It's been a long time since MSNBC could pretend to be anything but a shill for liberal politicians, policies and causes. Any remaining doubts about that can be dispelled by surveying the network's recent coverage of the controversy over gays in the military.
Cable news' self-described "place for politics" covered the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" administrative policy six different times between July 27 and July 29. Opponents of the current policy were able to state their case unchallenged, while network anchors made it clear that they were themselves in favor of allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve in the armed forces. Not one defender of the current policy appeared in any of the conversations about "don't ask, don't tell."
Conversations about the policy, which bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military, were keyed around the actions of Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress, kicked-off a seven city tour sponsored by the gay rights' activist group Human Rights Campaign to increase public support for his bill that seeks to allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Gillibrand announced that the Senate Armed Services committee agreed to hold a hearing on the policy in the fall, the first since 1993, when former President Bill Clinton instituted the policy as a compromise.
MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer really has something against the Bible. Or maybe it’s just a convenient way for her to paint conservatives as nuts for her liberal viewers.
During an August 3 interview with Politico’s Josh Kraushaar about the anti-ObamaCare protests occurring in town hall meetings across the country, the anchor took two opportunities to portray the Bible negatively.
To Brewer, these disruptions could only come from the crazy right-wing fringe. “You know, I do get the – that there are some people out there who are far out. If you’re at a forum on health care, and somebody’s holding up a Bible and saying it’s the only truth, you have to wonder what does that contribute to how we get health care for all people?”
MSNBC News Live substitute host Donny Deutsch frothed about "right-wing racism" on Thursday and trashed Rush Limbaugh as a both a "moron" and a "putz" and Glenn Beck as a "super moron." The former CNBC anchor talked with liberal journalist Joan Walsh about her Salon.com column and quoted her asserting that "Limbaugh and Beck continue to ratchet up their alarming and increasingly racist hatred for the President."
Deutsch began the segment by solemnly wondering, "Is right-wing racism on the rise?" And yet, he later responded to Walsh's complaints about Limbaugh by deriding, "Well, as long as he’s throwing slurs, I’m going to throw a Jewish slur and call Mr. Limbaugh a putz."After playing a clip of the conservative radio star labeling Barack Obama "race-obsessed," Deutsch, whose program on CNBC has was cancelled in 2008, angrily denounced, "Joan, you know, obviously we have got morons like Limbaugh calling Obama an angry black man. Super morons like Glenn Beck saying that he's a racist and he hates white people."
Are liberals less racist and/or more knowledgeable about racism than others? Donny Deutsch evidently thinks so. On MSNBC this afternoon, Deutsch asked a black academic to give him an example of racism he'd encountered because "as liberal as I am, I can't understand because I've never walked in your shoes."
Prof. James Peterson of Bucknell was a guest in MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour, during which Deutsch served as sidekick/kibitzer to host Tamron Hall. Peterson was in to comment on this evening's impending beer fest among Pres. Obama, Sgt. Crowley and Prof. Gates.
It worked for President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, when he took tax cuts - a conservative issue - and made it his own. Now, liberals are employing a similar tactic in promoting their health care agenda.
But Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., isn't having it. He called out Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the left wing The Nation magazine and MSNBC guest co-host, for attempting it in questioning him in a MSNBC segment on July 29. vanden Heuvel asked Ryan why he was against a so-called public health insurance option. His opposition, she reasoned, would deny consumers the choice of a public option in the marketplace.
"Rep. Ryan, that sounds like an anti-competitive vote," vanden Heuvel said. "Competition is at the heart of America and to deny Americans competition by denying them an option of a public plan seems to me un-American."
On Friday, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall exclaimed: "Harsh political discourse against [President Obama] really amped up and people started to push the boundaries of what might be considered decency. From talk radio to those tea parties that we saw with some pretty offensive signs folks were holding, even in the presence of children. The anger has certainly intensified."
As evidence of the supposed lack of "decency" co-anchor David Shuster declared: "And so listen to Glenn Beck make his case against health care reform just yesterday on his radio show, watch." The audio clip that followed featured Beck yelling at a hostile caller during his Wednesday show.
Based on that one example, Shuster wondered: "So are the political attacks, is the language, is the discourse, going too far? And does it have real consequences?" He then teased another segment on the topic in the next hour, but it was preempted by live coverage of President Obama speaking on health care reform.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Thursday relied on the liberal group Media Matters to help him as he tried to "sift through the spin and get at the truth" of a Republican-created chart purporting to show government-run health care as a confusing maze of bureaucracy. Shuster began by complaining, "Is the conservative media deliberately trying to avoid any fact-checking when it comes to Republican talking points?"
The cable anchor appeared incensed that the graph, released by congressional Republicans, has been featured on Fox News and the Drudge Report. Introducing Karl Frisch, Senior Media Fellow at Media Matters, Shuster attacked its reliability and fumed, "Is this another example of, at least with some of the conservative media, it’s to their strategic benefit not to bother checking things out?"
On Thursday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer reported on Meghan McCain calling Joe the Plumber a "dumb ass" for his views on homosexuality and remarked: "Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking." [audio available here]
In the brief report, during the 2:00PM ET hour, Brewer explained:
Let's go to the war of words between Meghan McCain and the man known as Joe the Plumber. In a recent interview, the daughter of the former GOP presidential contender railed against her dad's big supporter here. And she was talking about her support for gay marriage, she criticized Samuel Wurzelbacher, that’s his real name, his comments about homosexuals. She said – this is – okay, these are her words, I’m going to quote them, ‘Joe the Plumber, you can quote me, is a dumb ass, he should stick to plumbing.’ Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking.
MSNBC hosts Tamron Hall and David Shuster on Tuesday repeatedly grumbled at the tough questions Senator Lindsey Graham posed to Sonia Sotomayor over the judge's ability to keep her feelings in check. At one point during live coverage, Shuster derided the lawmaker's remarks as "patronizing" and fretted that "the blogs are already going crazy over this." Hall saw the statements as insinuating the nominee is too "hot blooded."
The comments that drew the ire of the anchors were Graham's quizzing of Sotomayor as to reports that lawyers have found her difficult to deal with in the courtroom. Graham probed, "I never liked appearing before a judge who was a bully. Do you think you have a temperament problem?"
Co-host Hall vociferously objected to Graham's queries. Responding to news articles about the subject, she complained, "These are anonymous sources....One might read into this that he's [Graham] talking about her being a hot-blooded person or a woman who can't control her emotions."
MSNBC's David Shuster, who was suspended in 2008 for proclaiming that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her then-candidate mother, on Monday challenged a representative of Free Republic as to what he would do to try and "discourage people" from using "hateful, vile language" on the website. Video available here.
Guest Kristinn Taylor, a spokesman for the Washington D.C. chapter of Free Republic, appeared on the show to battle with the MSNBC Live host over offensive comments that were posted on the site about 11-year old Malia Obama. Taylor combatively contradicted an assertion by Shuster that some racist remarks featured under a picture of the Obama daughter were reposted on the web page after initially being removed: "Well, David, unfortunately, it seems you've gotten your story from the Daily Kos, which is not a reliable source of information."
During live coverage of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing on Monday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews gushed about the judge's opening statement, saying "Well, I'm getting one of those thrills I get about America. I'm sorry, I'm shouldn't say this. And I'm getting it again." Matthews, who famously proclaimed that Barack Obama gave him a "thrill" up his leg, also offered a fawning aside about what a "genius" the President is.
Responding to a comment the Supreme Court nominee made about working hard to advance herself in school, the "Hardball" host followed-up his "thrill" remark by rhapsodizing, "When she talked about sitting at that table and not being a genius like Barack Obama, not being one of these people that can walk into a college scholarship, who had to sweat for it." [audio available here]
MSNBC’s David Shuster and Tamron Hall labeled the circulation of a photo of President Obama allegedly glancing at a teenager’s posterior a “right wing smear,” and singled out Fox News and Drudge as culprits. They brought on a Media Matters spokesman, who accused these sites of being motivated by a “racist stereotype of an oversexed black man being a predator.” They let this accusation go unanswered (audio clip from the promos and the segment available here).
Shuster and Hall promoted the segment on the Obama picture from the start of the 4 pm Eastern hour of MSNBC’s live coverage. A graphic on-screen at the top of the hour pondered, “Right Wing Smear?,” as Shuster read the first teaser: “Plus, smearing President Obama- some on the Right went crazy over this photo they claimed shows President Obama with a wandering eye. But check the tape- the actual video shows a far different story- why the Right was so wrong with this one.”
The MSNBC anchor echoed his “why the Right was so wrong” phrase during the second promo at 19 minutes into the hour: “Up next, what the Right did wrong with that President Obama photo that was splashed all across some conservative websites. Why didn’t they bother to check the tape before making false accusations?” Right before the commercial break which preceded the segment, Hall broke back in with the final promo: “And when pictures do not say a thousand words- heck, when pictures right out deceive- why this misleading photograph was very popular on conservative blogs and conservative papers.”
Appearing on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, Washington Post writer and founder of the paper’s On Faith blog, Sally Quinn, exclaimed of Sarah Palin: "Well, clearly, she has not put her family first...And these children have, it seems publicly, to have been exploited by her in a, I think, really unfortunate way."
Even anchor David Shuster, who on Wednesday declared that Palin had "no future" politically, questioned Quinn’s accusation: "Sally, the use of the word ‘exploited’ is pretty strong. Give us some specific examples that you think qualifies for that?" Quinn was happy to elaborate: "Well, you know, she brings them all to the convention, including Trig, the baby. She brings the pregnant daughter with the boyfriend who clearly didn't want to be there. She then travels around with the children, using them as sort of photo ops...she brings the children up when she needs them to shore up her own image."
Quinn even seemed to blame Palin for defending her family against David Letterman’s attacks: "It just seemed to me that the David Letterman situation where she whipped that up into a huge scene, bringing in her other daughter Willow and making a big – a big to-do about it when she could have just let it go."
During the 2008 campaign, Quinn appeared on the September 3 CBS Early Show to denounce Palin for deciding to run for vice president, claiming that the governor "has got to rethink her priorities."
On Wednesday, MSNBC anchor David Shuster made a bold prediction about Sarah Palin’s political future: "I've said it before, I'll say it again, Sarah Palin will never recover from this...No matter what people say, no matter what these polls, she has no future." [audio available here]
Shuster made the comments in the 4:00PM ET hour, following a debate between Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Chris Wilson about the impact of Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska. Co-anchor Tamron Hall was somewhat skeptical of the declaration: "I don't know that the answer to that absolute." However, she then added: "But I mean, you're a very smart and wise man that I trust on these things."
The accuracy of Shuster’s predictions are unreliable at best. On May 8, 2006, Shuster appeared on MSNBC’s Countdown and told host Keith Olbermann: "I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted." Shuster was referring to Rove’s role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation and an indictment failed to ever come.
MSNBC's Carlos Watson on Monday provided a friendly forum for New York Times opinion writer Charles Blow to link red states and social conservatism with the hypocrisy of sex scandal-ridden politicians like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. In his June 26 column, Blow attacked right-leaning voters, "And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate."
Talking with Blow on MSNBC Live, Watson cited a questionable study finding the highest rates of online pornography correlate with Republican states. The cable host highlighted this connection and Census data finding that eight of the ten states with the highest divorce voted GOP in 2008. He asked the columnist to explain how one could be pro-family values in light of "seeing these other statistics." Blow attacked, "Well, I mean, I think you have to put Republicans to the side for a minute. It is social conservatism. And that is highly correlated to religiosity. The more religious people are, the more socially conservative they are, particularly on these sexual issues."
While discussing the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on MSNBC Monday, guest Eliot Spitzer made a startling observation: "Democratic presidents nominate very centrist justices to the Supreme Court. The Republican presidents over the past 10-15 years have nominated very extremely conservative justices and that’s why the court has eschewed to the right."[audio available here]
Spitzer, the former Governor of New York who resigned from office in 2008 amid a sex scandal with a prostitute, went on to lament the unwillingness of Democratic presidents to appoint more liberal justices: "And the role of the Democratic judges – justices – has been to play the middle... And that is, I think, at a larger ideological point, a discussion we should have, because Democratic presidents have been hesitant to put really liberal justices on the court."
MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan, who was premiering his new show "The Morning Meeting," did not challenge Spitzer’s absurd assertions, but rather turned to Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and asked: "Yeah, Jonathan what do you think about that? That the Republicans have papered it with very conservative judges and that Democrats have tried to go more middle or slightly left of center, as opposed to way left judges?" Capehart agreed with Spitzer: "Well look, I respect everything my – Governor Spitzer says."
As Dan Rather sees it and decrees it, Sonia Sotomayor will make a fine Supreme Court justice. So the former CBS Evening News anchor told MSNBC's Carlos Watson this morning. The pair were discussing the impact of the high court's reversal today of Sotomayor's pro-affirmative action ruling in the New Haven firefighters case.
In Rather's opinion, while Sotomayor would have preferred the Supreme Court to rule the other way, her confirmation will nonetheless sail through, and once she ascends to the bench, she will be "a very good" Supreme Court justice.
Reacting to a New York Times column in which Frank Rich claimed Fox News was responsible for violent acts like the murder of abortionist George Tiller or the Holocaust Museum shooting, on MSNBC on Friday, John Harwood remarked: "I love Frank's columns, but I don't believe that cable television causes people to become violent."
Harwood, who is a reporter for the Times as well as the co-host of a weekly Friday show on MSNBC, The New York Times Edition, began by quoting Rich’s latest Op-Ed: "And here's Frank Rich on the ‘silent enablers’ of what he calls ‘extremist Obama haters,’ like the actor John Voight. Frank writes, ‘Voight's devout wish was to "bring an end to this false prophet Obama." This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-scriptural call to action, is toxic. It's getting louder each day of the Obama presidency and no one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren't warned.’"
After Harwood expressed that he thought Rich went too far, co-host Norah O’Donnell agreed and added: "Yeah and I think people end up hearing what they want to hear. They latch on to something. And they hear – I've heard people listen to the same channel before and hear two different – totally different things. That’s part of it, I think."
During a CNBC interview, New York Times reporter John Harwood shared an intense moment with President Obama: "He had this fly that was persistently buzzing around him during the interview...he swatted his hand and he said ‘I got the sucker’...it was a, you know, Dirty Harry ‘make my day’ moment."
Harwood described the showdown at the end of the 4PM ET hour on MSNBC, after anchor David Shuster remarked: "John, I know that the President is credited with being sometimes awfully lucky, rainbows appear sometimes when he speaks, but I understand there was an instance today where he killed a fly out of mid-air during your interview." Harwood began to tell the tale: "Well, David, this reminded me of that moment during the campaign when he took a three-point shot at a military base and it swished."
After detailing the President’s courage in battling the insect, Harwood also noted Obama’s cleanliness: "...and at the end of the interview, David, he picked up a napkin off the table and said ‘I clean up after myself’ and he picked up the fly off the carpet." In awe, Shuster observed: "Amazing...An amazing interview...it never fails, great weather, rainbows, incredible speeches, and three-point basket. A fly and he nails it. Unbelievable, unbelievable."
Co-anchor Tamron Hall concluded the discussion by comparing Obama’s quick reflexes to that of the martial arts expert in the movie Karate Kid: "Mr. Miyagi, just snapped it right up. Look at that – look at that intense look."
On Monday, MSNBC anchor David Shuster saw something profound in President Obama ordering a hamburger: "How does he approach a hamburger, I suppose some people might think well, that might also help explain some things about how he approaches foreign policy?"
Shuster was discussing comedian Bill Maher’s criticism that Barack Obama was becoming overexposed in the media with conservative talk radio hosts Martha Zoller and liberal talker Lionel. Shuster began by asking Zoller: "Martha, do you think it's a problem to have the President out there talking about all the issues that people care about?" Zoller replied: "I think that he is a little over exposed and he doesn't have to take the press with him everywhere he goes."
Even Lionel agreed with Maher: "I get the impression, though, that he gets – he's trying to show us, like, ‘hey this is pretty cool, I'm president. Hey, Joe, want a burger?’ Poor Biden’s saying, ‘I want a what?’" At that point, Shuster observed: "Given that we have all the issues, the health care, the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, why shouldn't the American people see Obama dealing with regular things so they get an idea of what type of person, what type of president he is? How he thinks? How does he approach a hamburger, I suppose some people might think well, that might also help explain some things about how he approaches foreign policy?"
On Monday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer offered some advice to Republicans: "Until they change policies – I mean, that's what it took for conservatives in Great Britain to win – is a real change in focus away from morals and values into things that affect people's daily lives.’
Brewer made the comment during the 2PM ET hour while discussing the future of the GOP with New York Times reporter John Harwood, who completely agreed: "Well, bingo, Contessa, that's exactly right." Harwood added: "The question is what is the right mix? To what extent are they going to focus on economic issues...Or do they focus more on national security...Or those social issues which have repelled some voters. But still motivate a lot of people in the Republican base." Brewer replied: "The one’s who probably vote Republican anyway."
The segment began by Brewer asking Harwood about his latest article in the New York Times, entitled "Rethinking the Reagan Mystique," in which he argued that some Republicans are calling for the party to move beyond Ronald Reagan. Brewer observed: "While there may be disagreement in the Republican about the best way forward, you know, it's been in this sort of Republican mantra to invoke Ronald Reagan's name often and loudly. That could be changing though."
"Michael Moore, the filmmaker, is back and this time he was taking aim at Wall Street," Watson said on June 15. "[H]e did a very funny thing, Sarah, this weekend when you showed his documentary in some of the movie theatres. It was very interesting. He had ushers walk along, trying to take up money for CEOs and Wall Street banks."
MSNBC’s Tamron Hall attempted to justify multiple stories on Rush Limbaugh supposedly comparing Barack Obama to Al Qaeda: "We have a right to cover people who are speaking out...Many people listen to this man, and we have a responsibility to report all sides and you can't try to duck and hide, throw the rock and then hide in the bush."
Hall was responding to criticism by Republican strategist Alex Conant, who, in the 4PM hour on Thursday, pointed out MSNBC’s excessive coverage of Rush: "Well, let me just make an observation. Two weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh challenged this network, MSNBC, to go a whole month without repeating his name, and this is like the fifth segment you guys have had this afternoon talking about Rush-" Hall immediately interrupted: "Oh, you know – okay, that's ridiculous, absolutely. You know, I don't know if you've ever, ever watched Keith Olbermann, who just obliterated Rush Limbaugh on this topic."
The segment with Conant, opposite liberal talk radio host Bill Press, was the third story MSNBC had done on Rush’s comments on Thursday. Hall herself had covered the story only an hour earlier, with liberal blogger Peter Slutsky and conservative Brian Faughnan from Redstate.com. During that segment in the 3PM hour, Hall asked Slutsky: "...do the Republican leadership, conservatives out there, need to speak out against this kind of language? I cannot imagine, you know, if there was a liberal blogger who had compared George W. Bush directly to Al Qaeda or some of the other language that’s coming out recently."
"Today" show host Matt Lauer on Thursday inadvertently mixed up the names of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, an error similar to one made by Dick Cheney and used by MSNBC's David Shuster on Tuesday to attack the former Vice President in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch segment. Will Shuster now take on his NBC colleague? Talking with journalist Richard Wolffe, Lauer mentioned a new bin Laden audiotape and jumbled, "In it he mentions Osama, he mentions Barack Obama..." [Audio available here]
On June 1, giving a speech to the National Press Cub, Cheney said of bin Laden, "I don't think he can have much impact now in terms of managing the organization because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile." During a June 2 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment on "MSNBC News Live," Shuster played the clip and then erupted, "Obama, Osama. Good grief!" He sarcastically added, "Now, I'm sure, I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." (The cable anchor also attacked the ex-VP for other reasons in the piece.)
"MSNBC News Live" co-host David Shuster slammed Dick Cheney on Tuesday's program as a hypocrite, complaining, "Your Iraq war inflamed the Muslim world, bred a new generation of terrorists who hate America and cost the lives of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers." The broadside against the former Vice President occurred during day two of Shuster's newly resurrected "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, a feature that mostly goes after conservatives and Republicans.[audio available here]
Shuster complained about an appearance Cheney made at the National Press Club on Tuesday. The ex-VP decried the closing of Guantanamo Bay and defended the Iraq war, asserting that, in the end, it saved lives. The MSNBC host also lambasted the Republican for mistakenly using Barack Obama's name when he meant Osama bin Laden. "Obama, Osama. Good grief," he exclaimed, before sarcastically asserting, "I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." Now, of course, numerous politicians have made such an error, including Ted Kennedy in 2006. Shuster has never made any of them the subject of "Hypocrisy Watch."
"MSNBC News Live" host David Shuster railed against conservative "hypocrite" Newt Gingrich on Monday, resurrecting a segment from his cancelled program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The cable anchor slammed the former House Speaker for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist on his Twitter page. Shuster noted that Gingrich supported Bush pick Sam Alito in 2006. He then played a clip of the then-nominee saying that when he has to rule on a discrimination case, Altio would think of people in his own family who have suffered bias.
Shuster derided, "Hey, Newt. When you embrace the empathy of a conservative judge, but call the empathy of a progressive judge racist, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong." Now, of course, the obvious difference is that Sotomayor didn't just acknowledge empathy, she asserted in a 2001 speech at the University of California, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
The stated concept of "Hypocrisy Watch" is to call out hypocritical politicians. On MSNBC, however, that usually means Republicans. An April 6, 2009 fax report by the MRC found that before Shuster's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" program was cancelled on April 2, the liberal anchor made conservatives/Republicans the target of "Hypocrisy Watch" 71 percent of the time. Liberals/Democrats accounted for only eight percent of those attacked. So, it's not particularly surprising that Shuster has returned to his old habits.
During live MSNBC coverage in the 9AM EST hour on Monday about the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, guest Dr. Warren Hern, a fellow abortionist and friend of Tiller, declared: "Dr. Tiller's crime was that he helped women and the man who killed him tried to kill an idea. The idea is freedom. So we don't have to invade other countries to find the terrorists. They’re here killing doctors who do abortions. The difference between – the main difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles." Instead of challenging such an incendiary statement, correspondent Monica Novotny simply concluded the segment: "Dr. Warren Hern, thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it." [audio available here]
Earlier in the interview, Novotny asked Hern: "You were quoted as saying that Dr. Tiller's death was ‘predictable.’ What was your reaction when you heard and why do you say that?" Hern explained his statement: "This was not the act of a lone deranged gunman. This is a result of 35 years of relentless and merciless anti-abortion harassment, violence, and intimidation, hate speech and violent rhetoric, and this is the absolutely predictable consequence of that kind of mindless harassment and fanaticism."
During the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, political analyst Pat Buchanan wondered why President Obama’s short list for the Supreme Court only included women, in response, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Did it ever occur to you, Pat, that maybe there weren’t any white men who were qualified?" (video here)
Buchanan replied: "No, it did not occur to me...You mean there are no white males qualified? That is – that would be an act of bigotry to make a statement like that." O’Donnell defended her remark by claiming past discrimination against women in the nominating process: "In the past there have been no women that have been qualified." Buchanan argued: "They certainly have been qualified in the past. I don’t doubt there are. But probably half of the great lawyers and judges are white males in this country. And to rule them out, why? Because of their sex and because of their race is wrong, I think. At least it’s affirmative action."
O’Donnell rejected Buchanan’s claim: "I don’t think you have proof that they did that." Buchanan asked: "How did he come down to four women?" O’Donnell simply repeated White House talking points: "He said that they were the best and that met the views that he had, the particular criteria." Buchanan summed up that "criteria": "One of them, it’s got to be a woman, and the other it got down to be, ‘hey, it’s an Hispanic,’ that’s affirmative action."
During the 2:00PM hour of live Wednesday coverage on MSNBC, anchor Carlos Watson called on President Obama to stand up for gay marriage, comparing the issue to the civil rights movement: "You know what I predict, just like we saw LBJ in the late 60's, very unexpectedly and very famously, looked into the camera, addressed the nation, and say ‘we shall overcome,’ adopting the language of the civil rights movement, I wouldn't be surprised if before 2012 we see President Obama get out in front on this."
Watson made the comment while discussing the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 with Roy Seacoff, editor of the left-wing Huffington Post. Earlier in the segment, Seacoff commented on a recent article Watson wrote for the liberal website: "Now Carlos, I know, because I read it on the Huffington Post... That you think that this is the moral equivalent of Plessy vs. Ferguson." Watson explained: "The old – the old 1890s case that said ‘separate but equal.’" Seacoff added: "Right, separate but equal. Right. And I tend to agree with you, which makes me sad that Obama is behind the curve on this issue."
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."
Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O’Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq." After O’Donnell denounced Cheney’s sleaziness, he went on this diatribe:
He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.