On Monday, NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep expressed -- in the face of all the evidence of Fast and Furious, Solyndra, MF Global, and so on -- that the first term of Obama's presidency was "remarkably scandal-free." When I challenged him on the factual inaccuracy of this, he tweeted in reply , "Hm, did I say it was scandal-free or that it 'has been described' as such?"
However passively Inskeep expressed it, he certainly agreed with it. Inskeep asked Cokie Roberts, "This administration has been described -- I don't even know how many times- - as remarkably scandal-free. But when you get into the second term of an administration, there's often some dirty laundry that comes out. Is that what's happening now?" Roberts agreed:
On Friday's Morning Edition, Mara Liasson lined up talking heads who support RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' Monday report that advises Republicans to "embrace...comprehensive immigration reform" and "change our tone" on issues championed by homosexual activists. Liasson failed to include soundbites from traditional marriage supporters and anti-illegal immigration activists.
The correspondent hyped, "What's happening inside the Republican Party on immigration is as sudden as a tsunami." She later spotlighted how "potential Republican presidential candidates...are beating a tactical retreat in the gay marriage war."
PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff had a rough night on Friday, putting her outrage at Republicans ahead of the facts. In her "Shields and Brooks" segment with liberal Mark Shields and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (subbing for David Brooks), she guessed "The Republicans, I gather, we're told, it is unprecedented, blocking the nomination -- or the confirmation so far of the man President Obama wants to be his defense secretary."
Did Woodruff completely forget Sen. John Tower's nomination for defense secretary, voted down by Democrats in 1989? The name never came up. Hagel's confirmation is only delayed, not defeated. But Woodruff expressed the need for GOP suffering: "Does somebody pay the price, though, for all this?" Naturally, the liberal expert agreed:
After 19 days of controversy, CBS Evening News on Tuesday finally got around to covering the growing dispute between the Obama administration, who wants to impose a mandate for sterilizations and birth control on religious institutions, and the Catholic Church and its allies, who see it as a violation of religious liberty. All of the Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Tuesday covered the issue.
On Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning was actually the only network morning show that devoted a segment to the "hot-button issue," as anchor Gayle King labeled it. NBC's Today show gave a mere news brief on the "uproar" over the new federal policy, while ABC's Good Morning America ignored it.
There was a rather telling moment on ABC's This Week Sunday.
When during the Roundtable segment the Washington Post's Michael Gerson criticized Barack Obama for his lack of leadership involving the now failed Super Committee, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts quickly came to the President's defense (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It might not be surprising to see someone sit in the rarefied liberal air of a PBS set and dismiss the undignified palaver of talk radio and Ann Coulter, but on Friday's PBS NewsHour, this line was coming from former Bush speechwriting chief Michael Gerson, and the target was Gov. Rick Perry.
Gerson and liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus were sitting in for David Brooks and Mark Shields. (In other words, Gerson was in the "I agree with Mark" chair.) Both agreed that Perry really gaffed in suggesting Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was "treasonous" if he shoveled more dollars into the economy before the election:
CBS's Bob Schieffer made some headlines Wednesday when he said Donald Trump was a racist for wanting to see President Obama's college grades.
The "Face the Nation" host pushed this matter further Sunday when he asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), "Do you think [Trump's] trying to play a race card here, suggesting we ought to check Barack Obama’s college grades, that maybe he got into Harvard because he was black?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former top Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson is a Washington Post columnist, and there is never a better time for right-leaning columnists to lean left than in the last weeks of an election season. (See George Will trashing Sen. George Allen in the last weeks of 2006.) His rant also may have granted Gerson a seat on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday.
Gerson not only denounced Christine O'Donnell as a wacky candidate like Alan Keyes, he denounced "the childish political thought of the Tea Party." He insisted conservatives were like Bolsheviks. Bloggers like Michelle Malkin and talk show hosts like Mark Levin were "unhinged" against Karl Rove:
While Rove's critique was tough, the reaction in parts of the conservative blogosphere has been unhinged. Michelle Malkin wrote that it "might as well have been Olbermann on MSNBC." Mark Levin pronounced Rove at "war against the Tea Party movement and conservatives." "In terms of the conservative movement," wrote Dan Riehl, "we should not simply ignore him, but proactively work to undermine Rove in whatever ways we can, given his obvious willingness to undermine us."
