In his daily press briefing earlier today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at a question by conservative-leaning WCBM Radio host Les Kinsolving as "far afield" from a question posed just a moment earlier on the February 17 nationwide conversion to digital television (DTV).
Other reporters could be heard scoffing Kinsolving as well as the embedded video shows. Relevant transcript below (emphasis mine):
LES KINSOLVING, WCBM Radio: Can I follow that up?
ROBERT GIBBS, White House Press Secretary: Yes sir.
KINSOLVING: Thank you, so much. A number of Democrats in Congress want to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which, before it was repealed applied only to electronic media and not to any print media-
GIBBS: Lester, I thought we were talking about DTV.
On this evening's Hardball, Dick Armey told Joan Walsh:
I'm so damn glad that you could never be my wife, cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day.
The former Republican representative from Texas had been wrangling with Salon editor Walsh over the politics of the stimulus package and the role Rush Limbaugh has been playing, when things got out of hand . . . [H/t reader JF.]
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”
All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).
Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”
Sean Hannity debuted his “Media Mash” segment Friday night on his FNC show with NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham as the guest expert to comment on a series of clips, most familiar to NB readers, of the most sycophantic inaugural coverage. Under the “Morning Bias” heading, Hannity ran a bunch of sappy pro-Obama clips from Tuesday coverage, all of which NewsBusters has showcased:
That's one of the selling points used over and over again by pundits, as they are paraded out repeatedly on broadcast and cable network news programs - that so-called "shovel-ready" projects will challenge economic woes by revitalizing something we need to do anyway. But only 3 percent of the Obama stimulus plan is slated for such projects.
"The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals," CBS correspondent Chip Reid said on CBS's Jan. 12 "The Early Show." "The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to 4 million jobs. Republicans are raising red flags about the amount of spending."
So asked Chris Matthews of Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy on today's edition of "Hardball." Gaffney was joined by liberal pundit David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in a segment around 5:20 p.m. ET and they were discussing the call by liberal Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) for a war crimes investigation of senior Bush administration officials and terrorist detainee interrogators.
For video of the exchange, click the play button on the embedded video.
CNBC rabble-rouser and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer questioned the merits of Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary-designate, and told viewers on CNBC's Jan. 22 "Street Signs" that, had he been in Geithner's shoes, he'd face criminal prosecution.
"I happen to have a meeting with my lawyers just to discuss this - with my battalion of lawyers, the $2,000-a-hour gang - and you know, they would say if it was Cramer, I would be prosecuted, maybe criminally prosecuted," Cramer said. "And my lawyers were somewhat shocked that on Chris Matthews I said it was OK, given the fact they said Geithner better get himself the best lawyer in town."
Tuesday's broadcast media inaugural coverage "really was over-the-top" with journalists falling over themselves to describe the Obama ceremony in glorious overtones, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell told the crew of "Fox & Friends" earlier this morning.
"Look, Obama is their investment. They did the best they could to elect him," and now the media will avoid sharply criticizing the man they helped put in office, the NewsBusters publisher told Fox News Channel viewers, appearing via video link from the MRC's new studio in Alexandria, Va. [audio excerpt available here]
Yet even if they wanted to critically cover the new president, the downsizing of the mainstream media ensures that they don't have the staff to provide the public with hard-hitting reporting, Mr. Bozell added.
Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism on Wednesday night’s "Hardball," as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama, "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. To see Limbaugh's quote in full context visit his official site. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break (audio excerpt here):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a sound bite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of "Hardball":
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday featured video messages from young children to Barack Obama. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that the kids, ranging in age from seven to 17, had "strong opinion[s]." Yet, every single one of these youths spouted the type of liberal propaganda usually reserved for people like Keith Olbermann and not one conservative voice was featured. One young boy sputtered, "Stop the wars. And- because more people die. And it's just- they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die."
Another child, who couldn't have been older than seven, bizarrely informed, "All this time, I've been alive, I've been having white presidents. And I think now, it's- this is my chance to have a black president." One boy incorrectly wondered, "And how come people who earn millions of dollars pay less taxes than us middle-class people?" A regulation-minded girl pleaded, "I want you to make people stop littering because our Earth is dying." Of course, this pleased liberal weatherman Sam Champion, who sat next to Cuomo. After the segment, he approved, "You heard global warming and trees and recycling. That's great. That's great."
Time magazine columnist and Obama apologist Joe Klein opened his January 21 piece by exulting in how "stunning and cathartic" it was to hear President Barack Obama begin to recite the presidential oath of office:
A man named Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of the United States. He came to us as the ultimate outsider in a nation of outsiders — the son of an African visitor and a white woman from Kansas — and he has turned us inside out. That he leads us now is a breathtaking statement of American open-mindedness and, yes, our native liberality.
It didn't take long for Klein to go from singing Obama's praises to cursing the outgoing president and the chief justice he named to the Supreme Court. It seems his Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) may be mutating into a new virulent strain, JRDS, which should last the length of John Roberts's tenure:
Norah O'Donnell just mocked the manhood of the Senate Republicans. The MSNBC host was discussing with Tucker Carlson how—despite making noises about wanting more financial disclosure about donations to Bill Clinton's foundation—Republicans have announced their intention to vote for Hillary's confirmation as Secretary of State nonetheless.
O'Donnell wondered out loud whether the Republicans "have kind of lost their cojones."
After nearly two years of favorable treatment from seemingly every corner of the media since he announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2006, Obama is still finding ways to delight his biggest fans.
On his first day on the job, Obama announced "a new standard of openness" at a swearing in ceremony for senior members of his administration. According to CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, that was greeted with cheers from the CNBC studio.
"Not to belabor the whole point of the Freedom of Information Act, but politically brilliant in a way to immediately co-opt the press," Caruso-Cabrera said on CNBC's Jan. 21 "Power Lunch." "I mean a big cheer went up here - journalists of the world rejoice and automatically you have pleased a big part of the folks that are going to be covering you."
Among President Barack Obama's abundant initial achievements -- bringing peace to Gaza by the mere specter of his looming presidency, at least according to Rachel Maddow.
Maddow's gooey reverence for Obama was on full display Monday night as her MSNBC show was broadcast live from the Mall in Washington.
Teasing an upcoming segment, Maddow made this confident assertion --
Coming up on part two of our very last Lame Duck Watch, NBC correspondent Richard Engel will join us live with the latest news from Gaza City, for the last legacy of the Bush administration abroad may be Israeli troops pulling out of Gaza literally on the occasion and because (forefinger raised for further emphasis) Barack Obama is being inaugurated tomorrow.
The man hasn't even taken office and we're already witnessing retreat.
Back in December, you may recall, slapped around a Catholic priest and parochial school principal for pulling an Obama book off the shelves out of concern that it may push values contrary to Catholic moral teachings. Tomaso quipped that at least the priest didn't conduct a book burning.
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama’s inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event."
Smith continued to use religious language throughout the report: "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures."
Smith later concluded the segment by hoping: "And the agenda and the problems, you just hope that some of the momentum, some of the inspiration of yesterday, can continue to filter through the culture." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez agreed: "I thought the same thing. I was standing there with everyone, thinking back to the last time that I was on the Mall watching an inauguration. It was 1989 and I was a college student here in Washington. And there I was yesterday, older, not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and yet, more optimistic, because you couldn't help but get caught up in that euphoria and that optimism and that hope. And waking up this morning, you just hope, you know, you have your fingers crossed that it continues."
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering “can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?” He decided it can indeed since “never have so many people shivered so long with such joy” while “from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” Weir was certainly awed.
Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could “feel” the masses watching from around the nation: “While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all.”
"The thing I noticed... the smell change. You can smell the fuel. There's a very large carbon footprint out here. Were we taxing this, it would be expensive," Fox New Channel anchor Shepard Smith quipped to colleague Neil Cavuto, in live coverage from Washington shortly before 4 p.m. on Inauguration Day.
Smith and Cavuto were watching the slow-moving presidential limousine make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the presidential parade reviewing stand.
Reflecting on the mood of the crowd at Barack Obama's Inauguration, NBC's Tom Brokaw likened it to when he was present for the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. During NBC's live coverage of Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday, Brokaw declared, "It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution," and while Brokaw noted "a communist regime," was not being overthrown he pointed out, "an unpopular president is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment." [audio available here]
The following Brokaw blurb was aired at around 10:02am EST on NBC's January 20 pre-Inaugural speech coverage:
"Good Morning America" kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted, "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope." (audio clip here)
The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."
Updated: 2009-01-20 18:30:39
As a comparison, how did "Good Morning America" begin its coverage of President Bush's second inaugural on January 20, 2005? For that show, an announcer narrated: "This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush. Live from the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings." There was no flowery introduction, no repeating of campaign talking points, just a simple opening accompanied by pictures and videos of past inaugurations.
"Up to this point, there's very much a mirage going on. Barack Obama is what people want him to be. It is not the real thing, yet. He hasn't been tested yet. Once he's tested, then we are going to see the real Barack Obama. I hope he does well," Brent Bozell told the crew of "Fox & Friends" this morning. (audio available here)
The MRC president and NewsBusters publisher braved the cold and heavy inaugural security to appear with FNC's Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade on the roof of the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, where he gave some advice to the incoming president, assessed the outgoing chief executive's engagement with the media, and slammed the media for failing to cover President Bush's farewell address.
On the latter:
BRENT BOZELL, MRC President: Let me give you a fascinating statistic. And this is truly, I think, offensive. On Thursday night, George Bush gave his farewell address to the American people. It's the only real public thing he's done.
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: We covered it the next day a lot.
BOZELL: Friday morning, ABC, NBC, CBS, a grand total of 7 hours combined coverage. Guess how much time they gave to George Bush's farewell address, combined? Fifty-eight seconds.
Look no further than New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's recent appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" for why its namesake should invite guests who don't share her worldview more often than the current once-monthly clip, the better to sharpen the discourse.
Herbert appeared on Maddow's MSNBC program Jan. 13 to describe why he opposes President-elect Barack Obama's plans to double US troop strength in Afghanistan from the current 30,000 soldiers.
What follows is a transcript of the conversation between Maddow and Herbert, with my criticism afterwards. Words that are italicized indicate emphasis by the speaker, words in bold represent my emphasis --
Never mind how Barack Obama will magically bring “diversity,” “excellence” and “unity” to America, “Santa Claus” loves the incoming administration. Seconds before 5 PM EST Monday afternoon on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked a woman in the crowd around MSNBC's platform on Washington's Mall: “What do you think this next administration brings to the country?” The woman, wearing a Santa Claus hat more than three weeks after Christmas, excitedly replied:
I think they bring diversity. I think they bring a spirit of excellence. I think they bring unity and they bring love. Santa Claus loves them.
You'd think Santa Claus would be jealous of Obama for intruding on his specialty of giving away stuff. But maybe the woman was mixed up and meant to say that Obama is just as great as Santa Claus because she expects to get hand outs from him too.
And the media, 'one of Barack Obama's major constituencies,' don't complain.
The Obama Inauguration Committee sold coverage of inaugural events, effectively limiting the number of Americans who can view them and undercutting Obama’s claims of accessibility, according to Business & Media Institute VP Dan Gainor.
“Barack Obama, in his last radio address before he becomes president says this is going to be the most accessible administration in history,” Gainor said in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Weekend Live” on Jan. 18. “Well, they’re already proving the lie to that.”
HBO paid $5 million to broadcast Sunday’s concert from the Lincoln Memorial. That meant that only HBO subscribers and the 37 percent of cable customers that have digital cable could watch. The Inauguration committee made a similar arrangement for coverage of a children’s concert scheduled for Monday night. Even C-Span was denied access to the events.
The crowd on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show is a loud, very left-wing chorus, as if they were borrowed from Bill Maher’s HBO set. On Wednesday’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart (now endorsed as a spokes-comedian for Jewish Voice for Peace) discussed Israeli-Palestinian relations as "two abused children" in a dysfunctional relationship. His guest was Newsweek International editor and CNN host Fareed Zakaria, who demonstrated the easiest thing to do for applause and whoops and cheer is blame President Bush for everything:
STEWART: Israel and the Palestinian situation, is that – does Obama change the game here? Can the game be changed? Or are we just watching two abused children consummate this dysfunctional relationship until both are mortally wounded? I mean what are we -- what are we dealing with?
When the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Eric Holder, the media ignored his personal ideological activism. NewBusters Tim Graham recently wrote about how differently the media treated John Ashcroft’s confirmation as opposed to Holder's.
Silence and the media are going hand in hand with the Holder confirmation. The mainstream media is not going after Holder in regards to his involvement with the Marc Rich and FALN pardons, for example.
The mainstream media also claimed that Ashcroft would put ideology over his duties at the Department of Justice. Here are some clips from columnists at a PBS Online Newshour segment during Ashcroft’s 2001 confirmation hearing(emphasis mine throughout:)