It's not often that the hosts of MSNBC trumpet an elected Republican as a "hero." But liberal anchor Ronan Farrow did exactly that on Tuesday as he praised Senator Mark Kirk's insistence that he would not campaign against his Illinois colleague, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
According to Farrow, Kirk's declaration caused him to release "weeping tears of joy" for "those rare magical moments of congressional harmony." Regarding the 2014 senatorial election in his state, Kirk asserted, "I am going to be protecting my relationship with Dick and not launching into a partisan jihad that hurts our partnership to both pull together for Illinois." An effusive Farrow swooned, "For the increasingly novel approach of putting substance over politics, Senator Mark Kirk is our hero today." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Senator Dick Durbin apparently didn't check his facts before making a number of wild claims during his appearance on Sunday morning's edition of CBS's Face the Nation.
The Illinois Democrat's assertions that 10 million Americans have found insurance coverage thanks to ObamaCare -- which he also claimed would lower the budget deficit -- earned him four Pinocchios from the Washington Post's "fact checker," the lowest rating possible.
Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.
Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.
It's only three days into the federal government shutdown, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid is already showing signs of stress. That was especially apparent on Wednesday, when he was asked by Cable News Network reporter Dana Bash if the Senate would vote to pass a resolution if it was already approved by the House to restore funding for the National Institutes of Health, which among other things, does pediatric cancer research.
The Nevada Democrat responded angrily that the CNN journalist was “irresponsible” and “reckless” for questioning whether he would put politics over helping “one child who has cancer” and is receiving treatment through the NIH.
Ed Schultz took a dive off the deep end on Saturday’s The Ed Show, claiming that Social Security is a “cheap” program that “has never contributed one penny to the deficit.” The bombastic MSNBC host also blasted Republicans who support partially privatizing Social Security, arguing those lawmakers just want to “get their hands on the money.”
Schultz echoed similar arguments made by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who suggested that Social Security doesn’t contribute a “penny” or a “dime” to the national deficit. Both Democrats’ claims were challenged by fact-checking organizations, including PolitiFact, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, and FactCheck.org. And while the term "cheap" is relatively subjective, few would argue that Social Security – which takes up one-fifth of the federal budget – is "cheap."
In addition to trying to redefine the Second Amendment as not protecting anyone's right to bear arms, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is now excited about how to redefine the First Amendment.
As with guns, Durbin is trying to limit constitutional freedoms so that they cannot be used by people of whom he disapproves. In an opinion essay published in the Chicago Sun Times last week, Durbin argued it was "time to say who's a real reporter," so that no one else can be given First Amendment protections.
The media's preoccupation with tax hikes over spending cuts continued on Sunday's State of the Union, with CNN's Candy Crowley pitching a millionaire's tax hike while not mentioning spending cuts once.
"Senator, there has been some thought on your side as well that perhaps $250,000, that if you could get the House to go along with something, that perhaps $250,000 is too low to be raising taxes, that maybe you could make it a genuine millionaires' tax that might be more palatable. What about something like that?" Crowley pressed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Parkmobile, a company that runs an app by which smartphone users can pay for on-street metered parking, recently found itself bullied by a powerful liberal Democratic senator, simply for exercising its freedom of speech. The company found itself on the receiving end of Sen. Dick Durbin's wrath for having sent an email to its users in which it chalked up an increase in its transaction fees to "increased costs triggered by recent federal legislative reform enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act's Durbin Amendment."
According to the Washington Post's Dina ElBoghdady, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shot off a letter to the company hitting the claims as "grossly misleading." On top of that, Durbin sent another letter to Washington, D.C. Mayor Vince Gray, complaining that the company, which has a contract with the federal city's government to do business, "offer[ed] up incorrect, unsolicited legislative analysis while hiding behind poorly reasoned excuses for their own price hikes."
My condolences, Ed. I know how much you wanted to believe this was true -- how much you needed to believe it's true.
Not only that, you claimed on your radio show that it was accurate, and more than once, only to learn -- from a political ally! -- that it wasn't. Such are the seldom-felt joys of slogging through left-wing media. (audio clips after page break)
CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday oddly went counter to the liberal media meme concerning Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's taxes.
In a State of the Union discussion on the subject with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Crowley actually said, "It is the IRS system and he took advantage of it which I do, which I assume both of you do" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
One might have thought that Charlie Rose received an extra dose of caffeine before Friday's CBS This Morning, as the normally-subdued anchor hounded Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor on how the Republican presidential nominee would change policy toward Iran. Rose wouldn't let Senor complete an answer, interrupting six different times in 50 seconds. [audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, 11 days earlier, the veteran TV host tossed softballs at Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on the issue of ObamaCare, and merely prompted Durbin on the issue of the Chicago teachers strike.
All three network morning shows on Wednesday ignored a move by Democrats to delete references to God from the party's 2012 convention platform. NBC skipped another controversial decision, removing an assertion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (CBS and ABC, however, did cover this decision.)
Some top Democrats appear touchy about the decision to avoid mentioning God. Senator Dick Durbin became visibly angry when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked about it, Tuesday. Baier reminded, "In 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, it was mentioned seven times. In 2000, God was mentioned four times. Just a question. The question is why take it out in this time?" [See video of the heated exchange below. MP3 audio here.]
When CBS's Steve Kroft recently asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) some penetrating questions about stock purchases she and her husband made, the internet was abuzz with rumors about an upcoming 60 Minutes installment about the wealthy couple that have been known to use her political interest for their mutual benefit.
Unfortunately, this Sunday's 60 Minutes piece about Congressional insider trading cherry picked from author Peter Schweizer's soon to be released book "Throw Them All Out" to make it look like this is largely a Republican scandal (video follows with commentary):
In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them.
This part will deal with Biden's hit at Bank of America and its $5 monthly fee for debit-card use. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant's writeup follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout):
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's not very often that you run into a story that so perfectly captures both the sheer contempt which many reporters hold for the public and their desire to enable Democratic politicians. That's what happened in Chicago earlier this week when conservative journalist Bill Kelly had the temerity to ask Illinois Democratic senator Dick Durbin if he felt that he shared any responsibility at all for the recent U.S. debt downgrade.
As a coddled and protected Democrat, Durbin certainly wasn't used to a tough question and he proceeded to ignore it, turning instead to a more compliant journalist, one Jim Anderson of Illinois Radio Network, for a different question. Little did he know just how helpful Anderson would be, even going so far as to threaten Kelly with expulsion from the news conference. Read on for video and summary of the disgraceful encounter.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, as co-host Ann Curry declared that "Americans are just fed up with the stalemate" over the debt ceiling, fellow co-host Matt Lauer announced: "The latest setback came last night when House Speaker Boehner was told by the Congressional Budget Office that his proposal would cut spending far less than advertised."
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell noted: "Speaker Boehner's team is going back to work to find more cuts, just as the public is so increasingly frustrated." O'Donnell went on to reiterate "a big setback" for the plan as "The Congressional Budget Office did the math and found the Boehner plan came up short on spending cuts."
With trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, a balanced budget amendment is sounding pretty good to an overwhelming majority of Americans.
Apparently CBS's Bob Schieffer isn't amongst them, as he actually asked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday's "Face the Nation," "Why are you wasting time debating that?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) willingness to work on entitlement reform while on the Senate floor Wednesday stating, “I don’t disagree with Paul Ryan saying we have got to look honestly at Medicare.”
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Monday's Today show, lumped the Wisconsin and federal budget fights together and depicted the Republicans, in both cases, as being on the defensive. Starting in Wisconsin O'Donnell reported that over the weekend "Protesters backing union workers vented anger" but didn't mention the Tea Party had a counter-protest. Then O'Donnell, moving to the budget struggle on Capitol Hill, passed along Democratic talking points as she reported: "Democrats claim Republicans are too stubborn and their budget cuts too severe" and advanced: "The '90s government shutdown, with empty offices and closed national parks, left the Republican majority then with real political damage. A cautionary tale today."
O'Donnell aired sound bites from Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer on the offensive, warning against a government shutdown with Schumer charging Speaker John Boehner with being "reckless." However when it came to the GOP side O'Donnell aired a clip of Senator Tom Coburn defensively admitting: "It's good for political rhetoric to talk about a government shutdown, but I don't know anybody that wants that to happen."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough left no doubts on where he stands on the conflict in Afghanistan Monday – but he also pressed liberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to stand up to President Obama on the issue of troop withdrawal. "It's distressing to me to see how this war continues," Scarborough complained, noting that the deadline for troop withdrawal has been pushed back to 2014 and possibly even further.
He then asked Sen. Durbin point-blank, "When are you and other progressives in the Senate going to start pushing back on the administration, on the generals, and say 'Enough is enough. We can't waste $2 billion a week on a war without end'?"
Scarborough further clarified his opposition to continuing the war long-term, and wondered if President Obama wants to stay in Afghanistan merely to appease Republicans on national defense. "It seems like the President is just buying time because he doesn't want the Republicans to call him weak on defense," he speculated.
