Some might think MSNBC isn’t as aggressively liberal during the daytime as it is in prime time. But David Shuster aggressively pushed the idea that the Republicans were "out of touch" in the 11 am hour Thursday, complete with music going into the commercial break ("Out of Touch" by Hall and Oates – like that’s on the cutting edge?) Shuster suggested the Conservative Political Action Conference was a joke since it was featuring Joe the Plumber, and that booking him was a "huge mistake."
SHUSTER: With us now live is Armstrong Williams, he’s a syndicated radio talk show host, and Armstrong, why should anybody take CPAC seriously when it allows Joe the Plumber, invites Joe the Plumber to be one of the featured speakers? Good grief!
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, Joe the Plumber represents a certain constituency out there. He got a lot --
SHUSTER: Right. He represents those who don't have a proper license with tax liens against them. Does the Republican Party really want Joe the Plumber to be a role model?
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Wednesday delighted in a comparison of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to the MTV characters Beavis and Butt-head. Shuster singled out the Republican, who gave the GOP response to Barack Obama's February 24 congressional address, for his "hypocrisy watch" segment.
The MSNBC host slammed "Jindal's hypocrisy" for criticizing what he called wasteful spending, including volcano monitoring. (According to Shuster, Jindal is a hypocrite because, while the governor attacked volcano monitoring, he's also asked for comprehensive flood and hurricane funds for his own state.) The anchor gleefully recounted an attack by liberal New York Times writer Paul Krugman: Reading from Krugman's column, he recited, "The intellectual incoherence is stunning. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butt-head." Agreeing with the juvenile insult, Shuster added, "Beavis and Butthead? Well, Krugman didn't say which one Jindal is. Nonetheless, all of us at '1600' agree with the larger point."
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews cheered how "hip," "today," and "youthful," the Obamas looked at last night's address to Congress before immediately transitioning into offering this backhanded blurb for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): "If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby!" While it is fair to say you won't be seeing Jay-Z performing at CPAC any time soon, the comparison to a Star Trek convention crowd was definitely a dig at conservatives' expense. However Matthews did go on to out himself as a former CPAC attendee: "So if you can't catch a Star Trek convention you've got CPAC coming here. It's always fun. Because I grew up as a conservative. I liked a lot of this stuff."
The following references to CPAC occurred on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
MATTHEWS DURING SHOW INTRO: And the Conservative Political Action Conference begins its three day meeting tomorrow in Washington. And take a look at some of the panels being offered. "Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals Are Destroying the American Election System." "Will Congress Take Your Guns?" "The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria." If you like Star Trek conventions, you'll love this baby.
Attempting to explain last night's off-camera "Oh God!" exclamation before Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama, Chris Matthews, at the top of Wednesday's "Hardball," claimed he was taken aback by "The odd, antebellum look of the scene. Some people heard my reaction at the time," which contrasted with his view of Obama's address: "He wowed us! That's the running headline from last night's presidential address to the Congress. Barack Obama gave a great speech." This naked display of bias was so transparent that it caused guest panelist, former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay to point out the obvious: "Listening to your introduction somebody is gonna accuse you of being biased."
The following is Matthews' entire opening monologue and then DeLay's reaction as it was aired on the February 25, edition of "Hardball":
Some of the odd and/or noteworthy takes in television coverage following President Barack Obama's Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress:
- On MSNBC, Chris Matthews predicted “we're going to hear a fairly right-wing speech tonight,” from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in response to Obama, because “the only position left in America right now politically that he's left open is on the far right, and Bobby Jindal is headed for it,” along with Sarah Palin, since “Barack has grabbed the center with the charm he showed tonight in his excellent rhetoric.”
- ABC's Charles Gibson, who like his broadcast network colleagues refrained from labeling Obama or his speech as liberal, introduced Jindal with an ideological tag: “He is a very conservative Republican and you'll hear that reflected, I think, in his remarks tonight.”
- On CBS, Katie Couric reacted to Obama's speech with some strange “cosmic” analogies, touting how Obama had succeeded in his effort to “really connect the dots, in a way, to explain to people that micro-cosmically this will help them, this is just not a national macro-cosmic plan for the economy.”
Update/Correction: It seems Chris Matthews, not Keith Olbermann muttered "Oh, God!" as Gov. Jindal walked out to deliver the Republican Response to the President's address to Congress. My apologies for the confusion. The text below is corrected according.
In another journalistic new low, MSNBC's Chris Matthews apparently mumbled the words "Oh God" after he introduced Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Republican who gave the GOP response following President Barack Obama's address to Congress Tuesday.
