CNN imported its Parker-Spitzer model of liberal versus slightly moderate to Friday's Situation Room, except reversing the sexes. Anchor Wolf Blitzer brought on Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen and Tea Party-hating columnist John Avlon to discuss the debate in Congress over tax rates and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Avlon took the same position as his colleague Kathleen Parker, that taxes should be raised on some rich, and joined Rosen in calling for the repeal of the controversial policy.
The two CNN political contributors appeared during the regular "Strategy Session" segment 49 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour. Blitzer read an excerpt from a recent blog item by Time's Mark Halperin where he wondered if the Democratic Party was "in the midst of a nervous breakdown." Rosen denied that this was the case and mouthed her party's talking points on the tax debate:
CNN's Eliot Spitzer blasted Senate Republicans on Wednesday's Parker-Spitzer for their promise to hold up legislation unless the current tax rates are extended: "Every one of us...[is] being held hostage by 42 Republican senators." Predictably, co-host Kathleen Parker agreed with Spitzer to a point, and snarked, "I got stuck on the image of being held hostage by 42 Republicans- talk about a bad date."
The former Democratic governor of New York led the 8 pm Eastern hour of the program with his rant against the senators. After twice using his "hostage" term, which likens the Republicans to terrorists, Spitzer bewailed how "the day after the Republican leadership meets with the President, and says we want bipartisanship, they send a letter saying, no way, no how. We will do nothing until you give a tax cut to the rich. No START Treaty- something that has been endorsed by...every major Republican foreign policy leader...No unemployment benefits for those who are looking for jobs- can't get it with unemployment at 9, 10 percent." He ended this initial bombast with another cliched label for Republicans: "This is outrageous. This is not the way to govern. The party of no has gotten worse. I think it is a shame, and it is just beyond comprehension."
On Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker bizarrely and inaccurately claimed that Alexander Hamilton came to the United States illegally and drafted the Constitution: "Let's remember...a lot of Americans did come through the back door such as Alexander Hamilton.He got off the boat from the West Indies, and all he did was write the Constitution and become the first Secretary of the Treasury."
Parker raised this false history during a discussion at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour about Pedro Ramirez, Fresno State University's student body president, who was outed as an illegal immigrant by a student newspaper. After playing clips from Ramirez and his opponent during the student election, who is also the president of the Fresno State College Republicans, the CNN host displayed sympathy for the college student: "This is kind of a classic though, isn't it, really? I mean, you've the college Republican versus the illegal immigrant, and it's kind of a classic clash, you know, that corresponds to this immigration debate we're having in this country. And clearly, when you put a human face on the illegal immigrant, it's a different story. I mean, nobody wants to punish this young 22-year-old."
CNN, whose new ad claims that they "keep them all honest, without playing favorites," actually played favorites on Monday's Parker-Spitzer. Hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer failed to give ideological labels to their liberal guests, while clearly identifying Tim Phillips as being president of "Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group" and labeling Bjorn Lomborg a "controversial author."
Parker and Spitzer's first guest was liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, who appeared two minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. The former liberal governor introduced Weiner as merely a "Democratic representative from New York." The American Conservative Union gave the congressman a zero rating in 2008 and 2009, with a lifetime rating of 5.14. The left-of-center Americans for Democratic Action named Weiner one of their "ADA Heroes" in the House in 2009. Clearly, the New York politician is a liberal, but neither host identified him as such.
In the promo fluff for its future flop, CNN calls Kathleen Parker a "conservative" commentator. So what's a "conservative" in CNN's book? Someone who, when accused of taking part in the media "assassination" of Sarah Palin, brags that she didn't merely take part—she "led it."
Supposed conservative Kathleen Parker made her bizarre boast on this evening's Parker Spitzer. It came in the course of her interview of John Ziegler, creator of the documentary "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.” While denying she had been "duped" by Obama, Parker admitted that during the campaign she "bought into the Obama moderation myth." Then came her "assassination" boast. Video after the jump.
