CNN president Jeff Zucker praised MSNBC guest host Michael Smerconish on Tuesday as he announced that the the cable news network would be giving the radio talk show host a weekly program: "We are thrilled to have Michael join CNN...At a time when the cable news landscape has become increasingly polarized, his independence and passion for reasoned dialogue makes him the perfect fit for CNN."
Smerconish's record, especially at MSNBC, actually does not point to independence, but liberalism. Here are the worst examples of the talker's slant to the left from the Media Research Center's archives: [video included below the jump for select quotes]
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, December 27, Hardball on MSNBC, comedian and Daily Beast columnist Dean Obeidallah -- who has also been a CNN contributor -- cracked that "conservatives hate a lot of women" as he recounted that the woman whose face appeared on the ObamaCare Web site had been tagged "the most despised woman in America" by "some bloggers on the right," whom he failed to identify.
According to MSNBC's Michael Smerconish, it's Barack Obama who is owed the "real apology" for the disastrous rollout of the health care law. Filling in for Chris Matthews, the Hardball guest host huffed, "The facts are that many of the same people that feel betrayed now will be thanking the President later." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Lecturing the 52 million Americans who have lost their insurance, Smerconish added, "These are people in so-called junk plans that could bankrupt them and their families if they ever got sick." Displaying MSNBC logic, the host identified who should actually be asking for forgiveness on ObamaCare: "As Republicans revel in the President's comments, we should ask who should offer the real apology here?"
Talk about a lack of irony. Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Thursday lectured Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the GOP to avoid "retreating" to "echo chambers" such as Fox News. Smerconish did this on MSNBC, the home of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz.
Smerconish, with no sense of self awareness for his own network's echo chamber, scolded, "And this is how you [appeal to more people]? By shutting out news outlets and retreating to your own Fox News echo chamber. If [Priebus] gets his way, it isn't new voices that the party will be hearing and reaching, just their own." On this concept of partisans talking to partisans, Smerconish threw a question to the deeply liberal Joan Walsh. [UPDATED: See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While serving as guest host of Tuesday's Hardball, Michael Smerconish closed the program by pushing for a legalization of prostitution. He claimed not to see anything wrong with women selling their bodies for money, calling it “the private affairs of consenting adults.” It's no coincidence that Smerconish's defense of the sex trade came just two days after gushing over prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer and his "unwarranted" resignation as governor.
In his defense of prostitution, Smerconish made two arguments for its legalization. First, he argued that it would be financially profitable for the government to “bring the world’s oldest profession aboveboard” and allow it to be considered a taxable income. This legalization would also allow for the communities to “clean up the trade,” he argued.
Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Monday was so gentle with reformed prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer that even the former governor seemed uncomfortable. Talking about Spitzer's new run for New York City comptroller, Smerconish enthused, "Governor, does running now mean that resigning was unwarranted?"
He continued, "Would a Spitzer victory mark the of end of the sex scandal as we know it? And I'm asking, really, have we become too intrusive into our elected officials' and candidates' private lives?" This appeared to be too much for Spitzer. He allowed, "Look, I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask, because I have a perspective that is so tailored to what I've been through." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
“The press -- often the target of allegations of liberal bias by conservative media -- has found an unlikely ally in right-leaning radio and television hosts who have taken to defending the First Amendment with a fire-and-brimstone zeal,” she wrote.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high on Tuesday.
But you wouldn't know that if you watched MSNBC's Hardball where two guests actually made the case that this really isn't an all-time high due to inflation (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie brought on liberal MSNBC host Krystal Ball and radio host Michael Smerconish to discuss campaign strategy in the final two weeks before the presidential election, with the headline on-screen claiming: "Left vs. Right on Final Race for the White House."
There's one problem with that assertion, Smerconish prominently supported President Obama in 2008 and has routinely filled in for left-wing Hardball host Chris Matthews on MSNBC in the years since. Apparently having someone on the left like Ball and someone center-left like Smerconish is NBC's idea of balance.