With a picture of the Governor's mansion on screen, Olbermann stated the following (video embedded below the fold):
It’s not even April 1 yet, and Keith Olbermann is already expressing fears that President Obama "is acting disturbingly like President Bush," because of a number of recent decisions by the Obama administration to continue policies similar to those of President Bush, which Olbermann recounted on Monday's Countdown while the words "Four More Years?" displayed at the bottom of the screen. The MSNBC host then introduced his guest for further discussion: "Here to help us tell the two men apart, Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post."
Responding to Huffington’s hope that Obama’s decisions would only be temporary, Olbermann queried that if, "after one of these six-month reviews – renditioning, for instance – continues on or other detentions without legal rights? What happens then?" prompting Huffington to convey her willingness to oppose Obama: "Well, everybody who cares about what are the fundamental American values of fairness and justice and due process needs to vociferously and unambiguously oppose the Obama administration. I don`t think there is any alternative to that."
On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann demonstrated his latest double standard in his treatment of conservatives and liberals. After attacking Sarah Palin several times during the presidential campaign with a misleading accusation that Palin had "gutted her own state's Special Olympics" – calling her "sick" and an "out of control liar" – even though she increased spending on the program by 10 percent over previous years, on Thursday’s show Olbermann came to the aid of President Obama after FNC’s Bret Baier made a charge that Obama planned to "cut" the defense budget by 10 percent, which could similarly lead viewers to believe an actual cut in spending was planned.
But between September 16 and October 3, the MSNBC host on four occasions misled his viewers by repeating accusations that originated with the far-left Think Progress that Palin had cut the Special Olympics budget, without informing viewers that Palin had not only increased spending on special education, but had even approved a 10 percent spending increase for the Alaska Special Olympics, as Olbermann used the story as a gimmick and repeatedly claimed that he would donate $100 to the Alaska Special Olympics for every lie Palin told on the campaign trail. Even though NewsBusters reported early on that Palin had increased state spending on the program, Olbermann was still repeating his version of the story on October 3 after the vice presidential debate.
Regardless of their actions on the stimulus plan, Republican governors are always wrong, at least according to MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow.
The ardently earnest Maddow demonstrated this on consecutive nights this week, first on Tuesday when Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, was one of her guests.
Maddow described how GOP governors are split on whether to accept money for their states from the stimulus plan. Some, such as Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, want the funding while others, including Sarah Palin of Alaska and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, are "vociferously opposed to the stimulus bill," Maddow said.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Rick Sanchez both poked fun of Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his on-air commercials for Stanford Coins and Bullion, which is part of the Stanford Financial Group led by Robert Allen Stanford, who has been in the news recently due to charges of fraud. It was the Huffington Post on Wednesday that pointed out the talk show host’s spots for Stanford. Olbermann named Hannity his “Worst Person in the World” on Thursday evening for the radio spots for Stanford.
Nineteen hours later, on Friday afternoon’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez gave the misleading impression that Hannity was still doing the live spots even after the news of the investigation into Stanford came out: “Sean Hannity unabashedly endorsed Robert Allen Stanford on the air to millions of potential customers -- the same Fox News host who calls President Obama a socialist.” An on-screen graphic during Sanchez’s segment indicated that his source for the story was the Huffington Post, while another graphic asked, “Who’s Your Friend, Sean?”
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seized on a portion of Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s Monday interview from FNC’s On the Record with Greta van Susteren to portray the 18-year-old as having expressed a pro-choice view on abortion, even though Bristol Palin did not clearly state her general view on the legality of abortion. During one of the show’s before-commercial plugs, Olbermann trumpeted: "While head-in-the-sand social conservatives are pushing fairy tales [abstinence] over sound policy, life happens. As for a woman`s right to choose, it is implicitly accepted in Bristol Palin`s comments, despite her mother`s anti-choice position."
Before interviewing Laura Flanders of GritTV.org, Olbermann introduced the segment: "There is a whistle blower in the house of hypocrisy that is Governor Sarah Palin: her daughter, Bristol. In our third story on the Countdown, she is now speaking out about being a teenaged mother, and she says that abstinence is not "realistic" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that having her baby was her own "choice" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS), and that her mother`s view on that, quote, "doesn`t matter" (PRONOUNCED WITH EMPHASIS). At one point, as he posed a question to Flanders, Olbermann referred to "Bristol Palin using that one word, 'choice,' such a, in that word such a profound repudiation of the social engineers on the right."
But in playing clips from the interview, the Countdown host edited out some of Bristol Palin's words which may suggest an alternative meaning to Olbermann’s interpretation.
Former Guantanamo prison guard Brandon Neely's account of his experiences is "remarkable," Rachel Maddow told viewers of her MSNBC cable show Tuesday night before introducing Neely.
