Tuesday's Countdown show on MSNBC showed a portion of Keith Olbermann's interview with Barack Obama in which the Countdown host ridiculously claimed that Obama was "just about 100 percent on the spot" in his predictions of the troop surge in Iraq, and downplayed the signficance of the reduction in the number of Iraqis who are the victims of violence. Olbermann: "Your predictions about the surge, your language about the surge seemed to have turned out to be just about 100 percent on the spot. ... If you are right, why have the Republicans and the conservative media been so effective in suggesting that you were wrong and somehow you need to atone for that?"
Ironically, during an interview with Olbermann on January 10, 2007, Obama had expressed his view that "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." And in another irony, on Tuesday's show, Olbermann lambasted Sean Hannity as having "fantastically poor short-term memory" during the show's "Worst Person" segment because Hannity denied that anyone at FNC had suggested Obama was a Muslim, without mentioning that some FNC personalities had pushed stories about the possibility Obama had a Muslim background during childhood.
You could see this one coming. After Harry Smith called Sarah Palin "Geritol" for McCain, some MSM wag was sure to take things the next step. I'd say it just happened. NBC News DC bureau chief Mark Whitaker was chatting with Andrea Mitchell at 1:27 PM EDT today.
MARK WHITAKER: [People] want to see passion. They want to see that Obama, and the same thing is true of McCain, and we've seen him [show] a lot more passion since he picked Sarah Palin, it's definitely --
ANDREA MITCHELL: Someone described it as Geritol.
WHITAKER: Well, or something else. Put a little pep in his step!
Monday night featured MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow finding fault with Sarah Palin's religious beliefs and some of the teachings of her former church in Wasilla, Alaska, as the two harped on a speech the Alaska governor delivered at the Wasilla Assembly of God last June.
On the first episode of her new television program, the "Rachel Maddow Show," the eponymous host misinterpreted Palin's request that church members pray for American troops, as the Alaska governor expressed her hope that the Iraq war is part of "God's plan," with the MSNBC host claiming that Palin was "asserting" that the war factually is "God's plan."
Maddow claimed that Palin "said that the commander-in-chief for our side in the Iraq War is a mighty general who's initials are G-O-D." On Countdown, Olbermann and Maddow took exception with Palin's account of a minister who prayed that she would be successful in her political life as they mocked the concept of praying in the hopes that prayers might be answered. Olbermann referred to Palin as "Elmer Gantry" and "Amy Semple McHockey Mom."
We now know the official Obama talking point on Lipstick-gate.
In the course of her Morning Joe appearance today, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass used the word "ridiculous" no fewer than six times to dismiss the controversy that has arisen since Obama said yesterday that you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.
Click on the image at the right to view the edited video clip.
Douglass was an ostensibly objective reporter at the National Journal before jumping ship for Obama in the midst of this campaign season.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman opened today's Morning Joe with an aggressive defense of his lipstick line, arguing that Obama was being criticized "for saying something that John McCain has said before, that Barack Obama frequently says about 'you can dress something up.' He was talking about the Republican change argument."
A bit later, bolstering her argument, the spokeswoman described the conference call the McCain campaign arranged to respond to Obama's line. She pointed out that all the reporters asking questions on the call were women, and that all of them asked McCain representative Jane Swift "are you serious?" in alleging that Obama was alluding to Palin.
Concluding, the Obama spokeswoman argued that if read in context, "he's not talking about Sarah Palin." Oh, wait. That wasn't an Obama spokeswoman. It was Andrea Mitchell, sitting in for Mika Brzezinski.
Jacob Weisberg of Slate.com, and a contributor at Newsweek, told David Schuster of MSNBC yesterday that President Reagan would be “rolling over in his grave” if he knew that Sarah Palin brought her unwed pregnant daughter on to the stage with the family at the Republican National Convention.
I was shocked to see her unmarried pregnant teenage daughter on stage with the Republican nominee. It seemed to me that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave if he saw the Republicans embracing unwed motherhood this way. And I think, really, the issue there is about the pro-life absolutism that has come to dominate the party.
As everyone knows, conservatives are a distinctly disagreeable bunch. Mean-spirited knuckle-draggers, pretty much. It's therefore a shock to come across one who's actually likeable. At least if you're Chris Matthews.
Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, a guest on this evening's Hardball, observed that the Obama campaign hasn't quite decided how to go after Sarah Palin. The first line of attack was on the experience issue, but "now they're saying, OK, let's define her as a right-winger. You know, we'll talk about her views on creationism and some of these other extreme views." That elicited this from the Hardball host.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She's got a lot of--they are pretty far over. For a person that seems very likeable and mellow, she doesn't look like a political zealot.
On Monday, Fox News's John Gibson gave credit to NewsBusters for the demotions of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann from their positions as co-anchors of MSNBC's election and debate coverage.
On Sunday, MSNBC announced that NBC's David Gregory would be replacing them in this role, and that they would continue as on-air analysts.
The following day, Gibson, who is a staunch detractor of Matthews and Olbermann, took what he referred to as a "Victory Lap," and gave credit to a number of websites for their hard work in continually exposing the over-the-top bias regularly exhibited by this pair (audio available here courtesy our good friend Johnny Dollar, relevant section at 7:00):
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged conservative talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Sean Hannity as "lunatic right-wing" hosts, and Hannity as "not-so-smart." Responding to a recent joke Levin made on Hannity's radio show that the National Organization for Women is really the "National Organization of Ugly Women," Olbermann called Levin's show "psychotic" and charged that the conservative host "knows his ugly."
The MSNBC host's attacks on Hannity and Levin came during the Countdown show's regular "Best Persons" segment, which, contrary to its name, often includes people Olbermann means to be attacking, similarly to the show's "Worst Person" segment. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, September 8, Countdown show on MSNBC:
Tom Brokaw had his Pauline Kael moment on MSNBC this morning. Though the story might be apocryphal, the late New Yorker film critic is famously credited with saying she was shocked by Nixon's 1972 victory, since everybody she knew had voted for McGovern.
Here's Brokaw on today's "Morning Joe," discussing the importance of the upcoming debates.
TOM BROKAW: Debates should be judged on two big counts: tonal and substance. You know, are you comfortable with this person? Look, everybody believes that on debating points, John Kerry probably beat George Bush, the 43rd, the last time around. But people liked Bush.
On Monday, The Boston Globe greeted the debut of hard-left Air America host Rachel Maddow’s new show on MSNBC with a bouquet of praise. She’s not only "a key face of the new, feisty, ratings-boosted [?] MSNBC," she’s "affable and erudite," she’s "cripplingly patriotic" and has a "yen for national-security issues." MSNBC brass added she "often isn’t expressing an opinion as much as laying out facts," and claimed MSNBC is a brand for "high-powered intellects...an appetite for really smart discussion of the news."
The liberal campaign to seek to diminish Sarah Palin by sexualizing her continues. Yesterday, I described how Frank Rich used a number of sexualized terms in reference to Palin's relationship with McCain: "shotgun marriage," "speed-dating" and "embrace." Chris Matthews employed a similar tactic this evening, claiming that Palin is running "somewhere between a VP and a First Lady."
During the first segment of this evening's Hardball, Matthews tried out his theory, with no particular success, on pollster Stu Rothenberg and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. For the record, Matthews did stop short of telling Palin to iron McCain's shirt:
Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," speculated that Republicans were playing the race card, when they made fun of Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer, even going as far to say they're using the phrase like a "bullwhip." In a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd and pollster Stuart Rothenberg, Matthews suspiciously noted that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, at last week's GOP convention, were "giggling" over the "community organizer" title as he pondered: "Is this the new 'welfare queen?'"
Then a little later in the program, in a segment with the Financial Times' Chrystia Freeland and the Independent Women's Forum's Michelle Bernard, Matthews returned to the subject as he declared: "It seems to me that the use of the word, 'community organizer,' is almost like a bullwhip."
The following exchanges occurred on the September 8 edition of "Hardball" [audio excerpts available here]:
On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" September 8, Jim Cramer took a shot at owner of The Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch, in the midst of talking about the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac takeover:
I read The Wall Street Journal, sorry, The Fox Street Journal. When is Murdoch going to put his positive right wing implant on left wing journalists? ... When is Murdoch going to broom the Spartacus workers union?
As for Fannie and Freddie, Cramer told the hosts of the September 8 broadcast that "We had a laissez-faire attitude. Now we are going to have the greatest bureaucracy in history created by Republicans. I'm an agent of change," Cramer said sarcastically.
Later in the segment, Cramer joked that the Democratic Party were "Bolsheviks" quipping, "There. How's that for biased media?"
NewsBusters.org's parent company, the Media Research Center, today released the following statement from President L. Brent Bozell, III.:
Arch-liberal MSNBC has finally pulled the plug on the horrendous anchor tandem of Olbermann and Matthews. It's a good move, but it's about time. I wonder what it was that finally made them see the light?
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
In case you missed it, MSNBC has decided to replace its election coverage co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann with David Gregory.
Having followed Matthews career since his days with the San Francisco Examiner, and watched his ascendence at CNBC and MSNBC resulting from the success of "Hardball," I wonder why he got the boot along with Olbermann.
After all, regardless of Matthews' clear liberal leaning, this disturbing leftward shift by MSNBC in recent years is certainly due to the success of Olbermann's "Countdown." NBC News and MSNBC officials have intimated such for months (continued below the fold, photo courtesy Wall Street Journal).
On Friday's Countdown show, liberal Air America host Rachel Maddow, substitute hosting for Keith Olbermann, characterized Condoleezza Rice's talks with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as a scandal during the Countdown show's regular "Bushed!" segment which purports to update viewers on Bush administration scandals. Presumably seeking to portray the Bush administration as hypocritical for holding talks with Gaddafi while criticizing Barack Obama's promise to meet personally with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Maddow missed the point that Gaddafi has already made concessions to the U.S., the MSNBC host dubbed the talks as "Pillow Talk with Terrorists-Gate." She then sought to embarrass Rice by quoting overly affectionate comments made by the Libyan dictator in which he called Rice "Leezza" and "my darling African woman," and gushed that "I love her very much."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, September 5, Countdown show on MSNBC:
RACHEL MADDOW: But first, the headlines breaking in the administration's 50 running scandals: "Bushed." ...
Were those evil Republicans attempting to carpet-bomb Andrea Mitchell with balloons at the RNC last night? Chris Matthews mused about the possibility on Hardball this afternoon. The footage of Andrea gamely batting away the balloons has received a lot of play. This morning, the Today show had fun with it. But Matthews seemed to conceive a more sinister scenario:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you were watching last night, here was a funny moment. I have to tell you: I love Andrea. Look at this crazy moment. For some reason: I don't know if it was foul play or what it was, a billion balloons went right into herwhen she was trying to do a report from the floor. She was getting absolutely buried in that post-speech balloon drop.
I wouldn't be surprised that if questioned on it Chris would claim he was kidding. But check out the video and see what you think. He sounded pretty sincere to me.
Hard to believe, but Meredith Vieira is apparently not a regular NewsBusters reader. The Today co-anchor would otherwise have avoided an embarrassing lapse. On Today this morning, Vieira claimed that it was only "blogs" that went after Sarah Palin's family matters. That left her vulnerable to McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's zinger, pointing out that one of her own network's anchors had questioned Palin's ability to serve as vice-president while attending to her children' needs.
Courtney Hazlett over at MSNBC's "The Scoop" is reporting that thousands of "Us Weekly" subscribers have not only called the magazine to cancel their subscriptions -- some reports say up to 10,000 cancellations have occurred -- but have also contacted advertisers and expressed their outrage that they are advertising with the celebrity news magazine that would so blatantly try to destroy Governor Palin.
Hazlett is hearing that the editorial board of "Us Weekly" had thought they pegged it right that media pressure and attacks would see Palin pulled from the McCain ticket even before her debut speech. Because the media had so quickly swarmed to destroy her, they thought she was toast before she even had the chance to accept the nomination.
Apparently fed up of hearing what they believe was a phony line being delivered by GOP spokesmen – that women across the country were offended by the media questioning Sarah Palin's fitness as a mother – Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann defied critics to find examples of any news outlets making that charge.
Matthews and Olbermann, spurred on by criticism from Hawaii's Republican governor Linda Lingle at around 8:09pm [EDT] during MSNBC's live coverage of Thursday night's (September 4) Republican convention, threw down the following gauntlet:
Just moments after MSNBC aired the Republican convention's video tribute to victims of 9/11, shown at about 8:40pm EDT Thursday night (September 4), Keith Olbermann offered this angry rebuke of his own network for doing so (CNN and PBS also aired it):
I'm sorry, it's necessary to say this and I wanted to separate myself from the others on the air about this. If at this late date, any television network had of its own accord showed that much videotape, and that much graphic videotape of 9/11, and I speak as somebody who lost a few friends there, it, we, would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that videotape the way I did, I apologize. It is a subject of great pain for many of us still and was probably not appropriate to be shown. We'll continue in a moment.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Moments before Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin gave her history making speech at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told NewsBusters that the left-wing media are trying to destroy her because she represents a threat to their ability to define what a successful, professional woman is in America today.
Offering some of the strongest media criticisms we've encountered at the Republican National Convention, Gingrich painted a picture of exactly what's at stake for the liberal press if Palin is successful in her bid to become the first female vice president in American history, and that people should not underestimate what they are willing to do to prevent that from happening (video embedded right):
It's been a wild week, so how about a little comic relief? Turns out Howard Dean does his own personal polling—among his wife's employees. And, surprise! They tend to agree with him. The DNC Chairman was chatting with Tom Brokaw on MSNBC this afternoon.
TOM BROKAW: What did you think of Sarah Palin last night?
HOWARD DEAN: I think the first half was terrific. I thought she really laid out who she was. I was fascinated. The second half, she sounded like Dick Cheney, she really did. The same old attack stuff, the same old canards about Democrats that mostly weren't true.
If only Brokaw had thought to ask Dean to mention the canards that were true! In any case, a bit later Dean described how he keeps his finger on the people's pulse.
It's not shaping up to be a big Brian Williams Fan Club day for me here at NB. Earlier, I noted how the Nightly News anchor seemed to suggest Sarah Palin was playing the race card. Here I am again, back on the Brian beat. Interviewing former GOP governor of Massachusetts Jane Swift at the top of MSNBC's 1 PM EDT hour, Williams hid behind unnamed feminists to make the "who's looking after baby?" charge against Sarah Palin.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Are the women who consider themselves feminists, and are perhaps working women with several children, are they wrong when they express fears or doubts that she should be able to do this, that she should be doing this?
Swift, who gave birth to twins while serving as governor, made quick work of Williams' question. FWIW, I hadn't seen Swift in action before and found her impressive
After Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin gave her speech last night, MSNBC talking heads Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow gathered to discuss the VP candidate's remarks. Among the topics covered was Palin's religious background.
MATTHEWS: Is it true that she believes that God supports the war in Iraq? How does she know?
MADDOW: Was she sitting in the pew in her church in Wasilla two weeks ago when a speaker said that the Israelis deserve terrorist attacks, because Jews are unbelievers in Christ?
MADDOW: That was in the Politico today.Jews for Jesusfounder speaking at her churchwhile she was there two weeks ago making incredibly, incredibly out of line comments about Israel and Jewish people. These are tough questions she'll have to answer.
MATTHEWS: Pro or con?
MADDOW: Saying that's why Israel was subject to terrorist attacks. It was God's judgment for not believing in Christ.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden made the morning show rounds on Thursday to respond to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s convention speech, and journalists at NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CNN all encouraged Biden to strongly confront his Republican counterpart, as if Palin has been enjoying some sort of honeymoon from criticism over the past few days.
CNN’s John Roberts pressed Biden: “Before her speech last night you said that you were not going to attack Governor Palin. Are you feeling a little differently this morning?”
NBC’s Matt Lauer similarly pleaded: “Sarah Palin made a speech last night...It was tough. It was direct, hard words for Senator Obama. I’m curious, has this taken away any concern you may have had about tone or words you choose in the coming weeks?”