On Thursday night, after President Bush's Address to the Nation regarding Iraq, MSNBC featured a discussion dominated by criticism of the President from the left, which bolstered the views of such liberal guests as talk radio host Rachel Maddow and Democratic Senator Joe Biden, and challenged conservative guest and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's take on the speech. Chris Matthews showed repeated fascination with the President's reference to 36 nations fighting in Iraq, calling it "ludicrous." When Maddow compared America's toppling of Saddam Hussein's government to attempts by insurgents to topple the current elected government by remarking that "it's like getting a lecture on the evils of prostitution from David Vitter," Keith Olbermann seemed impressed as he labeled her words "the first zing of the night." (Transcript follows)
On his Thursday night radio show, Mark Levin laid into MSNBC's Joe Scarborough over a Thursday morning interview with Arianna Huffington. (He calls the host "the Morning Schmo.") Scarborough had no answer for Huffington when she stoutly defended the MoveOn.org ad bashing Gen. David Petraeus. She added: "And again and again, despite the administration's best efforts to present him as this figure beyond reproach, we see that he's playing politics. He's playing politics with soldiers' lives in Iraq."
Levin found it disgusting that Huffington can sit in her luxury home and sip Chardonnay while Gen. Petraeus and his troops have their boots on the ground on the front lines every day sacrificing for the country. Here's the exchange from MSNBC:
Nearly everyone with a television can make jokes about TV awards shows, especially the speech-making. How many times have people made the hoariest jokes about thanking the "little people," or mimicking Sally Field’s Oscar speech: "You like me! You really like me!" But Kathy Griffin, the comedienne with the self-satirizing "My Life on the D-List" show on that D-list network Bravo, took the ritual to a new low when she won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program.
She mocked Jesus Christ.
"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award," she declared. "I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, 'suck it, Jesus.' This award is my god now." The audience reaction? Reporters noted laughter in the crowd. Griffin certainly knew Hollywood die-hards would be pounding the tables over that one.
It's a flip-flop that would be the envy of John Kerry in good windsurfing weather off Nantucket. For the last two days, Chris Matthews had been excoriating General David Petraeus for his reluctance to opine on the effect of the Iraq war on America's safety at home. Suddenly this morning, Matthews has decided that -- guess what? -- it's not Petraeus's job to make pronouncements of that sort.
As far as MSNBC's Chris Matthews is concerned, David Petraeus, four-star general, commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, someone who has devoted his life to serving our country, is no better than Charlie McCarthy, a ventriloquist's dummy.
While right-thinking people across the fruited plain cast their anger at MoveOn for its disgraceful ad placed in Monday's New York Times, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann should be sharing the dishonor.
As adroitly identified at Olbermann Watch Wednesday: "Long before the moveon [sic] ‘Betray Us' advertisement, back on August 16th, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann began his ‘newscast' in the usual fashion, bellowing the opening spiel."
Taken directly from MSNBC.com's transcript that evening (emphasis added):
In the 1990s, Laura Ingraham was an exception to the rule, a conservative allowed into the rarefied air of network news. She was a Sunday night commentator on CBS Evening News -- matched on the left by Sen. Bill Bradley -- and then a host of a live morning show on MSNBC. In her brand spanking new book Power to the People, just out yesterday, Laura dishes on what it was like in the lion's den:
From Day One, I was a fish out of water in the television news business. I didn’t come from their world and I didn’t buy into their worldview. They knew it and I knew it. As a conservative lawyer who had worked for the Reagan administration and clerked on the Supreme Court for Clarence Thomas, I didn’t fit the CBS mold of the earnest, idealistic, liberal, "citizen-of-the-world" type attracted to the news business. I might as well have dropped in from a blinking spaceship from Saturn. One of the closet conservatives at the network told me that most of the producers and on-air talent thought the top brass’s decision to hire me was a "pathetic sell-out to the Right."
Reporting comedian Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks at an award show set to air on Saturday, MSNBC anchor Norah O'Donnell left out the harshest line. The effect was to make it sound like the liberal former "View" guest host was being unfairly "censored" by TV producers for making a mild joke about award recipients who thank Jesus for their success, rather than blaspheming Jesus Christ directly.
