During a July 18th segment on the science behind stem cell research with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, American Morning substitute host Carol Costello displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of basic reproductive science. Costello was questioning Cohen on what federal funding for stem cell research would mean for those who had frozen embryos. Cohen explained that scientists with federal grants would seek out these embryos, and it would be up to individuals to decide whether or not to make a donation. Costello showed her confusion on the topic with this question:
Cohen: "These are four-day old embryos. We’re talking about very tiny, tiny embryos."
Costello: "And they’re not fertilized either, right?"
Cohen, forced to correct Costello, gave her a quick explanation of how an embryo is formed:
Was it Robert Novak who jolted aficionados of the vendetta-against-Joe-Wilson conspiracy theory, or was the message coming from . . . a Higher Authority? You be the judge, after having a look at the screen capture from this evening's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC. Yes, that's a lightning bolt. No, it wasn't photo-shopped - it's the real thing.
The bolt hit while the panel was discussing the electrifying implications of Brit Hume's just-aired interview of Bob Novak. Hume questioned Novak about his disclosure of Valerie Plame's employment by the CIA. Novak had revealed Plame's employment in the course of reporting that she had recommended that her husband - Ambassador Joe Wilson - be sent to Niger to look into reports that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to acquire uranium for purposes of constructing nuclear weapons.
A Republican senator who makes a remark with insensitive racial connotations? Toast. Ask Trent Lott. A Democrat? Hey, no problem! Then again, woe betide the Republican senator who offers an awkward description of the workings of the internet. It will 'haunt' him.
That's the world according to Wonkette-turned-Time columnist Ana Marie Cox, who appeared on last evening's Scarborough Country. For those who might have missed the Biden flap, on a recent campaign swing to New Hampshire, Biden told an Indian political activist: “You cannot go into a Dunkin Donuts or a 7-Eleven unless you have a slight Indian accent.”
Ouch! Norah O'Donnell knows how to get a guy where it hurts. And Kim Jong Il might be feeling 'ronrier' than ever.
On this evening's Hardball, Norah, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews, discussed the failed North Korean missile tests with three separate panels. In each case, she used the same Freudian-fraught metaphor for failure:
To her first panel, composed of congressmen Dan Burton [R-IN] and Bill Pascrell [D-NJ], Norah noted:
"We saw the Taepodong missile essentially exploded and went limp into the sea of Japan after 45 seconds."
Next, with guests Michael Scheuer and Tyler Drumheller - both former CIA officials - she mentioned:
If the mark of a person at ease with himself is the ability to have a chuckle at his own expense, then Rush Limbaugh is a supremely serene man. In the wake of the incident in which he was detained at the Palm Beach International Airport when it was discovered he had in his luggage a vial of Viagra with a prescription not in his name, you might have imagined that Rush would have begun today's show with an indignant denial of wrongdoing. He might have explained in tedious detail that in fact the prescription had, with personal privacy in mind, been written in his doctor's name.
But no. Rush opened by poking gentle fun at the situation, and even, in the process, at himself:
The primary goal of the Daily Show is, of course, to entertain, but it's safe to say that Jon Stewart and company also would like to push (or is it pull?) American politics to the left.
A new study, however, indicates that the program may in that sense be at odds with itself. Specifically, it suggests that the mocking, condescending tone of the Daily Show may result in diminished voter turnout among its viewers -- almost all of whom, as you probably assumed, are non-conservatives.
Richard Morin, in today's Washington Post, reports:
Two political scientists [have] found that young people who watch Stewart's faux news program...develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.
Rachel Sklar, formerly of Mediabistro's FishbowlNY blog and now the "Eat the Press" specialist at the Huffington Post (no "Green Acres" accents required), reports on what she calls a "cheap but hilarious" shot at congressional Republicans on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." It's apparently funny to blame Republican softball players for the floods in New Orleans, as fake-reporter Dan Bakkedahl put it:
The Daily Show's Dan Bakkedahl reported last night on the crisis gripping Congressional-league softball in D.C. this season after the Republican players split off into their own league in response to more inclusive regulations proposed by Democrats. According to the Wall Street Journal (and The Daily Show), the Republicans "seceded" from the league after the Democratic commissioner, Gary Caruso, permitted below-average teams to compete in the playoffs. The WSJ and Daily Show cited several emails accusing the league of being "all about Softball Welfare" and accusing Caruso of "punishing success and rewarding failure - He's a Democrat. Waddya' expect?"
