Let's see. A rebel group pushing for separation from Ukaine has shot down a passenger plane, killing almost 300 aboard. Israel has invaded Gaza. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, in at least one instance following a hail of protective gunfire directed at Border Patrol agents.
Meanwhile, in news concerning truly important matters, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and fellow party member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are focusing on what's really important — prescription pet medication prices:
Carol Costello surprisingly raised pro-gun rights points during an interview of Senator Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday's CNN Newsroom. Costello noted the "renewed calls for stricter gun control laws" after Friday's murder spree in California, and pointed out that the Golden State "has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The shooter in this case abided by a background check....How would any gun control law prevent this particular shooter from buying a gun?"
The anchor, who has forwarded gun control in the past, also zeroed on the fact that the deceased murderer began his rampage by stabbing three people to death: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
With the monumental collapse of the president’s anti-gun agenda, many are wondering if both sides will “go back into their corners” on gun control. Every single measure in this new bill failed, which elicited the wrath of the president yesterday in the Rose Garden. During the April 17 broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill asked why these measures failed to pass, mentioned the popularity of background checks, and failed to press Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on past statements about how this bill really wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook ergo more mass shootings.
In fairness, Ifill also had Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Conneticut, on the program to discuss the failed bill. While he said his organization supported some of the amendments in the bill, they couldn’t back it due to the background check provision, noting it would have harmed gun sellers who rely heavily on weekend sales, when most customers come to their stores [emphasis mine]:
The liberal media's push for gun control has long included the tactic of attempting to shame the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights activists into silence. That tactic was once again deployed by MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this morning in his interview with liberal Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), who is calling on the nation's oldest civil rights organization to cease and desist robocalls to phone numbers in the Newtown, Connecticut, area.
Ever since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, the hosts at MSNBC have been on a gun control crusade, boosting Democrats' push for fresh gun restrictions. One of the focal points of MSNBC’s gun control advocacy has been pushing for a ban on what MSNBC calls “military-style assault weapons.”
Well, yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he'd scrapped California Democrat Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban for lack of votes. The Nevada Democrat noted he only had at most 40 votes out of 53 Democrats and two Democrat-caucusing independents. In other words, Republican votes are a non-factor, since the Democratic caucus is hardly sold on the idea to begin with. Yet the very next day, MSNBC’s Alex Witt allowed Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to essentially blame the GOP and the NRA for the setback to the Left on gun control. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
The Associated Press's Calvin Woodward has had a few shining analytical moments during the first two years of the Obama administration (examples here and here).
The AP reporter's dispatch on "gaffes and gotchas" Friday morning, which attempted to communicate a sense of bemusement tinged with condescension, both aimed mostly at first-time candidates, is not one of them, and contained its own gaffes:
An extraordinary thing happened on MSNBC Tuesday: Chris Matthews scolded a fellow liberal journalist for endorsing all of the Democrat candidates up for election in the Senate this November.
While discussing the battle between Republican candidate Linda McMahon and Democrat candidate Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, the "Hardball" host expressed serious concerns about the latter lying about his military service.
After playing a tape from Monday's debate of Blumenthal haplessly trying to explain his position, Matthews asked liberal guest David Corn, "How do you say you served in Vietnam unintentionally when they`ve got the quotes?"
Quite surprisingly, Matthews aggressively took exception with Corn's answer (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the May 25 "Fox & Friends" to discuss the media's double standard when it comes to politicians lying about their military records.
The Media Research Center president noted the most apt parallel to Richard Blumenthal was Bruce Caputo, a Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in the 1980s, only to drop out after Tim Russert -- then a staffer for Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- found that Caputo had falsely claimed to have been drafted during the Vietnam War.
At that time, "the media were relentless" against Caputo after the revelation and "it was the end of his career," Bozell noted, contrasting that with last week's Blumenthal story which to the mainstream media came and went as a "one-night story."
For the full interview, click play on the embed above at right.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) "loves to prosecute businesses for potentially misleading advertising" but when he's exposed as a serial liar about his Vietnam War service, the media refuse to hammer him for the scandal, NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of the Saturday, May 22 "Fox & Friends."
While credit is due the New York Times for breaking the story, the network evening newscasts "ran it one night, and then they walked away from it," the Media Research Center president noted, adding by way of contrast that when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) got entangled in his web of lies, "they were on him relentlessly,as they should have been."
But Bozell added of Blumenthal, "this guy's a liberal Democrat, and [so] they walk away."
For the full segment's video, click the play button in the embed at right. You can find the MP3 audio available here.
Joe Scarborough was on fire this morning, his ire trained on twin targets: Dick Blumenthal, and the New York Times' John Harwood, who casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting "a little carried away." At one point, Scarborough claimed he wasn't calling Blumenthal a "scumbag"—but it sure sounded like it.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
In the "Busted" segment at the end of Friday's The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan went after the New York Times for "accusing" Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal of distorting his military record: "We think the Times should investigate some of its investigative reporting."
Ratigan dismissed a quote the Times used of Blumenthal referring to "the days that I served in Vietnam," claiming it was "only part of the story." Ratigan argued: "A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record." That longer clip included Blumenthal vaguely stating: "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps." Hardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience.
Even so, Ratigan proclaimed: "This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply misspoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times." Ratigan went on to declare: "Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence."
David Brooks seemed to be having a coherency challenged moment during his latest scheduled conversation with fellow New York Times columnist, Gail Collins. First Brooks excused what Connecticut senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed about being a Vietnam combat veteran as an "accident":
As for Blumenthal, my guess is he survives his little brush with mendacity. The Connecticut Democrat accidentally said he was a combat veteran, when in fact he never served in Vietnam. Could happen to anyone!
A moment later, Brooks reversed course and admitted that Blumenthal lied but, eh, no big deal:
The claim is dishonorable, but everybody expects politicians to lie. One of the odd perplexities of an angry moment is that expectations are so low, politicians end up surviving scandals that would kill them in happier times.
On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."
This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."
Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:
On today’s “Morning Joe,” co-host Mike Brzezinski defended Richard Blumenthal, Democratic candidate for Senate in Connecticut, who reportedly misrepresented his military record habitually over the course of his political career.
Even though The New York Times exposed Blumenthal yesterday in an article on its front page, presenting evidence that the Connecticut Attorney General made no effort to correct numerous news stories over several years that described him as a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Brzezinski told co-host Joe Scarborough to “leave him alone.”
Brzezinski grimaced, squirmed, and shook her head in disapproval while Scarborough and MSNBC’s Willie Geist ridiculed Blumenthal for attempting to characterize the discrepancies as “a few misplaced words” at a press conference yesterday.
“It was a few misplaced words,” insisted Brzezinski, parroting Blumenthal’s defense.
Earlier this morning, I was minding my own business, reading this unbylined Associated Press roundup of yesterday's elections, when I got to the report's final few paragraphs. They involved "other concerns" the two major parties have. After noting yesterday's resignation by Republican congressman Mark Souder, the report's final paragraph read as follows:
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
CBS's Early Show on Tuesday completely ignored the front page New York Times story on Democratic senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal and his claims to have "served in Vietnam," despite having never done so.
NBC's Today mentioned the subject once in a news brief, but anchor Ann Curry described the Connecticut Democrat only as a "U.S. Senate candidate." On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos described the development as a "huge story."
Yet, the show devoted less than a minute to the topic. Unlike the Early Show, however, Stephanopoulos at least used a party label, explaining that "this was considered a safe Democratic seat. Now, it could be in play."
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
Cramer, host of the CNBC’s “Mad Money” called liberal Democratic New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as “communist” on CNBC’s November 7 “Street Signs.”
“[W]itness the fact that right now, the most important man in America for the stock market – the most important man and I mean it negatively is this guy Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General,” Cramer said. “I’m getting tired of the New York State Attorney General being the most important man in America.”