On Wednesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty revisited his anti-Sarah Palin obsession and somewhat predictably, grouped U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell with the former Alaska governor, stating it "feels like Sarah Palin all over again....O'Donnell has some big question marks on her resume, just like...Palin." Most of the viewer e-mails Cafferty read bashed the two politicians.
The commentator devoted his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary to the two Republican women. After his "feels like Sarah Palin all over again" line, Cafferty recounted O'Donnell's emergence on the national political scene, and wasted little time in outlining her negative similarities to Palin: "Suddenly, everybody can't seem to get enough of her. This is despite the fact that O'Donnell has some big question marks on her resume, just like Sarah Palin. She's come under fire for allegedly misusing campaign funds for personal expenses-just like Sarah Palin."
CNN's Gary Tuchman blasted Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell on Tuesday's AC360, suggesting that the Republican was like the leader of a totalitarian regime, after she dared to say that the media should be left out of certain campaign events: "I think, for most Americans, that gives you a little chill. When we go to places like Cuba and Iran and North Korea and China, we're often kept out" [audio available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper led the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program with the latest on O'Donnell's candidacy, particularly her interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity the previous hour. Tuchman, who was reporting live from Wilmington, Delaware, raised the issue of her finances, and after reporting on two recent local events which the Republican attended, went into his lamentation over her stab at the media:
In a zinger that roused the indignation of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson cast Christine O'Donnell as Sarah Palin's protege – but "with not a fully-functioning human brain." But in 1992, Carlson gushed over the primary victories of current Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. Does she hold a double-standard?
Co-host Mika Brzezinski was taken aback when the panel had to discuss Carlson's piece for The Daily Beast, "Watch Your Back, Sarah." She silently mouthed the word "bitchy" to Carlson to describe the article, adding that it was "searing."
Carlson's piece focuses on the emergence of the Republican Delaware Senate nominee as the next Sarah Palin protege, predicting a political catfight of sorts between the two female GOP stars. Carlson labeled O'Donnell an "obvious knockoff" of Palin, "hawking her wares on the shores of the Delaware."
Appearing on "Morning Joe" Wednesday, Carlson sneered that O'Donnell lacks a "fully-functioning human brain."
Of course, there was a time when she smiled upon the emergence of female Senate candidates.
Agreeing with Christine O'Donnell's decision not to do anymore national media interviews, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson acknowledged on Wednesday's Early Show that "the national media is not doing her any favors and, basically, a lot of people want her on so that she can have a car crash on air."
Dickerson went on to add that O'Donnell "needs to focus on Delaware....she's got to reach out to independents and get outside of the narrow conservative constituency she won." He then remarked: "...she's smart to keep to her knitting and she just has to hope that voters don't penalize her for trying to kind of stay away from the national media, which might look like staying away from any kind of difficult or probing questions." Co-host Harry Smith joked in reply: "Knit one, pearl two for John Dickerson this morning."
Both Smith and Dickerson joked about how "disappointed" they were that O'Donnell would not be making anymore national media appearances. Throughout the discussion, a headline on screen made reference to O'Donnell's witchcraft comments: "Bewitched?; O'Donnell Says No More National Interviews."
According to Good Morning America's Jon Karl, Christine O'Donnell's 1999 comments about dabbling in witchcraft are "infamous." The ABC political correspondent used the strong language, Wednesday, while reporting on an appearance the Republican senatorial candidate made on Fox News.
Describing O'Donnell's first week as a candidate, Karl opined, "First, liberal comedian Bill Maher released video of the infamous witchcraft comment and threatened to release more embarrassing clips."
Dictionary.com defines infamous as "deserving of or causing an evil reputation." Also: "shamefully malign; detestable."
At CNN, it's all Christine O'Donnell all the time. News readers there seemingly can't get their fill of Delaware's Republican senatorial candidate.
Today, the American Morning program covered in each of its three hours allegations from a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint that O'Donnell misused some campaign funds. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden was fined $219,000 in July for actual FEC infractions, not allegations, American Morning didn't devote anywhere near as much air time to the story.
