Leave it to CNN host Rick Sanchez to unintentionally give us a moment of comedy in an afternoon cable news broadcast.
On "CNN Newsroom" on April 28, Sanchez interviewed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., about the departure of Sen. Arlen Specter, Pa., from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. He asked the senator from South Carolina if Specter was correct in his analysis that the conservative wing of the Republican Party was squeezing out a segment of the electorate.
"You're shrinking the electorate to an extreme - to a point where a regular Republican can't win," Sanchez said, paraphrasing Specter. "What do you make of that argument?"
A look back to May of 2001, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Democrat, likely offers a preview of the themes the press corps will advance again in covering Senator Arlen Specter's defection from the Republican Party. From the Thursday May 24, 2001 MRC CyberAlert (see link for complete rundowns):
Jeffords Defection Theme #1: Bush should move left to the center. CBS’s John Roberts relayed how a Democratic pollster hoped, "he may be forced to govern from the middle." NBC’s Campbell Brown pushed Bush to the left: "The President’s options? Political analysts say bi-partisan compromise."
Jeffords Defection Theme #2: Label him a "moderate," or a "maverick," but never what he really is, a liberal. Looking at ideological ratings, Jeffords’ record makes him 24 points less conservative and 25 points more liberal than a true moderate like Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Jeffords Defection Theme #3: Blame conservatives for making the Republican Party too conservative. ABC’s Linda Douglass referred to his "frustration with his increasingly conservative party." NBC’s Lisa Myers worried about how he "was treated as a pariah in his own party." On MSNBC, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter suggested the Republican Party left him.
Jeffords Defection Theme #4: Scold the Bush White House for punishing him for working to eviscerate their bills. NBC’s Lisa Myers credited his departure to how "he is deeply offended by lack of respect from the White House and from key Senate Republicans."
It was just a question of time. While it was hard to know where it would come from (although MSNBC is always a safe bet), someone was going to make the entire swine flu pandemic a partisan political issue.
"Well, here we go again - Republicans are playing politics with our health," Schultz said. "This kind of stuff just makes my temperature go up. I'm boiling over this - as many as 150 have been killed by this flu in Mexico. Cases are popping up allover the United States."
The swine flu story has captured the news cycle for three days and counting now and that's perpetuating the hysteria, according to Fox News Channel's Brit Hume.
Hume appeared on the FNC's "The Live Desk with Trace Gallagher" April 27 and blasted the media in general for hyping the swine flu story 24/7.
"I realize it's been a slow weekend in terms of news," Hume said. "The president went out and played golf on Sunday. The White House reporters don't have much to work with today, so they're trying to get a piece of this swine flu story, which you know, all the cable news channels are agog about, bug-eyed about. But so far, it doesn't amount to much in the United States of America."
NBC Universal and its networks have been criticized for the global warming alarmism it parades on a regular basis. However, now the criticism is coming from its own affiliates.
Prior to its April 26 airing on MSNBC, shows on NBC had been promoting the first part of the climate special "Future Earth" - an MSNBC program that used computer animation to show the possibilities of a polar icecap melting. That prompted Bill Steffen, a meteorologist for NBC's Grand Rapids, Mich. affiliate, to call out MSNBC for that special.
It's a response that might incite laughter, as it did from conservative pundit Monica Crowley and MSNBC paleocon talker Pat Buchanan. According to Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, the current problems facing the country and President Barack Obama are due to capitalism.
"I give him a B+ because there's a lot of outcomes that haven't come in yet," Clift said. "But look, this isn't about the failure of government and the Republicans are on the wrong tact talking about big government. This is a failure of capitalism. He's trying to save capitalism."
It's likely a tired story to many by now, nearly a week after the Miss USA pageant and the controversy that ensued over Miss USA runner-up, Miss California Carrie Prejean's answer to a question from same-sex marriage activist and gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who was judging the event. However, it took CNN host and Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz to ask Hilton some of the pertinent questions surrounding his curious rage over her answer.
Hilton appeared on CNN's April 26 "Reliable Sources" and justified some of his vitriolic insults hurled at Prejean by saying that was just part of the vernacular he uses on his Web site. He didn't address the point some have made that his use of misogynist language might have been as equally or more offensive than how he perceived Prejean's answer at the Miss USA pageant.
"I was very angry," Hilton said. "And it's almost insulting to me that people expect me not to be outraged, when I am told I am a second-class citizen and shouldn't deserve the same rights that heterosexuals get."
At a time when Americans increasingly aren't buying into the theory of anthropogenic global warming according to a recent Rasmussen poll, NBC and its cable news network MSNBC are bringing out the big guns to slow the rise of that mentality down.
On NBC's April 26 "Today," anchor Lester Holt previewed his special "Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World," slated to appear on MSNBC on the night of April 26. According to the preview shown by Holt, the TV special is remarkably similar to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," forecasting several doom-and-gloom scenarios.
"With the Arctic possibly ice free as soon as the summer of 2013, the world will warm even faster as the Arctic's waters absorb the sun's rays rather than being reflected by ice," Holt said. "The result unfortunately might bring on a doomsday scenario befitting a Hollywood disaster film. But this will be no movie - the likelihood of super storms picking up strength from warming ocean waters, oceans on the rise."
Separating personal feelings from straight-up journalism is something MSNBC anchors have had trouble with in the past, and David Shuster is no exception.
During MSNBC's daytime news coverage on April 24, Shuster interviewed Bill Himpler of the American Financial Services Association. The discussion was nominally about the legislation sponsored by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), designed to freeze credit card rates, it became more about Shuster's view that credit card companies are gouging their customers. Throughout the four-minute interview, Shuster threw out anti-business questions and occasional hyperbole.
On CNBC's April 24 "The Call," Santelli expressed his frustration with an overreaction by the government to solve the financial crisis when Kudlow asked him about the expansion of bailout obligations from the original TARP bailout price tag $750 billion to the $3 trillion.
"Listen - I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't say all that," Santelli said. "Do I disagree with it? Probably not. But, I'll take it a step farther - in the beginning, whether it was the commercial paper program, there was a need just like babies have a need for milk. But I don't need to drink a couple of gallons anymore."
It has been something that there have been rumblings about, but no one has really put the x's and o's together entirely - that General Electric (NYSE:GE) is using its media arm, NBC Universal to promote President Barack Obama's so-called progressive agenda for its own financial gain.
However, as just previewed by Amy Ridenour, Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly attempted to do so at the top of his April 23 "The O'Reilly Factor" broadcast during his "Talking Points Memo" segment. O'Reilly outlined how Obama has gotten support from the NBC networks both pre-election and post-election.
"Will General Electric get paid for supporting President Obama - that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo," O'Reilly said. "As everybody knows, GE, which owns NBC has been very aggressive in helping Barack Obama - first supporting the president in the election and now attacking his critics."
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Wednesday committed an act of snide and unnecessary moral equivalence, connecting video of torture occurring in the Middle East and the political debate over how to handle enemy combatants captured by the U.S. ABC correspondent Brian Ross filed a report on video of a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family filming himself as he brutalized a man, accused of stealing grain, with a cattle prod, hit him with a nail and then proceeded to drive over the victim with his Mercedes.[audio available here]
As the segment ended, Moran drew a comparison, "Brian, that is a shocking investigation on so many levels, especially as our own country is engaged in a wrenching debate on torture." Now, whatever one thinks of waterboarding, sleep depravation and putting an insect in with someone afraid of bugs, such tactics certainly don't equal this barbaric act, described by Ross: "The tape ends with what appears to be attempted murder. The victim is left semi-conscious as Sheik Issa drives over him back and forth with his Mercedes SUV."
The attacks on Miss California Carrie Prejean have gotten so bad that even same-sex marriage champion and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is taking notice.
Prejean, the runner-up of last Sunday's Miss USA pageant, has been the target of reports from the Hollywood media intelligentsia after her feud with gossip blogger Perez Hilton for the stance she took on same-sex marriage. And Newsom, who had just announced his intentions to run for governor of California, has noticed.
"I want to challenge her on her point-of-view," Newsom said in an appearance at Sapphire Energy, a bio-tech company, which aired on NBC's San Francisco affiliate on April 23. "She challenged me on my point-of-view and she spoke her conscience. What more can you ask? I speak my conscience, she should speak hers. So, I think she's being a little unfairly maligned."
It just wouldn't be Earth Day without a catastrophic global warming segment from the network news, so ABC correspondent Bill Blakemore delivered just that April 22.
Blakemore warned viewers of "World News with Charles Gibson" that carbon emissions were causing disastrous changes in the air and the sea and blamed the United States in his one-sided report, even though the U.S. recently dropped to second place in global carbon output.
"To understand the state of the planet today, you need to look at the air and under the water," Blakemore said. "The air is getting warmer, faster. Carbon emissions are now rising faster than worst-case scenarios projected just a few years ago. China just surpassed the U.S. as the biggest culprit, though China's got four times as many people."
Is Donald Trump angry at Miss California Carrie Prejean? Or is it just another trumped up charge from the liberal media?
The April 22 episode of "Access Hollywood" teased viewers that Miss California was under a serious threat of losing her crown - since she was late for a meeting with Donald Trump, the organizer of the Miss USA pageant in which Prejean was the runner-up, and that her position on same-sex marriage somehow contradicted what Miss California's position was supposed to be.
"New and serious trouble for Miss California you will only find out here," "Access Hollywood" co-host Nancy O'Dell announced in the show's teaser.
The economy is already in rough shape, but some think we should let it go to pot - literally. Pro-legalization advocacy groups are promoting the possibility that legalizing marijuana could provide some economic relief, and the media has eagerly explored the idea.
On April 20, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) aired TV ads calling for marijuana legalization. They ran on CNN, Fox News Channel and were covered by CBS News.
"In the spot, Americans say of the drug, ‘you can tax it, you can regulate it, apply age restrictions...create millions of new jobs ... save our economy,'" Brian Montopoli wrote for CBSNews.com on April 20.
With chatter that this could be a campaign issue in 2010, the new Obama Administration's relaxed policies toward the drug and some people's desperate, try-anything approach to solving the government spending deficits and economic woes, the idea of marijuana legalization is gaining traction with the media.
Hinting at but not explicitly charging President Obama with eco-hypocrisy, CNN weatherman Rob Marciano chided the chief executive for flying out to Iowa and back just for one Earth Day speech. Marciano took to the camera shortly after 10 a.m. EDT for a weather report. His comments came on the heels of Heidi Collins describing Obama's agenda for marking Earth Day [audio available here]:
ROB MARCIANO, CNN meteorologist: Is that the 747 Air Force One I see on the tarmac getting ready to go fly to Iowa for Earth Day?
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN anchor: Yup.
MARCIANO: I mean, it's a pretty big carbon footprint just to make a speech in front of a windmill.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
It was either an effort to avoid blaming individuals for ill-advised borrowing or an effort to vilify the banking system, but a segment on the April 20 "CBS Evening News" took a very one-sided view of credit-card lending.
On a day bank stocks struggled and dragged the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) down nearly 300 points, "Evening News" scrutinized the current state of the banking system's credit-card lending. According to anchor Katie Couric, that sell-off of bank stocks occurred as a result of the realization the institutions would be forced to cover bad loans.
"Wall Street had been on a six-week winning streak, but today it suffered its worst drop in two months as investors rushed to sell bank stocks," Couric said. "[T]he sell-off came after Bank of America reported earnings of more than $2.8 billion last quarter, but that good news was offset by the word that the bank has set aside more than $13 billion to cover its losses from bad loans made in the past."
Back in the fall, you would have thought from the media coverage of the TARP debate and its eventual passage that some sort of crime had been committed when the House didn't pass it the first time around.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric demanded to know from House Minority Leader John Boehner, "What in the world are you people doing?" on her Sept. 29 broadcast. However, there was a side to this that people never were allowed to realize behind closed doors during the debate, as Fox News host Glenn Beck explained.
The "Glenn Beck Show" host on his April 20 program told viewers he had inside knowledge of how the Bush administration strong-armed the banks into agreeing to the terms of the TARP bailout.
It must be hard to keep a straight face when you report that the President of United States going to cut $100 million from a $3.5 trillion budget and then say he is serious about cutting government spending.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't pull it off. In the White House's April 20 press briefing, Gibbs was asked by Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven why the $100-million target was so small and she even accused him of making a joke about it.
"I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money," Gibbs said. "It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."
But somehow, CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano pulled it off. Originally on CNN's April 20 "American Morning," and again on CNN throughout April 20, Quijano reported the Obama administration was making an effort to cut spending.
"MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer on Monday speculated as to whether the liberal-leaning Meghan McCain could become "the voice of the Republican Party." Brewer, who was talking to Washington Times reporter Christina Bellantoni about the daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, ignored the fact that Ms. McCain has admitted she supported Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. [audio available here]
Instead, referencing the 24-year-old blogger'sspeech to the Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday, Brewer queried, "...Is it time for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of people from all different orientations?"She then asked Bellantoni, "...We talk about Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Sarah Palin, is it possible Meghan McCain becomes the voice of the Republican Party?" How bizarre is it that Brewer was asking if a woman who supported Gore and Kerry, and spoke to an organization of gay Republicans that refused to endorse George W. Bush in 2004, will one day lead the GOP? (In her latest Daily Beast blog, McCain attacked the "creepy" Karl Rove.)
Janeane Garofalo embodies "the dark, the very ugly underbelly of the American Left today" which "is on display for anyone to see," Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of Sunday, April 19 edition of "Fox & Friends Weekend." [audio available here]
"This is about hating a black man. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks," the liberal comedian and actress told Keith Olbermann on his Thursday, April 16 edition of "Countdown."
"What gets me [is that] no one on the Left has denounced this woman. No one denounces these people when they go off the deep end like this. This is the dark, ugly underside of the Left today," Bozell added.
The segment -- which aired at 9:15 a.m. EDT -- began with co-host Alisyn Camerota noting the folly of competitor networks dismissively scoffing the massive protests:
ABC's Sam Donaldson let a little of his inner-conspiracy theorist out this morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
In a discussion of President Barack Obama's lessening the sanctions on Fidel Castro's Cuba, Donaldson began his analysis with one of a number a Kennedy-Truther notions that have been knocking around ever since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
Ever since Lee Harvey Oswald first squeezed the trigger, there have been numerous others for whom he was the alleged fall guy. The Grassy Knoll, the Zapruder films, etc.
Then-Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson has been mentioned, as has the Mafia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, Howard Hunt and the Eastern Bloc of Soviet States, or some cabal of some or all of the above.
Another wild card in this crazy deck was Cuba's El Presidente, Castro. The theory being that Castro was upset with JFK's woefully planned and executed Bay of Pigs attempt at ending his nascent dictatorship, and therefore exacted his revenge by executing the 35th President.
Donaldson's buy-in for this house-of-cards game is apparently the Castro connection.
Despite all the criticisms of the Fox News Channel broadcasted on MSNBC for promoting tea party coverage, one thing hasn't been pointed out - how the NBC networks, including CNBC and MSNBC are given a pass for their shameless promotion of their Green Week and Green is Universal network events.
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for National Review and author of "Liberal Fascism," appeared on Fox News Channel's April 18 "Fox News Watch" and commented on FNC's promotion of the tea parties, but the double standard of MSNBC's criticism of Fox News.
"I think that there's a perfectly legitimate criticism against Fox for not so much the coverage, but the commercials, you know - promoting the coverage, which was in effect advertisements for these things," Goldberg explained. "But, this was all transparent, people knew that's Fox was doing. But let's flashback to what GE, to pick up a point that Jim [Pinkerton] made - that GE basically issued a fatwa to NBC for Green Week, where they did hundreds of hours of environmental messaging in all of their dramas, news coverage, "Today" show - throughout the network and it was all hailed as a wonderful progressive thing. That is a much more pernicious promotion than anything Fox did."
Left-wing activist/actress Janeane Garofalo, now starring on Fox's '24', went on a wild rant Thursday night, on MSNBC's Countdown, impugning those who attended the Wednesday tea parties as racists and denigrating the brain power of anyone who watches the Fox News Channel. (In his Thursday night post, “Garofalo: Tea Party Goers Are Racists Who Hate Black President,” Noel Sheppard provided an embedded video of the entire segment with Keith Olbermann as well as a full transcript.)
Here, however, is an edited video (matching MP3 audio), just over two-minutes in length, of her most-outrageous smears uttered on the April 16 program.
“This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism, straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks. And there is no way around that,” she scurrilously charged. After comparing conservatives to “white power activists,” she continued: “This is about racism. It could be any issue, any port in a storm. These guys hate that a black guy is in the White House.”
"At some point, I'm still trying to figure this out, we became a nation that honors failure and rewards it, instead of honoring success and rewarding it," actor John Ratzenberger told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on Wednesday's "Your World" program. The "Cheers" alum appeared at the Sacramento Tea Party to register his concerns about government tax and spend policies. [full video by Fox News here. Audio excerpt here.]
"I've always celebrated common sense, it's not a Democrat or a Republican issue," Ratzenberger insisted, to be concerned about the high taxes which are driving small business and the jobs they provide, to leave California.
Ratzenberger's remarks echo conservative sentiments expressed recently by his fellow "Cheers" alumnus Kelsey Grammer, who told CNSNews.com that President Obama's policies punished success while bailing out irresponsible people who took on second mortgages they could not afford:
ABC's Charles Gibson, Jan Crawford Greenburg and George Stephanopoulos all stressed Thursday night how, Bush administration Justice Department memos clarifying what techniques interrogators could use with suspected terrorists, included what Stephanopoulos described as “torture with an insect” -- a method ABC failed to note was not ever employed. “Tonight, secret memos,” anchor Charles Gibson teased World News, “new documents reveal in vivid detail just how far the Bush administration went in interrogating terror suspects, using insects, confinement boxes, water-boards and more.”
Reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg characterized the memos as “chilling in their detail,” citing how “they approved prisoners placed in a cramped confinement box with an insect...” Following Greenburg, Stephanopoulos marveled: “Even some congressional officials who had the highest security clearances were surprised by some of the details today, especially that detail about the fact that Zubayda was tortured with an insect in a confinement box.” Let that formulation sink in: “Tortured with an insect.” The horror! (Audio: MP3 of the three insect comments)
Zubaydah, however, was never forced to spend time near a caterpillar, Pete Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News: “In the case of al-Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah, who feared insects, interrogators were given permission to put a harmless one like a caterpillar in a box in which he was confined, but that technique was never used.”