While CNN gave two tough interviews to Palin-bashing author Joe McGinniss, HLN's Joy Behar joked around with him on her Wednesday show. She referenced his newest tome on Sarah Palin and her family, full of nasty gossip and rumors, and jokingly asked "What, do you have a death wish, Joe?"
In the previous segment, Behar had made fun of Rush Limbaugh's past drug abuse in her interview with Levi Johnston. "Your mother was selling Oxycontin?" she asked Johnston. "What's she – what's up with that? Does she know Rush Limbaugh?"
Appearing on Thursday's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports' on MSNBC, 'The Last Word' host Lawrence O'Donnell touted his Tuesday interview with Levi Johnston: "I love that kid. He's honest, he's straightforward, he's not embarrassed." The questions O'Donnell put to Johnston were identical to the ones CBS Evening anchor Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin in a 2008 interview.
Introducing O'Donnell, host Andrea Mitchell played a video mash-up that placed his interview with Johnston alongside Couric's interview with Palin. O'Donnell remarked to Mitchell: "I re-scored his answers last night when I stacked them up against Sarah Palin's and I think he really actually did do a better job than Sarah Palin, question by question, answer by answer."
The video showed O'Donnell ask Johnston about the teaching of evolution in schools, Johnston provided this brilliant response: "You're kind of getting over my head on these things here. Yeah, I don't really know how to answer that question."
Filling-in for Keith Olbermann on the November 13, 2009 Countdown, O'Donnell gave this nasty review of Palin's first book, 'Going Rogue': "Sarah's index and footnote-free, score-settling campaign memoir. No mind-numbing charts or graphs, no big words, no scholarly Latin phrases, like caveat emptor. And I bet the pictures are, like, amazing."
Continuing their obsession with the credibility-challenged Levi Johnston, whose sole claim to fame is his continuing ability to exploit his relationship with Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, CBS’s The Early Show on Friday devoted more than four minutes to an “exclusive” interview with the “reality star” and how he now recants his apology for lying about the Palins in previous interviews.
To her credit, correspondent Betty Nguyen challenged Johnston’s openly frivolous approach to running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (a stunt concocted for a reality show) and whether his temporary apology was “honest” (he said it was “something I did to make my fiancee happy”).
But CBS has shown a particular fetish for publicizing Johnston’s antics, especially his slams of Sarah Palin. Back in July, NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennen documented five lengthy Early Show features of Johnston, including two “exclusive” interviews, one of which aired over two days. Always, CBS touted the anti-Sarah Palin angle, as they did again today with the on-screen headline: “Levi’s Regrets; Johnston Sorry He Made Palin Apology.”
Teasing an upcoming story in the 7:30AM ET half hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheerfully promoted Levi Johnston's pitch for a reality show in Alaska: "He's going to star in a new reality show and it's all about him running for mayor of Wasilla. That's right, he's gunning for his would-have-been mother-in-law's old job."
Later, Smith further teased: "Johnston's quest to follow in Sarah Palin's foot steps and hold political office." Introducing the report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill remarked how Johnston would "be chasing Sarah Palin's legacy." Correspondent Priya David-Clemens discussed the show as if it was about to go on the air: "He's inked a reality show deal that will be all Levi and no Bristol. The new show, called 'Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office,' will follow the young father as he campaigns for the top job in his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska." In fact, as the New York Times reported, the show is simply an idea being pitched by Johnston and producers but has not been picked up any network yet.
David-Clemens touted a description of the proposed show: "In a statement to 'Us Weekly,' the show's executive producer said, quote, 'he'll give us a real inside look into who he is as a father, a skilled hunter, an avid dirt biker, and, of course, his journey down the road of small town politics, right after he gets his high school diploma.'"
CBS’s Early Show was eager to host Levi Johnston when he was trashing the Palin family last year – 5 segments totaling more than 24 minutes of airtime. But since admitting that some of his attacks were untrue, the morning show has barely noticed, making only two brief mentions of Johnston's reversal and apology in a July 6 People Magazine interview.