"And tonight, for the first time, in any broadcast interview, he is here, exclusively, to describe what he witnessed and what he personally took part in," Maddow said.
But after listening to Neely's claims, and seeing how Maddow conducted the interview, I wondered if others watching felt the same letdown -- this is an example of all the sturm and drang over Gitmo?
Let's start with the first of two incidents of alleged abuse described by Neely, who enlisted in the Army in June 2000 and was assigned guard duty at Guantanamo in January 2002 as detainees first arrived. Neely now heads the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"
After playing a clip of a "Saturday Night Live," skit – in which two Republicans argue over who is smarter, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh -- Matthews asked his guest panelists Harris and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, to evaluate how powerful Limbaugh was within the GOP in the following exchange, as it was aired, on the February 18, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That joke, which was, "That we wouldn't want to speak anything unfavorably of Rush Limbaugh, our god-
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thou shall not speak ill of Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: -the oracle of thieves, you know, the great oracle of Delphi," rather. Is he that big in your world? I mean really do you look up to him as the smartest person in America?
New Yorker senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg, "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar." [Audio available here.]
Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement.Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"
MSNBC and its star attraction Keith Olbermann have been asked to issue an apology and a correction for statements made by the "Countdown" host last week.
Don't hold your breath they'll do either.
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, the most disgraceful example of journalism on cable was challenged to a debate by a woman he disparaged on his program last Thursday.
As Olbermann has not shown the strength of character to accept Betsy McCaughey's challenge, the former Lt. Governor of New York has requested he and MSNBC issue an apology for his factless claims as well as a correction (h/t Johnny Dollar):
Veteran Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein appeared on Monday's "Morning Joe" to highlight the "masterful" leadership of Barack Obama in passing a stimulus bill and also to laud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her dedication to service. Challenged by MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan over how much impact Hillary Clinton would actually have as secretary of state, Bernstein, author of the Hillary bio "A Woman in Charge," enthused, "You know, she is somebody who really believes in service. Both Clintons do. Whatever cynicism we might have about the Clintons, she believes in service."
He also asserted that celebrity is important on the world stage and cooed, "And nobody is more celebrated. Nobody is more famous than Hillary Clinton. Nobody can have more effect abroad." Earlier in the segment, the former Washington Post journalist applauded Barack Obama for passing his stimulus bill in a way that maneuvered around a "dysfunctional" Congress. "...The reason Barack Obama is showing such masterful- and I think we can use that word- leadership so far is that he's in the process of solving the problem of the U.S. Congress, the fact that it is a largely dysfunctional institution," he explained.
A health policy expert who Keith Olbermann eviscerated during Thursday's "Countdown" (video embedded below the fold) has officially challenged the disgraceful MSNBC personality to a debate concerning provisions in the soon to be enacted stimulus plan.
If Keith Olbermann of MSNBCcould defend the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill on their merits, he wouldn't be resorting to personal attacks on me. Olbermann calls me a shill funded by the drug industry (2-12-2009). That's not true...If Keith Olbermann has the courage, I invite him to debate me on his program...Mr. Olbermann, do you have the backbone (and the facts) to debate me?
Our story began last Monday when McCaughey published the following at Bloomberg:
How could anyone take a principled stand against the $789 billion economic stimulus bill? Any opposition to this massive expansion of the federal government must be sheer political posturing. Or so said Newsweek magazine's Jonathan Alter.
Alter said on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" that congressional Republicans oppose the stimulus bill based on an ill-conceived, low-percentage bet that the proposal would fail.
"Well, they're betting on the 30 percent chance, as Joe Biden put it, that it's not going to work," Alter said. "Then they can say, ‘I told you so, it didn't do any good.'"
When "Hardball," guest and former John McCain adviser Mark McKinnon suggested Barack Obama, in his first few days in office, is discovering what George W. Bush found out, that being President is "a hard job," Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's show, vehemently disagreed, saying Obama "doesn't look he's having a hard time...he's Fred Astaire out there...he still moves around with incredible alacrity."
The following exchange was aired during the February 11 edition of "Hardball":
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER JOHN MCCAIN ADVISER: But I'll tell ya he's discovering one thing that President Bush did early on and that, that's this is a hard job Chris. It's a really hard job.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah but he's not saying that.
KAREN FINNEY, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He's saying, "It's the job. I know this is what I signed up for."
Despite his tax problems, President Barack Obama's newly minted Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, was sold to Congress as the one who was going to save the fragile financial system.
However, in what was billed to be a big announcement, and Geithner's first major appearance, he failed to deliver. The Treasury Secretary was slated to outline his plan to rescue troubled financial institutions from the toxic assets they had on their books. But he failed to give specifics and the markets suffered; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) nosedived 382 points.
