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.]
After Rick Perry ended his presidential bid on Thursday, the Associated Press's Chris Tomlinson opened his dispatch about the announcement thusly: "Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race on Thursday, endorsed his old friend Newt Gingrich and returned home to Texas, where the failed White House candidate has three years left to serve as the chief executive."
Based on much of his prior reportage, Tomlinson appears have a particular animus towards the Texas Governor. But tagging GOP presidential candidates or their candidacies as "failed" is not an aberration at the AP, while the wire service's omission of such tags on wildly unsuccessful Democratic candidates pointedly betrays the presence of obvious bias.
Interviewing former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd on Sunday for Meet the Press's Press Pass, host David Gregory described Dodd's exit from politics this way: "...you stepped out of politics, and one of the things that you were really disappointed about what – the state of the politics in Washington, the inability to compromise, the venomous relationship in Washington..."
That was quite a charitable characterization of Dodd's decision not to run for reelection. In 2010, The Washington Post explained the real reason for Dodd's retirement: "Dodd's political star fell over a two-year period...[he] was linked to a VIP mortgage loan program overseen by a controversial Wall Street financier. He also drew harsh questions about his oversight of Wall Street, as chair of the Senate Banking Committee, in the years when the nation's financial system was heading toward near collapse."
If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.
Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
As congressional Democrats press on with their attempts to get financial legislation reform passed, a key component has been lacking from the debate: how to handle the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE).
CBS “Early Show” host Harry Smith used the top of the broadcast today to transmit liberal talking points on health care reform without bringing on a single conservative to articulate opposition.
First, CBS Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante’s glowing description of the benefits of passing health care reform went unchallenged:
It is expected to increase assistance for lower income people to afford health care, increase federal funding for the Medicaid program, and raise prescription drug benefits under Medicare. If the bills are signed into law, they would immediately forbid insurers from setting limits on dollar coverage or canceling policies in most cases. Children could then remain on their parents' insurance until age 26. In 2014, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance. There would be a health insurance exchange and insurers would then not be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. But meanwhile, the heat is really on. The President has been holding some one-on-one meetings with freshman House Democrats to try to persuade them. They are the people most vulnerable to the pressures to get this bill passed.
Back on Christmas Eve of 2009, Obama's Treasury Dept. said it would lift the limits on what the federal government could provide in "emergency aid" to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - without seeking Congressional permission.
Very few reporters noticed, except for The Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb who reported the story on Christmas Day and CNBC CME Group reporter and tea party inspiration Rick Santelli, who later pleaded for the public to take notice. With that occurrence in mind, Santelli scoffed at Sen. Chris Dodd's, D-Conn., legislative proposal of financial system reform that did not include reforms on both Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE).
"You know, I can't believe, first of all - you said, may not be included. They are not going to be included," Santelli said on "Fast Money" March 12. "And I think to put a moniker of reform on something that doesn't include Freddie and Fannie is very disingenuous. And I think that to pass something - what I heard Mr. Dodd say, Sen. Dodd, was, you know, it's the 101st senator. In other words, you know, we'll pass anything we have to show that we're doing something, no matter if it's the right thing or not, you know, I'm not buying that again."
All this week CNN has been taking a look at “Broken Government” and in some cases the cable channel deviated from the mainstream media norm by providing a critical view of government.
That was the case on Feb. 23 when Wolf Blitzer and Lisa Sylvester scrutinized lavish pension-plan and retirement-packages for government officials during “The Situation Room.”
“Many Americans will spend half a lifetime or more working for the same company only to find little or no safety-net when that job ends,” Blitzer said to begin the report. “Others, especially those on Capitol Hill don’t have that problem.”
A few weeks after admitting being a liberal, MSNBC's Chris Matthews is now claiming the Republican Party has done absolutely nothing for the American people the last ten to twenty years.
On Wednesday's "Hardball," Matthews brought political strategists Todd Harris and Steve McMahon on to discuss what the imminent retirements of Sen Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) mean to the future of the Democrat Party and the upcoming midterm elections.
In an obvious effort to downplay the seriousness of these announcements, as well as President Obama's plummeting poll numbers, Matthews continually asked the Republican guest what the GOP has done for the American people in the past ten to twenty years (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Has it really come to this? Is MSNBC so in the tank for the Democratic Party that it takes far-left documentary filmmaker Michael Moore to bring up malfeasance by a leading Democrat?
Moore appeared on MSNBC's Sept. 29 "Hardball" to promote his new film "Capitalism: A Love Story." With exception of "The Ed Show" fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell noting the Senate Ethics Committee had cleared Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., of wrongdoing and only reprimanded him verbally, over the last couple of months, MSNBC's prime time shows have ignored a deal Dodd got on a mortgage with Countrywide. That is, until Moore brought it up.
"Chris Dodd may have a problem after being in this movie, I think," Matthews said.
Is it a requirement at MSNBC that program hosts interrupt conservative guests whenever possible thereby preventing anyone other than liberals to make a point?
Such certainly appeared to be the case Thursday evening when Lawrence O'Donnell filled in on "The Ed Show" and treated his guest, Peter Schiff, more poorly and unprofessionally than just about anything I've ever witnessed.
It was so bad that by the end of the segment, when O'Donnell said, "We're out of time. I gave you as much time as you wanted to tell me one thing," Schiff marvelously replied, "But you kept interrupting me."
Of course, since Schiff has just formed an exploratory committee to examine a possible run for Senate in 2010 against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the folks at MSNBC probably think O'Donnell did a good job (video embedded below the fold with full transcript, h/t Ed Morrissey):
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic Senator Chris Dodd about efforts by Congress to pass legislation that would punish credit card companies for charging higher fees and interest rates: "Senator, yesterday President Obama says that he wants legislation to stop credit card abuses. This is something that you have been pushing for, for years. And I don't have to tell you that there's been strong credit card lobby against this. Now that the President's on board, can you assure consumers that this will finally get done and when?...what's the likelihood?"
Dodd responded by thanking Rodriguez and her CBS colleagues for their slanted coverage on the issue: "I think pretty good.And you've laid the groundwork for it because people are irate over these issues...I think we have a wonderful opportunity, now, to make a difference here and get a handle on these issues that have been gouging consumers for far too long."
It had been one of the many points of contention against CNBC by the left-wing attack machine - that "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow was using his show as a platform to make a run at the U.S. Senate in 2010 against Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.
Well, they're going to have to find another way to try to marginalize Kudlow, as they have with other CNBC personalities. Kudlow announced on his March 24 broadcast that he would not seek a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2010.
The CNBC host explained he was approached by the Republican Party to be a candidate, but said he never considered it "a serious proposition."
"Alright folks, tonight - I want to talk to you for a quick moment about me," Kudlow said. "Several weeks ago, I was approached by the Republican Party to consider a run for the U.S. Senate in the great state of Connecticut. It was a flattering conversation and one that I thought about, but to me it was never really a serious proposition."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Democratic Congressman Barney Frank about upcoming hearings on bonuses AIG gave to top executives after receiving government bailout money: "And who in the government didn't vet this company well enough before it gave the money to address the issue of bonuses...So who's responsible here in government? You said the Federal Reserve did this." Frank replied: "In September, Mr. Bernanke, as the head of the Federal Reserve, came to us and said 'we think we have a terrible problem here, we are going to provide $85 billion to AIG. That's -- that was the decision it wasn't anything that Congress had any say over."
Rodriguez did not challenge Frank’s assertion that the Democratic Congress was not involved, failing to ask the Massachusetts Congressman about the role his Senate colleague, Connecticut Democrat Chris Dodd, played in allowing AIG executives to keep their bonus money. On Tuesday, Fox Business reported: "While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. The provision, now called ‘the Dodd Amendment’ by the Obama Administration provides an 'exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009' -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax."
Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has remained largely unhurt by the controversy over his "sweetheart" deal with mortgage lender Countrywide. But CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Carl Quintanilla finally bucked the media trend of ignoring the scandal and brought the loan up in an interview July 14.
As we've noted at NewsBusters, there's been scant coverage of a new scandal involving Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.). Both senators chair committees with oversight of the financial industry and Dodd is behind a bailout package for mortgage lender Countrywide. Both senators got "VIP" treatment from Countrywide Financial for refinancing agreements on their respective mortgages.
So today I thought I'd check our internal records at the MRC and the transcripts at Nexis to see what sort of coverage the three broadcast networks have devoted to this story.
What I found was a big fat zero.
Countrywide did, however, pop up three times on NBC newscasts between the beginning of June and today. All three stories were about celebrity Ed McMahon's foreclosure woes.
ABC's Marcus Baram is reporting that Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) "had their home loans handled by [Countrywide Financial's] VIP desk, where a team of loan officers would work out favorable terms in conjunction with [CEO Angelo] Mozilo, according to two former Countrywide executives."
The 9a.m. hour of Friday’s MSNBC News Live featured only slanted coverage of President Bush’s remarks to Israel's Knesset including "Hardball" correspondent David Shuster’s characterization of the President’s remarks as “clearly an intellectually grotesque and dishonest statement.”
Shuster also argued that Bush’s remarks were offensive to "a lot" of people because "when you talk about Adolf Hitler in the context of the Middle East, it diminishes the atrocities and just how horrific the Nazi regime really was."
The hour long broadcast featured two segments which focused on Bush’s remarks with guests David Shuster and Barack Obama supporter Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), both of whom criticized the President’s statements and went along with the Democratic spin that Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama.
When This Week assembled a round-table of four liberals versus one conservative yesterday, I kvetched. Maybe I should have cheered. ABC's idea of balance looks good compared to that of CBS. This morning's Early Show preview of the Bush admin's plan, to be announced later today, to regulate the financial industry was essentially conservative-free. OK, to be absolutely accurate, there was a brief clip of Treasury Secretary Paulson saying the plan would protect the Fed's balance sheet and US taxpayers.
But in her set-up piece, CBS's Kimberly Dozier emphasized the negative: "critics say it's win-win for banks, not the consumer. Less regulation, but no new legal limits to stop questionable lending practices or to stop the shell-game financial structures that led to the current mortgage debacle." The only expert she aired was University of Maryland economist Peter Morici who griped that under the plan: "[banks] can still engage in sharp practices that got them in trouble. There's no reason to believe that this regulatory format will keep the kind of crisis we just had from happening again. Nor will it get us out of this recession."
Co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez took the baton from there. She first interviewed Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who claimed Congress had already given the Fed "massive" regulatory authority. Dodd predictably blamed the current situation on "a failure of leadership." Then it was on to Rodriguez's in-studio chat with CBS News biz correspondent Anthony Mason who--surprise!-- was also a critic of the plan.
Question: What do you get when you help terrorists seek dirty bombs, give sanctuary to Hezbollah and Hamas, taunt America, and threaten war on U.S. ally Colombia?
Answer: Hugs and kisses from members of Congress like Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, academics like Cornel West, and Hollywood celebrities like Danny Glover - and a pass from the press.
And what's there not to love about Venezuela's Marxist strongman Hugo Chavez, who crushes dissenters, muzzles the media, and takes from "the rich" to give to "the poor"? With a Kennedy clan member as his spokesman, he even gives discounted home heating oil to the shivering masses of the U.S. oppressed by the capitalist system. ¡Viva la Revolucion!
Latin America's newly preeminent thug is, after all, the kind of anti-American buffoon that American leftists instinctively swoon over. Chavez fancies himself a revolutionary leader, protégé and presumptive successor to Cuba's Fidel Castro, who stepped down last month after nearly a half-century in power.
As NBC's "Meet the Press" continues its "Meet the Candidate" series leading up to the 2008 elections, it is infinitely clear that some guests will receive different treatment than others.
Such was unquestionably apparent Sunday when host Tim Russert mercilessly pounded Democrat presidential candidate Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on a number of issues including his vote in favor of the October 2002 Iraq War resolution.
Russert presented statement after statement made by Dodd in support of the war before he became a presidential candidate, and continued to probe why the Senator's position changed so dramatically actually asking if it was due to political expediency.
Yet, five weeks ago when Russert had Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on as his guest, her ever-evolving position on this matter wasn't nearly exposed or explored. For instance, here's the text of Russert's Dodd interview concerning Iraq (video available here, relevant section begins at 6:30):
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.
"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.
On to promote his new book, "Letters From Nuremberg," about his father's experiences at the Nuremberg trials Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Chris Dodd, prompted by NBC "Today" co-host Ann Curry, accused the Bush administration of supporting torture at Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday's "Today" show.
After Curry spoke to the senator about the book and the trial of Nazis after World War II, she pushed Dodd to contrast the fairness of the Nuremberg trials compared to the Bush administration's support of "tortures" at Guantanamo Bay. The following exchange occurred on the September 18 "Today" show:
NBC’s "Today" show continued its global warming alarmism this week. Reporter Bob Dotson profiled a polar explorer who is teaching, or indoctrinating, today’s youths about global warming. The "Today" crew couldn’t refrain from gushing over this "sobering," "beautiful" message from an "impressive guy." However, NBC doesn’t want viewers to get excited over every issue. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell recently told viewers that "internet writers" need to take "a breath" over reports that Michelle Obama was attacking Hillary Clinton during a campaign speech.
"Situation Room" reporter Jack Cafferty, CNN’s answer to Andy Rooney, this week concluded that conservatives are dumb and George Bush should be impeached. Discussing a new poll on American reading habits, Cafferty claimed, "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?" Earlier in the week, he railed against Democratic Senator Chris Dodd’s statement that impeaching President Bush would be counterproductive.
In the 7pm EDT hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, Jack Cafferty expressed disappointment in Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd for rejecting efforts to impeach President Bush because of how it would hurt Democratic chances in 2008. “So, Senator Dodd is putting the election prospects of the Democratic Party next year ahead of whether or not President Bush might be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors of a kind which would mandate his removal from office,” Cafferty lamented. He noted that “Congress's job is oversight of the executive branch” and then, he sniffed, with a disapproving shake of his head: “Unless, of course, that oversight interferes with getting elected.” Cafferty soon reiterated his displeasure with the liberal Connecticut Senator: “It's a pretty amazing statement to come out of Senator Dodd's mouth.”
National Public Radio's "Diane Rehm Show" is created at American University NPR station WAMU (88.5 FM), but is nationally syndicated to about 100 stations. Today's first hour tilted to the left. On one side was retired Air Force officer Randall Larsen, a founder of the Institute for Homeland Security, calmly arguing that the DPW deal is not a grave threat. On the other side was a pile of Democrats arguing against soft-on-defense President Bush: Sen. Chris Dodd, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, and P.J. Crowley of the liberal Center for American Progress, a former staffer on Bill Clinton's National Security Council. That's 3-to-1 liberal (unless you count the host and make if 4 to 1).
On Monday, Rehm's first hour focused on presidential secrecy, with an unopposed liberal duo of "historians," the former Washington Post reporter and columnist Haynes Johnson and Tim Russert's favorite pop-historian, former LBJ aide and Hillary pal Doris Kearns Goodwin. (At least Tuesday's show on voting rights featured conservative expert Roger Clegg.)