The highly-anticipated interview of former Vice President Dick Cheney by CNN's John King aired Sunday morning, and as most would expect, it began quite contentiously with the "State of the Union" host asking:
Just about every day I assume you're reading the newspapers now that you're out of office, the president says, well, we have got a lot to do but it's not my fault, I inherited a mess. Did you leave him a mess?
Nice way to get things started, wouldn't you agree? Or how about this question by King?
There are people I assume watching this interview right now, and people in this town who would say, why should we listen to you?
King followed that by reciting some statistics for Cheney (videos embedded below the fold with full transcript, part I embedded right):
Did you think listening to President Obama give his address before Congress on Tuesday evening was "like sex?"
Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos did, or at least that's what he admitted to John King on Sunday's "State of the Union" a friend said:
I think, as a friend told me once, that -- listening to Barack Obama give a speech is like sex. The worse there ever was, was excellent.
Honestly, when GOP strategists in the media begin talking this way, one has to wonder where the balance is going to come from in the coming years (video embedded below the fold with CNN produced transcript, h/t NB reader Greg477, file photo):
CNN’s "Magic Wall" map on Thursday’s Situation Room displayed an error regarding the results of the 2000 presidential election. Instead of indicating that President George W. Bush won in the state of Florida by shading it red, the map showed that Florida was a blue state. Of course, the Sunshine State was the center of a furious battle over recounting votes, and in the certified count, only 537 votes separated Bush from Democrat Al Gore.
Correspondent John King, the Magic Wall’s "maestro" according The Economist, used the touch screen map just after the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to demonstrate a new feature of his map, which displays the locations of CNN’s "Best Political Team on Television" throughout the country as they follow the presidential campaign. While King didn’t directly state that the map he was working with was for the 2000 presidential election results, a caption in the upper left-hand corner read "United States of America: General Election," and in the upper right hand corner, there were graphics that had Gore’s name in blue and Bush’s in red.
Within an hour of the conclusion of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, CNN’s political panel began sketching out John McCain’s political obituary, with senior analyst David Gergen drawing a round of laughter when he replied “beats the hell out of me” when asked by anchor Anderson Cooper what McCain could do next. Gergen bleakly suggested McCain had no chance and should end the race with his “honor intact” (which means no more attacks on Barack Obama):
I think you have to do everything you can to help save as much of the Senate and the House as you can for your party. I think you have to need -- you need to see if you can leave this with your honor intact. I think you need to go positive about what you do on the economy and get rid of this stuff about Bill Ayers and all this garbage that we've been going through now.
Watching Saturday’s network morning shows, the talking heads seemed to agree that Friday night’s debate did not produce “a clear winner” or any “knockout punch,” and that it was unlikely that any “needle was moved” among undecided voters. Yet those same networks tried to also argue that Obama had really won the debate, superficially suggesting that McCain’s “disdainful” body language poorly contrasted with the “warm” and “deferential” Obama.
On style, “Barack Obama did a much better job,” ABC contributor Matthew Dowd asserted. NBC’s Chuck Todd insisted that “McCain barely could look at Obama, was disdainful at times, almost annoyed that he was having to share the same stage....Here was Obama being deferential, and here is McCain being disdainful.”
Just after the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of CNN’s coverage of the Republican convention, as Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin began an introduction of a video presentation about Islamist attacks on the U.S. over the past decades, host Wolf Blitzer gave a bit of a warning about the content of the video: "Let's listen to Congresswoman Mary Fallin of Oklahoma. She's going to make the case why Republicans are better in protecting us than Democrats, and that will lead into a video. It's provocative. There will be images of 9/11 and towers going down. It will raise controversy. We're going to show to it you because it's part of this convention. But let's listen to this Congresswoman from Oklahoma speak first."
Nine minutes later, after Fallin had finished her introduction and the video concluded, Blitzer began a short discussion with correspondent John King, co-host Campbell Brown, and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos about the video’s content. Brown charged that Republicans were playing on fear: "But that message though, has been fear, I mean, as a message at this convention."
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"
During the two minutes between Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin’s two attacks on Sarah Palin after her speech at the Republican convention on Wednesday night, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein also criticized Republicans, since in his view, the Alaska governor’s speech demonstrated "that the Republican Right is running this election." CNN correspondent John King then reacted to Bernstein’s assessment, and offered some constructive criticism of the difference in coverage between the two conventions: "...[L]anguage matters in what we do, and I don't necessarily disagree with the point of what Carl was saying -- but we do speak a different language when we talk about this party [the Republican Party], and I think that's why we're often criticized." He then scolded the media in terms of labeling:
KING: To say the Right is running the Republican campaign -- if that means these people are the Right, then Carl's exactly right. But we didn't say, during the Democratic convention... all those delegates down on the floor -- you know, many of them were members of the Left.
CNN frequent contributor and Huffington Post's political director Hilary Rosen slammed John McCain's vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin as being unqualified on Friday's Newsroom program and accused the Republicans pandering to women, especially Hillary Clinton supporters: "Senator McCain obviously thinks this is going to go a long way to help those women who are attracted to Hillary Clinton. I think if you were attracted to Hillary Clinton, in many ways, it was because she's a qualified woman" (Rosen put emphasis on "qualified" by practically yelling the word). She later accused the GOP of trying to "change skirts and put it on another woman, and have it be an acceptable thing" (audio available here).
