In the wake of the embassy attacks in Cairo and Benghazi that left four people dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, you would think the White House would be on crisis alert. After all, when members of the American Foreign Service come under threat, with one being assassinated– it is comforting to have a commander-in-chief executing his leadership to make sure the situation is under control. Apparently, that isn’t the case in the Obama White House and, for the most part, the national news media don't seem to mind.
Appearing on Fox News's America Live on Thursday, Daily Beast columnist and Democratic pundit Kirsten Powers ripped the liberal media for expressing more outrage over Mitt Romney's reaction to Tuesday's embassy attacks, than toward the attackers themselves: "I mean, it is just absolutely utterly insane the way that they have elevated this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Powers worried that the blatant bias had "overshadowed any kind of outrage that you would see over the fact that you have Islamic flags being hoisted over American embassies, the fact that an American ambassador is dead."
Continuing to attack Mitt Romney's reaction to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie urged Senator John McCain to admit Romney made a mistake: "Was it correct for Mitt Romney to seize on that political opportunity at a moment when the U.S. Ambassador had been killed?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain stood behind Romney's criticism of the Obama administration's initial response to the attacks and added some of his own: "Look, what this is all about is American weakness and the President's inability to lead....Iraq is dissolving, our relations with Israel are at a tension point. He – I'd like to see the President of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There is an absence of American leadership in the region..."
On her 1 p.m. et MSNBC program on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell interrogated former United Nations Ambassador and Romney advisor Richard Williamson on the Republican presidential candidate's criticism of President Obama's response to attacks in Egypt and Libya: "Does it seem to be injecting politics into a national tragedy?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williamson dismissed Mitchell's question: "Andrea, you're an experienced reporter. You've had the same questions asked about your own reporting from time to time....You're engaging in a process question. The importance is the substance of what's going on in the Middle East, where the U.S. is being compromised and in retreat."
At the top of Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd denounced Mitt Romney for daring to criticize the Obama administration's handling of the attack on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya: "[The Romney campaign] wish they had that press release back, because as the hours unfolded....this statement looks crass and tone deaf in the light of this day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd was referring to the Romney campaign condemning a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that essentially apologized to the Islamist protesters attacking the diplomatic grounds. Todd proclaimed: "Now here's what we don't get. Why the Romney campaign didn't wait until it had all the facts....Now they're actually in a political box, because what can they do? They know that they've made a mistake."
Promoting his fawning profile of President Obama for the October issue of Vanity Fair on Tuesday's NBC Today, contributing editor Michael Lewis described a game of basketball he played with the commander in chief: "...it was actually very revealing...he doesn't let anybody treat him like the president. If you're watching the game, you'd have no idea who – which one is the president...he likes a really challenging environment...it's a relationship among equals." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The gushing from Lewis was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "What did you see about the way he [Obama] handles himself on the court that sheds some light on his personality and how he might handle himself in the job?" Lewis observed: "...he's effective on the court, he's a good basketball player – but he plays a game that seems very risk averse....But then all of a sudden, when there's a risk to take, it's boom. He's got the personality of a sniper."
Eager to get a jump-start on biased coverage of the next presidential race, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell salivated over a possible Hillary Clinton run: "Well, the conventions were barely over before politicians in both parties started talking about likely contenders for 2016, and overshadowing all others is the woman who wasn't even there."
Mitchell sympathetically observed: "Hillary has been waiting a long time for her chance to be president, after losing a bitter primary fight to then-Senator Barack Obama four years ago." Mitchell then proclaimed: "She says she has no plans to run, but if she did, some say she would clear the field."
One the eve of the nation's third-largest school district seeing a massive teacher's strike ABC's World News was strangely silent. Of course, even as other media outlets have covered the story, they've often done a poor job at presenting the public relevant information. For example, as my NewsBusters colleague Scott Whitlock reported today, CBS This Morning was the only broadcast network morning show on Monday to note that Chicago teachers make on average $71,000 a year.
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted an Obama campaign photo-op: "One pizza shop owner in Florida got a little excited when he met President Obama, gave him a bear hug and then lifted him up....By the way, he's a Republican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd announced that Obama had "clearly found a bounce in his campaign step, on display as he visited a Florida sports bar, even making a birther joke....Later the President got a whole new lesson in retail politics, when he got a very enthusiastic welcome from a Florida pizza shop owner."