Bill Maher was invited on Chris Matthews' Hardball show, on Tuesday night, to discuss his old guest panelist Christine O'Donnell's controversial statements about practicing witchcraft in high school, but it was the HBO host's take on Jimmy Carter's recent round of interviews that was particularly jarring as he told Matthews that he wished Barack Obama was a little more like that failed president. Prompted by the one-time Carter speechwriter to comment on his former boss, Maher professed: "I love Jimmy Carter! Jimmy Carter is so honest and out there. You know sometimes, I hear people say, 'Oh, Obama, his term could become like Jimmy Carter's.' Yeah, I wish. You know Jimmy Carter did some real bold things, like returning the Panama Canal. Can you see a president trying to do that today? Or, or getting on national television and telling the American people that they're lazy and they're using too much energy?...I think this country needs a lot more of that sort of forthright honesty." [audio available here]
As for O'Donnell, Maher initially claimed she was "a liar" but, in a blatant booking plea, quickly amended, "But I like her." And after Matthews played a clip of O'Donnell commenting on scientific experiments Maher, along with Matthews, took the opportunity to take a shot at all those science-hating Republicans:
Comedian Joy Behar repeated her 'View' tirade against Christine O'Donnell on her eponymous HLN network program yesterday, denouncing the Delaware Republican Senate nominee as "crazy" and suggesting she should see a psychotherapist.
"You know, I'm not a shrink, but this is the crazy train this girl is on," chortled Behar, who also belittled O'Donnell on ABC's "The View" yesterday. After maligning O'Donnell's character, Behar suggested the social conservative could benefit from therapy: "I believe in psychotherapy. Maybe she should go to a shrink."
Behar's guest, psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, did not take the bait: "I don't know that much about her. But we also need to allow people to change as they grow. Express themselves when they're young, make mistakes and change their point of view. Do we really think that she's into witchcraft? I don't really buy it."
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
I suspect that headline writers at the Associated Press would be pleased as punch if readers stopped at their capsulization of Randall Chase's story and didn't read it.
The headline at the AP's main site currently reads: "Surprise Del. primary winner seeks GOP support."
Perhaps they're hoping that Christine O'Donnell's Tea Party base will be disappointed at the impression the headline gives, namely that O'Donnell is going to the Republican Party establishment for help, and in the process presumably compromising sensible conservative principles.
Well, that hope naively assumes that informed readers trust the factual basis of AP headlines. If they trust AP headlines as much as the rest of the press's and Big Three TV networks' output, that's mostly not true (i.e., only 25% have a great deal of trust). Chase's report makes it pretty clear that a lot of heavy hitters and strategists in the GOP are actually coming to her:
CNN contributor John Avlon returned to his consistent theme of bashing conservatives on Monday's Newsroom, labeling Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell the "new queen of the wingnuts." Avlon also referenced Reason magazine's label of O'Donnell as a "crackpot of the first order" and didn't provide the full context of her 1997 remarks on AIDS.
Anchor Kyra Phillips led the 9 am Eastern hour of Newsroom with the Republican's 1999 appearance on ABC's Politically Incorrect where she cited how she "dabbled" in witchcraft as a teenager. After playing a clip from the 11-year-old appearance, Phillips continued that O'Donnell's remarks are "raising eyebrows and some concerns from the GOP establishment" and brought on Avlon, who has a knack for being tougher on his identified "wingnuts" on the right than those he picks from the left. The anchor referenced The Daily Beast writer's September 15 column in her first question: "O'Donnell actually canceled two Sunday talk show appearances after this came to light, and now, you are calling her the new queen of wingnuts."
Comedian Joy Behar seemed to enjoy herself as she muckraked through exotic comments made by Republican Delaware U.S. Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell over a decade ago, refusing to leave them out of a serious discussion about O'Donnell's candidacy. She even threw Sarah Palin into the mix.
O'Donnell, in a 1999 appearance on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect," said that she "dabbled into witchcraft" in high school but never joined a coven. Behar lambasted O'Donnell, calling her "crazy" and wondering why she was running for office. "I think it shows you how crazy the girl is, doesn't it?" Behar asked incredulously. "How many crazy people do we have to have in office?"
Behar labeled O'Donnell as a "witch who doesn't masturbate." Meanwhile, the show's token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck countered that if O'Donnell is under the gun for such comments, then President Obama should have been scrutinized more closely over his pastor of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Even veteran liberal journalist and 'View' co-host Barbara Walters dismissed the notion of serious discussion of O'Donnell's comments from 10 or 20 years ago, and argued that her current views on social issues should be scrutinized.
Today co-anchor Matt Lauer, on Monday morning, couldn't wait to tell viewers about the revelation that Christine O'Donnell once admitted to practicing witchcraft, as he greeted viewers at the top of the very top of the show: "Casting a spell. She's already won her state's Republican Senate primary and captured headlines across the country. Now a video surfaces showing Christine O'Donnell admitting she dabbled in witchcraft as a high schooler." Lauer's colleague Kelly O'Donnell, then went on to dredge up clips from Bill Maher's old Politically Incorrect show as she called the Delaware GOP Senate nominee a "tempest in the Tea Party."
While most of Kelly O'Donnell's piece was devoted to Christine O'Donnell's "witchcraft talk" that didn't keep her from mentioning that the Tea Party was causing "tension" in the Alaska Senate race: "And there's more Tea Party tension brewing for Republicans. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who lost her primary, jumped back in the race." O'Donnell also aired a clip of Murkowski claiming her victorious primary opponent Joe Miller had "extremist views."
Former top Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson is a Washington Post columnist, and there is never a better time for right-leaning columnists to lean left than in the last weeks of an election season. (See George Will trashing Sen. George Allen in the last weeks of 2006.) His rant also may have granted Gerson a seat on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday.
Gerson not only denounced Christine O'Donnell as a wacky candidate like Alan Keyes, he denounced "the childish political thought of the Tea Party." He insisted conservatives were like Bolsheviks. Bloggers like Michelle Malkin and talk show hosts like Mark Levin were "unhinged" against Karl Rove:
While Rove's critique was tough, the reaction in parts of the conservative blogosphere has been unhinged. Michelle Malkin wrote that it "might as well have been Olbermann on MSNBC." Mark Levin pronounced Rove at "war against the Tea Party movement and conservatives." "In terms of the conservative movement," wrote Dan Riehl, "we should not simply ignore him, but proactively work to undermine Rove in whatever ways we can, given his obvious willingness to undermine us."
It’s one thing to acknowledge that most voters in a liberal-leaning state like Delaware may be reluctant to vote for a solid conservative, but, as he appeared on Sunday’s Today show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory claimed that Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell’s "extremist statements and some views" would not only be a "real problem" in Delaware, but "it would be the case almost anywhere." And, rather than noting the liberal lean of Delaware, which has not voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, Gregory described the state as "more moderate." Gregory: "Christine O'Donnell also represents a real problem for the Republican party. I mean, her track record of statements, extremist statements and some views on issues are going to be a real problem – not just in a state like Delaware that's more moderate, but it would be the case almost anywhere."
And, as Gregory described how President Obama might try to portray Republicans as extreme, the NBC host seemed to channel MSNBC’s Chris Matthews as he suggested that Obama might claim that "warlord-ism" is "going on within the party, extremism within the party." After noting that the Tea Party movement indicates Republicans are energized to vote in November, Gregory continued:
Beyond that, you’ll see the President and his allies saying, "Look, this is a Republican party going through a revolution. They don't know which side is up. There’s a kind of warlord-ism going on within the party, extremism within the party. This is not a party that you want to have leading the country." That will be the argument that you hear more and more, and that you’re already hearing the President make.
Conservative radio host Mark Levin thinks Delaware Republican senatorial nominee Christine O'Donnell is "smart to bypass" the Sunday talk shows she was scheduled to appear on this week.
As the Associated Press reported Saturday, O'Donnell canceled her appearances on CBS's "Face the Nation" and FNC's "Fox News Sunday":
Campaign spokeswoman Diana Banister cited scheduling conflicts and said O'Donnell needed to return to Delaware for commitments to church events and afternoon picnic with Republicans in a key county where she has solid backing.
Sunday morning, Levin told his Facebook followers this was a good decision:
Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer blog reports what should have been expected: Rosie O'Donnell hates Christine O'Donnell. "So she apparently has said some pretty crazy s--t," Rosie announced on her XM/Sirius satellite radio show Thursday. "Apparently, there's no chance a candidate like this can win. Is that what they're saying? I have a fear that the opposite may be true."
(Wild-eyed liberal radio host Mike Malloy denounced O'Donnell as only he can: "And then this freakish, Barbie-doll-looking-woman from Delaware -- where do these people come from?...These are robots, obviously. These are huge walking, farting dolls of some sort I guess.")
For "crazy" crap, Rosie's producers found a clip they said was "much more recent" than O'Donnell's chats with Bill Maher in 1996 -- but actually, it was from a C-SPAN interview on AIDS prevention programs from 1997. As summarized by the left-wingers at Talking Points Memo:
Imagine a movie: Maureen Dowd is seen thrashing around on her bed, clearly in the grips of a gruesome nightmare. When she awakes, it is not to relief but to the horrifying discovery that reality is worse than anything her fevered brain had conjured.
That is the sense of hopelessness, desperation and depression in which Dowd drowns in her New York Times column of today. The piece is one long lament, as Dowd decries the Dems' fate. Not only are they on the brink of losing--they are losing to opponents who are not merely wrong but "the worst" and "insane."
Dowd casts matters in absolutely apocalyptic terms.
Charles Krauthammer on Friday had a heated debate with the Washington Post's Colby King over what the Tea Party stands for as well as who its leader is.
As the panel on PBS's "Inside Washington" discussed Delaware Republican senatorial nominee Christine O'Donnell's surprising victory Tuesday, the conversation naturally gravitated towards the conservative movement reshaping the face of politics.
"They [the Tea Party] have a litmus test that goes into being right to life, social conservative issues that they're strong on," said King.
Krauthammer pounced, "Look, I hate to say this, but I think that is completely wrong."
The battle was on (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, during the show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, host Keith Olbermann referred to Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell as a "lump of dumb and judgmental" as he introduced his slam of Republican strategist Jack Burkman and a clip of him being criticized by former New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato for comments Burkman made about African immigrants on the Fox Business Channel.
As he attacked Burkman, the MSNBC host smeared Tea Party activists generally as promoting "nonsensical, virulent, uneducated hatred." Olbermann: "For the second time in three days, a hardline GOP stalwart managed to get fed up with the nonsensical, virulent, uneducated hatred pushed by one of these flip Tea Party types, and he called BS on it. The first was Karl Rove wigging out over the lump of dumb and judgmental that is Christine O’Donnell."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, September 17, Countdown show on MSNBC:
“There are calls for a criminal investigation of another rising GOP star,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, after citing Sarah Palin's speaking appearance in Iowa, as she elevated a publicity gimmick from a left-wing organization staffed by veterans of Democratic congressional offices. Though O'Donnell “took the spotlight today at a conservative summit in Washington,” Couric warned: “There may be trouble ahead for her. A watchdog group intends to call Monday for a criminal investigation of what it says is her chronic abuse of campaign funds.”
Reporter Nancy Cordes painted O'Donnell as a hypocrite, charging that “even as she preached a return to fiscal conservatism, O'Donnell's own unorthodox spending habits were starting to come under heavy scrutiny,” asserting “the unemployed O'Donnell used campaign funds to pay for meals, gas, bowling trips, and personal rent, even long after the campaign had ended.”
Cordes legitimized CREW by misleadingly describing the obviously liberal outfit as “the non-partisan watchdog group” which “is urging the U.S. attorney in Delaware to open a criminal investigation.” Sloan got a second soundbite to declare: “It's not sloppiness, it's out-and-out theft.”
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux led Friday's Situation Room by labeling the social conservative Value Voters Summit a "traditional showcase for hardcore conservatives." Later in the same segment, senior political analyst Gloria Borger stated that the Tea Party movement was "anti-health care" and bizarrely referred to Ronald Reagan as "the most secular president we've known in our lifetime."
Malveaux used her "hardcore conservatives" line as she introduced a segment on Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's speech to the Summit. Just before this, she stated how "some are calling her [O'Donnell] the new poster girl for the Tea Party phenomenon" and later continued that she apparently "preached a new kind of gospel at the Values Voter Summit: the Tea Party's anti-government mantra."
Collectively they gave her less than five minutes.
The Republican Delaware Senate nominee gave a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this afternoon from about 3:25 to 3:45 p.m. EDT. Of the three major cable news networks, Fox News showed none of the speech while MSNBC's Chris Jansing gave viewers just under a minute of O'Donnell audio before interviewing Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small about concerns some GOP operatives have about O'Donnell being a weaker matchup against the Democratic nominee than Rep. Mike Castle (R) would have been.
Only CNN's Rick Sanchez gave O'Donnell a substantial chunk of time: 3 minutes and 33 seconds. When Sanchez cut away from O'Donnell, he noted that she's "getting her first taste of the national spotlight" since clinching the nomination and promised that CNN would "continue to follow as the midterms in November draws near."
Closing out the "Media Mash" segment on the September 16 edition of his eponymous "Hannity" program, the Fox News host asked for NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to NBC's Meredith Vieira telling House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed" and asking him "what's so good about them?":
Memo to Meredith [Vieira]: You can have a debate about what future tax cuts might or might not result in but a record is a record. Under George Bush, 8 million jobs were created with his tax cuts. With Ronald Reagan's tax cuts there were 20 million jobs created. We've done nothing but lose jobs with Barack Obama with the stimulus package. Truth is truth, facts are facts. Don't go on television saying it didn't work. It did work!
The economy-boosting, jobs-creating benefits of across-the-board tax cuts are not all the media are not telling the truth about. The Media Research Center founder and president also addressed how the media, particularly ABC's Christiane Amanpour are smearing everyday Americans as "Islamophobic" [Listen to MP3 audio here or download WMV video here]:
ABC News has changed the headline of an online video to "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Argument" from the more inappropriately suggestive "Christine O'Donnell's Masturbation Stance," but that doesn't mean the network has grown up about the sex-related beliefs of conservative candidates.
ABC posted video on its news website Sept. 16 from a monologue by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosts a late night show on its network. The network's social networking team also publicized the link via Twitter using the "masturbation stance" pun. The headline on the video has since been changed, but the Twitter message remains active.
"Nobody knows what this woman does for a living, if anything," Kimmel said. "All we do know is that she's gone on the record to oppose masturbation, for real." He referred to a 1996 documentary that aired on MTV in which O'Donnell made a Biblical argument against self-pleasure based on Jesus's exhortation that lust in the heart is the same as adultery.
In a slam on another prominent conservative's family, Kimmel joked that, "I have a feeling Christine O'Donnell opposes masturbation in the same way Bristol Palin opposes premarital sex." Bristol Palin, of course, had a baby out of wedlock and now publicly advocates abstinence before marriage.
Liberal talk radio host Randi Rhodes rejoiced on Wednesday over victorious Tea Party candidates Carl Palladino ("a seriously creepy, creepy guy") and Christine O'Donnell ("you've got the anti-masturbation paranoid creationist lawyer where we could pick up a seat"). But Rhodes decided to go scabrously nasty and personal against O'Donnell, complete with flagrant virginity mockery:
By the way, Christine O'Donnell. It comes to my attention, uh, Deb tells me that Christine O'Donnell is not married....she's an unmarried woman. Hymen check! [plays popping noise] She'd better be a virgin! Right? With all this vitriol about sex and sexual thoughts and lust and not masturbating and it's wrong and what am I doing in the room...
I know she had a boyfriend. I know she did because her then-boyfriend -- then campaign manager -- purchased her house when her house was in foreclosure for her! Uh, do you think he did it with lust in his heart?
While most media outlets obsessed over the liberal theme that Republicans keep "suicidally" nominating "ultra-conservatives," Washington Post reporter Anne Kornblut, who authored a book earlier this year called Notes from the Cracked Ceiling, noticed a different trend. Her story was headlined "GOP gains the lead in female politicians' steps forward." Tuesday's victories of Palin-endorsed GOP women Christine O'Donnell and Kelly Ayotte underline an emerging Year of the Republican Woman. Too bad the Post buried it on Page A-6 of the paper, and it hasn't been linked on the Post's homepage today, either. Kornblut began:
Democrats used to own the field of women running for higher office. Not anymore.
Nearly two years after an anticipated gender bounce - with predictions that women in both parties would rush into politics inspired by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin -- it turns out that the momentum is on the Republican side. If there is a Palin effect, it is not being matched by any Clinton effect at the other end of the ideological spectrum.
"This is what we are to expect, and it's going to get worse between now and November."
That's how NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacted this morning on Fox Business Network's "Varney & Company" to the media's drumbeat of criticism regarding Tea Party-backed Republican nominees for office this November.
Bozell agreed with host Stuart Varney that the media are incessantly bashing Tea Party favorites like Delaware's Christine O'Donnell because they have to change the subject from the demonstrable failures of Obamanomics [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]: