Which would be the safer place to be for a political figure who's received death threats?:
a. A school concert in a public venue. b. A press conference in the company of the President-elect of the United States of America.
If you answered 'b,' you're thinking like me and presumably most people. If you answered 'a,' you're A.B. Stoddard. The associate editor of "The Hill" offered up the strange excuse that death threats are preventing Rahm Emanuel from attending press conferences in the course of an MSNBC appearance this afternoon during which she also claimed that "President-elect Obama is taking steps to be as forthcoming and as open and as transparent as he promised he would be."
"I will say that when I started [at MSNBC] in 2003, nobody spoke to me for six months. I was a strange man in a strange land," Joe Scarborough is reported to have told Time magazine.
TVNewser's Steve Krakauer noted today that in an upcoming 10 Questions feature the "Morning Joe" host will share his thoughts about his network, which he sees, "right now" to be "a free marketplace of ideas where everybody's invited and opinions clash."
Scarborough added that "as long as I'm fair, I don't think there's a problem at all." There's no word, however, on if Scarborough thinks fairness is strived at by his colleagues Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
Chris Matthews invited Bill Ayers on Wednesday night's "Hardball," and actually confronted him about his bombing of Capitol Hill during his days as a member of the '60s terrorist group Weather Underground, as the former Capitol Hill police officer emotionally observed: "I was a Capitol policeman at the time, so I was one of the guys that could have been killed obviously at the time you put that, your guys put that bomb in there. So I have a little personal interest. It wasn't just vandalism. To me it was life-threatening to the guys I worked with. And there were some pretty good guys working there."
However Matthews, who paradoxically may not even be alive to conduct this interview today if the Weather Underground's bombs were more devastating, devoted most of the interview tossing softballs Ayers' way, as the two often agreed with each other on Barack Obama and Iraq policy as the "Hardball" host pointed out they only really differed on how to spread their points of view: "Well, Mr. Ayers, with all due respect, you agitate your way, I agitate my way."
Yes -- "perhaps." Hard to believe there are people who harbor doubts about this. Not so shocking to learn they dwell on the left side of the aisle.
Former "Wonkette" blogger Ana Marie Cox, a contributor to Time magazine and The Daily Beast, appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show last night to discuss, among other things, a Los Angeles Times story about Bush cabinet members receiving talking points on accomplishments they can cite from the 43rd president's tumultuous tenure.
Two of the achievements cited are that Bush has "kept the American people safe" since 9/11 and the president's work to curb AIDS in Africa. Maddow and Cox take it from here --
If naiveté were a crime, Jesse Jackson Jr. could be looking at a life sentence. Either that, or Senate candidate 5 wasn't being completely candid in his press conference this afternoon.
Jackson professed shock that Rod Blagojevich—a man who long before this week's arrest had a Katrina-sized cloud over his head—might have been conducting his Senate-seat search in accordance with anything but the most Mother Teresa-worthy standards.
This is just too perfect. Earlier today, noting that none of the network morning shows explicitly identified Rod Blagojevich as a Democrat, I wondered out loud how the MSM would treat a Republican in like circumstances. It's taken less than three hours to get our answer.
Let's preface this by saying that Norm Coleman is not, repeat not, the target of an investigation. To mention him anywhere within a million miles of Blago is unfair. I'm citing the MSNBC coverage just for purposes of illustrating the double standard. At about 11:20 AM ET, here's how Contessa Brewer threw it to Norah O'Donnell.
CONTESSA BREWER: Let's head over to Norah now, live at the politics desk, with more on a potential problem for GOP Senator, and the incumbent here in Minnesota, Norm Coleman. Norah.
Rachel Maddow is on a mission -- to stop what she perceives as egregious revisionism when it comes to the war in Iraq. And if Maddow has to engage in the real thing to indulge her outrage, all while airbrushing away the ominous decade between the Persian Gulf war and 9/11, so be it.
The media's fave lefty mouthpiece of the moment has been in high dudgeon, her indignation initiated by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard describing the so-called "Bush Legacy Project."
On her MSNBC show Dec. 3, Maddow showed a clip of Bush's interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News where Bush said "the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq." Many people "put their reputations on the line" that Saddam Hussein's suspected possession of WMD justified an invasion, Bush said, and "it wasn't just people in my administration." This is "not a do-over," Bush added, but "I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess."
Sure, the sitting Democratic governor of Illinois has been arrested and charged with attempting to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. But enough about that. Jay Leno is starting his show 90 minutes earlier!!
Yes, a bit after 1 PM today, MSNBC actually pre-empted its Blago coverage to go to a news conference at which NBC honchos, with Leno present, announced that the Tonight show host would be moving from 11:30 to 10 PM.
Andrea Mitchell was in the midst of a serious dialogue with Pete Williams, when someone apparently whispered in the NBC justice correspondent's ear . . .
Promise, or threat? John Harwood declares "the New York Times isn't going anywhere." The Times correspondent, who also toils for CNBC, made his unconditional claim on today's Morning Joe in response to Joe Scarborough's envisioning of a future in which major news organizations, including the Times, might disappear. Scarborough was concerned that the public would be deprived of the media's investigative function.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The problem is, though, that these people are all being fired. So what are we going to do without a New York Times or a Washington Post or an NBC News? The investigators that hold government accountable.
That's when Harwood sprang to his employer's defense.
Looks like Chris Matthews is actually disappointed in Barack Obama, but only in the sense that he's worried Obama isn't moving to the left fast enough. Throughout Monday night's "Hardball," after reciting recent appointments like Robert Gates, Jim Jones and yes even Hillary Clinton, Matthews repeatedly asked his guests questions like: "What happened to the victory of change, and I hate to use the phrase, the Left? Who won this election?" and "Why do we have no lefties in this Cabinet?"
Matthews even invited on two "lefties," Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America and David Corn of The Nation, to blast Obama for not going left enough and offered them regular spots on his show to "Keep the guy [Obama] where he ought to be."
A little later in the program, Matthews had on Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg news and Roger Simon of the Politico and fretted about his perception that there weren't enough leftists in the cabinet: "Why no lefties? Why nobody that talks like Barack Obama talked when he got elected?"
The following exchanges occurred on the December 8, edition of "Harball":
Contessa Brewer has suggested that Pres. Bush should be ashamed of his administration's decision to exempt the chemical perchlorate from federal regulation. Speaking with a Republican guest this afternoon, the MNSBC host analogized the decision to Bill Clinton's scandalous last-minute pardons.
Did Brewer ever read the official EPA explanation of its ruling, or had she only looked at articles like this one, "subtly" featuring a huge photo of a baby drinking from its bottle?
Jonathan Alter was an early accuser of new President George W. Bush when he and VP Cheney began to try to warn the country that an economic downturn was well underway as he was taking office. As Bush tried to warn the nation, the media jumped all over him for "talking down the economy." Yet, as we watch the reporting of Obama's current down talking of the economy, the media has said nothing similar to the condemnation reigned upon Bush.
The myth that people like Alter was pushing in 2001 was that Clinton bequeathed a good economy to Bush, but the reality was that the spiral had already begun to fall into negative territory months before Bush took office. Despite that obvious downturn, the media formed a chorus of attacking Bush for being too negative in the face of the American people. On March 26, Alter unleashed his Newsweek piece headlined "Thanks Ever So Much, President Poor-Mouth." Alter called Bush's warnings "risky and unusual," and made the pronouncement that Bush was wrong to do so. "Even if Bush turns out to be right in his predictions of gloom," Alter wrote, "that doesn't mean he was right to make them."
Appearing on Friday's "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather chided President Bush for not doing enough during his lame duck period and argued for moving Inauguration Day up to December 1. And although Rather didn't explain specifically what Bush wasn't doing enough about (The financial crisis? The terrorist incident in India?), he did hyperbolically fret, "But, we're in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we've been in since December 7, 1941 and maybe since the time of the Civil War." (As big a calamity as slavery and the dissolution of the Union?)
Addressing the past practice of inaugurating presidents in March, Rather lobbied "Thank heaven, we now swear them in, new presidents, in January. I'd be in favor of moving it up to December 1st."(The former network anchor didn't explain how he would then deal with situations like the protracted 2000 post-election battle.) [Audio available here.]
With more and more reports coming out that MSNBC's Chris Matthews is actively looking to run for Senate in his home state of Pennsylvania, questions about a conflict of interest have been raised. Can the host fairly cover the Democratic Party when he's actively trying to join its Senate ranks, and even more specifically, how objective can he be when he's interviewing Pennsylvania Democrats like frequent "Hardball" guest Governor Ed Rendell?
Well, if this week is any indication, Matthews is failing that objectivity test as he has yet to mention on "Hardball", the controversy surrounding a, some believe, sexist remark Rendell made about Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano having more time to devote to being Homeland Security Secretary because she has "no life."
Always irreverent, Tucker Carlson seems freer than ever to aim a few jabs at his network and the people that work there. On today's Morning Joe, Tucker landed a one-two punch. With all the talk focusing on Detroit, Carlson let the cat out of the bag that NBC is implementing layoffs of its own. Tucker played off that news, tweaking Chris Matthews along the way, by announcing that he too was planning a Senate run, one in which a bailout of the news networks would be the centerpiece.
Tucker, an unreconstructed libertarian, spoke in opposition to the Detroit bailout. After observing that capitalism without failure is like religion without sin, he made his tongue-in-cheek announcement.
On Thursday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews actually praised Sarah Palin for her ability to draw a crowd and even pegged her as the early frontrunner for the GOP nod in 2012, "Who’s gonna beat her?" However the MSNBC host, later admitted giving Palin that much credit took a lot out of him as he confessed to a guest panelist: "This is really hard to do this, to salute Sarah Palin."
The following exchange occurred during a segment with the Politico's Roger Simon and Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman on the December 4, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: As a student of politics, you guys are too, inevitably the man, in this case the woman, who gives that "Someday we'll win, we'll win this thing back again, even though we lost year," was Goldwater in ‘60, Reagan in ‘76. They all go to the convention, they give that crie de guerre, that call for, you know, call, war cry, and they all do it in the same way. "We're gonna lose this year but some day we're gonna come back." Goldwater came back and got the nomination, Reagan came back and got the nomination. Both from the right wing of the Republican Party. She could do it.
As we saw on Tuesday, when Chris the Contender gleefully reported on another potential Senate challenge, of current Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski by her Governor, Sarah Palin. There was just so much wrong with this segment; it was a rich pageantry of ridiculous bias, rank hypocrisy and Matthews's snarkiness and adolescent boy sexual frustration.
I will let the video (located, with the audio, below the fold) speak for and to the entirety of the patheticness, and write further merely to point out some of the more ludicrous highlights.
"Talk about too big to fail," said managing editor of Time Richard Stengel on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Dec. 4, who was on the program promoting the latest cover story for the magazine entitled, "The Case for Saving Detroit." Stengel:
"I find the fact that so many Americans are unsympathetic to Detroit to be kind of amazing," Stengel said:
We make the case that in fact the, you know, the Big Three have adapted in a lot of ways ... They haven't managed things well, they have too much capacity, but I mean, talk about being too big to fail in a way, right?
The fact is Americans don't understand what collateralized debt obligations are, yet they sort of said, ‘Okay, let's bailout all of these banks and AIG' and yet people feel like, ‘Hmm what about the big car manufacturers?
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann compared Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss’s 2002 campaign against then-Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia to a "turkey-killing machine," as part of a segment with Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson, formerly of Time magazine, in which the duo mocked Sarah Palin’s part in a campaign rally for Chambliss. Olbermann: "What is the more grotesque event to be standing in front of and not paying attention to? What we`re seeing now, she`s standing in front of Saxby Chambliss who ran that campaign against Max Cleland six years ago, or standing in front of a turkey-killing machine?" As she laughed, Carlson responded: "Both are killers." Referring to the presence of the rapper Ludacris in Georgia as he campaigned for Democratic candidate Jim Martin, the pair also made cracks about Palin being "ludicrous" as Olbermann tagged her as "Governor Ludicrous of Alaska," and Carlson called her "Miss Slight Ludicrous."
On Thursday's "Morning Joe," after being told that a critique of his on the auto industry bailout sounded very similar to one made by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, MSNBC political director Chuck Todd told co-host Willie Geist that he dreaded what the people at NewsBusters would say: "By the way, I can't wait 'til our friends at NewsBusters, you know, compare, compare me to Michael Moore. I appreciate that. I appreciate that, Willie."
The exchange occurred after Todd argued that there was a class warfare reason behind the fact that the October financial bailout seemed to have less resistance than the auto industry rescue plan now being considered. He argued, "We are holding the automakers and the UAW to a tougher standard than, it seems to me, that we held the Citibank guys and, it seems to me, that we held everything that's going on with the white collar bailout on Wall Street." [Audio available here]
He later added, "...And maybe it's because we also don't know anybody that works at GM...We don't know those families. But, we do know somebody at JPMorgan Chase." Geist then played a clip of Moore "making almost the same point you're making right now."
Another Hardball, another opportunity for Chris Matthews, his eyes on a Senate run, to ingratiate himself with his party's powers-that-be. No one is more powerful than Barack Obama, of course, and Matthews found numerous ways this evening to praise the president-elect, even lauding, as NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, his dud of an attempt at humor when it came to Bill Richardson's erstwhile beard.
Richardson, too, came in for some Matthews fawning.
"Wow!" That was Chris Matthews' immediate reaction to Barack Obama's response to a question from a Fox News reporter about why his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, shaved off his beard. After playing, on Wednesday's "Hardball", a clip from Obama's press conference introducing Richardson, Matthews expressed awe at the "intellectual" way Obama analyzed Richardson's personal grooming habits.
Matthews made the following observation during the "Sideshow," segment of the December 3 edition of "Hardball":
When it comes to building a quota Cabinet that fulfills liberal demands for “diversity,” Barack Obama is far smoother than the “artless” and “calculating” Clintons were back in 1992, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell argued Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC. In contrast to the Clintons, Obama’s approach is “effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic,” Mitchell enthused.
Talking about the naming of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the new Secretary of Commerce and whether Hispanics would demand other slots in Obama’s Cabinet, Mitchell panned the approach taken by Bill and Hillary sixteen years ago:
They were trying to pick one from column “A” and one from column “B,” and diversity was such an important goal, that there were a number of very, you know, top level Democrats who happened to be white men stashed in hotels in Little Rock waiting and calling reporters like me and saying, ‘Have you heard? Am I getting Transportation? Am I getting Interior? What am I getting,’ you know. But first they had to check off all the other boxes.
Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and gushed that Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the State Department will benefit from the "real wisdom" Bill Clinton has "when it comes to foreign policy." Continuing to fawn over the President-elect's cabinet choices, Bernstein enthused, "And the real thing about this appointment, though, is that Obama is assembling a group of people to unite the country."
The author of the Clinton bio "A Woman in Charge" optimistically added, "He [Obama] wants a political consensus so he can do what other presidents haven't been able to do, which is to move the country in the direction he wants without division down the middle." Bernstein didn't explain how the liberal senator, who's lifetime American Conservative Union score is seven, would "unite the country."
Hey gang, didya hear the news? It's official, according to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC -- we're in a recession!
Maddow could barely contain her mirth on her cable show Monday in conveying word of the National Bureau of Economic Research reporting that the economy officially dropped into recession last December.
Here's how Maddow described it --
It may not seem like news to learn as we did officially today that the United States economy is in recession. For months now things have seemed really quite recession-like, even to the non-economists among us. But the rules of economic progrostication dictate that only a select group of economics gurus can officially declare that a recession is underway. Today that very special group, the National Bureau of Economic Research, made it official -- America, you are in recession. And according to the experts, it started last December. Now for most of us, this is not shocking information. Some folks, however, were a little bit behind the curve on this one.
Admission: Lawrence O'Donnell is emerging as one of my favorite media liberals. On the one hand, almost exactly one year ago, his anti-Mormon rant spurred me to action. But lately, watching him as a frequent MSNBC guest, I've been impressed by his acumen and willingness to call them as he sees them.
Take O'Donnell's intervention on tonight's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where he made the salient point that the scandal of the Marc Rich pardon is, ironically, being held against AG nominee Eric Holder . . . while Hillary Clinton skates.
Note to Chris Matthews: when mocking someone for using a ghostwriter, it's best to avoid doing so on a day when Hillary Clinton is prominently in the news . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews went out of his way to mock Joe The Plumber for his use of a ghostwriter on his just-released book. This on the day Hillary Clinton was in the headlines, having been named Barack Obama's Secretary of State. You know, Hillary Clinton. The woman famous, in writing "It Takes A Village," for failing to credit her . . . ghostwriter.