Talking to MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough on Thursday's NBC Today about the Ukranian crisis, co-host Matt Lauer saw the Republican Party, not Russia, as President Obama's fiercest adversary: "We're six days into this crisis now, the rhetoric seems to be heating up. Not between Russia and the United States, but between Republicans in Congress and the administration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer pressed Scarborough: "You heard John McCain say it was a massive intelligence failure and a misreading of Vladimir Putin's intentions. Lindsay Graham weighed in, saying, 'What we're seeing in the Ukraine right now is a result of failed policies in Syria and Benghazi.' Do you agree with those assessments?" Scarborough immediately dismissed the GOP criticism: "No, absolutely not....Barack Obama didn't lose Ukraine any more than George W. Bush lost Georgia in 2008, anymore than Ike lost Hungary in 1956."
Ed Schultz's brief rebellion against liberal orthodoxy is over. The MSNBC anchor in February announced his support for the Keystone oil pipeline, telling his audience to "confront reality." Ever since, Schultz has been slowly retreating. On Wednesday, Schultz caved, "Mr. President, say no to this project. I turn this night, on this program. I was wrong." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The host explained his reversal, insisting that "after researching both sides and listening to all the experts and seeing what's out there, I don't think America needs to take this risk." Schultz offered other reasons, such as suggesting that if Fox News anchors support the pipeline, that would "bring me to the conclusion that it's a really bad idea." Perhaps the real reason for the shift grew out of anger the MSNBC star faced from his audience.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough got rather self-righteous on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, chiding Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others who have criticized President Obama’s weak-kneed response to the crisis in Ukraine. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Scarborough asserted his belief that “politics should really end at the water's edge” during international crises like this, proclaiming, “I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that harshly criticizing the commander-in-chief during dangerous international crises, whether it’s with the likes of Saddam Hussein or Vladimir Putin, well, that provides comfort to nation-states who choose to be our enemies.”
MSNBC viewers in February were treated to a rare sight: An anchor disagreeing with the accepted liberal position on an issue. Ed Schultz publicly came out in support of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. On the February 5 program, he lectured progressives to "confront reality" and support construction. Well, that didn't last long. On March 4, Schultz compared Keystone to Vietnam and wondered if it was as "bad." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The host began his program by recounting how protests against the Vietnam war started small and grew to an estimated 500,000 in 1969. Schultz compared, "Is the pipeline that bad?" After noting that only 400 people came out to rally against Keystone, Schultz connected, "I don't know what it's going to take to stop the pipeline and get the message to the President of the United States." With a picture of Vietnam protests behind him, he concluded, "But for reference, this is what we had to do to stop war."
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Monday, MSNBC host Joy Reid repeatedly refused to characterize either Russian president Vladimir Putin or Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as “evil.” During a contentious debate over Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, Hewitt asked his guest point-blank, “Do you agree that what Russia is doing is evil?” [Video embedded below the break.]
You reap what you sow. Most MSNBC hosts have excitedly touted ObamaCare over the past four years, despite warnings that the law would increase costs for businesses. Well, now we are beginning to see the natural consequences of what the health care law is doing to businesses, and at least one MSNBC host is upset by it.
On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt was incensed that Gator’s Dockside, a Florida restaurant chain, has started charging its customers a one percent surcharge to help cover expected ObamaCare-related costs. Witt fumed, “[I]s it even legal to just add on a surcharge like that? I mean, it’s essentially a tax.” [See video below the break.]
Chris Matthews is known for his verbal gaffes, but his political prognosticating doesn’t age well either. As Right Scoop noted, the Hardball anchor eagerly mocked Mitt Romney in 2012 for suggesting that Russia is one of the “world’s worst actors” and “our number one geopolitical foe.” On March 27, 2012, Matthews sneered that this was “Romney's latest misstep, his geopolitical faux pas.”
The anchor proclaimed, “I don’t know what decade this guy is living. It sounds like '72, '52 even. It's not Stalin over there. It's not Khrushchev. It's not Brezhnev. It's [Dmitry] Medvedev.” Regarding the way Medvedev dismissed Romney’s comments, Matthews offered a naive analysis: “I don't know Medvedev. We've got mixed views to these guys. But he seems so sophisticated and witty about his response.”
They love MSNBC at the hard-left magazine The Nation. Their writers – Ari Melber and Melissa Harris-Perry – have become MSNBC “talent.” Still, in an article on "MSNBC And Its Discontents," former Village Voice advertising critic Leslie Savan admitted there that “The daily, hour-long format, often featuring hosts from other MSNBC shows and a familiar rotation of guest pundits can be mind-numbing,” as with other cable-news stations. She wasn't a fan of the Ronan Farrow debut, which she found dull.
But Savan has a confession: she watches MSNBC too much, and she’s amazed a network “can be so unabashedly left-liberal and survive in the corporate media”:
Newly minted journalist Ronan Farrow was given the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Exploration and Journalism this week, but he seemed incapable of basic fact checking while interviewing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. On Friday, Farrow allowed the pro-abortion Richards to get away with this whopper: "We are not a partisan organization. We're just looking to make sure that people in office respect women's health and rights." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In reality, 100 percent of Planned Parenthood's political donations in 2014 have, so far, been to Democrats. In 2010 and 2012, that number was 99 percent. This hardly qualifies as "non-partisan." However, nothing about Farrow's questions could be described as journalistic. After praising the liberal group's effectiveness, Farrow wondered, "Why do you think that is? Why have you think you've been so successful in the past?"
Reading the transcript isn't enough. Roll the video, listen carefully, and at the end you'll catch Ronan Farrow's nervous little laugh as he asks an African-American guest whether, in assessing movie-industry diversity, it "matters" that Steve McQueen, the black director whose film has been nominated for an Oscar, is British.
Such are the PC pitfalls once one wades into the bog of diversity bean-counting. But beyond the specific subject matter, Farrow's teensy twitter suggests, as other critics have noted, as here and here, how green and unsure of himself is the young man MSNBC hopes to make a star. View the video after the jump.
Talking to Democratic Senator Patty Murray during her noontime MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell gloated over Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing a proposed religious freedom law in the state: "Clearly she was responding to some heavy pressure, economic interests, national economic interests, major corporations, the Super Bowl, Major League Baseball. States cannot take these kinds of actions and expect to do it with impunity." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Before making that declaration, Mitchell asserted that the GOP had already been damaged by the nonexistent law: "The vetoing of the anti-gay bill by the Arizona governor. I'm not sure why she waited as long as she did because it's now become an issue for the Republican Party, having dragged it out so many days."
Chris Matthews’ vendetta against Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) continued at a fever-pitched pace Wednesday night. The Hardball host has a long history of attacking Cruz; he once called the Tea Party senator a “Thug” who wants to “Kill” Obama’s “Baby” and compared him to cinematic murderer “Freddy Krueger.”
On February 26, the MSNBC host took his anti-Cruz hatred to a new level, shrieking that “Ted Cruz Secedes From the Union” before asking what if the GOP “becomes a torpedo headed directly for the U.S. Capitol?” [See video below.]
The frothing rage against Arizona's religious liberty legislation continued on Wednesday's Ed Show. Ed Schultz, who on Tuesday insisted that the bill would lead to crazed, gun-toting Arizonians going on shooting rampages, followed up by sneering that this was the "most discriminatory law that I think that we have seen a state body come forward with." (More discriminatory than state slave laws?)
Schultz railed, "The bottom line is, Senate Bill 1062 is a license to discriminate." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Given the anchor's sycophantic love for Barack Obama, it's unsurprising that he somehow related Jan Brewer's famous finger pointing at the President. Angry that the governor hasn't made a decision on the law, he fumed, "It's up to the woman who pointed the finger right in the face, arrogantly. Now we're finding out how arrogant she really is."
Former liberal talk radio host Jim Hightower emerged from his present-day obscurity to spew venom at wealthy oil executives on national television Tuesday night. Hightower appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes to comment on the news that Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to block construction of a 160-foot water tower near his property in Texas. The tower would supply water for, among other purposes, hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.
This was notable to MSNBC because Tillerson, whose company engages in fracking, cited concerns about fracking-related noise and traffic in the lawsuit. So, naturally, the hypocrisy alarm went off in the Lean Forward network’s newsroom. But for Hightower, it wasn’t enough to call Tillerson a hypocrite. He had to go further. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell obtained an exclusive interview with Secretary of State John Kerry that aired live during her MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday February 26 and used the opportunity to ask Kerry about Arizona’s religious freedom vs. gay rights debate surround SB 1062.
Mitchell decided to inject MSNBC’s liberal talking points on the proposed law law and whether or not such a bill would “undercut our moral posture telling Uganda and other countries, Putin for instance, on human rights abuses against people for reasons of their sexuality when one of our states is about to do this unless it’s vetoed by the governor?” [See video below.]
Chuck Todd, NBC News' Chief White House Correspondent, decided to take off his journalist hat to play partisan politics during his appearance on Morning Joe on Wednesday February 26 to comment on in the words of co-host Mika Brzezinski Arizona’s “controversial religious bill.”
During the segment, the entire panel disregarded the religious freedom argument associated with SB 1062 and instead focused on shaming the entire state of Arizona. Rather than look objectively at the law, like an actual journalist should, Todd proclaimed that “Arizona has this horrendous reputation as sort of the state that is just the last to accept social change.” [See video below.]
Yesterday I noted how Washington Post TV columnist Rachel Lubitz made the debut of Ronan Farrow's eponymous afternoon program on MSNBC a "TV Highlight" for the day.
The Post Style section's mission to convince us that we should care about the fair-haired wunderkind -- ermahgerd, he graduated from Yale Law at 21!!!! -- continues apace today with staffer Emily Yahr's mini-bio/timeline, which reads at points like crush-obsessed entries in a diary (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday, MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz smeared Arizonians as gun-crazed maniacs salivating over a license to kill. The Ed Show host attacked legislation designed to protect the religious liberty of the state's business community. Even though the bill [SB 1062] deals with those who, for example, might not want to supply cakes for a gay wedding, Schultz slimed, "This bill gives business owners the legal room to say 'get out of my store, because you got a turban on.' I just don't think it's about the gay and lesbian community."
Liberal Congressman Jim McDermott piled on, comparing, "If you remember back in 2001, we had a Sikh, a man with a turban, beaten almost to death." Schultz connected, "Of course, we know how they love firearms in Arizona. I mean, I think this opens the door for confrontation..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Is Joe Scarborough turning on MSNBC? On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, the host mocked the “total obsession” of “the media on the left” in their coverage of Chris Christie’s bridge scandal since early January.
Naturally, however, he failed to directly call out his own network for being at the forefront of the effort to destroy Christie. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Actor and gay rights activist George Takei is known for his outspokenness when talking about gay marriage. As a result, the former "Star Trek" cast member felt the need to jump into the debate surrounding Arizona’s new religious freedom bill.
Appearing as a guest on The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night, Takei expressed his outrage with the Arizona bill and proclaimed that not only is Arizona’s SB 1062 “not a religious freedom bill at all” he shrieked that “religious freedom is just a cloak for prejudice.” [See video below.]
MSNBC truly doesn’t have much use for dissenting views – even from the Republican contributors who appear on the network to offer a supposedly conservative or (lowercase-L) libertarian perspective. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, GOP strategist Susan Del Percio marched in lockstep with all of the liberals on MSNBC by lashing out at Arizona’s proposed religious freedom bill. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Del Percio appeared as part of the episode’s “Big 3" panel. Liberal contributor Goldie Taylor was the first to comment on the Arizona bill, and she was predictably venomous toward it, believing it was just an excuse for business owners to discriminate against homosexuals. Fill-in host T.J. Holmes then turned to Del Percio and gave her a chance to play up the religious freedom aspect of the bill:
The hosts of MSNBC know what true courage is. In 2012, Chris Hayes admitted that he was "uncomfortable" calling fallen members of the military "heroes." On February 24, 2014, new anchor Ronan Farrow told viewers who a true role model is, liberal actress Lena Dunham. On the very first Ronan Farrow Daily, Farrow introduced a new segment called "Heroes and Zeroes."
He gushed, "Our hero is Lena Dunham, the authentic, gritty auteur behind HBO's Girls, who is a frequently naked champion of all kinds of female beauty." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Apparently, Dunham's heroism stems from brushing off questions about having a Vogue photo shoot retouched. The 26-year-old host found this "classy" and marveled, "Lena is a modern feminist, the kind that is comfortable with her own body but also grateful for a little air brushing..."
Today is quite the busy day on the cable news networks for new debuts. Maria Bartiromo, late of CNBC, made her maiden voyage on her new Opening Bell program on Fox Business Network, and both Ronan Farrow and Joy-Ann Reid launch their eponymous MSNBC programs at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern respectively.
Big friggin deal, you say. I agree, but oddly enough, Washington Post TV columnist Rachel Lubitz found Bartiromo and Farrow's premieres as worthy of noting in her February 24 TV Highlights column, while ignoring Ms. Reid. By contrast, Lubitz found space today to plug the History Channel's latest fascinating foray into non-historical "reality" programming: Cryptid: The Swamp Beast.
MSNBC is slated to undergo a major shakeup in its daytime lineup on Monday February 24, and one of its newest hosts is the network’s own Joy-Ann Reid. The former press aide to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Florida claims that her new show will not be an “hour of why Republicans suck” but given her long history of making disparaging comments towards conservatives it’s hard to take her statement seriously.
So, in honor of Ms. Reid’s most infamous moments as an MSNBC contributor, we have compiled a list of her “greatest” hits so our readers can get a preview of what “The Reid Report” will look like. [See video below.]
In a lengthy item "as told to Joe Hagan" at NYMag.com's The Vulture, actor, commercial pitchman, and brief MSNBC host Alec Baldwin makes it very clear that he is fed up with a lot of things.
There is plenty of material for discussion in his writeup. I want to focus on what he sees as his mistreatment at the hands of MSNBC and the self-described "progressive" community. Unfortunately, after said mistreatment, it's clear that he still doesn't get the difference between legitimate if strident criticism and expressions of over-the-top hatred, as the excerpts which follow will show (bolds are mine):
In an interview with the black website TheRoot, incoming MSNBC host Joy Reid repeated the usual network mantra that “Everyone at MSNBC has a different, unique perspective," and she hopes her new 2pm Eastern show will be a “table-setter for prime time.” Translation: whatever "War on Women" or Bridgegate segment I’m doing at 2 will be repeated at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.....by one "unique perspective" after another.
Reid claimed to lament a political climate that she says has "just become really nasty" and made civilized disagreements few and far between. It's thanks in part to what she calls a "very virulent strain that is sort of in the underbelly of society." It’s racism, or the right wing’s horrid tendency to counter-accuse MSNBC of racism, like the accusation is a weapon:
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on Friday openly plotted strategy with a senior Democratic adviser, complimenting him on successful efforts to convince Americans think that raising the debt ceiling wasn't "running up the credit card." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Mitchell talked to Doug Hattaway, a member of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. She praised, "You were one of the advisors to persuade the Democrats that for this round of the debt ceiling debate they had to re-frame it so that it wasn't the Democrats wanting to spend more money." Mitchell unselfconsciously continued, "As hard as many of us in the media tried to persuade people, this is money that's already been spent, we're just paying the bills."
As much as MSNBC's left-wing prime time hosts portray themselves to be on the side of the workers, none of the anchors have responded to 10,000 petitions delivered to the network on Thursday from NBC writers and producers demanding more workplace rights.
Talking to TVNewser, Writers Guild of America East communications director Jason Gordon pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal channel: "The company can't have it both ways – presenting the strong, progressive voices of the MSNBC hosts while at the same time depriving the [NBCUniversal] Peacock [Productions] employees of their own voices on the job."
What's missing from this list of people Mika Brzezinski blasted on today's Morning Joe for "making a lot of money at the Olympics" while Vladimir Putin's suppression of democracy in the Ukraine unfolds: "the people performing there, the people competing there, the people sponsoring there"?
Did somebody say NBC, Mika's own parent network? Give that guy a gold medal! To whom does Mika think "the people sponsoring there" are paying their millions to promote their products? Has Mika not noticed that regular programming on MSNBC itself has been pre-empted by the Putin Olympics? View the video after the jump.