Yeesh, talk about politics making for strained bedfellows.
Fresh from his short-lived engagement as an MSNBC pundit, dedicated paparazzi foe Alec Baldwin appears fully engaged in an effort to rehabilitate his public image after anti-gay rants and tweets got him banished from every respectable salon on the Upper West Side. As part of that effort, Baldwin is executive producer of a new documentary on -- wait for it -- Barney Frank, the openly gay former congressman from Massachusetts.
Little more than a month after Alec Baldwin declared “goodbye to public life,” the liberal actor is back in the news after signing on as an executive producer of a documentary entitled Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank, which will debut on April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan.
Barney Frank -- an openly gay, recently retired Congressman from Massachusetts -- “is a personal hero of mine,” Baldwin said in a statement regarding the project. “His legacy in Congress, and his historic importance as the first openly gay and married Congressman, are important for our country.”
Most of America’s media think President Obama's 2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler was a huge success.
Former Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank threw cold water on this meme on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday correctly informing viewers that the auto bailout lost money for the federal government. By contrast, we made money from George W. Bush's 2008 bank bailout (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC’s Morning Joe spent nearly half of their Wednesday program covering the latest revelations in the Anthony Weiner scandal, yet never once mentioned that the disgraced former congressman and New York City mayoral candidate is a Democrat. The panel was extremely critical of Weiner and his candidacy, but apparently did not consider the candidate’s political affiliation to be of any importance to the story.
But while the (D) label was never applied to Weiner – save for one graphic showing a Democratic primary poll – the MSNBC show did have time to squeeze in two partisan labels – one for Republican Senator David Vitter and one for Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, in a round-up of other scandal-scarred politicians. In that same round-up, Democrat Bill Clinton was, like Weiner, not labeled.
It was only two days ago that one of Charlie Rose’s guests, Politico’s Jim VandeHei, celebrated the disappearance of many outspoken Republicans from the political scene. On last night’s show, Rose invited on a pair of brash Democrats who vanished from Congress recently: former Sen. Chris Dodd and former Rep. Barney Frank.
The former lawmakers were there to discuss the 2010 financial regulatory reform law that bears their names. Rose’s third guest, Robert Kaiser of The Washington Post, recently wrote a book about the Dodd-Frank Act’s journey from conception to passage. Wouldn't you know it, Kaiser was there to sing the praises of the Democrats appearing on the program, hailing the Dodd-Frank Act as a sort of congressional triumph over partisan politics. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used his Tuesday radio program to criticize members of the mainstream media and others on the political left for diverting any potential blame from Muslims as the possible terrorists behind Monday's Boston bombings while suggesting that “right-wing” groups were possibly involved in the attack on the marathon.
“If you are a Muslim, and it turns out that a Muslim did bomb the Boston Marathon,” Limbaugh said, “how do you feel? I daresay that if you are a Muslim, you can be pretty certain … that everybody in the media will circle the wagons and say: ‘This is not because of Islam.’”
Former congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) went on MSNBC this morning to react to yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. In a shameless moment of advocacy, Frank used the tragedy to make a political statement about revenue and the size of government. Considering that this happened on MSNBC, you might expect the host to condone the congressman’s liberal activism, but anchor Thomas Roberts actually called Frank out for his despicable attempt to politicize this tragedy.
Early in the interview, Frank stressed that none of us know much about who and what were behind this event as of yet. So the former congressman turned to what he does know how to do – attacking his ideological opponents: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic congressman Barney Frank shamelessly used the Boston Marathon atrocity to promote his liberal political agenda on CNN and MSNBC on Tuesday morning, yet only MSNBC called him out for "making political hay" of the bombing.
"I would say this is a terrible day for our society, but a day when I hope people understand the centrality of having a government in place with the resources," Frank argued on CNN's Starting Point. "No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive." Yet co-host John Berman didn't admonish him for railing against tax and budget cutters less than 24 hours after the bombing, but instead offered some diplomatic praise of his words. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
What's with Barney Frank and his odd obsession with a Henny Youngman line that—had virtually any other politician used it—would result in him being accused of the worst kind of misogyny?
Back in 2011, I noted that, appearing on Morning Joe, Frank had quoted the hoary Henny line: "How's your wife? Compared to what?" Yet there was Barney again this evening, this time on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show, breaking out the identical line. Really: what gives? And imagine the feminist outrage if, say, Mitt Romney had dared use the line during his presidential campaign. View the video after the jump.
Ed Schultz's grasp of American history in the BB era -- Before Barack -- is tenuous at best. And when Schultz is wrong about something from that ancient realm of our past, he makes a fool out of himself.
On his radio show Friday, Schultz got on the wrong side of an argument with a better informed caller. Naturally, Schultz couldn't resist hanging up on the man and labeling him an idiot. That's when you know Schultz is 180 degrees off the mark -- he becomes dogmatic about being right. (audio after page break)
As NewsBusters readers know, one of my guilty pleasures is pointing out the staggering ignorance of Bill Maher.
The object of my disaffection certainly didn't let me down Friday evening when on HBO's Real Time he actually told Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that we spend 42 percent of our total budget on defense (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Oops. While celebrating in Thursday's New York Times the spotlight shown on gay issues during this week's Democratic National Convention, reporter Adam Nagourney (who is openly gay) wrote that gay Rep. Barney Frank spoke to the convention on Wednesday night. Nope: Frank was actually bumped when the program ran long and will deliver his speech tonight instead.
At least Barney didn't accuse Paul Ryan of going all Twilight on starving children, or of actually pouring kerosene on burning buildings.
No, appearing on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show today, the retiring Dem congressman contented himself by claiming that Ryan opposes people coming together to feed poor children or put out fires. View the video after the jump.
Liberal fascism, anyone? Add Barney Frank to the list of Thomas Friedman and Ray LaHood who regret that in the United States, that darn Constitution gets in the way of the enlightened class imposing its will on the rest of us benighted peons.
Sparring with Mario Bartiromo on CNBC this afternoon, Dem congressman Frank, expressing frustration at his inability to get through legislation he favors, lamented: "unfortunately, under this American system of government, you have these checks and balances." Yeah, so unfortunate. If only Barney could be king for a day. View the video after the jump.
After the news broke of the First Circuit Court declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, CNN hosted openly-gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and asked him softball questions like "are you heartened to see that?"
The entire interview lasted over 12 minutes, a very long time on cable news, but only a part of it focused on DOMA. Anchor Suzanne Malveaux painted a positive picture for supporters of same-sex marriage, touting a "sea-change" on the issue in America. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Fresh off his humiliating defeat on Jeopardy! Monday night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews actually introduced a pair of guests Tuesday as "two of the most smartest people."
Almost as funny, "two of the most smartest people" in the Hardball host's opinion are Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on Friday lambasted the Washington Post for its pathetic hit piece on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"If while Governor of Massachusetts, Romney shaved Barney Frank's head, then you might have a story. But a prep school prank?" incredulously asked O'Reilly. "The Romney story means nothing, period" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
After President Obama publicly supported gay marriage on Wednesday, CNN continued its cheerleading well into Wednesday evening, including a happy interview of openly-gay congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) where he proudly showed the audience his engagement ring.
During CNN's 6-9 p.m. coverage, 9 of the guests voiced their support of President Obama's position on-air, while only two objected. Another guest, Mike Signorile, did not give verbal support but writes for the Huffington Post "Gay Voices" blog and has called for President Obama to "kick down the closet door" and publicly support same-sex marriage. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
George Will on Sunday marvelously told liberal economist Robert Reich something that many conservatives have been dying to say for years.
During a fascinating Right vs. Left debate on ABC's This Week, after Reich predictably pined for higher income tax rates to solve all that ails us, Will struck back with the line of the weekend, "You are a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Some members of the liberal media commemorated Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) retirement announcement by replaying his testy response to a CNSNews.com reporter about homosexuals showering with straight men in the military. Of course, they included their own eulogies about how much the liberal congressman would be missed.
A nostalgic Martin Bashir expressed his sadness at Frank's departure on his Monday MSNBC show, touting "one of the greatest hits from a man who championed the poor and oppressed, Barney Frank. He'll be sorely missed." He then played the CNSNews.com clip. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
When Barney Frank announced the other day that he was shuffling off stage after three decades in the Congressional limelight, I was brought back to 1980, when some very thoughtful friends from Harvard told me to watch him. Paul H. Weaver had been an aide to Irving Kristol, the godfather of neoconservatism, which was lustrous in those days, and rightly so.
Paul was one of the brightest young neo-cons of his generation. I always took him seriously. He thought that Congressman Frank was principled, stupendously intelligent and of good cheer — a wit. It seemed Frank was going to be another Daniel Patrick Moynihan, or at least an Allard Lowenstein, the former congressman and principled liberal activist who had recently been murdered.
Amidst all the media coverage of Rep. Barney Frank's (Mass.) retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives, the media largely praised the retiring Democrat while overlooking the scandals of his tenure in office and his crucial support to government policies that helped fuel the housing bubble, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of the December 1 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity.
"Why isn't anyone in the media talking about the obvious? This is a man who single-handedly presided over the collapse" of the U.S. housing industry, Bozell reminded host Sean Hannity in the popular recurring "Media Mash" segment. "Barney Frank in 2003 fought George Bush when he tried to do something about it." [video of the full segment follows page break]
Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank defied the conventional wisdom of MSNBC, a network he contributes to, and angrily vented in a column that Barney Frank is a "mean," "ornery" "S.O.B."
In his November 30 column, Milbank derided the Congressman as "one of the most notorious bullies, known for berating staff, alienating allies and causing aides to cower in fear of his gratuitous and frequent browbeatings."
Richard Harris wasn't the only NPR staffer wondering about the backwardness of America on Tuesday's All Things Considered. At the end of a completely supine interview with Barney Frank, anchor Guy Raz asked Frank if he was pleased at how far America had come from its backwardness on gay liberation from when he came out of the closet in the Reagan years.
"I want to ask you about a decision you made in 1987," Raz declared. "You went public to tell people you were gay. That was controversial at the time. Are you heartened at the distance America has come?" Frank said "without question," and said "prejudice" was very close to being eliminated in America:
During what he billed as an "official exit interview" for retiring Rep. Barney Frank, Hardball host Chris Matthews asked the Massachusetts Democrat if he believes in good and evil and moreover, does he believe that "there's some people like Newt Gingrich that personify one side of this Manichean struggle in our life."
Frank, no fan of Gingrich, seemed taken aback by how strident Matthews feels about the former Republican Speaker of the House (video follows page break; MP3 audio here):
Barney Frank's retirement announcement could have come as early as 1989 but back then the Democratic congressman from Massachusetts relied on the liberal attitudes of his constituents and his friends in the media to see him through a prostitution scandal, friends like the Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant. On the August 26, 1989 edition of the syndicated Inside Washington, Oliphant had no fear that Frank would survive the scandal of his apartment being used for a male prostitution ring as he proclaimed Frank to be "a man of surpassing integrity."(video after the jump)
Yesterday we noted how the Washington Post devoted both an A-section front-pager and a Style section front-pager to celebrating the career of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who announced his retirement from the House on Monday.
NPR's Tovia Smith sang the praises of Congressman Barney Frank on Monday's All Things Considered: "Frank has proven both piercing and pithy, zinging one-liners....bold and unabashed." Smith barely included any dissenting voices in her report, playing four sound bites from the staunch liberal and his supporters, versus only two from opponents.
Host Melissa Block noted how Rep. Frank is a "leading liberal voice and one of the first openly gay congressman" in her introduction for the correspondent's report and added that "because his district has just been redrawn, he'd likely face a grueling reelection campaign." Smith continued by stating that "some of the Democratic strongholds he's represented for decades have been replaced by more conservative towns."
Anyone who made the easy prediction that the Associated Press would fail to bring up Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in its fawning tribute to Barney Frank after his retirement announcement yesterday was correct. Anyone making the easy prediction that the AP would lionize him as a "gay pioneer" was also spot-on.
Also predictably, the wire service's Bob Salsberg and David Espo failed to mention that Frank advocated abolishing Fan and Fred as a dishonest survival tactic during his final reelection campaign in 2010, and of course did nothing visible to make that happen this year. What's really odious in this regard is that the AP pair gave him credit (pun intended) for how he "worked to expand affordable housing," when the Community Reinvestment Act-driven subprime crisis Fan and Fred engendered has sent the housing market levels not seen since World War II. What follows are excerpts from the AP. After that I have a few contrary and clear-headed paragraphs from an Investor's Business Daily editorial, and a little reminder of a 1999 "Present" vote which should have generated controversy, but didn't: