When Joe Scarborough wondered out loud "how many times can you set your hair on fire?" before viewers stop being shocked, you might have thought he was talking about Keith Olbermann, the man whose scenery-chewing soliloquies inspired an instant-classic Saturday Night Live skit.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe took turns ripping Beck's promotion of the rally at the Lincoln Memorial he's staging Saturday on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Riffing off a Colbert Show segment showing clips of Beck, Mika claimed he sounded like a drama student "on crack." Scarborough, suggesting Mika might have gone too far, surmised Beck might merely have taken "stupid pills."
Better strap in because we could be on a wild ride if what some economic prognosticators are saying is true - not just on a financial market basis, but politically as well.
Noted economist Nouriel Roubini has upped his forecast the economy could head into a double-dip recession. And CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer is predicting mass panic in the markets after tomorrow's gross domestic product report tomorrow. So based on a lot of this, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer suggested that economic fears have returned to the public. He was asked by Fox News Channel's "Special Report" host Bret Baier what all the negative data meant.
"Historically high and number of unemployed for more than six months also historically very, very high," Krauthammer said on the Aug. 26 broadcast of "Special Report." "I think there is something new happening in terms of the economy, at least the perception of it and that is a return of fear."
Once again, the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough hinted that "certain networks," (ahem, MSNBC) hold quite the double standard between Democrats and Republicans. When the subject matter was President Obama's snub of an Iraq War question during his vacation at Martha's Vineyard – he remarked "We're buying shrimp, guys" – Scarborough pointed out that network coverage of Bush would have been far more negative.
As NewsBusters reported last week, Scarborough also believes "certain networks" will "maul" Haley Barbour if he runs for President in 2012.
The show's co-host Willie Geist first opined that news coverage might have been different with President Bush. "I hate to make this point too often," he said, "but imagine for a moment George W. Bush were on his sixth vacation, and he was asked about Iraq, and he said 'I'm buying shrimp.' You think that wouldn't be a headline everywhere?"
"You're implying there's a double-standard, Willie," conservative guest Pat Buchanan snickered.
It is a curious phenomenon - the way the media have handled the economy since President Barack Obama has taken office. Generally the coverage has been on the optimistic side over the last 18 months. But could this blind optimism come back to haunt people that trade on economic metrics?
According to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, it will and in a big way on Aug. 27, when the new gross domestic product numbers are released. On CNBC's Aug. 26 broadcast of "Street Signs," Cramer predicted dismal numbers during his "Stop Trading" segment, which has been contrary to the way the market reacted.
"Look, I'm going to give you my forecast right now - I think we're going to get 0.5 percent GDP, OK?" Cramer said. "But, let's say we get 0.5 percent GDP. Everyone's going to say it's horrible. We're going to go track down economists, Nobel winners who think it's a double dip. And it'll be like shocker - 0.5 percent. And I'm telling you it's going to be 0.5 percent. It's like the housing number. On my show I said it's going to be declined 50 percent. We get 30 percent. It was like shocker. Whoever is making these estimates is just so wrong because you know, you piece these pieces together on a daily basis like I do and come up with something between zero and 1 percent growth."
Newly uncovered audio recorded at a forum in 2006 shows Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, reaffirming his belief that U.S. 'terrorism' fostered Islamic terrorism. (h/t Ace)
A president with close ties to an oil company helping hide the magnitude and damage of an oil spill would be big news, if he were a conservative. But it seems even when the environmentalists and the left are upset over President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill, the national news media barely notice.
That night two of the three network evening shows reported the widely disputed claim without question. Only NBC "Nightly News" included any people skeptical of the White House claim. The networks have only aired a few reports about scientists disputing the claim, and have ignored liberal outrage.
"[T]onight on these beaches some good news and relief," Matt Gutman told "World News" viewers. "A new government report says that 75 percent of that oil has been cleaned up either by man or Mother Nature. And it now seems this war against this oil is coming to an end."