Christiane Amanpour on Sunday asked a rather surprising question of her "This Week" panel concerning President Obama's speech earlier in the week about the troop draw down in Iraq:
Do you think everybody is taking a lot of credit but not giving credit where credit is due?
Obviously, "everybody" in this instance meant the current White House resident who chose not to give credit to former President George W. Bush for the success in Iraq or to even mention "the surge" in his address.
After former Bush speechwriter now Washington Post contributor Michael Gerson said, "I didn't find the speech to be a particularly generous speech...he's attempting to take credit for something that he opposed," some truly shocking statements were made by Amanpour and Politico's John Harris (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC's Today show invited on Washington Post columnists Jonathan Capehart and Michael Gerson to debate whether the current Democratic midterm strategy of blaming George W. Bush would work this November. Capehart, citing an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, claimed it was an "effective" strategy because "Sixty-two percent of the American people polled said that they would be uncomfortable with a candidate who's identified with President Bush."
However that strategy, according to Democrats' own polling numbers, may not be working. According to the Hotline's Reid Wilson: "Dems have tried repeatedly to tie the GOP to Bush's economic policies, which remain highly unpopular. But so far, that hasn't worked, according to officials at the Dem-leaning Third Way think tank." Wilson went on to quote from the Third Way's results: "Just eighteen months after President Bush left office with the nation's economy in historic freefall, two-thirds of Americans now see congressional Republicans and their economic ideas as new and completely separate from those of the former president."
Capehart, also dismissed any notion that the Democrats or more specifically, Barack Obama would be seen as "whining" about the former president as he noted that Obama: "can point to the TARP program, the stimulus program, the health care bill, as things he's doing to try to move the country forward and get it out of the ditch. It would be whining if he didn't have those things to point to."
Last week, CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer made the incredible confession that he was unaware of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation cast on CNN's July 18 "Reliable Sources." The show's host Howard Kurtz asked why Schieffer didn't ask Attorney General Eric Holder about the case when he had the opportunity in an appearance on his show.
"I was on vacation that week," Schieffer said. "This happened -- apparently, it got very little publicity. And, you know, I just didn't know about it"
To compensate for this oversight, Schieffer has assembled a panel for his July 25 broadcast of "Face the Nation" to discuss this issue. The problem - it's heavily stacked in favor of the Obama administration's perspective on the issue.
According to the "Face the Nation" website, Schieffer's panel will Abigail Thernstrom, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University, Cornel West, Princeton University, John Fund, a Wall Street Journal columnist and Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist.
It’s not very common for one Washington Post columnist to really slam another Post columnist. But former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson certainly brought the pain Friday to TV writer Tom Shales for his "spittle-flinging rage" of "secular fundamentalism" in Tuesday's paper against Brit Hume’s urging Tiger Woods to try Christianity. Gerson concluded:
In this controversy, we are presented with two models of discourse. Hume, in an angry sea of loss and tragedy -- his son's death in 1998 -- found a life preserver in faith. He offered that life preserver to another drowning man. Whatever your view of Hume's beliefs, he could have no motive other than concern for Woods himself.
The other model has come from critics such as Shales, in a spittle-flinging rage at the mention of religion in public, comparing Hume to "Mary Poppins on the joys of a tidy room, or Ron Popeil on the glories of some amazing potato peeler." Shales, of course, is engaged in proselytism of his own -- for a secular fundamentalism that trivializes and banishes all other faiths. He distributes the sacrament of the sneer.
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, cast Barack Obama in the role of savior of the neo-cons as he pondered if the President's Nobel Peace Prize speech could, "Lead those neo-cons...out of the valley of evil?" Matthews wondered if Obama could rescue Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Michael Gerson and other neo-cons from their "belief in torture and Gitmo." Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joined Matthews in declaring "This speech won’t make Dick Cheney happy."
The following exchange was aired on the December 10, edition of Hardball: