"Truth is stranger than fiction" is a phrase you often hear tossed around. I'd add a corollary to it: truth can be funnier than fiction, too.
Such was the case on tonight's "Hardball" where host Chris Matthews got so excited with his quest to blame the Bush admin for the Valerie Plame kerfuffle, he actually started drooling about it on the air, going past anything that "Saturday Night Live" actor Darrell Hammond has ever done in parody.
And no, that's not hyperbole. See the screenshot to the right and watch the video here in WMV or in RealPlayer.
NBC's Thursday night comedy "30 Rock" took some good-natured potshots at "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks." (h/t TVNewser.com)
Don't look for ABC's Cokie Roberts to turn up anytime soon on that comfy couch featured in Hillary's announcement video, enjoying one of those cozy "conversations" Clinton claims to want.
Appearing on This Week today, Roberts left little doubt that she views Hillary as a seriously flawed candidate - if not person. Roberts began by damning Hillary with faint praise:
"I think she's got a lot of great attributes: she's a very disciplined candidate, she's very smart, she can raise more money than God, she has a terrific staff, she's been through a presidential campaign or two and knows how rough it is, which is really important as everyone at this table knows. And I think that all works for her."
Roberts than inserted the shiv: "What works against her is that issue of anger. And not just anger, sort of coldness."
Is there any industry that elite liberals in the media don't want to regulate? Perhaps it's a little tongue-in-cheek, but The Washington Post's Robin Givhan opened her fashion column in the January 19 Style section thusly:
"If anyone ever needed evidence of why industries should not be allowed to police themselves, the Council of Fashion Designers of American just provided it."
You know we've progressed as a society when our modern-day Upton Sinclair is a clothing critic concerned about models strutting down the catwalk rather than the slaughterhouses that produce the hamburgers they won't touch with a 10-foot pole.
Jonathan Miles' biweekly column on specialty drinks unearths yet more proof of global warming -- his "hot toddy" arrived cold.
"By proposing to add polar bears to the list of 'threatened' species last month, the Bush administration seemed to finally acknowledge that global warming is taking a toll. With rising sea temperatures shrinking the polar ice cap, 'the polar bears’ habitat,' said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, 'may literally be melting,'' he argues in the Sunday Styles section.
"Closer to home and heart, I’d been worrying about another sort of species that -- at least this season -- seems terribly vulnerable to climate change: the hot toddy. "
Someone at CNN needs to buy a dictionary, or at least visit dictionary.com once in a while. Just a couple of days ago, as MRC’s Scott Whitlock noted, 'American Morning' had a major graphic gaffe, showing a headline asking “Where’s Obama” as the anchors talked about the hunt for the most-wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden, not the Senator from Illinois.
Last night on 'Anderson Cooper 360,' as the anchor introduced a tabloid item on the ongoing spat between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, a giant graphic over Cooper’s shoulder carried the headline “SAME FUED, DIFFERENT YEAR.” If that misspelling of “FEUD” was meant as some kind of an inside joke, Cooper didn’t say a word about it. More likely than not, it was just another embarrassing example of the need for all of the 24-hour cable news networks to slow down just enough to double-check their work.
Time’s Cartoons of the Year for 2006 certainly have a liberal tilt. None of them mock American liberals. Two promote them. The list starts with a Kerry-defending serious cartoon, "I’d rather be insulted by a botched joke than die in a botched war." It ends with Nancy Pelosi arriving in the Capitol to "Clean the House."
Republicans and conservatives are mocked. A joke mocks that Dick Cheney should invite Valerie Plame on a hunting trip, that Dennis Hastert is getting his "just desserts" in Foleygate for pursuing the Clinton sex scandals, and the Verizon guy is on the line with an NSA wiretapper who’s thrown the Constitution in the garbage can. John Wayne seems to be in cardiac arrest in Heaven after learning the plot of "Brokeback Mountain."
Was it just good-natured joshing, or did some MSM elitism creep into Matt Lauer's interview-ending question to Tim Russert on this morning's "Today"?
"What's up for the New Year for you? Same thing as usual: keg of Old Milwaukee and a noise-maker?"
What's this? Condescension to Russert's blue-collar image leavened with a dab of drunken-Irishman humor? The camera crew burst into guffaws, but check the video - was Russert's laugh a bit more strained?