When it comes to family members of Republican presidential candidates, looks like the MSM has decided they're fair game for attacks. Yesterday we noted how ABC's Bianna Golodryga claimed that Paul Ryan's mother was campaigning in a "very calculated" manner.
Today we offer Joan Walsh into evidence. Appearing on the weekend edition of MSNBC's "Hardball," the Salon editor accused Ann Romney of throwing a "tantrum" over her husband's decision to release no more than two years of tax returns. View the video after the jump.
We media analysts see, hear, and read a lot of stupid comments from press members everyday.
For me, the howler of the week has to be MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan Jr. saying about President Obama on Friday's Hardball, "The media is not giving him enough credit" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Salon editor Joan Walsh took a truly disgusting cheap shot at the late Andrew Breitbart Friday.
Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball, Walsh said, "I didn’t think it was possible to get lower than Andrew Breitbart, but his spawn have gotten lower than Andrew Breitbart" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Once again, MSNBC has continued to prop up Rev. Al Sharpton’s racist conspiracies that state legislatures led by the GOP are deliberately suppressing minority voters through new voter ID laws.
On Friday’s episode of Jansing & Co., radio host and MSNBC substitute host Michael Smerconish led a left-wing attack on the GOP. The panelists including Pennsylvania AFL-CIO chief Richard Bloomingdale asserted that a person's signature is sufficient identification to vote in the United States. Indeed, both Smerconish and Bloomingdale insisted they have voted that way for years in Pennsylvania with no problems. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
From time to time, MSNBC hosts like to do their part to further the meme that Republicans are out to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning constituencies such as blacks and the elderly by using voter ID laws as a back-door way to discourage voting by those groups.
Today Hardball fill-in host Michael Smerconish picked up the baton, interviewing Michael Waldman of the liberal Brennan Center for Justice about his group's claim that its new "comprehensive study" finds five million Americans will be effectively disenfranchised in 2012 thanks to new voter ID laws in numerous states.
For his part, Smerconish did play a bit of devil's advocate:
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC contributor Michael Smerconish on Thursday, while substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on "Hardball," actually floated the absurd conspiracy theory that Rupert Murdoch had staged the pie throwing event during his hearing before Parliament Tuesday in order to distract from his testimony.
On Saturday's "Fox News Watch," Jim Pinkerton referenced this piece (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The media's attention on Rupert Murdoch and the British hacking scandal hit a new low Thursday.
Filling in for MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Michael Smerconish finished "Hardball" with a segment floating the conspiracy theory that Rupert Murdoch staged Tuesday's Parliamentary pie throwing incident to distract everyone's attention from his testimony (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews, joined by two liberal talk radio hosts on Tuesday's Hardball, essentially blamed the likes of conservative hosts like Mark Levin for creating the climate of hate that led to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords as the envious MSNBC host proclaimed: "People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage...every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the left with anger that's just builds and builds in their voice and by the time they go to commercial, they're just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk....They must have an audience. I looked at the numbers today. They have big audiences! And I guess that's the question. Why and is it ever going to stop if it keeps working?"
Before that Matthews rant, Philadelphia area radio host Michael Smerconish coined a word in his attack on conservative chatter as he talked about "the hatriolic comments" he's heard and in referring to a scene he saw at a town hall meeting worried: "These are people who are on the edge and if somebody pushes them over, God help us all."
E. Steven Collins, another Philly area talker, sided with Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who attacked Rush Limbaugh, as he hailed: "The sheriff in Tucson was absolutely right...It does impact people who may have a mental problem or may not" and added that there was a "direct relationship" with Sarah Palin putting crosshairs on her Web site over Giffords' district and the loss of a life of "that little girl who went down to meet the congressperson."
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, accused Fox News of "whipping up white hysteria" over allegations of the New Black Panther Party intimidating voters in Philadelphia as he wondered, at the top of his show, if there was "a rightist strategy to stir up racial resentment among whites by portraying whites as victims of black rule?" The Hardball host, during a discussion about the New Black Panther Party case with Philadelphia radio talk show hosts Michael Smerconish and E. Steven Collins, claimed that "Fox News and its friends" were pushing the story to motivate voters in the midterms because "I think there's nothing the Republican Party likes better than a nice, scared white voter. Let's be honest about it."
While Matthews did agree with Smerconish, about some of the merits of the case, the thrust of the segment was that Fox News and the right were pushing the New Black Panther Party story to race-bait as Matthews claimed: "This is just an attempt by the people on the right, I guess, especially Fox, to just keep pushing this, this beach ball in the air until it finally creates some noise."
The following teaser and full segment were aired on the July 27 Hardball:
Jeffrey Zaslow of The Wall Street Journal reported on political gaffes on Wednesday, and as an expert he brought on Obama-loving former Republican Michael Smerconish. Unsurprisingly, Smerconish bashed Ann Coulter and forgave Michelle Obama as he discussed his "Muzzle Meter" and the severity of scandalous words:
We've become a culture that is unforgiving when it comes to poor word choice, says syndicated radio host Michael Smerconish. "We're far too thin-skinned, starting federal investigations every time someone says something stupid." He blames political partisanship and a 24/7 media looking for "gotcha" moments. Web sites such as TMZ.com, Politico.com, Gawker.com and TheSuperficial.com traffic in verbal gaffes.
Mr. Smerconish, a lifelong Republican who this year announced he is now an independent, has developed a "Muzzle Meter," asking listeners to help him measure, on a scale of 1 to 10, whether poor word choices are innocent mistakes (a 1 or a 2) or were said with malice (a 9 or a 10).
A month ago, The Washington Post editorial page was dropping rhetorical bombs on conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli for investigating ClimateGate. The headline at the top of the paper's May 7 editorial page (now scrubbed online) was "Mr. Cuccinelli's witch hunt: Virginia's attorney general declares war on academic freedom and climate reality." It began:
WE KNEW Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) had declared war on reality. Now he has declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry as well. We hope that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and the University of Virginia have the spine to repudiate Mr. Cuccinelli's abuse of the legal code. If they do not, the quality of Virginia's universities will suffer for years to come.
That's an unsigned staff editorial, not some fulminating columnist with a byline. But these very same Washington Post editorial page staffers offered space on Friday to alleged conservative Michael Smerconish to trash cable news bookers at Fox News and CNN for wrecking America with "polarized politics."
The producer asked whether CNN could identify me as a conservative. "Well, if someone who supports harsh interrogation, thinks we should be out of Iraq but in Pakistan, doesn't care much if two guys hook up, and believes we should legalize pot and prostitution is conservative, fine," I replied.
Chris Matthews gave his old Philly talk radio show host friend Michael Smerconish a platform, on Tuesday's Hardball, to boldy proclaim what anybody who's paid attention to Smerconish for the past few years has already known, that he is no longer a Republican. In explaining his decision to register as an independent Smerconish insisted he couldn't "play wind-up talk radio" and "read the GOP talking points" like the much more successful Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Glossing over the fact that the aformentioned hosts have repeatedly criticized the GOP when they betrayed conservative principles, Matthews pondered: "Do you think they honestly believe what they say?" [audio available here]
When NBC's "Today" show, on Wednesday, devoted an entire segment asking the question "How Should the GOP Battle Back?" who did they turn to, to offer strategic advice? Leftist Nation editor/publisher Katrina Vanden Heuvel and self-described "moderate" radio talk show host Michael Smerconish. What? Was Meghan McCain not available? Not surprisingly neither guest suggested the Republican Party should be consistent in expressing and acting on conservative principles as Vanden Heuvel railed:
On Wednesday's "Today" show, NBC's Chuck Todd called the decision of Arlen Specter – a Republican senator who has such a liberal voting record and has been such a constant-thorn-in-the-side of his party that he faced probable defeat in his own primary – to leave the GOP, "devastating." In a piece about Barack Obama's first 100 days that trumpeted his own network's new poll showing high ratings for Obama, Todd buried the GOP: "But for the Republican Party it's devastating, not just to their hopes of slowing President Obama's agenda in Congress but for what it says about the future of the GOP."
Todd then aired a sound bite from a Philadelphia area radio talk show host Michael Smerconish who advised the best way for the GOP to win seats was to "clone" Specter.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, AUTHOR, MORNING DRIVE: The Republican Party in the aftermath of the presidential race should have come to him and tried to clone him. They need more Arlen Specters. And instead they deride him as a R.I.N.O - Republican In Name Only.
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the April 29, "Today" show:
Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism on Wednesday night’s "Hardball," as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama, "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. To see Limbaugh's quote in full context visit his official site. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break (audio excerpt here):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a sound bite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of "Hardball":
It looks like "conservative" radio talk show host Michael Smerconish has finally reaped his reward for supporting Barack Obama. Brian Maloney of the Radio Equalizer beautifully skewers the deceitful Philadelphia radio show host for cashing in on his self-serving, career-enhancing, endorsement:
As Philly talker Michael Smerconish has revealed, it certainly pays to tow your liberal employer's party line.
Just two weeks after the formerly conservative talk host revealed he would back Barack Obama for president, CBS has rewarded him with the previously-elusive program expansion he'd been long been desperately seeking.
At the time, Smerconish actually had the nerve to predict his career would take a hit for making this supposedly courageous decision.
Instead, his dividend is a bit like your local grocery store's rewards card, only the payoff is 1000 times greater!
Michael Smerconish is thinking of voting for Obama. The Philly talk radio host let it be known while subbing for Dan Abrams on tonight's "Verdict" on MSNBC. He actually did so, chatting with Ron Reagan, while criticizing Obama's flip-flops. But the bottom line is the bottom line.
SMERCONISH: I want to think big picture, and I want to do so by showing you a piece of that which was published in today's Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer, if we can put that up on the screen:
The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician . . . When it's time to throw campaign finance reform, telecom accountability, NAFTA renogiation or Jeremiah Wright overboard, Obama is not sentimental. He does not hesitate. He tosses lustily . . . By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.
That's Charles Krauthammer. Ron, I voted for the first time in 1980 for your dad. I have never voted for a Democrat for president. I voted for plenty of Democrats, but never for president. I've not ruled it out in this cycle, because I like this guy. But the events of the last 10 days or so make him seem status quo, make him seem like just a run-of-the-mill politician.
Barack Obama, liberal? Surely you jest. Rachel Maddow found the suggestion so silly, she literally burst out laughing. The Air America host was part of this evening's panel on Race for the White House. David Gregory couldn't complete his reading of Rich Lowry's take on Obama before Maddow let loose.
DAVID GREGORY: Let's go to Smart Take #2. This is Rich Lowry from National Review Online, he's also talking [in a NY Post column] about Obama [emphasis added]:
Obama represents a rejection of triangulating Clintonism. He had no Sister Souljah moment during the primaries. Indeed, he initially embraced his Sister Souljah, in the form of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, introduced to the public in videotaped anti-American rants. Nor did Obama make any creative policy departures, like Clinton's advocacy of welfare reform in 1992. Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern. And yet his candidacy might not be electoral suicide. He has formidable gifts as a politician; he's eloquent, winsome, a quick study. He confronts a Republican Party that, beset by intellectual exhaustion, congressional scandal and an unpopular incumbent president, teeters on the verge of a Watergate-style meltdown. So Democrats contemplate the delicious prospect of having their purity and victory, too.
As Gregory speaks the words "Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern," Maddow can be heard laughing off camera. When Maddow's turn came to comment, she tried to make the case that Obama doesn't make it as a real liberal.
Hillary–gone in a week? Yes, if you believe Michael Smerconish.
The Philly-based radio talk show host was the only Pennsylvanian on the panel on this evening's Race for the White House on MSNBC. He saved his bombshell for last. Nothing in the kibitzing preceding the show-closing Predictions segment foreshadowed Smerconish's surprising suggestion. But when it came time to break out the crystal ball, Smerconish unloaded.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Mine's a two-parter. Part one: Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama 51, Hillary Clinton 49%. Part two: Thursday, 4 PM Eastern: Hillary Clinton suspends her campaign.