CNBC "Fast Money" host Dylan Ratigan had his own description of Geithner's performance. In an appearance on MSNBC's Feb. 11 "Morning Joe," he likened it to "soiling a bed."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and his frequent guest, Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, spoke Saturday at a fundraising gala for the New York chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest gay-left lobby and a major constituency group of the Democratic Party. All the other major speakers were New York or New Jersey Democrats. Olbermann was given HRC’s "Ally for Equality" Award for his MSNBC commentaries against California’s Proposition 8, which drew a standing ovation at the dinner.
Fineman introduced Olbermann in glowing terms: "He's not a liberal. What Keith is is an anti-establishment character who doesn't want people in power to get away with things." He added, "He rediscovered the role of journalism and that role is deeply informed judgment about people in power and about the morality of our country."
Shortly after President Obama’s Monday press conference, during a special abbreviated edition of Countdown, MSNBC's Chris Matthews effused that he was "very impressed with [Obama's] amazing ability," opining that the President was "at his best intellectually." After reciting one of Obama’s answers, Matthews further gushed: "What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him."
Keith Olbermann also alluded to his perception of Obama being "intellectual" as the MSNBC host put down President Bush’s past performances. After referring to a Woody Allen joke about people’s standards being lowered over time, the MSNBC host continued: "This is an entirely different experience for anybody who really perhaps only knew in their young lives President Bush ... This news conference in which a President will answer a multi-part question with a series of four different answers, all of them absolutely common sense and also intellectual and will take seven minutes to answer them. Is he going to adjust to where people were with George Bush’s, kind of, more truncated performance, or is he anticipating the democracy to be participatory and people are going to go in there ... is he going to demand of, you know, citizens, to go along with him and listen for the whole seven minutes?"
On Monday's "MSNBC News Live," the cable network featured yet another critical segment on Rush Limbaugh and his role as a leader of the GOP. The segment, hosted by David Shuster, featured a confrontational graphic which screamed, "Who Elected Rush Limbaugh?" Shuster brought on syndicated talk show host Armstrong Williams to bash Limbaugh over the issue of how much power the radio star has within the GOP.
According to Williams, Limbaugh is "self-anointed." "Let's make sure we're clear on that," the commentator added. Continuing the attack, Williams repeated, "He has not been appointed to anything. He's self-appointed, self-anointed and self-selling." Deriding Limbaugh's import, the usually conservative Williams concluded, "He's an entertainer. He's a self-promoter. He wants to make himself out to be important. That's okay."
Williams has been a somewhat less prominent figure since an incident in 2005 in which it was revealed that he had been paid $240,000 to promote President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act on his syndicated television show. According to a January 5, 2005 USA Today article, the host said he didn't recall mentioning the agreement on air.
Now that America has a liberal President, it is apparently no longer acceptable for a private citizen to express disagreement with the White House in Keith Olbermann’s world. On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant, this time calling for former Vice President Cheney to "leave this country," and made a suggestion that Cheney, who recently criticized President Obama’s plans for handling counterterrorism, should somehow be "made to desist" from such criticism. Olbermann: "You, Mr. Cheney, you terrified more Americans than did any terrorist in the last seven years, and now it is time for you to desist, or to be made to desist."
The Countdown host, who never showed any concern that his tirades against the Bush administration would "undermine" the war on terrorism, accused Cheney of "trying to sabotage" Obama’s "efforts against terrorism," and made a number of vulgar implications in attacking Cheney – including twice pronouncing the former Vice President’s first name with emphasis as if to call him by a vulgar word; saying that he would tell Cheney to "shove it"; and asking which "orifice" Cheney was pulling numbers from about the recidivism rate of former Guantanamo detainees.
Salon.com blogger and author Glenn Greenwald is unlikely to become a fan of former Vice President Dick Cheney, safe to say.
But Greenwald's loathing for Cheney occasionally gets the better of him, as occurred on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday night.
Maddow and Greenwald were discussing news of Cheney warning that President Obama risks letting terrorists strike with a biological or nuclear weapon if Obama reverses Bush-era policies for combating al Qaeda.
Greenwald compared protective measures ordered by Bush and Cheney after 9/11 to the worst civil liberties abuses in our nation's past (follow this link for video of the segment) --
Maddow explained how this provision had been in the bill for over 40 years, then played a portion of DeMint's speech on her Feb. 6 MSNBC show.
"Student's can't meet together in their dorms, if that dorm has been repaired with this federal money and have a prayer group or a Bible study," DeMint said in the clip Maddow played. "[S]omeone is so hostile to religion that they're willing to stand in the schoolhouse door like the infamous George Wallace to deny people of faith from entering any campus building renovated by this bill. This cannot stand."