Regret the Error, a blog
corrections has released its annual
list of funniest mistakes, apologies, frauds, hoaxes, and
embarrassments perpetrated by and on the self-styled arbiters of the truth.
Some of my favorites:
Reuters, the news agency that brought you the fraudulent
Adnan Hajj, also makes real mistakes. In an Oct. 25 story about bees,
it mistakenly said that Queen Elizabeth has "10 times the life
expectancy of workers and lays 2,000 eggs a day."
In the dubious sources category: "Don Spille -- A man who
told the Tallahassee Democrat that he lost
everything in Katrina – including his father. Ed Spille Sr.,
father, later contacted the newspaper to disagree. 'I might be dead to
him,' he said. 'At 80 years old, I’m dead to a lot of
student newspaper at Purdue University had a real scoop about Supreme
Court justice Samuel Alito during his nomination process: "His motive
for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains
unclear," the paper asserted in a caption of Alito being sworn in at a hearing.
A night after the media were full of reports about how Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had “snubbed” President Bush by deciding to not join a meeting with Jordan's King, Maliki snubbed CBS anchor Katie Couric who, nonetheless, teased “my interview with Iraq's leader” -- a session which she conducted by hastily sitting on a coffee table and which consumed barely 30 seconds of her newscast. Viewers heard two answers from Maliki, but just one question from Couric, a question the CBS Evening News played both in the up top tease and later in Couric's brief re-cap of her time with Maliki in Amman: “How frustrating has it been for you, Mr. Prime Minister, to not have greater authority sooner?"
Despite the brevity of the exchange, and how it was conducted with Couric sitting on the corner of a coffee table to face Maliki who sat on a sofa, Couric touted how “he sat down for a rare interview just after his meeting with the President.” Without irony, she noted how Maliki had “a lightning-fast summit” with President Bush.
Video clip, which best conveys the hurried nature of the encounter and how Maliki jumped up at the end (1:09): Real (2 MB) or Windows Media (2.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (400 KB)
In an editorial entitled "The Republicans Really Won," which is posted on the CBS website, contributor Lloyd Garver claims, among other things, that the midterm election results are a ploy by the Republicans to solidify long term power, and that the reemergence of veterans of the Bush 41 administration, James Baker and Robert Gates, are part of a plan to elect Bush 41 to a second term in 2008. Garver leads his piece:
Democrats stop celebrating, and Republicans, don't despair. I know the Democrats won the recent election on paper, but in the long run the Republicans just might be the big winners of Election 2006.
In fact, I think the Republicans set the whole thing up so the Democrats could fail over the next two years, which will bring about a big Republican presidential win in 2008.
What other explanation is there? I mean, do you think that Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican brain trust suddenly got stupid? I don't think so.
Once gain, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann seems entertained by the thought of conservatives being shot. Less than five months after depicting the image of Rush Limbaugh as the target of gunfire during his Countdown show, on Wednesday's show Olbermann included a joke about shooting Dick Cheney during the regular "Top Three Sound Bites" segment of the show. One of the featured clips was from the Tuesday November 14 Daily Show with Jon Stewart in which Stewart asked his guest, former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, whom he would have "accidentally shot in the face" if he had been elected Vice President, to which Edwards responded "Dick Cheney." Notably, just one night earlier, Olbermann had spent an entire segment discussing whether conservative commentators had inspired a man to mail fake Anthrax letters to public figures, and to make other threats, a la King Henry's declaration "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest," referring to Archbishop Thomas Becket. (Transcript follows)
As the media crow about Democrats taking the reins of power on Capitol Hill, if you need a giggle, it's worth a rewind to the "Saturday Night Live" satire of MSNBC's "Hardball" on the October 28 show -- the same one with the fake Halloween GOP ads with Witchy Hillary and Count Obama. Chris Matthews (played as usual by Darrell Hammond) and Howard Dean (played by Jason Sudeikis) are expressing amazement at how pro-Democrat the polls are turning out:
Matthews: “Alright, I assume you've seen the latest poll, which has your party with an astonishing 55-point lead over the Republicans.”
Dean: “Life is good, Chris.”
Matthews: “But what amazes me is the internal numbers. I mean, the public now favors the Democrats in every issue. Even national defense.”
Dean: “I know, Chris. It's crazy. We can't be trusted on national defense.”
It seems we were misled by Dan Rather about playing it "straight" on The Daily Show on Election Night. He made a brief appearance to draw laughs by spouting a few canned "Ratherisms," in case anyone missed the biennial tradition of the disgraced CBS anchor’s homespun Texas phrases. (By the way, we coined the term "Ratherisms" in Notable Quotables back in 1992, and were recounting the election-night expressions back in NQ’s first year, 1988.) On Tuesday, Rather gave a bland analysis of the state of play, allowing Stewart to set up the gag:
Stewart: "We sort of brought you in here to, you know, give us a little bit more of that Dan Rather. You know what I am saying? A little bit more of that home-spun kind of... ?
Rather, faking confusion: "How so?"
Stewart: How about Hillary Clinton? We knew she would win in a landslide. How would you, Dan Rather, describe the largeness of her victory?
Rather: It was a healthy margin. [Stewart mugs and urges the Ratherism.] How about...She ran away with it like a hobo with a sweet potato pie?" [Wild applause, cheers.]
A new book has hit the stands that has been a "filler" topic for many talk radio programs this week. Called 101 most influential people who never lived, the book is penned by three authors who rate fictional characters of literature and film who they feel had the greatest influence on society.
The book is being treated as light, amusing reading, with USA Today quoting author Lazar as saying, "The point of the book is to entertain". Most radio interviews I have heard have treated it as a "fun" topic.
But, a recent interview of one of the authors, Dr. Alan Lazar, was aired on Nick Digilio's WLS, Chicago radio program that was quite revealing of the "real purpose" of this book, however.
Rahm Emanuel missed his calling in life. Rather than heading the Dem congressional campaign committee, he should have become a professional in the sport of freediving - holding your breath and diving without any breathing apparatus. Judging by his performance on today's Good Morning America, there's no doubt Rahm would have been a world champion.
In the closely-controlled world of the first half-hour [really 22 minutes] of the morning news shows, hosts keep a tight rein on their guests. Even notorious gabbers like Joe Biden are lucky to get in 15 seconds in before being cut short. Katie Couric, for all her liberal leanings, was a master of the technique.
When NBC military affairs correspondent Jim Miklaszewski posed an ill-founded question to Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon press briefing today, the Secretary of Defense responded in, shall we say, animated fashion, leaving very little doubt as to where he stood on the matter.
The Mik apparently asserted that every time a security benchmark has been laid down, the Iraqis have failed to meet it.
You can view the Defense Secretary's muscular response - cataloguing Miklaszewski's myriad mistakes - here.
To: On-Air Personalities From: NBC News Management Subject: Watch your language!
With less than two weeks left before the election, naturally we're all excited at the prospect, after 12 long years in the wilderness, that we will finally be winning back the majority in one or perhaps even both houses of Congress.
With victory this close at hand, it's important that none of us provide any fodder for Republicans - or those annoying right-wing media critics - to claim that we are, well, doing what we're doing - rooting for a Democratic win.
There's nothing the MSM loves more than a renegade Republican. The GOP maverick-of-the-MSM-week is David Kuo. He is the former #2 man in the Bush administration's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, and has written a book, Tempting Faith, claiming that the operation was a cynical attempt to woo faith-based voters whom top aides including Karl Rove looked at contemptuously.
Chris Matthews predictably had Kuo on this afternoon's Hardball. At one point, Matthews asked whether President Bush has "used faith to get votes" and then "how about the issues like stem cell - do you think he's using them politically?"
"I think you're conflagrating a couple of different things here."
As a guest on Friday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory, to illustrate how he's observed that during press conferences President George W. Bush “particularly likes to kind of pop your bubble or tweak you a little bit,” impersonated Bush as he recalled the President's reaction to him -- “as if I'd committed a war crime” -- switching to French to pose a question to French President Chirac. At the Sunday, May 26, 2002 joint press conference in Paris, Gregory had asked Chirac to also respond to the question he had just posed to Bush about why “there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you” and why “there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world?” Chuckling, Bush quipped: “That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!” On the Tonight Show, interspersing his best impression of Bush -- which was pretty good -- Gregory spent about two minutes describing the event and how Bush, to the bafflement of Chirac and others, kidded him about it long afterward. (Video link follows to the 2002 exchange)
I'd like to thank Keith Olbermann of MSNBC for putting himself on my radar last week by naming the NewsBusters staff, and me personally, "Worst Persons in the World", a signal honor, usually reserved for the likes of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh (and by the way, where's my trophy?).
