In an interview with former Bush national security advisor Stephen Hadley on her Thursday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell pinned all of President Obama's problems selling military action in Syria to the Iraq War: "There is such a credibility gap between the White House and Congress, the leftover, the hangover from the Iraq War. So can you be at least a little sympathetic to what the administration is encountering now with Congress, in explaining the intelligence and getting people to believe it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell led up to that slanted question by declaring: "I don't want to re-litigate Iraq, but the blunt fact is that some of the questions that were asked – Congressman [Juan] Vargas [D-CA] asked both [Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel yesterday, 'Are you lying? Because we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction.'"
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the New York Times in June that his network is "not the place" for breaking news.
This was evident again this past Saturday when MSNBC actually saw a 20 percent week-over-week decline during the busy news period when President Obama announced that he was going to Congress for approval to attack Syria.
On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
According to Chris Matthews on Wednesday, there's one reason prominent Republicans will vote against a resolution allowing Barack Obama to bomb Syria. Of course, the motive behind 2016 conservatives such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul is "hate." The Hardball host insisted that the situation in Syria "is offering a roadmap to the Republican nomination for President next time."
Rather than principled beliefs, the anchor flatly declared, "The more you hate Obama, the more you are deeply entrenched in the deepest bunker of the GOP." Matthews instructed viewers to watch the Syria vote as it was "the testing zone, this ground-zero for political posturing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC commercials have a long history of explicitly touting the network's liberalism. But a new ad combines that style with the exploitation of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. In the latest promotion, an almost exclusively left-wing group of hosts hold up a whiteboard with messages explaining how they are personally living out King's dream. This came after footage of the civil rights leader. [See video of the ad below.]
Instead of any dialogue, the commercial featured peppy, upbeat music. Chris Matthews's sign read, "I am advancing the dream by...fighting for voting rights!" 9/11 Truther and MSNBC host Toure insisted that he's striving for equality by "fighting against the failed war on drugs." MSNBC's Martin Bashir lectured that he's lobbying people to "lov[e] our neighbors as we love ourselves." (Is comparing Rick Santorum to mass murder Joseph Stalin an example of Bashir "loving" his neighbor?)
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post and MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor joined host Al Sharpton to lambast the GOP for suffering from "Obama Derangement Syndrome," picking up on criticism of President Obama putting his foot on his desk in the Oval Office, without noting any of the visceral hatred felt toward George W. Bush by the Democratic base during his time as President.
At one point, Milbank may have been vaguely hinting at hatred coming from Democrats in the past, although the Washington Post columnist accused the GOP of greater transgression as he claimed that Republicans "have taken it to an entirely different level" in going after Obama.
Sharpton complained of President Obama being "disrespected" as if it were unprecedented during Republican presidencies:
Chris Matthews channeled his inner-Helen Thomas on Tuesday, railing against Barack Obama's "disastrous" plan for military action against Syria. The Hardball host mocked the proposed goal of sending a message to Syrian dictator BasharAssad, excoriating, "Will this mysterious signal get delivered? Will a signal go to Assad that he will never again use chemical weapons?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews raged against air strikes on Syria, insisting, "In other words, the only thing we really know is we'll be killing poor people, committing an act of war with this notion that somehow it's smoke signals." The usually pro-Obama reporter Howard Fineman appeared perplexed by the administration's presentation to the U.S. Senate: "...The only message we're sending to the world is one of confusion....It's just utterly confusing."
Well, there was a Blue Moon just last month, so maybe the time was right for some rare criticism of President Obama by Andrea Mitchell.
Mitchell didn't hold back on today's Morning Joe, accusing the President of "bungling," being "ambivalent," and of undercutting his Secretary of State and Vice-President. For good measure, Mitchell suggested that in his heart of hearts, fellow panelist and former Obama spox Robert Gibbs agreed with her acidulous assessment. View the video after the jump.
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray dismissed the notion that if Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost the closely contested Virginia governor's race, it would not be a defeat for his strongest backers, the Clintons: "I'm not sure this race is going to impact Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton if McAuliffe wins or if he loses. Simply because if Hillary Clinton were running against Ken Cuccinelli in this contest, she would be the clear favorite, she'd be leading in the polls by 10, 15 points." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murray didn't bother to cite any evidence to back up his assertion. In fact, recent electoral history would seem to contradict his claim. In Virginia's 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton only garnered 35% of vote compared to then-Senator Barack Obama's 63%.
During his 11 a.m. time slot on Tuesday, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts reported on the same-sex marriage policy rift between former Vice President Dick Cheney’s two daughters. However, the veteran journalist omitted one critical aspect of Liz Cheney’s position on same-sex marriage – namely, that she believes marriage should be decided by the states through either popular ballot initiative or state legislative action.
Roberts announced, “[Liz Cheney] said in a statement Friday that she is not pro-gay marriage and this prompted her younger sister to respond in a Facebook post saying, in part, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage. Freedom means freedom for everyone.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's something we've been saying at NewsBusters for some time: living in his MSM/political bubble has turned Joe Scarborough—once a conservative congressman representing the Florida panhandle—soft.
So it was refreshing to hear someone who travels in the same circles as Scarborough make the same observation. On today's Morning Joe, man-about-Manhattan-and-the-Hamptons Donny Deutsch told Scarborough that "your liberal friends are making you soft." The particular issue at hand was Deutsch's support and Scarborough's opposition to the New York City Police Department's program of spying on potential terrorist organizations, including mosques. But the point is of general application. View the video after the jump.
Cornel West had some harsh comments for MSNBC's Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson Friday.
Early in the radio show "Smiley and West," West said of the previous day's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, "We saw of course the coronation of the bonafide house negro of the Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton, supported by the Michael Dysons and others who’ve really prostituted themselves intellectually in a very ugly and vicious way" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, liberal talk radio host Joe Madison referred to Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh as "Jim Crow's grandson" and "Jim Crow Esquire" during a discussion of the absence of Republican figures at the Martin Luther King, Jr., 50-year commemoration.
After a couple of clips of O'Reilly critiquing the social problems of some poor Americans, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor accused the FNC host of "wholesale maligning of an entire race and class of people" that is "simply unconscionable," even though O'Reilly specified no racial group as he responded to a clip of President Obama in which the President complained that some Americans, "regardless of color," are still having economic difficulties.
After host Al Sharpton asked if O'Reilly is "somebody we ought to be taking seriously," Taylor began her response:
On her Friday MSNBC program, host Andrea Mitchell tried to ease the concerns of Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and other members of Congress calling for a congressional vote on military action in Syria: "Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there....does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Accepting the odd juxtaposition of the President launching missile strikes from an "anti-war perspective," Lee responded: "And I'm very pleased that the President has come at this in a very cautious manner....But also that has nothing to do with our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress, Andrea."
Rothman first turned his focus to today's edition of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, a daily resource for Obama administration puffery and hackneyed liberal talking point generation. The Mediaite editor found the program's panelists twisting themselves into a pretzel to explain how President Obama's poise to truly "go it alone" on Syria is more defensible than President Bush's 48-nation "coalition of the willing" in Iraq:
Illinois Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky added her ignorant voice to the cacophony of economic confusion Thursday on the low-rated MSNBC show hosted by Chris Hayes. If a Republican congressperson made a statement as breathtakingly ignorant as the one you're about to see, it would get wider media play. Schakowsky's "brilliant" suggestion almost certainly won't.
Why has nobody thought of this fantastic idea? Here it is as "articulated" by Schakowsky in response to a question from Hayes (HT Bridget Johnson at PJ Tatler; bolds are mine; click on the "transcript" tab at the link to see the full text of the discussion; the original transcript has no caps and is missing some punctuation, but yours truly has added them where needed):
The four panelists of MSNBC’s The Cycle each weighed in on yesterday's nationwide fast food workers’ strike on Thursday’s show. All four of them voiced their support for the strikers, including the supposedly conservative member of the panel, Abby Huntsman.
Huntsman claimed the strike was “bigger than the minimum wage. This is about making enough to live.” She groused that the average minimum wage employee in Missouri was only bringing home about $10,000 a year. “I mean, people deserve higher-paying jobs,” she complained. “I think this speaks to a much bigger problem. It's jobs across the board where people aren't getting paid enough to live.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Although he didn't dare mention him by name, there's little doubt that Joe Scarborough had Mark Levin—who has taken strong shots at Scarborough's criticize-conservatives-first approach—in mind as a radio talk show host who is "jealous" of him and for whom Scarborough feels "sorry."
On today's Morning Joe, James Carville told Scarborough that the hard core of the Republican party does not consider him one of them. Scarborough defended himself, claiming that whereas some basement-dwelling, underwear-clad bloggers and a couple of "jealous" radio hosts might not like him, Republicans regularly come up and hug him, proclaiming "thank God!", when he's out in public. Let's review the record: Mark Levin is the author of The Liberty Amendments, a current #1 New York Times bestseller. He hosts the the fourth most popular radio show in America that is #1 in its slot in several major markets. Perhaps most importantly, Levin can put his head on the pillow every night knowing he hasn't sacrificed his principles. Raise your hand if you think the Great One is jealous of Scarborough. Bueller? Bueller? View the video after the jump.
Sometimes you have to wonder if anyone at MSNBC is actually watching what is being said on the network.
On Thursday’s Ed Show, host Ed Schultz actually said, “Thanks to Republican policies, and I don't care if [Detroit's] been under Democratic rule or not, it's Republican policies that have come down from the state and the country that have put this city in a bad position” (video follows with commentary):
On Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd laid blame for Republicans not speaking at Wednesday's anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington on the GOP, rather than event organizers: "...the Bushes couldn't go, there were health reasons why neither President Bush could go and speak. Other Republicans leaders were invited to speak and they politely declined. In hindsight, do you wish there had been Republicans that had agreed to speak?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Republican strategist John Feehery pointed out that the only African American in the United States Senate was not invited to speak: "I find it completely shocking that Tim Scott [R-SC] was not invited." Todd still faulted Republicans: "But why didn't Boehner and Cantor say, you know....they could have, by going, they probably could have said, 'By the way, we want you to invite Tim Scott,' and I don't thing the King family says no."
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski vehemently criticized Miley Cyrus’s lewd display during Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at the MTV Video Music Awards, but Brzezinski herself has blurred the lines between morning show anchor and social activist. On today’s Morning Joe, broadcast from a Ford assembly line near Detroit, the co-host openly declared her support for the nationwide fast food workers’ strike that was planned for today, even threatening to join the protesting workers.
Brzezinski introduced the story about halfway through the show, and she just couldn’t manage to hide her opinion: “Thousands of workers are set to stage walkouts in 35 cities around the country, including Detroit. As part of a push to get chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to increase their pay, as they should.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on MSNBC's All In show on Wednesday, August 28, MSNBC's Chris Matthews called it a "great irony" that only two Republican Senators opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, an implicit suggestion that the modern GOP opposes voting rights.
The MSNBC host's observation came as he recounted that many Democratic politicians in the 1960s, including friends of President Kennedy, were segregationists. Matthews began:
Appearing as a guest on Monday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, liberal talk radio host Joe Madison declared that Rush Limbaugh is "big, fat, happy with all the health insurance he needs" as he responded to a clip of President Obama complaining that Republicans will not work with him on ObamaCare because they are afraid of a negative reaction from the conservative talk radio host.
As he presented a clip of Obama, host Al Sharpton raised Limbaugh's influence on Republican Congressmen:
In an interview with California attorney general Kamala Harris during live MSNBC coverage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, host Andrea Mitchell fretted: "I talked to Jesse Jackson earlier about all the voter suppression efforts, and what's happened since the Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. What can be done, from your perspective – obviously California has a majority of liberal officials, Governor Brown – but you see what's happening in Texas and North Carolina?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harris seized the opportunity to proclaim: "The Voting Rights Act was created and designed to ensure equal access to the polls. And we know with the case of Texas and other places, that access is questionable. And that was the power of the Voting Rights Act, which was actually gutted by the Supreme Court decision, and I applaud Eric Holder and the Justice Department doing the work they're doing to fight, to make sure that all Americans have equal access to the polls."
For Chris Matthews, every day is a good day to attack President Obama’s critics as racists, but the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was an especially opportune time. During MSNBC’s live coverage of the festivities on Wednesday morning, Matthews unleashed a tirade against the president’s opponents, saying that racists were at least honest about their beliefs in the early 1900s.
Matthews began by sizing up the country as he saw it: “This country is divided right now, heavily divided, sharply divided between the noes out there, the ones who reject an African American president, have rejected him from the day he was elected, the day they heard he might be elected.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Within moments of President Obama finishing his address at the 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington, the liberal media began with fawning and gushing guaranteed to last for at least a week.
Take for example NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd who on MSNBC actually said, “I thought it was a very post-racial speech” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Presidential historian Jon Meacham did his best on Morning Joe this morning to lower the bar for President Obama's speech today commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. "The country has put an enormous amount of expectation on him . . . since he first came on the stage in 2004 . . . we sometimes have-often have--unrealistic expectations of the office," empathized Meacham.
Nice try. But wasn't it Barack Obama himself who raised expectations to absurd heights? Does this phrase ring a bell, Mr. Meacham?: "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when . . the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." View the video after the jump.