Ed Schultz would like to be more civil. Really, he would. It's just that those reprehensible Republicans, by failing to agree with him, force poor Ed to advocate things like ripping out Dick Cheney's heart.
That was the Schultz's oft-repeated theme on his MSNBC show this evening.
Time magazine asked a panel of 16 experts to answer the question "Are We Becoming An Uncivil Society?" While Time's selected Republicans and conservatives (including Glenn Beck) stayed civil and didn't point explicit fingers at liberals for trying to smear the Tucson shooting on conservatives, leftist Daily Kos blogger Markos Moulitsas rudely predicted (again) that one side of the aisle, inspired by people like Beck, Sarah Palin, and Sharron Angle were going to get Americans killed:
We have always been an uncivil society. Just ask John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. But being harsh and passionate in one's political discourse isn't the same as walking around with guns intimidating the opposition, or using apocalyptic and Armageddon-style rhetoric to paint your opponents as terrorists and enemies of democracy and freedom. Problem is, we now have a side that is gun-obsessed, whipping people up into a frenzy with lies about Obama taking their guns away and interning conservatives in FEMA concentration camps (to name just two conspiracy theories).
When Sarah Palin tells her followers not to retreat, but to "reload," when Sharron Angle says people should resort to "Second Amendment remedies" if they don't get their way at the ballot box, and when Glenn Beck spreads the latest insane conspiracy theory, well then, it's only a matter of time before people start getting killed.
"Let Me Finish" is the title for Chris Matthews's commentary segment that caps off each episode of "Hardball."
But it would have been an appropriate graphic earlier today when the "Hardball" host wouldn't shut up as colleague Chris Jansing tried to wrap up a segment on her "Jansing & Co." program that previewed the Matthews-hosted "Obama's America" special edition of "Hardball" that airs tonight at 5 and 7 p.m. EST.
No novice to cable television, Matthews knows when an anchor is trying to wrap up a segment before commercial break.
"You're like one of the presenters [at the Golden Globes] last night. You're getting rushed here. You're told to wrap," Matthews observed.
Jansing then joked that she was expecting someone to pull her off set with a hook. That's when Matthews sought to chat some about about the Golden Globes.
"Talk about uncivil behavior," Matthews griped about Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais before he got up to leave the set. Moments later as the camera panned out to a wide shot, Matthews could be seen in the background saluting Jansing, who returned his salute.
Another young product of Columbia J-school, another typical MSMer . . .
Appearing on MSNBC's Daily Rundown today, NBC reporter Domenico Montanaro spoke of "the notorious Lee Atwater."
What made the insult particularly . . . notorious is that it was entirely gratuitous, utterly unrelated to the subject at hand. As you'll see from the video after the jump, Montanaro was reporting on the fact that Reince Priebus is the youngest RNC Chairman since Atwater. Montanaro first refers simply to "Lee Atwater," but then pauses and rephrases as "the notorious Lee Atwater." So Montanaro went out of his way to swipe at the late Atwater, who at the end of his life famously apologized for his tough campaign tactics.
Montanaro's was MSM mean-spiritedness at its worst.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: should both parties sit together during the upcoming State of the Union?
Would this be a marvelous gesture of bipartisanship when the country appears to want it or give the false impression Republicans agree with the President's agenda? Would Democrats have ever agreed to such a thing when George W. Bush was President?
You should have known something like this was going to happen. The vitriol and anger in our nation's sports talk has never been harsher - and we may as well face it: most of it is coming from Chicago Bears Fans.
Washington Post reporter and TV critic Hank Stuever helpfully provided a book-cover blurb for Sean Bugg, editor of the DC gay news magazine Metro Weekly. Bugg's new book is titled Boy Does World: Fifteen Years of Bad Behaviors, Bad Attitudes, and Happy Endings. The January 6 Metro Weekly featured this Stuever blurb, with a hurrah for gay "equality" of respect:
Sean was fearlessly funny in a fearful era clouded by AIDS, and Boy Does World is a wonderful chance to enjoy a retro romp into that past. It’s also an affirming look at some happy endings – the hard-won, worth-fighting-for future of gay equality and domestic bliss.”
