New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman documented the failure of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to remake the GOP's "uncompromising conservatism to something kinder and gentler" in "House Majority Leader’s Quest to Soften G.O.P.’s Image Hits a Wall Within," in a slanted story that's being passed off as straight news. Weisman emotionally warned: "But these days, those who linger in the middle of the road end up flattened."
"A kinder, gentler nation" is of course the phrase George H.W. Bush used in his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president in 1988, apparently to distance himself from the more conservative Ronald Reagan.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory demanded Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor admit that the Republican Party's fundamental principles led to electoral defeat in 2012: "Isn't this more than tone that's an issue? Isn't it more than re-branding? Isn't it some of the central beliefs of the Republican Party that have hurt it with the electorate?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cantor explained that the party needed to "connect our conservative principles with helping people and making their life work again." Gregory interjected: "But Leader, it's core beliefs....There are core beliefs of the Republican Party that the polls show were rejected by a national electorate that you want to try to recapture some of if you're going to get to become a national party."
Mort Zuckerman really schooled Eleanor Clift on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday.
After Clift commented that if she closed her eyes during House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) speech to the American Enterprise Institute last week, she "would have thought it was Barack Obama," Zuckerman marvelously fired back, "Eleanor, if it had been Barack Obama, you would have supported everything he said" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose on Tuesday lobbied Eric Cantor to adopt "fundamental changes" in the Republican Party and not just accept "tweaks." Rose and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell also pushed the House Majority Leader to sign onto immigration reform.
Charlie Rose, lectured, "There's this issue that seems to be going in Republican Party circles that the party has to rebrand and reform. Governor Jindal called it the stupid party." Regarding Marco Rubio's immigration plan, the journalist demanded, "Is this a recognition that the Republican Party has not spoken to the American people about issues that concern them and how government can work for them?"
How can you tell when conservatives really annoy a liberal?
When his hyperbole exceeds even the broad parameters of absurdity embraced on the left. Case in point -- attorney and "Ring of Fire" radio show co-host Mike Papantonio's appearance on fellow libtalker Thom Hartmann's show on Wednesday. (audio clip after page break)
When CBS This Morning co-host interviewed the Obamas earlier this month, Matthew Balan revealed it was mostly personal goo and political softballs. So it was more than a bit shocking on Friday morning when Rose interviewed House majority leader Eric Cantor and whacked him with four questions hammering him about the "intolerance" of the Republican Party -- like the networks do every four years around the conventions.
Rose was playing off an interview Cantor gave to the website BuzzFeed in which he said "absolutely" the Republicans should do more to accept Republicans who differ from party orthodoxy. That could make conservatives queasy, but the media bias point is this: When are Democrats ever asked about their tolerance of Democrats who support traditional marriage, gun rights, or the pro-life cause? Here were the attack questions:
The folks at CBS News sure are worried about government spending all of a sudden.
After Evening News anchor Scott Pelley grieved Wednesday for how much it's cost to have all these House votes concerning ObamaCare, Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer pointed a similarly dismayed finger at House Republicans Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Charlie Rose surprised Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday's CBS This Morning by promoting the latest smear from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Rose displayed their fake horror-movie poster with Ryan's face beside House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker John Boehner. It included the caption, "Just when you thought Medicare was safe, THEY'RE BACK. This time, they want to finish it for good."
Rose told the Wisconsin Republican, "Democrats have tried...to portray you as someone who wants to destroy Medicare, and they have a poster in which you are, in a sense, the poster boy of that. And their argument is that you will, in fact, by a voluntary system, lead to the destruction of something that seniors have come to depend on" [audio available here; video below the jump].
CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday did a segment correctly castigating Congress for not passing a budget in over 1000 days.
The only problem was that while she did this, pictures of House Republicans were shown on the screen despite the blame resting solely with Senate Democrats (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Three weeks after CBS’s 60 Minutes delivered a friendly sit-down with President Barack Obama in which Steve Kroft gently chided him for being too willing to compromise with Republicans, the show didn’t even attempt a matching approach to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Instead, Lesley Stahl relayed a portrait painted by liberals (“He’s working on humanizing his image, and presenting himself as more reasonable”) as she blamed him for “gridlock” and offered a caricature of Cantor as an “inflexible” ideologue putting Tea Party politics ahead of passing Obama’s beneficial policies.
Stahl abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity, repeatedly pressing Cantor to “compromise” – to agree with Obama on the rationality of raising taxes more, touting how even Ronald Reagan had recognized the need to hike taxes.
MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Friday called for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to resign if they won't raise taxes on the rich (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert today refused to parrot MSNBC host Martin Bashir's left-wing talking points about House Republicans and their proposal to boost the economy and spur job creation.
"This week, Eric Cantor will introduce a jobs bill of his own, so what exactly should we expect?" Bashir rhetorically asked viewers as he introduced his "Divided We Fall" segment, featuring MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert live via satellite from the U.S. Capitol.
"Luke, aside from trickle-down economics, is there anything in Mr. Cantor's proposal -- and you're not allowed to say 'cut taxes and remove regulations' -- now answer the question," Bashir demanded of Russert.
