MSNBC's "panel" on today's hearings about radicalization of Muslim-Americans featured liberals Carl Bernstein and Cenk Uygur – with MSNBC's Richard Lui moderating. With no substantial conservative counterpoints to be offered, the two guests sounded their condemnations of the hearings as "cultural warfare" and bigotry.
Bernstein slammed the House inquiry as a joke and as a "debating society for cultural warfare." Referencing the institution's past for producing McCarthy-ite investigations, he compared the current hearings with the gladiatorial combat of the Roman coliseum.
"Now we have this question which is part of this coliseum-like atmosphere of cultural warfare," Bernstein spat.
Cenk Uygur turned up the invective knob to 11 when it was his turn to speak. He questioned whether Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is a "real American."
MSNBC's Richard Lui questioned and generally disagreed with a St. Augustine High School alum who supported the school's 60 year tradition of corporal punishment – paddling – in a story MSNBC apparently thinks merits national attention.
Journalist Karen Hunter belittled Pastor Stephen Broden over his provocative pro-life billboard on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Thursday, calling the ad "racial," "sexist," and "completely offensive." Host Chris Jansing didn't do much moderating over the segment, essentially giving Hunter a pass for her statements and further pressing Broden on the billboard.
Pastor Broden is a board member of pro-life group Life Always that sponsored a billboard in New York City claiming that "The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American Is In the Womb." From the start of the interview, Jansing pressed Broden to admit that the ad may be offensive to minority communities.
"Can you understand why some people say this ad offends communities of color?" Jansing asked. She later turned to Hunter, who is a journalist and has co-authored multiple best-selling books with African-American celebrities. Jansing threw her a softball, simply asking her if she thought it racist, sexist, and/or offensive.
Brewer argued that the President's supposed "slash" in spending, "forces Republicans to take an even stricter stand if they want to appear to be spending hawks." As a result, she warned: "...if the Republicans embrace the role of meanie money enforcer it gives Democrats an opening to show a big heart." Brewer cheered that "while both parties try to avoid getting too specific about spending cuts, the President gets to take a higher road, promising to veto any bill that undermines critical priorities."
Reporting on President Obama's speech to the Chamber of Commerce Monday, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer sloppily labeled the Chamber as "conservative" in narrating the conflict between the business federation and the President. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, though it may have enjoyed the "conservative" label in the past, has supported major liberal legislation over the past few years in the name of being "pro-business."
"Two years, big business and President Obama were at odds," Brewer introduced the segment. "The boiling point – when Obama accused the conservative Chamber of Commerce of refusing to disclose the millions it spent on campaign ads to defeat Democrats."
The Chamber sent a letter to the U.S. Senate in February of 2009 imploring it to pass the Stimulus bill, H.R. 1. "The legislation is not perfect," the Chamber confessed, adding that "parts of the bill should be modified or eliminated. However, the Chamber urges the Senate to approve H.R. 1, and encourages Congress and the Administration to work on a conference report that provides timely, targeted, and temporary economic stimulus."
MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on Tuesday argued that, based on Barack Obama's record, it would be fair to label the President a "fairly conservative Democrat." Talking to Ashley Bell, a Georgia politician who left the Democratic Party to become a Republican, the host listed several examples that he suggested could, at the very least, make the President a "centrist."
Bell argued that Obama's moves reflect convenience rather than principle. Explaining his own party switch, the Hall County Commissioner claimed the Democratic Party no longer has room for conservatives. This prompted Roberts to incredulously wonder, "Why did you think you were a Democrat to begin with, then?"
Lobbying for Obama, Roberts argued, "He cut corporate tax rates, kept Guantanamo open, didn't push for the public option. Now promising to cut taxes even more, fewer regulations for businesses. I mean, I could go on and on. Wouldn't this be a definition of a fairly conservative Democrat or at least a definition of a centrist?"
Somewhere in the bowels of the MSNBC newsroom, a decision was made today to devote considerable coverage to getting to the bottom of a disconcerting juvenile epidemic: car surfing.
That's right, the "fearless gamble" that is "all the rage" among American teenagers, according to NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, is an important enough story for a national cable news network to send one of its intrepid reporters to give live reports throughout the morning and into the mid-afternoon.
While the topic of car surfing received substantial coverage on "Jansing & Co." with Chris Jansing, "News Live" with Contessa Brewer, and "News Nation" with Tamron Hall, the recent sting operation that uncovered employees at a New York City Planned Parenthood office offering advice to a man posing as a pimp who admitted to exploiting minors as sex slaves received but a scant 30-second news brief during the 10 a.m. hour of "Jansing & Co."
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer on Wednesday blamed Republicans for obstructionism, complaining about the "attention grabber" Michele Bachmann and her Tea Party response to the State of the Union.
Talking to Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee, she derided, "Mo, is Michelle Bachmann ruining the chances for bipartisanship?" Before playing a clip of Bachmann stating her opposition to excess spending, Brewer snapped, "Here she is, the attention grabber, demanding that lawmakers are towing the line."
(Of course the network that employs Brewer, MSNBC, is not known for bipartisanship when it comes to the anchors they hire.) Later, she derided even discussing issues "we have already talked about ad nauseam before the votes happened." She added, "Health care reform, stimulus. I mean, is there a point where we move on and look at the future?"
Tamron Hall was joined by her MSNBC colleague Dylan Ratigan on Wednesday's edition of "News Nation" in condemning some members of corporate America for the way they have "demonized" the Obama administration. That slight of American businesses came during a dicussion of President Hu Jintao's U.S visit, in which Ratigan remarked that President Obama's greatest challenge will not be dealing with China, but American businesses who have invested heavily in China.
To publicize his new memoir, MSNBC hosted Rev. Albert Cutie on its Friday afternoon news programming. Fr. Cutie is a married priest in the Episcopal Church, having abruptly left the Catholic priesthood in May of 2009 after his secret love affair was made public. Cutie used the segment to criticize the Catholic Church's position on priestly celibacy and homosexuality.
"I can tell you that priests do have a sexual life, and what I talk about in the book is not really an attack toward the Church, it's the reality of what happens within the Church at every level," Cutie insisted, adding that the Church should consider liberalizing its stance on priestly celibacy.
The former priest has also appeared on ABC to tell his story and argue his case for liberalization of Church teaching. CBS was sympathetic to Cutie's plight in their coverage of his scandal. Cutie was fairly well-known as a Catholic priest – before he departed the Church, he hosted a television show for Spanish Catholics that was broadcast on the Catholic cable network EWTN. He was reportedly popular among his parishoners in the Archdiocese of Miami.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer on Tuesday spread the blame for Saturday's spree shooting, singling out "vitriolic right-wing talkers and the Tea Party." Several groups seemed to be on Brewer's list, with the notable exception of Jared Loughner. He was only mentioned as a failure of the mental health system.
Closing the 12pm hour of News Live, Brewer summarized, "We've been following the fallout from the Tucson shooting and there is a lot of blame to go around. People are blaming the vitriolic right-wing talkers and the Tea Party." (When Brewer mentioned "people," one could largely substitute the word "journalists.")
During MSNBC's live coverage immediately following Saturday's attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), correspondent Luke Russert theorized that the shooting was probably a violent reaction to the passage of ObamaCare, for which Giffords cast an affirmative vote.
"Remember, this is the deepest fear that was in the back of everybody's mind going through the health care debate. A lot of members were threatened," Russert warned during coverage of the shooting. "It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today."
Russert's comment came during the 3 p.m. EST hour of MSNBC News Live; the network was in ongoing live coverage of the event, which occurred around 10:15 a.m. local time, 12:15 p.m. EST.
Reporting that House Republicans will soon be voting to repeal President Obama's "job-killing" health care law, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer wondered if the GOP should take a different route to save jobs. During her Thursday 12 p.m. EST news hour, she revealed a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimating that a repeal of the health care law will cost $230 billion over the next ten years.
Disregarding the GOP arguments for repealing ObamaCare, Brewer wondered aloud about the merits of the $230 billion being invested in re-education of unemployed persons.
"What would happen," Brewer asked Prof. Robert Reich of the University of California at Berkeley, "if you took $230 billion and instead put that toward re-education of the nation's unemployed?"
Professional jealousy, or something of a more personal sort? Chris Matthews sniped at Joe Scarborough today as his MSNBC colleague, exercising his privilege as a former congressman, strolled the House floor during the session culminating in the installation of John Boehner as Speaker.
Kvetched Chris: "What do you think of the rule that allows former members like Joe Scarborough to walk around the floor with such impunity, John Harris? We're looking at him on camera here . . . I've never seen such casualness."
Harris, of Politico, seeming to sense the ambient animosity, stayed out of the fray. This isn't the first time that bad blood has broken out between Matthews and Scarborough, as here, here and here.
During the 12PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Contessa Brewer condemned Republican plans to reign in government spending: "Republicans poised to take over the U.S. House tomorrow and they arrive with a big, fat budget ax. They're planning make good on a promise to curb spending and cut the federal deficit and their plan could mean real pain for many Americans."
Brewer claimed the effort "is so politically risky, even Republicans in the Senate haven't pledged their support." She then touted White House talking points attacking the GOP: "...the White House warns Republicans the cuts could create catastrophic consequences for the economy. Budget Director Jacob Lew says it could put the recovery in a deep freeze and kill thousands of jobs." Brewer cheered: "The President is urging GOP leaders to focus on the economy and steer clear of politics."
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer thinks the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell is a national "priority" that needs to be passed during the lame duck session.
While the Senate considers stand-alone repeal of the ban against openly gay service members today, the MSNBC daytime anchor pressed Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.): "What do you make of the people who say there might not be enough time to do this during the lame duck session? Why not? Shouldn't this be a priority?"
Lieberman, who supports repeal, insisted that repealing the controversial measure now "must be a priority," despite a recent poll showing that only 32 percent of Americans think that taking up the issue is "very important." In fact, 56 percent of the public believes that "passing legislation that would keep the estate tax from increasing significantly" is "very important," and 50 percent believe that extending at least "some form" of the Bush tax cuts is "very important."
Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) ranked second only to the DREAM Act, which would grant a pathway to citizenship for minors, as the least important issue to address during the closing days of the 111th Congress.
Jami "Sarah Palin is an extraordinary ass" Floyd made her best pitch for an Obama White House gig this morning, charting a course for the president's rehabilitation before the 2012 election and chastising the Republicans's "Bah! Humbug!" tax compromise.
Chris Jansing, anchor of MSNBC's "Jansing & Co.," asked Floyd to assess the argument some Democrats are making that the president should have used his congressional majorities to muscle through a tax package that would have placated liberals. In her response, Floyd took off her analyst hat and strategized as a partisan Democrat.
"We should have unified around our president," insisted Floyd, a former ABC News correspondent. "Woulda, shoulda, coulda. But now we stand where we stand and the question is what do we do going forward? Do we make this deal? Do we strike this deal now? Or do we let it fall apart and then have less to worth with when we come back?"
After not-so-subtly admitting that she has a vested interest in Obama's political rehabilitation, Floyd, a former Clinton adviser, demonstrated that she could just as effortlessly shill for the current administration.
During Wednesday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer attacked those who want to maintain the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy: "...the Marine Corps and Catholic chaplains, who say they support the policy on moral grounds. It doesn't make a lot of sense...if it's homosexuality that they have a problem with – they're basically saying, 'Yeah, just keep lying about it.'"
Later in the hour, Brewer interviewed Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman about his support for repealing the policy. She labeled Arizona Senator John McCain as the villain preventing repeal: "So John McCain has been one of the most formidable foes when it comes to repealing this policy....Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen support repealing this policy. Have you talked with Senator McCain? Is he willing to give?"
In the segment before she interviewed him, MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing labeled Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa "one of the most radical right-wingers in Congress." Nothing was said of the comment in the interview, and her questions proceeded as normal.
Following a debate on the extension of unemployment benefits, Jansing remarked that "up next we're going to talk to one of the most radical right-wingers in Congress and talk about what he plans to do when the GOP takes control of the House." In the next segment, she interviewed Rep. King.
Jansing asked King about the DREAM Act, tax cuts, and compromising with Democrats. She pressed King on immigration and the DREAM Act, using an clip of an illegal immigrant student who said she wants "to give back to the country that saw us grow."
Displaying a clear conflict of interest during Friday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer did a story promoting electric car charging stations but did not disclose to viewers that the channel's parent company, General Electric, was selling the very same product. GE commercials for the charging stations have frequently aired on MSNBC in recent weeks.
Brewer began the segment, a part of NBC-Universal's "Green is Progress" week, by declaring: "Houston, the city known for gas pumps and oil gushers, is getting the nation's largest network of electric car charging stations." The company providing the charging stations was not General Electric, but rather NRG Energy. Brewer interviewed the company's president and CEO, David Crane.
While most of the country took a collective gasp over the verdict in the trial of al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ghailani, Cenk Uygur spun the disconcerting outcome as a success story for the Obama administration.
Anchoring the 3:00 P.M. EDT hour of MSNBC's live news coverage today, the liberal host of "The Young Turks" boldly and bizarrely proclaimed "our justice system worked."
After accusing congressional Republicans of being "scared of terrorists," implying that terrorists who want to kill us aren't worth fussing over, Uygur dismissed the notion that acquitting Ghailani on more than 280 charges exposed the shortcomings of trying suspected terrorists in civilian courts.
"So what?" bellowed an incredulous Uygur. "We just gave this guy, who we believe helped to kill 224 people, a fair trial."
Gay rights activist and MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer continued to insert her politics into news reports on Wednesday. The News Live host discussed changes in how the Mormons view homosexuality and lectured, "And we hope to see more progress from the Church of Latter-Day Saints in the future."
The Mormon Church has announced it will no longer require those who have homosexual attractions to seek counseling, but still opposes acting on such feelings. That, apparently, wasn't enough for Brewer who complained to Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, "So, there's some progress there, but, yet, the church still calls homosexuality a violation of God's commandment."
During Monday's12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer helped promote the network's "Green is Progress" week by demanding greater government intervention to force people to follow an environmentalist agenda: "Until government says these are the standards that everyone has to aspire to, we're not really making progress."
Brewer made the comments while interviewing Practically Green CEO Susan Hunt Stevens and introduced the segment by touting the latest poll numbers on environmental awareness: "87% of Americans say they personally care about protecting the environment. 75% of Americans believe projects that protect the environment could also give us an economic boost....38% say the government should be most responsible for protecting the environment." However, she fretted people weren't making enough sacrifices: "...everybody says in a survey, 'oh, do you want to live greener? Do you personally care about the environment?' Yes. 'Are you willing to spend 25 cents extra in a federal gas tax that would definitely help improve the use of fuel?' Not so much."
MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." zoomed in on rifts developing within the Republican House majority Friday morning – but ignored a growing spat between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats who don't want her to continue as the party's leader in the House.
With the headline "GOP Civil War?" anchor Chris Jansing explored the conflict between upstart Tea Party Republicans and the establishment. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a two-term congresswoman and Tea Party leader, seeks the party's fourth-most senior position in the House. Standing in her way is establishment-backed candidate Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
Jansing used the case to underline the differences between the Tea Party and the establishment GOP, and wondered how the relationship between the two sides will evolve. "There are already splits within the Republican Party, and they include things like health care. ...There are a whole series of issues on which they disagree, Michele Bachmann being just part of it."
Former GOP congresswoman Susan Molinari dismissed the differences as "much ado about nothing." "This is the way politics works," Molinari stated. "In any political party, there's going to be some disagreements around the edges of major pieces of legislation."
MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." ran the headline "Sore Losers?" during the 11 a.m. EDT hour, featuring concession speeches of three GOP candidates in the election. The anchor, Chris Jansing, asked "Where's the civility?" but made no specific mention of Democrat "sore losers."
"Whatever happened to the gracious concession speech, and whatever happened to that phone call to your opponent?" Jansing complained. "Is civility dead?"
In its lambasting of Republicans, perhaps MSNBC forgot about Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who arrogantly ripped Republicans for dirty tactics and proclaimed the Boston Herald "irrelevant" – after his victory. Or maybe they overlooked President Obama as he recently labeled conservatives and Republicans "the enemy" on Hispanic radio.
"This is not just the Republicans in the clips that you just showed, but it's Democrats as well, including President Obama himself, who have shown a lack of civility at times in the debate," retorted GOP strategist Alex Conant.
During live MSNBC coverage leading up to President Obama's Wednesday 1PM ET press conference, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather urged the President to aggressively take on Republicans in the wake of the midterm elections: "[Obama] has to realize that Mitch McConnell has virtually said so that politically he wants to cut out his heart and throw his liver to the dogs." [Audio available here]
Rather declared that the President should "take the Harry Truman, who lost big in1946 and said 'I'm going to fight them. I'm going to fight them.'...He has to be a fighter." He lamented how Obama's "reputation as president so far is he's a little soft. He plays soft." Rather concluded: "He's got to demonstrate, and I think in this news conference, 'yes, I will work with them, but I'm prepared to fight them on things that really matter to me.'"
Michele Bachman took every thing Chris Matthews had tonight and punched back, during her live election night MSNBC interview with the Hardball host. After a frustrated Matthews actually asked the Congresswoman if she was "hypnotized" and in a "trance" for not answering his questions the way he liked, Bachmann fired back: "The American people are the ones...coming out of our trance...I think people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably maybe quite not so tingly on your leg any more."
Bachman's point was hilariously underlined by a sign behind her that referenced Matthews' now famous Barack Obama induced thrills, which caused MSNBC's Rachel Maddowto whine: "Can we talk for a second about what they're trying to do there? With that sign they're trying to say MSNBC is in the tank and NBC is in the tank for Obama. That's what they're trying to say."
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on MSNBC's live election night coverage on November 2nd:
Chris Matthews, during MSNBC's live election night coverage, was distressed at what he saw was the "death of the moderate wing of the Republican Party." After his colleague Keith Olbermann ran down the latest results of Republicans leading or winning in specific races Matthews bemoaned how such moderates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter were run out of their own party and even bellowed: "Mike Castle getting knocked out by the woman who said she's not a witch...is a joke, it's a joke for the Republican Party to lose people like Mike Castle."
The following November 2, outburst by Matthews was aired during MSNBC's live election night coverage:
Chris Jansing's cognitive dissonance must be excruciating.
On today's "Jansing and Co.," the MSNBC anchor initially rejected the practice of gotcha journalism in political campaign coverage, but proceeded to play gotcha with a comment made yesterday by Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell.
"I'm not a big fan of trying to do a gotcha," prefaced Jansing, directing the remark at retired Army General Wesley Clark. "I've said that before on this program. But does it bother you at all when someone can't name a current member of the Senate on the Democratic side?"
Clark, who ran for president in 2004 as a Democrat, refuted Jansing's gotcha question: "Well, first of all I think that's a little bit of a stretch in this case. She wasn't asked to name a current member, she was asked to name someone she'd like to work with. So I think that's a little bit of a stretch."