On Friday, fill-in co-host Erica Hill offered a scant 42 second discussion of Johnston's apology in the show's weekly 'Early Wrap' segment. She actually admitted that it had been "highly under-reported." On Wednesday, amidst 2 minutes and 32 seconds of coverage of Johnston's re-engagement to Bristol Palin, a total of 25 seconds was given to his apology.
During the Wednesday coverage, co-host Harry Smith remarked: "How many times was that young man on this show talking really horrible things about the Palins?" Later, Hill declared that Johnston "said some rather unflattering things," causing Smith to once again describe how "Levi was on this show a bunch, several times in that era, and did interviews with [fellow Early Show co-host] Maggie [Rodriguez]."
Of the five 2009 segments about Johnston, three were exclusive interviews between him and Rodriguez. The first interview aired on April 8, while the second was aired in two parts on October 28 and 29. In addition, the show did September 3 segment on Johnston's anti-Palin Vanity Fair interview and a November 17 story previewing an interview with him on the CBS entertainment news program 'The Insider.'
Update: CBS earlier declined comment on Johnston apology.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill confessed Levi Johnston's apology for making false statements about the Palin family was "highly under-reported." During the 'Early Wrap' segment, Hill told a panel of media pundits: "My favorite story of the week, which was highly under-reported...is that Levi Johnston came out and said....Some things he said about the Palin family were not true."
It's interesting that Hill used the phrase "under-reported," when CBS did not cover Johnston's admission at all since he made the statement in a Tuesday interview with People Magazine. Meanwhile, the network, and the Early Show in particular, heavily promoted Johnston's claims about the Palins last year.
Update: In a Wednesday article entitled "Will Levi's apology lead to media corrections?," Michael Calderone of Yahoo News observed: "Johnston used to have a lot to say. And the media — whether they were news, politics or celebrity outlets — listened. He appeared on the 'CBS Early Show,' 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Tyra Banks Show.'" Calderone attempted to get a response from CBS on Johnston's apology but they "declined comment."
In response to Hill, panelist Joe Levy, editor-in-chief of Maxim Magazine, dismissed the revelation: "Wow. So, a teenager who breaks up with his girlfriend says untrue things about her and her family? That is a shocker. I don't think that's ever happened before." Fellow panelist, Daily Show correspondent Olivia Munn, chimed in: "I think he needs to apologize for his Playgirl spread first and then go to the Palins....Because America is hurt, first and foremost, and then some people in Alaska."
World News Now co-host Jeremy Hubbard on Wednesday didn't accept the explanation that Levi Johnston has simply decided to apologize for his bad mouthing of the Palin family. The ABC anchor hinted at darker reasons: "You know, I'm a cynic. Did the Palins get to him, do you think?" [Audio available here.] (H/T to Creative Minority)
Discussing Johnston's public apology in People magazine, Hubbard began, "Did they sit him down and-" He broke off and didn't finish the thought. What was Hubbard implying? The answer went unsaid.
In an interview with People Magazine on Tuesday, Levi Johnston admitted: "I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true." On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show failed to make any mention of the admission, despite having provided a media platform for Johnston last year by conducting exclusive interviews with him.
On the April 8, 2009 broadcast, co-host Maggie Rodriguez conducted her first interview with Johnston, and introduced the segment by proclaiming: "He [Johnston], along with his mother and sister, sat down with me last night for an interview to clear up the 'lies' they say the Palins have been telling about them." Rodriguez sympathized with the former boyfriend of Bristol Palin by wondering: "Did you get your heart broken?"
During a September 3 segment on Johnston's latest attack against the Palins, Rodriguez declared: "And shocking allegations that could shatter former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's conservative family image. If she chooses to believe what Levi Johnston is saying." Rodriguez's second interview with Johnston came weeks later on October 29: "He is back on the offensive in this he-said-she-said battle that began shortly after the presidential election....he says he's trying to show the world the real Levi." In reaction to that interview, Sarah Palin called out the network for promoting Johnston: "CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies."
As left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin appeared on Friday’s Larry King Live on CNN, after the conversation turned to her "My Life on the D List" show’s trip to Wasilla, Alaska, featuring Levi Johnston, host King asked her about her "attraction" to Johnston, referring to talk of a relationship between the two which is rumored to just be a publicity stunt. The left-wing comedian asserted that "every time that I'm with Levi and put him in the public eye, I feel that it's my very subtle middle finger to Sarah Palin." Griffin then added, "Yeah, go ahead, Tweet me, Palin freaks, I don't care anymore."
A few minutes later, as the subject turned to her taking her show to a Senate hearing about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military, Griffin recounted her meeting with Republican Representative Michele Bachmann, whom she referred to as a "moron," and, after she seemed to perceive that King was uncomfortable with the insult as he noted that Bachmann has been on the show before and is a "strong, conservative person," Griffin shot back: "Oh, boy, I didn't know it was 'Be Kind to Bachmann Day' because my word for that is 'idiot.'"
MSNBC.com’s Steve Adubato went so far to compare Sarah Palin’s notoriety to a reality show during a segment on Wednesday’s Today show on NBC. Adubato acted as an apologist for Levi Johnston’s move to open his child custody dispute with Bristol Palin: “Sarah Palin’s reality show that she’s been on for the past couple years...It has an impact on this baby as well....and it’s not good for the kid either.”
The MSNBC.com “media analyst” and former Democratic politician appeared with former prosecutor Wendy Murphy just after the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour for a panel discussion about the Johnston-Palin custody case. After asking Murphy about Johnston’s move to open the case, substitute anchor Erin Burnett turned to Adubato for his take. “Steve, what’s your point of view? I mean, it’s pretty clear he [Johnston] wants it open because he sort of wants to build his brand and his name and a reality TV career but that’s a high standard. I mean, why should they allow it to be open?”
Adubato almost immediately set his sights on Sarah Palin and her apparent role in the custody dispute: “Listen, Sarah Palin is a major figure in this...she’s said things about this kid. The daughter Bristol has said things about this kid. Here’s the problem: you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be Sarah Palin, use your public platform to trash this kid in certain cases, and then say- you know, for the right of the kid , who’s one, let’s make sure that we keep it private....I understand this kid’s smart enough- his lawyers are smart enough to take advantage of the fact that they’ve trashed him publicly. It’s his only platform.”
The New York Daily News is demonstrating that PDA's (Palin Derangement Awards) just never go out of style - celebrating yet another triumph in liberal media condescension by judging Sarah Palin to be one of 2009's worst celebrity parents. Palin shares the limelight with the selfless and humble parents of the balloon boy, David Hasselhoff, the Pez dispenser emulating Octomom, and Courtney Love.
Having recently secured Politifact's ‘Lie of the Year', in which one is seemingly bestowed the honor of liar simply for pointing out obvious questions involving a so-called ‘death panel' known as the Independent Medicare Advisory Board - (In other words, ‘Lie of the Year' translates to ‘Questions We'd Rather You Didn't Ask') - Palin finds herself with little time to celebrate.
So, in a quick turnaround from the high that is winning a prestigious award from a non-fact-checking fact-checking Web site, Palin finds herself having to hastily accept the honor of Worst Celebrity Parent.
And what does the New York Daily News base this label on? A quote from the attention deprived Levi Johnston, who once claimed in a Vanity Fair interview that Palin referred to her baby Trig as being ‘the retarded baby'.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez previewed an exclusive interview with Levi Johnston on the CBS entertainment show, The Insider: “Levi Johnston says he is winning the war of words between Sarah Palin and him. We’ll hear from him.” Later, correspondent for The Insider, Chris Jacobs, declared: “Sarah Palin lashing out at Levi and now Levi fires back.”
Rodriguez has conducted three exclusive interviews with the estranged father of Palin’s grandson in the last six months, the latest on October 29. In The Insider interview, Johnston is given the opportunity to continue his vicious, personal, and unsubstantiated attacks against the former Alaska governor, claiming: “I think she’s going out and talking and she’s just digging a bigger hole for herself....I just look at her in disgust. It’s almost funny that she’s like 46 years old and she’s battling a 19-year-old and I’m winning and I’m telling the truth. She’s lying and losing.”
For the third time in six months, the CBS Early Show provided a soap box for Levi Johnston to continue his vicious personal attacks against Sarah Palin, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: “He is back on the offensive in this he-said-she-said battle that began shortly after the presidential election....he says he’s trying to show the world the real Levi.”
During the first part of the exclusive interview, which aired on Wednesday, Rodriguez sympathetically asked: “Are you hurt by all of this?....you really sound like somebody who’s dead set on hurting these people the way they hurt you.” Johnston replied: “...if she’s going to go out there and say stuff to me – about me, I’m going to leak some things on her. I mean that’s just how it is.”
At the end of the second part of the interview, aired on Thursday, Rodriguez read a statement from Palin reacting to Johnston: “‘we have purposefully ignored the mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family. We, like many, are appalled at the inflammatory statements being made or implied.’” Palin went on to take the broadcast network to task for even having Johnston on: “CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies.” Rodriguez attempted to justify the repetitive interviews: “...we raised all those questions about credibility and his motivation for doing this with Levi...we should say that we’ve also offered more than a dozen times to interview Sarah Palin, but she has declined each of those requests.”
Teasing an upcoming segment on Thursday’s CBS Early Show about new attacks on Sarah Palin by the father of her grandson, Levi Johnston, co-host Maggie Rodriguez exclaimed: "And shocking allegations that could shatter former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s conservative family image. If she chooses to believe what Levi Johnston is saying."
In the later report on Johnston’s Vanity Fair rant against Palin, correspondent Kelly Wallace claimed he "took off the gloves" and "debunks the popular image of Palin as hockey mom and moose hunter, telling...that ‘she doesn’t hunt, doesn’t read, doesn’t work hard, doesn’t spend time with her family, but instead spends all night alone in her bedroom.’" Wallace continued: "As for Sarah and Todd’s marriage, Johnston says they constantly threatened each other with divorce. ‘Once the cameras would leave, they didn’t talk to each other. I’ve never seen them sleep in the same bedroom.’"
After Wallace’s report, Rodriguez briefly mentioned: "And when we talked last April, he made similar claims to me and Sarah Palin said he’s lying, he just wants publicity, he just wants his little moment in the spotlight...my guess would be she would probably say something along those lines." Co-host Harry Smith then turned to Rodriguez and asked: "Because you’ve met him, you’ve interviewed him. Does he seem like – seem credible to you?" Rodriguez simply replied: "I don’t know. How could I possibly answer that?"
CBS "The Early Show" attacked sexual abstinence while Bristol Palin appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Today" to voice her support for it. Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol's child who has told numerous stories to hurt the family, went on CBS in what can only have been an attempt to counter or distract from Palin's message.
The daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol gave birth to son Tripp on Dec 27 2008. Since then, Bristol has become a Teen Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, which promotes teen abstinence.
On the eighth annual national day to prevent teen pregnancy, CBS continued its derision of abstinence with the help of Johnston. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez said before beginning the interview that Bristol was on TV talking about teen pregnancy and asked Johnston if he agreed with her encouraging abstinence. He responded that he did, but "you need to enforce, ya know, condoms and ya know birth control and things like that to have safe sex. I don't think just, uh telling young kids uh you can't have sex is just not gonna work - it's not realistic."
Wednesday’s Early Show picked up where The Tyra Banks Show left off in interviewing Levi Johnston, the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin, as well as his sister and mother, and continued the media’s coverage of the “family feud” between the Palins and the Johnstons. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez asked Levi’s sister Mercede if the Palin family was “snobby.” She also asked the young man if the Palin family was “lying” about the circumstances of his relationship with Bristol and the subsequent breakup.