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith seemed skeptical of the legal reasoning of a federal judge who ruled part of ObamaCare was unconstitutional: "The thing that he objects to most strenuously is this idea that everybody has to be insured. And the Republicans are jumping up and down, they're ready to have a party. Do you think they have a legal leg to stand on?"
Smith directed that question to Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who used the softball setup to declare: "I think the law is sound, and when Eric Cantor on the Republican side says, 'Let's repeal ObamaCare,' he wants to repeal the protection Americans want against the discrimination against them for pre-existing conditions. I think that's a losing political position."
Some red hot chili peppers are on tour, and they're emitting a lot of greenhouse gases. But it's not the California rock band emitting carbon on a worldwide concert tour; it's seeds from chili peppers traveling to the "doomsday" vault in Norway.
A bipartisan congressional delegation visited the Svalbard Global Seed Vault July 11 as a side trip during the 19th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., among others, delivered New World chili pepper seeds to the vault, a "fail-safe back-up plan to protect the existing world food supplies from destruction in the event of a large-scale catastrophe."
"As we manage the impact of climate change and other natural and man-made disasters around the world, the seed vault in Svalbard will be the safety deposit box that ensures we can keep that food supply intact," Cardin said in a statement.
Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is outspoken about environmental issues ranging from green jobs to clean energy. Despite Cardin's positions, his trip to Norway left a giant carbon footprint - bigger than the footprint left in an entire year by the average American.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews framed Sen. Jeff Sessions' criticism of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a "brutal assault," during MSNBC's live coverage of the Senate hearing Monday afternoon.
"It's a brutal assault on this nomination," Matthews complained about the Alabama Republican's remarks.
Matthews also seemed to cast Sessions as an unsophisticated country bumpkin challenging Kagan's prestigious Ivy League background.
"It's a strong cultural shot at her, and she does represent, if you will, academic excellence of the highest degree, coming from the best schools, dean of Harvard Law," Matthews crooned. "It's hard to get above that, to a person out in the country, from Alabama, like Jeff Sessions represents. That is probably a pretty rich target."
He accused Sessions of describing Kagan as pro-terrorist and tried to get liberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to say that Sessions' "assault" would whip up a storm.
At first glance it appeared Today viewers were in for a balanced segment with NBC's Meredith Vieira interviewing both Republican Senator Jim DeMint and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin about the health care bill bill on Wednesday's show. However Vieira saved her most slanted questions for DeMint as she mocked his earlier prediction of an Obamacare defeat being his Waterloo, "Is it now your party's Waterloo?" and after selectively citing one poll that showed a favorable view of the bill questioned which party was really "out of touch with the public?"
First up, in addition to Vieira throwing DeMint's previous "Waterloo" comments back in his face, she included (most likely) David Frum's criticism at DeMint:
VIEIRA: Senator DeMint, if I could start with you, back in July you said, "If we're able to stop Obama on this," meaning this health care reform bill, "it will be his Waterloo, it will break him." Well, the bill is now law and a former speech writer for former President George W. Bush has said Republicans messed up big by adopting the "Hell no!" approach to this bill. So do you still feel it is the President's Waterloo or is it now your party's Waterloo?
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
Monday’s American Morning on CNN covered the ClimateGate scandal extensively, but slanted towards those who deny that the exposed e-mails amount to much. Anchor John Roberts let the interim director of the Climate Research Unit at the center of the controversy give his talking points without question. Out of the four segments on the scandal, two featured skeptics of the theory of manmade climate change.
Roberts, reporting live from the University of East Anglia, home to the CRU, led the 6 am Eastern hour with a preview of the program’s ClimateGate coverage: “I am in Norwich, England at the University of East Anglia and behind me here, this cylindrical building, is the Climatic Research Unit which finds itself at the epicenter of what’s being called ‘ClimateGate.’ Four thousand e-mails and documents were hacked out of the Climatic Research Unit’s server system...Some of those e-mails were looked at by skeptics, and are now being used to cast doubt on all of the science surrounding global warming. Skeptics claiming that some scientists were manipulating data to further their cause.”
When outrage erupted this week over a government panel's recommendation that women have fewer mammograms, health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was prepared with the Obama administration's favorite talking point: It's all Bush's fault. Appearing Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room, Sebelius told anchor Wolf Blitzer:
This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush, and given the charge to routinely look at a whole host of services to make sure that new preventive services which had benefit were being looked at by health care providers and that things that they felt did not have as much benefit as we move forward were also looked at by health care providers.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued the theme on Friday as reported by Politico:
“The recommendation by this medical panel has been rejected by virtually everyone, including the current administration,” Durbin said. “They were appointed by President Bush.”