Gutman's report on the success of the oil cleanup included President Obama and Browner, but not a single person who disagreed with the White House claim. The Boston Globe reported Aug. 20, that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution mapped a 22-mile-long underwater oil plume back in June. Other scientists at University of Georgia estimate that 70 to 79 percent of the oil from the leak remains, contrary to the White House assertion.
Never mind the personal feelings of people, which they're entitled to have, over the notion of a mosque being built in close proximity to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Those sensitivities have nothing to do with what's really going on. It's really all about President Barack Obama and his political opponents according to New York Times columnist Frank Rich.
On MSNBC's Aug. 26 broadcast of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow admitted she was befuddle that anti-Islam sentiment has seemingly peaked in the past few weeks and wondered why it has suddenly been brought to boil, with the mosque in question at the forefront.
"For all the bad decisions made post-9/11, we really didn't see a national, like, open partisan two-minutes hate toward Muslims the way we are seeing now about this mosque debate," Maddow said. "Why is it happening now?"
However over a year later, the comedienne shows no remorse for her remarks about Limbaugh. She appeared on the Aug. 25 broadcast of CNN's "Larry King Live" and revisited the occasion, which she said she hoped Limbaugh's "kidneys failed" since he wanted President Barack Obama to fail, even though that part of her attack on Limbaugh was conspicuously missing from the CNN highlight reel. Nonetheless, King asked her if she went too far, and Sykes said no.
KING: You think you went a little too far there? SYKES: Not at all. Not at all. KING: There's no connect here, right, between here and you, right? SYKES: Probably not. It might be a little speed bump, you know, just a little one.
"The old general might still have it in him ... 145 years after Appomattox, Grant won't have to surrender this one either." -- Katie Couric, Notebook, 8-25-10
What does it take to get Katie Couric to root for a military man? Put him in a fight against the MSM's great bogeyman, Ronald Reagan.
The CBS Evening News anchor devoted her Notebook yesterday to the battle to replace Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill with the Gipper. And Katie left little doubt--witness her concluding lines above--that she's pulling for the man who's buried in Grant's tomb to defeat the president who made Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall.
Wasn't comparing your political opponents to Nazis once a no-no? I mean, just remember how upset the liberal concern police would get if some wayward individual at a Tea Party event in some random place in the United States had a homemade sign protesting President Barack Obama and invoked Nazi Germany symbolism?
Well, you would think - or at least expect a national TV host (even with considerably lower ratings than his competition) would certainly avoid using Nazis symbolism to attack those with which they disagree, right? No, apparently it's just a double standard. On MSNBC's Aug. 25 "The Ed Show," a seemingly angry host Ed Schultz said he was "fired up" about the Aug. 28 Glenn Beck event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"This is the story that has me fired up tonight - Glenn Beck is distorting Martin Luther King's dream and his Tea Party followers are on edge," Schultz sais. "You know, I just sense that we are going down a very dangerous road right now when a political organization like the Tea Party has members trying to intimidate elected public officials."
Picking up where she left off last week, MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski on Tuesday and Wednesday cast opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as a "destructive" force, "demonizing" Muslims and "promoting ignorance."
Yet Brzezinski advocated Wednesday for a compromise between the two sides to be spearheaded by President Obama. When Joe Scarborough opined that President Obama, along with former presidents, needs to get involved in a compromise, Mika blurted out that "if [Obama] can have a summit in Boston between a professor and a cop, I think he can do this."
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panels largely supported the proposed Ground Zero mosque on both Tuesday and Wednesday, although they did show sympathy toward families of 9/11 victims. But the talking heads still would not give full credence to opponents of the mosque.
Perhaps the climax of the struggle came toward the end of Tuesday's 7 a.m. hour, where Mika faced off against the vice president of America's 911 Foundation, Nick Leischen. The organization supports active first responders nationwide in memory of the 9/11 attacks.
After Leischen, speaking for families of 9/11 victims, said that the mosque within sight of Ground Zero would be an affront to grieving persons returning to the site, Mika unleashed her tirade.
In a stunning display at a protest over the Ground Zero mosque, a Holocaust survivor was berated by a mosque supporter. The mosque supporter spews vulgarities at the holocaust survivor and at one point even says he "didn't learn his lesson". Content warning, we did not bleep out the profanities.
A recent court ruling found that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research violates laws prohibiting the government from using taxpayer money for research that destroys an embryo. The ruling has sent the evening network news broadcasts reeling.
While ABC's "World News" briefly reported on the ruling Aug. 23, the NBC "Nightly News" and CBS "Evening News" have both aired reports suggesting that the ruling would end life-saving research - in spite of the fact the embryonic research can continue if privately funded, and federal funding of adult stem cell research is unaffected.
NBC's Robert Bazell reported Aug. 24 that the ruling "left a lot of researchers fairly stunned." CBS's Wyatt Andrews called the ruling "a shock." But was it really? Neither report mentioned that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was severely restricted under the Bush administration, and was only widened by the Obama administration in July 2009.
We've heard the knocks on NBC and the institutional bias that exists in its network - from the subtle spin in its flagship network's news coverage at NBC to the over-the-top bias at its cable news channel MSNBC. So maybe the man behind the curtains at NBC Universal would like to be more overt with his opinions - as a politician?
On MSNBC's Aug. 25 "Morning Joe," Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, addressed both his possible political aspirations and bringing back one of the network's former star personalities. Host Joe Scarborough asked Zucker where his political interests were at this stage.
"You know Joe - look, politics is something I've always had an interest in," Zucker said. "It is something I've always thought about. It is not something that is on my current radar. It's not something I'm thinking about in the next few years, but it is something that I would always consider. I think - I love politics. I would love to give back. I would love to serve. I would love to do something, but it is not imminent. It's nothing now."
It is vile bitterness put on display for America every night of the week - even though not as many people tune in as they do to his competitor. But, still Keith Olbermann seems to obsess over the Fox News Channel.
On the Aug. 24 broadcast of his show "Countdown," Olbermann demonstrated just how sensible the so-called "professional left" can be when criticizing things they perceive to be antithetical to their world view. At the top of his "Worst Persons in the World" segment, viewers were treated to a bonus attack on Fox News, who Olbermann mockingly tried to portray as a sponsor of the show's segment.
"Get out your pitchforks and torches -- time for tonight's worst persons in the world brought to you by Fox News Channel: Official propaganda arm of Glenn Beck's ‘I Have a Scheme' speech, book tour rollout and 100 percent guaranteed in advance miracle. Fabricating and promoting events and then covering them as if they were news since 1996," Olbermann said. "I wish there was a joke here. There isn't. Fox News Channel: Making [expletive] up since 1996."
Recently Eyeblast went to New York City to interview people on the street about the Ground Zero mosque. One of the people we interviewed was a Muslim supporter of the mosque who tells Americans they need to "get over" 9/11.
During the 3 p.m. MSNBC news hour Monday, anchor Chris Jansing asked the question and hosted an expert who supplied the seemingly desired answer. The question: Could President Obama make a mid-term comeback similar to President Reagan in 1982? The answer: Absolutely.
The two discussed the similarities of the situations faced by the presidents, and seemed to conclude that if the economy turns around, President Obama would almost certainly be re-elected.
It is a big if, but the short segment seemed quite focused on what would happen after the economy turns around. The two didn't bother to discuss what would happen if the economy continues to be stagnant, or takes a turn for the worse.
"There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to Ground Zero. But we can not let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values." -- Katie Couric's Notebook, 8-23-10 [emphasis added]
Hey Norah: Katie's stealin' yer lines!
As I noted here, last week Norah O'Donnell accusedmosque opponents of acting "like the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people."
In her "Notebook" of yesterday, Katie Couric sounded the same theme. Couric employed WTC imagery to claim that "fear and rage" [translation: animated mosque opponents] were threatening "to tear down the towers" of our core American values.