Rodriguez asked Levi Johnston some obligatory sappy questions, such as what his son Tripp meant to him, and if his “heart was broken” over the way things turned out. She devoted nearly the entire interview to trying to get the Johnstons’ side of the story, and only brought up the Palin family’s side in one question to Levi: “Sarah Palin, through a spokesperson, has denied a lot of the things that you’re saying. So either you’re lying or Sarah Palin is lying. Which is it?” After trying to get the young father to be more specific in his less than direct answer to the question, the anchor asked again, “So they’re lying?” He answered, “Yeah.”
Recent earthquake activity in Alaska provided “CBS Early Show” co-hosts with a ready-made metaphor for a segment on the personal lives of some of the those surrounding Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. But their quake turned out to be barely a ripple.
Hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez couldn’t contain their smirks as they introduced the piece. “There's been an earthquake rumbling outside Anchorage, but there is some other rumblings, as well, near Wasilla,” Smith snickered. “Oh, indeed,” Rodriguez chimed in with her eyebrows raised. “Sarah Palin says that she is focused on one thing, governing Alaska. But it has been hard to dodge the negative headlines swirling around her friends and family. Some real doozies.”
Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s ex fiancée and father of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s grandson, was interviewed on the Tyra Banks show. Questioned by Banks, Johnston said “I’m pretty sure she [Gov. Palin] probably knew” he and Bristol were sexually active.” Then (perhaps momentarily forgetting that there was living proof to the contrary) he tried to maintain that the two had “always” practiced safe sex. After several prompts from Banks, he reluctantly admitted it was only “most of the time.”
Is it some sort of amazing, newsworthy revelation that teen romance is sometimes a rocky road? Is it news that family can be troublesome when it results in out-of-wedlock birth? The Associated Press seems to think it is, at least if one of those teens is Governor Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol.
Do you care that punk Levi Johnston is bawling to the press that Governor Palin is supposedly a controlling Grandmother? Especially in light of the fact that this kid is an uneducated, immature, unserious lout? Well, if YOU don't the AP sure as heck does.
During a report on Thursday’s Today show, NBC News correspondent Norah O’Donnell replayed Barbara Walters’ characterization of Sarah Palin’s recent interview as “disturbing” from Tuesday’s The View. O’Donnell highlighted how the Alaska governor’s comments about how the media treated her versus how it treated Caroline Kennedy “drew a reaction” from the ABC host, and that it was “one more sign that as Palin tries to quiet her critics, she is sparking another loud debate.”
Co-host Matt Lauer introduced O’Donnell’s report: “During the campaign, handlers tried to keep a tight lid on Sarah Palin, but as Barack Obama’s inauguration approaches, she’s speaking out more and more. But how much is too much?” The correspondent then began by highlighting “Sarah Palin’s latest target -- her online critics,” focusing on the governor’s counterattacks against those spreading “smears” about her family. The NBC on-screen graphic hyped how Palin had become “unleashed.”
GMTA. Last night I posted an item on David Shuster's hypocrisy in branding Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston "unwed parents," pointing out that the MSM would never normally use such an un-PC term, preferring to speak reverentially of "single mothers." This morning, Ann Coulter appeared on Today to discuss her new book, Guilty, and by coincidence, an important focus of Ann's remarks was . . . the liberal media's "exaltation of single-motherhood."
I'll leave it to my fellow NewsBusters to recount the entire story of Ann's Today appearance, including the way NBC apparently scurried to have her on this morning's show after Drudge ran a story asserting that the network had imposed a lifetime ban on the conservative firebrand. For present purposes, let's focus here on the similar themes struck here and by Ann on the subject of single-motherhood.
He stopped short of demanding they be branded with a scarlet 'U.' But the suddenly puritanical David Shuster insists that the proper term for Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston is "unwed parents."
Shuster rendered his verdict on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the MSNBC show he's been hosting since David Gregory parted for Meet The Press. Shuster teased the issue at the top of the program, then devoted a segment to it later on.