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."
Want to be noticed by any one of the hosts that have a primetime show on MSNBC's weeknight lineup? Just figure out a way to make Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. the subject matter, and there's an excellent chance either Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow will take a shot at it, or her, during their shows.
In the Oct. 25 Washington Post, George Will penned a column about Bachmann, outlining her ascendancy into the national spotlight, which told of her start in politics and how she grew to become reviled by the left. And it was just a matter time before one of the charming personalities on MSNBC made some sort of remarks about the column, albeit two days later. That came on Olbermann's Oct. 27 "Countdown" broadcast.
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
"But our winner, Michele Bachmann," Olbermann said, referring to the first place contestant, the "worst" person. "[Fox News host Bill O'Reilly], dimly aware of the world around him, asks her, ‘Now you are a pretty interesting politician, Congresswoman. You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, Michele Bachmann, she's this, she's that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?'"
"You are a pretty interesting politician, congresswoman," O'Reilly said. "You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, you know Michele Bachmann, she is this and she is that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?"
What happens when you have James Carville prodding Larry King to ask a "tough" question of outspoken Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? You get a glimpse of what is really driving the movement questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama's birthplace.
On CNN's Oct. 7 "Larry King Live," a persistent Carville would not let it go - that Bachmann was a part of the so-called "birther" movement - a tactic to frame her as "nutty."
"Well, first of all, there are seven Republicans in the House that have ‘birther' legislation before in there," Carville said. "And one of the things that people don't like is that politicians get a simple yes or no question and they try to evade it, just like I heard the Congresswoman do. She's known to be very outspoken."
The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute is now previewing its 2010 Great American Conservative Women calendar which will be available for sale on October 2.
The participants are: Kate Obenshain, Clare Boothe Luce, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Marji Ross, Bay Buchanan, Kellyanne Conway, Michele Bachmann, Carrie Prejean, Phyllis Schlafly, SE Cupp, and Star Parker.
Fox News has a slide show of the participants available here. Full size picture below the fold:
"When you have a party that claims to speak for God or claims that God is on its side, the rhetoric heats up and the anger heats up because it's not just a battle about ideas and positions and what's good for the country or bad for the country," Savage said. "It's a battle about what God wants and what God doesn't want. It's easier to demagogue about your enemies and to despise them and to dehumanize them in this really personal and vicious way."
Remember when the children of public figures were off-limits in the day-to-day hand-to-hand combat of political warfare?
It's a rule that didn't just applied to the underage children of politicians, but the adult children. Witness the 2008 suspension of MSNBC's David Shuster for suggesting then-presidential contender Hillary Clinton's 28-year-old daughter Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by the campaign.
But maybe that rule only applied to Democrats. When it comes to liberal pundits attempting to score cheap points against conservatives, especially ones they loathe like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, all bets are off. In an Aug. 12 column, Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin, citing a hateful anti-Bachmann blog, decided it appropriate to beat up the two-term congresswoman using her son Harrison's decision to participate in the government program Teach for America (TFA). TFA is one of the programs under the AmeriCorps umbrella.
Why is the fact-checking operation PolitiFact.com carrying water for the radical left-wing activist group ACORN and attacking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for trying to warn the public about the group?
A project of the St. Petersburg Times, the website's "Truth-O-Meter" purports to check and rate "the accuracy of statements by candidates, elected officials, political parties, interest groups, pundits, talk show hosts." After PolitiFact writers research a statement, it then receives one of six ratings on a continuum of truthfulness: True, Mostly True, Half True, Barely True, False and Pants on Fire.
It turns out that those who serve the Truth-O-Meter often have strange ideas about what constitutes truth.
A case in point is how PolitiFact handled Rep. Bachmann's recent claim that the much investigated activist group ACORN was eligible for up to $8.5 billion in federal funding this year.
Like everything having to do with ACORN, it's very complicated.
Back in the fall, you would have thought from the media coverage of the TARP debate and its eventual passage that some sort of crime had been committed when the House didn't pass it the first time around.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric demanded to know from House Minority Leader John Boehner, "What in the world are you people doing?" on her Sept. 29 broadcast. However, there was a side to this that people never were allowed to realize behind closed doors during the debate, as Fox News host Glenn Beck explained.
The "Glenn Beck Show" host on his April 20 program told viewers he had inside knowledge of how the Bush administration strong-armed the banks into agreeing to the terms of the TARP bailout.
On February 7, 2008, MSNBC's David Shuster claimed Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother Hillary Clinton's, presidential campaign.
Retribution quickly followed. News broke the very next day that Shuster's comments had earned him a two-week suspension. The National Organization for Women (NOW) quickly issued a statement that called on NBC to "skip the sexism and report the news." And while NOW praised NBC for its "swift and decisive action" against Shuster, the group also pointed out "a pattern at MSNBC: insult, apology, insult, apology."
