On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out the "potential conflict of interest" in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson detailed how congressional Republican are scrutinizing Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy's involvement in naming staff to the Accountability Review Board, even as it was investigating his role in the lead-up to the September 11, 2012 attack. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It was Attkisson's first report about Benghazi on CBS's morning and evening newscasts since the May 8, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning. Her report that day was the first time in over five months that the journalist reported about the story on the air.
Former Kennedy speechwriter and campaign operative Bob Shrum outdid himself on Ed Schultz's radio show Wednesday, gushing about Ted Kennedy and the maudlin video tribute to him at the Democratic convention. (audio) --
Health care activist Patrick Kennedy got over four minutes on CNN prime-time to air his glee over ObamaCare being upheld on Thursday. Host Piers Morgan simply let the former Democratic congressman expound on his father Ted Kennedy's fight for health care and praise the Supreme Court decision.
CNN is no stranger to the Kennedys, having lauded Ted Kennedy as "American royalty" and given his son Patrick an exclusive one-hour special on his struggle with alcoholism and "a new beginning." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Did someone or something fail Jared Loughner?" CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked recovering alcoholic and former congressman Patrick Kennedy Sunday. The question came after Kennedy described his alcoholic condition as a mental disease and not a moral failure, and attributed mental illness to Loughner, the Tuscon shooter who killed six and critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January.
When Kennedy was asked about Loughner being "failed," he issued a sweeping indictment of society. "Clearly we all failed," he said, noting that the Giffords assassin was mentally ill and was not treated for his ailments. "We failed as society because every time we see someone who's – and we use the pejorative words 'crazy,' you know, 'psycho,' 'nuts,' we look the other way."
On ABC’s World News Saturday, correspondent John Hendren filed a report marking this year as the first time since 1947 that no members of the Kennedy family will hold public office in Washington, D.C. The piece began:
JOHN HENDREN: The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: I think it's sad. I think that we need a Kennedy.
Hendren went on to recount the death of former Senator Ted Kennedy, "the Lion of the Senate," and the decision of Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy to retire, as well as the shuffling of office space with the arrival of newly-elected Republicans. The ABC correspondent also noted that Tea Party-backed Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are the only family members serving who will be serving concurrently in Congress.
Hendren concluded by offering a ray of hope for those would like to see the Kennedy family in government again:
While the rest of America might not be mourning the departure of the troubled Patrick Kennedy from Congress, MSNBC on Tuesday lamented "the end of an era" that saw at least one member of the Kennedy family serving in Washington for 63 years. The network featured three segments on the topic in the span of an hour.
Jansing and Co. Guest anchor Richard Lui wondered, "...Will we see a family that will be able to take up the mantle here?" Talking to Democratic strategist Karen Finney, he repeated talking points from the Rhode Island Congressman who, in 2006, crashed his car while driving under the influence of prescription drugs at 2:45am: "...Patrick Kennedy was saying, you know, a public service versus public office. It's about public service."
Referring to his other guest, Michelle Bernard of the Independent Woman's Forum, Lui added, "So, when we take a look at that, Michelle, what more might we see going forward in terms of a family that might, again, fill in this void that we're now seeing?"
For the Today show, Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy's departure from Congress was something to mourn because it represented, as NBC's Matt Lauer lamented, "The end of an era. There's been a Kennedy in Congress since John F. Kennedy entered the House back in 1947." The nephew of the late President was invited on Monday's Today show to commemorate the occasion with he and co-host Meredith Vieira fondly looking over newly-released photos of JFK from Life.com and reminiscing about his father, the "great" Ted Kennedy.
For the record the Today show got their facts wrong, as the MRC's Rich Noyes pointed out, there was no Kennedy in Congress from January 1961 to November of 1962 as Representative Ben Smith held that seat long enough until Ted Kennedy was old enough to take over.
The following teaser and exchange were aired on the November 8 Today show:
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Monday allowed the Kennedys to take a victory lap for the passage of health care. As the co-host interviewed Patrick Kennedy, an ABC graphic announced, "Rep. Kennedy on Dad's Final Wish: Father's Life Work Was Reform."Roberts teased the segment, "And we talk to the Congressman who sees this bill's passage as the completion of his late father's legacy."
The anchor repeatedly tossed softballs to the Rhode Island representative: "Did you feel your father's presence throughout this ordeal?" Earlier in the segment, she offered this hard-hitting query: "Congressman, an emotional 24 hours for so many people. I want to just get a gauge of your feelings here this morning."
In comparison, co-host George Stephanopoulos grilled Senator John McCain on the Republican response. He demanded, "I know that Republicans want to repeal the bill. But there are also some provisions that take effect this year that you said you're for...No cancellation of policies if you get ill. Will you move to repeal those provisions as well?"
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday moderated a group of mostly liberal voices to sympathize with Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy and, at times, former Representative Eric Massa. Speaking of the politician who spent the week talking about naked showers arguments and tickle fights, Stephanopoulos fretted, "Too much time on Eric Massa?"
The former Democratic operative turned journalist's liberal guests included DailyBeast.com editor Tina Brown and former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner. (Republican strategist Kevin Madden was the lone conservative.)
Speaking of Massa's now infamous Glenn Beck interview, Hefner tried to highlight the positive: "...I actually thought the most thoughtful thing that Massa said on the Glenn Beck show, was in response to the question of, what would you fix? And he started talking about campaign finance reform."
As Brian Williams hailed Patrick Kennedy’s "gripping" attack on the media for ignoring yesterday’s House debate on Afghanistan, perhaps Kennedy should be offering an apology to his fellow liberals at National Public Radio. On Wednesday’s night’s All Things Considered, NPR reporter Andrea Seabrook hailed the debate, and even though Kennedy’s "anti-war" side lost by almost 6 to 1 (356 to 65), NPR’s soundbite count was far different: three for "peace," two for "war."
Seabrook seemed thrilled that Kucinich had pressed this rather pointless debate. She concluded that it was "elemental," where the peaceniks could just talk of peace:
The most striking thing about the debate today was that the House was having it at all. This is the first time since Congress voted to authorize the war in 2001 that there's been a clear debate about the policy. In previous debates, the war policy was always connected to its funding. So, if lawmakers didn't support the war, they would have to vote against a bill that included support for the troops. That's a tough position for an elected official whose charge, in part, is to deploy the armed forces responsibly.
Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Thursday forced a completely unrelated rant by Patrick Kennedy into a story entirely on health care. Tapper pivoted off a statement by Senator Mitch McConnell that legislation on the subject is a "farce." He then spun, "For one Democrat, the force driving that farce- the media- who earned the scorn of Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy for focusing away from substance."
Tapper then played a clip of the Rhode Island Representative screaming, "If anyone wants to know where cynicism is, cynicism is that there's one, two, press people in this gallery! We're talking about Eric Massa, 24/7 on the TV! It's despicable, the national press corps right now!" Watching this, viewers would be led to believe Kennedy was talking about health care. He wasn't.
The Congressman was actually yelling about a bill that was voted down in Congress which would have brought the troops home from Afghanistan. The Tapper segment even edited out the part where Kennedy's topic became clear: "We're talking about war and peace! Three billion dollars! A thousand lives!" Are journalists so interested in self flagellating over a liberal congressman's criticism that they would force Kennedy's remarks into a totally unrelated story?
When conservatives take to the House floor to criticize the news media’s liberal distortions, that’s not newsworthy to NBC, but Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News made time to showcase an unhinged liberal Democrat, Representative Patrick Kennedy, screaming against the media during House floor remarks in favor of a Dennis Kucinich-backed resolution to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, a fringe proposition which was soundly defeated 356 to 65.
Anchor Brian Williams characterized Kennedy’s yelling tirade as “a gripping moment,” describing how Kennedy railed against “U.S. strategy in the war, then he turned on the news media and how few have bothered to show up to cover the debate.” Williams’ embracing set up, with “Speaking Out” as the on-screen heading:
There was a gripping moment this afternoon here in Washington. It happened on the floor of the House of Representatives as the House was debating withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who represents Rhode Island, the son of the late Ted Kennedy, got up and gave a loud, emotional and angry speech about U.S. losses in the war, U.S. strategy in the war, then he turned on the news media and how few have bothered to show up to cover the debate.
Reporting Congressman Patrick Kennedy's decision to not run for re-election this fall for his House seat representing Rhode Island, CBS and ABC on Friday night bemoaned the impending lack of a Kennedy in the House or Senate – presuming no other Kennedy runs and wins this November – as the “end of an era.” CBS even created a chart to display the timeline for Kennedys in office, as fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Maggie Rodriguez announced:
It is the end of an era, the Kennedy era. Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election in November. So early next year there will be no Kennedy holding elected office in Washington for the first time since 1947, more than 63 years.
Over on ABC, Diane Sawyer plugged the upcoming story: “End of an era. The last Kennedy in Congress calling it quits.” In the subsequent report, Sawyer recalled: “It was 1946 when his uncle John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected to the House. Then, his uncle, Senator Robert Kennedy, and then his father, Ted.” Getting a bit carried away, Sawyer then asserted: “There has always been a Kennedy in Washington.”
Bonnie Erbe of U.S. News and Report praised Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s efforts to change the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching against abortion in a December 23, 2009 blog entry, calling her a “modern-day Crusader of sorts” and outlandishly predicted that the Church would eventually “recognize the wisdom of...[her] approach.” Erbe would even go so far as to liken Townsend to St. Joan of Arc.
The left-wing contributing editor to U.S. News began her editorial with the “Crusader” label for the former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, even going so far as to quote from the early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia: “Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a modern-day Crusader of sorts. As defined by the Catholic Encyclopedia, crusade means, ‘all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels.’ I use the term Crusader figuratively, not literally, as she’s speaking out publicly, she’s not leading a war. She’s trying to change the minds of her own church leaders—she’s not directing her rhetoric toward infidels. Nonetheless she’s leading a crusade for her church that many clergymen see as blasphemous.”
For several days NewsBusters has been chronicling media outrage over Catholic bishop Tom Tobin asking pro-choice Patrick Kennedy to refrain from the sacrament of communion.
In all of their indignation over a church being involved in politics, they must have forgotten about the recent past when President Obama asked churches to help him push government-mandated healthcare. When ministers stepped into the politicial discussion back then, media outlets were more than willing to celebrate it.
In late August of this year, President Obama held a meeting with left-leaning religious leaders to convince them that government mandated healthcare was a "moral imperative," and that ministers should be involved in educating their fold on the issue.
The media protrayed the meeting as a great idea and praised the ministers who attended. MSNBC ran an article from CQ writer Jane Norman that gushed with excitement over sermons laced with politics and prayer meetings aimed at congressional districts:
The Boston Globe predictably editorialized on Wednesday against Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin for "targeting" Rep. Patrick Kennedy ("Rhode Island bishop errs in targeting Patrick Kennedy.") They predictably cavil that bishops don’t punish politicians who support the death penalty and wars.
What sets this leaden chunk of argument apart is its boast the bishop's attention is "ironic" since the Kennedy family have long been a flock of terrific, devout Catholics that drew others into the church. They have been virtual magnets of holiness. Yes, you may pick up your jaw now:
Among Catholic politicians, Patrick Kennedy is both an obvious target, because of his prominence, and a deeply ironic one, because of the decades of loyalty and support the Kennedy family has given to the Catholic Church. Though they may not always have lived strictly by church teachings, Patrick’s father, uncles, aunts, and grandmother were all devout Catholics whose intensive commitment to worship drew others into the church. The Kennedys accorded priests and bishops an honored position in their lives. Edward Kennedy’s dying appeal to the pope proves that the church was never far from the late senator’s mind.
Apparently MSNBC's Chris Matthews doesn't want Catholics involved in the political process at all - especially when it comes to abortion. Earlier this month the "Hardball" host declared "The clergy should stay off Capitol Hill." Last night, he accused Thomas Tobin, bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, of "telling public officials how to set public policy," "stepping beyond moral teaching," and "basically assuming an authority" because the bishop requested that Rhode Island Democrat Rep. Patrick Kennedy not take communion due to his support for abortion.
Matthews' based his accusations on a portion of a speech on religion delivered by then Sen. John F. Kennedy in which he stated:
I believe in an America that is official neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source, where no religious body seeks to impose its will, directly or indirectly, upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.
Bishop Tobin briefly responded that the Church does not want to "dictate what the public policy should be in the United States from a purely Catholic doctrinal point of view," but "what [it] is trying to do, most of all, is instill good human values but also have Catholics who are in political office be faithful to the dictates of the Church and the dictates of their conscience and the teachings of the Church."
Monday’s NBC Nightly News took up the story of liberal Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s public feud with the Catholic Church, and NBC’s Ron Allen implied something improper in how "the Catholic Church is flexing its religious and political muscle."
When Catholic officials endorse liberal initiatives like immigration reform or oppose an execution, the networks don’t worry about the separation of church and state. But with traditional stands against abortion and gay marriage in the crossfire, NBC’s screen graphic asked if the church was "Crossing the Line?" A secular-left lobbyist accused the church of being "not above spiritual and political blackmail."
NBC even used footage from Nicholas Ballasy’s video interview with Kennedy for Cybercast News Service, a news outlet affiliated with the MRC. But the brief snippet took out some of Kennedy’s hostility against the church for "fanning the flames of dissent and discord" over the "absolute red herring" of abortion. Here’s how NBC portrayed it:
On today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell called the Roman Catholic bishop who barred Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) from taking communion a "political hack."
Interestingly, Mika Brzezinski had a totally different take, arguing the controversy was not about the Church but about Kennedy publicizing the matter in a play to his base. Though Bishop Thomas Tobin sent his letter to Kennedy more than two years ago, its contents didn't come to light until Kennedy recently revealed them to a Rhode Island newspaper.
When one first looks at this article in The New Republic speculating about if Ted Kennedy's son, Patrick Kennedy, could grow into a great political leader, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking it was a satirical story written by either Scott Ott or some other humor columnist. However the name of the author is Jason Zengerle and he is being dead serious which actually makes it funnier than any intentionally satirical story could be. What makes Zengerle's article especially funny is that he provides absolutely no proof that Patrick Kennedy displays the slightest bit of political leadership. In fact, Zengerle lays out reasons why Patrick Kennedy, who is in and out of rehab, has dismal political abilities but somehow concludes he could grow into greatness:
Of all the politicians I’ve encountered in the course of doing my job, there have been some that I’ve admired and some that I’ve loathed. But there’s only one politician I’ve ever pitied, and that’s Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
Too bad this particular report didn't include an expert that was railing against the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bailout before it was passed last October. They could have said, "I told you so."
Global banks lending money to other countries including "the playground of the Middle East" may have angered Congressmen, but Lisa Myers investigation didn't point out that those critics of how the banks lent money voted for TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) in the first place.
In a segment on March 11 "NBC Nightly News," Myers, NBC's senior investigative correspondent, probed into why three particular banks - Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) - made loans to overseas institutions, but supposedly neglected domestic institutions.
Post-Palin Speech Update: How's that poll going now, Bill?
Imagine it's a few days before the Dem convention. In a big—BIG—surprise, Barack Obama names Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy his vice-presidential running mate. You're a partisan Republican. Do you?:
a. demand that Obama drop Kennedy from the ticket; or
b. sit back and enjoy the, uh, ride.
I'm guessing the great majority of red-blooded Republicans would answer 'b.' Why wouldn't you want a weak link on the opposing ticket? So what kind of scare has Sarah Palin has put into the MSM that various of its members, like Jack Cafferty, are floating the notion that McCain should consider dropping Palin? Do they sense she could be a real game-changer?
Is ABC’s love for the Kennedys so blind that they would overlook an unintentional allusion to Senator Ted Kennedy’s most notorious night? On a very soft interview with Senator Kennedy’s son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Good Morning America anchor Chris Cuomo gushed over the senator’s speech reminding the audience that Patrick Kennedy heard someone label it a "Michael Phelps moment" referencing the Olympic swimmer. Ted Kennedy did have his Michael Phelps moment, but not in Denver 2008, but Chappaquiddick 1969.
Diane Sawyer’s tease and at the end of Chris Cuomo’s interview with Congressman Kennedy both referenced Senator Kennedy’s comparison to Michael Phelps. Diane Sawyer quoted the congressman "Michael Phelps moment" and Patrick Kennedy brought the subject up in his chat with Cuomo. At the end of the interview Cuomo compared Phelps’ Olympic record to Kennedy’s speech editorializing "to a lot of Democrats it meant even more than eight gold medals." [audio excerpt available here]
Marshall University psychology professor W. Joseph Wyatt should probably stick to psychology as oposed to attempting media analysis. However, he has decided to write an op-ed in the Huntington, West Viriginia Herald Dispatch claiming that media bias is a myth. Professor Wyatt begins by claiming that,
However, a 2002 Gallup poll showed that slightly more than a third of journalists describe themselves as Democrats, meaning that the vast majority are something else, and unlikely to be liberal.