Apparently it's not just the American press corp that has fallen head over heels for Barack Obama. On Wednesday night's "Hardball," NBC News' Martin Fletcher revealed the quote that "went rushing around the media" in Israel was that a Shimon Peres female assistant remarked of Obama, "What a hunk!"
When asked by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, on the July 23 "Hardball," to give his assessment of the media coverage given to Obama in Israel, Fletcher dropped the following nugget:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Martin for a final question there, as Barack Obama leaves the Middle East. What's the general assessment of the people over there, in terms of news coverage? Has he shown himself to be a commander-in-chief, potentially?
Me and Mrs. Jones, we've got a thing going on. We both know that it's wrong, but it's much too strong to let it go now. -- Billy Paul, "Me and Mrs. Jones"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting there's anything untoward between Mika Brzezinski and the Dem presidential candidate. But like the star-crossed couple of the song, the two do share a tragic bond, trapped as they are in an inability to admit they were wrong in opposing the surge.
The depths of Obama's denial emerged during a five-minute segment of his recent interview with Katie Couric. Couric tried repeatedly to pin Obama down on why he says he still would have opposed the surge, even knowing as he does know that it has succeeded. As Couric put it: "People may be scratching their heads and saying, 'Why?'" I'd encourage people to view the exchange, which comes at the five-minute mark of the interview. CBS video and transcript here.
And there on today's Morning Joe was the other half of the duo in denial, Mika Brzezinski. With Joe Scarborough playing the role of Couric-like inquisitor, Mika tried to talk about anything but the way Obama was wrong about the surge.
When a writer for the New York Times questions his own paper, for refusing to publish an editorial by John McCain, and a former Clinton press secretary questions the "balance" of the coverage of Obama’s foreign tour, you know the media has reached a bias tilting point.
On Tuesday night's "Hardball," New York Times political writer John Harwood said of the Times decision to spike a McCain editorial: "I was surprised that they did not take it, especially having just run Barack Obama."
And former Bill Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, called the press coverage of Obama overseas, "extraordinary" and admitted: "It’s legitimate question. Is the press coverage between the two candidates balanced?"
The following segment occurred on the July 22, "Hardball:"
For years Chris Matthews has been proclaiming defeat in Iraq, on an almost nightly basis, on "Hardball" but on Tuesday night he finally admitted the success of the surge that John McCain supported. However, the MSNBC host claimed it would be Barack Obama that would get to enjoy the spoils.
After Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggested, "We're not losing," and pointed out the surge success would make it easier for a troop pullout, Matthews admitted the following:
MATTHEWS: Senator McCain wanted the surge to work, it worked politically and Barack Obama is the beneficiary. Not exactly the right development, politically, for him.
Matthews began the segment by playing a clip of McCain criticizing Obama on the war but then wondered if the Republican presidential nominee, "should take it back?"
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the July 22, "Hardball":
The things people will do for love. Take David Shuster. So eager is the Obama inamorato to cover for his man, he's willing to sacrifice all semblance of reason. Faced with the implacable fact that Obama was wrong in opposing the surge, Shuster has been reduced to claiming that Americans don't care about the surge's success. Shuster made his descent into abject sycophancy on today's Morning Joe. The jumping off point was a clip from an interview of Obama by ABC's Terry Moran [Brent Baker has the full report on the interview here].
TERRY MORAN: If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge?
OBAMA: No, because, keep in mind that-
MORAN: You wouldn't?
OBAMA: Well, no, keep in mind, these kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. You know, hindsight is 20/20. But I think that, what I am absolutely convinced of is that at that time, we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.
After a clip was aired of McCain hammering Obama on his opposition to the surge, Shuster slipped on the flippers and goggles.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used a sloppily worded statement by an 83-year-old decorated veteran, retired Colonel Bud Day, who volunteered for both World War II and the Vietnam War, and who ended up spending 30 months as a POW, a man whom Olbermann called "dangerously deluded" and derided as a "slob" and a "clown," to paint John McCain as agreeing with what the MSNBC host referred to as Day's "racism and religious hatred." After quoting part of a recent statement by Day in which he referred generically to "the Muslims," instead of "Muslim extremists," as wanting either to "kill us" or to force Americans to "kneel," Olbermann suggested that McCain "agrees" that Muslims in general are the enemy. As he tagged Day as "Worst Person in the World," Olbermann slammed McCain: "And you heard him [Day]: John agrees with him. As of tonight, John's campaign has refused to repudiate Day's racism and religious hatred. Maybe John needs to get rid of this clown but fast. Bud ‘The Muslims are Going to Kill Us' Day, today's ‘Worst Person in the World.'" (Transcript follows)
Andrea Mitchell might be a doyenne of the liberal media, but she has her reporter's pride and principles, which have been trampled by the way the Obama campaign has managed the media during the candidate's current trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell let loose on this evening's Hardball, speaking of "fake interviews," and decrying that she was unable to report on pertinent aspects of the trip because the media has been excluded and that the video released is unreliable because it's impossible to know what has been edited out.
Before Mitchell made her displeasure known, Roger Simon of Politico, Chris Matthews's other guest during the segment, depicted the images coming out of the war zone as all Obama could have dreamed of.
ROGER SIMON: The optics are all very good on this trip. I mean, the beginning of this trip is so good, Senator Obama might just want to call off the end and just keep running the videotape.
Just when I thought Obama lovin' was regulated to the political commentators and reporters at MSNBC, I was sadly mistaken. Even entertainment reporters need to show their support! June Sarpong, took some time on her appearance on "Morning Joe" today to gush about Obama's upcoming stops in Europe and talk about America losing its standing with the international community.
Sarpong was on the show to talk about the movie "Dark Night" setting box office records but who cares about movie records when we have Sen. Obama running for office! Since she's British, interviewer Willie Geist couldn't help but ask her how Obama's perceived in the U.K. Her response was a glowing endorsement of the Illinois senator. (Video below page break)
Once again MSNBC president Phil Griffin is claiming that his cable outlet is not liberal on purpose. (I know what you're saying, if you believe that he has a bridge to sell you) In an interview with a TV reviewer for the Kansas City Star, Griffin once again made the claim that the extreme leftward tilt that MSNBC has taken over the last few years was a complete accident and that they aren't "tied to ideology" like Fox News is. Griffin also attacked Fox News saying that, "you can't trust a word they say."
It all started when Aaron Barnhart of the Star asked Griffin for his reaction to statements made by Fox News executive John Moody who said that MSNBC only gained their current market share because of the "messianic ranting" of its anchors, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. This set Griffin off at the outset of the interview.
What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again. -- from"Graffiti," poem by Allen Ginsberg .
Maybe so. But what of the converse? What if someone sued for peace but the enemy didn't go along? That was the gist of General David Petraeus's observation today on the Obama withdrawal plan. Petraeus made his comments in the course of an interview with Andrea Mitchell, in Baghdad. A clip of the interview was aired on this evening's Hardball, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews.
MIKE BARNICLE: Andrea, earlier today, you had an interview with General David Petraeus, and I'd like to play a clip of it when you asked General Petraeus about Obama's 16-month plan, and here was his response to you.
DAVID PETRAEUS: It depends on the conditions; depends on the mission set. It depends on the enemy. The enemy does get a vote and is sometimes an independent variable. Lots of different factors, I think, that would be tied up in that and the dialogue on that, and the amount of risk. Because it eventually comes down to how much risk various options entail. That's the kind of discussion I think that is very important as we do look to the future.
Greta Van Susteren is quickly becoming one of Fox News's most ardent defenders against attacks from the ultra-left.
Writing about Netroots Nation -- the gathering in Austin, Texas, of the most liberal people in America -- Greta bashed her former network CNN as well as MSNBC, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and all those in attendance.
Fasten those seatbelts tightly, for Greta, in a blog posting Friday morning, wasn't taking prisoners (emphasis added, h/t TVNewser, photo courtesy FNC):
In the wake of Barack Obama’s complaints featured in Glamour magazine about Republican attacks on his wife, “MNSBC News Live” host Tamron Hall interviewed the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Dorning on the subject.
After asking Dorning if Democrats have ever attacked Republican spouses, Hall claimed that Cindy McCain has not been a target for the Democrats in this election:
We have not seen the Democrats, uh, during this election cycle attack Cindy McCain. Do you at all believe that that will happen if these attacks from the Republicans continue? Will it be a tit-for-tat that could inevitably make voters feel very uncomfortable?
Dorning went along with the assertion and even brought up criticism of Cindy McCain in the process:
On Cindy McCain, I don’t think people are gonna attack her unless they think it will help the political cause. And the only place I could see something coming up there that would actually be politically effective would be over the whole foreign buyout of Budweiser. Her family owns a lot of stock in Anheuser-Busch and obviously she would benefit from that. But in general it doesn’t quite fit the tone that the Barack Obama campaign wants to establish that they’re supposedly getting beyond attack politics. So I don’t see how that would profit them.
Of course, Cindy McCain has already been the subject of Democratic attacks. As Jake Tapper noted in his Political Punch blog in May, the Democratic National Committee attacked Mrs. McCain for not publicly releasing her tax returns:
On this morning's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, co-host Tiki Barber asked guest Dan Rather about his feelings regarding the recent Jesse Jackson imbroglio -- his "off mike" comments about Barack Obama. In the middle of praising Jackson, Rather referred to Barack Obama as "Osama bin Laden" -- and none of the four "Morning Joe" co-hosts reacted (nor did Rather).
Question: Will the media pick this up? That one of America's longest-serving network news anchors referred to one of the two presidential candidates as the world's most wanted terrorist -- and no one in the room seemed to notice?
While you ponder, here's what the former anchor of the "CBS Evening News" said (h/t to FiveThirtyEight who first noticed this blunder!):
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough slammed the "hacks" at "The Daily Show" on Wednesday for only making fun of Republicans and giving a free pass to Democrats. Discussing a July 15 New York Times piece that described how TV comics and talk show hosts are hesitant to make fun of Barack Obama, Scarborough mocked, "I never want to hear anybody from 'The Daily Show' or any of these other shows ever saying again, 'We speak truth to power.' 'Cause you know what they do? They speak truth to Republicans."
After admitting that Republicans have made many mistakes over the last seven years, the MSNBC host continued to eviscerate the crew at the "The Daily Show" and others: " But, please, don't be subversive, because you're not. Because you're a hack. You're a hack for the Democratic Party and you only tell jokes about one side." New York Times journalist John Harwood, appearing on the program as a guest, attempted to stick up for the comics by justifying, "I don't think they are hacks for the Democratic Party. People write about what's funny to them. And the stuff that's funny to them is, is the stuff that comes out of what they see that they want to make fun of from Republicans."
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked Jesse Helms as a "homophobe," and suggested naming a "gay-bashing organization" after the recently deceased former Republican Senator, as the MSNBC host attacked Senator Elizabeth Dole for her effort to name an AIDS funding bill in honor of Helms. Olbermann, addressing Dole as he made her a nominee for "Worst Person in the World": "Senator, you do realize that Helms opposed AIDS treatment, AIDS research, AIDS prevention. He opposed everything about AIDS except blaming the victims. And not just back in the blind panic days. As late as 2002, he blamed the disease on homosexuality. They should not name an AIDS bill after Jesse Helms. They should name a gay-bashing organization after him."
Olbermann teased his "Worst Person" segment during the show's opening: "‘Worsts' is back. Elizabeth Dole wants to name an AIDS funding bill in memory of Jesse Helms, who believed gay people deserved the disease."
During a plug before a commercial break at 8:45 p.m., the MSNBC host called Helms a "homophobe": "And in ‘Worsts,' the Senator who thinks an AIDS bill should be named after homophobe Jesse Helms."
According to Variety, Chris Wallace, anchor of "Fox News Sunday," differentiated Fox News's coverage of the '08 election and MSNBC's while speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour. From the article:
"I think MSNBC's coverage went so far over the line that it lost all credibility," Wallace told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
Wallace accused MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann of inappropriately mixing anchor and opinion-making duties, and said Fox News drew a distinction between its reporters and opinion-minded hosts.
"There's a reason why Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity won't be anchoring the election night or the conventions," he said during the sesh at the BevHilton hotel.
During the 9:00 a.m. hour of the July 16 "MSNBC News Live," Richard Pompelio, a lawyer with the New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center, appeared as a guest for a segment on a New Jersey appellate court’s recent decision that cities cannot implement their own laws regarding child sex offenders. After asking Pompelio to describe Megan’s Law -- which requires law enforcement personnel to provide information about a child sex offender to the community in which the offender lives -- "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer worried:
The question that always comes up when you have these community hearings where law enforcement gather the neighbors and they say "look, we just wanna let you know that there's a sex offender moving in so that you can keep an eye on your children and stay safe." The neighbors say "why, why is he moving into my neighborhood.?" But they've served their time, they’ve done their, they've done the punishment so don’t they deserve a chance to come out and try to live a good life?