Last night the Reverend Rick Warren questioned Barack Obama and John McCain at California's Saddleback Church. Post forum coverage at CNN was hosted by network chief national correspondent John King.
He began by asking CNN senior political analyst Candy Crowley and network congressional correspondent Dana Bash for their impressions. Crowley found McCain to have been "very direct" while Bash observed the GOP candidate addressed the audience rather than Warren. Both stated that Obama was "nuanced" in his answers.
When King asked Bill Schneider, another CNN senior political analyst, for his take on the event, the word of the day shifted from nuanced to thoughtful:
You might say nothing could be more unsurprising than a panel of political pundits admitting the obvious: that Barack Obama is playing the race card when he accuses John McCain of saying the Dem candidate "doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency."
But what makes the punditry panel's unanimity notable is that no one would accuse them of being McCain backers, and what's more, that they turned up on Hardball. Surely Chris Matthews, were he not on vacation, would have found one diehard to deny reality. But with Mike Barnicle guest-hosting, a consensus of truth-telling broke out.
Barnicle began by playing a clip of McCain, interviewed by CNN's John King, saying that it is legitimate to accuse Obama of having played the race card. The video is worth viewing if only to watch McCain end the interview by shaking a surprised King's hand and walking away. Then the panel commented. Perry Bacon of the Washington Post said he would decline to answer directly, but his answer left no real doubt as to his view.
[Update, 10:30 am EDT Thursday: Martin's title at CNN is now political analyst, not contributor, according to an e-mail we received earlier this morning. This must be a very recent development, as Mr. Martin was referred to as "contributor" as late as June 17.]
CNN contributor Roland Martin, when asked on Tuesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360" if Michelle Obama was being held to a different standard than other presidential candidates’ wives, unequivocally placed the blame on conservative men. "No, I think what you have is you've got some weak men on the conservative side who, frankly, don't like strong women. I mean, we saw the exact same thing take place for Hillary Clinton back in 1992.... All of a sudden... Michelle Obama is this angry black woman, when in fact, she's an accomplished woman, a mother, a wife. And so, they are trying to define her in that way, because they don't want to deal with the reality."
CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
CNN’s Anderson Cooper and "The Nation" editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined the attack on Bill Cunningham’s anti-Barack Obama comments at a rally for John McCain in Cincinnati, Ohio, comments that McCain himself repudiated. Cooper began his "Anderson Cooper 360" program on Tuesday by referring to Cunningham as a "talk show pit bull" and criticizing his use of Obama’s middle name. "Tonight: ugly words from a talk show pit bull about Barack Obama at a John McCain event, calling him a hack, using his middle name as a slander." Later, Cooper described Cunningham as a "a two-bit radio host." On Wednesday’s "Election Center" program on CNN, vanden Heuvel went even further than Cooper. "This talk radio guy is very unstable. He went from supporting McCain to Hillary and then Ralph Nader in one minute."
Three CNN talking heads - "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and chief national correspondent John King - all denied that the mainstream media has a "double standard for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton," as "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer put it. Cafferty was the most adamant denier of the charge. "No, it's a vast left-wing conspiracy, Wolf. We all got together in the media and said okay, let's all decide collectively to beat up on Hillary and be nice to Barack Obama. That's nonsense."
During Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, Senators Clinton and Obama actually face two question that reflected a conservative agenda. CNN’s John King asked the candidates about the border fence and the surge in Iraq, topics that are not usually highlighted by the mainstream media.
King, during a portion of the debate concerning illegal immigration about a half hour into the 8 pm Eastern hour, asked Hillary Clinton about her vote in 2006 to support the construction of a border fence.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
Of all the ways Harry Smith could have opened this morning's historic Early Show, he chose to do so by waving today's Boston Herald with its one-word front page "Shazam!" above a photo of Mike Huckabee. Smith described Barack Obama simply as the "big winner" on the Democratic side.
View video here [with apologies for low audio level].
NBC’s "Today" show continued its global warming alarmism this week. Reporter Bob Dotson profiled a polar explorer who is teaching, or indoctrinating, today’s youths about global warming. The "Today" crew couldn’t refrain from gushing over this "sobering," "beautiful" message from an "impressive guy." However, NBC doesn’t want viewers to get excited over every issue. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell recently told viewers that "internet writers" need to take "a breath" over reports that Michelle Obama was attacking Hillary Clinton during a campaign speech.
"Situation Room" reporter Jack Cafferty, CNN’s answer to Andy Rooney, this week concluded that conservatives are dumb and George Bush should be impeached. Discussing a new poll on American reading habits, Cafferty claimed, "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?" Earlier in the week, he railed against Democratic Senator Chris Dodd’s statement that impeaching President Bush would be counterproductive.
CNN used an old tactic in the mainstream media’s play book - a person overcome by emotion - to drive home the point they wanted to make - that the only state that hasn’t been visited by President Bush is Vermont. In a segment during the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room" detailing this apparent "snub," CNN chief national correspondent John King played a clip from an interview of Regina Gilbert, the mother of Kyle Gilbert, who was killed serving in Iraq four years ago. Gilbert fought back tears as she made her plea for a visit from the President.