Whenever Fox News host Glenn Beck raises the history of progressives and eugenics, or the possibility that eugenics is part of the motivation of a legitimate policy debate, the left-wing has a hissy fit. But when the left introduces it, we're supposed to accept it as high-minded and scholarly, especially in the case Princeton University's Melissa Harris-Lacewell.
On MSNBC's Aug. 12 "Countdown," liberal blowhard Keith Olbermann asked Harris-Lacewell, an MSNBC contributor, what the motivation was behind the proposition the 14th Amendment of the Constitution should be altered to close a loophole for illegal immigrants to achieve legal status in the United States. As expected, Harris-Lacewell suggested it was motivated by racism, but took it even further to say there was some sort of desire for genetic purity pushing it.
"It certainly is xenophobia, but it's got a little eugenics mixed in with it," Harris-Lacewell said. "Part of what I see going on here is, first, a deep misunderstanding about the 14th Amendment, and for whom the 14th Amendment provided citizenship. And although certainly part of it was about newly freed persons after the Civil War, it was also about all Americans."
If news outlets were fueled by bias, then ABC, CBS, and NBC would be Hummers.
Over the past two years, the media have declared Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) "dying" while celebrating the popularity of hybrid cars. Americans disagree. Data from Edmunds.com showed SUV market share has grown or remained stable whereas hybrid market share has declined. In July 2010 alone, SUVs outsold hybrids 4 to one.
When gas prices were high in summer 2008, the media eagerly reported the demise of the SUV and wrote its epitaph, as CBS News's Hattie Kauffman eloquently did on May 26, 2008:
"Here lies the mighty sport utility vehicle, once a symbol of status and power, now collecting dust."
This is a historic year for the largest government program: Social Security, which turns 75 in just a few days. The program is also running a deficit for the first time since 1983, and ahead of estimates.
Initially, Social Security was created to provide supplemental income to elderly and disabled people who could not work, and was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Aug. 14, 1935.
Social Security is in the red six years earlier than forecasted, and for the first time since 1983 (the last time the program was "fixed"). Downplaying the significance of the problem, The New York Times reported March 24, that the program is facing a "small" $29 billion shortfall this year because the high 9.5 percent unemployment rate is cutting into payroll tax collections that fund the program's benefits. Oh, and because there isn't actually a trust fund with all the money previously collected by people paying into the system.
Problems are mounting for the Social Security program which essentially is a government-created "Ponzi scheme." It was a boon for the earliest entrants to the program like Ida May Fuller. She was the recipient of the first monthly retirement check, in 1940, and continued to collect until her death in 1975. Fuller worked only three years under the system: paying in $24.75 in taxes. By the time of her death she had collected a total of $22,888.92 according to the Social Security Administration.
Love him or hate him as a "conservative," MSNBC host Joe Scarborough just showed he hasn't been completely brainwashed at his network. On his Aug. 11 program, Scarborough demonstrated just how thin the veil is over the parlor tricks going on with in the U.S. House of Representatives controlled by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
At the center of this was the back-and-forth between Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., over Sept. 11 responders compensation legislation. Their disagreement has been well documented dating back to Weiner's late-July outburst on the House floor accusing House Republicans of playing politics with this legislation. The two had one more dust-up on Fox News a day later, but since then it has been a he-said, he-said situation.
Weiner alleges this was a non-controversial bill that should have been passed easily with a two-thirds vote. King argues the Democratic House leadership could have offered it up and it would have passed with a simple majority. But there were some issues with offering the bill up under normal House procedure with the Hispanic Caucus.
It may well be Dan Rather's finest hour. Make that his finest five seconds.
The disgraced former "Evening News" anchor apparently has a brief cameo in "Skyline," an alien invasion flick landing in theaters on November 12.
Rather isn't the only liberal journalist featured in the film. Self-described socialist and sometime "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" guest host Lawrence O'Donnell is also featured in the movie trailer, which we've included below the page break (h/t Jim Geraghty):
CNN's Rick Sanchez bizarrely wondered on Tuesday's Rick List whether investigating the funding behind the planned mosque near Ground Zero would lead to investigations into Catholic and/or Mormon funding: "If you start going into who is giving money...you've got to go to Rome and start asking where the money is going into Rome....and you have to go the Mormons and ask...what are they doing with their money? [audio clips available here]
Sanchez posed that vaguely morally relativistic question as he interviewed former New York Governor George Pataki during the prime-time edition of his program 14 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Before bringing on his guest, the CNN anchor inquired whether the opponents of the proposed Islamic center/mosque had become extreme: "Are those against this Islamic center/mosque in New York City going too far these days? I want to you decide as you look at this new ad that's going to be running on city buses in New York. On one side, as you look at this, you will see that there's a picture of a mosque- on the other side, a shot of a plane that's slamming into the Twin Towers, and it poses this question: why there? The ad is being sponsored by a group that's called The American Freedom Defense Initiative."
After noting former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and current mayor Michael Bloomberg's support for the mosque, Sanchez introduced Pataki and first asked him, "Why are they [Koch and Bloomberg] wrong and why are you right?" After the Republican explained his opposition, the anchor gave his first hint to his later Catholic/Mormon question: "Once you start telling someone you can't worship here because it affects the sensibilities or sensitivities of someone else, you're starting to go down a slippery slope, and then a lot of people would ask- well, which religion is next? Who else are we going to not let worship where they want, how they want?"
What's next: Bill Clinton cutting an ad vexing David Vitter on the issue of fidelity?
Of all people, Ed Schultz spent an entire segment this evening going after Chris Christie . . . about his girth.
I counted no fewer than seven separate barbs that Schultz directed Christie's way over his weight. He began with a photo of the NJ Governor with the graphic "Battle of the Bulge." It got heavier from there.
On Tuesday's American Morning, CNN's Jeanne Moos picked up on the viral video of Boy Scouts booing President Obama's taped message to the recent National Jamboree, but got in a light jab at the youth for their behavior: "Booing would seem to go against some of the 12 tenets of Boy Scout Law. A Boy Scout is 'trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind'- wait a minute, 'courteous and kind'?"
The correspondent, known for her light reports for the network, concluded the 6 am Eastern hour with "unique take" on the video, as anchor John Roberts put it. Moos noted that "45,000 Scouts were celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting" in the United States at the Jamboree, which was held at the U.S. Army's Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, and that "two months earlier, the White House informed the Scouts that the President had prior commitments."
Moos continued that the "Scouts...booed the President's message, and this 23-second video made its way on to conservative websites, which slammed the President for forsaking the Boy Scouts to appear on 'The View.'" She later gave the Obama administration's explanation for the apparent snub: "The White House says 'The View' had nothing to do with it- that the President was already scheduled to be on the road that day."
"You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant," Myers said. "Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big - I think we're going to die from a lack of fresh water or we're going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure."
But fast forward a year and a half and you'll see how things change. On the Aug. 9 daytime broadcast of CNN's "Rick's List," that same Myers has a little bit different view. Myers was asked by the show's host Rick Sanchez the so-called "$60,000 question," but not without a preemptive cheap shot at climate skeptics on the right.
OK - it's not really much of a surprise. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has responded to the slowing economic recovery with restraint, not tinkering with interest rates and showing a continued willingness to buy mortgage-backed securities and long-term Treasury bonds. And that was roundly applauded by the markets, and CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
"Here's what you need to know about the Fed," Cramer said. "They're not in the way. I'm a Fed-is-friend, Fed-is-foe guy."
On CNBC's Aug. 10 "Street Signs," during his "Stop Trading" segment, Cramer explained that the Fed is acting appropriately and noted it wasn't the Bernanke that was holding the economy back. Who is to blame? It's Congress, according to Cramer, with its complicated health care bill and even more indecipherable financial regulation bill.
On MSNBC's August 9 broadcast of "Countdown," Yglesias did his best to psychoanalyze people that are upset a mosque is being built in the shadow of Ground Zero, where over 2,600 people died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. According to Yglesias, whose blog, ThinkProgress.org, is a function the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, opposition to the plan had nothing to do with sensitivities but instead economics. The anti-mosque sentiment, he believed, couldn't exist without masterminds like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich whipping conservatives against the mosque into a frenzy.
"Well, it seems to me that there is or at least there - it's much more visible than it used to be because we're seeing it stoked by sort of the leads in the conservative movement, by Sarah Palin, by Newt Gingrich, by others, in a way that we never had before 9/11," Yglesias said. "And I think what's happening is that when the economy goes down, people become anxious, you see, historically, a lot of increase in xenophobia, in fear and in sort of intolerance. And we've got the conservative movement leaders, very opportunistically trying to take advantage of that, try to play on people's anxieties, and build this kind of anti-Muslim hysteria in a way that President Bush never did in 2001 and 2002."
More in sorrow than in anger, I'm about to record a personal blogging first: airing a gripe about Willie Geist. When writing of the Morning Joe sidekick, my habit is to append adjectives such as "affable." Willie is indeed a likable guy, patently comfortable in his own skin. And while I don't suspect him of being a closet conservative, neither is he anything of a raging liberal, typically striking a regular-guy's middle ground on most issues.
All of which makes his comment of today that much more surprising—and regrettable. Geist was commenting on an ad by an anti-Ground Zero mosque group to be displayed on NYC buses, which shows a plane flying into one of the WTC towers. Although defending the anti-mosque group's rights, Willieopined that it's "always in bad taste to show the plane flying into the building." Really?
The ad was illuminating for another, chilling, reason . . .
From the Department Of People In Glass Houses . . .
Early in his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz mocked Karl Rove's performance in filling in for Rush Limbaugh today. In particular, Schultz slammed Rove for his brief problem in providing the show's call-in number.
But later in the show, Ed himself ran head-first into a rhetorical roadblock, stumbling badly when it came to pronouncing the most famous name in the world of ocean studies: Cousteau.
The liberal lionization of Emma Lazarus' poem has reached laughable new heights. On this evening's Hardball, guest host Chuck Todd cited the Lazarus lines from the base of the Statue of Liberty . . . as if they had some authority in law!
Todd was debating former GOP congressman Ernest Istook on the proposal some Republicans have floated to recast or clarify the 14th Amendment so as not to grant automatic citizenship to children born in the United States to illegal immigrants.
"Uncomfortable" was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama's decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband's birthday with him to boot.
Chuck Todd didn't go into details, but NBC's clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a "private decision" by the First Lady; that it wouldn't have made any difference what Pres. Obama's political advisors would have said; and that "you get the sense here that there was something more to this" than pure politics.
Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd's message: "this is part of a bigger narrative, isn't it, about Michelle Obama?"
In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic. When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play.
In liberal reporters' minds, the "more perfect union" referenced in the Preamble to the Constitution is a more perfect labor union.
In an August 6 ABCNews.com story about pay raises for the middle class, reporter Ray Sanchez found a few reasons for "median wage stagnation" including the decline of organized labor. He also cited a common liberal talking point -- the "erosion" of the minimum wage.
We have picked out a couple posts from each of the five categories and asked the authors to reflect back on writing them up. In this series of short videos, they share their thoughts on how they caught the particular media moment and describe the impact their post had.
CNN "Newsroom" anchor Kyra Phillips reported the "breaking news" about July's unemployment data just after 9 a.m. Aug. 6. Misreported would be more accurate.
"We begin with the breaking news this morning on a broken economy. We have new evidence of just how feeble the recovery is and how many Americans have nothing to show for it," Phillips said. "The nation's unemployment rate has remained flat at a disheartening 9.5 percent. Just last month 60,000 jobs vanished, the news is bad, but not quite as bad as we expected."
Actually, the news was worse than Phillips reported. The U.S. lost more than twice that many jobs in July: 131,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also revised June data after finding an additional 96,000 lost jobs (June's total losses 221,000).
It's one thing to have liberal guilt, but this is taking it way too far.
In a video posted to YouTube on Aug. 5, popular liberal talk host Thom Hartmann, identified what he considered was the appropriate way to cope with this guilt type, specifically that of which came with the issue of LGBT rights. Hartmann hails himself as "the 10th most important talk show host in America, and the No. 1 most important progressive host, in their ‘Heavy Hundred' ranking" according to Talkers Magazine.
"Well yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, ruled that California's Proposition 8, which said that it was illegal for gays to get married in that state, was unconstitutional," Hartmann said. "He said that he based his ruling, although the right-wing is all over him for being gay himself - he said he based his ruling on the preponderance of scientific evidence that was presented to him in court, which indicated that the children of families of gay couples grew up every bit as normal, and in fact in some studies more normal and healthy, psychologically healthy, as the children of straight families and that gay couples and their relationships are every bit as psychologically, and socially, and economically significant and legitimate as are straight couples."
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez revisited his vendetta against Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh on Thursday's Rick's List. Sanchez brought on outgoing Representative Bob Inglis, who lost a primary challenge to a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate, and when he harped about "flamethrowers" on TV and radio, the anchor pressed him on whether he meant the two radio hosts and his network's competitor [audio clips available here].
Sanchez interviewed Rep. Inglis just before the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour. He introduced the politician by emphasizing the South Carolina Republican's overall conservative record and his recent defeat in the primary: "My next guest is a conservative firebrand. He is a veteran conservative congressman. In fact, he's maintained a 93 percent conservative voting record....Pro-choice liberals have called him a 'zero.'...He was a Ronald Reagan Republican, if there ever one was, and suddenly, he wakes up one day, and he simply is not conservative enough, not for South Carolina Republicans. He lost the recent primary. No- he got killed in the recent primary, 29-71 [percent]."
How far have we come from the era of "Dissent Is Patriotic" stickers on the bumpers of your local lefties during the Bush administration? A host on the second-highest rated cable news network has equated political dissent with . . . assassination.
On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz stated:
"Now I'm putting my cards on the table tonight as I do every night. The Republican party is on a mission to politically assassinate the president's agenda across the board. They want to shoot down everything."
Odd bit of role reversal on today's Morning Joe . . .
There was Mika Brzezinski, ripping Charlie Crist as unprincipled for his mid-campaign ditching of the Republican party. Joe Scarborough, the quondam GOP congressman from the Sunshine State, was in a much more forgiving mood, going so far as to predict that, following in Crist's footsteps, many others would successfully go the independent route.
Mika and Joe's exchange was triggered by the news that Crist's own Lieutenant Governor, Jeff Kottkamp, has endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate.
Did you think that, with the perspective that time tends to impart, Alan Grayson would have backed off his unhinged allegation that Republicans wanted sick people to die quickly? Trick question! I did say Alan Grayson. On the evening's Ed Show, the dippy Dem congressman from Florida emphatically stated that his ugly assertion, made on the floor of the House, was "the truth."
Grayson was responding to the suggestion by Kurt Kelly--one of the seven Republicans vying for the right to knock Grayson off--that by missing a vote on an allocation of funds for our overseas military, perhaps Grayson wanted the troops to die. Kelly was clearly riffing off Grayson's earlier allegation. That didn't stop Grayson from taking great umbrage, claiming that the difference between his assertion and Kelly's was that Kelly was lying whereas he Grayson was telling "the truth."
These are some of the outtakes that the Ecuadoran plaintiff lawyer Steve Donziger probably wished were left on the cutting room floor.
Back in May 2009, CBS's "60 Minutes" featured a story on the legal conflict between Chevron and an eco-group called the Amazon Defense Coalition for $27.4 billion in so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites over a decade ago. However, in 1998, the government of Ecuador certified that Texpet, a minority partner in an exploration and production venture state-owned oil company PetroEcuador, had met Ecuadorian and international remediation standards and had released Texpet from future claims and obligations.
During that May 3 broadcast, Donziger was portrayed by CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley as a shining individual with a deeply rooted compassion for the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Outtakes of CBS's "Evening News" show Couric taking a few petty shots at Palin in her coverage leading up to the 2008 Republican National Convention. This five-minute clip has several highlights, showing Couric favoring "moose burgers and beauty pageants," instead of her professional credentials as mayor of Wasilla, a town Couric has trouble announcing, and her tenure as governor of Alaska.
CNN's Rick Sanchez again hinted that Fox News wasn't a legitimate news organization during his Rick's List program on Monday. When colleague Ed Henry mentioned that several news outlets were petitioning for a front-row seat at White House press briefings, Sanchez replied, "I understand the Associated Press. I even understand Bloomberg, but don't have you to be a news organization to get that seat?" [audio clips available here]
The anchor discussed the fight over the front-row seat with Henry and correspondent Brooke Baldwin during a segment 42 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Baldwin brought on the CNN White House correspondent to comment, as he's on the board of the White House Correspondents Association, which voted on the matter. Henry explained that "Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio were vying for it- all made strong cases. In the end, Fox [was] unanimously moved up to the front row, but did not get the seat Helen Thomas was in. We voted unanimously to move the Associated Press over to where Helen Thomas was."
Sanchez responded to the White House correspondent's explanation with his Fox-bashing remark, to which Henry replied, "Oh! Are you saying Fox is not a news organization?" The anchor retorted, "Yeah. I'm just wondering."