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
February 2009 was a pretty dark time for the conservative movement. The arguably most liberal president in the history of the United States has been sworn in to office just weeks early. The Congress had solid Democratic majorities in both chambers. And there were overtures that only way to save the nation from suffering the worst of a downtrodden economy was through an avalanche of costly legislation that would create huge budget deficits and ever-expanding bureaucracy.
But in the midst of that dark spell, CNBC's Rick Santelli lit the spark that ignited the conservative pushback. On CNBC's Feb. 19, 2009 "Squawk Box," Santelli called for a "tea party" in Lake Michigan to protest the idea the Obama administration was preparing to enact a massive housing bailout to reward people who took part in risky behavior by purchasing a home they couldn't afford.
You ee-vil Americans. You haven't contributed enough to Pakistani flood relief. And now you've been busted by Andrea Mitchell, who knows why you've been so miserly. It's prejudice. Prejudice I tell ya! View video here if not visible at right.
Mitchell teased her prejudiced-Americans theory at the top of her MSNBC show this afternoon, then trotted it out while talking with Ann Curry, who is in Pakistan.
How over the top was Andrea? Even fellow lib Curry had to gently talk Mitchell down, suggesting there was another very good reason why Americans would be cautious about sending money to Pakistan . . .
[Update; Thursday, 7:10 pm Eastern: Simmons admitted his error about the '93 World Trade Center bombing on his Twitter account: "Made critical error on CNN last nite. Was thinking of last major terrorist attack on US soil in OKC by McVeigh & mispoke"]
Russell Simmons, founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam, bizarrely and inaccurately claimed during an interview on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN that the perpetrators behind the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 were Christians: "If you're blaming Muslims for the attack on 9/11, then you need to change your mind. We didn't- did we blame Christians at the first World Trade attack? We didn't" [audio clip available here].
Host Larry King brought on Simmons to discuss the controversy over the New York City mosque near Ground Zero. He appeared immediately after an interview of New York Governor David Paterson, who attempted to negotiate with the planners behind the mosque in order to get its site moved. King first asked the entrepreneur to respond to the governor's efforts. He unequivocally supported the proposed worship space: "We should make every effort not to move it. I think it's critical that we recognize that we built this country on religious tolerance and on religious freedom. And so, if we want to penalize the two billion Muslims because of the actions of a few, then we have to examine the way we look at each other and all religions. So I think it would be a terrible idea to move the mosque."
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to his obsession with Fox News, stating that the network "obviously tends to lean way, way, way to the right." He did acknowledge this his competitors at MSNBC "tends to sway to the left," but went on to extend his "I play it down the middle" label of himself to his entire liberal network: "We happen to be in the middle, and that's the way we do things" [audio available here].
The anchor, who denied that he had any ideological leanings less than a month ago, brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin 17 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour to report on the political donations of News Corporation, which own their competitor, Fox News. Yellin reported that News Corp. "has given a million to the Republican Governors Association." Sanchez replied that "there is nothing wrong with giving money....Time Warner is a big company. I'm sure Time Warner gives money to different organizations, except I have no idea what it is." He then asked, "So, what I want from you is, the $1 million figure, all those zeroes...is it different? Is it substantially different?"
Last winter, as blizzard snowfalls piled up into several feet in the nation's capital, conservatives mocked global warming alarmists for trying to link weather incidents to global warming. But as summer heat waves, volcanoes and sinkholes have appeared recently, climate alarmists proved they missed the point.
But Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all promoted a connection between the extreme heat and weather around the world this summer and global warming. One CNN host asked if the events were the "apocalypse" or global warming. The Huffington Post proposed naming hurricanes and other disasters after climate change "deniers."
Joe Scarborough likes Haley Barbour. But he doesn't like the "optics" of the southern governor running for president against Barack Obama. Scarborough's worried that "certain networks" would "maul" the man Scarborough referred to as "Boss Hogg." [H/t reader Ray R.]
Interestingly, both the Politico's Jim VandeHei and Tina Brown of the Daily Beast were able to see more of an upside for Haley. VandeHei described him as best among Republicans at articulating conservative principles, while Brown saw the hands-on governor's potential as the "un-Barack."
For two days running, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" seemed overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the Ground Zero mosque to be built, despite a poll showing Americans being opposed to the construction of the mosque.
The panels included co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and liberal columnist Mike Barnicle as well as MSNBC contributors Mark Halperin, Norah O'Donnell, and Pat Buchanan. Their toughest rhetoric was reserved for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, due to his comments about the mosque being the equivalent of Nazis hanging a swastika next to a Holocaust memorial. But the talking heads also failed to give the American people's opposition to the mosque its just due.
Perhaps the biggest gem came from columnist Mike Barnicle, who described those Americans questioning the mosque as stuck in their own reality. "They're not really thinking about the idealistic trek, they're thinking about their own reality," Barnicle quipped. "And their own reality is that we were attacked on September 11. They're not making the connection to the Constitution, and that's where we are this morning."
Joe Scarborough called the whole debate a "wedge issue" that is distracting the country "from doing good things" such as "working on jobs." The co-host continued, saying the issue has become so much more complicated due to opposition to the mosque, and added that America giving in to "radicals" could worsen the whole debate.
One may think that someone as well connected as long-time Washington correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell might also connect the dots. After an unseasonably rough DC winter occurring right in the midst of the ClimateGate scandal, she would be aware of doubt being cast over the idea of manmade global warming.
But if you want evidence her mind is made up regardless of any of this, you could detect from her reaction to a report from Politco's Jim VandeHei that some Republican candidates are using the climate change debate to advance their campaigns. On MSNBC's Aug. 18 broadcast of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Mitchell expressed her surprise that candidates would invoke this issue.
"Well, you might think that the link between manmade greenhouse gases and global warming is clearly established science, but some Republican candidates are challenging conventional wisdom this year," Mitchell said.
Was Mark Halperin just mugging, or was he truly turned off by Donny Deutsch's antics on the set of Morning Joe today? Check the video and be the judge.
Here's the background: on the show's August 6th edition [a clip of which was played today and is seen in the video here], Deutsch turned up in a tight black T-shirt and proceeded to spend much of his appearance flexing for the cameras. He ended his self-promoting shtick by doing a set of push-ups as the closing comments rolled.
Deutsch, apparently doing sartorial penance, appeared in a three-piece suit this morning. But when Mika Brzezinski chided him for his macho act, going so far as to facetiously accuse him of "sexting" on the set, Deutsch couldn't resist recreating his previous performance, doing a set of dips on the desk.
Want to see a textbook example of how the left has tried to frame the debate against extending the Bush tax cuts? Take a look at Cenk Uygur, of "The Young Turks" fame, playing the class warfare/populism card.
On MSNBC's Aug. 17 broadcast of "The Dylan Ratigan Show," Uygur was up in arms over the argument that taxes shouldn't be raised by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. He alluded to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, who made the case in 2007 that the wealthy should give more to society.
"Look at what Warren Buffett said," Uygur said. "He's talking to 400 wealthy donors and he says, ‘Look, the 400 of us pay a lower part of our income in taxes than the receptionists do, than our cleaning ladies do. For that matter, if you're in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.'"
And Buffett has been a long-time advocate of higher tax rates - something easy to be for when you're one of the richest men in the world. However, Uygur says it's not good enough for Buffett to be charitable. According to Uygur, this "giving" must come in the form of "mandatory" higher taxes.
Not only did MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell hail President Obama's support of the Ground Zero mosque as "politically courageous," but she seemed disappointed when, on the next day, he walked back his comments a bit. On both her Monday and Tuesday MSNBC news hours, Mitchell seemed to emphasize that Obama once again kowtowed to the conservative media on an issue he was originally on the right side of.
Mitchell told Chuck Todd that Obama's remarks at the iftar dinner in support of the mosque were "politically courageous, in terms of domestic politics." She then asked why Obama then changed his tone the next day. She used the "politically courageous" phrase again, later on the show.
Chuck Todd, meanwhile, labeled the story as one "that was basically a creation of the conservative blogosphere in many ways."
Harry Reid may have deserted Pres. Obama over the Ground Zero mosque, but PBO can count on at least one stalwart defender: Norah O'Donnell.
On today's Morning Joe, the MSNBC "correspondent" declared that the prez is deserving of praise for his position. Then, dancing a quantum leap further, O'Donnell accused mosque opponents of acting "like the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people."
Ironically, just minutes earlier Mike Barnicle and Joe Scarborough were heaping scorn on Newt Gingrich for having said that the mosque has no more right to be built near Ground Zero than would a Nazi site near the Holocaust Museum or a Japanese one next to Pearl Harbor. The pair were horrified by Newt's analogy. But when Norah compared mosque opponents to the 9-11 murderers, Mike and Joe were peep-less.
On Monday's Morning Joe, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski went out of their way to defend President Obama's Friday statement defending the planned mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. Brzezinski cooed that the President "did the right thing by saying what he said." Scarborough labeled the remark "non-controversial," and later stated the controversy over the mosque was a "wedge issue" [audio clip available here].
As NewsBusters' Noel Shepard reported, the former Florida congressman turned MSNBC anchor blasted Newt Gingrich for his barrage against the President for his defense of the mosque. Earlier in the broadcast, just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour, Brzezinski related her personal anecdote about discussing the issue over her recent vacation, and went right into her "right thing" defense of the President's stance.
Scarborough replied to this by berating Gingrich, in an early preview of his later attack:
Subbing for Ed Schultz on MSNBC this evening, Cenk Uygur suggested that the roughly 70% of Americans who oppose the Ground Zero mosque are "ignorant." Uygur was debating the mosque matter with Republican strategist and former Newt staffer David Winston. Winston suggested that the people behind the mosque could, in light of the overwhelming oppposition of Americans to the plan, show sensitivity by agreeing to site it elsewhere.
That provoked Cenk's snide insult, which, as you'll see, actually revealed his own lack of knowledge on the subject . . .
Paul Krugman and Larry Kudlow - not exactly two guys you would associate with one another. However, they are two media figures Washington Post columnist Frank Ahrens thinks should be candidates for the same job.