But that's not all the blurb Stuever offered. On his website, Bugg uses this Stuever line, too:
It's not shocking that Organizing for America, identifying themselves as a project of the Democratic National Committee, would send an e-mail arguing that Republican attempts to repeal ObamaCare were cynical and pandering to insurance companies. No, what's shocking is that they would lie so shamelessly that "We don't take our cues from special interests or lobbyists, and we never will" and "We don't their take their money either." This would seem like an occasion for the returning Fact Checker feature at The Washington Post. An e-mail sent on January 7 by Yohannes Abraham of OFA insisted the Republicans were turning back the clock:
The motivations here have little to do with good policy. Repeal is just the first agenda item of a new Republican majority that is much more interested in appeasing their right-wing base and looking out for special interests than working together to create jobs and grow the economy.
Although it's been one week since the horrific Tucson shooting that killed six and wounded 13 (including liberal Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) and days since the world has discovered that conservative politicians and talkers cannot be factually blamed, The Washington Post's Saturday "On Faith" page is recycling the attacks. A story by Daniel Burke of the Religion News Service doesn't let reality penetrate the brains of the religious left:
Loughner's political views were unclear. In a video posted on YouTube, the 22-year-old rails against what he sees as government conspiracies to brainwash Americans through grammar, and he rants about currency. Loughner's former philosophy professor described him to Slate magazine as "someone whose brains were scrambled." Although the suspect's intentions are unknown [?], Americans cannot ignore the country's increasing culture of violence, particularly in political discourse, said Rabbi David Saperstein, whose Reform Action Center of Reform Judaism has worked with Giffords.
While a wave of conservatives denounced the flagrant act of socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders sending out a fundraising letter on Tuesday, Cam Edwards at NRANews.com sends along another example. Sarah Brady also sent out a fundraising appeal for the anti-gun rights Brady Campaign on Thursday, complete with the usual photos of the Reagan assassination scene in 1981 where her husband Jim was shot:
Now is the time for tears, and to mourn the loss of life. [And apparently to cash in. Ka-ching!] My heart goes out to Rep. Giffords's family and all the victims of Saturday's shooting. Jim and I know all too well their pain. As Jim said on CNN yesterday, "been there, know that."
Now is also the time to ask "why?". Why do these mass shootings continue to happen?
After Jim was shot I asked that question and the answer was clear — because of our weak gun laws. And they are still too weak.
For going on six days, dishonest media members have blamed prominent conservatives for inciting last Saturday's tragedy in Tucson.
On Wednesday, radio host and attorney Mark Levin threatened to sue anyone - including MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Joe Scarborough - that tried to tie him to that event (YouTube audio follows with transcript and commentary):
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R.-Texas), a former prosecutor and judge and a current member of the House Judiciary Committee, is offering some advice to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who has gained national attention since Saturday for his suggestions that radio and television talk shows were somehow responsible for the shooting attack in Tucson that took the lives of 6 people and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal noticed that President Obama seemed to dismiss the media's Tuscon blame-mongering by inserting the phrase "It did not" outside his prepared text to say hot rhetoric wasn't the cause of violence. He dared to observe Wednesday that, in general, liberal politicians have behaved far more decently than liberal journalists in the aftermath of Saturday's horrific shooting. On Thursday, Taranto offered space to a reader, Don Rubottom, to offer his insights as to why:
As a staunch Republican, and then a state senator in Oklahoma, I was present when Bill Clinton participated in the citywide memorial service at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. His gifts were then on display, and that is the reason for his political gains from that tragedy. Despite accompanying vitriolic noise about talk radio, etc., Clinton showed his amazing gift for connecting with human hearts. He was everyone's president that day, notwithstanding Dick Morris' calculations back at his indecent hotel room.
As you acknowledged today, all successful politicians have at least a capacity to imitate civility and compassion in a way that makes voters willing to believe them to be human. (Hence the practicing fire breathers calling for an end to fire breathing. Hypocrisy is a nod of vice to virtue.) You call it a sense of decency. I consider it a connection to reality.
Our journalist friends, on the other hand--including some on both sides of the political divide--do not require such capacities. They don't need people to vote for them or identify with them, only to notice them. The more hostility they incite, the higher their ratings. They are rarely made accountable to good taste or any standard of decency. (Did Dan Rather err? Not in his eyes!)
Guess MSNBC missed the part of Pres. Obama's Tucson speech decrying the way our politics have become "so sharply polarized" . . .
During today's Morning Joe, MSNBC aired a promo for PBO's impending State of the Union that featured video from previous SOTU speeches. Notably missing were any clips from past Republican presidents. Instead we were treated to a montage of JFK, LBJ, Clinton, Obama and even Jimmy Carter. Think Ronald Reagan, or W just a few months after 9-11, might have said something inspirational in their SOTUs? Not in the mind of MSNBC.