NBC's Meet the Press did something Sunday that should insult people on both sides of the aisle.
The show's producers invited Congressman Steve King (R-Ia.) on to have host David Gregory, so-called Republican strategist Ana Navarro, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson (D) attack him for his immigration views (videos follow with transcript and commentary):
In a web interview after his appearance on ABC's “This Week” yesterday, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who suddenly withdrew after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be his first Secretary of Commerce in 2009, was asked the following about freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: "Do you think he represents most Hispanics with his politics?"
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory led the show's panelists in dismissing the House Government Oversight Committee holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal as a mere political "distraction" created by Republicans. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The committee's chairman, California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, was also on the panel and interrogated by Gregory: "If you got everything you wanted, what do you think it would prove?....What would you be able to prove? I mean what the White House is saying is this is a fishing expedition, it's to score political points, it's all theater. What can you prove if you get everything you want?"
Tuesday’s New York Times provided two more entries to the paper’s already-bulging “Name that Party” file, wherein the paper leaves off the party affiliation of Democrats who find themselves in legal or ethical trouble, yet readily names controversial Republicans.
On Thursday's Early Show, correspondent John Blackstone reported on a federal judge blocking several provisions in Arizona's new immigration law: "The judge's ruling seemed to answer the prayers of many in Arizona's immigrant communities." Footage of two women crying and praying at a protest against the law followed his declaration.
Blackstone began his report by noting that protestors "are already beginning to gather for more protests today against Arizona's new law. They know that even with the court ruling yesterday...there will be an appeal, that their battle is not over." During the segment, the headline on screen read: "Border Battle; Judge Blocks Part of Controversial Immigration Law."
Continuing to highlight opposition to the law, Blackstone focused one woman: "Waitress Yessica Perez is a U.S. citizen, but she feared the law would make her a target for police." He then inaccurately claimed that the law "would have required police to check the immigration status of virtually anyone they suspected of being here illegally." Blackstone never explained that police could only question someone's status after stopping them for a legal violation. Meanwhile, a clip was played of Perez fretting: "I heard of people that they didn't want to go out, just grocery shopping. They were worried they were going to be pulled over just because – because of this law."
Seriously: is Bill Richardson trying to wreck John McCain?
Ask yourself: what would be the one thing most likely to undermine McCain with Arizona Republican Senate primary voters? Surely it would be the possibility that if re-elected, born-again immigration hawk McCain would revert to the squishiness that led him to partner with Ted Kennedy on a "path to citizenship" for illegals. Yet on this evening's Ed Show, that's exactly what the New Mexico governor—twice—imagined McCain might do.
Schultz set the stage, describing McCain's recent adoption of a hard line on immigration as "the biggest flip-flop of the year."
Then came Richardson, imagining a McCain re-reversal . . .
Despite the latest NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll showing 61 percent of Americans support Arizona’s new immigration law, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on May 26 failed to interview a single supporter for MSNBC’s special, “A Nation Divided.” She did, however, manage to scrounge up plenty of vocal opponents, including two high-profile Democrats who believe the law is unconstitutional.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa agreed that the legislation Arizona Governor Janet Brewer (R) signed into law in April divides the country along racial lines and think the federal government should pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“But the fact of the matter is this is a divisive measure, it’s unconstitutional,” insisted Villaraigosa, who supports the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to boycott Arizona. “It violates the rights of people in Arizona and it’s the wrong way to go.”
Instead of asking Richardson and Villaraigosa to explain how the new law is unconstitutional and divisive, Mitchell fired off bursts of piercing, penetrating questions, such as:
It’s natural for someone to lose a job and then say it really wasn’t important and desirable any way. That’s kind of the sound of Associated Press reporter Charles Babington made in a defensive news analysis on Friday after Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary. "Obscure post gives Obama big headache" was the headline. The analysis began:
Quick, who headed the Commerce Department under President George W. Bush?
No disrespect to Carlos M. Gutierrez, but commerce secretary is not one of Washington's more glamorous jobs. It's overshadowed by first-tier Cabinet posts at Justice, State, Defense and Treasury. Scores of senators, House members, Supreme Court justices and White House aides would draw more attention at a Georgetown cocktail party or Dupont Circle restaurant.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell appeared on the PBS show Charlie Rose on Wednesday night, and discussed what aroused her political zones. Rose clumsily asked which story "turns you on," and naturally, Mitchell said "this young president" with a globe-traveling upbringing and his team of "meritocracy," an "extraordinary group of very large figures," stars who will resolve today’s crises.
Mitchell decried the idea that new media would trouble the President’s first days: "I guess my passion is for something to happen to fix these problems and for dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from the, you know....the blogosphere. I just wish that we could find something in the center that would be bipartisan and would be productive and constructive."
Rose and Mitchell discussed the Gaza fighting before turning back to the domestic front:
Media Research Center Director of Communications and NewsBusters.org Contributing Editor Seton Motley appeared on this morning's Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel to discuss the egregious media double standard when it comes to Republicans and Democrats misbehaving.
Motley pointed to the media's incessant chant in 2006, the "Republican Culture of Corruption," and noted that no such parallel moniker has been affixed by the press to the Democratic Party despite a great and apparently growing number of their members having become embroiled in scandals.
Motley "defended" New Mexico Governor and recently withdrawn Commerce Secretary designee Bill Richardson, currently under federal investigation for swapping large government contracts for large campaign contributions, saying Richardson was only engaging in his form of commerce, preparing for his (almost) next gig.
The Washington Post put the vanishing Bill Richardson nomination on the front page again Tuesday with the headline "Richardson, Obama Teams Trade Blame." The real surprise in the story by Carol Leonnig and Michael D. Shear came in the very last paragraph, when a Republican was allowed to express skepticism:
Pendleton James, who led the vetting process for President Ronald Reagan's nominees, called the situation "astounding." "Come on, they just found this out yesterday?" he asked. "If this was some misdemeanor, I could understand, but...a grand jury investigation anywhere near a sitting governor?"
But the real question for media consumers is: where were the news media in sniffing out this stumbling block to Richardson’s nomination? Who’s going to accept or trade the "blame" on that lack of journalistic reflexes? Couldn’t they have identified it as a problem in the early days of the transition, knowing Richardson would be picked for a Cabinet job?
ABC anchor Dan Harris led Sunday night's World News with Commerce-nominee Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal, but framed the story around worries over Richardson becoming a “distraction” from Barack Obama's agenda. George Stephanopoulos, however, assured him it will only “be a blip.” Harris recited how “Obama is facing trouble abroad, trouble at home, and now trouble in his own cabinet.” So, “this is another major challenge” for the besieged Obama, Harris empathized, “at a time when the economy is reeling and war is raging between the Israelis and Palestinian militants.”
Following a report from Jake Tapper, Harris went to George Stephanopoulos: “Obama's coming into office with a very ambitious agenda, and if you add together what's going on with Richardson right now with the Blagojevich scandal, is that going to be a distraction in the key early days?” Stephanopoulos assured him, given all the issues on Obama's agenda including “the panoply of national security challenges he's going to face when he takes office,” that “this is likely to be a blip.”
Another Hardball, another opportunity for Chris Matthews, his eyes on a Senate run, to ingratiate himself with his party's powers-that-be. No one is more powerful than Barack Obama, of course, and Matthews found numerous ways this evening to praise the president-elect, even lauding, as NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, his dud of an attempt at humor when it came to Bill Richardson's erstwhile beard.
Richardson, too, came in for some Matthews fawning.
"Wow!" That was Chris Matthews' immediate reaction to Barack Obama's response to a question from a Fox News reporter about why his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, shaved off his beard. After playing, on Wednesday's "Hardball", a clip from Obama's press conference introducing Richardson, Matthews expressed awe at the "intellectual" way Obama analyzed Richardson's personal grooming habits.
Matthews made the following observation during the "Sideshow," segment of the December 3 edition of "Hardball":
The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."
At 78, Larry Eagleburger hasn't lost his fastball. Since leaving government, he might actually have added some MPH. Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, the former Secretary of State in George H.W.'s administration warmed up with some rough words for Barack Obama and Christopher Hitchens . . . then absolutely rubbished Bill Richardson.
Andrea Mitchell had invited Eagleburger on to assess the list of potential Secretary of State nominees. While he wasn't wildly enthusiatic about Hillary, she was his pick among those under serious consideration. When Mitchell suggested that Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience might prove useful, Eagleburger unloaded on Obama's lack of experience..
Wednesday’s CBS Early Show continued pressing the theme that the election is over as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Countdown to election day. The swing state showdown continues as Obama appears to open up an advantage in early voting." Co-host Harry Smith cited polls with wide margins to further shovel dirt on the McCain campaign: "New polls out with just 13 days to go until election day. A poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal gives Barack Obama a ten-point lead over John McCain, that's 52% to 42%. A poll by Reuters, C-Span, and Zogby shows the same ten-point spread." Correspondent Jeff Glor followed with a report: "Those poll numbers you mentioned and the math in these states makes the situation look increasingly difficult for John McCain."
Glor went on to describe how: "John McCain will campaign today in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Florida, following a big push for Pennsylvania." However, Glor immediately threw out the wet blanket: "Though registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the state by more than a million voters..." Glor also touted how Smith’s Tuesday interview with McCain was referenced by Joe Biden during a recent stump speech: "Joe Biden is sharply challenging John McCain over those controversial robocalls...Following Harry Smith's interview." Highlighting an Obama stump speech, Glor declared: "Obama pointing out that Florida, where he spent Tuesday, and where we've seen those long early voting lines, lost more jobs than any other state in the past year." Glor concluded the segment by observing: "In Florida, and other battleground states, officials say Democrats are early voting in greater numbers than their Republican counterparts, a good sign for Obama."
Wednesday's Hannity and Colmes showed viewers clips of Barack Obama making contradictory statements from Sunday and Tuesday about whether Iran was a serious threat, with the Illinois Senator on Sunday saying "they don't pose a serious threat to us," but on Tuesday saying "Iran is a grave threat." Pollster Frank Luntz also sparred with FNC's liberal co-host Alan Colmes over whether it would be wise to meet with dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, and got Colmes to admit that "I might" meet with Hitler. Luntz: "Would you talk to Hitler?" Colmes: "It would depend upon the circumstances. ... I might." (Transcript follows)
The segment began with a clip of Democratic Governor and Obama supporter Bill Richardson talking about Obama's desire to "talk to the Iranian leaderhip," and the clip of Obama talking about Iran were soon played, as they had been played on the previous night's show:
BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.
The big story this morning is President Bush's remarks to the Israeli Knesset invoking the example of Hitler to warn against the appeasement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the opening segment, from Mika Brzezinski [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough this week] to Willie Geist to Pat Buchanan to Mike Barnicle to David Shuster, nary a word in defense of Bush was heard, with Shuster twice referring to Bush's remarks as "grotesque." The only slight straying from Bush-bashing orthodoxy was Barnicle's observation that when he first heard of the remarks, he took them as aimed at Jimmy Carter, not Barack Obama.
A show purporting to have any semblance of balance would surely have a defender, if not of Bush, then at least of John McCain [who has reacted approvingly to Bush's comments] as a subsequent guest on today's show. Well, here's the guest lineup that Mika announced:
Bill Richardson--Obama endorser
Joe Biden--who has called Bush's remarks "bull----"
Susan Rice--Obama foreign policy advisor
Jonathan Alter--liberal pundit and occasional Olbermann sidekick
Just when you thought the conflagration over James Carville's Judas analogy might be dying down, here comes Derrick Z. Jackson to pour gasoline on the flames with a return-fire Judas shot of his own.
Readers will recall that when Bill Richardson endorsed Obama, Clinton fan Carville chose Good Friday to say:
Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic.
Offered the chance to apologize or withdraw his remarks, the cantankerous Cajun declined, choosing instead to rub in his remarks:
I was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it. I’m not apologizing, I’m not resigning, I’m not doing anything.
Enter Obama fan Jackson with his column of today, On race, Clinton misses the call, in which the Boston Glober sees "signs that [Hillary] will continue to skate the thin ice of race politics and risk the Democratic Party falling through." He saves his Judas shot for last [emphasis added]:
While Chris Matthews was waxing so rhapsodic about Barack Obama over on MSNBC this morning that he made Mika Brzezinksi ask if the Hardball host had endorsed him, Matt Lauer was doing his bit on NBC, wondering whether Hillary would be seen as having stolen the nomination if she managed to get it.
The Today co-anchor interviewed Bill Richardson, who's gotten more media mileage out of his Obama endorsement than a Prius coasting down a New Mexico mountain. Lauer's suggestion came toward the end of the segment.
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about political reality. Right now as we stand, with the delegate count, the popular vote count, the state-by-state count. Do you see any scenario under which Senator Clinton could win this nomination where it will not appear to large numbers of Democrats as if the nomination were stolen?
Richardson wouldn't bite on Lauer's controversial suggestion.
Next time, maybe Bill Richardson should consider text messaging. Something along these lines, perhaps:
I M not 4 U. Me & BHO: BFF. CUL8R
Of course we can only imagine how Hillary's reply would have read. But Richardson did have the moxie to make one of the world's tougher phone calls: informing Hillary Clinton that despite having been appointed by her husband to two cabinet positions, he was endorsing Barack Obama. Richardson has now let it be known that his conversation with Hillary got "a little bit heated."
Kidding aside, consider what it says about Hillary's personality that so much press attention has focused on the call. Imagine if Richardson had instead decided to endorse Clinton. Not many people would be wondering about the atmospherics of his conversation with Obama. Richardson appeared on this morning's Today, and weekend co-anchor Lester Holt wasted absolutely no time: his very first question to the NM governor was about that dreaded phone call.
First, to be fair to Keith Olbermann, I personally doubt the MSNBC anchor harbors prejudicial sentiments towards Mexican-Americans, but really, can you imagine the ire, or very least wide-open speculation if say Don Imus had said this?:
New York Senator Clinton, an adopted Giants fan watched the game in Minnesota and told the Associated Press, quote, "Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, we've got one down, let's get the other." This as her husband watched the game in New Mexico with the former governor, or with the governor and former presidential Bill Richardson, possibly asking Richardson for an endorsement and then, "would you please pass the guacamole?"
Video from Feb. 4 "Countdown" (22 secs):Windows (1.25 MB), plus MP3 audio (149 kB).
Surprisingly, CNN, during its Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, asked a numbers of questions that conservatives might propose on Thursday night. During the first hour of the debate, moderators Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, and John Roberts asked a total of 13 questions (not counting follow-up questions) on a number of issues. Of these, five could be considered to be "conservative."
Campbell Brown directed the first such question to Barack Obama. "Senator Obama, I want to ask you about immigration....What do you say to those Americans who say they are losing out because you would give benefits to people who broke the laws of this country, who came here illegally. And then more generally, as president, where do you draw the line when it comes to benefits for illegal immigrants?"
Granted, it came at the very end of the forum on cancer that Lance Armstrong organized today in Iowa. But if in response to your final question a presidential candidate recites an ode to collectivism, a denunciation of individualism, and throws in the mind-boggling claim that people don't want tax cuts, don't you somehow find a moment to follow up?
Candy Crowley, CNN’s senior political correspondent and an award winner for "excellence in journalism," might want to do a little more research on what science really says about the cause of homosexuality. In a report on the Logo/Human Right Campaign presidential candidates’ forum on "gay rights," Crowley claimed that "science has long-held that homosexuality is biological."
Come again? That claim would come to a surprise to even the homosexual-friendly American Psychological Association, whose web page on homosexuality states that "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people."
In the lead-up to Monday night’s YouTube debate with the Democrat presidential candidates, CNN ran prime-time specials previewing videos that might be featured during the debate, and most of those featured came from the liberal side. It should be no surprise then that video clips featured left-wing clips by almost a 3 to 1 margin versus the conservative clips - 17 liberal clips to 6 conservative clips, out of a total of 38 video question clips.
Video of 10 of the liberal questions (6:20): Real (4.53 MB) or Windows (3.79 MB), plus MP3 audio (2.15 MB).