With the vice presidential debate only a few days away, MSNBC gave a lot of attention on Monday to what Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin are doing to prepare for their one and only debate. Along with this, MSNBC also gave a lot of airtime to Tina Fey's "Saturday Night Live" parody of Palin's interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, showing clips of the skit seven times between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. However, only Morning Joe featured "Saturday Night Live's" parody of Senator Barack Obama, and even then the focus was on the portion of the skit which parodied Senator John McCain's "gimmicks."
Of the seven times that MSNBC showed clips from Tina Fey's Palin impersonation, many of them lead into discussion about Palin's lack of foreign policy expertise and comments about how Fey's impersonation could lead to negative effects for McCain's campaign.
On the November 27, 2006 edition of Today, as noted here, Matt Lauer portentously declared:
After careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted and what is going on in Iraq can now be characterized as civil war.
On that evening's Countdown, Keith Olbermann chimed in, suggesting that NBC's pronouncement was comparable to Walter Cronkite's 1968 declaration that the Vietnam War was lost.
Although NBC, without fanfare, stopped using the "civil war" term sometime beginning in September, 2007, it has never--despite the success of the surge and the marked decrease in sectarian violence--declared the civil war over. Could today be the day? NBC's parent company, General Electric, has signed a deal with Iraq worth billions of dollars to it and Siemens for the provision of electric generation equipment.
Like an MSM version of Nancy Pelosi, whose hyper-partisan floor speech reportedly angered many GOP members, Chris Matthews wasted no time in trying to pin the blame for the defeat of the bailout plan on John McCain. Appearing during MSNBC's 2 PM hour, the key to Matthews' argument was his assertion that Dems "overwhelmingly" supported the measure, whereas McCain failed to rally a sufficient number of Republicans.
Love the bailout or hate it. Decry its defeat or rejoice in it. But one thing is clear: Matthews grossly misstated the facts. Far from supporting the plan "overwhelmingly," fully 40% of House Dems voted against it: a margin of 141-94. Republicans, the more free-market oriented of the two parties, were always more wary of the plan. It was clear that passage was largely going to depend on massive Dem support. If McCain failed to deliver, surely Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama failed as much or more.
During Friday’s post-debate coverage on MSNBC, Chris Matthews portrayed Barack Obama as appearing "more presidential" while he complained that John McCain "was crunched over, almost grumpy in physical manner," as he contended that McCain "may not have been presidential." Matthews also complained that McCain did not look at Obama at all during the debate, a theme which Matthews touched on repeatedly that night. Matthews: "[McCain] may not have been presidential, however. Not once tonight, in an hour and a half, did he look at his opponent. He was crunched over, almost grumpy in his physical manner. I think a lot of people will take that body language as contemptuous of his opponent. They won’t like it. Barack Obama, on the other hand, who kept agreeing with McCain, over and over again, saying I agree with the point you made, I agree with the point you made, looked more presidential, although I believe on points, he gave away too much."
Matthews also characterized McCain as "troll-like" and "grumpy," and asked if Americans "really want to put up with four years of that," and described McCain as seeming "really contemptuous" of Obama. Guest John Heilemann contended that McCain "hates Obama." Matthews: "Do people really want to put up with four years of that? Of sitting there angrily, grumpily, like a codger? Like, like, I don’t want to push it too far, but didn’t he seem really contemptuous of his opponent? Do you want to put up with four years of that?"
During a special edition of MSNBC’s Countdown show after Friday’s presidential debate, Keith Olbermann seemed to insert a joke about the weight of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into a conversation about the performance of John McCain and Barack Obama. As previously documented by the MRC’s Matthew Balan, the Countdown host brought up McCain’s difficulty in pronouncing the name of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and liberal Air America and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow contended that Obama’s most memorable line was when he accused McCain of being "wrong" about Iraq. Referring to Obama’s line in which the Illinois Democrat incorrectly suggested that Kissinger agreed with him about meeting with dictators like Ahmadinejad, Olbermann, who has a history of making fat jokes about conservatives on his Countdown show, made a quip at Kissinger’s expense in which the MSNBC host seemed to pick on his weight: "Or, perhaps, throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain’s face, which is physically a tough act to do certainly."
