Ronan Farrow opened his MSNBC program Tuesday with these words: "Who can steal Magnolia State voters?" The opening words on the screen behind him were: "Mississippi Mud," followed by a chyron reading "Stealing the Magnolia State." Farrow's reporting quickly emphasized, several times, that the primary was a Republican one, and that it had gotten "nasty."
Several minutes followed, with NBC's Kasie Hunt reporting live from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, detailing the "really hard fought, really nasty" campaign between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, portrayed on the whole as a doddering figure, and strongly conservative challenger Chris McDaniel, portrayed as an insensitive extremist.
Fox News host Stuart Varney embarrassed Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, using archived video to expose the congressman’s hypocrisy on the debt limit. Rangel supported raising the debt limit before today’s deadline, of course, but back in 2004, with Republican George W. Bush in the White House, he sang a different tune.
Varney, filling in for Cavuto, set Rangel up by asking him why he wanted to borrow so much money now. Rangel ignored the question, instead expressing his glee at the deal the Senate had reached. He exclaimed, “[W]e have kicked the can down the road and I'm happy.” Varney then made his play: [Watch the video below the break.]
Monday morning, 22-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, as reported by Tal Kopan at the Politico, said that President Barack Obama's drawing of a "red line" on Syria is "embarrassing," and that he is against "putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem."
Rangel is the third most-senior House member of either party. If a senior Republican congressperson similarly criticized opposed a Republican or conservative president in a matter such as this, there would be widespread establishment press coverage. In this case, there's very little. This is not unusual for stories detrimental to Democratic Party interests, as the rest of the establishment press all too often seems content to say, "Oh, that was already in the Politico, so we don't have to cover it."
MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Friday offered tax evader Charlie Rangel the opportunity to deride Newt Gingrich for being insufficiently concerned about the poor. Talking to Rangel, who was censured on the floor of the House in 2010, Bashir implored, "As someone who represents a district in New York that includes some extremely poor neighborhoods, what's your reaction to Mr. Gingrich?"
Bashir made no move to interrupt or challenge Rangel as the Congressman slammed Gingrich for financial gain: "Perhaps you know, when you live that Tiffany life or when you're getting $60,000 a speech or when you can make millions of dollars and not know the difference between a lobbyist and historians, maybe this distortion could be a permanent mental problem."
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., referring to his race and the Constitution on John Stossel's recent show "The State Against Blacks," said, "I wasn't even considered three-fifths of a guy." The Rev. Al Sharpton, debating on Sean Hannity's show, said, "Any black, at any age at any stage, was three-fifths of a human." Even eminent historian John Hope Franklin charged the Founders with "degrading the human spirit by equating five black men with three white men." Statements such as those either represent ignorance or are part of the leftist agenda to demean the founding principles of our nation by portraying the nation's Founders as racists. Let's look at the origin of the three-fifths clause.
Chris Matthews on Friday made the absurd claim the "compassionate" Left is too soft on Republican wrongdoers, and that by contrast the Right puts it's "heel into the back of the guy's head when he's down."
The "Hardball" host - with a straight face no less - said this to guests Ron Reagan and Politico's Roger Simon with reference to how the "right-wing press played up [Charlie] Rangel's censure" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During coverage of Charlie Rangel's verdict delivered by the House Ethics Committee, CNN's John Roberts called the situation "tough times," for the congressman – and wondered what the trauma will to Rangel's health given that he is 80 years old.
Referring to the censure of Sen. McCarthy in the 1950s which "broke him," Roberts remarked that "now Charlie Rangel's 80 years old, what will censuring potentially do to him?"
CNN anchor Candy Crowley also mentioned Rangel's age, saying that the hearings were "tough to watch." She added that "the next step" of the House voting on having the censure or not "is really even more painful."
"This is a rough one, but certainly one that has had, if you will, bipartisan support on something that's difficult, clearly, for the congressman to deal with," Crowley said, putting the situation in perspective.
Tuesday's evening news broadcasts and Wednesday's morning shows allowed a scant four and a half minutes of coverage to the conviction of powerful Democrat Charlie Rangel over ethics charges. In comparison, these same programs devoted 121 minutes to exhaustively examining every aspect of the announcement that Prince William is getting married, a disparity of 30 to one.
NBC's Today featured the most reporting on the British engagement, 41 minutes of coverage on Wednesday. Yet, the morning show discussed Rangel's misdeeds for only one minute and 45 seconds. Good Morning America was even worse. Just 12 seconds on the New York politician's failure to pay taxes and report income, but 31 minutes for the fashion, style and location of a wedding that won't take place until 2011.
The Early Show did slightly better on the Congressman: 38 seconds for Rangel, but 35 minutes for Prince William. The breakdown of just the morning shows is 42 to 1. (108 minutes for the wedding and two and a half for Rangel.)
While network correspondents complain about the unfairness of independent advertising, they might ponder the unfairness of their habitual tendency to omit or downplay bad news for Team Obama, especially in the crucial last weeks of a campaign. Consider some of the latest stories that would have drawn much more attention and media hostility if the shoe was on the Republican foot:
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Wednesday's Today show, in reporting on yesterday's primary results threw the conservative label around, as she identified several Republicans that way, but for some reason couldn't manage to attach the "liberal" label when it came time to talk about ethics challenged New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel.
O'Donnell began her piece noting that "Democrats are suddenly very excited" about their chances of winning the open Delaware Senate seat due to "the conservative rebellion" that led to Christine O'Donnell's win in the GOP primary, adding that the "conservative" O'Donnell "was propelled by several Tea Party groups." O'Donnell even relayed Democratic spin that O'Donnell was "an ultra right wing extremist." However when it came to talking about Rangel's primary win the NBC correspondent didn't bother to attach an ideological label, merely calling him "20-term Congressman Charlie Rangel." In total, Kelly O'Donnell used the "conservative" label five times in her piece but never once indentified any of the Democrats brought up in her story as a liberal.
The following is the full O'Donnell story as it was aired on the September 15 Today show:
New York Times columnist Charles Blow on Saturday actually defended former governor Sarah Palin from death wish attacks by two Democrat officials in New Hampshire.
In case you missed it, on Tuesday Keith Halloran, a Democrat candidate for the New Hampshire House, posted in a Facebook thread about the plane crash that killed former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, "Just wish Sarah and Levy [sic] were on board."
New Hampshire State Representative Timothy Horrigan replied Wednesday, "Well a dead Palin wd [sic] be even more dangerous than a live one ... she is all about her myth & if she was dead she cldn' t [sic] commit any more gaffes."
That excuse may not have gotten you out of hot water with your parents, but it seems to hold some sway with Time magazine, at least when it comes to ethically-challenged former House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).
Staffer Michael Scherer apparently drew the short straw for the August 13 assignment, in which he focused on just one of the numerous allegations of impropriety against Rangel: that he misused his congressional office to solicit contributions to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service.
The AP's Larry Margasak ran with the Democrats' latest talking point in a Tuesday article which carried the headline, "Democrats Declare Swamp of Corruption Drained." The writer, referring to a line by Nancy Pelosi, explained that the remark "might seem odd, but it's an emerging strategy: Separate Democratic-initiated ethics from the cases of Reps. Charles Rangel...and Maxine Waters."
Despite naming Rangel and Waters in his article, Margasak completely omitted other Democratic ethics scandals since they took control of Congress in 2007, such as the case against former Louisiana Representative William Jefferson and the three members of the party linked to the scandal surrounding the PMA Group (former Rep. John Murtha, Virginia's Jim Moran, and Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana).
The AP writer expanded on the headline in his lede: "Democratic leaders say they've emptied the swamp of congressional corruption. Never mind the ethics trials to come for two longtime party members. 'Drain the swamp we did, because this was a terrible place,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week of the Republican rule in the House that ended in January 2007."
On Sunday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon conducted a softball interview of the Rev. Al Sharpton and helped him forward the theory that the congressional ethics investigations into Representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are being conducted because they are black. Lemon also didn't go into much detail as to what the charges against the two were and what were the circumstances of their cases.
The anchor interviewed the liberal minister 12 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour. Before introducing Sharpton, Lemon did mention that Congressman Rangel was "accused of violating 13 House Rules" and that the "accusations range from financial wrongdoing to damaging the credibility of Congress," but never mentioned during the segment that the charges mainly involve rental properties the New York representatives owns in his district and in the Dominican Republic. He also noted that Rep. Waters "has chosen to face a House ethics trial related to claims involving federal aid to a bank with ties to both Waters and her husband" but didn't give additional details about that case.
Lemon then set up his topic of discussion with the reverend: "Now, the investigation of such powerful people, like Rangel and Maxine Waters, have a lot of people talking. The reaction in Washington seems to be centered on whether the two House members are guilty or not, but back home, in their respective districts, some of their constituents aren't so sure justice is being done, and some are openly questioning why two high profile African-American House members are coming under such tough scrutiny." He then asked Sharpton, "Do you think that black members are being targeted unfairly by the Ethics Committee?"
On Friday, the Associated Press published a shockingly partisan article about the ethics investigation against House Democrat Charlie Rangel.
Instead of giving a neutral account of the proceedings, the AP sourly reported that the GOP is getting its "wish" after Republicans "wanted" an election year embarrassment to use against Democrats.
The article, written by Larry Margasak with assistance from three other AP reporters, began with the word Republican and ended with endearing sentiments from a Rangel supporter. The actual charges against Rangel? Stuffed inside paragraph 19 and then quickly glossed over.
Imagine that it's 2006, and an elderly, long-serving conservative U.S. congressman from a deep-red congressional district is facing congressional hearings regarding charges of corruption and tax evasion. Also imagine that this congressman was caught on camera being exceedingly condescending and dismissive when asked about these charges by a young reporter.
The media drumbeat of indignation would be predictably nonstop and longtime liberal veterans of the print press corps would inveigh against the Republican legislator, calling for his resignation and warning that Republicans were headed for electoral defeat if they failed to clean house. This congressman would certainly not be depicted as a heroic but flawed figure who possesses redeeming qualities and tragically deviated from his high ideals.
Both ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today Show" devoted segments to reporting the ethics charges Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) now faces. The recently-deposed head of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee faces ethics charges detailed in reports following a two-year committee investigation of the embattled congressman.
CBS's "Early Show" did not report on the charges the Congressman faces, but did devote a four minute segment to an international comic book convention – "Comic Con International" – which takes place this weekend in San Diego, CA.
The "Today Show" provided three minutes for the Rangel story, while "Good Morning America" gave the story just under a minute in coverage.
MSNBC's David Shuster on Tuesday continued to attack the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for the organization's reference to Charlie Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat." He reiterated, "I pointed out the NRCC did not call him a corrupt New York Democrat or just corrupt. Rather, a corrupt Harlem Democrat. And I asked a guest if this was racially tinged."
Shuster, however, was silent on the fact that MSNBC reporter Luke Russert basically did the same thing. Appearing on the March 3 edition of the Ed Show, he commented on Democrats who wanted to strip the controversial Rangel of his chairmanship.
Russert explained that these politicians are in "conservative districts, who really saw problems back home in their rural districts in the mountains being associated with a Harlem Democrat who writes the nation's tax laws who a lot of folks say is not paying their taxes." Does this mean that Luke Russert is using "racially tinged" language? Will Shuster call on his colleague to apologize? (Hat tip to Clay Waters of Times Watch for noting the Russert comment.)
MSNBC's David Shuster on Monday attacked Republicans as racist for calling embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel a "crooked, Harlem Democrat." Talking to ex-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the host complained about a press release by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): "They could have called him the crooked New York Democrat. They could have called him a crooked Democrat." [Audio available here.]
Shuster continued, "Why crooked Harlem Democrat? And did you see that as being racially tinged?" Clearly, the provocative part of the NRCC's press release was labeling Rangel corrupt. How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a "Harlem Democrat?" Harlem is in his district.
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, FNC contributor and panel member Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation twice cited the Media Research Center – parent organization to NewsBusters – the first time as he pointed out that ABC News had given six times as much attention to attacking Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s efforts to delay the extension of unemployment benefits – as if doing so were a scandal – as opposed to covering the actual scandal of Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel’s unethical activities. Pinkerton recounted:
Striking, as Scott Whitlock at MRC pointed out, ABC News devoted six times more coverage to trashing Bunning where Jonathan Karl, the reporter, went all Jesse Watters on Bunning, following him around in the Senate and trying to barge into the elevator, than they did on Chairman Rangel's, of the Ways and Means Committee's, forced resignation in a scandal. So a two-day procedural thing was six times bigger news to ABC than a genuine corrupt scandal. [Audio available here.]
The FNC contributor cited the MRC a second time during a discussion of the media’s coverage of Iraq as he noted that the mainstream media have lost interest in the subject and have not asked a question at a White House press conference since June 26. Host Jon Scott brought in Pinkerton by bringing up a recent article in the Daily Beast about positive developments in Iraq which did not mention former President Bush:
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, as host Howard Kurtz led a discussion on media coverage of Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel’s ethical problems, guest Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News – formerly of Time magazine and CNN's Capital Gang – seemed to suggest that Rangel would have lost his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee sooner if the mainstream media were not so biased in favor of the New York Democrat.
Kurtz had just led a discussion with Carlson and the Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt on whether ABC’s Jonathan Karl had slanted his coverage of Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s efforts to delay passage of the extension of unemployment benefits, with the CNN host posing the question: "When the television reports go from Senator Bunning on the floor, clearly ticking off his colleagues, to some poor unemployed person who obviously wants to continue to receive checks, are we loading the dice a little bit?"
After the discussion moved to Rangel, Kurtz recounted that Matthews recently wondered whether the New York Times was going after the Democratic Congressman because of his unethical acts or because he had angered them with some legislative action. The CNN host soon added: "But Matthews went on to say, ‘I've loved the guy,’ Charlie Rangel, ‘for years. I feel like recusing myself.’ But do you think this Rangel story got enough attention? All the networks covered it. NBC Nightly News is the only one that did a full story."
The left-leaning Carlson soon acknowledged the media’s negative feelings toward Bunning as a contrast with press affection for Rangel, with either Kurtz or Stirewalt – or possibly both men – voicing agreement that Rangel would have been gone earlier if not for his popularity:
CNN's Jack Cafferty again criticized Nancy Pelosi on Monday's Situation Room, knocking her inaction in removing Congressman Charlie Rangel as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Cafferty highlighted how Pelosi "vowed to 'drain the swamp' in Washington when she became speaker," but at the same time "refuses to force him [Rangel] out as chairman."
The CNN commentator devoted his commentary 16 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to Pelosi's handling of the Rangel matter. After noting that some Democrats were joining with Republicans in calling for the New York congressman's resignation as chairman, and highlighting how even the New York Times called on the Speaker to "stop protecting him," Cafferty knocked her inaction: "Pelosi says she's waiting for the Ethics Committee to finish its investigation before she makes any decisions. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who vowed to 'drain the swamp' in Washington when she became speaker, and the same Nancy Pelosi who years ago called on Republicans to remove the 'ethically unfit' Tom Delay as their majority leader."