Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Sunday that ideological conservatives, particularly radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, have gained a hold over the Republican Party that risks driving the GOP into an extended exile from power.
Powell cast his warnings in unusually personal terms as he answered recent charges from two champions of the Republican right -- Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney -- that he was no longer a Republican.
"Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed," said Powell, whose resume includes work as military adviser to President Ronald Reagan, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush's Cabinet. "I am still a Republican."
Obviously, the "far right voices" referenced in the piece's headline are those of Limbaugh and Cheney.
If Rush Limbaugh is on the far right, surely MSNBC's Rachel Maddow qualifies to be characterized as far left. Yet only last month, the Tribune carried an article from the Los Angeles Times (another Tribune newspaper) that asked this burning question about Maddow:
Just when you thought left-wing criticism of Dick Cheney had climbed over the top, it keeps reaching new heights.
Case in point -- New Yorker magazine writer Jane Mayer appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show May 15 --
MADDOW: We're trying to figure out the role of vice president Cheney's office here in part on the torture issue, the leadup to the invasion of Iraq. From your reporting, what can you tell us about what sort of interest Cheney took personally in the intelligence that was gleaned from these interrogations?
Are the Fox News Channel and MSNBC bad for America?
Such was implied on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz invited the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, "USA Today Live's" Lauren Ashburn, and the BBC's Matt Frei on his program to discuss the "increasingly partisan nature of cable news."
By the end of the conversation, Ashburn said "[T]he bottom line is this is not good for society," and Zurawik agreed: "That's absolutely right...The effect on society and on this democracy of this angry, polarizing, bitter kind of putdown conversation is dangerous."
Not surprisingly, Kurtz and his guests didn't include CNN amongst the partisans, with the host making sure to regularly inform his audience that "CNN, by and large, tries to play things down the middle, with liberal and conservative guests taking each other on."
Despite the obvious bashing of competitors while falsely holding his employer up as the model of impartial journalism on cable, the discussion was actually quite interesting (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section begins at 11:44 with commentary to follow):
Clarity can come from unexpected places -- even that unlikeliest of sources, MSNBC.
Such has been the case with a pair of recent guests on "The Rachel Maddow Show" who made a series of surprising statements -- albeit only in the context of MSNBC.
Example one -- Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, appearing on Maddow's show May 12 and criticizing Dick Cheney's assertion that harsh interrogation of captured al Qaeda prevented terrorist attacks after 9/11 --
WILKERSON: You'll notice that Cheney always says, seven and a half years or almost eight years, no terrorist attack and so forth. That's because he has the honor of being, or the dishonor of being the man on whose watch 3,000 Americans died. More Americans died from a terrorist attack under Dick Cheney's leadership, if you will, than any other president in our history.
It's not often I hear three jaw-dropping claims in the course of a single day.
On "The Rachel Maddow Show," this can happen in a matter of minutes, especially when author Ron Suskind is the guest.
Suskind appeared on Maddow's MSNBC program on April 22 and wasted little time making dubious assertions stemming from the Senate Armed Services report that questioned the legality of al Qaeda interrogations --
Apparently viewers are getting tired of the cutsey, smugness that is Rachel Maddow, and not just a few of them either. Ratings for the already low rated Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC have shown a steep decline recently, falling from a high of 1.9 million viewers to "slightly over 1.1 million."
Naturally, MSNBC President Phil Grifin is putting on the brave face calling Maddow a "rock star" and that Maddow is a "great success." He told the L. A. Times, "We've never had success anywhere near that in our 12-year history at 9 p.m. right out of the gate."
How is it that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow toiled for years as a student before before earning a doctorate in political science at Oxford -- yet managed to avoid studying the American Civil War?
How else to explain Maddow's commentary last Thursday in response to tea party protests nationwide against dubious tax policy and runaway government spending?
Here's what Maddow said in previewing an upcoming segment --
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, appears to have his sights set on higher office. What is higher office if you're already governor in Texas? Of course, that would be president of Texas. The return of Confederacy in American politics as seceding from the Union comes back into Republican fashion.
Yeah, I laughed too -- "Republican fashion"? Those pundits at MSNBC make the darndest claims, don't they?
Talk about a divorced from reality headline! Check out this McClatchy Newspapers headline: "Liberal TV Host Rachel Maddow Works for Civility." The article itself, dateline Los Angeles by Rick Bentley, follows the lead of its fawning headline:
MSNBC boasts Maddow has become the network's first program to beat CNN talker Larry King in more than a dozen years.
Maddow had been hosting her own show for just over four months when she sat down to talk at the Universal Hilton. This wasn't a chat about politics. It's all about her.
Stand by now for the money quote and please put down your coffee cup while reading it or risk a drenched computer screen:
On Friday’s Hannity show on FNC, host Sean Hannity challenged former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw to speak out in response to Janeane Garofalo’s recent tirade on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on Thursday, a screed which seemed to have Olbermann’s approval as he appeared to agree with her accusations of racism against Tax Day Tea Party participants.
During a discussion with FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle and conservative columnist S.E. Cupp, Hannity addressed Brokaw as he introduced the clip: "I want to address this specifically to Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw, are you proud of this?"
Then played a portion of Garofalo’s comments:
JANEANE GAROFALO CLIP #1: You know, there is for more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right to them, and then it doesn't make sense, which – let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, it's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about.
KEITH OLBERMANN: That's right.
GAROFALO: They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging red necks.
MSNBC prides itself as being the place for politics, the seemingly clever marketing slogan could be used to describe the network as the place where hosts try to use dirty humor about important political events.
David Shuster, filling in for MSNBC loose-cannon Keith Olbermann on his April 13 broadcast, and his writers probably thought they were pretty clever when they pieced an item denigrating the tax protests by using the sexual term "teabagging." Urbandictionary.com, cited multiple times by one MSNBC guest, describes it as when a man places his testicles "onto someone's face, or into their mouth."
"For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day," Shuster said as he began a soliloquy with about a dozen separate oral sex puns. "But in our fourth story tonight: It's going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they're going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals.
With the Tax Day tea party rallies just three days away, outside of the Fox News Channel, the coverage has been lacking. And, it was something that even Washington Post media columnist and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz acknowledged on his April 12 program.
"The folks at Fox News have found something to be for in this age of Obama," Kurtz said. "They are firmly in favor of tea parties. On Wednesday, that would be April 15th - there will be tax protests around the country on the theme of the original Boston Tea Party. TaxDayTeaParty.com says it was inspired by that rant against President Obama's mortgage aid plan by CNBC's Rick Santelli."
However, Kurtz didn't condemn his network and other networks for lack of coverage - but instead explored the notion that Fox News was giving it too much coverage.
It's hard to find an upside to the continuous drumbeat of bad economic news. But on April 7, MSNBC host and Obama cheerleader Rachel Maddow felt compelled to try.
"There is a silver lining here, maybe," Maddow said. "As horrible as the jobs numbers are and as pessimistic as executives across the country appear to be - Americans broadly speaking are actually sort of increasingly optimistic these days."
Maddow cited a New York Times/CBS poll that indicated more Americans think the United States is heading in the right direction, the number who think the economy is getting worse has decreased and more are thinking the bank bailout will help "all Americans" - all of this occurring since President Barack Obama was sworn in back in January.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, "went to a really different school" than Republicans to study economics.
He just never went to class, judging by DeFazio's disjointed remarks about the Great Depression during his most recent appearance on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."
During a segment in which Maddow talked about congressional Republicans proposing an alternative budget to Obama's fiscal blueprint for fiscal 2010, with the GOP pushing for spending cuts, Maddow asked this of DeFazio --
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is helping strike another blow for cable "diversity" today by hosting an award ceremony for the media-company AIDS/HIV-awareness group Cable Positive in Washington.
Cable Positive chief Steve Villano, a former Mario Cuomo aide, is the kind of political-correctness cop who tends to hound the media because "Diversity Isn't Diverse Enough," because a month isn't enough time for pride for the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community, or because black and Latino churches, for example, are still "hotbeds of homophobia."
In full-page ads in broadcasting trade publications, Cable Positive touts that their Power Awards honor "exceptional people whose passion, vision, resourcefulness, and hands-on leadership are inspiring and empowering us to educate the world about HIV/AIDS."
"Educate the world" often means, in TV terms, advocacy against conservative "hate" and for "safe sex." Brent Bozell reported on how a Viacom "education" campaign in 2003 translated into sitcoms mocking teenagers who didn't use condoms with lines like this: "Congratulations, you just reached a level of stupidity only found in Republicans and lower primates."
Last Friday, Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza posted her impressions of Guantanamo Bay -- which apparently was "such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful" that she "didn’t want to leave" -- at her official blog.
Now, mysteriously, that post has been removed.
Attracting shockingly little media attention, Mendoza was in Guantanamo Bay with Miss USA Crystle Stewart visiting troops as part of a U.S.O./Armed Forces Entertainment tour.
As the New York Times reported Wednesday (video of Fox & Friends coverage of Mendoza's comments embedded right):
President Obama might be at risk of losing MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow, though it could be worse for him. Instead, she might remain a reliable shill.
After Obama unveiled details of his strategy against al Qaeda on Friday, Maddow played clips of Obama's remarks during her show that night, juxtaposed with similar comments by George W. Bush while he was president --
MADDOW: First, though, superficially, I think it has to be acknowledged that in today's speech, there were some George Bush-ish moments.
BUSH: These terrorists must be pursued ...
OBAMA: They must be met with force ...
Bush and Obama are then heard to say, in unison though years apart, " ... and they must be defeated."
Get ready for a rare spectacle -- Rachel Maddow, chastened. By a Democrat.
In one of her nightly efforts to slam so-called "conservadems," members of a newly formed Senate caucus of moderate Democrats, Maddow invited one of its members, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, on her MSNBC show Wednesday night.
Regular viewers of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC know they won't wait long to see frequent guest Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor.
The affection between Maddow and Turley appears obvious, along the lines of what you'd expect between an academic and the graduate student who just happens to share his political views.
But Turley, a scholar of constitutional law, apparently doesn't believe the presumption of innocence applies to people whose opinions he doesn't share. Here was Turley on Maddow's show this past Monday, expressing his absolute belief that former Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush officials are guilty of "war crimes" for sanctioning torture (the first two segments on the embedded video clip are of Turley's conversation with Maddow; the third segment is from her March 17 show, described later in the post) --
On Friday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow accurately blamed a bill enacted in 1999 for today's financial crisis, but in so doing exclusively pointed accusatory fingers at its Republican sponsors while totally ignoring the overwhelming Democrat support it received in both Chambers of Congress.
Maybe even more egregious, she chose not to address it being signed into law by President Bill Clinton until a guest inconveniently brought it up.
Of course, NewsBusters has been apprising readers about the significance of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley) for many months, including articles on the subject here and here.
With this in mind, despite Maddow's supposed intellectual prowess, she's not only extremely late to this party, but she also apparently thinks only the sponsors of a bill are responsible for its content and not those that vote for or eventually sign it into law (video part I embedded right, part II below the fold with partial transcript):
Left-wing pundit Rachel Maddow wants everyone to remember -- President Barack Obama did not start the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Got that? This is so important, Maddow felt compelled to repeat it during a recent broadcast.
While doing so, Maddow engaged in unsubtle revisionism on what led to the wars.
Here's what Maddow said on her MSNBC cable show Monday night (the remarks that follow comprise the first part of the embedded video, with two other segments in the video also described in this post) --
When it comes to a voter's right to privacy, some elections are less sacred than others to radio host Ed Schultz.
The country's top-rated liberal talker has seized on the deceptively named Employee Free Choice Act -- also known as "card check" -- that would allow unions to circumvent workplace elections that currently let workers decide on unionization.
Here's Schultz on Monday, misleading his listeners on how card check would work (click here for audio) --
Here she goes again, this time during her show Friday night while condemning Republicans calling for a "freeze" on federal spending for the rest of the fiscal year --
You know who else had the excellent idea to freeze government spending during a recession? This guy! (holds up photo of Hoover) H.H., President Herbert Hoover. His fundamental misunderstanding of how to shore up a failing economy was so celebrated that the great armies of homeless and jobless Americans gave him naming rights for the shanty towns where they all lived in cardboard boxes and burned-out cars during the Great Depression -- Hoovervilles. Hoovervilles.