CNN's Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer endorsed Matt Taibbi's bashing of conservatives on their Monday program. Spitzer marveled over the Rolling Stone editor's "brilliant" label of the Tea Party as "15 million pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid." This was the second straight evening that the network brought on an anti-conservative author to promote their latest work.
The two hosts devoted 12 straight and uninterrupted minutes during the first half of the 8 pm Eastern hour to their interview of Taibbi. Parker mentioned Taibbi's new book, "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and a Long Con that is Breaking America," in her introduction of the author and labeled it "a scathing and often hilarious account of the financial crisis...it's hard to make the financial crisis funny, but you did that successfully." She continue by quoting one of the writer's attacks on Sarah Palin: "I want to read you a description that you wrote of Sarah Palin. You called her a 'narcissistic money-grubbing hack.'"
After laughing at this label, the pseudo-conservative writer sought her guest's take on Palin: "She's got the Republican establishment scared to death, so there must be something more to Sarah than just that, huh?" Taibbi replied with some guarded praise of the former Alaska governor, along with the Tea Party movement:
Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman defended View host Joy Behar on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360: "I'm standing with Joy Behar because she nailed it when she went after Sharron Angle for the xenophobia, for the racist type of campaign she has run, and for, in fact, exploiting prejudice and bigotry" [audio available here].
Zimmerman, a one-time political analyst for CNN and a member of the Democratic National Committee since 2000, appeared on a panel with Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff, and author Michael Maslansky. Midway through the segment, co-host Eliot Spitzer played a radio ad from Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition which included the statement, "It's us versus them- big government versus a big belief in faith and freedom- Sharron Angle versus Harry Reid."
Conservative Richard Viguerie brought his criticism of CNN's "left-of-center" bent on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, and recommended that the network bring on more "articulate conservatives." The two CNN hosts, whom Viguerie recently criticized in a recent column, did their best to support his allegation by bringing on four liberals as guests during the program.
The conservative wrote an August 17, 2010 column in the Washington Examiner criticizing CNN for claiming that they're "playing it right down the middle," when in reality, they lean towards the liberal side. Parker launched right into addressing her guest's criticism: "So, we're going to go ahead and get the elephant out of the room, and I'm not talking about you. But you did write about me....that I am a 'pleasantly wishy-washy, mostly plain vanilla Republican.' It's hard to see your words applied when the person is actually present, isn't it?"
Viguerie replied by half-jokingly taking back his label, but immediately gave her another:
On Monday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker picked up where her co-host Eliot Spitzer left off on Friday, bashing conservatives as "fringe elements" inside the Republican Party. Parker continued the Tea Party movement was the result of the GOP "catering" to such elements and that "the kooks have come home to roost."
The pseudo-conservative columnist returned to her old habit of attacking conservatives during a panel discussion with Reason magazine's Nick Gillespie and NPR contributor John Ridley minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Gillespie criticized how both Republicans and Democrats handled the past decade: "It's really awful, and we had- you know, six years of Republican rule, which was awful and disastrous on every level, and everything since then has been equally bad." The writer continued with a commentary on the phenomenon of Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell selection in Delaware:
Eliot Spitzer returned to attacking the Tea Party and their allies on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, lamenting that people "kind of from the fringe" like Christine O'Donnell "seem to be taking over the Republican Party." Guest Bernard-Henri Levy also joined in the Tea Party bashing, labeling the movement "really crazy" and insulted Sarah Palin as being less "American" than President Obama.
The new CNN program led the 8 pm Eastern hour with a replay of correspondent Jim Acosta's interview of Delaware Republican Senate candidate O'Donnell, which first aired earlier in the day. Once the interview finished, the former New York governor launched into his lamentation of the supposed takeover of the GOP, and invoked a past failed Republican presidential candidate as he continued:
SPITZER: Why there are so many folks like her [Christine O'Donnell] who seem to be taking over the Republican Party? I mean, this is not Bob Dole's Republican Party anymore- thoughtful, serious people. This (sic) is people who are kind of- I hate to say it, but kind of from the fringe.
What were the Parker Spitzer producers thinking? If there was one guy you'd want to keep at a decent distance from a female co-host, it's Gov. Love Potion #9. But tuning into the show, for the first time, tonight, I was shocked to see the way the pair had been virtually thrown into each other's laps.
A bit of inside TV baseball: I host a local TV show in my hometown. I'm always struck by how, when I'm sitting what feels quite close to a guest, we appear miles apart on camera. So for Parker and Spitzer to appear so close on TV, they must literally be rubbing, well, elbows.
CNN's new host Eliot Spitzer slammed the Tea Party movement on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer: "I think that that piece of the Republican Party is vapid. It has no ideas....They're going to destroy our country." Spitzer also accused Tea Party members of forwarding a "Herbert Hoover vision of government...saying, we want to take away the very pieces of government that created the middle class."
The former New York governor of "Client Number Nine" infamy launched his attack on the nascent political movement minutes into the 8 pm Eastern, as he and his co-host, Kathleen Parker, discussed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's new ad. After listing what he thought was positive about O'Donnell and her ad, Spitzer gave his "vapid" remark about the Tea Party and made his first mention of former President Hoover:
Is Palin bashing a pre-requisite for an appearance on the new Parker-Spitzer show? Aaron Sorkin referred to Palin as an ‘idiot' and ‘jaw-droppingly incompetent' on Monday's show. And now, Tuesday's show featured Oliver Stone calling Palin a ‘moron'.
Kathleen Parker asks Stone about the prospect of making a movie about Sarah Palin, and he uses this as a launching point for a PDS rant.
Parker: Can you see making a movie about Sarah Palin? Is she movie fodder? I would think ...
Stone: It's a bad idea because I think you're already empowering her. She's a moron in my opinion. She doesn't say anything.
He wasn't nearly content to rest on those insults however (clip below)...
On Monday's premiere episode of CNN's Parker-Spitzer, pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker targeted Sarah Palin, labeling her a "tease" for not announcing her candidacy for the presidency, and stated that the Republican is "also coy, which, after a little while, begins to feel dishonest." When co-host Eliot Spitzer accused Parker of being unfair to Palin, she replied, "I am not unfair to Sarah Palin."
The host devoted her first "Opening Argument" segment to the former vice presidential candidate. After her co-host called for the firing of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in his "Opening Argument," Parker replied, "Eliot, I want to talk about my favorite politician, Sarah Palin" and played a clip from a recent commercial made by Palin's political action committee. An on-screen graphic proclaimed, "Palin the Tease," and the new CNN host immediately launched into that theme:
Aaron Sorkin (IMDb page) came aboard the Monday premiere of CNN’s Parker Spitzer to promote the new movie, The Social Network, for which he wrote the screenplay, but used more of his air time to spout his anti-conservative and anti-Republican prejudices, starting with Sarah Palin. Prompted by Kathleen Parker for his assessment of Palin, Sorkin, creator of NBC’s The West Wing television drama, insulted Palin:
Sarah Palin's an idiot. Come on. This is a remarkably, stunningly, jaw-droppingly incompetent and mean woman. (Audio: MP3 clip)
Parker jumped in: “Wow. What do you base that on, the meanness part?” Sorkin explained: “When she talks about real Americans versus not real Americans, that's a divisive thing. I'm pretty sure I fall into the category of a not real American.”
Just how low will Kathleen Parker go to earn her high-six-figure salary at CNN? In an interview with Alex Weprin posted Monday at TVNewser, she lectures her potential TV audience to just forget Spitzer's sordid past with high-priced hookers, since he has such a swelling, itching brain that it shatters glass with its enormous breadth:
"Outside of New York most people don't know Eliot, they kind of have a vague impression of who he is," Parker said. "Everybody remembers the day that is probably most painful for him to recollect. My personal feeling is that once they hear him talking about issues, and he is so knowledgeable about so many subjects, that they will quickly forget his past, which is where it needs to be."
In short, Parker shares the amoral view of fired CNN president Jon Klein, according to Gabriel Sherman's cover story in New York magazine: "When one CNN executive expressed to Klein the concern that viewers risked being turned off by Spitzer's hooker scandal, Klein had snapped, 'I don't give a f---.'" But Spitzer couldn't be paired on TV with an attractive young lady, CNN figured. So how about an attractive old lady?
Spitzer defends Bill Clinton; Parker didn't think he should have been impeached. Spitzer thinks the Democratic Party has sold out to Wall Street; Parker believes Anita Hill was telling the truth. At one point, she tells executive producer Liza McGuirk: "It's going to be hard to pin me down on a right-wing position."
Translation: it's going to be hard to pin down a right-wing viewer on CNN. Kurtz doesn't try to pin down for the Post reader whether Parker believes Clinton shouldn't have been impeached for lying about illicit intern sex, but Anita Hill's unproven tale of oafish sexual harassment should have derailed the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991.
On Thursday's Larry King Live, future anchor Kathleen Parker verified her tenuous conservative credentials, as she identified herself as a "conservative," but added, "a pox on everybody's house, as far as I'm concerned." She later confessed that she "would put myself...slightly to the right of center," and that she was "a big fan of Barack Obama as he came into office...I didn't want him to fail."
Anchor Larry King brought on Parker and future co-host Eliot Spitzer of "Client Number Nine" fame during the first half of the 9 pm Eastern hour. Three minutes in, King asked about the format of the show, which begins on October 4. After the two briefly described it, the columnist stated that "Eliot is identified as a Democrat and I'm identified as a conservative." Spitzer replied, "Well, you said Democrat/conservative, not Republican," and the resulting exchange led to Parker revealing how she saw her position politically.
CNN offered a sneak preview of their upcoming Parker-Spitzer program on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 with the new hosts, pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker and "Client Number Nine" Eliot Spitzer agreeing that the "well-spoken" Imam Feisal Rauf changed few minds with his recent interview. The two also forwarded their network's charge that "Islamophobia" is growing in the U.S.
Anchor Anderson Cooper began the segment by asking the two about Soledad O'Brien interview of Rauf, which took place the previous hour. Parker, the "Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and noted conservative commentator," as Cooper called her, endorsed his appearance and went on to characterize the two sides of the debate over the planned Ground Zero mosque. In her view, those who oppose it "were going to sort of be looking for ways to convince yourself that he was...trying to be this, sort of, secret jihadist." On the other hand, the supporters of the mosque "understand that he seemed as a reasonable, rational person who's well-spoken and has something important to say."
Washington Post columnist and incoming CNN prime-time talk-show host Kathleen Parker is still auditioning for liberal-media accolades. In Wednesday's Post she offered another shovel of her frenzied distaste for prayer and G-O-D talk in public as she dismissed the Glenn Beck rally, especially the notion that Beck or Sarah Palin could blame the news media for hostility and bias. The media made these people rich, Parker insisted:
Oh, that's right, The Media. Never mind that Beck is one of the richest members of the media. Or that Palin has banked millions primarily because The Media can't get enough of her. But what's an exorcism without a demon? And who better to cast into the nether regions than the guys lugging camera lights?
That's an interesting line for someone whose assaults on Palin and other conservatives made her a millionaire CNN host.
Why is The Boston Globe sucking up to CNN? In an unsigned staff editorial on Tuesday, the Globe warned TV critics to "back off" CNN for hiring "fresher voices" like Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced ex-Governor of New York and pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker. They strangely claimed that somehow Spitzer won't be partisan, but he will be "candid" -- like in his political career?? He's "forever marred" by his transactional sex, but also a superior host because of it?
Yes, Spitzer will forever be marred by his use of prostitutes, but the demise of his political career has freed him up to be far more candid than the average moonlighting politico. Parker, a voice of common-sense conservatism, is notable for her willingness to break with the GOP herd; in 2008, she wrote that Sarah Palin lacked important qualifications for national office.
Another Crossfire this won’t be: Spitzer and Parker will probably be unpredictable and sometimes contrarian. They might even agree on some things — an entirely welcome development. Throwing ideological chum to the partisan masses will always draw ratings, but it rarely leaves viewers better informed.
Anyone who thinks Client #9 isn't going to be a partisan Democrat isn't watching his recent TV appearances, attacking the GOP as the "party of nihilism." But the Globe mourns how Fox News and MSNBC are ruining the political culture, while CNN is a PBS-style oasis by comparison:
WaPo conservative columnist and soon-to-be right-wing CNN talk show host Kathleen Parker took time over the weekend to kiss up to WaPo liberal blogger Ezra Klein and anyone who believes the contents of the Journolist ought not go public.
As Parker acknowledges in her column, there were "mean quotes" on Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the Journolist, she dismisses their importance. "Scandalous? Sure, if you want it to be," she writes.
She paints D.C. journalism as an atmosphere in which one day you're hunting, and one day, you're hunted. "Do we resign ourselves to the new reality -- that no one is ever to be trusted -- and keep our thoughts to ourselves?" she asks. "The answer implied by the events here described suggests a country in which few of us would want to live."
Naturally, Kathleen Parker used her Sunday space on the Washington Post to do what every other Parker column in The Washington Post has sought to do: prepare for the next career step. That would mean proclaiming her humility, shock and/or horror that she would get a nightly prime time hour on CNN, defending/excusing Eliot Spitzer, and declaring that she’s keeping her syndicated column (after all, the ratings might not be promising). Her tender solicitations for Spitzer and his genius in tackling Wall Street are the pink-nausea-pill part:
He was prescient about Wall Street, in other words, long before the recent financial crisis. Who wouldn't be interested in what he has to say about financial reform today?
I'm not defending Spitzer or condoning his behavior. [Ahem, yes, you are.] Ultimately, I decided that his obvious intelligence, insights and potential contributions outweighed his other record. As far as I'm concerned, especially given that he has resigned from public office, the flaws that brought Spitzer down are between him and his family. Like most Americans, I believe in redemption.
In the Parker career plan, then, this is the motto: I don’t believe in the creepy G-O-D people who are ruining the Republican Party with their “oogedy-boogedy armband religion” of redemption, but I do believe in the redemption of people who can be my meal ticket on CNN at "almost $700,000 a year."
The former CEO of CNN and the creator of its Crossfire show, Reese Schonfeld, has slammed the new CNN show that will be hosted by Kathleen Parker and Client Number Nine aka Eliot Spitzer. In his Huffington Post blog, Schonfeld not only blasts the proposed new show but provides some interesting background on the original Crossfire in its early years:
As the former CEO of CNN, and the creator of Crossfire (the show, not the name -- Paul Bissonette, CNN's PR man, came up with that), I think I'm qualified to comment on the new, not to be called Crossfire, television program created for Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker.
To be blunt, I can't think of a worse idea. The original Crossfire featured Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden, whose name you rarely hear these days. The program was not intended as a shouting match -- our goal was to put the number one news maker of the day on CNN air at 10pm every night and to have him reply to questions from the right, Buchanan, and from the moderate left, Braden. The guest would be caught in the crossfire.
The Washington Post Style section promised an article on CNN's new Eliot Spitzer-Kathleen Parker chat show with this front-page blurb: "Odd couple on CNN: New show pairs a conservative with a Democrat." Inside, in an article surprisingly shy on her typical snark, TV columnist Lisa de Moraes also described the pairing as the "disgraced/rehabbed former governor Eliot Spitzer, the New York Democrat" vs. "Pulitzer-prize winning conservative columnist Kathleen Parker," syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group (this could explain the lack of snark against Parker, if not Spitzer.)
The TV columnist made no attempt to assess whether conservatives felt she was one of them (they don't). She did see this as a turnabout for "Crossfire"-canceling CNN president Jon Klein, but she reproduced his sales chat without much objection:
In an interview with The TV Column, Klein said that Spitzer and Parker "can address an appetite that is not being satisfied now -- the 99 percent of the country not watching" the other 8 o'clock cable news shows.
"We'd like to begin the long, slow, steady process of reaching the underserved....We think America's ready for that....I can't think of two people better suited than these super-intelligent, ultra-opinionated but rational individuals."