See UPDATE at foot: Gen. Petraeus subsequently testified to the importance of Iraq to national security.
In the wake of the odious MoveOn.org ad calling our commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," [read Dean Barnett's excellent take here] you might have thought the last thing a responsible member of the media would do would be to accuse other senior officials of "betrayal."
I did say "responsible." On this afternoon's "Hardball," Chris Matthews accused President Bush of "betrayal" for his handling of Iraq.
The "Hardball" host was fuming over Gen. Petraeus's reluctance to state whether the war in Iraq would make America safer.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He couldn't say whether what we're doing in Iraq makes America safer or not. He couldn't say whether the lost lives, the misery, the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent are worth the effort in terms of our national security.
Some people are hard to shop for, but when it comes to MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski it's going to be a breeze. Next to her name on my Chanukah list, I'm putting her down without hesitation . . . for a Roget's Thesaurus. Because when it comes to describing the performance of people across her political divide, Mika seems stuck on a solitary word: "underwhelming."
As noted here, reading the news of Fred Thompson's "Tonight Show" appearance last week, Mika editorialized that "it was sort of underwhelming, but . . . it's done."
At the top of today's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough invited Mika to assess General Petraeus's performance before Congress yesterday, and . . . you guessed it.
A recession is classically defined as two back-to-back quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP), something that last happened six years ago with the 2001 recession. So what did Witt see that portended an imminent collapse?
Well, "[f]inancial experts were blindsided by a new report today that found 4,000 jobs were cut last month. That is the first time that's happened in four years. These numbers follow another report that finds home foreclosures have hit a record high," Witt explained.
Voilà! Two scary negative statistics and there you have it, the economy teetering of the brink of utter ruin. Only, we've heard the media hype about pending recessions before. From our friends at the MRC's Business & Media Institute:
Darn it, when will Osama Bin Laden's jack-in-the-box moments start hurting Republicans, as they should? That was the prevailing sentiment on today's "Morning Joe." At 6:40 a.m. EDT, reacting to the news that OBL is planning to release a new video to mark the sixth anniversary of 9-11, Host Joe Scarborough expressed his perplexity to NBC News political director Chuck Todd.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hey Chuck, we see Osama Bin Laden is appearing again, coming to a computer somewhere near you soon. Of course Republicans wish he would show up two days before the election cause the guy certainly helped George Bush beat John Kerry back in 2004. But how does the re-emergence of Osama Bin Laden impact this race? Do we assume that it's going to help the Republican party again like it did in 2004?
CHUCK TODD: I don't know. You keep wondering when is the double-edged part of this sword [going to] show up? Does him popping up on TV screens serve as a reminder, you know on Iraq, the public might think that Iraq is a diversion, and hey you Bush took his eye off of the ball. This guy is still out there. But let's see if it is him. I guess he's using Hair Club for Men now, Just for Men [earlier Joe had joked that OBL was using "For Terrorists Only."] . . . Where do you get hair color in the mountains of Pakistan? I didn't realize you could do that. Knee jerk, it seems to still help Republicans, even Hillary Clinton said that. She probably shouldn't have done that, but she did say that. But at some point, the more Osama pops up, it's may end up eventually hurting the Republicans.
If part of NewsBusters' mission is keeping the MSM on its toes, it looks like we're succeeding when it comes to the MSNBC show "Morning Joe." For two days running, host Joe Scarborough has mentioned our site, conscious that we're on the prowl for evidence of liberal bias. Yesterday at about 6:30 A.M. EDT, Joe and newsreader Mika Brzezinski were discussing the fact that President Bush had mentioned to Robert Draper, author of the new Bush biography "Dead Certain," that he was expecting to replenish his financial coffers upon leaving office.
Said Scarborough “I hope NewsBusters heard that cause you said [it was only] a little [untoward on Bush's part].’ I say ‘a lot.’ Let them make me the poster boy today.”
Joe had NewsBusters on the noggin again today. At about 7:07 A.M. EDT Mika injected her opinion into the reading of a news item about Fred Thompson's "Tonight Show" appearance.
I just viewed this video via Michelle Malkin of failed sportscaster Keith Olberman naming her Worst Person of the Week and pushing a quote by Geraldo Rivera in doing it:
“Michelle Malkin is the most vile, hateful commentator I’ve ever met in my life,” he says. “She actually believes that neighbors should start snitching out neighbors, and we should be deporting people.
“It’s good she’s in D.C. and I’m in New York,” Rivera sneers. “I’d spit on her if I saw her.”
Now it appears Michelle has had a small ad buy which served to call attention to the quote banned by Quigo. So, Rivera's ugliness is okay for broadcast on MSNBC in another sad attempt to further demean the target in this, but it's not okay to point a finger at Rivera with his own words?
Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, whose many large contributions to Democratic coffers, including Hillary Clinton came from an apparently non-existent source, has jumped bail yet again. As reported by the Associated Press,
Hsu, a Hong Kong native, was also supposed to turn over his passport Wednesday. Hsu's prominent Silicon Valley criminal defense attorney Jim Brosnahan said Hsu failed to give the passport to the legal team on Monday. "Mr. Hsu is not here and we do not know where Mr. Hsu is," Brosnahan said outside court. Brosnahan said that "there was some contact" with Hsu a few hours before the scheduled 9 a.m. court appearance, but he declined to say how and who talked to Hsu. Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he'd defrauded investors of $1 million after falsely claiming to have contracts to purchase and sell Latex gloves. He was facing up to three years in prison when he skipped town before his 1992 sentencing date.
On Tuesday's "Countdown," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant against President Bush, branding him a "liar" because the President raised the possibility of withdrawing some American troops during his speech in Iraq, after the President had also spoken, in Robert Draper's new book, "Dead Certain," of "sustaining a presence" in Iraq. Olbermann assumed Bush's two statements -- about withdrawing some troops and "sustaining a presence" -- could not be consistent, thus contending Bush had revealed an "evil secret." Olbermann: "A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir!" (Transcript follows)
Mother Teresa died ten years ago this week, just days after Princess Diana perished in a car crash, displaying a very interesting comparison in media reactions. Princess Diana, molded by so much positive publicity over the years into a "secular saint" when she died, drew superior coverage, both in amount and in tone. Mother Teresa's publicity was also very positive over the years, of course, but the media seemed more willing to solicit harsh criticism of her life, even at the time of her death. Brent Bozell chronicled that story in his column ten years ago:
The world's media are busy mourning the death of the Princess Diana ten years ago. But while they are mourning the fact that they lost a ready-made newsmaker who shared many of their goals, they have forgotten to remember the anniversary of a far more important event than the death of the former wife of Great Britain's heir to the throne. As I was reminded by Lead and Gold, today is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the Polish communist government agreeing to the demands of striking shipyard workers. This surrender by the Communist leadership of Poland presaged the breaking loose of the satellite nations of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain and led directly to the fall of the U.S.S.R. As Lead and Gold writes,
The strike marked the beginning of the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are, rightly, given the greatest share of credit for winning the Cold War. But Lech Walesa and John Paul II played indispensable roles. ...
MRC old timers like Geoff Dickens and Tim Graham will remember how in the late 1990s, MSNBC was largely a re-run channel. MSNBC's programming was largely "Time & Again" and "Headliners & Legends," two programs that relied heavily on canned news content and usually consisted of puffy profile pieces.
Well, now with the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, MSNBC's gone back to the bad old days of stale newscasting, running highlights, as it were, from Diana's September 6, 1997 funeral, including Scripture readings and eulogies by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Diana's brother Lord Earl Spencer.
MSNBC is justifying the gauche gimmick as a "Living History Event."
This could be something of a first: a major MSM player admits there's a case to be made that the media is incredibly biased against Republicans.
As I noted here, when Tom DeLay accused the media of bias on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer stonewalled: "I'm not going to let it, you know, end with that assumption, congressman, because I clearly don't agree with it."
But appearing on this afternoon's Harball, DeLay successfully wangled an admission from host Chris Matthews.
TOM DELAY: If [Craig] has been found guilty of what he's been accused of, then yeah. But I do know that the Republicans will do something about it. I do know that if he were a Democrat they would rally around him and they would not do something about it. I do know that the national media is incredibly biased against Republicans that find themselves [in trouble] --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's a charge which I've heard before and I can understand why you make it. You make it a lot. Sometimes you have a case to make. Sometimes.
Ana Marie Cox: not just a snarky ex-blogger turned Time editor anymore -- now a theologian who has pronounced Mitt Romney not a Christian.
The former Wonkette is all over MSNBC today. Early today on "Morning Joe," Cox cattily swiped at Katie Couric, surmising that the CBS Evening News anchor was traveling to the Middle East because she needed rugs. She has since claimed to have intended no slight to Katie or Middle Easterners. Right. Screencap from MJ after the break.
This evening, Cox appeared on "Countdown" to discuss the Larry Craig matter with Olbermann. Talk turned to the way Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) has dealt with the situation. The Idaho senator had served as Romney's co-chairman in the Senate. Romney was quick to disassociate Craig from his campaign, and Tuesday referred to Craig's behavior as "disgusting
On the Wednesday night edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews and David Shuster continued to use the Larry Craig scandal to bury the GOP and while Matthews declared "the downfall of" Bush's party was "driven by every movement of the body politic" it was his colleague Shuster who outdid him when, after running down a litany of GOP troubles ranging from Craig to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, charged: "It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
Brian Williams has defended armed looting during Katrina as the work of heads of family providing for their own.
The NBC Nightly News anchor is in New Orleans on the second Katrina anniversary. He appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at 7:30 A.M. EDT. Williams first passed along a predictable race-and-classed based explanation of the mismanaged relief efforts.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: That's when human life started to degrade. That's when people ran out of of bathroom facilities and started having to use the entire [Superdome]: no power, no circulating air, and worse, no information from the outside world. Somebody said "they [the victims] just weren't worth it."
A bit later, Williams offered up this defense of armed looting.
WILLIAMS: The looting we witnessed downtown, you could hear gunfire in the streets of the 25th-largest city in the United States. We keep saying human behavior degraded that week. There was a desperation that you can only get when you're the head of a family. You don't know where a meal is going to come from, you can't find bottled water. You don't know how you're going to get your family to high ground.
Update 15:34 (see bottom of post): Cox explains her rug joke.
I had great expectations when Ana Marie Cox turned up on the "Morning Joe" panel, confident the tart-tongued former Wonkette would produce plenty of grist for our NB mill. But over the course of the week, Cox has been disappointingly subdued, leaving it to the congenial Tamron Hall to produce our headlines. Perhaps Ana Marie's new gig at staid "Time" magazine has caused her to hide her acerbic light under a barrel.
But the strain of being restrained was maybe too much for Ana Marie, for she began this morning's show with a catty swipe at Katie Couric.
Host Joe Scarborough began the opening chit-chat by noting that CBS Evening News anchor Couric has announced her plans to visit Iraq and Syria. That's when Ana Marie pounced.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So Katie's going off to the war zone. Did you read that? Katie Couric.
ANA MARIE COX: Needs some rugs, maybe. I don't know.
Last week, as noted here, Tamron Hall mentioned that "Us Weekly" aside, her main news source is the New York Times. Two days earlier, Hall had defended CNN's "God's Warriors" by suggesting that Christian and Jewish groups could be the next to turn violent. Today comes further evidence of Hall's liberal leanings, as the MSNBCer spoke openly of her participation in events on behalf of the National Organization for Women.
The disclosure came on today's "Morning Joe" at 6:09 A.M. EDT. Host Joe Scarborough, discussing the Michael Vick case, suggested that whereas there has been tremendous media focus on the dogfighting charges, allegations that pro athletes abuse women don't get as much attention.