One of the worst things a reviewer can say about a television program is that "it has potential,” which usually means the show's not utilizing much of it. That situation was played out on Monday, when the Cable News Network brought back “Crossfire,” a conservative-liberal debate program that had been in television limbo for eight years.
Despite a newsworthy discussion topic -- the fate of Syria, where chemical weapons may have been used by the government on rebels -- and two well-known hosts, GOP former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter, deputy manager of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, critics were not impressed by the first edition of the 30-minute weeknight series.
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews last Wednesday predicted Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.
On Monday, John Oliver while substitute-hosting Comedy Central's Daily Show marvelously illustrated Matthews' propensity to make horribly wrong predictions concluding, "Chris Matthews doesn't just routinely have egg on his face - he has a chicken copping a squat onto his face" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
There’s nothing liberal media members love more than a Republican who attacks other Republicans in front of the TV cameras. That probably explains the media’s rediscovered fascination with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. ABC’s Jeff Zeleny interviewed McCain last Friday for the ABC News / Yahoo News online series The Fine Print, and he used the veteran senator as a weapon against some of the younger, more conservative senators.
Zeleny set the tone right from his opening script, in which he proclaimed, “[McCain] is drawing sharp criticism from some of his new Republican colleagues, like Senator Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but he’s throwing that criticism right back, saying they make him worry about the future of the Republican Party.”
Last year NewsBusters repeatedly made the case that members of the press – in particular ABC’s George Stephanopoulos – aided and abetted President Obama’s claim that the Republicans were engaging in a so-called War on Women.
In a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this might have been the case (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had quite a testy exchange with CNBC’s John Harwood Tuesday.
Appearing on NPR’s On Point, Paul eventually told the substitute host, “Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me? I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview if I have to sit through, you know, reading after recitation of people calling me a racist” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
George Will had some harsh words on Sunday for Governor Chris Christie’s (R –N.J.) condemnation of Libertarianism this week.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Will said, “If Mr. Christie thinks that's a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough blasted Barack Obama’s decision to run for president in 2008 on Thursday’s Morning Joe, claiming Obama was “only in [office] for about two minutes before he decided he was bored with the Senate and wanted to be president.” Co-host Mika Brzezinski pushed back throughout the segment, suggesting that then-Sen. Obama was above “that fish bowl of idiots that nobody likes” – presumably veteran senators on Capitol Hill – when he announced his candidacy.
Scarborough was unrelenting in his criticism, though, contending that Obama’s tenure in the Oval Office is like “me running the chemistry lab, you know, at Princeton.” Unsurprisingly, the liberal panelists on Scarborough’s program came to the president’s defense and sought to demean three potential 2016 contenders for the GOP in the process.
This just in: John McCain supports Hillary Clinton over Rand Paul for president in 2016! That was the message that CBS’s Gayle King implied during a news brief on Thursday’s CBS This Morning. King reported on a recent interview in The New Republic in which Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked who he would vote for in 2016 if former Secretary of State Clinton faced Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) in the general election. McCain’s reply, which King reported, was, “It’s gonna be a tough choice.”
That was enough for CBS to run with. King then proclaimed, “McCain and Paul have butted heads a few times in the Senate. In the interview, McCain praised Clinton's work as secretary of state and called her a rock star.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In one fell swoop, Howard Dean has managed to expose his ignorance of libertarianism while making a stale and insulting joke about New Jerseyites.
Discussing on today's Morning Joe the dust-up between Rand Paul and Chris Christie and the broader issue of the philosophical rifts within the GOP, Dean declared that "Rand Paul is not a libertarian" because he is pro-life. Dean is apparently unaware of the lively debate over abortion within libertarian circles, with a reported 30% of libertarians being pro-life. Dean also warned Paul: "do not take on a guy from Jersey. Obviously this guy does not watch HBO." That was presumably an allusion to The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, two HBO shows featuring Garden State criminals. View the video after the jump.
Earlier this afternoon, my NewsBusters colleague Kyle Drennen highlighted the Today show’s effort to hype the recent feud between Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Unsurprisingly, the folks at MSNBC were even more eager to blow the dispute out of proportion – and to predict a nasty fight between Republicans in 2016.
Now host Alex Wagner kicked off a gleeful Wednesday segment on the feud, claiming the “2016 Republican clown car has already started revving its engines.” Wagner also suggested the “spat” would expose “deep divisions within the GOP,” echoing similar remarks made by NBC’s Peter Alexander on Wednesday’s Today.
After a tease of upcoming coverage of the Anthony Weiner sex scandal, on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to make the news of political controversy bipartisan: "Republicans are facing a few issues of their own, highlighted by a war of words between Chris Christie and Rand Paul." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the report, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie announced a "heated feud" between the two Republicans, followed by correspondent Peter Alexander proclaiming: "A Republican family feud growing nastier by the sound bite." As the headline on screen declared a "war of words," Alexander asserted: "The fight has exposed deep divisions within the party on national security and federal spending."
Commenting on the current clash between Rand Paul and Chris Christie over pork-barrel spending, Joe Scarborough has managed to insult both combatants.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough called Rand Paul a "daddy's boy." And in warning Paul not to pick a fight with Christie, Scarborough cited a saying to the effect that you should never fight with a "pig," because "you both get dirty and the pig likes it." Scarborough was careful to suggest that in comparing Christie to a "pig" he wasn't alluding to the Jersey governor's girth. OK. View the video after the jump.
Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly conducted a confrontational interview of Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, pummeling the Kentucky Republican for his strong opposition to the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM surveillance program. The anchor played up how "all three branches of government have approved this surveillance" after Paul asserted that "we don't want the government looking at our entire life."
O'Donnell also hammered the senator for supposedly not speaking up earlier about his objections to this electronic monitoring: "There was an invitation in 2011 for...all lawmakers to view this classified report on what was going on....Did you go to that? Why not? Why only now raise these concerns? Congress was briefed on this." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had some harsh words Thursday for the Obama administration collecting phone records of millions of Americans.
Speaking with Yahoo! News, Paul said, “I think it would be remedial education for those who are doing this. They need to go back and read the Constitution, read the Fourth Amendment, and understand that our records are private.”
Although he should have a little bit of latitude as a news columnist for the Washington Post over, say, an ostensibly objective staff reporter, Dana Milbank made abundantly clear on the Thursday edition if PoliticsNation that he has a complete disregard for any sense of fairness or objectivity.
Milbank blasted Republican senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and other as “children,” telling MSNBC host Al Sharpton he should just accept the need to “be patient” with them, sounding like someone counseling an exasperated mother trying to discipline her toddler.
According to Chris Matthews on Tuesday, having Rand Paul or Ted Cruz as opponents would result in an easy win for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Hardball host, who famously had a "thrill" going up his leg for Barack Obama, plotted the former Secretary of State's path to victory. Regarding whether she'll run, Matthews gushed, "It's just a question of what kind of campaign and who's going to help her win it?" (Other than MSNBC, one might wonder?)
The cable anchor predicted Clinton would probably be "lucky enough" to have Cruz or Paul as an opponent. Matthews lectured, "And I tell you, that's not going to be a complicated vote for most people." Before offering more campaign advice, the journalist actually insisted, "I can't put myself in the ring for running her campaign." Yet, a few months ago, Matthews did exactly that.
"Can you see in your mind's eye a way that this might not have been political, that this was a misguided stupid way to sort, but that they didn't intend it to be some kind of political attempt to harass the Tea Party?"
So actually asked CNN's Candy Crowley of her guest Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) concerning the Internal Revenue Service scandal Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Last night on his PBS talk show, Tavis Smiley sat down for a cozy conversation with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for left-wing magazine The Nation. Scahill was critical of the Obama administration, as well as the journalists who fail to hold him accountable, throughout much of the interview. However, he did let his mask of objectivity slip at a few points, revealing the liberal face underneath.
Scahill was outraged over the administration’s secrecy surrounding its national security operations, particularly drone strikes. Smiley asked him why the administration has not been more forthcoming about its use of drones, and Scahill partially blamed congressional Republicans: [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday's Morning Edition, Mara Liasson lined up talking heads who support RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' Monday report that advises Republicans to "embrace...comprehensive immigration reform" and "change our tone" on issues championed by homosexual activists. Liasson failed to include soundbites from traditional marriage supporters and anti-illegal immigration activists.
The correspondent hyped, "What's happening inside the Republican Party on immigration is as sudden as a tsunami." She later spotlighted how "potential Republican presidential candidates...are beating a tactical retreat in the gay marriage war."
This year, Daily Kos seems to be paying more attention than usual to CPAC, to the extent that the site has sent one of its principal writers, Hunter, to cover the event. His posts so far have combined politics, sociology, and a bit of anthropology, as if he were saying to himself, "Who are these strange creatures called 'conservatives'? To find out, I observed them in their natural habitat."
As usual, each headline is preceded by the blogger's name or pseudonym.
There are three major factors that stand in the way of entitlement reform and the other responsible budgetary measures that must be taken to avert an eventual national financial catastrophe, and they have a common source.
The first is that too many American people remain, amazingly, in the fog about the scope of the problem. The second is that a certain political ideology refuses to substitute a designated driver for the intoxicated entitlement state, which is driving the American bankruptcy bus. The third is that the leader of this noxious ideology has a further conflict of interest precluding a solution to the crisis, which is that he is hellbent on inflicting harm on the only political party pushing for reform and on successful entrepreneurs, who are critical to economic growth — a key component of any reform measure.
New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Michael Shear found "right-wing conspiracy" mongering in the aftermath of the unusual 12-hour filibuster by Republican Sen. Rand Paul protesting the White House's failing to rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil or against U.S. citizens: "Visions of Drones Swarming the Skies Touch Bipartisan Nerve."
That slightly dismissive headline on the front of Saturday's edition ("Visions" assumes an abstract and an unreasonable fear) is matched by the story, which tilts a little to the left in labeling and to the Obama administration in its dismissive tone toward White House critics, pitting "liberal activists" against "right-wing conspiracy theorists" and "self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution." In contrast, during the Bush years the Times took seriously the most paranoid fears of liberals about the Patriot Act.
If you’re going to hurl insults petulantly at someone with whom you disagree, it helps if (1) you have some evidence to support your insinuations, and (2) the descriptors you use can’t be easily turned back on you.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell failed on both counts on Thursday’s “The Last Word.” The hot-tempered O’Donnell, who famously challenged Mitt Romney’s son to a fist fight on air, went off on a tangent on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who shook up Washington on Wednesday with his 13-hour filibuster. Seemingly oblivious to the praise Paul’s old-school performance earned from hard-left opponents such as erstwhile Obama green energy czar Van Jones and the protest group Code Pink, O’Donnell tossed out words like “infantile” and “empty-headed” to characterize the senator.
Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Not surprisingly, most of the folks on MSNBC have being having a field day Thursday ridiculing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his historic filibuster the day before.
Doing his part on the Martin Bashir show was MSNBC political analyst David Corn who said that Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter to Paul “had a very silent FU in it” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Republican Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster on Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to rule out drone strikes against U.S. citizens, which ended early Thursday morning, was absent from the front page of Thursday's New York Times. The Times buried its coverage of Paul's striking "talking" filibuster, in which he held the floor for nearly 13 hours, ostensibly in opposition to Obama's choice of John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan was serving as a proxy for Paul's demand that Holder rule out drone strikes on American citizens or on U.S. soil.
Paul's performance did not merit a full news story in the Times. Coverage was limited to a few paragraphs in the middle of a more comprehensive story by Charlie Savage on bipartisan criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder, and a single sentence deep into Scott Shane's front-page story "C.I.A.'s History Poses Hurdles For a Nominee." Liberal columnist Gail Collins also wrote about it, in snotty fashion. There wasn't even a print-edition photo of the dramatic filibuster.
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday offered confusing, incomplete and brief explanations for why Rand Paul filibustered John Brennan, Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency nominee. According to GMA news reader Josh Elliott, "Paul was protesting the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against Americans." [Video of the terse explanations can be found below.]
World News anchor Diane Sawyer insisted the "Tea party firebrand" was opposing "the use of drones against U.S. citizens." This is hardly a full explanation for ABC's viewers. On the Today show, Chuck Todd produced a more accurate description: "[Paul] decided to filibuster the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan in an attempt to get the White House to once and for all promise to never target Americans with drones on U.S. soil." The "on U.S. soil" part is key. ABC allowed only news briefs on the filibuster. CBS and NBC offered full reports.