In the 20 minutes of post-debate analysis before the broadcast networks ended coverage and the cable channels moved on to other shows Friday night, on MSNBC Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell fretted that Barack Obama wasn't tough enough in attacking John McCain on the economy as Mitchell also hailed Obama -- “But, boy, he did show a command of foreign policy in terms of the nuts and bolts of it” -- and regretted Obama didn't do more to tie McCain to George Bush, a theme echoed on NBC by Tom Brokaw who “was surprised he didn't work harder at pinning John McCain to the eight years of the Bush administration.”
CBS featured only one citizen reaction, a man who touted Obama and compared McCain to Nixon, before ending with a quickie poll (neither ABC or NBC had one) that found twice as many “uncommitted voters” thought Obama won (40 percent) than McCain (22 percent).
Interviewing ABC News reporter turned Obama operative Linda Douglass, Matthews pleaded: “Why did your candidate agree so much -- openly and relentlessly -- with his opponent tonight?” He followed up with an impassioned lecture about Obama's missed opportunities to pound McCain:
Why didn't he talk more about the terrible state of the economy, the jobless rate, unemployment, the degree of deficit we're in right now, the degree of national debt, all of those issues out there that effect the average person, the number of foreclosures? He let his opponent talk about taxes and earmarking, his specialties. He seemed to lose control of the economic topic.
CNN’s Iranian-born chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during the network’s post-debate coverage, made fun of John McCain’s stumble during the debate concerning the pronunciation of Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s name [see video at right]: "On sort of a cosmetic level, I was quite -- I sort of giggled a little bit when I saw John McCain stumble over Ahmadinejad's name." Almost simultaneously, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann brought up the very same issue with his liberal counterpart Rachel Maddow, who went on to state that the flub "probably does hurt him [McCain] pretty badly."
Amanpour made her statement as she was giving her analysis of the debate during a round table discussion involving most of CNN’s regular political team. Co-host Anderson Cooper stopped her before she could continue on her "cosmetic" note and replied, "Yeah, it's not really fair though. I mean, people make mistakes all the time." Correspondent Michael Ware tried to interject, but Amanpour shot back and replied, "If it's fair for anybody, why not? I mean, if I stumbled, it would be [a] fair comment."
[For audio of the exchange between Amanpour and Cooper, click here.]
During late night coverage of Friday's presidential debate between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, “Hardball” host Chris Matthews attacked the Republican for showing both “contempt” and an “inferiority complex” towards his Democratic opponent. The MSNBC host asked liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, “What do you make of what I take as contempt? And I’m not sure contempt is an admirable trait when you’re up against an opponent who has every right to be there against you, in fact has equal footing.”
Before Robinson could answer, Matthews revised the question, asking if this indicated some sort of “inferiority complex” on McCain’s part: “He never looked at his opponent. What is that about? Is that an inferiority complex? Is that embarrassment? Is that guilt? Or is it contempt? What is it? It’s something.” Robinson eagerly agreed, asserting that “this is part of John McCain’s style that he, he has to make an opponent into an enemy” and adding that the GOP candidate “almost has to demonize the enemy in order to get into that, that, that fighting stance.”
How disappointed was Chris Matthews with Barack Obama's debate performance tonight? How angry was Matthews at Obama for agreeing so much with John McCain? Enough that Matthews unleashed the ultimate Dem insult, saying Obama reminded him of . . . Richard Nixon.
Matthews first vented his frustration at Obama adviser Linda Douglass.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Linda, my friend, why did your candidate agree so much, openly and relentlessly, with his opponent tonight?
Douglas's answer was to the effect that this is how a bi-partisan Obama would operate as president. After criticizing Obama for mishandling the economic issues in the debate, Matthews turned to Andrea Mitchell, and levelled that supreme Dem slap.
Is there some kind of competition on the left to see who can make the most denigrating remark about the mental acuity of Republicans? As we've noted, last night Paul Begala called President Bush "a high-functioning moron," perhaps his bid to one-up Rep. Charles Rangel, who had called Sara Palin "disabled."
Today, it's Jonathan Capehart's turn. Speaking with David Shuster on MSNBC this afternoon, the Washington Post editorial writer said that Sarah Palin reminds him of Lauren Caitlin Upton, the 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina whose tangles ["U.S. Americans," etc.] with the English language made her an overnight YouTube star.
Capehart's comment came in response to a Shuster inquiry about Palin's reply to Katie Couric's question about the relevance to Palin's foreign-policy credentials of Russia's proximity to Alaska.
The New York Times is going the way of MSNBC. I suspect they're going to find that appealing to the Angry Left is not a successful business model.
Rather than investigate the campaign donations paid out to Senators Dodd, Clinton, and specifically, Barack Obama, by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, the NYT focused instead on McCain aide Rick Davis's employment by the consulting firm, Davis & Manafort.
The Associated Press's Charles Babington, the journalist Keith Olbermann attacked in August for having the nerve to criticize Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, wrote a McCain-bashing article Thursday evening that should get a standing ovation from the "Countdown" host.
The piece entitled "Dems, Some in GOP Question McCain's Intervention" probably evoked so much applause from the Obama campaign and Congressional Democrats Thursday night that they must have wondered if their operatives wrote it.
In fact, when you look at the first eight paragraphs of this article, you'll also likely think someone in either the Obama campaign or Howard Dean's office was responsible (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):
Have we had it all wrong about Mika Brzezinski? All this time we've pigeon-holed her as part of the Eastern liberal media elite, was she in fact secretly part of the Sarah Palin demographic? It's not quite field-dressing a moose, but Mika let it be known today that she knows how to hunt and . . . has "gutted a deer."
The revelation came as Mika and Joe Scarborough were saying goodbye to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who, by the way, seemed optimistic that John McCain would make it to Mississippi for tonight's debate.
Keith Olbermann, who was hardly reticent during the conventions to express his far-left opinions, told David Letterman on Wednesday that he's pleased about being relieved by MSNBC of anchor duties for upcoming debates and on election night since it will enable him “to be on more than I was previously and I can say what I think.” On Wednesday's Late Show, where he filled in at last-minute for his nemesis John McCain, Letterman asked about his removal from the anchor slot along with Chris Matthews. Olbermann expounded:
We're not the anchors any more. We're just going to be commentators...I'm actually going to be on more than I was previously and I can say what I think rather than sit there going “now here's more from such and such over there.”...Basically, I can just sit there between appearances and eat ice cream for 20 minutes at a time and then come back and go “that's the crappiest answer I've ever heard in a debate.”
Andrea Mitchell is mad at John McCain and Sarah Palin because the McCain camp excluded the press from Palin's meetings with foreign officials this week. She is so upset that she as much as charged that John McCain's treatment of the press is as bad as that of the dictatorial ruler in North Korea, Kim Jong Il.
On Tuesday's Rachel Maddow show (MSNBC), Mitchell said that excluding the press when Palin met with foreign leaders was not "standard practice" and mentioned that in oppressive countries like Sudan and North Korea the press is often excluded. Mitchell also added that The State Department has a "standard practice" of making sure the press is included in meetings even in foreign countries. But Obama also excluded the press in his meetings with leaders in Europe this Summer, yet this fact didn’t even rate a mention by Mitchell tonight.
Out of the mouths of young, untrained reporters come the unspoken beliefs of the liberal media. Speaking to Matt Lauer as they tour Virginia for this morning's Today, NBC newbie Luke Russert reported from the University of Virginia. Just before the 8:30 break, Lauer asked him if that campus was representative of students statewide, and young Russert asserted:
"You have to remember, the smartest kids in the state go there, so it's leaning a little bit towards Obama."
MSNBC's David Shuster continued the attack on Governor Sarah Palin for not allowing reporters in on meetings she attended at the United Nations. Fellow Newsbuster Ken Shepherd pointed out recently the media never complained over not having full access to Barack Obama's meetings with foreign leaders during his tour through the Middle East and later Europe.
However, Shuster's attack included a very edited down tape of Palin and Dr. Henry Kissinger, which attempted to make Palin look like she knew little of what was being discussed. Moreover, Shuster seemed to take delight in pointing out Palin's spokeswoman misspelled Kissinger's last name(my emphasis added throughout):
She even answered a reporter, 'great, great', when asked how it went. Perhaps Kissinger and the governor also discussed Glastnost, because later in the day the campaign issued the following mini manifesto:
We regret the mix-up and were happy that the pool had access to the Governor's meetings with President Uribe and Dr. Henry Kissenger[sic.]
Incidentally, we here at MSNBC did not misspell Dr. Kissinger's name. That version came from Palin's gang.
Hillary Clinton, Queen of Soul? Barack Obama, All-American teenaged girl? That's precisely the analogy that Joe Scarborough made this morning in trying to explain why many Hillary supporters haven't swung to Obama. Hillary was a guest on today's Morning Joe, and the interview offered a number of other interesting tidbits:
Hillary dodged the question of whether Bill was telling the truth when he claimed she didn't want the VP slot on Obama's ticket.
The junior NY senator declined to swing at a Sarah-bashing softball Mika Brzezinski tossed her.
Hillary let slip that she still has her own campaign on her mind.
But let's get back to Joe's conventional-wisdom busting musical metaphor, which came after Hillary had offered an innocuous answer to guest panelist John Ridley's question as to why many of her supporters remain uncommitted to Obama.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest Mike Barnicle's nearly as deep in the tank for Obama as Chris Matthews, for whom he subbed for on tonight's Hardball. Mike's actually refreshingly down-the-middle compared to the regular host.
Still, when at the very end of this evening's show Mike asked a question of Jill Zuckman, the Chicago Tribune reporter on the Palin beat, wondering [hoping?] whether the wild enthusiasm for Sarah has run its course, he got an answer that I don't quite think he was expecting.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
After apparently taking erroneous information from the far-left-leaning website ThinkProgress on Tuesday to falsely accuse Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of slashing her state's Special Olympics budget, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday called the governor a liar in a rant with potential ties to a Daily Kos posting hours earlier.
During his truly tasteless "Bushed" segment, Olbermann claimed Palin gave Sean Hannity a different answer than she offered Charlie Gibson regarding her initial reaction to being asked to be John McCain's running mate.
This was Olbermann's pathetic accusation (text and video follow, h/t Johnny Dollar):
"Shovel your ratings" appears to be Morning Joe's subliminal message to Keith Olbermann today. With the latest ratings showing Rachel Maddow's new MSNBC show beating Olbermann's Countdown, the MJ panel went out of its way to congratulate Maddow on her success, repeatedly mentioning what a "good person" she is and how nice it is to see such people do well.
The crew was riffing off the Drudge headline "Move Over, Olbermann, Rachel Maddow Tops MSNBC Ratings." As seen in the Drudge screencap [after the jump], on Tuesday Maddow beat Olbermann--the perennial MSNBC ratings leader--by a count of 1.8 million to 1.63 million. She also bested CNN's Larry King, among others. Scarborough & Co. never mentioned Olbermann by name. But the invidious-comparison-by-omission in their pointed praise of Maddow's good-personhood left little doubt that the wounds opened by Olbermann's open-mic slap at Scarborough, in which, during the Dem convention, he told Joe to "get a shovel" for remarks too GOP-friendly for Keith's liking, have yet to heal.
View the video, and be sure to stay tuned to the end. Mika tries to move the show along, but Scarborough pointedly persists, basking in the times when "good people do well." Got, it, Keith?
As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator.
According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators."
That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:
I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter. And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).
The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews began his teaser for a segment about Sarah Palin's pending press interview and plans to field questions at a town hall by exclaiming "look who's talking" as an image of Palin [see screencap] appeared bearing the same graphic.
"Look who's talking" is of course the title of a 1989 hit movie in which the person doing the talking was . . . an infant.
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann accused Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Tuesday of cutting in half her state's funding for the Special Olympics.
Not only is this categorically false, it appears likely Olbermann got this erroneous information from the far-left website ThinkProgress which NewsBusters has shown in the past to be a source for some of the "Countdown" host's material.
Here's what Olbermann said Tuesday (video and partial transcript follow, h/t Johnny Dollar):
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, Keith Olbermann referred to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly as "inducers to violence" as the MSNBC host, during the show's "Worst Person" segment, attacked conservative talk radio host Eddie Burke of Anchorage, Alaska, for making inflammatory remarks calling two women who organized a protest against Governor Palin "socialist, baby-killing maggots," and for giving out the women’s cell phone numbers to his audience leading the women to receive death threats. Olbermann suggested that Burke would fit in with Limbaugh or O’Reilly: "Mr. Burke, he got a paltry one-week suspension, and, no doubt, consideration to fill in some day for comedian Rush Limbaugh or Billow or some other of radio’s inducers to violence."
And during the show’s regular segment, "McCain in the Membrane," a recently added portion of the program whose purpose is, according to Olbermann, to cover "the most outrageous or untrue things said by or on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain," the MSNBC host charged that it was "sick" for Palin to tout herself as an advocate for special needs children after she had, in Olbermann’s words, "gutted" funding for the Alaska Special Olympics. But Olbermann ignored the recent finding by FactCheck.org that, as governor, Palin secured a substantial increase in state spending for special needs children in the education system, thus strengthening her credentials as a advocate for special needs children. Update: As documented by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, it seems Olbermann was incorrect in his accusation that Palin reduced spending on the Alaska Special Olympics. Click here for more details.
Of course we all know that it's absolutely wrong and mean-spirited to suggest that anyone on the left could conceivably be unpatriotic [though an exception might be made for unrepentant terrorist friends of Barack Obama who accept from Vietnamese communists rings made from downed US planes.] So while we won't be using the u-word here, two recent MSNBC shows offer a remarkable contrast. Let's compare Chris Matthews' giddy reaction to news of difficulties in the markets with Mika Brzezinski's gloom in begrudgingly discussing the Iraq surge's success.
The first portion of the video is from the opening of Hardball of September 15th, the day when news was breaking of Lehman and Merrill Lynch's travails, and the DJIA had sunk over 500 points. Matthews could hardly contain his glee, comparing McCain to Hoover, and declaring that because of the "terrible news" about the economy, "as of today, this is no longer an election about lipstick on pigs, misleading ads or how many houses a candidate owns. This is serious. The economy is a real issue. With real consequences." Then there was today's discussion on Morning Joe of the surge's success. Mika's pout—on view in the screencap—epitomizes her reaction. I commend the entire video clip to your attention, but would focus on these exchanges.
So what do you do if you're reporting on an MSNBC interview with McCain adviser Carly Fiorina in which she states that neither of the major party presidential candidates nor their vice presidential running mates qualify to run a major corporation? If you're the folks at CNNPolitics.com, you headline the story "McCain adviser Fiorina: Palin not ready to run a corporation."
The MSNBC story, "If she can't run a major company..." cites a recent Fiorina radio interview in which she was asked if Sarah Palin has the experience to run a major company like Hewlett-Packard, which Fiorina formerly served as CEO:
You'd think Chris Matthews would learn his lesson. First he insulted Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell as "showcase appointments," only to apologize for it later. Then, on Tuesday's "Hardball" he essentially called Sarah Palin an empty "vessel" with no "independent thinking" of her own, just "like a Clarence Thomas." [audio excerpt available here]
Matthews made the following gaffe during a discussion about Sarah Palin's readiness, on the September 16, "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Paul [Begala], because I know your politics. But is this a, like a Clarence Thomas where they wanted to pick an African-American for the Supreme Court so they picked the kind they wanted, which was in this case, a guy who was very conservative who hued to the, sort of the, the line of the conservative court. They have a person [Sarah Palin] here, who's apparently, to some extent, in terms of foreign policy, tabula rasa. Someone they can fill up with all this neo-conservative thinking, including vocabulary, apparently based upon her performance with Charlie, Charlie Gibson. Is that what they wanted, just sort of a vessel to sell and carry their product, rather than someone with independent thinking on foreign policy?
When Andrea Mitchell says "all of us" thought a certain way, whom does she have in mind?
On her MSBNC show this afternoon, Mitchell stated that "all of us" originally thought John McCain had made a political mistake when he changed positions and came out of in favor of expanded oil drilling.
Mitchell was chatting with former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers and Republican strategist Doug MacKinnon. The subject was the just-announced Dem energy plan, that claims to make some limited provision for expanded offshore drilling. Mitchell made no bones of the fact that the politics now favor the advocates of expanded drilling, and that Dems were caught off guard.