When it comes to picking a moderator for a game of ¿Quien Es Mas Macho?, somehow John Harwood doesn't spring to mind. But there was CNBC's chief Washington correspondent on The Ed Show this evening, twice accusing Pres. Obama's businessmen critics of "whining," and instructing them to "man up."
Schultz set the stage, playing a clip of Mort Zuckerman describing Obama's White House as "the most anti-business administration." Trying to tar Mort with the R-word, Schultz spoke of Zuckerman as having considered a run for Senate from New York "as a Republican." In fact, the Zuck man is a lifelong Dem known for supporting liberal causes. He briefly flirted with an independent or Republican run for Senate as a means of avoiding a Dem primary, but is as much of a Republican as Mike Bloomberg.
Then came Harwood, who wrote off Obama business critics as a bunch of selfish, whining wusses . . .
Joe Scarborough was on fire this morning, his ire trained on twin targets: Dick Blumenthal, and the New York Times' John Harwood, who casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting "a little carried away." At one point, Scarborough claimed he wasn't calling Blumenthal a "scumbag"—but it sure sounded like it.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
Although to ask this question is to invite with a good degree of criticism, it is still worth asking: Is Obama administration's approach to publicly reprimanding private industry cause for concern?
On CNBC's May 4 "Squawk Box," host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera raised this point and asked Washington correspondent John Harwood if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' recent statement BP was a little overboard.
"The spokesperson says, quote, ‘We're going to keep our boot on the throats of BP,'" Caruso-Cabrera said. "How is the Business Council going to react to that when they see President Obama?"
Harwood, who often goes easy on the Obama administration, wasn't so quick to criticize Gibbs for this. His explanation was that it was a little "hostile," but repeated Gibbs' suggestion it was just a regional saying.
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).
That was the takeaway from an April 22 CNBC "Squawk Box" segment in which the network's Washington correspondent John Harwood explained the upside for the Obama administration in taking an aggressive tack on financial regulation and pushing it through Congress.
According to Harwood, public opinion on this issue favors President Barack Obama. He explained that Wall Street is very unpopular and that's causing some Republicans to be willing to compromise with Democrats on the issue.
"He knows that things are rolling his way on this issue," Harwood said. "You had battle lines initially drawn - both parties took to the trenches, started firing heavy ammunition. But the throw weight is with the Democratic side on this. The public wants financial regulation reform. They don't like Wall Street, just as they don't like Washington. So this is a case where Barack Obama, instead of being the target of public anger, can direct some of it somewhere else. That is what causes Republicans at the end to say, ‘OK, it's time to negotiate, get serious about a deal.' And they're going to get some concessions in that bargaining in exchange for their votes. And they will then be able to stand up and say, ‘This bill was headed to be a bailout bill. We stopped the bailout and everybody can hold hands and say they did something good for the country.'"
CNBC's John Harwood, in an interview aired on Thursday's Today show, pressed Barack Obama about the need to regulate Wall Street as he questioned the President if Americans needed to view them in the same way they view Big Tobacco as "companies whose core activities are harmful to the country?" Obama declined to make the comparison to the tobacco companies, but went on to insist Wall Street needed new rules to protect against "excess." [audio available here]
JOHN HARWOOD: Should average Americans think about big Wall Street institutions the way that some have come to think about tobacco companies, that is, companies whose core activities are harmful to the country?
BARACK OBAMA: No. We have to have a thriving financial sector. But, we also have to have basic rules of the road in place to make sure that investors, consumers, shareholders, the economy as a whole, are protected against excess. We have gotten into one of those places where we need to update those rules of the road, and if we do so, not only is that good for the economy, not only does it protect consumers and investors, it's also good for the financial sector.
Is President Barack Obama really instituting "cradle-to-grave" social policies and transforming the United States into a nanny state? Well, it may not be "womb-to-tomb" yet, but he's certainly creating a welfare state for Americans beyond their mid-20s.
"I think it's more likely to be stuck," Harwood said. "Now, ultimately, the hope for Democrats, and for the president, is the actual experience with the legislation. Forget the sales job, but once elements of that kick in, especially the more popular ones, letting kids stay on their parents' insurance policies until they're 26, and preventing insurance companies from kicking people off when they hit a lifetime max - those kinds of things, they hope, will make, fuel acceptance of this legislation."
PBS Washington Week host Gwen Ifill was featured Friday on the Romenesko media-news site for her "Gwen’s Take" blog post dismissing the Eric Massa groping scandal as a silly distraction (echoing Rachel Maddow, and Nancy Pelosi). She compared Washington to Dug the talking dog in the cartoon movie "Up" chasing a squirrel.
But in 2006, Ifill’s show almost screamed with hype that the Mark Foley internet-message scandal was "a Watergate-kind of meltdown" for Republicans, as Ifill asked "Why didn’t [Speaker] Dennis Hastert resign?"
Ifill wrote that she loves the movie "Up," and finds the talking dog a scream:
CNBC "Squawk Box" co-hosts Joe Kernen and Becky Quick get it. Unfortunately, their CNBC colleague that covers Washington, D.C. for the network doesn't.
On the Jan. 22 broadcast, Harwood appeared on the program to give a status report on the current version of health care reform being negotiated in Congress and what it means in the aftermath of Scott Brown's filibuster-proof busting election victory in Massachusetts on Jan. 20. Kernen suggested that the health care bill might have been forced through if not Brown's election and the public fervor it revealed.
"I think it's unbelievable that it would have gone through and they would have definitely jammed it through if this weird, serendipitous seat hadn't opened up and if there hadn't been a special election, 17 percent of the economy - based on what they wanted to do, based on what these elected officials wanted to do, against what the public wants - they would have just rammed it through, either way," Kernen said.
On MSNBC's "New York Times edition" Friday afternoon, host John Harwood, who also writes about politics for the Times, called talk show host Rush Limbaugh's comments about Obama using the Haiti earthquake to appeal to black voters "pretty disgusting," about twenty minutes into the show.
Harwood then put Times columnist Ross Douthat on the spot as its "man of the right" to explain Limbaugh if he wished (Douthat didn't). Liberal Times columnist Charles Blow followed up by calling Rush "a particularly vile human being."
The source of the Times's ire? Limbaugh's comments on his radio show that "This'll play right into Obama's hands, humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community in, both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country."
The American Spectator's Quin Hillyer, who participated as a judge of this year's awards, wrote a December 11 column going over the quotes "that particularly enraged/amused/befuddled me" even before the official results were tallied. Hillyer observed:
Sometimes you must wonder how some members of the establishment media live with themselves. Their double standards are so egregious, as is their refusal to observe the boundaries between straight news and opinionizing (to coin a word), and as are their utter contempt for and viciousness against those anywhere to the political right of them, that one would think there is no way they retain any conscience at all.
Pres. Obama should find time in his busy vacation schedule to drop a palm-trees-and-sandy-beaches thank you postcard to NBC. On this morning's Today, successive network staffers defended the administration's [mis]handling of the Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab matter.
First, terrorism expert Roger Cressey [who usually plays it straight], claimed there wasn't enough information to "connect the dots" and move young Umar from the "watch list" to the "no-fly" list. Really? The guy's father, a respected international banker, was so concerned about his son's extremist Islamist views that he took the unusual measure of personally contacting the US embassy with a warning. Dots? How about a huge, flashing, neon exclamation point!?
Next, John Harwood backhands GOP criticism of the Obama admin's national security policy as "partisan."
The year 2009 might be classified as the year Barack Obama came down to Earth. The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that 47 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, and 46 percent disapprove. Those are not exactly Messiah numbers.
And that’s the big difference between the public and the press. The media do believe he’s God.
Evan Thomas of Newsweek has a way of summing it all up. On "Hardball" in June, Thomas explained that while Ronald Reagan was just a "parochial" and "provincial" president of the United States, Obama can lead the whole world. "In a way, Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He's sort of God. He's going to bring all different sides together." After the inevitable furor, Thomas said he wasn’t "being literal."
Here is the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notable Quotables comedy show. To celebrate the year’s end, this week’s show provides a sampling of the best of the worst media sound bites of 2009.
A full list of the winners, decided by a panel of 48 opinion makers and media observers, have been announced in the Media Research Center’s annual ‘Best of Notable Quotables.’
The show features a dramatic reading of the quote of the year, won by Discover magazine deputy web editor Melissa Lafsky for channeling Mary Jo Kopecne while remembering the late Ted Kennedy. It also mocks Newsweek editor Evan Thomas for winning the prestigious ‘Audacity of Dopes Award for Wackiest Analysis’ for his godly description of President Obama.
Numerous other outrageous media moments from 2009 provided comedic material to the NQ show cast. Just take a look! Plus, check out the show in a larger format on Eyeblast.
Appearing Monday on MSNBC during the 10AM ET hour, CNBC White House correspondent John Harwood worked to whip up support for the health care bill passed by Senate Democrats while slamming its liberal opponents: “...so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done...”
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
Here we go again. We've already seen how ineffective the previous $787-billion stimulus Congress and the President forced through earlier this year has been with curbing unemployment, as it has raced into double-digits over the previous months. But will there be an effort to force through another one?
"John, what would you say, I don't know, the chances of some sort of an additional jobs stimulus - however you'd like to characterize that, or whatever form it would take or price tag it might have ?" Burnett asked.
Talk show host Dick Cavett, whose TV show went off the air in 1982, appeared on MSNBC, Friday, to trash Sarah Palin as a "know nothing" and someone who has "no first language." Mostly, however, he seemed interested only in talking about himself, prompting News Live host Norah O’Donnell to chide, "Dick, this segment is about Sarah Palin, not about you, Dick." [Audio available here.]
John Harwood, New York Times writer and CNBC contributor, co-hosted and kicked off the segment with this condescending question: "Let me ask you what you make of the Sarah Palin phenomenon and, in particular, the argument that some people make, well, she might not be a good President, but she'd be a good talk show host. You think so?"
Cavett clearly wanted to bash Palin, but he really wanted to tout his own brilliance and a column he wrote for the New York Times over a year ago: "The subject is a dear one to me because I wrote a notorious, apparently, column about Sarah Palin called the Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla for my Times Online blog. And, you know, it is interesting. When you are quoted for something you said on the air, it's one thing. But, when they quoted something you wrote, it is pleasing in a different way."
The perils of punditry: On Monday, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood predicted that the Massachusetts legislature would not pass a law enabling Democratic Governor Deval Patrick to pick a temporary successor to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. “I don’t think so. Doesn’t look like it,” Harwood announced on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
The very next day, the Massachusetts Senate passed the bill that would partially reverse the law Democrats passed in 2004 to prevent a Republican governor from naming a Senate replacement if Senator John Kerry had been elected president. The bill reached Governor Patrick yesterday, and today, Patrick announced the selection of former Democratic National Chairman Paul Kirk to become Senator until the state’s voters pick a permanent replacement in January.
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.
Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.
Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.
Just as soon as "average Americans practice their First Amendment free speech rights to protest another outrageous liberal proposal," the liberal media "immediately go into full-on attack mode - against the American people" Media Research Center President Brent Bozell argued in a statement released this morning.
"Just as with the tea party protesters, and the socialized health care town hall protesters, the media are again attacking the American people for having the temerity to speak up," the NewsBusters publisher complained.
Mr. Bozell was addressing the vicious personal attacks members of the media have been making on parents objecting to the proposed Obama administration "lesson plan," which was to accompany a speech President Obama is delivering today to American children.
President Obama is still addressing the children, but in response to public outrage has withdrawn the Department of Education "lesson plan" which recommended among other things that teachers have their students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the President." As the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol has pointed out, it is against the law for the Department of Education to hand down any sort of teaching materials. But rather than report on this, the leftist media are attacking parents.
Instead of focusing on how the Obama administration found it appropriate to hire a man who added his name to a petition asserting the Bush administration deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur -- or the incompetence displayed in not knowing about it -- ABC and NBC on Sunday night painted Van Jones as a victim, “a target for conservatives,” while “the Republican Right” claimed “its first scalp in this administration.” [audio available here]
With “Under Fire” on screen by a picture of Jones, as if he's the aggrieved party, World News anchor Dan Harris fretted that “at this crucial moment,” with President Obama planning to take up health care, “the White House is now dealing with a sudden overnight resignation of a controversial adviser.” Reporter Stephanie Sy stressed how Jones' remarks on various topics “were all made before he joined the Obama administration, but made him an easy target for conservatives.” She acknowledged Jones “in fact did describe himself as an aspiring communist revolutionary in his youth,” but, she highlighted, “he said he is the victim of a 'vicious smear campaign of lies and distortion.'” Sy featured Howard Dean lamenting Jones will no longer be able “to help this country,” before she concluded: “Democrats worry that Van Jones is only the first of Mr. Obama's so-called policy czars...that will be targeted by Republicans.”
Inadvertently, presumably, NBC anchor Lester Holt conceded the mainstream media's malfeasance: “I don't think most Americans had heard of him before this.” Holt then asked John Harwood: “Can the Republican Right claim its first scalp in this administration?” Harwood pointed to how Obama “lost” Tom Dashle, and proceeded to agree that “yes, it is a victory for the Republican Right,” though he insisted “Jones was not an especially important figure within the administration. His job wasn't that big.”
A new high-tech Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Racism. And parents too dumb to raise their children.
That was how NBC sought to explain away opposition to Pres. Obama's planned speech to schoolchildren.
Andrea Mitchell narrated a segment on this morning's Today on the subject.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Other presidents have faced opposition. But experts say it's now more organized, from cable television to blogs, to Twitter. It's gone viral.
RON BROWNSTEIN: There are mechanisms for conservatives to reach other conservatives and to keep them in a state of agitation. And that is much more developed than it was even when Bill Clinton was president.
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
On MSNBC Friday, anchor John Harwood spoke with New York Times Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about the health care debate, wondering: "...you know an awful lot about the patron saint of modern conservatism William F. Buckley. What do you suppose Bill Buckley would think of the nature of the arguments that are being made against the Obama health care plan right now, death panels and all the rest?"
Harwood, hosting the 2:00PM ET weekly New York Times Edition broadcast, was asking about Tanenhaus’s upcoming book, ‘The Death of Conservatism.’ Tanenhaus argued: "Well, you know, one of the great contributions Bill Buckley made to conservatism was to move it toward the center. And one way he did that was to repudiate in a very forceful way what was then called the lunatic fringe."
At that time, Harwood interjected: "The John Birch Society." Tanenhaus continued: "And they weren’t necessarily a dangerous group, but what they did was discredit serious conservative arguments." He then made the comparison to the current health care debate: "...and we may see in the days ahead where serious responsible Republicans and conservative thinkers say if they’re going to make a forceful argument the country can accept, they’ll have to cut themselves off from this more extreme view."
Harwood concluded: "Well, it’s an interesting point. It’s – I don’t see right now anybody cutting off that extreme view all that much."
In today's "That's WAY Too Much Information" segment, New York Times columnist David Brooks claims that while he was dining with a Republican senator, the guy had his hand on Brooks's inner thigh the whole time.
Now, isn't that special?
Requiring no further setup, the following REALLY strange discussion occurred on MSNBC Friday (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" That's a saying once bungled by President George W. Bush, to the loud delight of the liberal media. But that same media should keep it in mind as Washington mulls a second round of stimulus spending.
A July 7 Bloomberg story by Shamim Adam reported that Laura Tyson, an economic advisor to the Obama administration, had put forward the notion that the $787 billion approved in February was "a bit too small," and that government should consider a second stimulus package "focusing on infrastructure projects."
Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., maintains there is "no showing that a second stimulus is needed," other members, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a July 7 Politico article, say it shouldn't be taken off the table.
Question for CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood: Where were you six-and-a-half months ago?
Harwood on CNBC's July 6 "Squawk Box" noted that the stimulus was not working quite as well as the Obama Administration had hoped - this coming in the wake of comments from Vice President Joe Biden that the economy was "misread" by the administration. The difficulty with the stimulus, he contended, was the inability of the government to spend such a large sum of money in an effective time period.
"Well, I think they're hoping that this summer period is when they can in fact ramp up the spending," Harwood said. "It's not easy to spend the amount of money that they appropriated, $800 billion, that quickly."
Reacting to a New York Times column in which Frank Rich claimed Fox News was responsible for violent acts like the murder of abortionist George Tiller or the Holocaust Museum shooting, on MSNBC on Friday, John Harwood remarked: "I love Frank's columns, but I don't believe that cable television causes people to become violent."
Harwood, who is a reporter for the Times as well as the co-host of a weekly Friday show on MSNBC, The New York Times Edition, began by quoting Rich’s latest Op-Ed: "And here's Frank Rich on the ‘silent enablers’ of what he calls ‘extremist Obama haters,’ like the actor John Voight. Frank writes, ‘Voight's devout wish was to "bring an end to this false prophet Obama." This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-scriptural call to action, is toxic. It's getting louder each day of the Obama presidency and no one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren't warned.’"
After Harwood expressed that he thought Rich went too far, co-host Norah O’Donnell agreed and added: "Yeah and I think people end up hearing what they want to hear. They latch on to something. And they hear – I've heard people listen to the same channel before and hear two different – totally different things. That’s part of it, I think."