Appearing on the Late Show on Monday night to plug his Friday night Dateline on the 5th anniversary of Katrina, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams bizarrely asserted “we're still enjoying the fruits really of the Clinton economy,” claimed Tea Party activists who say “we want our country back” want it back “from the Trilateral Commission” and ridiculed their presumed hypocrisy as he insisted “you see a lot of signs, ‘Federal Government Out of My Social Security,’ ‘Federal Government Out of My Medicare and Medicaid.’ But for the federal government, of course, those programs would not exist.”
Plus, he passed along how “I'm hearing a few people say” that President Barack Obama won’t run for re-election because he “wants to somehow transcend the presidency,” citing a British columnist who contends he was “never supposed to be an ordinary President.” Williams considered the possibility Obama could be as consequential as Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton: “Jimmy Carter converted the post-presidency, redesigned the idea of an ex-President. Solving diseases and bad elections around the world. Bill Clinton with the Clinton Global Initiative trying to do the same thing.”
Dylan Ratigan's "Daily Rant" segment was a treasure trove of controversial statements today. You be the judge of which statement rates higher on the controversy-meter:
Ratigan's claim that the "default position" in the USA is to incarcerate black men rather than educate them; or
Blogger Keli Goff's suggestion that to end the cycle of poverty among African-Americans, and to avoid burdening taxpayers, kids should be taught in school that not everyone should have children.
Ratigan's rather-imprison-than-educate African-Americans accusation is refuted by the facts, starting with the fact that the school district that spends more per pupil than any other in the USA is . . . that of the federally-funded District of Columbia, whose students are predominantly African-American.
As for the suggestion from Keli Goff [a youthful veteran of various Dem political campaigns], can you imagine the outrage and the accusations of eugenics if a conservative blogger, particularly one of pallor, proposed that kids be taught not to have children as a solution, among other things, for reducing the burden of African-Americans on taxpayers?
Actor Jon Voight appeared on the August 22 "Huckabee" to discuss, among other things, his conservative activism and the media's misrepresentation of the Tea Party movement.
Here's a sample:
MIKE HUCKABEE: We heard that there were people yelling racial epithets at some of the members of Congress. Did you hear anything like that?
JON VOIGHT: You know, when you saw this, folks, and you all read these things or you saw them on television, these rumors... are being distributed as truth. And I'm going to tell you the quality of people that are in the Tea Parties are of such high moral character that if anybody in a group of those people came forth with a racial slur they would be called on the carpet... and they wouldn't stand for it, and we would know their names today. But there's no evidence of any of this, there's no evidence that these things really happened that were portrayed as news.
For interview highlights, check out the video montage we've assembled by clicking the play button in the embed above. Alternately, you can download the MP3 audio here or the WMV video here.
Time magazine's Mark Halperin engaged in the ultimate condescension Monday morning, arguing that families of 9/11 victims need to be guided by others into the Ground Zero mosque debate.
"For the families of the victims of 9/11, whatever emotions they want to have, I respect and I honor. But somebody needs to lead them through a discussion," Time's senior political analyst lectured on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He mentioned a meeting that reportedly took place between the mosque's planners and the 9/11 families, which he insisted "needs to happen."
Halperin said the meeting "did not go well," but added it was and is necessary. "As I said before, whether it moves or stays, that discussion must happen. This must be done with reconciliation. And it's got to be led by leaders, not by people like Rick Lazio...and facts," Halperin noted.
The show picked up fresh from where it left off last week, bashing the supposedly inflammatory rhetoric from the right opposing the mosque and sympathizing – while disagreeing – with the families of 9/11 victims over the planned mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero.
The mainstream media are telling us that "it's the fringe that's upset" about the Ground Zero mosque, but polling data show "it's 70 percent of the American people," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on Friday's "Hannity" program.
"That means every conservative, every moderate, and some liberals too" think the Ground Zero mosque is in extremely poor taste, leaving only "the far left and people still dropping acid," who fail to see why it's controversial, the Media Research Center founder quipped.
"If Barack Obama runs on this in 2012, he will make Jimmy Carter look good by comparison.... This is how bad this position is, and everybody understands it except for the press," Bozell argued later in the "Media Mash" segment.
For the segment's audio, click here to download the MP3. Click the play button on the embed above for video, or click here to download the WMV video file.
E! Online "The Awful Truth" columnist Ted Casablanca on Aug. 21 called the graphic depictions of sex and violence on HBO's vampire drama "True Blood" "highly ironic" and promoted the show as "great fun."
Casablanca defended the show on Fox News Channel's "Geraldo at Large" in a discussion with host Geraldo Rivera and Culture and Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel. The debate was sparked by the controversy surrounding a recent Rolling Stone magazine cover that depicted "True Blood" stars naked and covered in (fake) blood.
Burchfiel pointed out that while the shows originate on premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime, many "worst-of" clips are available online within hours of broadcast, and many popular shows like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" have found their way onto basic cable via syndication, a likely future for "True Blood."
"It's highly ironic, Geraldo," Casablanca said of the show, adding, "It's a highly intelligent, very clever indictment of the very conversation that we're having right now and it's an allegory to our times."
Talk about your teachable moments, the Ground Zero mosque controversy has taught us in just what contempt some in the liberal media hold their fellow Americans.
As I noted here, last week on MSNBC, Cenk Uygur accused Americans who oppose the mosque of being "ignorant." Washington Post blogger Joel Achenbach upped the ante, calling Americans "numbskulls, dumb, ill-informed, paranoid, gullible and goofy." This weekend on Fox News Watch, Ellis Henican also used the i-word, saying that when it comes to the mosque, pundits shouldn't be as "ignorant" as other Americans. Jim Pinkerton pounced, pointing out the MSM's preening moral superiority that Henican had illustrated.
Henican had opened the mosque segment by saying that those such as himself who live in lower Manhattan are more receptive to the mosque than people who live farther away, speculating that in Idaho are 99% against it. Later came this exchange . . .
Yesterday Eyeblast.tv went up to New York City to interview people about the proposed Ground Zero mosque. While there, we were able to interview a security guard outside of the mosque location who said he was a long-time friend and follower of the Ground Zero imam.
Editor's Note: For the list of NewsBusters T-shirt contest winners, skip to the end of this post.
All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Five for Five.
In our final installment, we look at the Top Five Outrageous Outbursts by liberal media journalists and/or celebrities over the past five years. We start with an honorable mention we just couldn't let pass without notice: Ted Turner from April 2008 predicting that global warming would lead to mass cannibalism.
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
"And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." -- candidate Barack Obama, remarks at fundraiser, April, 2008
Discussing with Andrea Mitchell today the kerfuffle over Pres. Obama's Christianity, Chuck Todd hearkened back to PBO's infamous bitter-clinger line. Obama offered his pronouncement at a private, hoity-toity fundraiser in San Francisco—and Todd claimed Obama didn't mean to demean by it.
According to Todd [quoting Paul Begala], Obama is his mother's son, and like the anthropologist she was, he was simply offering an anthropological analysis of the plight of those poor rural Pennsylvanians.
Every time the question about President Barack Obama's faith is brought up, the wizards of smart in the mainstream media get up in arms about "right-wingers" or "tea partiers" perpetuating those allegations. But is it possible that by devoting so much attention to these issues of Obama's faith and his citizenship, the media are creating the very feeding frenzy they're appalled by?
On CNN's Aug. 19 "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer led his program off with at what first glance is a startling chyron: "W.H.: Pres. Obama Isn't Muslim". That graphic was in response to a recent Pew Research Center poll that found 18 percent of respondents thought Obama was Muslim.
Later in the program, Blitzer went to his panel - CNN political analyst James Carville and Washington Times columnist and Heritage Foundation fellow Tony Blankley. Initially Carville said he didn't have a clear explanation.
Video with partial transcript and commentary below fold