The hard-left hootenanny known as the "National Conference on Media Reform," -- usually ahem, distinguished by a long Bill Moyers rant about the media being saps for the neoconservative war machine -- has a new star this year: Dan Rather. The former CBS anchor will join Moyers, Arianna Huffington, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Pacifica's Amy Goodman in calling for courageous, independent (read: radical left) journalism, free of corporate cowardice, from June 6 to 8 in Minneapolis.
Former UPI reporter Helen Thomas is also hitting the left-wing hustings, this very weekend, in fact. She is a keynote speaker at the Women, Action & Media (WAM!) Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sponsored by a group called the Center for New Words and the Women's Studies program at MIT. Leftist sponsors also include the sites Alternet, Feminist.com, the Feministing blog, and the magazines Bitch, Dollars and Sense, and In These Times.
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."
During a news brief at the top of the 7am hour on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on a suicide bombing in Baghdad:
So these twin attacks are devastating here, and not just to the families of the killed and wounded. To many people here, this morning's a frightening reminder that Baghdad may feel safer but is still a long way from safe.Mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad after a pair of similar mid-morning attacks.
Strassmann later concluded his report by proclaiming:
The attacks are the deadliest here since last spring when thousands of U.S. troops began a security surge in Baghdad. The city grew much quieter and safer. But today, at least, the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad. For today's attackers, this morning was perfect, a sunny Friday, the holy day here, lots of people out and about feeling confident. Apparently the attacks are back.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith analyzed Thursday’s Democratic debate with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and the left wing editor of "The Nation," Katrina Vanden Heuvel, who called the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "a historic first,"while referring to Republicans as the "Grim Old Party" and "a restricted white men's club." Vanden Heuvel went to say that, "You also had a sheer -- the difference in policy knowledge and competence between Obama and Clinton and the Republican field to me was staggering."
This analysis of the Democratic debate followed Thursday’s analysis of Wednesday’s Republican debate, which featured Smith and CBS Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, with no Republican guests.
Later in the Friday segment, Vanden Heuvel used a prior "Early Show" news brief about a suicide bomb attack in Iraq to claim "Yeah, I mean, you have a surge that isn't working. Look at the piece you just did." Smith made a feeble attempt at balance by replying, "Well that's arguable." Vanden Heuvel went on to shill for Obama "You have McCain of endless war -- of endless war without accountability and you have two candidates, Obama arguably wants to end this war and end the mind set that brought us into this war."
A truly extraordinary thing happened Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week": the panel and the host seemed to agree that former President Bill Clinton's antics on the campaign trail are hurting Hillary's chances of winning the Democrat presidential nomination.
Maybe even more surprising, the editor of the ultra-leftwing publication "The Nation," Katrina vanden Heuvel, quoted someone close to the Clinton campaign as having said, "People are looking at him like a little league dad who's having these temper tantrums in every state."
Making matters worse, George Will referred to the former president as "an Olympic-class whiner," while host George Stephanopoulos said, "Some people are concerned about this, even inside the Party," and fretted, "I have no indication at all though that President Clinton's going to stop."
I kid you not.
Without further ado, and for your entertainment pleasure, here's a partial transcript of this truly delicious panel segment (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 7:25):
During Tuesday's live coverage of the New Hampshire primary, after Republican winner John McCain delivered his victory speech, MSNBC's election night team derided and laughed at the speech, with MSNBC's right-leaning analyst Joe Scarborough leading the charge. As the Arizona Senator's speech ended and anchor Keith Olbermann started to summarize it, Scarborough laughed, "That speech, oh, my God," prompting Olbermann to jokingly chide him: "Calm down. He's still on the stage. ... You can't boo a candidate while he's still on the stage the night he won, Joe." (Transcript follows)
Scarborough started to discuss the speech, commenting that "one thing I can teach, we were all talking about it over here, it is absolutely remarkable-" before Olbermann interrupted: "Don't read the speech?"
Scarborough agreed, and took McCain to task for looking down too much: "Yes, please. If this is your introduction to America in 2008, do not have your head looking straight down into a speech..."