While discussing the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on MSNBC Monday, guest Eliot Spitzer made a startling observation: "Democratic presidents nominate very centrist justices to the Supreme Court. The Republican presidents over the past 10-15 years have nominated very extremely conservative justices and that’s why the court has eschewed to the right."[audio available here]
Spitzer, the former Governor of New York who resigned from office in 2008 amid a sex scandal with a prostitute, went on to lament the unwillingness of Democratic presidents to appoint more liberal justices: "And the role of the Democratic judges – justices – has been to play the middle... And that is, I think, at a larger ideological point, a discussion we should have, because Democratic presidents have been hesitant to put really liberal justices on the court."
MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan, who was premiering his new show "The Morning Meeting," did not challenge Spitzer’s absurd assertions, but rather turned to Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and asked: "Yeah, Jonathan what do you think about that? That the Republicans have papered it with very conservative judges and that Democrats have tried to go more middle or slightly left of center, as opposed to way left judges?" Capehart agreed with Spitzer: "Well look, I respect everything my – Governor Spitzer says."
As Dan Rather sees it and decrees it, Sonia Sotomayor will make a fine Supreme Court justice. So the former CBS Evening News anchor told MSNBC's Carlos Watson this morning. The pair were discussing the impact of the high court's reversal today of Sotomayor's pro-affirmative action ruling in the New Haven firefighters case.
In Rather's opinion, while Sotomayor would have preferred the Supreme Court to rule the other way, her confirmation will nonetheless sail through, and once she ascends to the bench, she will be "a very good" Supreme Court justice.
Film producer/director Oliver Stone, a far-left promoter of conspiracies who is working on a sequel to his 1987 'Wall Street' movie, declared on Friday night's edition of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher that “Reagan was a dumb son of a bitch” and “I really think George W is dumber” and so, after producing movies on the CIA conspiracy to murder President Kennedy and a dark look at President Nixon, he won't create a movie on Ronald Reagan because “by doing the W movie I kind of put all my efforts behind dumbness.”
Stone, who earlier in the pre-taped show made up of three one-on-one interviews Maher conducted (other two were with Cameron Diaz and Billy Bob Thornton) characterized President Obama as no better than Bush (“a sneak Bush administration with different words”), also asserted: “I do think Nixon is the father of Reagan and I think Reagan's the father of Bush. There's sort of a very strong line.” Whatever that means.
While much of the country has been captivated by the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, the scandal of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and turmoil in Iran and Iraq, business news has fallen off the front pages.
"Remember when business was on the front page?" Cramer said. "We were on the front page for awhile. It was really frightening. It's still off - our whole, our whole - the whole stock market, the economy, we're all off the front page. We're no longer important because lovers, this guy Sanford - I'm not that familiar with his story. Those two people in Pennsylvania that were on the ‘Today' show and all those others."
In the wake of political sex scandals including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, ABC's Cokie Roberts took the opportunity on June 25 to suggest that the fundamental flaw in each case was the male gender.
"World News with Charles Gibson" anchor asked question of why such affairs ever begin.
"It's an admission that can doom the most promising political career," Gibson said. "So, why do politicians tempt fate and cheat on their wives? Why do so many think they can get away it?"
ABC correspondent John Berman's report tried to rationalize marital infidelity as "politics as usual" and part of the narcissism that comes with being a politician. Berman explained the recent rash of infidelity scandals weren't bound by geography, political party or sexual orientation.
On Morning Joe today, Carlos Watson "joked" that fear of Pres. Obama drove Rush Limbaugh to take pills. Watson is not some night-time MSNBC pundit paid to proffer controversial opinions. MSNBC has given Watson the daily 11 AM slot. The network describes him as the host of a "news recap" show.
Watson was riffing off a discussion of Rush's suggestion that Sanford's inability to prevent federal stimulus funds from coming into South Carolina, and his concerns about the federal government taking over, had pushed him to decide that he simply wanted to enjoy life.
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC's best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the "Prescription for America" special to become an "infomercial," as many have complained - the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
President Barack Obama appeared on the ABC network in a town hall format broadcasted from the White House on two separate programs on June 24 - an hour-long primetime special during the 10 p.m. Eastern Time hour and later on the "Nightline" program that aired during the 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time hour.
Should be interesting next time Joe Scarborough runs into the likes of Ed Schultz . . .
The Morning Joe host today slammed the hypocrisy of cable news hosts, specifically including some at MSNBC, for taking "unbridled glee" in Mark Sanford's disgrace.
Scarborough didn't name names, but he almost surely had Schultz, among others, in mind. As I reported here, on his show last evening Schultz absolutely revelled in Sanford's distress, boasting "I have no mercy here" and using the most mocking of tones to describe the circumstances. Was Joe also alluding to Keith Olbermann, who had considerable fun at Sanford's expense last night?
While network news anchors such as CBS's Harry Smith are still gooey in love with President Obama, the White House correspondents for the networks are a little tougher on the chief executive, MRC's Tim Graham told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on his June 23 program. [audio available here]
TIM GRAHAM: I think there's always been a difference between the guys in the White House press room who are trying to nail down the inconsistencies in what Obama is saying, trying to nail down his campaign promises, and the Harry Smiths and the Brian Williamses and the Diane Saywers.
There's really a disconnect, really, between the White House reporters who, for the most part are a little tougher on a daily basis and then the anchors who have been just yeah, beyond the, just [having] that dreamy look.
BILL O'REILLY: I agree with that. The anchors are obviously pro-Obama almost across the board.
When Harry Smith interviewed Pres. Obama earlier this week, I noted that his idea of "speaking truth to power" was to suggest Bo the dog was out of control. But when Smith had a Republican in his sights this morning, the mild-mannered Early Show host suddenly went Rambo. Raising his finger, Smith scolded Mitt Romney for pointing out that Pres. Obama's response to the Iranian repression fell far short of Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" reproach to the Soviets.
On Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello harkened back to the 1970 incident at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen shot rock-throwing protesters and bystanders, and made it a possible equivalent to the recent murder of Iranian student Neda. Costello pondered the effect of the Neda murder video on the Iranian protests, and flashed a famous photo from the 1970 shootings [audio clips from the report are available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the overall theme of Costello’s report: “By now, you’ve probably heard about Neda, the young Iranian woman that was gunned down in Tehran. Well, in death, she’s become quite a symbol of countless Iranians demanding new elections. The question now: will the memory of Neda help make that happen?” After giving some details into the college student’s death, the correspondent described the international reaction to it: “It seems the whole world now knows Neda and aches for her- and why not? It watched her die.”
Costello subsequently played a clip of Iranian author Azar Nafisi’s reaction to the Neda death video. She then proposed her question about the impact of the video: “It’s difficult to say right now, though, if this image of Neda will change everything. We know that pictures sometimes do. Many believe this shot taken at Kent State of a student gunned down after a Vietnam War protest helped end the war, yet this video of a lone student standing up to Chinese tanks did not end communism in China.”
Mark Sanford can’t run for President in 2012, all because he went for a hike. [UPDATE: He went to Argentina.]
At least, that’s what Mike Allen of Politico would have you believe. On June 23, during his normal appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Allen was discussing the recent media snafu over the governor’s jaunt through the woodlands:
I think it might well be that he was just hiking. But the point is, he would have been a promising Republican for 2012. He's the rarest thing in the Republican party, which is a true conservative. There would have been a lot of momentum behind him. He threw out the idea very recently. But, you talk about the finger on the button – you want someone stable, someone you can trust. And this, as they were talking about yesterday on MSNBC right away, in a moment, diminished the brand.
It's basic economics - when the economy contracts and the flow of money slows, so do tax receipts to local governments, barring maneuvering by the government to impose higher taxes. And that has been a focus of news stories, most notably the state budget woes that have recently hit California.
A June 22 "CBS Evening News" segment showed how, during this sluggish economy, the demand for state government social programs, like welfare, have increased across the county, even as cash-strapped states are in fiscal crisis. But the report didn't point to one of the biggest reasons for state deficits: irresponsible government growth.
"For the first time in 15 years, welfare numbers are up in at least 26 states," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said. "In Illinois, it's 3 percent, but in South Carolina the number is 23 percent, Florida 14 percent and California 10."
Pres. Obama told Harry Smith that "I would not want just a calm, passive dog. I want a dog with a little bit of spirit." Maybe so when picking a family pet. But when it comes to the media, PBO apparently prefers a lapdog. Witness Smith's tail-between-the-legs performance that won him a huge smile from the prez.
Over the course of two days, the Early Show aired clips of Smith's recent interview of the PBO. Kyle Drennen noted a real softball from yesterday's segment. Smith was back at it this morning. Toward the end of today's segment, Smith says: "People in the mainstream media have been accused of being afraid to speak truth to power.I've got some truth to power for you."
Was Smith building to a hard-hitting question on, say, PBO's firing of the inspector general who was too diligent in his duty of discovering corruption in AmeriCorps, PBO's pet project? Of course not. In a pathetic display of precisely the kind of MSM wimp-out Smith had described, Smith asked the president a question about . . . his dog.
Should there be a background check for national reporters?
One wonders. On June 21, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special report for CBS’ “60 Minutes.” In this report, Cooper repeated the tired, discredited, blatantly incorrectidea that 90% of Mexican drug cartels’ arms supply comes from the United States. In addition, Cooper showed some interesting B-roll footage of seized weapon, some of which clearly cannot be bought on the civilian market.
Contrary to the claims of many liberals, at least some of Iran's anti-government protesters are anxious for Barack Obama to lend American support to their cause. An Iranian student interviewed on CNN’s American Morning on Monday pleaded for the world, and President Obama by name, to become more active in assisting the protests against the Islamic regime in Tehran: “International community....especially, I ask President Barack Obama directly...this government is a huge threat to global peace....We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.” [Audio from the segment available here.]
Near the end of the interview, anchor John Roberts asked the student, who went by the first name of Mohammed alone, for the specific demands of the protesters: “Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran, or are you looking for- as has been suggested- more civil rights, more freedoms, within the context of the existing regime?”
Without any sort of prompting, Mohammed first addressed some of the major controversies involving the Iranian regime: “For about three decades, our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime....We are peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of international community. We don’t want to be isolated....We don’t deny Holocaust. We...do accept Israel’s rights. And actually...we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.”
It's a supposedly objective news outlet, yet ABC News is cozying up with the White House for a health care special to assist President Barack Obama in selling his plan. But according to ABC's "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer, there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, she's proud of ABC.
"Again, ABC, I'm so proud of ABC," Sawyer said. "And I hope that there is some recognition for the fact that this network is trying to tackle a serious issue in a serious way, and we are doing something that we would love to see a lot more air time dedicated to. What is more important than a dialogue about health care? It is not an infomercial. ABC News does not do that. We will be there, and these people in this room are going to be able to ask questions from every single vantage point. And they are going to challenge the president, many of them."
Friday's World News carried a 15-second promo, the first I've seen, for Wednesday night's controversial prime time special, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America.” Over video of President Barack Obama, ABC exulted in how “Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer take you inside his house” for “a television event” where “President Obama answers all of your tough questions about your health care.”
(Below the jump: Look at how ABC News has incorporated Obama's image into their graphic plugging the June 24 special.)
Script of the narration:
What's more important than having good health care when you need it? Nothing. That's why Wednesday at 10 on ABC Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer take you inside his house: The White House, for a television event as President Obama answers all of your tough questions about your health care.
While President Barack Obama's health care plan is garnering plenty of media attention including two prominent spots on ABC, Fox News host Glenn Beck says the plan won't even help the poor get insurance.
"Look, it doesn't even make sense," Beck said. "When you start to look at it, they're talking about savings, but their savings come from moving people from Medicaid over to universal health. We're also leaving, I think it's 33 or 39 million people off the roles. They - we're not even talking about people who are making less than $33,000."
MRC President Brent Bozell sat down in the Fox News DC bureau on June 17 to record his reaction to ABC News's planned special at the White House on health care.
During the 1 p.m. EDT hour, correspondent Mike Emanuel aired one small portion of his comments [audio available here]:
Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror. They didn't even cover some of his press conferences.
Calling it an "all-day home field advantage play for Obama and his position on health care," MRC's Seton Motley noted on the June 17 Fox News Channel program "America's Newsroom" that an upcoming ABC network special hosted at the White House will fail to include the other side of the complex policy argument. [audio available here]
Although there will also be a question and answer section with participants picked by ABC News, the planned special will not include a response from Republicans or government-run health care critics.
ABC "has a history of going as far left as possible with these specials and yielding time to Democrats when they won't yield to Republicans," Motley argued. The MRC Director of Communications pointed out that Linda Douglass, White House Director of Communications, served as an ABC News correspondent from 1998 to 2006.
The common, everyday act of swatting a bug is something that happens countless times a day at picnics and ball games across the country, especially during the summer, but when Barack Obama was caught on tape by CNBC's cameras doing it, the fawning liberal press couldn't contain their excitement. All three broadcast network morning shows, on Wednesday, praised the presidential kill as they were impressed by the "ninja" Obama's "precision," and "cat-like quickness."[audio available here]
On NBC's "Today" show substitute-host David Gregory opened the show declaring: "You just have to appreciate the, the concentration and the precision! Just a few things going on in the world but it's as if everything was stopped and at a standstill for the President to lower the boom." On CBS' "The Early Show," Chris Wragge marveled: "We've also just confirmed the President is a Ninja." And on ABC's "Good Morning America," they even brought out the Telestrator to break down the video as Chris Cuomo offered play-by-play: "You see? He stares at the fly. How many times have each of us tried to do this? Look at the hand coming up. The poise. The cupping. And the quick slap...Just knocked it away, very rare."
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 editions of NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show":
You can't be loved and adored by everybody, but if you're President Barack Obama and it concerns the media, you can come awfully close.
In an interview on CNBC's June 16 "Closing Bell" with the network Washington correspondent John Harwood, Obama reflected on the media coverage he has received to date. Harwood asked the president to respond to the claim that lack of media criticism has allowed him to "hurt" the country.
"When you and I spoke in January, you said, I observed that you haven't gotten much bad press," Harwood said. "You said, ‘It's coming.' Media critics would say not only has it not come, but that you've gotten such favorable press either because of bias or because you're good box office that it's hurting the country because you're not sufficiently being held accountable for your policies. Assess that."
David Letterman "jokes" about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter having sex with A-Rod during a baseball game. For good measure he suggests the daughter would be of interest to Eliot Spitzer, infamous for soliciting a prostitute.
If Ed Schultz condemned Letterman, I missed it.
But let Sarah Palin's acceptance of Letterman's belated apology include thanks to the US military for making freedom of speech possible for all Americans, and Schultz condems Palin as "nothing but political slime."
Yes, that's precisely what the MSNBC host called Palin on his show tonight . . .
[Update, 9:00 pm EDT: Audio and video clips added.]
President Obama isn't nearly liberal enough for HBO's Bill Maher. On Tuesday’s Situation Room on CNN, Maher repeated the focus of his rant on his show last Friday night about how Obama hasn't been adequately aggressive. When Wolf Blitzer asked what he was most disappointed about with President Obama, the HBO host went into full denial mode: “Barack Obama is not a socialist -- he’s not even a liberal....this country needs a left wing. It doesn’t have it, and part of the reason is the media.”
After Maher gave a bit of a criticism of the Democratic President, the CNN anchor asked: “So where are you most disappointed, because...a lot of liberals are disappointed he hasn’t done more to advance gay rights, for example- but where- where are you most disappointed in this president?” The HBO host first joked about his sexual identity, and continued by expressing his bewilderment with Obama: “I don’t know if this administration has really caught up to the idea that Americans are a lot more liberal, perhaps, than we think they are- or they think they are....I think part of the problem is that we don’t really have a progressive party in this country. We have the Democrats, who are what the Republicans used to be when I was a kid. They’re a pro-business party, a corporate-friendly, pro-business party. And then we have the Republicans, which are just a club for angry white people and Jesus freaks” [audio clips from interview available here].
With a cooler-than-usual winter and a mild temperatures leading up to the beginning of summer, global warming alarmists are finding they are losing steam in the debate. But "NBC Nightly News" won't give up the fight.
On the June 15 broadcast, anchor Brian Williams noted the peculiar weather patterns along the East Coast.
"The weather along the eastern seaboard has been more like Scotland in October lately," Williams said. "Then came the first of the Internet stories, some of them written by learned people in the weather field, wondering if summer as we know it was just not going to happen this year in some areas because of the high up air currents over this country that we can't see."
If you've ever wondered why the mainstream media didn't show much curiosity about how 20 years of attending Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church shaped President Barack Obama, there is a perfectly logical explanation. Obama wasn't really there.
According to Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC contributor and former Newsweek columnist that covered the Obama presidential campaign for the weekly magazine, people don't have to worry about the rantings and ravings of Obama's controversial preacher having any impact on his world view because he wasn't there.
Adam Lambert of American Idol gave his first interview to ABC's 20/20 last Friday night. The main subject of the interview was Lambert's homosexuality. Lambert explained that, "It's surprising because I don't think twice about, for example, my sexuality. I've been living this way the whole time I've been here in L.A. for the past eight years. It's a funny reminder that not everybody is as comfortable with it as I am."
After a surprising loss to Kris Allen, Adam Lambert has managed to stay in the spotlight. Throughout the competition Lambert's sexuality had been debated and discussed relentlessly, and he has made the most of it. Lambert explained that "It feels really good cause I think there was a lot of speculation and talk ... And it feels really good to just kind of state the facts and move forward. Not keep wondering about, what does he do, you know? With whom?"
This unburdening came complete with a picture of Lambert kissing another man.
"North Korea, Syria - I mean these are places when they always have elections, there's always a couple of people who don't vote for the right guy," Cramer said. "But I think the price of oil is going to tell you exactly how everything is going to play out in Iran, which is it's much ado about nothing."
The ladies of the ‘View' cannot seem to make up their minds. After Sarah Palin released her response to the tasteless David Letterman joke about her daughter, Joy Behar made an astonishing comment June 15 in support of the Vice-Presidential nominee: "You know, I have to say that I'm on her side this time. Not because I didn't think it was sort of ok because comedians make jokes. But as a parent, as a mother, she's no dummy. She's going for the jugular. And I would, too. I would, too. As a mother, I would do it."
If you had watched the View from last week this statement would come as a surprise. During the discussion on the same topic, Behar was the only one on the show defending Letterman and his comments. She supported the joke by explaining that Sarah Palin "traipse the kid [Bristol Palin] out" and that she's "a walking punch line!"