On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill pressed Rep. Michele Bachmann during an interview about her attack on Newt Gingrich for his notorious 2008 commercial with Nancy Pelosi on climate change: "Why is that a bad thing, to try to work across the aisle?" This came just two days after the morning show wondered if Gingrich himself needed to "play a little more dirty...to win the bid."
Hill noted that "the Minnesota congresswoman is criticizing each of her fellow candidates for not being conservative enough" in a new online ad, and first asked Bachmann, "In that ad, there's...a clip of Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi talking about the importance of working together. Why attack Newt Gingrich on that point, when so many Americans...really want their lawmakers to start working together in Washington to- finding some sort of way that they can work out a bipartisan answer to so many of the issues?"
Four years ago, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows celebrated the “rock star” Democrats running to replace George W. Bush, and no candidate set journalists’ pulses racing faster than Barack Obama. Now, after three years of high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits and an onerous new health care law, how are those newscasts covering Obama’s re-election campaign and the candidates vying to replace him?
To find out, the MRC’s Geoff Dickens and I (with a huge assist from Scott Whitlock, Kyle Drennen and Matthew Balan) examined all 723 campaign segments, including 101 interviews, which aired on the three broadcast network weekday morning programs from January 1 to October 31, 2011, using the same methodology we employed to study campaign coverage on those same programs for the same time period in 2007. Excerpts following the jump; read the full report here. (or download the printer-friendly PDF version)
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory grilled Michele Bachmann about her advocating the reinstatement of waterboarding terror suspects: "...you understand that puts you at odds with most of the generals, okay? The former Republican nominee of your party John McCain, General Colin Powell, you realize you're on the opposite end of what they believe. Do you not trust them and their views?"
Gregory provided no source for his proclamation that "most of the generals" in the military oppose waterboarding as an interrogation tactic. Bachmann fired back: "But I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue, and others, as well. Because, again, what we're looking at is what will save American lives."
Remember during 2008's Democratic primaries when Saturday Night Live did a hilarious sketch mocking a CNN debate as being a disgraceful suck-up to then presidential candidate Barack Obama?
A repeat of this happened in real life Sunday evening when during a press conference from the APEC summit in Hawaii, CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian actually asked the President if the GOP candidates were "uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible" (video follows courtesy Right Scoop with transcript and commentary, photo courtesy AP):
Appearing on Thursday's Tonight Show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews went after the Republican presidential candidates one by one, asserting Herman Cain's "bad, bad behavior" with women, Rick Perry being "not even competent to be in this – on that stage," and a "hypnotized" Michele Bachmann being a "strange person."
Even host Jay Leno got in on the GOP bashing, claiming the Republican Party had become so conservative that "even Reagan could not get elected" in a primary race. Matthews touted Reagan as a liberal: "He was pro-choice in California....He raised taxes. He did a lot of things that these people won't do anymore."
Jon Stewart, on Thursday's Daily Show, repeatedly mocked Rick Perry for his, as he put it, "brain turd" moment at this week's CNBC debate. However, Perry wasn't the only GOP candidate Stewart made fun of. Everyone from Perry to Santorum took a hit. The only candidate Stewart didn't mock was Mitt Romney, whom the Daily Show host declared to be the winner of the whole race. "It's over! Indecision 2012 Mercy Rule Edition. Because in presidential primaries, as in little league, if one team is up 10-0 in the third you call it a day an you head over to Friendly's for some Fribbles and some food poisoning."
Stewart initially teased his audience with thePerry clip by calling it: "Rick Perry's now infamous ABC Wide World of Sports agony-of-defeat-worthy brain turd." Then he went on to savage the other GOP contenders on his November 10 show. (video after the jump)
In an interview with Michele Bachmann on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer's first four questions pushed Bachmann to comment on the Herman Cain controversy: "As the only woman in this race, I just would like your perspective on all this....Do you think you are hearing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from Herman Cain?"
Bachmann repeatedly told Lauer: "I don't have any comment on this particular issue." However, Lauer persisted: "Is a subject like sexual harassment, and if there – especially if there is more than one instance of it, even back in the '90s, is it a game-ender if it's proven to be true?"
Although there are no limits to what Bill Maher will say about conservatives, it appears some of his audience members have a shred of decency that he doesn't.
When the host of HBO's Real Time made a gay joke involving Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus and Moammar Gaddafi being sodomized with a stick after his capture, some audience members actually booed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Washington Post's Express tabloid profiled British-accented Daily Show star John Oliver on Thursday, reveling in how he covered Sarah Palin's "flag-draped liberty coach" bus tour and told Jon Stewart on the Rupert Murdoch-harming News of the World phone-hacking scandal "I'm about to give you a schadenfraude-gasm, Jon."
He's no fan of the Republican presidential field: "I think all the candidates [are] very gifted at inspiring comedy from abject despair. Michele Bachmann certainly has a special quality to her. Her speeches are like semantic palindromes; they make exactly as much sense when you read them backward as when you read them forward." The paper didn't ask for Obama jokes.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Hours before Republican presidential candidates faced off in Tuesday's debate in Las Vegas, Martin Bashir took a swipe at six of them.
On the MSNBC program bearing his name, the host said that since Mitt Romney is "the inevitable candidate," the rest of the contestants are auditioning "for future employment" at Fox News (video follows with transcript and commentary):
According to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann"don't even understand basic policy, basic economics, basic foreign policy." The Morning Joe anchor on Tuesday expounded on a Politico op-ed in which he denounced a number of the GOP presidential candidates as "clownish characters."
When MSNBC executives deny their network is dominated solely by liberals, they often reference Scarborough. However, the former Republican Congressman has been aggressively negative towards the GOP field. On Tuesday's show, he mournfully wondered, "What's wrong with a political party that Michele Bachmann takes the lead and Herman Cain takes the lead?" [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer blog caught another jaw-dropper on the Stephanie Miller radio show. On the October 7 morning show, Jim Ward, Miller’s Rich Little-ish sidekick and cartoon “voice actor,” wished someone would feed Michele Bachmann “some listeria-filled canteloupe.” That's wishing-someone-dead talk. The current listeria death toll is 23.
After a clip of Michele Bachmann insisting that less regulations would mean that employers like she and her husband could create more jobs, Miller chimed in:
Early this morning, I noted how two AP writers seemed to be hoping that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican Party's presidential nominee, in the process ignoring inconvenient facts like his failure to get over 25% in any poll covered at Real Clear Politics since mid-July while failing to even mention Herman Cain's name until the report's eleventh paragraph (a Rasmussen poll today breaks Romney's three-month dry spell, showing him at 29%, tied with Herman Cain). Sadly, what the AP writes is important for readers to know, because the wire service's copy is read and relayed without question by most of its thousands of subscribing outlets.
Not that learning about the following is anywhere near as important, but in case you're wondering about the GOP presidential nominee preferences and perceptions among several of the pundits at the Washington Post, wonder no more:
Hardball host Chris Matthews honestly believes that Rep. Michele Bachmann's "devil's in the details" joke about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan may be something more sinister, or at least cynically calculated to appeal to "strange, far right" Christian voters.
"Well, last night, Congressman and David, they were supposed to stick to economics, but of course Michele Bachmann couldn't avoid religious concerns," the MSNBC host complained to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and David Corn of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones on his October 12 program. [MP3 audio available here for download; Video follow page break]
PBS's Charlie Rose opened last night’s Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP presidential economic policy debate by noting the round table format was like a “kind of kitchen table where families for generations have come together to talk and solve their problems.”
But through much of the debate it sounded more like Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal aunt and uncle as panelist Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post hammered the candidates from the left and moderator Charlie Rose used a 27-year-old Reagan sound bite to push candidates to come out in favor of tax increases.
On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill advocated for a liberal pet cause, urging Michele Bachmann to allow children of illegal aliens to receive in-state college tuition. Hill also spotlighted Gov. Rick Perry's attack on his competitors in the GOP presidential race on this issue: "Basically, [Perry is] saying to the other eight folks on the stage there, including yourself, that you don't have a heart."
The anchor raised the immigration issue towards the end of her interview of the Minnesota representative. Hill first quoted Gov. Perry's line on the in-state tuition issue from the previous night's debate: "He said, 'If you say we should not educate children who come into our state by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.'" She then made a budget-based appeal to the Republican: "I know you said you don't want any resources to go to illegal aliens or their children. Why not, though, give them a tuition break now, rather then, perhaps, down the line, having to hand over unemployment, or even welfare?"
For most Americans, the 2012 presidential campaign will be experienced on television, and voters will evaluate the candidates based on their performances at televised debates, daily news coverage, and in long-form interviews. Even with all of the changes in the media landscape over past several years, the most-watched regular forums for candidate interviews are the broadcast network morning news programs — NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s The Early Show, with a combined weekday audience of more than 13 million as of the second quarter of 2011.
Bill Maher returned to HBO Friday regaling viewers with nonstop attacks on conservatives.
Showing some uncharacteristic restraint, it only took eight minutes before he went after Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann using Texas's HPV vaccine issue to call the Minnesota Congresswoman mentally retarded (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The left is already out attacking last night's CNN Tea Party debate, with the New York Times leading the way as it cried "the first event hosted jointly by a major news organization and a Tea Party group" has "left some questioning whether the network had gone too far in reaching for centrist credibility." That charge only makes sense in a liberal world view that thought Brian Williams' biased performance at last week's NBC News/Politico debate was somehow soft and uncontroversial.
In fact there were far more liberal questions (13) to the GOP candidates at this Tea Party debate than there were conservative-oriented questions at the NBC News debate last week (just one). The Tea Party gets credit for helping restore balance to the agenda, but it's not like liberal ideas were shut out.
In an interview with Michele Bachmann on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually delayed discussion of job creation as he pushed her to attack Texas Governor Rick Perry: "We'll talk about jobs in a second, but I do want to stick on this controversy over...Perry mandating vaccinations for HPV."
Bachmann had attempted to begin on the subject of President Obama's jobs plan, but Lauer quickly steered her toward Republican infighting: "You not only question the policy [of mandating the HPV vaccine], but you questioned the motivation behind it, suggesting rather strongly that this could have been an attempt to appease a big drug company, Merck, because they contributed to his campaign. So I want you to lay this out for me. Is that what you are asserting?"
Within seconds of his introduction on Friday's "Tonight Show," Bill Maher attacked leading Republicans.
In a truly delicious example of instant karma, moments after calling Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann idiots, the pompous, more arrogant than most Maher spoke of how important the "Iowa primary" is (video follows with commentary):
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Video of Matthews repeating this on the air.
After months of inactivity in his Twitter account, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday tweeted what some might consider a rather risqué comment about the upcoming Republican presidential debate (mild vulgarity follows with commentary):
Is there anything David Letterman hates more than conservative women?
On Wednesday's "Late Show," the host went after Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann saying, "She is now publishing her memoirs, and I thought, well, wait a minute, why can't we pray that away?" (video follows with transcript and commentary)
On Thursday's Today show NBC's Savannah Guthrie prodded Jon Huntsman to slam his fellow GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as too conservative, as she pressed the former Governor of Utah: "Are they too far right to win and beat President Obama?"
For his part, Huntsman played into Guthrie's portrayal of his competitors by responding that the American people "don't want politics at the extreme ends," as seen in the following exchange:
The blogosphere has been abuzz this week with a video misleading viewers to believe that Rep. Michele Bachmann riles up a campaign crowd in Iowa with the line, "Who likes white people?"
The video was pirated from Robert Stacy McCain's blog, the Other McCain, after he covered a Bachmann appearance at a rainy August 5th Christian music festival, during which Bachmann shouted to the drenched crowd "Who likes wet people?" She followed the question with a statement to her Christian audience on God's power over the weather, which was cut from the edited version. The blogger took the video from McCain, added a caption to read "Who likes white people?" and the video instantly became viral thanks to Perez Hilton, CBS News, and Wonkette. Now the blogger who edited the stolen video has removed the video from YouTube and apologized to McCain, but has still damaged the reputation of Bachmann and could face legal repercussions from both her and McCain.
Good Morning America on Wednesday offered a short, odd little segment on Michele Bachmann's hairdo. Seeming to not know how to explain this phenomenon, GMA contributor Laura Spencer stuttered, "The- Well, let's just call it what it is. It's The Bachmann, people, and everybody wants it."
Spencer added a caveat in regard to Bachmann's ideology: "Now, whether or not her politics are your cup of tea, it doesn't matter. Hair stylists across the country say there is a nonpartisan demand for the Bachmann bob."