Politico's "Daily Digest" is an email the blog blasts out in the morning, touting the day's top stories. As a subscriber, this NewsBuster was struck by the left-friendly lean of five out this morning's six featured stories.
To be sure, "Post-recession income falls" is not good for President Obama, reporting as it does that Americans' incomes have fallen faster during his presidency than they did even in the depths of the recession. But every other story would surely be welcome at the White House. Here are the stories, in the order they appear in the email:
"Grab a blanket, kids. Congress wants to cut your home-heating benefits," MSNBC's Martin Bashir teased viewers of his October 4 program as he went out to a commercial break with Dean Martin's "Baby It's Cold Outside" playing in the background.
Upon his return from break, Bashir tag-teamed with Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to bash Republicans are heartless bastards who want children to shiver through the coming winter (video follows page break; emphasis mine):
OK, well, "fan" isn't exactly the right word. Let's just say I'd be crushed if MSNBC canceled "The Ed Show." After all, nowhere else on cable does one find such a consistent stream of idiocy that never fails to amuse. Not even from Schultz's colleague Al Sharpton, though the man is certainly a contender. (video after page break)
On Election Day 2010, then-CBS Early Show anchor Harry Smith posed a hypothetical question about newly-elected Republicans to Ann Coulter: “There’ll be a routine vote, for instance, to increase the debt ceiling and the Tea Party guys are going to say, ‘Over my dead body,’ and the government comes to a screeching halt. Then what happens?” The conservative author confidently predicted: “Well, the media will blame the Republicans.”
And that’s precisely what has occurred. A Media Research Center study of the Big Three network evening and morning programs finds that, when it came to assigning blame for lack of a debt ceiling resolution, ABC, CBS and NBC’s coverage has placed the overwhelming majority of the blame on Republicans’ doorstep.
On Friday’s Last Word on MSNBC, as host Lawrence O’Donnell brought up his belief - explored more thoroughly earlier in the show - that President Obama had succeeded in a strategy to appear to be the "reasonable man willing to make compromises" without actually having to make those concessions, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe at first seemed to buy into O’Donnell’s "cynical" theory of Obama’s true intentions, but the MSNBC analyst also suggested that Obama was indeed being "reasonable" and "the grownup in the room." He went on to suggest that Republicans were not being "responisible’ or a "serious party about deficits," and that they were behaving as "irresponsible children."
On Friday’s Last Word, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell advanced his belief that President Obama never had any desire for Republicans to accept the plan that he himself proposed because his strategy was to "manipulate" the process and appear willing to compromise, while at the same time insisting on tax increases to ensure that Republicans would never agree to his offer. O’Donnell further theorized that, because Republicans were about to agree to a tax increase similar to Obama’s proposal, the President changed his demands to deliberately derail negotiations.
During a segment with NBC correspondent Kristen Welker, O’Donnell observed:
Fareed Zakaria on Sunday blamed the Tea Party for the "extraordinary polarization in Washington today."
"It's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise, and cares more about purity than problem solving," Zakaria told viewers of the CNN program bearing his name (video follows with transcript and commentary):
One more data point demonstrating the leftward tilt of the purportedly non-partisan Politico:
In his Playbook of today, Politico's chief White House correspondent Mike Allen depicts a "grand bargain" on the credit ceiling, which inevitably would include huge tax increases, as an "historic achievement" for which President Obama and House speaker John Boehner would "rightly get credit."
In contrast, Allen suggests that Republican leaders Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are refusing a grand bargain out of petty political ambition.
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":
It has been widely reported that President Barack Obama walked out of Wednesday night's debt limit meeting, but MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday was in complete denial that the Democratic president, who's merely "exasperated by Republicans playing this dangerous game," would conduct himself in such a way.
During his daily "Clear the Air" segment, Bashir offered mounds of incredulity but not a shred of evidence to contradict numerous reports of Obama abruptly and prematurely terminating the meeting:
Hmm, I'm not so sure about that...The president losing his temper, abruptly, and rudely cutting short the conversation? Running from a room inside the White House? Does that sound the like president that we've gotten to know during the last two and a half years? Or is that the kind of behavior we've now come to expect from Eric Cantor over the last few weeks?
Also yesterday came a stern reminder from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the president has repeatedly listened to the concerns of Congress but that "nobody can out debate him." Check out a video of Pelosi's remarks after the break, and let us know what you think of Obama's actions in the comments.
Wannabe liberal reporters in J-school could use Alex Altman's July 11 Swampland blog post at Time.com as a template for biased coverage of the federal budget battle.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is a "hard-line" conservative aligned with House Republican freshmen "who would rather risk economic catastrophe than give ideological ground" by agreeing to tax increases, Altman informed readers yesterday.
Of course Altman worked hard to avoid the T-word, latching on to the euphemism "revenue increases" to refer to tax hikes and not once examined if there are hard-liners in the White House or on the Democratic side of the aisle when it comes to reaching a debt ceiling deal.
The New York Times on Friday once again proved itself to have absolutely no clue how budgets work.
In its editorial "Negotiating the Debt Ceiling on a Knife's Edge," the Times - like so many other math-challenged "news" organizations in America today - blamed the current debt ceiling woes on the Bush tax cuts and Republican refusal to raise revenues: