Here’s a shocking statement about the behavior of the White House Press Corps at the Correspondent’s Dinner: “What I saw the other night was like a bunch of teenage girls waiting for a Bay City Rollers concert, ready to scream at their the top of their lungs.”
The content of this statement is not nearly so shocking, however, as who said it – a member of the media, one Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. That’s right, a member of the media is actually talking about media bias. And even more bewildering, he wasn’t the only one. Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, agreed:
BRZEZINSKI: I definitely agree with you, I saw that there, Joe, and even the people running the behind the scenes trying to figure out what shots to put on the air, were like, ooh look at Michelle Obama, she looks so good. Go to him, go to him! What? [...] They were in love. It was weird.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and weatherman Dave Price described attending Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner and Smith commented on the controversial joke about Rush Limbaugh made by comedian Wanda Sykes: "She told a joke about Rush Limbaugh as being one of the -- one of the hijackers and the reason he didn't make the flight was because he was, you know, on drugs or whatever...And the whole place -- yeah -- so the whole place groaned, and I ran into Keith Olbermann afterwards...And he said 'I'm not sure, I think that was probably -- probably in bad taste.' I said 'what do you think her job is?’"
In one of many jokes attacking conservatives, Sykes remarked: "I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on oxycontin he missed his flight." Apparently, while even left-wing bomber thrower Keith Olbermann thought that was over the line, Smith defended Sykes: "Well, you know what, any comedian, anybody who does that job, their job is to push the envelope...You can't go home -- you can't go home to the community of comedians unless you've gone too far."
Co-host Julie Chen later wondered: "But how did the room react, you guys, who was there?" Smith replied: "They groaned, serious groan...And Michelle Obama, in particular, was very uncomfortable with some of Wanda Sykes." Dave Price explained: "It was pretty much the only groan. I mean, there were a couple of other small ones. But she was -- she was pretty much en fuego [on fire]."
On Friday, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" program in the "Great American Panel" segment. The topics included the stimulus package:
BRENT BOZELL: No one read this bill in the Congress, because we had to pass it because there was such a need to get this going so we could create jobs and give everything away. How much of the stimulus bill have we spent? Four percent. So much for that need. This is a fraud.
SEAN HANNITY: So this was really about bigger government? This is a fraud. This was greater control of government.
Also discussed was the resignation of White House Military Office director Louis Caldera, who authorized the ill-advised low-altitude flyover of lower Manhattan by Air Force One:
You might expect this sort of simple revelation from the New York Times reporting, but a May 11 article declared that when Chevron hires a former reporter to tell the company's side of the story, it's intended to make them look good - or not as bad as the eco-activists deem appropriate.
After CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a one-sided segment attacking Chevron (NYSE:CVX) for a mess the oil company contends it is not responsible for, a Times article by Brian Stetler questioned the merits of their efforts to counter the claims, specifically in hiring a former CNN reporter to speak on the company's behalf.
"As a demonstration of just how far companies will go to counteract negative publicity, the Chevron case is extraordinary," Stetler wrote. "Gene Randall, a former CNN correspondent, spent about five months on the project, which was posted on the Internet in April, three weeks before the ‘60 Minutes' report was shown on May 3."
On the heels of President Barack Obama's weekend radio address, where he lobbied for so-called credit card reform, "CBS Evening News" chimed in calling the legislation "help" for small business borrowers.
"Evening News" anchor Russ Mitchell referred to Obama's address about the need for new credit card regulation on May 10 and backed up Obama's claim with data from the Center for Responsible Lending, an activist organization that calls for more stringent regulation of all lenders.
"President Obama called, this weekend, for passage of his credit card consumer protection bill by the end of the month," Mitchell said. "According to a recent survey, four out of five Americans are paying lots more since December. The Center for Responsible lending found that an estimated 10 million users were hit by rate increases of at least 10 percent. And, it's not just consumers who are paying the price - nearly half of all small business owners have seen interest rates higher than 15 percent during the past four months."
If you want to know when the economy is making a comeback, keep a watchful eye on the frequency of high oil and gas price reports in the news.
Throughout 2007 and the first half of 2008, viewers were inundated with high gas and oil price reports on cable and broadcast news. But since hitting $147 back in July 2008, oil prices have plummeted into the low-$40 range mid-January and so has the frequency of doom-and-gloom oil warnings.
However, crude has since rallied into the upper-$50s. And, as crude has rallied, predictions of oil hitting unfathomable heights appear to be making a comeback as well. CNBC's May 8 "The Kudlow Report" considered that $300-a-barrel oil was a possibility.
Chris Matthews just can't get it up. The Democratic Party label that is.
On the May 8 "Hardball", the MSNBC anchor noted in his Political Sideshow segment that Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Bob Brady (Pa.), are up in arms about erectile dysfunction drug ads running on television and are sponsoring legislation before the House to ban television stations from running ads for drugs like Viagra and Cialis from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Democratic congressmen argue the ads are indecent for children. [get audio for download here]
While the legislation's premise seems prudish at worst and laughably silly at best, Matthews insisted that the congressmen, who are "regular guys" and "both friends of mine" were simply "looking out for the kids." All the same, he failed to give the Democratic Party credit for threatening the cold shower of government regulation on the drug commercials.
Mother's Day was invented by Anna Jarvis, a West Virginian who, from 1907 to 1914 devoted considerable energy to establishing state and national holidays marking Mother's Day. Jarvis's inspiration, of course, was her deep devotion to her late mother.
"I feel like Mother's Day is a man's holiday. You know, because it was put together, a woman didn't put together Mother's Day. A woman put together several other holidays but Mother's Day was not one of them," the moderator of ABC's "The View" insisted on the May 8 program.
The faulty assertion came during a chat with Alyse Myers, author of "Who Do You Think You Are?", which chronicles her strained relationship with her mother.
For your TGIF viewing fun, NBC “Today” show co-host Meredith Vieira has lost control of her verbal filters again.
From Vieira’s Super Bowl week performance, in which she claimed that she and NBC weatherman Al Roker were “moist,” to the last unfortunate double-entendre involving speculation on the past tense of “Tweet,” the morning show hostess today wondered whether the Statue of Liberty was wearing undergarments beneath her robes.
Once again, colleague Matt Lauer played the long-suffering professional, keeping a straight face. Weatherman Al Roker, however, pounced. Video of the latest gaffe is embedded at right.
Are you gonna eat that? According to CNN host Rick Sanchez and one of his May 7 guests, your answer is being decided for you by food industry "manipulation."
"Here's a question that you've probably never thought of when reaching for that next bag of chips or that can of soda. Is it you who's actually deciding what to eat or how much to eat? Or is someone really deciding for you?" Sanchez asked before introducing Dr. David Kessler, former chief of the Food and Drug Administration and author of The End of Overeating.
Sanchez summarized Kessler's argument saying "you and I are being programmed, kind of like manipulated like Pavlov's dog" for profit. No representative from the food industry was brought on to rebut Kessler's claims.
"You suggest the nation's food industry is intentionally creating adult baby food. What does that mean," Sanchez asked Kessler.
Kessler replied, "Much of our food that we are eating is predigested. It's pre-fried, it's bathed in sugar and fat ... Today the food goes down in one or two chews. It's a woosh, you get that a sensory hit and you just reach for more."
The NewsBusters publisher appeared on the May 8 "Fox & Friends" to address how the media consider Hasselbeck "controversial" for teaching her kids to believe the Bible's creation account rather than labeling liberal co-host Behar "controversial" for suggesting that teaching children creationism is "child abuse."
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: So they label Elisabeth as controversial or as the conservative but Joy Behar is always labeled the comedian!
With much fanfare, President Barack Obama rolled out his intentions to cut $17 billion from the federal budget on May 7. But despite the spinmeisters, not everyone was buying it.
"The White House today played up its proposed cuts to the federal budget," ABC "World News" anchor Charles Gibson said on his May 7 broadcast. "That budget plays up to $3.6 trillion. The White House wants to trim a tiny fraction - $17 billion. The president, arguing that seemingly small amount is a step in the right direction."
And that's exactly what ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper emphasized during his report on the budget cuts.
Back in March, CNBC in what seemed to be an effort to pander to critics on the left, officially named former DNC chair and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean a CNBC contributor.
But aside from campaigning for left-wing MoveOn.org causes in his spare time, Dean will appear on daily CNBC programming. But on the May 7 "Power Lunch," Dean, a contributor for the network with the slogan, "First in Business Worldwide," explained to viewers we've had enough capitalism after conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis derided the president for supporting bailouts over bankruptcy. (h/t IHTM)
"I think we had quite enough capitalism in the last eight years and I think we need some regulation now," Dean said.
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer and ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos lauded Barack Obama for his handling of the banking crisis on Thursday. Sawyer even saw the government administered stress tests as a "mission accomplished" moment. On the news that many of the banks given billions in bailout money won't need more, the morning show anchor cooed, "So, George, is this the day that this administration can say, on the banking front, they've sailed through the eye of the needle? They've landed a Hail Mary pass?" [audio available for download here]
At this point, Sawyer engaged in some belated bashing of George W. Bush. In an allusion to the banner above President Bush during his 2003 visit to an aircraft carrier, the host held up a sign that read "mission accomplished." She joked, "And dare I say- I had this sign made just for you. Dare they say it?" Joining in, Stephanopoulos, the "This Week" host and former Clinton aide, quipped, "You're the last person who is ever going to hold up one of those signs. I think President Bush ruined it for everybody."
Chris Matthews apparently thinks the GOP is just one big bag of crazy.
MSNBC's "Hardball" host challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on the Republican Party's commitment to addressing climate change during the May 5 broadcast. Matthews claimed to Pence that the GOP is not passionate about environmentalism because, "There are people that really are against science in your party who really do question not just the science behind the climate change but the science behind evolutionary fact, that we were taught - you and I - in our biology books. They don't accept the scientific method. They believe in belief itself."
Matthews prefaced his argument with, "There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we've discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible."
Once upon a time, there was Dylan Ratigan, host of CNBC's "Fast Money," and co-host of that network's "Closing Bell." He was never partisan and willing to criticize both political parties in Washington, D.C. Now he seems to think Bristol Palin has taken Karl Rove's job as the sinister mastermind of Republican politics.
"The thing that really stands out to me with this, because the hypocrisy is obvious - it's as obvious as a closeted gay senator voting against gay marriage," Ratigan said. "There's a prevalence in politics of this type of behavior, unfortunately. That's why the conversations like the one we're now having exist."
We were told all throughout the 2008 presidential campaign and on up into the debate over the stimulus that the way out of the current economic malaise is through growing a green economy. "NBC Nightly News" is still on message.
On the May 6 broadcast of "Nightly News," anchor Brian Williams explained that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) didn't accept federal bailout money, but all the while it has been producing green cars - as if the two were related.
"We have a report tonight on the car industry," Williams said. "The Ford Motor Company has its own challenges ahead, but they are rightfully proud of being the only one of the Detroit big three not to accept taxpayer bailout money. Ford announced today it's retooling a plant that made big gas guzzlers in order to produce smaller, greener cars. And this comes at a time that other automakers are cutting production and thousands of jobs."
Call it an ominous warning, but Fox News Channel afternoon host and ratings sensation Glenn Beck on Wednesday cautioned viewers that government is strengthening its grip of power and is not going to stop at the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Beck declared on his May 6 broadcast the government is out of control, noting that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were a weekly occurrence, including efforts to make the TARP bailout more transparent earlier this year from the Treasury Department.
"We've got a government out of control and I'm telling you, it is up to you to control it," Beck said. "These stories of corruption and abuse of power, I'm going to continue to bring them to you as long as I possibly can, and everybody else on this network is dedicated. But it seems like every week this network is filing another Freedom of Information Act request. Even with all the resources of Fox, the truth still can't be fully exposed without you. I ask you, please - help us. Meet us here every day. Tell all of your friends what you learn here. Spread it. E-mail me. Tell me what I'm missing. We will do the best we can to provide you with the information, but it is a little overwhelming."
Neil Cavuto had some harsh criticism of President Obama during his end-of-show monologue on May 5.
The Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network anchor blasted Obama for creating villains of businesses and for presenting an inconsistent message that is keeping businesspeople "anxious."
"I think every administration has its villains. Remember Ronald Reagan had the evil Soviet Empire. President Bush his own axis of evil. That was three countries there. This president - in a word: business. Alright, not all businesses but it seems most businesses, big business at least."
Pointing to Obama's May 4 call to change corporate taxation rules to prevent the use of tax havens, as well as the recent government involvement in Chrysler, Cavuto said: "Huge multinationals that hire workers abroad and get tax breaks here - they're villains. Sick companies like Chrysler being pushed into a foreign automakers hands on taxpayers' dime no less - they're not villains."
After the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama, we often heard from the mainstream media about how shipping executive companies don't want to arm their civilian crews for fear of an escalation of violence from pirates, not to mention the potential legal and liability headaches presented by such a policy change.
Well, yesterday, shipping company executive Philip Shapiro threw a wrench in that meme in his testimony before a Senate subcommittee in which he called for Congress to remove the legal and regulatory obstacles to arming civilian merchant vessels.
Unfortunately the story was ignored this morning by the broadcast network morning shows. What's more, Nexis and Web site searches yielded no print stories from today's Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times -- although there is an online article by Rebecca Cole available here -- or the New York Times. The Gray Lady also failed to report on Richard Phillips' pro-armed crew remarks last week.
To its credit, CNN, both in print and broadcast, reported the story. From a May 5 CNN.com story:
CBS "The Early Show" attacked sexual abstinence while Bristol Palin appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Today" to voice her support for it. Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol's child who has told numerous stories to hurt the family, went on CBS in what can only have been an attempt to counter or distract from Palin's message.
The daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol gave birth to son Tripp on Dec 27 2008. Since then, Bristol has become a Teen Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, which promotes teen abstinence.
On the eighth annual national day to prevent teen pregnancy, CBS continued its derision of abstinence with the help of Johnston. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez said before beginning the interview that Bristol was on TV talking about teen pregnancy and asked Johnston if he agreed with her encouraging abstinence. He responded that he did, but "you need to enforce, ya know, condoms and ya know birth control and things like that to have safe sex. I don't think just, uh telling young kids uh you can't have sex is just not gonna work - it's not realistic."
CNBC's Steve Liesman has always gone after tea party inspiration and network floor reporter Rick Santelli for his views, but this time it was Santelli playing offense.
The CNBC "Power Lunch" crew was discussing Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO Ken Lewis and disclosure of details surrounding his bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch May 5. Santelli accused Liesman, CNBC's senior economics reporter of saying "dumb things" and acting like Nixon, when he suggested there could be a compelling reason for Lewis was not forthcoming about the acquisition.
"Ask the question in a more compelling way which is - I want you to save the world and not disclose," Liesman said.
In a clear attempt to smear Miss California Carrie Prejean for promoting traditional marriage, a photo hardly as suggestive as many lingerie ads was released on the Internet on May 4. The caption for the picture that appeared on The Dirty.com clearly showed that the intent was to embarrass and discredit Prejean for her view on the issue of same-sex marriage:
"Exclusive: Self-proclaimed bible thumper Miss California, Carrie Prejean, should start pointing the finger at herself for her own indiscretions. TheDirty.com has received exclusive images of the homophobic debutante that would clearly strip her of her Miss California crown. So much for being a good role model for the state of California Carrie. Looks like your Dirty photo shoot makes you a sinner too. I decided."
Celebrity blogger and gay activist Perez Hilton, who precipitated the controversy by questioning Prejean about gay marriage while he was judging last month's Miss USA pageant, also posted the photo on his blog and taunting: "The Lord works in mysterious ways! Opposite marriage advocate Miss California, Carrie Prejean, topless and in some cute pink panties. Is that biblically correct????"
Prejean responded in a statement released to the media on May 4:
"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith. I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be."
Here's a teachable moment: Bad things can happen when the government intervenes in the economy, which Fox Business Network host Cody Willard pointed out on his "Shot Clock" segment on "Happy Hour."
Willard, on FBN's May 4 "Happy Hour" used part of his segment to call for the jailing of the New York Fed's chairman, Stephen Friedman.
"New York Fed [Chairman] Stephen Friedman - this guy belongs in jail," Willard said. "This is the head of the New York Fed - Stephen Friedman guys."
Willard was referring to a report in the May 4 Wall Street Journal that questioned Friedman's current ties to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) while playing an instrumental role in shaping Washington's response to the financial crisis late last year. Willard explained that Friedman was able to profit after Goldman was approved to be a bank holding company in late 2008, making it eligible for a $10-billion capital injection.
Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish"spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."[audio available here]
First up Time magazine's Joe Klein suggested the GOP should moderate on health care because it would finally make them, "look sane!" and "bring them into...the mainstream of American politics." Then Newsweek's Fineman charged it was the conservative message of "cut taxes, shrink," government that was the problem: "But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people." And finally Matthews went further saying it's not just the GOP's message but it's messengers who are the problem: "Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?"
The following exchange occurred on the May 3 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Pelley's report featured a suit filed by the Amazon Defense Coalition, a group described as "eco-radicals," who are trying to squeeze $27 billion from Chevron for environmental cleanup that the nation's government signed off on more than a decade ago. Pelley described ADC as working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there are only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites.
Reacting to the questions posed during Wednesday's presidential news conference, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed disappointment with the White House press corps, telling FNC's Greta Van Susteren the journalists have “taken such a pathetic dive with this President that they ought to be part of his PR firm. I mean it's embarrassing to watch.”
Gingrich cited a series of subjects on which reporters failed to press Obama, such as “So why are you releasing these terrorists in the United States?” and “Why are you so confused about whether or not you want to in fact go after and prosecute people who've never historically been prosecuted before?” Plus, “Doesn't it worry you to have $9 trillion in debt being projected under your administration?”
In the interview conducted at Mount Vernon, Gingrich quipped: “If you didn't know better, you'd think that he was practicing with his own public affairs people for the future press conference.”
Time and time again, on-air talent from MSNBC's daytime news coverage has tried to distance itself the far left-leaning commentators on the network during prime time hours.
However, David Shuster has no qualms taking a position publicly and incorporating it into his daytime news coverage. Shuster, who has been outspoken in his support for same-sex marriage, abandoned the pretense of journalistic objectivity and launched into a shouting match/debate with Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) on MSNBC on May 1.
"Explain how it is that the gay couple or the lesbian couple down the street has any impact on my marriage or on yours?" Shuster asked.
During the 3PM EST hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell turned to White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie for reaction to President Obama’s surprise appearance at the daily press briefing to discuss the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter: "Savannah, let me just start with you, the shock factor. I mean, you've got that seat right there by where the President walked out. Were you surprised?" Guthrie replied: "Shocked is more like it, Norah. I felt a little bit like I was having a dream sequence minus the pink unicorn. I have to say, we attend those briefings every day, they are rarely so exciting." [audio for download here]
Guthrie went on to explain: "I had kind of been giving Gibbs a little bit of a hard time, saying, 'look, why does everyone in Washington know this and you're telling us there's been no communication between Justice Souter, the Supreme Court, and the White House?' And sure enough, the President walks in and said ‘I just got off the phone with Justice Souter.’" O’Donnell asked: "Are you suggesting, Savannah, it was your questions that were the reason the President walked out? Because that sounds like where you're going with this." Guthrie humbly replied: "Well, I'm not quite that self-centered. But all I'm saying is I'm very happy to have my question answered, and certainly, personally by the President."