On the day after the Republican Party showed gains in a few statewide elections and with key health care and cap-and-trade legislation pending, MSNBC went back to the well to do what it does best - attack the character of one of the network's favorite targets, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
On his Nov. 2 broadcast, Olbermann accused Palin of forcing former GOP congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava out of the race for New York's 23rd Congressional District and said Palin should be charged with sexism for doing so.
After a pattern of attacking Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, on a nightly basis, one of the strategies is becoming apparent - MSNBC is in need of a boogeyman to give a face to the opposition of these radical steps being undertaken to fundamentally change health care in the United States.
So rather than attack where the opposition is wrong on a policy level, MSNBC "Countdown" fill-in host Lawrence O'Donnell is going to apply one of the tactics from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" to promote a dramatic shift in the U.S. health care system - "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
"In our number five story on the countdown tonight, the Congressional Budget Office finds that it would leave 18 million people uninsured and the government-run health insurance plan will probably charge consumers premiums that are quote, ‘Somewhat higher, higher than average premiums for the private plans,' end quote," O'Donnell said on the Oct. 30 broadcast of "Countdown." "This is a devastating conclusion for a plan being sold not just as a low-cost option for consumers, especially poor consumers, but as somehow driving private insurance premiums lower."
In the news today, the President and Oprah attempt to snag the Olympics from Rio, a Congressman yells something dumb on the floor of the House (not a Republican!), and double standards abound.
Meanwhile, back on the Hill, there's a humble bill involving the entire health care system of the United States making its way through the Senate. Lawrence O'Donnell is not usually so honest and brazen about the liberal agenda as he was during this morning's appearance on MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, but one can certainly be thankful that he was.
According to O'Donnell, there are now three new tax brackets in this legislation, a new 35% tax rate on certain private health insurance plans, and half of the health care legislation now being debated is a massive new tax bill. O'Donnell made the following comparison:
If a regular fan of MSNBC primetime were to chime into a water cooler conversation with the words, "Terror plot? I haven't heard of any terror plot?" such an MSNBC devotee couldn't be blamed for not knowing about one of the big news stories of the past two weeks.
While the arrest of terror suspect Najibullah Zazi -- who admitted to training with al-Qaeda in Pakistan and is believed to have been planning to target New York City -- featured prominently on every broadcast network evening newscast in the past couple of weeks as well as some evening shows on CNN and FNC, there was barely a mention during MSNBC's primetime schedule of the terror plot described by NBC Nightly news anchor Brian Williams as "one of the more serious terror plots since 9/11."
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Friday said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) -- he of "You lied" fame -- should be required to take a breathalyzer test before he goes into Congressional sessions where the President is speaking.
Such occurred as O'Donnell was filling in for Keith Olbermann on "Countdown," and discussing with the Nation's Chris Hayes how poorly Wilson represents a GOP that "used to be an image of country club Republicans, well-bred, WASPY, dignified people who just didn't like taxation."
According to O'Donnell, that's all changed, and for the worse (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t NBer Jon, file photo):
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell for the second time in eight days bullied a guest he was interviewing, but this time the person on the receiving end really let him have it.
As NewsBusters previously reported, O'Donnell last Thursday, while subbing for Ed Schultz on that evening's "The Ed Show," continually talked over his guest Peter Schiff and basically never let him answer any questions.
On Friday, O'Donnell, who was sitting in for Chris Matthews on "Hardball," tried the same tactic with Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.), but this time his guest struck back and struck back hard (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t NBer sic721 with a video assist from Jeff Poor):
Average American citizen Katy Abram's impassioned plea against socialized health care, at Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting on Tuesday, got her noticed by the "Hardball" producers as her clip was featured on Tuesday's show and she even received an invitation to appear tonight -- complete with the requisite scolding from the program's liberal host. Subbing for Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell incorrectly challenged Abram's fear that Barack Obama wanted to move to a single-payer plan.
After Abram recalled that, "I heard him say on a quote, on television, that...we will move to a single-payer" plan, O'Donnell rebuked "He never said that." When Abram again insisted that she "Heard it on TV," O'Donnell adamantly asserted "The President of the United States has never said that." It turns out Abram knew her facts better than the cable news host, as Obama as recently as last year declared: "If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," And, as Red State noted, in 2003 Obama told a crowd of AFL-CIO members: "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care coverage."
The following exchange was aired on the August 12, edition of "Hardball":
Is it a requirement at MSNBC that program hosts interrupt conservative guests whenever possible thereby preventing anyone other than liberals to make a point?
Such certainly appeared to be the case Thursday evening when Lawrence O'Donnell filled in on "The Ed Show" and treated his guest, Peter Schiff, more poorly and unprofessionally than just about anything I've ever witnessed.
It was so bad that by the end of the segment, when O'Donnell said, "We're out of time. I gave you as much time as you wanted to tell me one thing," Schiff marvelously replied, "But you kept interrupting me."
Of course, since Schiff has just formed an exploratory committee to examine a possible run for Senate in 2010 against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the folks at MSNBC probably think O'Donnell did a good job (video embedded below the fold with full transcript, h/t Ed Morrissey):
Lawrence O’Donnell failed spectacularly on today’s "Morning Joe" this morning. The Democratic pundit wasn’t alone in that effort, as co-host Mika Brzezinski, and journalists Martin Savidge and Mike Barnicle all failed to correct his gaffe.
Apparently, the MSNBC political analyst is under the impression that Sarah Palin’s selection as Vice President drove down female support for the John McCain ticket – and claims that polling numbers back him up.
On Monday's Countdown show, substitute hosted by liberal MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, during a segment with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter about former Governor Sarah Palin's resignation speech from the weekend, Alter referred to what he called Palin's "fibs" and "absurdities" as he reminded viewers that she is very popular in the Republican party despite the flaws Alter and his ilk see in her. Alter: "She is now an icon within the Republican party, and we can, you know, laugh at her and point out all of her fibs and all of her absurdities, but she has a hard core constituency within that party that suggests that her career is not entirely over."
Alter later recounted some of the elements of her weekend speech, including "attacking the national media," and contended that her words would play well with Republicans, "even if it rubs us the wrong way." Alter:
On Friday night’s Hardball, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell enthusiastically promoted HBO’s new, glowing Ted Kennedy documentary.
He began by declaring "There‘s so much ground to cover. We don‘t have enough time for this. And I want to show the people out there, people under 60, who don‘t know the early Ted Kennedy, don‘t remember the early Ted Kennedy, I want to show what you have got in this movie." But O’Donnell’s interview completely left out the biggest scandal of "the early Ted Kennedy" – the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.
This seemed especially odd as O’Donnell recounted with filmmaker Caroline Waterlow how Richard Nixon was obsessed with Ted Kennedy:
O'DONNELL: Imagine that. Here you are, a senator. You have a president of the United States obsessing all day, is there something we can hang on him. Is there something we can accuse him of?
WATERLOW: With all—to think of Teddy, with all the things he was dealing with politically and within his family and all of the losses he has suffered, he was also—
"Good Morning America" on Friday featured something that has become rare on morning shows, an actual philosophical debate between a strong conservative and a vocal liberal. Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, engaged in a shoot-out with MSNBC analyst and former Senate Democratic chief of staff Lawrence O'Donnell over the issue of torture, Guantanamo Bay and keeping America safe. (On MSNBC, Thursday, O'Donnell called Dick Cheney's speech an "abomination.") [Audio available for download here.]
Cuomo did offer this softball to O'Donnell in relation to Barack Obama and the former Vice President's dueling speeches on Thursday: "Enhanced interrogation. Is that just another word for torture and is that the game America should be in?"He then asked O'Donnell, "Is this just another term for torture? Is that what you think is going on here?"But, Cuomo mostly conducted a fair interview, playing traffic cop as the two guests argued their points. He pointedly queried O'Donnell, "Mr. O'Donnell, is the President's instinct to play nice putting us at risk?"
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."
Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O’Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq." After O’Donnell denounced Cheney’s sleaziness, he went on this diatribe:
He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.
MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," filled in on Monday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a "60 Minutes" clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?"
Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused, "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews used several different animal references to depict the battle between Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh as he likened the fight to wrestling with "a walrus," and getting into "a peeing match with a skunk," and claimed Limbaugh thinks he is Charlie Brown's dog: "He's Snoopy! He thinks he's taking on the Red Baron."