Appearing as regular panel member on Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, as he recounted former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention, liberal Washington Post columnist Colby King claimed that "the amount of hate that the Republicans have for Barack Obama is just astounding," calling it "raw, visceral hate."
A bit later, after right-leaning panel member Charles Krauthammer offered criticism of Michelle Obama's speech, King lambasted him for not giving the First Lady a pass from substantive analysis and ended up gratuitously suggesting that dying was the only thing President Obama and wife Michelle could do to make the conservative Krauthammer happy. King:
On Friday's NBC Today, less than two hours before another poor jobs report, co-host Matt Lauer touted a bold economic prediction: "Some of the analysts I've been reading have said that no matter who is president over the next four years, the economy will add about 12 million jobs just because of the cycle it's in." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer agreed with the rosy scenario: "...a lot of pent-up demand in autos and pent-up demand in exports. It's not such a bad moment."
Earlier in the discussion, Cramer predicted that the upcoming jobs numbers would be "a little better than expected" from the projection of 135,000 jobs created in August, with "Maybe 10,000 jobs more than that." At the top of the 9 a.m. hour, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall delivered the much more disappointing reality: "[The unemployment rate] now stands at 8.1% for the month of August, down .2% from July, but only because more people gave up looking for work. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month."
Comparing the RNC and DNC conventions on Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough declared a knockout for Democrats: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..." The liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded the statement. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough's boxing reference was to a 1975 fight when Wepner went 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion Ali before losing. On the conventions, he argued that Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden "all hit home runs...all hit it out of the park," while in Tampa, "you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney."
During the midnight hour of MSNBC's Thursday night Democratic National Convention coverage, host Chris Matthews managed to squeeze in another charge of racism against a black President by "right wingers" as he brought up the birther movement and asserted:
During the midnight hour of MSNBC's Thursday night Democratic National Convention coverage, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman -- formerly of Newsweek -- declared that it was "brilliant" for President Obama to suggest that Republicans are being "unpatriotic" in trying to make an issue of the economy's poor performance during his time in office.
On Thursday, the hosts of NBC's Today could barely contain their glee over former President Bill Clinton addressing the Democratic National Convention, with Savannah Guthrie proclaiming: "Life of the party. Former President Bill Clinton delivers a powerful and partisan speech....blasting Republicans, and in the throes of a bad economy, making the case for four more years." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Matt Lauer gushed that President Obama had "a really tough act to follow after what was an enthusiastic and powerful endorsement" from Clinton. In a later report, Meet the Press host David Gregory joined in the Clinton lovefest with his own rave review: "Bill Clinton simply owned the room here, stayed longer than he was supposed to, but nobody seemed to mind....it was an appearance that was the height of political stagecraft."
Gregory excitedly added: "Here was one of the party's biggest heros leveraging his enormous popularity to vouch for President Obama..." And observed that Clinton "was happier than ever in the spotlight."
During the midnight hour of MSNBC coverage of the Democratic National Convention, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman went after what they viewed as "hate" on the Republican side, with Matthews raising the topic by reciting Bill Clinton's contention that he never felt "hate" for his opponents. A bit earlier, Matthews also managed to bring in a reference to Nazi Germany as he admired Clinton because he "belittled" Republicans. Matthews:
As Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein appeared during the midnight hour of Wednesday night's Democratic National Convention coverage on MSNBC, he described former President Bill Clinton as a "missile" for the Obama administration, and argued that high tax rates have not harmed the economy in the past.
But, as he pointed to periods of high growth while marginal tax rates were higher than modern times, he neglected to mention that the existence of more tax shelters often kept effective tax rates from being as high as they might have appeared, whereas many of those tax shelters were removed in the 1980s. He also did not note that the capital gains tax was cut in the mid-1990s during the Clinton presidency after Republicans took control of Congress.
During the Today's Professionals panel segment on Wednesday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall promoted an online petition to get 90-year-old actress Betty White to appear at the Democratic National Convention, noting that the creator of the petition, "is concerned that Clint Eastwood gave elderly people a bad name with what he did" at the Republican convention.
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch declared that "Republicans still have egg on their face from the Clint Eastwood thing" and urged the Democrats not to do it. NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman added: "I would not counter something that didn't go well." Attorney Star Jones rounded out the discussion by calling on Democrats to "Let the stench stay over there," meaning on the Republican side.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention while running down the GOP: "[She] had a hold on the delegates in this hall in a way that no speaker was able to do in Tampa. A stark contrast to the Republicans in the way they structured their convention and with the enthusiasm."
During NBC's live convention coverage Tuesday night, Todd could barely contain his excitement. At one point, he proclaimed that the First Lady "owned this convention...in a way that no speaker owned the floor of the convention in Tampa." Prior to Mrs. Obama's address, Todd applauded "the passion that you see throughout the evening" at the Democratic gathering, and claimed that Republicans "waited for the television cameras to come on" to show similar enthusiasm at their convention.
In a softball interview with Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie recited Democratic attack lines against Mitt Romney perfectly: "You have made a career of railing against Wall Street....Is it your job here, as you understand it, to argue that Mitt Romney is the personification of that Wall Street greed and excess?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Warren gushed about being "delighted" to have prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention and ranted about the middle class getting "hammered," Guthrie again urged her to bash Romney: "Do you think Romney's Wall Street background disqualifies him from caring about the middle class or knowing what to do about the middle class?"
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teased an upcoming interview with Paul Ryan by slamming the Republican vice presidential candidate: "Paul Ryan joins us to talk about where he thinks the presidential race is headed and criticism that he's played fast and loose with the truth." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Beginning the interview with Ryan minutes later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer parroted Guthrie's attack: "There are some people who are claiming that you played a little fast and loose with the truth on certain key elements. And I'm not just talking about Democratic analysts, I'm talking about some independent fact checkers. Would you concede that while many of the things you said were effective, some were not completely accurate?"
Appearing toward the end of Thursday night's MSNBC live coverage of the Republican National Convention, Time magazine's Mark Halperin defended President Barack Obama's infamous "You didn't build that" gaffe, as he portrayed President Obama as attempting to defend himself from false accusations by the GOP.
After host Chris Matthews asserted a bit past 12:35 a.m. that Obama had not really waived work requirements for welfare recipients, Halperin complained:
At about 9:15 p.m. during MSNBC's live coverage of the Republican National Convention, NBC correspondent Ron Mott omitted the word "illegal" as he pressed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on whether her "hardline stance on immigration" had hurt her politically with Hispanic voters.
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Republican National Convention, as Paul Ryan was being discussed, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter -- formerly of Newsweek -- asserted that Congressman Ryan's budget proposals are "cruel." Alter:
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman -- formerly of Newsweek -- complained that Chris Christie's speech was "nasty, and it was mean in tone," as he asserted that the speech failed to explain why Mitt Romney should be elected President. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., Fineman observed:
On Monday's Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan having the positive effect of "energizing" the GOP base, Time magazine's Joe Klein faulted Romney for not taking a "moderate stance" for the general election, asserting that the "Republican base is the problem, not the solution." He began:
If you're a conservative poll watcher on Election Day, you're probably a racist! That's essentially the charge leveled in an August 25 Washington Post-published article by AJ Vicens and Natasha Kahn of the News21 Carnegie-Knight Initiative. Entitled, "True the Vote and other poll watchers motives questioned," Kahn and Vicens opened their article by noting the paranoia of a Milwaukee voter creeped out at the fact that there were three white poll watchers at her mostly-black polling precinct on the recall election day a few months back:
As Jamila Gatlin waited in line at a northside Milwaukee elementary school to cast her ballot June 5 in the proposed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, she noticed three people in the back of the room. They were watching, taking notes. Officially called 'election observers,' they were white. Gatlin, and almost everyone else in line, was black. That’s pretty harassing right there, if you ask me, Gatlin said in the hall outside the gym. Why do we have to be watched while we vote?
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Chuck Todd raised the invoked former President Bush and Hurricane Katrina from seven years ago as potential embarrassments for the Romney campaign as Hurricane Isaac heads toward New Orleans the same week as the Republican National Convention.
During a discussion of the GOP convention being delayed from Monday because of the hurricane, Todd asserted that "the sort of shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention" and also worked in Todd Akin as he observed:
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed the substantial attention the media devoted to Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's claim that forcible rape victims rarely become pregnant as opposed to Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" gaffe, two recent studies by the Media Research Center -- parent organization to NewsBusters -- were cited. Host Jon Scott cited MRC analyst Scott Whitlock's study from Tuesday:
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.