What's gotten into the NBC/MSNBC water? Chris Matthews's verbal miscue on this evening's Hardball makes a triple-header of gaffes on the family of networks today. As we've noted, Joe Scarborough kicked off the slip parade, unintentionally dropping an f-bomb on Morning Joe. About an hour later on Today, Meredith Vieira stumbled into asking Matt Lauer a question that invoked the uncomfortable subject of his rocky marital history. And now, discussing Sarah Palin's political future, Matthews committed the same stumble that an unscrupulous staffer claims the vice-presidential candidate made: calling Africa a country. [H/t anonymous reader.]
Matthews made his mistake in the course of posing a question to Larry Persily, a former member of Palin's gubernatorial staff.
Whoops. It's turning into quite the morning for gaffes on the NBC/MSNBC family of networks. As noted here, during the Today opening, Meredith Vieira stumbled onto the sensitive subject of Matt Lauer's marital history. Then, during Morning Joe's 8 AM hour, Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped an f-bomb, provoking a protracted apolog-a-thon. [H/t reader P.C.]
[Warning: video contains unexpurgated F-bomb 20 seconds in].
During a break, Time's Jay Carney had apparently told a story of some politico who had used the f-word. Back on the air, Scarborough had actually been praising the discipline of the Obama team members. It was in describing them as people who, in contrast with the person Carney had mentioned, were careful with their words and deeds, that Joe's internal edit button went on the fritz.
Mike Barnicle, come on up here and accept this morning's Lanny Davis Award for shameless defense of the indefensible. You've earned it. Not merely did the Morning Joe panelist excuse Barack Obama's nasty jab at Nancy Reagan, he actually claimed that we need more of those kind of "jokes" from our presidents.
Joe Scarborough began the discussion by asserting that whereas mayors, governors and other lesser officials can get away with what Obama said about the former First Lady, it is unbecoming in the mouth of a president. The Morning Joe host also suggested that had George W. Bush made a comparable crack about a beloved Dem First Lady, the New York Times would have taken him harshly to task. Leaping to Obama's defense, the former Boston Globe columnist didn't merely don the wetsuit: Barnicle went full bathysphere.
In response to Chris Matthews' claim that his job is to make the Barack Obama presidency a success, the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau chief Doyle McManus suggested the MSNBC host needs to see a neurologist.
Although I agree that Matthews clearly has a fixation that needs attention, I'm not sure it's physiological rather than purely psychological.
Regardless of the cause, the symptom was the source of discussion on Sunday's "Reliable Sources":
The post-election unity was on full display Friday evening when MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell told syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan that the Republican Party celebrates ignorance.
This set off a fiery exchange on the new "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" that included O'Donnell claiming the GOP forbids members to accept the theory of evolution, and Buchanan countering that he would understand if O'Donnell believes he's descended from monkeys.
This truly delicious tête-à-tête is available 4:50 into the video embedded below the fold along with partial transcript (file photo):
Message to Scott McClellan: when your guy's gaffe merits a screaming headline at Drudge [see after the jump] about how he's had to apologize for what he said, he's messed up. Big time. But that didn't stop Pres. Bush's former press secretary—turned Soros-paid scrivener—from going on TV and proclaiming that Obama turned in a flawless performance in his debut presser today as president-elect.
McClellan appeared on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," David Gregory's post-election vehicle taking the place of "Race for the White House." In an odd bit of balance, McClellan, who endorsed Obama, was on with former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart. Mika Brzezinski guest-hosted for Gregory. Lockhart went first, and predictably proclaimed that Obama "made no mistakes" in his press conference today. No prize for candor, but what do you expect? Then it was McClellan's turn, and he went into parrot paradigm [with no offense to the baby red-front macaw I'm bringing home tomorrow].
You might not be thrilled by the election of Barack Obama, but look on the bright side: it's made life a lot easier for Maya Angelou when she hangs out with her European friends. Asked by Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1 PM hour what was going through her mind as the results rolled in, the poet mentioned, among other things:
I realized, almost within the minute, I don't have to apologize for my country when I'm abroad. I can say: "I belong to a great country." And the Europeans who say: aren't you glad to be here in France where we don't have the racism you live under? Aren't you glad you're here in Britain, where we don't have -- I mean, I've been on the defensive so long. This time I can say: "I am an American: look at us, look at what we've just achieved."
ABC's Steve Osunsami wasn't the only black reporter to get emotional and swoon over an Obama victory on Election Night. Ron Allen of NBC and Byron Pitts of CBS also let their pro-Obama feelings loose on election night.
In the 11 pm hour on MSNBC, as anchor David Gregory proclaimed, "We want to keep soaking up the moment from Grant Park," he turned to Allen for his emotional reaction to the win. He said America opened its eyes and its heart and accepted Obama's skills and talents:
I've heard so many people in the African-American community say that they wish that there was a father, a mother, a relative who had lived to see this day. It's something so many people have said.