Anyway, now that I'm aware of Mr. Olbermann and his little cable show, I found this quote of his in the Denver Post rather puzzling [emphasis added]:
"As a critic of the administration, I will be damned if you can get away with calling me the equivalent of a Nazi appeaser," Olbermann told The Associated Press. "No one has the right to say that about any free-speaking American in this country."
Have a look at this screen capture from the opening of this morning's 'Today': Barbra Streisand says "SEND IN THE #$&!! CLOWNS"
Since 'Today' only offered a tease at the top of the show, it was hard to know just what Babs had been up to. Was she cursing out a fan or, perhaps, calling for a takeover of power by her team of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Conyers, Henry Waxman et al.?
Turns out the correct answer was 'A' - cursing a fan. According to this New York Post article, VULGAR BABS RIPS BUSH - AND FAN - AT MSG:
In Tuesday's Washington Post, Peter Marks praises "Get Your War On," a left-wing comedy performance at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Unsurprisingly, the critic from the liberal paper finds invective is a lovely thing, if applied to conservatives:
Gary Trudeau, creator of the 'Doonesbury' comic strip, says cartoonists should draw the line when it comes to offending people. In an interview published in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Q. What did you make of the Danish cartoon mess? I understand that you said you would never play with the image of Allah. But did you feel you should have done so out of a sense of professional solidarity, or to make a statement about freedom of speech?
A. What exactly would that statement be? That we can say whatever we want in the West? Everyone already knows that. So then the question becomes, should we say whatever we want? That, to me, is the crux. Do you hurt people just because you can? Because you feel they shouldn’t be deeply hurt, does that mean they aren’t? Should the New York Times run vicious caricatures of blacks and Jews just to show the First Amendment in action? At some point, common sense and sensitivity have to be brought to bear.
On a relatively slow news Sunday, perusing Google News in search of some morsel of MSM bias with which whip up NewsBusters readers, I came across these two stories, the first from CTV.ca, the second from the Hindustan Times:
"Jadakiss arrested for alleged weapon possession"
"Chikungunya visits Kerala after 30 years"
Both headlines left me baffled. Who is Jadakiss? UN diplomat? Star striker for Manchester United? Second cousin to Gene Simmons? Congressional staffer angry he didn't get an IM from Mark Foley?
And who or what is Chikungaya, and why is he/it visiting Kerala? For that matter, is Kerala a person or a place?
In Foley Case Upsets Tough Balance by Capitol Hill’s Gay Republicans, the New York Times describes the plight of gay Republican staffers in DC. According to the Times, things are so tough for them that a group gets together every week to "commiserate." The longish article makes an interesting read, but I was particularly struck by these two items. First, the article's author, Mark Leibovich, writes:
"Even though the G.O.P. fashions itself as 'the party of Lincoln' and a promoter of tolerance, it is perceived as hostile by many gay men and lesbians."
Today we're unveiling a new occasional feature, a contest for readers of NewsBusters.
Since Rosie O'Donnell has joined the ABC-syndicated show "The View," tensions have risen pretty dramatically on the set between the co-hosts. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the lone right-of-center host has reportedly brought to tears repeatedly. The rest of the show's staff is also upset.
Your task: Predict who will be the first to leave the show and when. The person closest to the date will become the winner of your very own Rosie O'Donnell doll, voodoo pins not included, and any conservative book of your choosing. (Entries must be posted as comments on NewsBusters before the end of the day Wed., Oct.
Call him a shooting star. Like a meteor lighting a brilliant-but-too-brief trail across the night sky, Tucker Carlson is gone in a blaze of glory from Dancing With The Stars.
The end came shockingly fast, as viewers across the country voted by phone and decided Tucker was the celebrity they could most easily bear not to see again. And thus it was that on Wednesday, Carlson was the first to be voted off the dancing island. All of which is a shame, nay, a national tragedy when you consider that . . . we won't be seeing Tucker's lovely partner Elena Grinenko again any time soon.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's comic creation Borat Sagdiyev has caused so much outrage in Kazakhstan with his new movie, President George W. Bush will address the issue when he meets the Kazakh leader.
Bush is set to hold talks with Nursultan Nazarbayev over oil supply--and disgusted Kazakhs have demanded action over Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Roman Vassilenko says, "We have made it clear that we are unhappy with the character's representation. He does not represent the true people of Kazakhstan."