In covering Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, CNN and MSNBC have repeatedly lauded the Supreme Court nominee for her "flashes of humor" and "disarming ease."
In tune with the reverberations of the network morning shows' echo chamber, correspondents like CNN's Dana Bash and anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday praised Kagan for her ability to inject humor into otherwise "hollow and vapid" hearings and charm hostile Republican senators into docility.
"But just on a color note, what struck me, Candy, has been the way Elena Kagan has tried to use a sense of humor to really disarm the senators, particularly Republicans," noted Bash.
Maddow's guest, Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate magazine, gushed over Kagan's "gut-wrenching" sense of humor, her masterful ability to balance "seriousness and levity and humor," and her "disarming and charming and kind of likeable" personality.
"A likeable liberal. Dear me, I know," quipped Maddow.
On NBC's Today on Friday, White House correspondent Chuck Todd preemptively dismissed any criticism of President Obama referring to "Twitters" during a joint press conference with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev on Thursday: "It turns out he didn't misstate it. It was written incorrectly in his prepared remarks."
During Todd's report, a clip was played of Obama noting how in a visit to California's Silicon Valley, Medvedev went to "visit the headquarter of Twitters." Obama simply placed an 's' after the wrong word. Rather than let the minor gaffe stand, at the conclusion of the report, Todd made to sure to explain the typographical error to viewers: "You did not mishear. The President did say the word 'Twitters,' plural." Despite Obama's inability to correct the remarks off the cuff, Todd solely blamed a White House staffer for the mistake: "A speechwriter falling on his sword on that one."
Todd quickly changed the subject to a similar gaffe made by President Bush: "...it did bring back memories of President Bush one time referring to those 'internets.'" The media was certainly never quick to come to Bush's defense after a verbal misstep.
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Chuck Todd touted President Obama's "swiftness" in dealing with the controversy surrounding General Stanley McChrystal comments in Rolling Stone magazine as a "commander-in-chief moment," and hinted that it was a blessing in disguise, given the executive's tanking approval ratings.
Todd led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President appointing General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal, who was relieved of command following the Rolling Stone interview. The NBC White House correspondent remarked that with the Petraeus appointment, "the President signaled to his team, no more firestorms like this one will be tolerated." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama stating that he "won't tolerate division," he continued that "the President's aides don't expect there will be much division in the Senate, either, where some are predicting Petraeus will have the fastest confirmation in history, and the praise is bipartisan."
Later in the report, Todd used his "commander-in-chief moment" term as he emphasized the apparent good timing of the controversy and detailed the public's decreasing confidence in the President, according to NBC's own poll:
President Obama's decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus was met with a chorus of praise in the media, as anchors and pundits on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all sang in unison that it was a "brilliant" move. [Audio available here]
During live special coverage leading up to the announcement in the 1PM ET hour on CBS, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "it sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really." At the same time on NBC, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski described it as a "stunning development" and added "at a quick glance, almost brilliant." Minutes later, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President."
Over on CNN, moments after Obama finished speaking, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked that it was a "major moment for this president" and later observed: "a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus." Finally, in the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read."
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday claimed that for what General Stanley McChrystal allegedly said about the White House, he legally, morally, ethically, professionally ought to be canned.
Discussing the issue with colleagues Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie on "The Daily Rundown," Mitchell claimed McChrystal's alleged statement "crosses the line of insubordination, and it crosses the line of the military code of justice."
She later made a comment one can't possibly imagine such a liberal media member making when George W. Bush was in the White House, "There is a reason why the military code of justice says you don't diss the Commander in Chief" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t HotAirPundit):
Media bias often shows itself in which organizations journalists choose to cite or ignore. A very prevalent form of this bias is selective reporting on polling data--polls that show results friendly to the liberal position like are touted while those that show the opposite are buried.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd, pictured right, is the latest reporter to demonstrate such a bias. He took Rasmussen Reports to task on Twitter yesterday, claiming it is "has a horrible track record and us [sic] proven to be unreliable" and is really "[n]ot a serious polling firm." Todd said he would only report on "numbers from a more reliable pollster."
Apparently one such pollster, in the mind of Todd's cable network at least, is Research 2000. But R2K was recently rated one of the least reliable major polling firms in existence by liberal statistician Nate Silver. R2K was not even accurate enough for the Daily Kos, which officially dropped the firm on Wednesday.
On Wednesday's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer, Chuck Todd and Kelly O'Donnell forwarded the Democratic line that Tea Party candidate victories in Republican primaries will be the GOP's downfall in November. First up Kelly O'Donnell, in a set up piece, claimed: "In Nevada, a big Tea Party victory in the GOP Senate primary...But Democrats are actually cheering Sharron Angle's win, believing that a Tea Party candidate would be an easier opponent" for Majority Leader Harry Reid. Then, during a post-election analysis segment with Today co-anchor Matt Lauer and NBC News' political director Chuck Todd, Lauer wondered if the Angle win meant "Democrats have a right to be optimistic" as Todd chimed in that since Angle was "a little too conservative...to appeal to independents potentially" there is now a "path to victory" for Reid.
The following takes on the Nevada Senate race were aired on the June 9 Today show:
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” were in “anguish” over the forced retirement of Helen Thomas, but showed little sympathy for the Israelis that the Hearst columnist so odiously disrespected.
“I think a lot of people feel some anguish about this because the comments were beyond the pale,” lamented Guthrie. “And yet it tarnishes a career that otherwise people would be celebrating because she was indeed a trailblazer.”
Glossing over the longtime reporter’s comments that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany or Poland, Mitchell lauded Thomas’s career as “storied” and proceeded to hearken back to a time when Washington was an “all-male town” and Thomas was blazing the trail for women.
“When I first arrived here, after dinner, at political dinners, women went to one room, men went to another to smoke cigars and have brandy,” recalled Mitchell. “This was a very traditional place–not like New York or other East Coast cities.”
In an attempt to make excuses for Thomas while appearing to condemn her remarks, contradictions ran rampant. First up, Mitchell:
On her self-titled MSNBC show on Monday, Andrea Mitchell Reports, NBC's Andrea Mitchell mourned Helen Thomas' resignation as a long time White House correspondent, over recent inflammatory remarks about Israelis, as "a sad way" for her career to end. Talking with NBC's political director Chuck Todd, Mitchell spoke about the loss "in the family" of the White House press corps and bemoaned the end of "a legendary career" of "a friend." For his part Todd noted Thomas' outburst reignited a debate within the White House Correspondents Association about the presence of "very opinionated" columnists and talk radio types in the White House press corps.
The following exchange was aired on the June 7 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Chuck Todd “hated” to say it but just had to get it out anyway–would the BP oil spill, arguably the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history, be a “missed opportunity” for Congress to capitalize on “disaster” to enact energy legislation should it fail to do anything in its wake?
Discussing what the reaction of Congress and the Obama administration should be to the spill during an interview with Tom Daschle on MSNBC's June 4 “Daily Rundown,” Todd asked:
So if energy legislation isn’t taken up and dealt with, this would basically be–I hate to put it this way–a wasted disaster?
The White House press corps just loved President Obama's press conference anecdote meant to prove the pressure he's under and responsibility he's taking (“When I woke up this morning, and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says: 'Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?'”). The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all showcased the clip, with fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos incorporating it into his lead:
Good evening. The buck stops with him. President Obama acknowledged today that the worst oil spill in American history is his crisis by quoting his daughter.
Earlier in the day, wrapping up ABC's live coverage of the afternoon session, Stephanopoulos was “struck” by the soundbite: “Pretty clear what the President was trying to convey today, Jake [Tapper]. He is in charge. I was struck in that final answer he even brought Malia back into this.”
Back to Thursday night, CBS's Chip Reid began his report by playing the bite, setting it up: “Well, Harry [Smith], if there's one thing the President made clear today it's that pressure to plug that hole is coming from everywhere.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd introduced the video: “As if realizing he had not yet driven home the message that he came to the East Room to make, the President at the very end made it personal.”
Both Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd were taken aback by Barack Obama delivering a "personal connection moment" in today's press conference when he told reporters that his daughter Malia asked him: "Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?" Of the anecdote Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, exclaimed "Talk about a sound bite guys!" and declared he delivered "personally there, in a way he rarely does." Matthews went on to say it was remarkable that he'd reveal that private story in front of the press because he "hates" them.For his part, NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd claimed the sharing of his "gut moment" may "calm down" some of the President's critics. [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the May 27 Hardball:
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Tuesday attacked new standards being adopted for history textbooks in Texas as "odd" and mocked that the state would now be teaching "education by Wikipedia." Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune appeared as a guest and fretted that the school board includes "a conservative, arch conservative bloc."
Todd recounted the changes being made to the curriculum, including "the idea that our Founding Fathers may not have intended a separation of church and state...how government taxation and regulation can serve as restrictions to private enterprise."
Todd derided the story, saying, "...The more you look into it, the odder it gets." He noted that the rise of the conservatism in the '80s would be highlighted and later marveled, "So, is this, essentially, education by Wikipedia? I mean, because, Wikipedia is...when a majority, it seems, accept what the version of a story that might have happened?" [Audio available here.]
UPDATE: Later in today's show, a clip [displayed after the jump] was played of an interview from months ago in which Scarborough unequivocally put it to Sestak that he had been offered the Secretary of the Navy position, and Sestak seems to confirm it. So much so that after watching the clip, today's guest Jeffrey Sachs, an ardent Obama fan, had to laughingly admit that, yes, Sestak had been offered the Navy job
Does Chuck Todd understand the difference between offering, in return for a candidate's agreement to drop out of a race, a big federal job with its salary and perks, versus offering to support someone's possible future political campaign? Apparently not. For the NBC Political Director and chief White House correspondent this morning equated the Obama admin's apparent offer of a top job to Joe Sestak with Dick Cheney's reported offer to support Tim Pawlenty in a subsequent gubernatorial run if he would get out of a Senate primary against Norm Coleman. H/t reader Ray R.
Let's make this clear: offering a federal job which is within the offerer's power of appointment, in order to influence someone is a crime. Offering political support in a possible future race is neither illegal nor wrong: it is simply politics. But Todd shockingly equated the two during the course of a spirited conversation with Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe.
Viewers are encouraged to watch the extended clip, but here's the the crucial segment:
Bill O'Reilly on Monday offered an obviously satirical solution to the Gulf oil spill that has generated some ire from the usual suspects on the left: "stuff every member of NBC News in that hole."
As readers are well aware, the Fox News personality has had an ongoing war with General Electric and its television subsidiary over its dramatic left-leaning approach to covering the news.
With that in mind, while chatting with the folks from Fox & Friends by phone Monday about a variety of issues, O'Reilly made the following tongue-in-cheek remark when the subject of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico surfaced (video follows with partial transcript):
Deep in a Chuck Todd profile by Howard Kurtz in Monday's Washington Post, Todd says blame President Obama, not his staff, for his press aversion:
Despite his newfound prominence, Todd, like his colleagues, has limited access to the man he is covering. "Obama himself is the one who doesn't like dealing with the press," he says, exonerating the White House staff. "You can't even do shouted questions."
How would Sam Donaldson survive? They lived to shout questions at Ronald Reagan. Todd explains that since his 2004 Senate election, Obama hasn't needed to woo the had-us-at-Hello press, so he's naturally icy:
Todd, who first met Obama in 2002, when the then-Illinois state senator came to a meeting at Hotline, has a theory about Obama's frequent criticism of the 24/7 media culture. Once Obama was elected to the Senate in 2004, "he didn't need to woo the press anymore. The press was there at the drop of a hat. To him, almost all the experience with the press is invasive....He's developed this disdain for us."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday, CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl sounded positively giddy at the possibility of Democrats exploiting the Rand Paul round of TV interviews. She pushed David Gregory to agree with her that the Democrats can gain a "huge potential advantage" for suggesting the Republicans are extreme on everything.
STAHL: David, don’t you think, though, that the Republicans [she must mean Democrats] can use this? You say they, that the Republicans would like it to go back to the economy and debt. But can’t they use this sort of extreme image and say that the views on the economy and what the prescription is, for the debt, is even more extreme? Because they want to tamper with Social Security and Medicare, and doesn’t this open up a huge potential advantage for the Democrats?
GREGORY: Oh, for the Democrats, certainly, yeah. I mean–
STAHL: But on the economy, specifically. That they can move it over to that and say "Everything they do is extreme."
GREGORY: Yeah. No, I think that’s right. I think it can undermine Republicans as a credible alternative.
As the conservatives in the Tea Party movement gained strength, the liberal media often predicted they would cause harm to the Republican Party and drive out all the moderates. Wouldn't the conservatives look too extreme to win over voters? (See Rich Noyes for more.)
Now that the MoveOn.org leftists are poised to remove an incumbent Senator or two, they might spread the idea that there is also a strong ideological base in the Democratic party -- on the left. But the media rarely mourn that they're driving all out the moderate Democrats in their quest for ideological perfection, and they rarely even whisper that the leftist base will make the Democrats look too extreme to the electorate. Notice the tone of Chuck Todd's piece for Monday's Today, and let's throw in that the graphic on screen only said the trend was "anti-Washington anger." The words "liberal" or "on the left" are not spoken:
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd seemed astonished by how a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll confirmed solid agreement with Arizona's immigration enforcement law – “a whopping 64 percent support the law,” Todd marveled, “and we read them the law verbatim exactly as it's been written” and still, he repeated, “64 percent approve of it.” NBC also treated as surprising the majority backing for racial profiling to prevent terrorism, while Todd didn't mention what NBC's polling partner, the Wall Street Journal, found most newsworthy. Lead of the WSJ.com post:
Republicans have solidified support among voters who had drifted from the party in recent elections, putting the GOP in position for a strong comeback in November's elections, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
In his limited air time, Todd used the video wall at 30 Rock to highlight the public's belief the government and BP haven't done enough to address the Gulf oil spill, but he didn't note another finding which counters the media's preferences and narrative, that despite the accident, 60 percent support “more drilling for oil off the coast of the United States.”
Friday follies. Before the weekend ends, two quotes from journalists worth noting made on Friday night shows:
♦ On MSNBC’s Hardball, NBC’s Chuck Todd forwarded the notion that if Florida Governor Charlie Crist drops out of the Republican primary -- where polls put him way behind conservative Marco Rubio -- and wins the Senate seat as an independent, “he becomes the most powerful Senator in the United States Senate” and “he becomes, probably, the viable third party candidate in the middle in the country” for President in 2012.
♦ A few hours later on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, David Remnick, author of the new book, ‘The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,' outed the real liberal agenda behind ObamaCare as he predicted that instead of being an “albatross” that will hurt Democrats at the ballot box in November, all those new beneficiaries will be grateful and vote Democratic:
When you add 30 million people to the rolls of getting health care, access to health care, seems to me a huge gain and the potential widening of the base for the Democratic Party among a lot of people who might not necessarily vote before. So, I don't think you're going to see a repeat of 1994 come this fall.
Of course, few of those 30 million will have any better access to health care by this November than they had before the bill passed.
It's been more than nine months since President Obama has held a prime time press conference, and you would think those that cover him would be outraged by it.
Well, think again, for that's certainly not what came out of a panel discussion about this issue during this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show."
Quite the contrary, rather than criticize the Commander-in-Chief for refusing to face them in an unscripted environment that he couldn't control, NBC's Chuck Todd, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, the New York Times's Helene Cooper, and the Washington Post's David Ignatius actually made excuses for him (video embedded below the fold with transcribed highlights and commentary):
CRITICAL UPDATES AT END OF POST including Matthews saying "Bush regime" in 2002.
Chris Matthews on Friday referred to conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as a walrus underwater.
Chatting with guests Chuck Todd and Andrew Ross Sorkin about Limbaugh's recent comments concerning President Obama, Matthews quipped, "And this guy, this walrus underwater, makes fun of this administration, calling it a 'regime.'"
Was this a vulgar reference to a walrus video that went somewhat viral on YouTube last year?
Before we explore the possibility, here's Matthews' defamatory comments towards Limbaugh on Friday's "Hardball" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t NB reader Mike, file photo):
NBC's Meredith Vieira opened Monday's Today show declaring, "Good morning. It passed. Congress approves historic legislation to reform health care" and then a few seconds later noted, "Democrats are using words like 'historic' to describe the sweeping overhaul that was approved." Interesting to see the Today co-anchor acknowledge the Democratic theme and still use it, something that was done throughout the ensuing health care segments.
NBC's White House correspondent Chuck Todd repeated the theme of the day, as he observed: "Soon after the vote, President Obama, who admitted that he was putting his own presidency on the line with health care, basked in the glow of victory...Following the historic vote, the Speaker of the House had an air of satisfaction.
Todd did note the Republican side of the issue but seemed to depict them as merely sore losers who will try to "gum up" the works of the legislation:
Last night it was the Republican Party that was caught in the crosshairs of Chris Matthews, which he accused of being too "narrow." Well on Tuesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host turned his sights on Fox News and charged that on their airwaves "there's absolutely no debate." During a segment in which Matthews invited on NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd to break down the latest poll numbers on Obamacare Matthews offered up the following explanation as to why it remains so unpopular: [audio available here]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, you know on this network, on this network if you listen to this network, there's a lot of debate on MSNBC about this health care bill. Left versus center-left, whatever.
The end of Congress’s long debate over ObamaCare could be near, as the President pushes for a final vote this week before his Asia trip, and House Democrats want a resolution before next week’s Easter break.
Yet whether or not liberals’ dreams are ultimately realized, they have had a huge advantage throughout the process. Over the past twelve months, journalists have continually stacked the deck in favor of a big government takeover of health care.
Old Media's fatal conceit is the belief that it's not news unless it's reported by a major newspaper, magazine, or television station. Reports from new and alternative media, in Old Media's eyes, are tainted, and not to be believed...unlike, of course, the reliable, factual, and always objective mainstream media.
NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd, at right in a file photo, has been a leading critic of what he now has dubbed "Drudge-driven journalism," perhaps better described as journalism emanating from somewhere outside of Old Media's newsrooms and television studios. "I just don't think that that's the proper way for us to decide what's news," he told Mediaite's Tommy Christopher of the Drudge Report's influence and agenda-setting ability.
"There's no worse crime in journalism these days than simply deciding something's a story because Drudge links to it," he added. Apparently he still feels that NBC and its Old Media counterparts are qualified and capable of deciding what is and is not a story.
Chris Matthews, during a special post-health care summit two hour edition of Hardball on Thursday night, dissected the GOP strategy as one of keeping their "crazies" like Michele Bachman and Joe Wilson, "in the closet" and mocked that their "rehearsed" phrases made them sound like a "North Korean assembly" and exclaimed it was "an example of Pyongyang democracy, which is "What the Dear Leader told us to recite." [audio available here]
The following Matthews outbursts were aired during the February 25 edition of Hardball:
Since the announcement of his resignation from the Senate the common label (from CNN to MSNBC) of Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh seems to be that of a "centrist." On Monday's Hardball both Chris Matthews and his guest panelist NBC News' Chuck Todd called Bayh a "centrist," which is an inaccurate label for someone who, as NB's Matthew Balan pointed out, has a lifetime ACU rating of 20 and ADA of 70.
During the 5pm Olympics-shortened edition of Hardball, Matthews and Todd spinned that Bayh is leaving the Senate because "there's no room for centrists." [audio available here]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay let's talk turkey here. Let's go to Chuck Todd on the big picture here. Just a year or so ago, Arlen Specter of my state quit the Republican Party saying, there's no room in it for centrist politicians like himself. Is this a sign that there's no room in the Democratic Party for centrist politicians like Evan Bayh? He seemed to be saying that today.
Fox News has a business strategy of seeking to "undermine" the MSM by alleging that it has a liberal bias. That was Chuck Todd's assertion on Morning Joe today.
Todd, NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent, was reacting to Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon's statement on "Fox News Sunday" that "the mainstream media hates the tea party movement almost as much as it hates Sarah Palin."