It appears the love MSNBC feels towards Barack Obama is not unrequited, for last Wednesday, a member of the Administration actually declared in public, "At the White House, as we always like to say, we love MSNBC."
In the wake of back to back disappointments the past two elections, as well as Arlen Specter's recent defection to the Democrat Party, liberal media members -- and even some not-so liberal media members -- have been blaming the GOP's supposed demise on Republicans being too conservative.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough took issue with this popular yet obviously debatable theme:
[W]hen I hear Democrats like Arlen Specter and read editorialists like E.J. Dionne saying how liberal--or, or how conservative the Republican Party's become, they've got it backwards.We have not been conservative as a party, we've been radical.
That was just one of many eye-opening statements by Scarborough during this segment that have been edited together in the video embedded right. Below the fold is a partial transcript of this enlightening discussion that included former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie:
So screamed Daily Kos readers Saturday in a post destined to fill your Sunday morning with a much-needed chuckle:
In the past few weeks, it has come to my personal attention that one cable or satellite company after another has been quietly moving MSNBC away from the news channel section of their lineup and into the premium section, or into the stratosphere of three and four digit channels.
As a result, when the ratings came out this week, it was no surprise to see how MSNBC is now a distant third behind CNN and FOX.
Time and time again, on-air talent from MSNBC's daytime news coverage has tried to distance itself the far left-leaning commentators on the network during prime time hours.
However, David Shuster has no qualms taking a position publicly and incorporating it into his daytime news coverage. Shuster, who has been outspoken in his support for same-sex marriage, abandoned the pretense of journalistic objectivity and launched into a shouting match/debate with Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) on MSNBC on May 1.
"Explain how it is that the gay couple or the lesbian couple down the street has any impact on my marriage or on yours?" Shuster asked.
MSNBC anchor David Shuster appeared on Stephanie Miller's left-wing radio show on Thursday to praise the "brilliant," "informed," and "articulate" President Obama and trash the "atrocious" Fox News Channel. Shuster, who is on the same network as the extremely liberal Keith Olbermann, complained, "I mean, look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that's fine. They completely backed it up." [audio for download here]
Just getting warmed up, he continued, "When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful." Shuster attacked the cable network, where he was a correspondent at from 1996 to 2002, for its "insanity." Getting around to the personalities on FNC, he derided, "The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O'Reilly says has been illogical."
What should President Obama’s impending Supreme Court Justice be? A thoughtful jurist? A legal scholar with impeccable credentials? An experienced, accomplished, wise legal expert to judge whether laws are Constitutional?
Apparently, the most important thing to remember is that this justice should be a Hispanic woman.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was conducting pundit interviews this morning for analysis on Justice Souter’s newly announced retirement. One such pundit was Tavis Smiley, and as a gentle segue into the subject of identity politics, Scarborough brought up Justice Clarence Thomas [emphasis mine]:
As if school kids didn't get enough liberal propaganda. Whether parents know it or not, millions of students across the country have been receiving biased news magazines in the classroom. Without adult guidance, children are at risk to take as fact the consistently liberal views of Time magazine.
Through Great American Opportunities, people can order magazine subscriptions and earn Time for Kids subscriptions for the school of their choice. Kindergarten through sixth-graders will then receive this publication free of charge.
According to its website, "The Time For Kids Program helps schools receive the best in current weekly classroom news magazines for students in grades K-6 at no cost. TFK delivers three weekly news magazines to over 3.9 million students."
This program comes from a magazine that has published articles on how kids are bad for the environment. As CMI noted previously, Time's article on May 8 described this environmental problem:
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, which aired at 9:00 p.m. after President Obama's news conference, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann viciously slammed Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx for claiming that murder victim Matthew Shepard – whom the current hate crimes bill is named after – was targeted out of a desire to commit robbery rather than because of anti-gay sentiment by his attacker, contradicting the conventional wisdom that the grisly murder was a hate crime. The MSNBC host was so outraged at the North Carolina congresswoman that he named her as the night’s "Worst Person in the World" and showed particular venom toward her, even suggesting she should resign. Olbermann: "She is at best callous, insensitive, criminally misinformed. At worst she is a bald-faced liar. And if there is a spark of a human being in there somewhere, she should either immediately retract and apologize for her stupid and hurtful words or she should resign her seat in the House."
On the 11:00 p.m. special edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews and guests Joan Walsh of Salon and MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard also lambasted Foxx for her claim, with Walsh contending that she was either "lying" or "ignorant," and Matthews calling Foxx’s words "rough stuff." Walsh: "She's a hoax, Chris. She disgraced herself today. That was inaccurate. And what I really don't know is whether she’s lying – she knows the facts and she’s lying – or whether she’s so ignorant and arrogant that she didn’t need to delve into the facts."
But, on the November 26, 2004, 20/20, ABC host Elizabeth Vargas ran a report in which a number of figures tied to the case, including the prosecutor, were interviewed, and made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs. Vargas not only found that a meth high can lead to the kind of extreme violence perpetrated against Shepard, but that McKinney had gone on to similarly attack another man, causing a skull fracture, very soon after his attack on Shepard. Additionally, McKinney’s girlfriend and another friend of McKinney’s even claimed that McKinney himself has bisexual tendencies, although McKinney himself denied it.
Vargas appeared on the November 19, 2004, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC and summarized her findings:
Playing off Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" shtick, some clever fellow started a petition recently at WorstBailoutIntheWorld.com calling on the "Countdown" host to return his recent pay raise to "Turbo Tax" Tim Geithner's Treasury Department. (h/t NewsBusters contributor Amy Menefee; see related story here)
The petition's full wording:
Dear Mr. Olbermann,
While General Electric, the parent-company of your MSNBC network, was negotiating a $126 billion taxpayer-funded bailout, you signed a new contract raising your salary from $4 million to $7.5 million annually. You have used your show as a platform to call for the resignation of corporate executives accepting excessive bonuses on the backs of taxpayers who are picking up the tab for these atrocious bailouts, yet you yourself have no problem engaging in the same “class economic rape” that you accuse them of.
"MSNBC News Live" anchor Contessa Brewer on Tuesday speculated as to whether supposed obstructionism by congressional Republicans may end up hampering the response to the swine flu outbreak. Talking to Republican strategist Tucker Bounds and Democratic strategist Peter Mirijanian, she asserted, "Let me ask you, Health and Human Services secretary has not been confirmed. You have a missing director of the CDC. The surgeon general is not there."
Specifically addressing Bounds, Brewer quizzed, "Do you, Tucker, think that Republicans are in any way to blame for standing in the way of those important positions- when you're facing swine flu- from being filled?" Bounds, of course pointed out that Democrats control both the Senate and the House. As for the CDC, Obama has not even nominated a candidate. Regarding the position of surgeon general, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was considered, but took his name out of contention. No one has picked to fill the spot. So, how, exactly, would Republicans be to blame? Brewer didn't say.
It was just a question of time. While it was hard to know where it would come from (although MSNBC is always a safe bet), someone was going to make the entire swine flu pandemic a partisan political issue.
"Well, here we go again - Republicans are playing politics with our health," Schultz said. "This kind of stuff just makes my temperature go up. I'm boiling over this - as many as 150 have been killed by this flu in Mexico. Cases are popping up allover the United States."
It's not often I hear three jaw-dropping claims in the course of a single day.
On "The Rachel Maddow Show," this can happen in a matter of minutes, especially when author Ron Suskind is the guest.
Suskind appeared on Maddow's MSNBC program on April 22 and wasted little time making dubious assertions stemming from the Senate Armed Services report that questioned the legality of al Qaeda interrogations --
NBC Universal and its networks have been criticized for the global warming alarmism it parades on a regular basis. However, now the criticism is coming from its own affiliates.
Prior to its April 26 airing on MSNBC, shows on NBC had been promoting the first part of the climate special "Future Earth" - an MSNBC program that used computer animation to show the possibilities of a polar icecap melting. That prompted Bill Steffen, a meteorologist for NBC's Grand Rapids, Mich. affiliate, to call out MSNBC for that special.
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter seemed to take turns reining in each other’s conspiracy theories as the two discussed the latest on former Vice President Cheney’s request for the release of classified information regarding the results of waterboarding al-Qaeda detainees. Alter charged that former Vice President Cheney is attacking President Obama’s national security policies so that his own popularity will be "resurrected" if there is another 9/11-style attack, as the Newsweek editor called Cheney’s behavior "sick":
It`s the former Vice President who is becoming a forlorn and, I think, soon to be even further disgraced figure. But this is his bid for resurrection. Because what he is betting on – and this is the sick thing to me, Keith – is that if there's another attack that he will then be back as a huge and important figure who predicted that this would happen if we stopped torturing. And this is his bid for historical resurrection.
Olbermann assumed Alter was charging that Cheney desires another 9/11 attack for his own benefit, and actually seemed to halfway defend Cheney, prompting Alter to clarify that he did not actually think the former Vice President was hoping for another attack, but he also contended that it was "not a very patriotic thing to do" for Cheney to call President Obama "weak":
At a time when Americans increasingly aren't buying into the theory of anthropogenic global warming according to a recent Rasmussen poll, NBC and its cable news network MSNBC are bringing out the big guns to slow the rise of that mentality down.
On NBC's April 26 "Today," anchor Lester Holt previewed his special "Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World," slated to appear on MSNBC on the night of April 26. According to the preview shown by Holt, the TV special is remarkably similar to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," forecasting several doom-and-gloom scenarios.
"With the Arctic possibly ice free as soon as the summer of 2013, the world will warm even faster as the Arctic's waters absorb the sun's rays rather than being reflected by ice," Holt said. "The result unfortunately might bring on a doomsday scenario befitting a Hollywood disaster film. But this will be no movie - the likelihood of super storms picking up strength from warming ocean waters, oceans on the rise."
All men lead lives of quiet desperation, according to Thoreau. Suffice it to say the observation would not remain among Thoreau's best known unless there was truth attached.
Then there are men like Ed Schultz, exuding blustery angst from every pore and hardly aware of it.
With news last month that he would host a cable television show on MSNBC, Schultz reacted like he was walking on air, and deservedly so. MSNBC's dorm-room politics aside, not everybody gets a platform like this to express his or her views. Anyone given such an opportunity can be justifiably proud and Schultz came across that way.
But as ratings have plunged for Schultz's television show -- described by Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer -- Schultz has become toxic.
Separating personal feelings from straight-up journalism is something MSNBC anchors have had trouble with in the past, and David Shuster is no exception.
During MSNBC's daytime news coverage on April 24, Shuster interviewed Bill Himpler of the American Financial Services Association. The discussion was nominally about the legislation sponsored by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), designed to freeze credit card rates, it became more about Shuster's view that credit card companies are gouging their customers. Throughout the four-minute interview, Shuster threw out anti-business questions and occasional hyperbole.
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on Thursday attacked misinformation spread by a guest during a segment on the previous day's "Hardball." Ex-CIA agent Bob Baer appeared on Chris Matthews' program on Wednesday to claim that no information was gained from waterboarding and that using the practice on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed left the terrorist "almost brain dead." Scarborough derided this kind of comment as "vomit[ing] out bad information" and later apologized if people were confused by Baer. [Audio available here]
Scarborough quoted a memo by National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair asserting that "high value information" came from waterboarding. This appeared to be a way of educating Baer and, in what sounded like a warning to his MSNBC colleagues "anybody else that books Bob Baer." Scarborough went further and offered an apology that, one would assume, would have to be on the behalf of not just Baer, but also his own network. Looking right into the camera, the host empathized, "AndI only say this, because this is the information that gets out on TV and in the newspapers and in magazines and I can understand why Americans are confused and I apologize that people are giving you bad information."
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann mocked Ronald Reagan as "dead," and called him a "lousy President." After reading a quote from Warren County, Ohio, commissioner Mike Kilburn proclaiming his intention not to use any of the federal stimulus money, citing Reagan’s famous line that "government is the problem," Olbermann shot back: "Uh, Commissioner Kilburn, Reagan's dead and he was a lousy President."
The MSNBC host also slammed moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson as the day’s "Worst Person in the World" because the Nebraska Democrat dared to lump Olbermann and fellow MSNBC liberal Rachel Maddow in with conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, as Nelson charged that both conservative and liberal hosts spread misinformation to their viewers.
Olbermann, who has a history of repeating incorrect or distorted information on his show, and who also once depicted an image of Rush Limbaugh as a target of gunfire, charged that Limbaugh "supports racism and encourages violence," and that FNC’s Glenn Beck "makes up stuff," as the MSNBC host indignantly answered Nelson: "Thanks for the opportunity to tell you you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I am fed up with this equating of what we do here to circus performers like Limbaugh and the Fox crowd. We don't make up stuff like Beck does, we don't stalk people like O'Reilly does, we don't support racism and encourage violence like Limbaugh does, we don't recite talking points like Hannity does."
An overly eager Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," actually raised the prospect of prosecuting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the CIA interrogation memos as he pressed Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "But how do we do it? Under what law do we go after them?" To which even the liberal Schultz initially balked, as she tried to rein in Matthews: "Well I think we need not to get ahead of ourselves Chris." However Schultz, after Matthews continued to push, relented and gave the MSNBC host a response more to his liking as she warned: "There is no one that is above the law in the United States of America."
Of course if Matthews really wanted to pursue all of those who approved of waterboarding that list would also have to include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to a December 9, 2007 Washington Post story Pelosi along with other Democrats, in September 2002, were given "a virtual tour" of the "CIA's overseas detention sites," shown interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, "But on that day, no objections were raised."
The following exchange was aired on the April 22 edition of "Hardball":
Apparently viewers are getting tired of the cutsey, smugness that is Rachel Maddow, and not just a few of them either. Ratings for the already low rated Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC have shown a steep decline recently, falling from a high of 1.9 million viewers to "slightly over 1.1 million."
Naturally, MSNBC President Phil Grifin is putting on the brave face calling Maddow a "rock star" and that Maddow is a "great success." He told the L. A. Times, "We've never had success anywhere near that in our 12-year history at 9 p.m. right out of the gate."
General Electric held its annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, and attendees apparently were very upset with the increasing leftward tilt of MSNBC.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, during the question and answer phase of the meeting, shareholders repeatedly brought up the company's far-left leaning network, and often had their microphones turned off as a result.
Here are highlights from the THR report (link loading slowly due to appearance at the Drudge Report):
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
"MSNBC News Live" host Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday dismissed the tea party rallies that took place across the country last week as "top down" and not organic, prompting a complaint from a Republican strategist over the network's coverage. The discussion arose during an interview with GOP strategist Karen Hanretty and a Democratic operative over the leadership of the Republican Party.
After Hanretty asserted that the tea parties were an example of grass roots conservative leadership, O'Donnell retorted, "Karen, what was organic about the tea party protest? Those were not from the ground up." She went on to label the nationwide events "top down," which prompted Hanretty to quip, "No. I know MSNBC likes to promote that those were top down, but that's not the case at all." (MSNBC hosts were relentless in their attacks on the the parties. Most famously, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann on April 16 talked to actress Janeane Garofalo, who deemed the demonstrations racist.)
April 17 marked the 13th annual "Day of Silence," a gay rights protest event sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) that takes place in schools across the nation. Of course, gay groups can afford to be silent for a day, because they have the mainstream news media to speak for them.
"Day of Silence" is, according to the event's Web site, "a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools ...the event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT."
Predictably, the media covered this year's event in a positive manner, leaving little room for discussions of it as an indoctrination tool pushed on students by gay activists. And they certainly didn't report that the LGBT community and its allies don't have a problem with "name calling, bullying and harassment" when it's directed against people who disagree with them.
How is it that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow toiled for years as a student before before earning a doctorate in political science at Oxford -- yet managed to avoid studying the American Civil War?
How else to explain Maddow's commentary last Thursday in response to tea party protests nationwide against dubious tax policy and runaway government spending?
Here's what Maddow said in previewing an upcoming segment --
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, appears to have his sights set on higher office. What is higher office if you're already governor in Texas? Of course, that would be president of Texas. The return of Confederacy in American politics as seceding from the Union comes back into Republican fashion.
Yeah, I laughed too -- "Republican fashion"? Those pundits at MSNBC make the darndest claims, don't they?
On Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Mitchell hosted two liberal guests in a discussion about President Obama’s national service program and the prospects for more gun control laws being passed by Congress in the near future. Speaking to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mitchell repeated a grossly inaccurate statistic that 90 percent of guns used by Mexican drug cartels are manufactured in the U.S. Mitchell: "Mr. Mayor, first to you, why not go after the assault weapon ban, as President Calderone in Mexico is calling for? Ninety percent of the weapons used in the drug cartel crimes south of the border are said to have originated in the United States."
But, as previously documented by Mike Sargent, FNC's William LaJeunesse reported on April 2 that 83 percent of guns recovered from Mexican drug cartels are not from the United States. Most of these weapons are never submitted to the U.S. for tracing because they are clearly not American in origin.
After Bloomberg advocated passage of an assault weapon ban, but later indicated that almost all those killed using guns each day are killed using "illegal handguns," Mitchell did not take the opportunity to challenge the Mayor on just how much impact an assault weapon ban could have if such guns are are so rarely the weapon of choice by criminals. She then moved on to set up New York’s Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy to promote the passage of more gun laws. Mitchell: "And, Mr. Mayor, you mentioned Virginia Tech, Columbine anniversary was yesterday. Only weeks ago, we had the killings of police officers in Pittsburgh and in Oakland. Congresswoman McCarthy, is there any chance that something will be done in Congress? And also the gun show loophole which is sitting out there?"