What Brewer must have forgotten is that the inspiration for Megan’s Law was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kankaby Jesse Timmendequas, a twice-convicted sex offender who happened to live across the street from Megan.
How insulated is the MSM? In how much of a liberal cocoon does it exist? For an answer, consider the vile cartoon displayed here. My guess is that the great majority of NewsBusters readers are familiar with it. But John Harwood—of the New York Times and CNBC—has never seen it.
That became clear on today's Morning Joe. The topic was the TV comedy world's double-standard, in which Republicans are regularly skewered but the laff factory suddenly shuts down when it comes to mocking Barack. A New York Times article on the matter was the jumping off point, and Joe Scarborough had a field day ridiculing lefty comedians' hypocrisy in piously claiming to "speak truth to power." The truth, said Scarborough, is that the comedians lay off Obama not because there's nothing funny about him, but because they're "in the tank" for the Dem candidate.
Towards the end of the segment came this stunning exchange:
I have my issues with Pat Buchanan. Anyone who writes a book arguing we should have found a modus vivendi with Hitler isn't necessarily high on my list. Still, when it comes to spot-on analysis of the political scene, Pat is without peer. But when Buchanan—his own opposition to the Iraq war notwithstanding—argued on this evening's Hardball that McCain's support for the surge is a winning issue for him, it drove Chris Matthews into such a frenzy he was reduced to a reality-defying scream that the surge isn't working.
Air America's Mark Green was along for the bumpy ride. An extended clip was rolled of McCain at a town hall in New Mexico saying that he knows how to win wars, that Obama was wrong to oppose the surge, and that he McCain will build on the Iraq experience to lead us to success in Afghanistan.
The day after many in the media jumped to Barack Obama’s defense over the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker magazine, MSNBC News Live host Contessa Brewer brought on comedian and satirist Andy Borowitz to make fun of John McCain’s age.
Brewer introduced the segment by informing viewers that:
When John McCain was born, there wasn’t even FM radio and forget about computers, they weren’t even a blip on the technological horizon.
Later, Brewer played clips of McCain trying to be humorous, including him parodying the Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann” with the lyrics “bomb Iran” and joking that perhaps U.S.-exported cigarettes are shipped to the regime in order to kill Iranians. What followed was an exchange about McCain being too old to properly function as president:
Mika Brzezinski might be an Obama backer, but she really should sit down with Hillary Clinton. The woman who turned $1,000 into $100,000 could clue her in to the workings of the commodities markets. Be it cattle or crude oil, the concept's the same: these are "futures" markets in which prices are set on traders' expectations of what conditions will be some time down the road.
Mika's need for urgent remedial help on the matter became evident during the first minutes of today's Morning Joe. Ostensibly fulfilling her news-reading function, Mika veered from the prepared text to inject her own editorializing to the effect that lifting the offshore drilling ban today wouldn't lower gas prices for ten years.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Time for a look at some of today's top stories. President Bush is calling on congress to lift its ban on offshore oil drilling. On Monday the president ended a long-standing moratorium on the practice, saying new drilling would ease pressure on fuel prices [going off-script to inject her own views] -- in about ten years. Critics argue the production of gas from the offshore --
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews was so upset about the New Yorker's cover, depicting Barack Obama in a turban and Michelle Obama toting an AK-47, because he feared "the right will be using that as t-shirt material within the next couple of weeks."
Matthews, along with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza and the Atlantic Media's Ronald Brownstein also insulted all the non-New Yorker subscribers who didn't get the joke as unsophisticated, or as Lizza put it, "a little slow."
The following exchanges occurred on the July 14 edition of "Hardball:"
On Monday's "MSNBC News Live," journalist Andrea Mitchell and Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart discussed whether Americans are not "sophisticated" enough to understand the attempted satire in the cartoon featured on the cover of the current New Yorker magazine. According to Mitchell, "...The only question there is whether [the cover] is too sophisticated to actually be perceived the way it is intended."
The image in question features Barack Obama in Muslim clothing with a flag burning in the background and is an obvious parody and an example of the liberal contention that conservatives are questioning the patriotism of the Democratic presidential contender. The Post's Capehart suggested that the uneducated voters in Middle America might not comprehend the high minded satire: "...The folks at the New Yorker are very smart, very learned, learned people, but once you get outside of the confines of Manhattan and the Upper West Side, you sort of begin to wonder if anyone-- if there was a conversation around the table about how will this be viewed by people who won't necessarily get the joke."
Look for Mika Brzezinski outside the Danish embassy. True, the Danes had nothing to do with the New Yorker's publication of the Obama cover. But what more time-honored locale to protest an irreverent cartoon of a figure adulated with religious fervor?
Mika has condemned the New Yorker cover as "dangerous." Why dangerous? Mika doesn't quite say. But by darkly musing about unspoken perils that derive from the mocking of Obama, she would apparently place irony about her candidate off limits. Mika sounded the alarm on today's Morning Joe.
MSNBC has recently taken their negativity to a whole new level of fear mongering with a promotional ad peddling their election coverage. The ad features reporter Andrea Mitchell narrating the voiceover:
People really care because our kids are falling behind in school. Because health care is no longer affordable, we’re at war, the American economy is in trouble.
While MSNBC had a bullpen of biased reporters to pitch the promo, Andrea Mitchell was the natural closer.
Appearing as a guest during the 10 a.m. hour of the July 11 “MSNBC News Live,” Chicago Tribune managing editor James Warren compared McCain adviser Phil Gramm’s recent comments on the economy’s health to those of Henry Ford during the Great Depression:
But I think in the annals of a not particularly sensitive remarks this will rank up there with a bunch of things. Somebody, a historian reminded me yesterday, the auto manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford during the Depression said something to the effect that “these really are good times, it’s just that few know it.”
Warren then went on to suggest that Gramm needs to be reminded of the current economy’s impact on average Americans:
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Barnicle accuses Jesse Jackson of "corporate blackmail."
Two veteran members of the Senate, two entirely different treatments from Andrea Mitchell. Reverence for Ted Kennedy; scorn for Strom Thurmond. Guest hosting in Mika Brzezinski's spot on Morning Joe today, Mitchell, emotion in her voice, hailed Kennedy as "valiant" and a "hero." As for Thurmond, Mitchell mocked that he wasn't alive even when he was in the Senate.
The reference to the late South Carolina senator arose in the context of a discussion of the way in which, with the nomination of Barack Obama, the torch of Dem leadership has been passed to a new generation, whereas the same isn't true in John McCain's GOP.
If there's one person in the NBC news stable who combines solid analytical skills with a commitment to fairness, it could be political director Chuck Todd. Evidence thereof comes from no less a certified conservative source than Tom DeLay. Appearing on this evening's Hardball just after Todd had offered his breakdown of the electoral map, DeLay allowed that he "can't dispute" any of Todd's analysis, prompting Chris Matthews to exclaim "that's a development for us here: objective truth for you!"
So what was that Todd analysis that DeLay didn't dispute? There was much to it, but for present purposes let's focus on this: Todd can't see how Obama wins without Pennsylvania, and that having former governor Tom Ridge on the McCain ticket would help deliver the Keystone State. The catch is that Ridge is pro-choice, which in turn poses the question of whether pro-life Republicans would revolt if McCain chose him for the veep slot.
Got to be good looking 'cause he's so hard to see Come together right now Over me—The Beatles, "Come Together" (1969) [YouTube]
Bob Herbert just doesn't get it. As Noel Sheppard has noted, in his NYT column today Herbert accuses Barack Obama of "lurching right when it suits him, and . . . zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash." The NY Times columnist goes on to condemn the candidate for "pandering to evangelicals;" agreeing with Justices Scalia and Thomas on a "barbaric" interpretation of the 8th Amendment; and playing a "dangerous game" with his "shifts and panders."
No, no, no, Bob! That's not what's happening at all. Obama isn't flip-flopping. He's simply fulfilling his pledge to bring us together. What makes Herbert's obtuseness all the more infuriating is that enlightenment was just a stroll down the corridor away, to the office of Gail Collins. Herbert's fellow Times columnist explained what is really going on during her appearance today on Morning Joe.