It's not especially newsworthy that Connie Chung and Maury Povich's Saturday program on MSNBC, which debuted in January, has been canceled. Perhaps no more newsworthy, but definitely more amusing, is that on the show's final episode this past weekend, Chung, as she danced on top of and around a piano, bade her audience farewell in song, to the tune of "Thanks for the Memories." (Hat tips: Drudge and NRO's The Corner.)
To be fair, Chung sings better than Elaine Benes danced. That said, watch this and you'll appreciate Bob Hope (not to mention Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys) more than you ever did before. (Monday's New York Post printed some of her lyrics.)
Writing at NewsMax, Steve Malzberg talks about how the liberal press holds Ann Coulter to a much higher standard than it does for left-wing humorists.
You have to admire the brazen
hypocrisy being exhibited by the liberal media when it comes to the
treatment that Ann Coulter has been receiving from them.
She has been so vilified that at least one liberal columnist has
reportedly suggested she'd be better off dead. He actually asked her,
"Would it kill you to do us all a favor and kill yourself?" But that
columnist, Simon Dumenco of Ad Age, gets away unscathed – as do the
rest of those who have directed vile, outrageous and shameful remarks
in the direction of Coulter and others on the right.
In Thursday's Washington Post, political writer Libby Copeland highlights Lloyd Bentsen's 1988 debate insult of Dan Quayle in an article headlined "The World's Snappiest Comebacks." She reveled in its perfection:
If one will be remembered for a single remark, as the recently departed Lloyd Bentsen is, let it be for the perfect put-down. Most of us never get to experience the joy of excoriating an opponent with a dead-on, devastating riposte. We always think of it too late.
When Bentsen told a baby-faced Dan Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," he was following in the tradition of expert quipsters Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker and Winston Churchill, whose lines are still remembered. Perfect put-downs transcend their settings.
Remember the scene in "The Naked Gun" when Leslie Neilsen (as incompetent cop Frank Drebbin) is working undercover at a baseball game as opera singer "Enrico Palazzo," and botches the National Anthem on live TV?
The scene shifts then to the real Palazzo, bound and gagged in a locker room with a TV, writhing in anger and despair as he watches Drebbin butcher the anthem under Palazzo’s name.
It wasn’t quite that dire, but as Biased BBC reports, the BBC’s 24-hour news channel made a similar faux pas a few days ago.
"BBC News 24 cocked things up big time last Monday when they interviewed respected technology commentator Guy Kewney on the outcome of the Apple Computer vs. Apple Music case. Except, rather than place Mr. Kewney in front of lightweight Karen Bowerman, they chose his taxi driver for her to interview instead. Bowerman proceeded to interview the taxi driver, whose Frank Spencer style expressions, when he realises their mistake, are priceless!"
It must have been a dream come true for the folks at NBC, as well as all those associated with the long-time comedy variety show “Saturday Night Live.” Last night, NBC welcomed former vice president Al Gore to open the show posing as America’s president addressing the American people five years after having "overwhelmingly" won in 2000 (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). In reality, despite the obvious left-leaning bias, this was a good piece of comedy, with Gore doing a very fine job. Some of the highlights:
“In the last 6 years we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack.”
“Right now, in the 2nd week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gasoline. Gas is down to $0.19 a gallon and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash. I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies because - hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us.”
“On a positive note, we worked hard to save Welfare, fix Social Security and of course provide the free universal health care we all enjoy today. But all this came at a high cost. As I speak, the gigantic national budget surplus is down to a perilously low $11 trillion dollars.”
“There are some of you that want to spend our money on some made-up war. To you I say: what part of ‘lockbox’ don't you understand?”
“There have been some setbacks. Unfortunately, the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Michael Moore was bitter and divisive. However, I could not be more proud of how the House and Senate pulled together to confirm the nomination of Chief Justice George Clooney.”
What follows is a full transcript of this sketch courtesy of Crooks and Liars, and a video link courtesy of Expose the Left.
It's that time of the week again and since Wednesday was Scott McClellan's last day on the job, we figured we'd use this photo for the weekend captionfest. Original AP wording: "Press Secretary Scott McClellan passes out brownies to members of the press during the flight back to Washington on Air Force One, Wednesday, May 10."
I know this is a long shot, but it's worth a try. This month I attained
my B.S. degreee in journalism with a minor in marketing. I hope to one
day soon be a leading broadcast journalist, but feel that my small
chest is holding me back.
I am seeking understanding, kind-hearted people who are willing to
invest in my A-cup breasts and help me finance a breast augmentation
surgery and advance my career in broadcast journalism.
The surgery will cost $3,000 and get me up to a full C-cup. I believe
that this is the final piece that I need to have more self-confidence
and gain better job opportunities.
In this day and age, I know how important looking good is for any
career. I know this surgery will increase my chances three-fold on top
of my education, experience and talent.
Please reply if you can help. This is not only an investment in my
confidence; It is an investment in my fruitful career. Thank you.
If you ever wanted to know how easy it easy to distract a reporter, and how short is the attention span of the Washington press corps, watch how a whole team of journalists saved the day as a mother duck and her ducklings tried to cross the street.
The reporters were waiting for Karl Rove to come out and make an appearance, but apparently Rove had a paddling up his sleeve, and instead of waiting to pepper Karl Rove with questions about his grand jury testimony, the gaggle of reporters rushed to the aid of the gaggle of ducks.
Watch the Media Heroism Slideshow to see how an entire group of reporters risked life and limb for ducks and put a temporary pause on harassing a lameduck's henchman.
Andrew Revkin is the chief environmental reporter for the Times, a true believer in the idea that humans are making the planet warmer. He also plays in an "acoustic-roots" band, "Uncle Wade," and even wrote an environmental protest ditty, "Liberated Carbon," which he recently performed during a talk at Bowdoin College in Maine.
In this retelling of the creation story, Satan offers coal and oil to humanity instead of an apple (environmentalism as religion, once again).
At the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, President Bush first appeared with Steve Bridges, who's made a name for himself impersonating Bush on national television. Bush would say something and the impersonator would say what he "really" thought. RightWinged has a video of the routine.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Members of the White House Correspondents' Association, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen --
BUSH IMPERSONATOR: Here I am.
Here I am at another one of these dang press dinners. Could be home asleep, little Barney curled up at my feet. But no, I've got to pretend I like being here.
The media really ticks me off. The way they try to embarrass me by not editing what I say.
I caught Wednesday’s edition of “The Daily Show” on rerun, specifically a segment on gas prices with Wall Street Journal writer Rebecca Strassel. After fussing at those excessive oil company profits, host Jon Stewart joked that she felt like “you’re talking to a retarded person,” then insisted (with some self-deprecation) “The important thing is my visceral emotional reaction to it.” Smiling throughout, Strassel said he should be mad at Congress for its policies (such as its mandated use of ethanol). Stewart replied: “I’m mad at an administration that feels they have the vision to spread democracy -- I will, you know, invade a country and it will flower like the Genesis Machine -- and yet when it comes to oil, their most innovative solution is (in dumb-guy voice, like David Letterman asking if you got any gum) ‘uh, what if we look in Alaska?’ It lacks imagination to some extent.”
The recent unveiling of the Pulitzer Prizes had more of the same politicized whiff that the Oscars oozed earlier this year. Merit is taking a back seat now to "edginess" in both the news and entertainment media. "Speaking truth to power" is in vogue, even if it’s not true and even if it’s not in the public interest.
The roster of Pulitzer winners had an unmistakeable get-Bush smell to them, especially Dana Priest’s exposing secret prisons in Europe for terrorists in the Washington Post, and James Risen’s and Eric Lichtblau’s NSA-surveillance exposure in the New York Times. The Pulitzers have a prize for Public Service, but these leaks in the War on Terror might better deserve an award for Public Endangerment. As Bill Bennett put it, many Americans think it’s odd that on these stories, "the leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize."
On to promote his new children's book Billy Crystal couldn't resist taking a shot at the President on this morning's Today show. Crystal, opening to an illustration of a grandfather in his book let this zinger fly: "So we try to make them, [the] guy look like an everyman but look at this, if you can get in close, doesn't he look like President Bush?"
Lauer: "He does. He really does."
Crystal: "Just telling this little baby you have a $9 trillion dollar debt you can't pay off. Isn't that nice?"
When things got a bit contentious this morning between conservative Jim Pinkerton and liberal Ellen Ratner on Fox & Friends Weekend's 'Long & the Short of It' segment, Pinkerton proposed a peace plan that other warring parties might well wish to adopt: "let NewsBusters.org sort this out."
The bone of contention was just what what it was that President Bush declassified - some would say leaked - and that Scooter Libby is in turn alleged to have provided to the press - presumably in the person of Judy Miller of the NY Times.
Ratner: "This was a Nixon bad-list kind of trick [presumably a reference to Nixon's 'enemies' list] to get . . . "
Host Kiran Chetry [back from maternity leave - and beautiful as ever, I might add]: "Why?"
Completely off-topic but since it's a weekend, here goes. It seems as though the "Star Wars kid," a roly-poly French Canadian boy whose awkward copying of a light saber fight made him into an ironic web celebrity, apparently wasn't happy with being made the object of fun. (Or was it that the petition to get him into the third SW prequel failed?)
In any case, Ghyslain Raza, now 18, reached a settlement with three former schoolmates who put out the video which has since spawned scads of derivative works. The deal, whose terms are not known, averted a lawsuit that was supposed to go to trial Monday. Canada's Globe and Mail has the story:
Lawyers for the three schoolmates had suffered a setback after they
were not allowed to introduce as evidence a transcript of a phone
conversation Mr. Raza had with a blogger, Jishnu Mukerji.
The blogger had posted a transcript of the exchange on the Internet.
Conducted a month after the video and parodies of it began
circulating, the conversation has Mr. Raza calling the spoofs
"interesting" but not expressing much distress. [...]
In the transcripts, Mr. Raza said the experience left him unable to attend school.
"It was simply unbearable, totally. It was impossible to attend class," Mr. Raza said.
Is there something in the water at NBC/MSNBC? Laughing gas in the ventilation system, perhaps? Earlier today, I posted the photo below, showing Matt Lauer dissolving in laughter on this morning's Today show. It happened when Katie made her momentous announcement that she was leaving for CBS. Matt pretended to take it totally in stride, making to move right on, intoning "also coming up in this half-hour" in his best canned host-voice before bursting out.
This evening, it was Chris Matthews' turn to double over in laughter. Now granted, Matthews had a better excuse - his guest was the daffy Howard Dean. Matthews managed to keep a straight face when Dean first claimed that the Democrats "want to bring this country back together again so everybody is respected," and then proceeded to lash out at every Republican within arm's reach.
Edited out of the two-page opus of little ersatz Notable Quotables for April Fools Day were two entries satirizing Chris Matthews and his tendency to burp movie citations about every five minutes of "Hardball." Geoff Dickens, who is the official watcher of "Hardball," weaved real MSNBC sentences with imagined ones:
Matthews: "Howard, this President is trying to distract the public from the images they see every day in Iraq by faulting the media, the good guys! But, I mean, this reminds me of that old Groucho Marx gag: Who are you going to believe, me or your eyes? But, seriously, what does the President need to do to stop his slide in the polls before the elections?
Howard Fineman, Newsweek: "Chris, as the midterms approach, what Bush can't do is run as Tom Cruise any more, not run as Top Gun. That's not going to work any more, I think. He's trying to run as Jack Bauer on domestic security."
On Comedy Central's South Park cartoon Wednesday, the world's environment is threatened by the impossible smugness of those driving hybrid cars. (The smug clouds are biggest over San Francisco, naturally.) The danger passes only when the people of South Park mash their hybrid cars into little aluminum cubes. And, just for fun, the animators named their hybrid the "Pious," a knock on Toyota's "Prius."
Funny enough, but the very next morning on NBC's Today, reporter Tom Costello was lauding the wonders of efficient, low emission hybrid cars (as opposed to those awful SUVs) when he showcased a smug driver who sounded like a South Park gag. MRC's Geoff Dickens caught this part of NBC's report:
Tom Costello: "Betsy Rosenberg didn't always drive a hybrid car but after getting fed up with 15 mpg in her SUVs she traded them both in for a Toyota Prius and 50 mpg."
Betsy Rosenberg: "I decided this was something that I would do to protect my kid, my country, my planet and be patriotic. I think that's the patriotic thing to do is to use less gas and not more."