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."
Say goodbye to hope and change. It's time to embrace the politics of doom and gloom.
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer, in an interview that seemed a lot like a lobbying campaign for the stimulus set for a vote in the U.S. Senate, quizzed Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., about the possibility that his vote against a stimulus bill could send the country spiraling into a Depression - and endanger the public's footwear.
"But if it fails, if it fails and our economy implodes and we see ourselves stuffing cardboard back in our shoes like they did in the Depression era, are you willing to put your name behind that?" Brewer asked.
"I'm willing to stay here and continue through the weekend, next week, the next week, to try to solve something and get it right - don't rush into something like this country rushed into the bailout program right before the holidays last year," Barrasso replied. "I think that was rushed. We found out that that didn't accomplish the goal."
Former White House chief-of-staff Andrew Card's suggestion to Barack Obama that his administration should continue the Bush fashion code of wearing a jacket and tie in the Oval Office, out of respect, ignited Chris Matthews, on Thursday night's "Hardball," to unleash an angry litany against Bush's foreign and domestic policies and then condemned, "If that's dressing for success I prefer shirt-sleeves."
The following rant from Matthews occurred during the "Sideshow" segment on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews is rooting for Barack Obama to get his so-called stimulus package passed so much, he offered him advice on how to sell it, on Thursday night's "Hardball," and cautioned him if he doesn’t succeed in that sales job he'll "let us down."
Matthews, the former Jimmy Carter speechwriter, offered the following piece of advice to Obama on the February 5 edition of "Hardball":
On Wednesday, both CNN and MSNBC raised the specter of past bombings against abortion clinics during their coverage of an Arkansas doctor who was critically injured in an apparent car bombing. During CNN’s Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez asked former DC police detective Mike Brooks if the injured physician was an “abortion doctor.” He replied, “No, no. That was the first thing I thought.” Earlier in the afternoon on MSNBC, correspondent Pete Williams noted how the victim was “a family doctor” and was “not providing controversial medical procedures like abortions.”
Sanchez’s comments came at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Sanchez first outlined how local police had initially reported the incident, which occurred earlier in the day, as being a mechanical problem with the car, and how they revised it to being a possible bombing. The anchor raised his “abortion doctor” question after Brooks, a frequent guest on Sanchez’s program, gave more details into the investigation.
Brian Williams revealed Wednesday afternoon that in a question he didn't get to with President Obama the day before, he wanted to ask Obama if he is “ever tempted” to start over again with the stimulus bill “and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation,” just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill” in The American President movie, “and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'”
In that 1995 film (IMDb page), in which Douglas played Democratic President “Andrew Shepherd,” after compromising with Congress, he returns to his left-wing sensibilities and, in the climatic point of the movie cheered by liberal film-goers, walks to the press room where he delivers an impassioned lecture -- which earns affirmative nods from the journalists -- praising the ACLU, pushing for extreme action on global warming and promises, in the portion Williams admired, “to get the guns.” President Shepherd:
The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I’m throwing it. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I’m going convince Americans that I’m right and I’m going to get the guns.
During MSNBC's live coverage on Tuesday of the sudden resignation of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, reporter Andrea Mitchell suggested to Republican Senator Jim DeMint that the American public will see this as the GOP having "brought him [Daschle] down." The Democratic nominee resigned over a growing controversy which revealed that the former Senate majority leader owed $140,000 in back taxes. (He has since paid them.) Mitchell sympathetically described talking to the ex-senator: "I just got off the phone with Tom Daschle. And it was an emotional conversation. He was clearly- it sounded as though he were tearful, overwrought." [audio excerpt here]
Later, while speaking to DeMint, Mitchell bristled at the South Carolina senator's contention that Democrats were also skeptical of Daschle's nomination. The journalist chided, "Well, Senator DeMint, you can say that the Democrats were uncomfortable as well, but they were all supporting him publicly." She then lectured, "So, this does read to the public as though the Republicans went after this man, someone that the President very much wanted, and brought him down."
With all the populist sentiment generated from the economic slowdown by politicians, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer is seeing eerie similarities with the comments of President Barack Obama and the words of a communist revolutionary.
Cramer, appearing on MSNBC's Feb. 2 "Morning Joe," drew comparisons between remarks between the first head of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and Obama. Obama criticized Wall Street's moneymaking on Jan. 30, when he said there would be a time "for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now's not that time. And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them."
Cramer said that was similar to Lenin's writings. "Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin," Cramer said. "There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.' Look - in Lenin's book, ‘What Is to Be Done?' is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?' which is we have no place for profits."
**IMPORTANT UPDATE Below/Clarification on transcript**
Apparently, President Barack Obama thought that Jessica Simpson's weight was something he needed to make fun of during his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Sunday. Seriously. Obama called Jessica Simpson a fatty on national TV.
Lauer displayed for the audience the cover of a recent issue of the tabloid entertainment magazine US Weekly that featured the President's wife and daughters and also had an insert photo pushing a story about singer Simpson.
As he viewed the cover, Obama decided to smack the singer down for "in a weight battle."
Long-time CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl interviewed radical MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for the website Wow-o-wow.com and Maddow demonstrated her ultraliberalism by denying Chris Matthews was a liberal (just a "Democrat"), and insisting "If Chris Matthews had an Air America radio show, he’d get torn apart by our listeners...I wouldn’t put Chris and my politics in the same canoe. " While Stahl insisted that MSNBC is trying to be the "un-Fox network," Maddow claimed it’s not really liberal, it’s just trying to "find hit shows."
RACHEL: I do think that Fox is different than other networks. I mean, I think that it is a bit of a political experiment.
LESLEY: But everybody thinks MSNBC is moving in that direction. That that’s exactly what the shift is — where you are — that people there are trying to make you into the un-Fox network, the liberal place to go.
RACHEL: Well, if you think about the way that Fox was founded, though – Fox was founded by Roger Ailes. It was created from his perspective as a political operative. His background was as a Republican activist of the highest order. There’s no equivalent on MSNBC. I think MSNBC is trying to find hit shows.
Once again, inconvenient weather tosses a monkey wrench at enviro-hysteric claims of looming apocalypse, an alleged threat now entering its third decade.
Most recent example: Rachel Maddow's reporting on her MSNBC show Monday night --
Some big global warming news today. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named a special envoy today for climate change. His name is Todd Stern, he was the United States' chief negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol during the Clinton years. Now he will be America's point person at the next round of climate change talks in Copenhagen this December.
And if that's not big enough news on climate change, how about this -- it snowed in Dubai. Yeah, in the United Arab Emirates and it's not the fake, fluffy stuff they make for an indoor ski resort neither. These were big, chunky snowflakes falling on a mountain in the United Arab Emirates for only the second time in recorded history. The occurrence this weekend was so rare that local residents say they do not have a word for snow in their local dialect.
That falls into the rarely overlapping categories of, Wow! Neat!, and Wow! Worrying!
Between Election 2008 and the early moments of the Obama administration, it was assumed a new New Deal was coming complete with massive infrastructure projects. But, now the stimulus package is so full of other things even some of the most unlikely news outlets have noticed.
In an amazing moment of clarity, resembling the end of a Hardy Boys novel after Frank and Joe solved a mystery, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews questioned the meager infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill that passed in the House of Representatives on Jan. 28 by a 244-188 margin, without a single Republican vote during "Hardball" that night.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," fell into the same trap many other journalists have in misunderstanding the term "Dittoheads," to describe fans of Rush Limbaugh as having no minds of their own that, as Matthews claimed, "repeat every word he speaks as gospel." Of course, as Limbaugh himself points out, fans of the radio talk show host are a varied group, that listen to him because he expresses the opinions they already share and/or just because he's entertaining and the term "Dittohead" is merely shorthand for saying you are a fan, not some "mind-numbed robot." However that fact was lost on Matthews who went on to patronize the audience saying Limbaugh acts as "a support group for guys, mainly men," who, "feel underappreciated by their families, by their bosses."
