks" that “lower our political dialog.” But regular readers know that NewsBusters pointed out the hypocrisy of Elizabeth Edwards' comments, considering that until liberal bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan resigned, they worked for the Edwards' campaign and were known for anti-Christian “hate speech” and "personal attacks" toward Republicans.
Now it's even worse than Mrs. Edwards condemning Coulter because "(w)e can't have a debate about issues [while] using this kind of language” after employing Marcotte and McEwan. Guess who hired them in the first place? Yep, Elizabeth Edwards herself.
Chris Matthews, presumably away on vacation, handed the reigns of MSNBC's Hardball to Democratic activist Reverend Al Sharpton. The first two guests, in the first half-hour, of the Sharpton hosted July 2 episode, were Democrats - Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe. The hot topic of the discussion with Dean was about how the John McCain campaign and the GOP, overall, were suffering in their fundraising efforts. The following "hardball" segment, with McAuliffe, featured the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman crowing about her fundraising success.
After the McAuliffe segment, Sharpton, actually interviewed a Republican. Predictably, Sharpton's questions to presidential candidate, Representative Duncan Hunter, were tougher than the ones to his Democratic colleagues. Following the Hunter segment, Sharpton quickly returned to his Democratic friends, as he invited on Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Chris Dodd.
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
As the media continue to pile on Ann Coulter in the wake of her being ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” a disturbing yet predictable double standard is emerging.
On the one hand, Coulter is being pounded for using “hate words,” so much so that Matthews advocated Wednesday that people not buy her books.
Yet, Edwards and her Democrat presidential candidate husband John appear to be getting a pass regarding the hiring of two anti-Christian bigots back in February as official bloggers for his campaign.
In fact, Mrs. Edwards was interviewed this morning by ABC, CBS, and NBC to get another chance to speak about Coulter's "hate words." Yet, not one host asked her any questions concerning these bloggers.
With that in mind, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement Thursday:
On Wednesday evening, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and the NBC Nightly News both covered the Elizabeth Edwards/Ann Coulter controversy, noting that the Edwards campaign has eagerly used their run-ins with Coulter to raise campaign money. ABC's Jake Tapper uniquely noted this week's fundraising deadline for the presidential race, while relaying the Edwards campaign's success at raising "Coulter cash." Tapper: "Just as Coulter has a book to promote this week, Edwards has a fund-raising deadline. Enemies can have their uses."
NBC's David Gregory noted the Edwards campaign's immediate use of yesterday's flap to solicit campaign money, but the network also failed to put one of Coulter's controversial quotes in proper context, thus making it appear worse than it actually sounded in full. On Monday's Good Morning America, while answering a question about her joke from last March about John Edwards being a "faggot," Coulter suggested there was a double standard between the outrage over her remark and the greater tolerance by the media and liberals of a question by Bill Maher about whether the world would be a better place if Vice President Cheney had been assassinated. (Transcripts follow)
Chris Matthews followed-up his, now infamous, staging of the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards throwdown by inviting on John Edwards to join his wife in the pile-on of the conservative columnist. On tonight's Hardball, Edwards condemned Coulter's "hate-mongering" but Matthews never brought up the fact that Edwards' own staffers spewed some pretty hatefulthings, or that Matthews on the very same show compared conservative students to violent inbred hicks. While Matthews did mention Edwards campaign has used Coulter to raise money, most of the interview was full of softballs.
Less noticed during Chris Matthews's ambush of Ann Coulter last night was an off-hand remark by the host which established (as if there was any doubt) his elitist left-wing mentality.
Despite his stacking of the deck against Coulter, many in the audience continued to support the conservative author. The fact that Matthews hadn't managed to turn the audience into an anti-Coulter mob clearly befuddled the former top Democratic aide, prompting him to compare them to the violent, inbred, backwoods characters from the 1972 movie "Deliverance."
“Elizabeth Edwards should look close to home when it comes to ‘hatefulness and ugliness’ for it was her husband’s Democratic presidential campaign that hired two official bloggers who attacked ‘Christofascists’ and insulted Christians and their faith in the most repulsive words imaginable, which I won’t repeat here. Go Google Amanda Marcotte and Holy Spirit.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo portrayed the previous day’s on-air debate between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter as a one sided lecture from the ‘08 contender’s wife. The ABC program edited out or didn’t play either of Coulter’s best verbal barbs.
The conservative author’s zinger, that John Edwards’ use of her name to raise money is better"than giving $50,000 speeches to the poor," was bluntly cut out. And although GMA found time to play Mrs. Edwards’ denunciation of the conservative commentator as hateful, the program skipped over a retort by Coulter that described Mr. Edwards’ law practice as "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
In a related note, MSNBC’s "First Read" page now admits that the ambush by a 2008 candidate’s wife was a preplanned event between the network and the John Edwards campaign:
By now, most people in America have viewed the scene from Tuesday’s “Hardball” when Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, called in to dress down Chris Matthews’ guest, conservative writer Ann Coulter.
After seeing the coverage of this matter Wednesday morning, a revelation made at MSNBC’s “Hardblogger” emits a bit of a rodent aroma leading one to believe that this entire incident was set up not just to embarrass Coulter, but possibly to advance the current Democrat push to squash conservative talk radio (emphasis added):
Update (Ken Shepherd | 09:16 EDT): Matthews appeared with Joe Scarborough a few minutes ago on MSNBC to discuss the matter. Expect more coverage in a followup post on NewsBusters shortly.
Chris Matthews should keep his evening job. Appearing on this morning's "Today," the Hardball host was manifestly bleary and off his game.
Matthews was in, at 7:12 am EDT, to discuss with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira the dust-up on last night's "Hardball," reported here by NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens, between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards. Matthews couldn't keep his names straight. He first referred to Coulter as "Ann Edwards," then recycled the "Ann Edwards" moniker in referring to Elizabeth Edwards.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well that was a pretty tough [translation: pro-Coulter] crowd, and if you think Ann Edwards is over the top, she had a lot of people behind her last night who agreed with her.
And later . . .
MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, you're dealing with a real-life situation with Ann Edwards' medical challenges, which we all know about, and the fact that they did lose their son Wade, and you don't make jokes about that.
On tonight's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews blind-sided his guest, conservative columnist Ann Coulter, with a live call from Elizabeth Edwards. The wife of presidential candidate John Edwards proceeded to demand Coulter stop her "personal attacks" on her husband, but Coulter shot back that at least she wasn't "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
The following is the full transcript of the exchange as it occurred on the June 26th edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "You know who's on the line? Somebody to respond to what you said about Edwards, yesterday morning, Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today, we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards go on the line, you're on the line with Ann Coulter."
I’m not sure what derangement syndrome Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is suffering from, but on Friday’s “Hardball,” he actually blamed the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center on President Reagan’s rollback of CAFE standards in 1986.
I kid you not.
To set this up, Kennedy and conservative talk show host Melanie Morgan were invited on to discuss profits that are currently being made surrounding “solutions” to anthropogenic global warming.
That precipitated the following set of almost unbelievable inanities from Kennedy (video available here, relevant section begins at 2:10):