In his case for Krugman, Ahrens wondered that since Krugman can talk the talk, can he walk the walk as well.
"Outside the academic world, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is best known for his New York Times columns arguing that the $787 billion, debt-busting stimulus bill was not enough, so even moderate Democrats -- not to mention conservatives -- might lose their minds with this pick. But maybe it's time for Krugman to put his money where his mouth is," Ahrens wrote. "You think government needs to spend more to get us out of this funk? Okay, Paul. Here's the key to the car."
Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Monday highlighted the worry that the proposed Ground Zero mosque could bring a "rising tide of Islamophobia in the country, with increasingly venomous fights over proposed new mosques in places like California, Wisconsin and Tennessee." [MP3 audio here.]
He repeated the argument of the mosque's proponents, saying, "Defenders point out that also close to Ground Zero are two strip clubs, an adult/lingerie store and an off-track betting parlor."
Aug. 14 was the 75th anniversary of Social Security, the largest government program and most troubled. Social Security is in the red this year - six years ahead of forecasts. The program faces a $41 billion shortfall this year alone.
The major anniversary of a program often nicknamed the "third-rail" of politics didn't even rate a mention on NBC "Nightly News." Instead, NBC celebrated an "iconic" children's cartoon: Dora the Explorer.
"If you've ever said the phrase: ‘Swiper, no swiping.' then you know the power of the little girl who made that phrase famous." Kate Snow enthusiastically teased. "Dora the Explorer will forever be a seven-year-old cartoon character, but this weekend marks the tenth anniversary of a ground-breaking show that has been almost inescapable for a generation of kids."
There seems to be a double-standard at MSNBC when it comes to upholding the Bill of Rights . . .
When people seek to build a mosque near Ground Zero, the consensus among MSNBC liberals seems to be that the exercise of First Amendment rights to freedom of religion cannot be questioned. But it was a different story at MSNBC when, hours before and blocks away from where Pres. Obama was scheduled to speak, a man exercised his Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Readers will recall the case of William Kostric. He was the New Hampshire man who was part of a protest group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in August 2009 when Pres. Obama came to town for a health care town hall.
Ironically, given the mosque controversy, Kostric was standing on . . . church property. But that made no difference to the wise men of MSNBC.
President Barack Obama’s endorsement Friday night of building a mosque near Ground Zero has driven the establishment press corps to find nobility in pursuing conviction even in the face of public opposition, not something MSM journalists admired about the previous President, while suddenly becoming very concerned about protecting private property rights – all while hailing Obama’s “great global message.” [MP3 audio here.]
“I thought the speech Friday night was a model of political courage, in the sense that he said what he believed knowing that it was going to cost him,” hailed Washington Post Associate Editor David Ignatius on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Picking up on Matthew Dowd’s suggestion Obama was echoing George W. Bush’s “it’s my way or the highway” attitude, Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, argued:
Another way of talking about that is leadership, conviction, having your beliefs and not governing according to polls. And I think if you ask most Americans what kind of leader you want, if you ask people in the world what kind of leader do you want, you want someone who governs according to conviction....for American leaders to say in the face of, you know, some political pressure from their voters, tosay actually we believe sufficiently strongly in diversity, in private property rights for our Muslim citizens, I think that's a great global message.
The August 16 Weekly Standard highlighted a striking change in views from Time’s Joe Klein, whose take seems to have changed to fit what’s fashionable. On August 2, in a “Swampland” blog post looking at President Obama’s speech touting the end of combat operations in Iraq, Klein fretted it “will not be remembered as vividly as George Bush's juvenile march across the deck of an aircraft carrier, costumed as a combat aviator in a golden sunset, to announce—six years and tens of thousands of lives prematurely—the ‘end of combat operations.’”
But back when Bush’s USS Lincoln landing occurred, Klein was more enthralled with it, asserting on the May 4, 2003 Face the Nation: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day.” (Video, from the MRC’s archive, is of the matching exchange between Bob Schieffer and Klein. Audio: MP3 clip.) The Weekly Standard’s “Scrapbook” page observed:
As Peter Wehner noted at the Commentary magazine blog Contentions, “Such bipolar shifts of opinion in a high-ranking public official would be alarming and dangerous; in a columnist and blogger, they are comical and discrediting.”
Even in that 2003 CBS appearance, however, Klein wasn’t happy about Bush’s successful PR maneuver, regretting how it illustrated the “major struggle the Democrats are going to have to try and beat a popular incumbent President.”
As the anchor of MSNBC's noon news hour, Contessa Brewer could not openly advocate for supporters of gay marriage – but she definitely seemed to give generous credence to their views on Thursday and Friday. Furthermore, she made snide comments about opponents of same-sex marriage, providing an opposition to their arguments but not seriously questioning proponents of same-sex marriage.
Brewer obviously has strong views on this particular issue, and as a news anchor seems to have trouble keeping her personal opinions out of her news desk duties. In the little time allotted during each show to the same-sex marriage debate, Brewer hosted three pro same-sex marriage guests and none from the opposition.
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.
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.