Sounding like a voice-over on a movie trailer for an upcoming action blockbuster starring Barack Obama, Chris Matthews greeted viewers, on Thursday's "Hardball," with this exclamation: "The excitement begins! Barack Obama makes his first major appointments." Matthews then continued his giddiness, a little later in the show, when he raised up an electoral map, published in the New York Times, that featured a "sea of blue" for Obama and hailed: "This is maybe the best map ever seen!"
The following exchanges occurred on the November 6, "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING SHOW: The excitement begins! Barack Obama makes his first major appointments. Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews, welcome to "Hardball." Leading off tonight, reconstruction. President-Elect Obama -- first time I ever said that -- is moving fast to build his team to rebuild a national consensus for action.
MATTHEWS HOLDING UP MAP: Let me show you a map that's one of the, I know we've shown a lot of maps. And Chuck [Todd] and his colleagues have shown a lot of great maps.
Appearing on MSNBC shortly after 1 p.m. EST with anchor Andrea Mitchell, The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein rebuked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for drawing a legitimate criticism of President-elect Obama's choice of what he described as the "sharp-elbowed" Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief-of-staff (see video embedded at right, transcript is below page break).
Mitchell dismissed as "warfare" and Brownstein hit as "reflexive partisanship" Boehner's rather mild statement:
This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.
Just in time for the new James Bond movie, Chris Matthews has earned himself a new moniker: Odd Job. Matthews says he sees his job as a journalist as doing everything he can to make the Obama presidency a success.
Appearing on "Morning Joe" today, Matthews was reluctant to criticize Rahm Emanuel's kabuki dance over accepting Obama's offer to be chief of staff.
The "Hardball" host (and presumptive candidate for U.S. Senate from PA) was equally unwilling to see the Emanuel episode as evidence of a lack of planning and discipline in the nascent Obama administration. Matthews eventually explained why.[H/t multiple NB readers.]
If Keith Olbermann is going to engage in violent fantasies about Sarah Palin, can't he at least come up with some original material? On tonight's Countdown, Olbermann drooled at the prospect of Palin remaining in national politics, saying:
She might stick around to be the slowest-moving target imaginable for comedians and commentators. It would be like shooting moose from a chopper.
Despicable, yes. But also a "borrowing" of Bidenesque proportions. As we noted here, Bill Maher plumbed those noisesome depths weeks ago, imagining Palin being "shot from a plane" like a wolf.
Olbermann got off his loathsome line in a conversation with Chris Kofinis, a former John Edwards aide.
Today's Unintentional Honesty Award goes to Jonathan Capehart. The Washington Post editorialist, discussing Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night, spoke of the president-elect thanking "his reporters," before catching himself and substituting "supporters."
Joe Scarborough, with an assist from executive producer Chris Licht, called Capehart out on his Freudian slip. The WaPo man proceeded to pat himself on the back as one of those rare MSM members who had not been in the tank for Obama. Right.
At about 2:50 AM EST Wednesday morning, MSNBC went live to NBC News reporter Dawna Friesen in London for world reaction to Barack Obama's election and she triumphantly declared: “It's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win.”
After blurry video of Kenyans dancing and singing a song which “had only two words, 'Obama' and 'miracle,'” Friesen held up the front page of London's left of center The Independent and explained how the newspaper's headline “dubbed” Obama "The history man." She also decided to highlight:
The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy.
It's taken them awhile, but good to see that MSNBC has now seamlessly integrated its own promotional advertising with that of the Obama campaign.
An MSNBC promo that just aired, touting the network's election coverage, concludes: "Watch MSNBC, and experience the power of change." And as you'll see from the screencap, who is at the center of MSNBC's coverage but Keith Olbermann. Oh, and prior to its parting shot, the promo's soundtrack is the voice of JFK, in his famous "ask not" line from the 1961 inaugural address.
An Obama victory could boost conservative talk show hosts according to CNBC's "Squawk Box" this election day. The show was more skeptical over the future of left-wing talk. Always with the rhetorical questions, Joe Kernen got things started:
Who is going to win in terms of the cable wars? ... Are we going to become totally nonpartisan now? Do you think that we will be able to bury all of our divisions and there won't be any incendiary cable shows anymore? Who wins if Obama wins? What happens to Olbermann? What's Olbermann going to do, or Maddow?
Co-host Carl Quintanilla suggested "television feeds on conflict" and co-host Rebecca Quick followed up by adding that syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh "has done better" when there are Democrats in power.
Kernen said that Limbaugh and Fox News Channel and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity both signed new deals and an Obama win would be "great for them."
If the Republicans had a few more spokesmen like Haley Barbour, the political landscape might look a lot different. The Mississippi governor's down-home good humor and razor-sharp wit are a formidable combination. Barbour's killer combo of skills was on display on this evening's Hardball. When Chris Matthews challenged his criticism of Obama's tax credit plan, Barbour good-naturedly backed him down with an impressive disquisition on New Deal history. When he was through, Matthews had to admit that Haley was right.
I'd encourage people to view the video, not only for the entertainment value, but as a case study of how to defeat a member of the liberal media.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and "News Live" on Sunday and Monday repeatedly played clips from Sen. John McCain's appearance on the November 1 edition of "Saturday Night Live" for a combined total of 11 times. One MSNBC host, Alex Witt, on Sunday, even claimed, "We're gonna have a lot of clips of that for ya so you can be smiling through this morning." However, MSNBC did not show even one clip of Ben Affleck's impersonation of "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann from the same broadcast.
Many of the hosts expressed that they thought McCain was funny during his SNL appearance, probably because he was making fun of himself and his campaign. But apparently MSNBC didn't want its viewers laughing and smiling at SNL's imitation of Olbermann which cast him as pompous and as someone who commonly has hypersensitive overreactions. After all, a senior executive at the cable channel has admitted that Olbermann "runs MSNBC."
The Nobel hasn't conferred any classiness on Paul Krugman. Dancing on the GOP's grave this morning in his NYT column, the newly-minted laureate impugns the party of Lincoln as "a haven for racists and reactionaries."
According to Krugman [file photo], tomorrow's election will purge the Republican congressional delegation of some of its more moderate members, leaving it even more "extreme."
The only evidence Krugman adduces in support of his Republican-are-racists slur is that GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia "observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that 'the other folks are voting.'” Where's the racism, given that 90+% of African-Americans are expected to vote for Obama and presumably for Chambliss's Dem opponent?
View video after the jump of Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe ripping Krugman as a "shrill, silly, partisan cartoon-character" who takes his cues from the left-wing kookasphere.
"Saturday Night Live" absolutely skewered MSNBC's Keith Olbermann last night accurately depicting the "Countdown" host as a pompous, dishonest buffoon who regularly takes things completely out of context, or just plain makes things up, in order to lambast Republicans.
Frankly, it was shocking to see an NBC program so aggressively attack a fellow employee, and to watch the excessively liberal actor Ben Affleck, playing the part of Olbermann, participate in the skit.
This must-see video is embedded below the fold with a rough transcript:
Mark Whitaker, head of the NBC News DC bureau, got off today's unintentional laugh line when he described Barack Obama as having "lifted himself up from the streets of Hawaii."
Oh those mean streets of Hawaii. You know, the sort pictured here at the Punahou school that Obama attended from 5-12th grade. While attending Punahou, Obama lived with his grandparents. Readers will recall that grandma Dunham was . . . a vice-president of the Bank of Hawaii.
Yes, the media are rooting for Barack Obama. Two studies out in the past couple of days show that it’s not just conservatives who see a strong tilt by journalists in favor of the Democrats: A nonpartisan media monitoring group and a liberal-leaning research organization both confirm the pro-Obama, anti-McCain bias of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC.
In reports this week, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and the Pew-funded Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found the most balanced campaign coverage was on the Fox News Channel, although PEJ claimed FNC’s balance was actually a right-leaning bias, since it deviated from the “norm” of other big media:
If Team McCain needed some "bulletin-board material"—the kind of outrageous taunt from the opposition a coach will pin up in the locker-room to inspire his troops—they got if from Charlie Cook tonight. So confident is the pollster of an Obama victory, he's proclaimed that if McCain wins, he'll go to work bagging groceries or behind a fast-food counter.
Cook was a guest on this evening's Race for the White House. It was in looking at the Electoral College map with host David Gregory that he made his super-sized pledge.
On Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, New York Times columnist Frank Rich charged that it looks "morally bad" and "idiotic" that Republicans have not elected a black candidate to federal office in six years. The Republican party also seemed to remind Rich of South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy of the past: "The fact is, this isn`t South Africa 25 years ago, this is a major political party that is essentially all white. And the hierarchy of it is definitely white. There hasn`t been a new black Republican elected to federal office, I think, in six years. And so, what does that tell us about the party? And how does that look to voters? I think it looks like it`s the party of the last century. It looks bad. Not only is it morally bad, but politically. I think it`s idiotic because it`s against the whole demographics of this country and where they’re going."
Breaking down the front door of a suspected al-Qaeda stronghold in Fallujah took great courage. But even that fearless feat pales in comparison to the dangerous mission that Willie Geist undertook. The intrepid member of the Morning Joe crew ventured out onto the sidewalks of Manhattan's Upper West Side wearing . . . a McCain-Palin T-shirt, trying to drum up support for the Republican ticket. (h/t readers BondPlainBond and Steve.)
As Willie explained, it was all a good-natured goof. But the West Siders for the most part lived up to their stereotype of, as Willie described it, "a monolithic block of elitists," scorning Geist for his gall.
Last night Chris Matthews' beloved Phillies won the World Series, and perhaps more importantly to Matthews, Bill Clinton "passed the torch," to Barack Obama. Decked out in his Phillies red, the giddy Matthews found the whole thing, well, overwhelming, as he exclaimed over video of Obama with Clinton:
That is a sight for the ages! That, I am overwhelmed by it. It is something to watch! Look at 'em! They are, look at the two winners there together. Bill Clinton said, "He's the future," Barack Obama last night. He, he passed the torch like Kennedy did to him once, figuratively speaking.
It was all a bit too much for former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari, as she couldn't help but make fun of Matthews' excitement, as she sarcastically quipped, "It's bringing tears to my eyes."
The following exchange occurred on the October 30, edition of "Hardball":