Matthews devoted several segments to the Democratic strategy of attacking Limbaugh and opened the show with the following monologue/diatribe:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight. Pomposity on parade! Not since Snoopy challenged the Red Baron in the Peanuts cartoon have we witnessed an episode of such preposterous pomposity. Rush Limbaugh today challenged the President of the United States to come and debate him in his Palm Beach radio booth. What's the radio man thinking of? What were the Democratic wags thinking of when they invited themselves and the President into this walrus wrestle? Was it poll data that convinced them of the smart politics in matching themselves against the man with the mic, passing over such dashing conservatives of Congress like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell? However it started it's come to this to what happened today, to this ultimate jumping of the shark.
Admission: Lawrence O'Donnell is emerging as one of my favorite media liberals. On the one hand, almost exactly one year ago, his anti-Mormon rant spurred me to action. But lately, watching him as a frequent MSNBC guest, I've been impressed by his acumen and willingness to call them as he sees them.
Take O'Donnell's intervention on tonight's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where he made the salient point that the scandal of the Marc Rich pardon is, ironically, being held against AG nominee Eric Holder . . . while Hillary Clinton skates.
On Tuesday, in a report concerning MSNBC's Keith Olbermann publishing his first article at the liberal website Daily Kos, NewsBusters pointed out that the "Countdown" host certainly "knows exactly who his audience is, and exactly what they want."
This observation was demonstrably confirmed by Olbermann himself on Friday when in his second posting at DKos, he actually apologized to readers for having Lawrence O'Donnell on as a guest the night before.
I kid you not.
To set this up, as NewsBusters reported last Friday, O'Donnell had written an article at the Huffington Post harshly critical of Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards.
This didn't sit well with the Kos Kidz, nor, according to Olbermann, did O'Donnell's appearance on "Countdown" Thursday evening (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Thomas Stewart and Inside Cable News):
Dontcha love it when liberal media elites eat their own in public?
Assuming you do, the cat and dogfight that took place at the Huffington Post Friday is sure to brighten up your Sunday evening.
Our story began at 9:01 Friday morning when "McLaughlin Group" regular Lawrence O'Donnell published an article at HuffPo marvelously entitled "John Edwards Is A Loser."
About three hours later, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley posted a piece entitled "Shut Up, Larry," wherein she imagined that O'Donnell must be a Republican paid by Karl Rove to write the aforementioned article about Edwards (emphasis added):
Don't blame Lawrence O'Donnell for his ugly anti-Mormon rant. It was really the fault of O'Donnell's fellow panelists. That's Frank Rich's take on the unseemly episode on the McLaughlin Group a couple Fridays ago.In his NY Times column of today, Rich claims that O'Donnell was:
pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America.” [Emphasis added.]
Say what you will about liberal pundit Lawrence O'Donnell but you have to give him credit on occasion for fessing up and saying what media liberals really think but are too circumspect for fear of public backlash.
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio show to speak about his earlier rant against the Mormon religion and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's belief in it, O'Donnell let loose, revealing what most everyone on the center-right already knew: left-wing media pundits are too afraid to criticize Islam as much as they do Christianity or Judaism:
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: I don’t think he [Mitt Romney] believes everything in the Book of Mormon. I think he’s lying about that. It’s an insane document produced by a madman who was a criminal and a rapist. [...]
HUGH HEWITT: Would you say the same things about Mohammed as you just said about Joseph Smith?
Lawrence O'Donnell, already infamous for his in-your-face rant at John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans, is at it again. This time, the object of O'Donnell's obloquy is Mitt Romney, and in particular his Mormon religion. Appearing on last night's McLaughlin group, O'Donnell indulged in an angry, protracted condemnation of Mormonism.
This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you "this is the faith of my fathers." And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said "OK, black people can be in this church." He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.
There have been some celebrities defending the dog killings by Michael Vick. However, none of the defenses of Vick are as bizarre as those put forward by Lawrence O'Donnell in his Huffington Post blog, What's Wrong with Killing Dogs?
What's wrong with what Michael Vick did? I have no inclination to do what he did with dogs, but I have no comprehension of what all the fuss is about. Most people who are upset about killing dogs or letting them attack each other have at some point in their lives caught a fish, which is as extreme a form of murderous torture of an animal as I can imagine.