While competing newscasts on ABC and CBS led tonight with the president's stunning admission at a press briefing that he hasn't formulated a strategy to deal with ISIS yet, NBC placed the story in the third slot in the lineup, after a lead-off report regarding the NFL's "tough new policy" on domestic violence and a story by New York-based correspondent Katy Tur about comedian Joan Rivers's hospitalization.
On top of that, Nightly News substitute anchor Lester Holt completely left out both ISIS and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia from his opening-credit tease. By contrast, both ABC's Amy Robach and CBS's Maurice DuBois led off their opening-credit teases by citing the most quotable nugget from today's presidential presser [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video montage below page break]:
In his rush to flame-broil Burger King as an unpatriotic fast-food joint looking to skip out on paying its taxes to Uncle Sam, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews sought to enlist the famously pro-free market, pro-capitalism Wall Street Journal. The only problem is his claim is 100 percent Grade A baloney.
"The Wall Street Journal lead editorial today came out against it.... The lead editorial today, surprisingly, attacked this tax scheme," Matthews insisted to guest David Corn of the leftist Mother Jones magazine. In point of fact, the Journal editorial board slammed not corporate "inversion" schemes but the current U.S. tax code, which it called "the reigning world champion in punishing investment and discouraging job creation." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley.
Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello refreshingly complimented Burger King's planned merger with Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons as a "very smart business move" that will "save the company money." Costello turned to CNN correspondent Christine Romans, who spotlighted how "corporate taxes are lower in Canada than they are in the U.S.," and that "the stock is up because everyone on Wall Street...thinks this is going to lower the tax bill for Burger King."
The anchor also brought on Curtis Dubay of the conservative Heritage Foundation, who underlined that "our tax code makes it uncompetitive around the world. And so, they're doing something to get out from under that burden. They're doing what's right for their shareholders and their owners....What has to be done is the tax code has to be reformed. We have to have corporate tax reform." This prompted Costello to lament that Congress probably won't do anything to reform the tax code: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
One week after MSNBC.com staff writer Zachary Roth hinted that Ferguson, Missouri's April municipal elections are racially discriminatory, MSNBC host Joy Reid took that argument out for a spin on the Thursday, August 21 edition of her eponymous Reid Report program with guests MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor and Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D). Oddly enough, Ms. Reid laid some blame on the "city's strange politics" resulting from the Progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as that generally left-leaning movement created the sort of non-partisan, off-year municipal elections that the St. Louis suburb uses. [LISTEN to MP3 audio clip here; video update forthcoming]
For her part, guest Goldie Taylor churned out the usual MSNBC talking points about voter ID laws and "voter suppression", etc., even though moments earlier Reid pointed out that African-American voter turnout in 2012 in Ferguson had been 54 percent, which suggests that lack of interest in municipal politics -- as compared to presidential politics -- was chiefly to blame for the paltry 6 percent African-American voter turnout in the 2013 city elections in Ferguson. What's more, contrary to Taylor's suggestion, the Show-Me State does NOT require voters to show a photo ID. It's categorized by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures as a "ID requested; photo not required" state. Here's what is required as far as identification goes, according to the Missouric Secretary of State's website:
"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley.
"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]
On Tuesday's This Hour, Michaela Pereira endorsed guest L. Z. Granderson's take on the media's extensive coverage of the ongoing turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown. The liberal commentator pointed out that "this past weekend, we had over 30 people shot – seven of them died – in the neighborhoods in Chicago – many of them black and brown. None of that was covered." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Pereira replied to Granderson by asserting that "because of Ferguson, Chicago is sort of taking a back seat in the headlines. And Chicago's a very concerning thing, and we need to keep watching. We need to keep addressing what's going on there." One wonders if the anchor will criticize her own network, as CNN has only mentioned the violence in the Windy City twice over the past week. Back on the August 13, 2014 edition of The Lead, Jake Tapper cited a recent column by Jesse Jackson:
Move over, War on Women, there's a new war in town. On the August 18 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, contributor Michelle Bernard warned there is a "war on black men" in the United States, as evidence both by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and persistent criticism of President Barack Obama from Republicans.
What's more, Bernard insisted, there would be a "genocide" of young black men unless the problem were seriously addressed to her satisfaction. Suffice it to say, Hardball host Chris Matthews at no point called out Ms. Bernard for her heated rhetoric. [see relevant transcript below the page break; MP3 audio here; video update forthcoming]
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, Dr. Gail Saltz blasted Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow for his jab at Michelle Obama's weight: "To be criticizing people, kind of, willy-nilly is – I don't think meets the Hippocratic Oath." She played up how Dr. Ablow previously hinted that Vice President Biden might have dementia, and claimed that the psychiatrist violated "American psychiatric guidelines, which is not to diagnose someone that you have ever met." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Host Brian Stelter wondered if there's "this urge to be entertaining; to be provocative; to be outrageous." Dr. Saltz asserted that she tries "very hard every day to resist that," and that "any professional wants to express their opinion that has nothing to do with medicine, they have to carefully take off their doctor hat, and make it clear that they're doing so." The CNN guest should take her own advice, as she diagnosed conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as a "bully" in October 2009:
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out for zeroing in on the plight of Catholics in China, as it covered Pope Francis's trip to South Korea. Seth Doane noted the Pope's overflight of the communist country, and pointed out how "that's significant, because the last time a pope wanted to fly through Chinese airspace was in 1989, and Beijing refused the request." The Pope at that time, St. John Paul II, took a vocal stance against the communist regime in his native Poland.
Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today touted the Pope "making history" with his trip, as he is the first pontiff to visit South Korea in 25 years. Both newscasts also hyped the temporary Popemobile – something that CBS This Morning left out of its coverage: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
As pressure grows on Sen. John Walsh (D-Montana) to drop out of his election campaign in light of his plagiarism controversy, the liberal media are largely ignoring the story, despite the fact that "the Senate hangs in the balance" and "any one race can make or break it," Media Research Center president and founder Brent Bozell told the audience of Wednesday's edition of the Fox News Channel program the Kelly File.
By contrast, Bozell noted, in years past, particularly crucial election years, the media have obsessed over scandals in years gone by that plagued Republicans, making them household names in a less-than-flattering manner [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH the full segment by pressing play on the embed below the page break]:
Monday's "Let Me Finish" tirade was no once-off exercise in spitballing for Chris Matthews. The host of MSNBC's Hardball picked up Tuesday night where he left off, his calling on President Obama to sue Congress for "failure to provide services." And, once again, Matthews made a few factual errors, such as suggesting that the Senate had not confirmed Obama's pick for ambassador to the Russian Federation.
This time around he was joined by liberal scribes Joan Walsh of Salon and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post who promptly checked their intellectual honesty at the door and seized on the opportunity as an excuse to bash congressional Republicans for obstructionism. Below the page break you'll find the relevant transcript (emphasis mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."
By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
For Barack Obama's 53rd birthday, Chris Matthews gave the gift of an incredibly stupid idea. In his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for August 4, the MSNBC Hardball host urged the president to "get yourself a bright lawyer" and work up a lawsuit against Congress for "failure to provide services."
Yes, "normally that would strike me or you as absurd, but now that we're in the suing season, it deserves a tad of consideration," Matthews insisted, likening Congress to a DMV clerk who straight up refuses to do his job and grant you your license renewal after you've waited in line forever. You can read the transcript in full below the page break, followed by my analysis (MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program on Saturday, Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."
During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Carol Costello badgered Congressman Matt Salmon on Thursday's CNN Newsroom over Congress choosing to go into recess instead of dealing with issues like illegal immigration: "Congress is again the butt of jokes on late-night TV. Rome burns and lawmakers go on vacation....Why don't you guys just stay in Washington and deal with problems like immigration?"
Costello later hounded the Arizona Republican for the House of Representatives' vote to sue President Obama, and wondered, "Why didn't Republicans vote to impeach the President then?" She also rattled off a list of GOP politicians who had raised the specter of impeachment in the past: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
"As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel," the Associated Press shockingly tweeted Tuesday morning, only revising the headline four hours later, Fox News's Megyn Kelly noted Wednesday night as she introduced Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC) -- the parent organization of NewsBusters.org -- for a segment on liberal media bias in the coverage of Israel's Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. [Listen to MP3 here; video embed follows page break]
"That was pretty surprising to many in the media world," Kelly noted, asking for Bozell's thoughts. "The tweet referred originally to a news article that was as slanted as that," the MRC founder noted, adding, "That news article could have been written by Hamas working for the AP or the AP is doing press releases for Hamas. It's indistinguishable. This makes a mockery of journalism." But alas, anti-Israeli bias is hardly contained to the AP news wire, Bozell noted, recalling how:
ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams left out a key detail from his news brief about his network's upcoming live production of Peter Pan. Williams noted that "Allison Williams will play the role of Peter Pan," but left out that the actress is his first-born child.
During the 37-second news brief, the anchor mentioned that the younger Williams is "currently in the cast of Girls on HBO," and included a detail about his daughter's childhood: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
This afternoon on MSNBC's The Cycle co-host Ari Melber conducted a live interview with liberal Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and libertarian-conservative Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) about their bipartisan Redeem Act proposal -- Redeem standing for Record Expungement Designed to ENhance EMployment.
Unfortunately for viewers, Melber insisted on playing the Lean Forward's favorite hand, flopping out the race card twice: by suggesting Sen. Paul once opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the second by pressing Sen. Booker to accept the left-wing premise that the nation's drug laws were intentionally racist by design [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; video follows page break].
Tuesday's CBS This Morning broke out the kid gloves for Laverne Cox, and zeroed in on how the Orange is the New Black actor is "the first openly-transgendered woman ever nominated for an acting Emmy." Charlie Rose spotlighted how "there are people contacting you saying, my God – thank God for you being there, because they've been struggling with identity. And all of a sudden, you give them hope."
When Norah O'Donnell touted how her guest's Time magazine cover was "second to the Pope, in terms of interest online," Cox underlined the apparent divine plan behind this success, but then asserted that his biological identity was foisted upon him: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Citing the 45th anniversary last week of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Bill Maher on Friday night sneered: “I always hear that the moon landing was the last great thing that America did. I think the last great thing America did was giving health care to 30 million people.”
That prompted a roar of applause from the Los Angeles audience for Maher’s July 25 Real Time show on HBO, and after it died down a bit, Maher insisted: “I find that to be so much more of a significant achievement than landing on the moon.”
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast to notice the criticism of the Obama administration banning U.S. airliners from traveling to Israel. Prominent politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, including Senator Ted Cruz and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have denounced this move by the FAA. Senator Cruz accused the administration of using the "federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel."
Anchor Brian Williams zeroed in on Bloomberg's blunt critique of the travel ban, as he introduced a report from correspondent Richard Engel: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."
Brian Williams glossed over this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The comment came at the beginning of his July 23 interview with Ms. Or live in MSNBC's New York City studios. Video follows the page break and you can listen to the MP3 here. You can read the relevant transcript below the page break.
Monday's CBS Evening News was the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the conviction of Azamat Tazhayakov, who was found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Jurors also convicted Tazhayakov of taking part in a "conspiracy with his off-campus roommate to hide incriminating evidence in the days immediately after the attack," as reported by the Boston Globe on Monday.
Anchor Scott Pelley gave a 19-second news brief to the conviction of the former student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Sunday's Media Buzz, Senator John McCain brushed off Jon Stewart's latest blast at him over the Iraq War. Host Howard Kurtz wondered, "Is Jon Stewart fair to Republicans?" McCain bluntly answered, "No, but it doesn't matter really. He's a comedian." When Kurtz brought up Stewart's "sizable following among young people," the Republican contended that "he's a very entertaining and funny guy, but...when he says things...that are absolutely wrong, he gets away with it."
Earlier in the interview, the Fox News Channel host raised the conservative critique about the liberal media's deferential treatment of President Obama. Kurtz wondered if that was less true since his second inauguration: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Amazingly, Chris Matthews concluded Thursday’s Hardball by playing clips of how President Ronald Reagan reacted the Soviet shootdown of a Korean Air Lines 747 passenger jet in 1983 – even conceding, after a clip of Reagan charging the Soviets with terrorism and a “flagrant lie,” that “he was speaking for the American people.”
Matthews – probably inadvertently – illustrated how Reagan, unlike the current occupant of the White House, understood his role as leader of the free world under threat from evil forces.