Matthews' slights against Limbaugh and his audience came in several segments devoted to Republican Congressman Phil Gingery coming on the talk show host's program to apologize to him for a criticism he made of him earlier in the week. In one of the segments Matthews threw the following question to Salon's Joan Walsh:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay here's a great philosophical-, Joan you have opened a can of worms here. Why do libertarians and I respect a lot of libertarian philosophy. It's, at least, in ideal terms the Ayn Rand stuff. It's-, I love the idea it's romantic. If everybody could live on themselves, and take care of themselves, if that could work, it doesn't, fine. But why do people who say they're individualists, cowboys, out there all alone, refer to themselves as "Dittoheads?"
On this evening's Hardball, Dick Armey told Joan Walsh:
I'm so damn glad that you could never be my wife, cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day.
The former Republican representative from Texas had been wrangling with Salon editor Walsh over the politics of the stimulus package and the role Rush Limbaugh has been playing, when things got out of hand . . . [H/t reader JF.]
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann branded Rush Limbaugh as the "extreme right," and made an analogy between Barack Obama talking about trying to divide jihadists from Muslim moderates during his inauguration, and the President's current efforts to isolate Limbaugh from other conservatives. Hosting Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter as guest, Olbermann began: "In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he’s trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?"
Inspiring laughter from Olbermann, Alter’s opening act was to take a jab at Limbaugh’s past addiction to Oxycontin in distinguishing him from the Islamic mullahs: "Yes, I do think that`s what [Obama is] doing, although the mullahs don`t send their maid out into the parking lot to score drugs for them, so I`m not sure about the comparison."
If we are to believe Keith Olbermann’s latest wild theory, an innocent, mild mannered furniture salesman and humanitarian from Riyadh may have been inspired to become an al-Qaeda leader because he was falsely imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, courtesy of Olbermann’s favorite target, the Bush administration, who "created [his] reason for hating us."
Even for Keith Olbermann, this takes the cake, and makes you wonder if the rumors are true that the MSNBC host doesn’t really believe half of what he says, but only recites his rants and conspiracy theories for ratings. In light of reports that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Said Ali al-Shihri, who was released in 2007 and has now become an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen believed responsible for a September embassy bombing, Olbermann seemed to seriously suggest that al-Shihri may have been an innocent man when he was first jailed at Gitmo, and then became a terrorist leader as a result of his imprisonment. The Countdown host plugged the story before a commercial break: "But perhaps the real question is: Since we never tried him, never found him guilty, and the Bush administration set him free, what if he wasn’t a terrorist in the first place but we turned him into one by sending him to Gitmo?"
One of the few saving graces from watching "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC? Its unintended amusement value.
Such was the case Friday night when journalist and author Carl Bernstein reined in Maddow during a segment aptly titled, "Talk Me Down."
Before interviewing Bernstein, Maddow enthused about MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann's "extraordinary" interviews with a former National Security Agency analyst turned whistleblower. Follow this link to see the seven-minute segment in its entirety; Maddow makes this assertion at 2:14 into the clip --
Most liberal bloggers want to close Guantanamo, and some even want to make those "poor guys in Gitmo" some baba ghanoush. That aspiring terrorist's chef is the "Phoenix Woman" at Firedoglake, who complained about Rudy Giuliani ("everyone's favorite would-be dictator") on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Rudy's offense was citing the New York Times for reporting on a released Guantanamo detainee who is now deputy al-Qaeda commander in Yemen. But she complained:
Again, no names, facts, figures from the torturemongers. Just scare statements. And a chuckle from Rudy as he contemplates the possible deaths of innocents.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Barack Obama’s inauguration was hardly a triumph of media objectivity, with reporters competing to see who could be the most adoring of the new Messiah-President. As always, the latest edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter has the most obnoxious liberal media quotes from the last two weeks.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the quotes that are contained in the January 26 edition; to see the whole set, you can sign up for the free e-mail newsletter or visit www.MRC.org on Monday (the whole package should be posted by Monday afternoon).
A Day When Even the Seagulls Were Awed
“We know that wind can make a cold day feel colder, but can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer? It seems to be the case because regardless of the final crowd number estimates, never have so many people shivered so long with such joy. From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” — ABC’s Bill Weir on World News, January 20.