Yet, just over a year later, the network and NOW are hewing to a very different standard when it comes to women on the right. MSNBC personalities refer to a Republican congresswoman as a "Mata Hari," and call a former female Republican vice-presidential nominee a "mail order bride" and characterize her as a dragon and a dog, and there's no apology and no outrage.
For conservative women, it appears the strategy at MSNBC is "insult, insult, insult."
Fresh off the cancellation of his own MSNBC show an unleashed David Shuster, sub-hosting for Chris Matthews on Monday's "Hardball," ranted and railed against "crazy," "conservative" "wingnuts" like Chuck Norris, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for fomenting, "dangerous," "red hot rhetoric," that "inspire some of the crazies out there", like accused cop killer Richard Poplowski, "to do something violent."
Shuster – who apparently wasn't liberal enough for MSNBC's tastes, that he was replaced by liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz – seemed out to show his bosses, that oh no, indeed he was liberal enough for the network's standards, and set out to prove that, right off the bat, in his "Hardball" opening monologue:
DAVID SHUSTER: Who is the real nutcase? North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or any conservative who wants to bomb him? Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm David Shuster, in tonight for Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight, nuclear war games! So what are we to make of North Korea's attempt to send a satellite into space? Even though the launch failed the North Korean rocket did travel some 2000 miles twice as far as an earlier North Korean rocket. President Obama called it "a provocative act," and wants new UN sanctions. Former House Speaker Gingrich says we should have bombed North Korea before the launch. Is Gingrich crazy to talk like that or is it dangerous to hope sanctions will do the trick?....And back for crazy talk for a moment. How in the world do you explain people like Chuck Norris calling for a second American Revolution to defeat President Obama's policies? And what about conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appearing to tell her constituents to start stockpiling weapons and ammunition.
For over two and a half months, MSNBC host David Shuster featured a segment called "Hypocrisy Watch" on his program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" that overwhelmingly singled out conservatives and Republicans as hypocrites, while ignoring Democratic offenders. An analysis by the Media Research Center finds that of the 48 "Hypocrisy Watch" segments, 34 went after conservatives or Republicans. Only four (or just under nine percent) attacked liberals or Democrats. (Only two editions could be described as bipartisan. Another wasn't political. The remaining seven segments all hit business and corporate-related targets.)
Amazingly, despite the fact that Republicans are completely out of power in Washington, 20 (or 40 percent) of the "Hypocrisy Watch" designations were given to congressional Republicans, either individually or to the GOP minority in general. The daily feature began on January 14 and Shuster asserted on that day, "...We will focus on an organization or person who clearly seems to be doing something that makes the term appropriate." Liberal hypocrisies, such as President Barack Obama signing a $410 billion spending bill loaded with thousands of earmarks despite decrying them during the campaign, have gone unnoticed. More often, the targets are conservatives such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Karl Rove or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
"It's not clear why she did it since nobody on the planet, least of here in America is talking about switching to some new multinational currency here," Matthews said.
Matthews also got worked up about an interview Bachmann did on conservative talk show host Sean Hannity's radio show earlier this week when she referred to her job as being a "foreign correspondent behind enemy lines" and called Obama's policies "economic Marxism."
NBC's "Today" show has yet to report on the scandal surrounding Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney paying off a former mistress, but on Wednesday's show David Gregory did find time to report on Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann being in "hot water," for her criticisms of Barack Obama on last Friday's "Hardball."
Furthering the story his NBC colleague Chris Matthews started with Bachmann's "Hardball," interview, co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the Gregory piece: "Call it a million dollar mistake. A controversial congressman, congresswoman went on television and said some things she probably regrets. And her remarks, then helped her opponent raise a staggering amount of money."
The NBC/MSNBC family of networks has been getting maximum mileage out of Chris Matthews's interview of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last week. Matthews himself has been recycling clips ever since. This morning, David Gregory narrated a Today show segment about the interview and its aftermath. The only journalist whose views Gregory aired were those of Nick Coleman, columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
NICK COLEMAN: I think Michele Bachmann unfortunately is one of those politicians who doesn't understand the boundaries of common sense and sometimes common decency.
Surprisingly, the October 21 "View" mentioned Congressman John Murtha’s "my constituents are racist" comments. Though Joy Behar called it a "stupid thing to say," they were much gentler on Murtha than on Michele Bachmann, who stated that Obama has associated with anti-American individuals.
Joy Behar labeled Bachmann a "red baiter" and alluded to the McCarthy era. Whoopi Goldberg asked "it okay for someone to start attacking your beliefs in your country because you don’t agree with their views?" Sherri Shepherd, who has confused historic time lines, recalls growing up in the McCarthy era before other co-hosts reminded her she was not yet born. Even the token Republican, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, would not defend Congresswoman Bachmann.
Is this a case of labeling one anti-American for a simple disagreement? A transcript of a recent "Hardball" interview demonstrates that she clearly alluded to Obama’s associations, William Ayers and Reverend Wright, who are indeed anti-American.