Despite the latest NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll showing 61 percent of Americans support Arizona’s new immigration law, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on May 26 failed to interview a single supporter for MSNBC’s special, “A Nation Divided.” She did, however, manage to scrounge up plenty of vocal opponents, including two high-profile Democrats who believe the law is unconstitutional.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa agreed that the legislation Arizona Governor Janet Brewer (R) signed into law in April divides the country along racial lines and think the federal government should pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“But the fact of the matter is this is a divisive measure, it’s unconstitutional,” insisted Villaraigosa, who supports the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to boycott Arizona. “It violates the rights of people in Arizona and it’s the wrong way to go.”
Instead of asking Richardson and Villaraigosa to explain how the new law is unconstitutional and divisive, Mitchell fired off bursts of piercing, penetrating questions, such as:
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Thursday attempted to critique Barack Obama's handling of the oil spill, but felt it necessary to point out how "intellectual" and "focused" the administration usually is.
She prefaced her gentle disapproval by exclaiming, "...There was a lot of criticism- and we're not analogizing this to Katrina- but there has been a lot of criticism in the past of decisions made on war and peace and on Katrina by the George W. Bush administration."
Mitchell gingerly added, "And many people praised Barack Obama's White House because it was so intellectual and so focused on problem solving and fact getting. But is there a lack of passion?"
MSNBC’s May 26 special on immigration reform, “A Nation Divided,” was replete with unbalanced interviews with liberal activists and one-sided segments featuring only liberal positions on the controversial issue.
MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer pitched softballs to Democrats Michael Nowakowski, vice mayor of Phoenix, and Raul Castro, former Arizona governor, without brining on guests to counter their liberal perspectives.
“The other thing that this really does is it puts businesses in the enforcement business, and responsible for making sure that their employees are here legally,” Brewer told Nowakowski. “The consequences for which could mean business owners lose their livelihoods.”
In the same interview, Brewer set up Nowakowski to bemoan the supposedly high cost of enforcing Arizona’s new immigration law, which empowers state authorities to inquire into a person’s legal status if there is reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally.
MSNBC’s Luke Russert on Wednesday chided Senate Republicans for meeting with Barack Obama and using language that wasn't "exactly the things that we’d necessarily see as elevated Presidential dialogue."
The network reporter highlighted the "tense" discussion between the President and the GOP members. "It was quite interesting to see some of these adjectives thrown about President Obama," Russert sniffed. He derided the GOP comments: "'Thin-skinned,' 'needs Valium,' 'testy'–not exactly the things that we’d necessarily see as elevated Presidential dialogue."
MSNBC on Thursday went on the offensive against Republican and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. In a single day, the cable network devoted 37 minutes over eight segments to implying that the Senate candidate might be a racist.
Each piece featured a clip of Paul's appearance on Wednesday's Rachel Maddow program in which the MSNBC host suggested the libertarian candidate would tolerate bigotry because he opposes government regulation.
Throughout the day, MSNBC touted liberal guest after liberal guest to excoriate the politician. The lineup included Jesse Jackson, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn, liberal professors Boyce Watkins and Michael Eric Dyson and Democratic strategist Karen Finney.
During Wednesday's 10AM EST hour on MSNBC, Politico's Mike Allen shared his thoughts on Tuesday's electoral results: "Stop the steamroller. The idea the Republicans were automatically going to be in control going into November, now not true....a Democrat winning the only Democrat-Republican showdown of yesterday in a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. The Republicans should have won."
That despite the fact that the seat has been by Democrats for decades and that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in the district. Allen touted how "the White House is saying this shows that if you fight district by district that you can win. Democrats can win in a tough district if they have a local message."
Anchor Alex Witt then asked Allen about the victory of Rand Paul in the Kentucky senate Republican primary. Allen continued to spin the news as bad for the GOP: "if he makes it to Washington...He's not going to do what the Republican leaders tell him to do, they fought against him."
Allen even claimed the Paul campaign was modeled after that of Barack Obama: "this is a continuation of the trend that we saw with Barack Obama in 2008. He wasn't the establishment candidate....That's what we're seeing in both parties now."
MSNBC's Alex Witt on Friday featured a rabidly anti-Sarah Palin journalist to explain why the former governor spoke at a National Rifle Association conference. Asked to comment, Cathy Areu, a Washington Post magazine editor, derided, "Oh, my God! She is such a fear-monger and really just appeals to this group of people who likes to hear all of these crazy comments."
Areu first drew fawning attention from fellow reporters when she appeared on CNN Headline News on April 14 and smeared, "Sarah Palin could do no wrong for so many people. I mean, she is a female Larry the Cable Guy minus the class and intelligence."
Witt made no mention of Areu's venomous attitude towards the former Republican vice presidential candidate. Instead she tossed softballs that allowed the Post editor to sully the motives of Palin: "I don't think she'll ever run for anything. She will just say she is going to run for something and will keep putting out books, which is what she's doing. She left the office in Alaska to sell books."
Twice in the span of ten minutes, MSNBC on Tuesday ran segments touting left-wing complaints that Elena Kagan may not be "liberal enough." News Live host Peter Alexander seriously speculated of the Supreme Court pick: "...But who is really most frustrated with the pick? It seems as many liberal groups are upset by this as are conservatives."
Later in the 10am hour, Alexander worried, "And also right now on the left, she may not be liberal enough. That's the complaint there. Some progressives say she's too much of a blank slate to know how she stands on any issue." He also uncritically listed the issues Kagan is supposedly conservative on, including "supporting banning late term abortions."
"As the MRC calculated, the coverage was 12-to-1 against the Arizona law," Pinkerton noted as he asked liberal contributor Ellis Henican if that disparity in the media's coverage of the issue bothered him.
When Henican brushed off the MRC study, Pinkerton also brought up how MSNBCer Tamron Hall posited that an Arizona sheriff's deputy may have "staged" a shooting to gain political support for the new Arizona law.
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer on Thursday didn't try and hide her opinion on illegal immigration, spinning such lawbreakers as having a "pivotal role in making our country work." The News Live host interviewed Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles and opined, "They do all kinds of jobs that keep our economy going, that keep us fed, our houses clean, our gardens tended and the like." [Audio available here.]
Brewer appeared absolutely baffled by the fact that most Americans agree with Arizona's new immigration law: "When you're looking at removing those people from the system, it's odd to me that you would get so much support."
Continuing her rather lengthy assessment, the anchor offered this rather loaded question: "Why do you think there's so much support for this law when the consequences of removing those estimated 12 million illegal immigrants could devastate our economy?"
On Thursday's 11AM hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall described "growing controversy" surrounding the recent shooting of an Arizona sheriff's deputy by illegal immigrant drug smugglers and noted how: "The Pinal County sheriff released the 911 tapes the injured deputy made, in response to what he called 'growing speculation' that the shooting was staged." [Audio available here]
Hall brought on Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to respond and grilled him on the conspiracy theory put out by the left-leaning Phoenix NewTimes: "a report...comparing the deputy who received that wound...to another officer who had staged a gun battle. The allegation here is that this shooting...was to supposed to help convince people that the tough Arizona law against immigration was needed, that this was the example that you could hold up as proof. What do you say to those claims that this was all staged?"
Babeu replied: "Well, we in law enforcement operate in the realm of facts....We don't have the luxury to operate just with all these wild ideas that could be out there." He went on add: "So this news account, they didn't have the benefit of any of the facts. In fact, they didn't even talk to me or anybody from my agency."
NewsBusters contributor Scott Whitlock's May 4 item, "MSNBC's Contessa Brewer 'Frustrated' That Times Square Bomber Is a Muslim" was noticed by Fox News Channel "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier, who included a reference to the story and the underlying controversy in his May 5 "Grapevine" segment.
Hosting a debate segment this morning between Republican strategist Alex Conant and Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee that examined the political dimensions of the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, MSNBC's Tamron Hall played soundbites from two politicians with rather divergent views on offshore drilling.
The first was liberal Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) opposing expanding offshore drilling to California, the second was conservative Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who gave a rather dopey comment where he downplayed the devastation of the oil spill by comparing its appearance to "chocolate milk."
After playing those clips back-to-back, Hall asked for Conant's reaction, mistakenly referring to Taylor as a Republican.
We at NewsBusters quickly tweeted Hall about her error and she promptly issued an on-air correction, albeit mistakenly tagging Taylor as a "Michigan Democrat" [MP3 audio available here]:
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer appeared on the liberal Stephanie Miller radio show on Tuesday and lamented the fact that the person arrested for the attempted Times Square bombing is a Pakistani American. She complained, "I get frustrated...There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country." [Audio available here.]
Brewer continued, "...There are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry."
The News live host didn't explain which ethnicity or religion she had been hoping the bomber would have been affiliated with. She did defensively mention members of a Michigan militia group arrested in March and asserted that they were "from far different backgrounds than what this guy is coming from."
Pres. Obama so badly wanted to claim credit for stopping the Times Square attack, that he led himself up a rhetorical box canyon in remarks this morning. Check it out:
BARACK OBAMA: This incident is another sobering reminder of the times in which we live. Around the world and here at home, there are those who would attack our citizens and who would slaughter innocent men, women and children in pursuit of their murderous agenda. They will stop at nothing to kill and disrupt our way of life, but once again an attempted attack has been [awkward pause] failed.
You just know PBO wanted to say that the attempted attacked had been "stopped" or "thwarted." There was just one little problem . . .
Picking up on a story from Louisiana about a bill to allow concealed carry for firearms in houses of worship, MSNBC's Tamron Hall asked viewers of the network's live coverage shortly before 3 p.m. EDT today if the legislation was "Crossing the Line."
True to the segment's formula, only one side of the controversy was represented in the form of a guest to discuss the matter, in this case, an opponent of the bill, State Rep. Barbara Norton (D). [full interview audio here; click play button on embed at right for video]
While Hall did ask Norton to react to a quote by bill sponsor State Rep. Henry Burns (R), she failed to ask Norton why she believed it was proper for the state to issue a top-down one-size-fits-all gun ban for houses of worship, as dictated by current law.
After all, as New Orleans Times-Picayune capital bureau staffer Ed Anderson reported yesterday, the bill does not require churches to allow parishioners to carry concealed and parishioners must be notified by church officers prior to any move to adopt a security force or allow concealed carry by worshipers:
During Thursday's 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Florida Governor Charlie Crist's expected announcement to run as an independent in that state's senate race: "Is this a sign that people, perhaps centrists or moderates, like Charlie Crist, have no place in this new emerging Republican Party?"
That set up the left-wing Dean to bash conservatives and the GOP: "What effect does the tea party have on the Republican Party? And this is a really good example. They've driven another moderate out of the Republican Party....there just apparently is no place in the Republican Party for moderate, thoughtful people anymore."
Hall first asked Dean about an odd rumor: "There is a story online that's being picked up by conservative blogs that you offered to contribute to Charlie Crist's campaign if he left the Republican Party. What happened there?" Dean explained: "That was a joke between me and Joe Scarborough which some enterprising staffer for Crist picked up and pushed it around. It's not true. I'm supporting Kendrick Meek." He then added: "I actually think that the two big winners out of this are the United States, who are hopefully going to get a real senator instead of a far-right person, and I do think, of course, it helps the Democratic Party and Kendrick's candidacy as well."
After Hall introduced Dean at the beginning of the segment, she remarked: "I say it like you're a correspondent now....I love that being a possible segment Governor Dean, you coming on and talking about the top political news of the day."
Shortly before 11 a.m. this morning, a sympathetic Monica Novotny interviewed anti-obesity activist Meme Roth about a new law in Santa Clara County, California, banning the distribution of free toys in kids meals at fast food restaurants.
That's right, the food police have a warrant out for Ronald McDonald.
But rather than include a voice of dissent to challenge Roth on the government-expanding, free enterprise-attacking nature of the law, Novotny tried to tinker around the edges, wondering if it might be better to encourage restaurants to put free toys in healthier kids meal options. [full interview embedded at right, click here for MP3 audio]
Roth dismissed that notion as a "bribe" to get kids to adopt healthier eating habits, although she also absurdly argued that:
[UPDATE BELOW: Tamron Hall responds on Twitter.] MSNBC's Tamron Hall on Wednesday worried that Arizona may be turning into the "most conservative state in the nation." A graphic on the liberal cable network chided, "Arizona Too Conservative?" [Audio available here.]
Hall talked to Zachary Roth from the Talking Points Memo web page. His site first sounded the alarm over the threat from this right wing state with an article entitled, "Crazy Arizona: How A State Went From Swinging In '08 To Out On A Limb In 2010."
After discussing several conservative initiatives that the state House has passed, Hall linked the tough new immigration law and other proposals to bigotry: "Here you have a state that could be one of the first with a dominant population of Latino and Hispanics. Is that, perhaps, why we're seeing this conservative push so appealing with people there?"
During the Monday 12PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer described the "firestorm" over a newly passed immigration law in Arizona and fretted: "does this lead to a situation where neighbors are turning in neighbors or families turning against families?" Later in the segment, a headline on screen read: "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant."
Brewer discussed the issue with Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and wondered: "Is this an effective way to deal with the problem?" In response, Sanchez declared: "to stop people and say, 'I think you look like an illegal immigrant' and then drag them off to jail is not the way to deal with this issue."
Brewer followed up by quoting current Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano: "she would veto these kinds of bills because she said – she thought it was important for police to be doing actual police work, that they are not immigration enforcement officers." As Brewer made that argument, the headline "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant" flashed on screen.
MSNBC on Wednesday suspended host Donny Deutsch in the wake of a segment on Tuesday about what role hosts such as Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz play in making this country "America the angry." During the piece, Deutsch played a clip of an Olbermann rant and didn't defend Schultz when conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt attacked the "the biggest hate mongers in television."
However, in February, when Deutsch dismissed Hispanic senatorial hopeful Marco Rubio as a "coconut," a term that the New York Times described as meaning "brown on the outside and white on the inside," MSNBC took no action.
Apparently, incurring the wrath of Keith Olbermann is quite dangerous. (TV Newser reported the role the liberal anchor played in the punishment.)
MSNBC's Donny Deutsch kicked off a week-long segment on Monday about "America the Angry" and hinted that the "rageaholics" in this country could create another Oklahoma City-style bombing. After one guest mentioned Joe Stack, the man who flew a plane into an IRS building in February, Deutsch wrongly derided, "I don't know whether he was Republican or Democrat. I'm assuming he was probably a Republican."
In fact, Stack's manifesto, found after his death, included rants against capitalism, George W. Bush and religion. These are hardly the standard comments of a Republican. At times during the interview, Deutsch, who is serving as a substitute host on News Live, seemed annoyed that his three guests didn't agree that the U.S. is on the verge of another domestic terrorist event.
MSNBC on Monday repeatedly promoted Barack Obama as a pro-Second Amendment President and chastised gun-rights activists for "worrying" so much over this issue. News Live host Monica Novotny talked to Skip Coryell, the founder of the Second Amendment march on Washington and complained, "What are you guys worried about?
She then touted, "Our political unit today was reminding us in the First Read that President Obama has expanded gun rights more than any other Democratic President when he signed legislation that, among other things, allows people to carry weapons in national parks." Host Tamron Hall repeated the talking point in the 11am hour.
MSNBC colleague Norah O'Donnell condescendingly hit the same idea in a Tweet: "irony [sic] of the men-with-guns protests in DC: Obama has expanded gun rights more than other recent Dem president." Of course, Obama also appointed the extremely anti-gun Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme court. Another nominee hostile to the Second Amendment may be coming soon. Candidate Obama famously chastised "bitter" Americans for "clinging" to their guns.
MSNBC's Peter Alexander on Friday eagerly agreed with a journalist who attacked Sarah Palin as "Larry the Cable Guy, minus the class and intelligence." Talking to Cathy Areu, contributing editor of the Washington Post magazine, Alexander gushed, "It's a good line." [Audio available here.]
As first reported on NewsBusters, Areu slammed the former Alaskan governor on CNN, Wednesday. Playing to MSNBC's left-wing audience, an onscreen graphic playfully asked, "Palin the Cable Gal?"
After explaining that Bill O'Reilly asked Areu to come on his show and defend her remarks, Alexander sympathized, "Areu said thanks but no thanks to Fox. Saying she wanted to appear right here on MSNBC. We don't blame her."
MSNBC's Monica Novotny on Friday highlighted a dubious Vanity Fair piece lamenting the "cost" of the Republican Party opposing Barack Obama's agenda. The News Live host talked to writers Duff McDonald and Peter Keating about their contention that the "party of no" has cost taxpayers $1.34 billion.
Apparently, the GOP and various conservative organizations total this much by not supporting health care or the stimulus. Never mentioned in the article or during the segment is the fact that Obama's spending on those two items alone will end up costing taxpayers $3.3 trillion, 2500 times the amount of the expensive Republicans.
During the segment, Keating snidely remarked, "And, you know, Republican offices need heat and light and water and sewage. People are showing up just to say no and we're paying for it!" Earlier in the piece, Novotny played along and complained, "So, for that [the price of the GOP], we've got nothing?"
At the top of the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander reported on a tea party event being held in Boston and grilled conservative author Kevin Jackson on "the fringe elements who show up for these rallies. Some in the past have had offensive signs and rhetoric." As Alexander spoke a large sign from the Boston rally appeared on screen, displaying the word 'LOVE' and a heart symbol.
In fairness to Alexander, he prefaced his comment by acknowledging that such signs were "perhaps not at today's event."
After Jackson, author of 'The Big Black Lie' and founder of TheBlackSphere.net, observed that the "fringe" claim was "much ado about nothing," Alexander responded by arguing that a recent email sent out calling on tea party members to avoid any offensive behavior was evidence of offensive behavior: "I think it said the following: Like, 'no chants or signs that you wouldn't want to repeat to your mother or children....'No bigotry, threats, or profanity. No alcohol or pre-drinking.' I mean, would that be necessary if there weren't signs of bigotry or offensive signs at these events?"
Appearing in the 11AM ET hour on MSNBC Friday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gushed over the legacy of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "He was famously called a 'lawyer's lawyer'...He leaves the court approaching his 90th birthday here, with one of the great quality minds, 90 or not, on the Supreme Court. Always had a kind of finely tuned intellect and nuanced opinions."
Apparently, consistently handing down left-wing rulings is what Williams considers "nuanced. "
Williams went on to conclude: "It's just been so interesting to see his ideology change over the years. You never know what's going to happen to a person when you appoint them to the Supreme Court....no one in 1975 would have believed you if you'd said someday this man, President Ford's appointment, would be known as the lion of the liberal wing of the court in 2010."
In the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, left-wing Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim commented on the Republican National Committee spending scandal: "You know, what Republican donors do, generally, is pretty obnoxious to the American people. What did they have to cancel? They had to cancel a polo match, some yachting, you know, trips to bondage clubs."
Grim went on to claim: "if you want to get money from rich Republicans, you're going to have to engage in some of these obnoxious activities, so they like that to happen without the entire nation watching. Now that everybody's watching, it makes it a lot harder for them to raise money from these rich Republicans."
While Grim pretended to be a journalist reporting facts, he told Hall: "I actually haven't spoken to any – any big Republican donors the last few days." He simply noted how he was "hearing" things "in general" about RNC donors. Hall even remarked at the end of the segment: "Well Ryan, for a guy who hasn't spoken to any big money donors in 24-48 hours, not bad intel there." Apparently MSNBC now sees liberal ranting against the GOP as "intel."