And now, (House Minority Leader) John Boehner and congressional Republicans are advocating the same policy.
Enboldened by smarm, Maddow went on to say --
In this context (referring to the recession), the Republicans are proposing a spending freeze. They're saying the government should stop spending. And also, rather than put your house fire out with water, they're going to switch the liquid in the firehose over to gasoline.
Much like that alleged tightwad Hoover during the Depression. Maddow at the same fire resolutely douses the blaze with water, regardless of whether it was electrical in origin.
Certain left-wing myths are so impervious to reality -- McCarthy chasing phantom communists, Reagan as amiable dunce, the doomed surge in Iraq -- that arguing with liberals about these sacrosanct beliefs is like trying to convert house plants. The best you can do is open them to sunlight.
When it comes to federal spending during Hoover's single term in office, 1929 to 1933, what actually happened? According to the Office of Budget and Management Web site, Table 1.1, just the opposite of what Maddow repeatedly claims.
Federal spending increased $166 million in 1929, or 5 percent. In 1930, it rose by $193 million over the preceding year, at 6 percent. The pattern continued in 1931, with an increase of $257 million, nearly 8 percent. And for 1932, it rose a whopping 30 percent, by $1.08 billion. All told, federal spending increased 57 percent in this four-year period, according to the OMB.
It was a "freeze" on spending much the way bitter cold is evidence of global warming, another laughable claim from the left.
Not surprisingly, Maddow relies on anecdote to make her shabby claim -- shanty towns dubbed "Hoovervilles" during the Depression -- instead of the "empirical evidence" she touted but never produced, given its pie-in-face potential for besmirking her dogma.
Maddow also gets it wrong about what current-day Republicans in Congress are proposing -- they want to "freeze" spending, which beyond MSNBC is universally understood to mean maintaining spending at current levels. This is hardly suggesting we "stop" spending.
An actual example of a politician determined to follow Hoover's lead by vastly increasing federal spending in an economic slump? Barack Obama.
If you're going to criticize a member of Congress on national television, wouldn't you try to get his or her name right?
Seems like a slam dunk if you want to be taken seriously, correct?
Well, on Thursday's "The View," MSNBC's Rachel Maddow poked fun at Indiana Congressman "Steve" Pence for wanting to freeze government spending.
The Stanford and Oxford educated Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D in political science also claimed such fiscal restraint "is what made the Depression 'Great'"(video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 6:45):
In a nice stroke of NBC corporate synergy, radical-left MSNBC host Rachel Maddow appeared Tuesday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and when the topic turned to Rush Limbaugh, Maddow insisted that it’s one thing for Rush to oppose Obama’s socialist agenda before it passes, but once it becomes law, he should salute and get behind it:
"It is one thing to say, ‘I hope that this guy's proposed policies don't pass. I hope those don't become the policies of our country.’ But once they become the policies of the country, and they are designed to save us from this economic collapse, you ought to hope they succeed, unless you are hoping for your country to suffer worse in an economic collapse. I mean, actually rooting for the failure of your own federal government is pretty creepy."
This was not Maddow's approach to the Iraq war. After discussing the Obama recovery plans and the ongoing outrage over Bernard Madoff, Leno turned to Limbaugh:
LENO: Okay. Now, Rush Limbaugh is in the news. This whole thing. And this, publicity, he's got to be loving this.
MSNBC cable-show host Rachel Maddow shares much in common with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Both are wonkish former Rhodes scholars in their mid-30s, bright and personable. Each could be perceived as a political outsider, Maddow for being openly gay, Jindal by dint of skin hue and ethnicity.
Their politics are poles apart, however, with Maddow an unabashed liberal and Jindal a staunch conservative. And that Maddow views Jindal as a threat became clear this week.
After Jindal delivered the Republican response to President Obama's address before Congress on Tuesday, he became the recipient of withering criticism from both sides of the aisle. Maddow's critique of Jindal, however, was so over the top that it bore little resemblance to what Jindal actually said --