Just how poorly has the rollout of ObamaCare gone?
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday, when the perilously liberal Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein said, “The Obama administration isn’t administering the health care itself,” the perilously liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski replied, “Thank god!” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A President can deal with being disliked, even despised, by his opponents. But when he becomes a laughingstock among his own supposed supporters . . .
On today's Morning Joe, Dem Sen. Joe Manchin openly mocked President Obama's failure to communicate with Congress. Asked by Joe Scarborough whether the President is disconnected from the Senate and House, Manchin sardonically said "everybody has a different style." Queried as how often he talks to the prez by phone, Manchin sarcastically replied "I'm sure he's very busy." The panel had a good laugh at Pres. Obama's expense, until a mortified Mika Brzezinski couldn't take it anymore and demanded "Stop it. Enough!" View the video after the jump.
Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."
Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):
You can give MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew credit for this much: they spent almost half an hour on Tuesday’s show discussing the NBC News report that President Obama knew that millions of Americans would lose their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare. Host Joe Scarborough seemed appropriately outraged that the president knew about this even as he repeatedly insisted that those who liked their health insurance could keep it.
Curiously, however, neither Scarborough nor any of his guests ever accused the president of “lying.” They never called him a “liar,” said he “lied,” or used any form of the infinitive “to lie.” This gave the impression that they remain cowed by the Obama administration. This is MSNBC, after all. The former Republican congressman from Florida may gnaw on the hand that feeds him, but Scarborough knows not to clamp down and break skin. [See video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
One way to know if a journalist is asking a softball question is when the President of the United States compliments the reporter after he or she asks it. That happened twice on Tuesday as Barack Obama talked to reporters about the government shutdown. The President called on Sam Stein of the liberal Huffington Post website. Stein dutifully wondered, "With Speaker Boehner so far unwilling to hold a vote on a clean CR, what assurances can you give to those affected by a shutdown who are concerned about an even longer impasse?"
He added, "And how worried are you personally that your preferred solution to this -- a clear CR at sequestration levels -- may do harm to the nation's economy and your second term agenda?" Finding the question appropriately fawning, Obama responded, "Sam, you're making an important point." The President looked favorably on a similar query from a New York Times journalist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Rothman first turned his focus to today's edition of MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner, a daily resource for Obama administration puffery and hackneyed liberal talking point generation. The Mediaite editor found the program's panelists twisting themselves into a pretzel to explain how President Obama's poise to truly "go it alone" on Syria is more defensible than President Bush's 48-nation "coalition of the willing" in Iraq:
No, really — it has. And it’s all Congress’s fault. (Well, not all of Congress. Just Republicans, who want to “hurt Americans.”) You can tell how serious these rabbit-killing budget cuts are when the Huffington Post writes about them under the banner “Sequestration Ushers In A Dark Age For Science In America.” Ooooh, ominous.
So, what exactly is the story? The least dramatic telling of it is at Grist, which reports that the National Institutes of Health was forced by sequestration to trim $1.7 billion from its budget. Among the projects that were deep-sixed was research on human retinal degeneration at the University of Utah medical school. The project director, ophthalmology professor Robert E. Marc, is distraught not only at having the rug pulled out from under his research but at having to kill his colony of genetically modified bunnies.
Former Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) drifted a bit too far off MSNBC’s pro-Obama message on Thursday’s Now with Alex Wagner, receiving a strong left-wing rebuke after suggesting that President Obama should be willing to compromise with Republicans on upcoming budgetary battles.
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid likened Republicans to terrorists, claiming that the president’s situation is like “when somebody is threatening to bomb the stadium.” Reid rejected Rendell’s call for bipartisanship, instead pushing her offensive analogy even further:
Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson tied immigration reform to the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, claiming Republican voters oppose the Senate immigration bill because they believe “immigrants are, you know, people in hoodies.” While the inflammatory line would no doubt be well-received on a liberal network like MSNBC, it seems somewhat unbecoming of a professional political journalist.
Suffice it to say, Carlson was not called out by her fellow panelists for the hyperbolic comment. Carlson also commended Thomas Friedman’s latest op-ed in The New York Times, entitled “If Churchill Could See Us Now,” in which Friedman – who recently held up China as a paragon of greatness, so long as they don’t emulate the “American Dream” – blasted House Republicans for making this country “un-great”:
New York Times Magazine correspondent Mark Leibovich has made waves in Washington, D.C. recently with the release of This Town, his tell-all account of the “universally disliked” culture in our nation’s capital. Leibovich appeared on Tuesday’s Morning Joe to promote his controversial book, and to discuss the breakdown of Washington journalism with co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Leibovich suggested he wrote This Town to “hold a mirror to the culture” of the nation’s capital, and that the ultimate takeaway of his work is that “everyone fundamentally is disappointed with Washington.” But Leibovich’s history of partisanship, as documented by NewsBusters, suggests that the reporter is very much a part of the dysfunction inside the Beltway. Leibovich has a history of praising Democrats and bashing Republicans, all in a day’s work at the left-wing New York Times.
The July 9 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner wouldn’t be complete without a panel discussing Texas State Senator Wendy Davis – and the abortion battle in Texas. Yet, it reached a new level with New York Times op-ed contributor Beth Matusoff Merfish declaring that she was “proud” her mother underwent an abortion since “she had the wisdom and the courage to know that her own potential would be cut short by a pregnancy and to terminate that pregnancy and I think many of our mothers have similar stories and it is really important to talk about that.”
The MSNBC network is known for two things: A lack of dissent and touting the official Obama line. So, it's not surprising that the show's panel included Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary from Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Karen Finney, former DNC Communications Director and board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Wednesday it would not provide additional funds to help the town of West, Texas rebuild after a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 and injured 160. MSNBC’s Alex Wagner seemed positively gleeful over the news.
The daytime host treated the development as a political defeat for Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), implying on Thursday’s Now that the tragedy – and FEMA’s denial of funding – were “the seeds” the governor sowed for his opposition to excessive federal spending and regulation. Wagner introduced Perry’s plea for federal funds by pairing it with a sound bite of the conservative governor’s opposition to excessive spending:
Leave it to Ed Schultz to conjure up the most deranged spin yet in response to the Internal Revenue Service admitting to undue scrutiny of tea party groups.
While many liberals have been critical of the Obama administration in the wake of the hardly surprising revelation, Schultz on his radio show yesterday was full-throated in his defense of the IRS -- even to the point of making the absurd claim that it showed how conservatives should support President Obama's plan to "simplify" the tax code. (Audio clips after page break)
Once again, MSNBC has outdone itself with extreme comments on the subject of gun control. The morning after MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir sacrilegiously altered the Lord's Prayer to portray the NRA as ghoulishly bloodthirsty, Morning Joe panelist Donny Deutsch railed against members of Congress who oppose expanding background checks.
At one point in his tirade, Deutsch leveled a rather sexist complaint against a female conservative senator, suggesting that she was not true to her "primal" feminine instincts to abhor guns. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.}
Proving once again that MSNBC is less of a cable news channel and more of a platform for liberal activism, the “Morning Joe” crew today lashed out at members of the U.S. Senate who decided to vote against a gun bill backed by President Obama.
Taking his cue from the fiery and petulant speech the president delivered yesterday, self-described conservative Republican Joe Scarborough lashed out at the “pathetic” vote. His co-host Mika Brzezinski was even more hateful, repeatedly denouncing the senators who voted to support the NRA’s position on the bill as “cowards.” She then ordered producers for the show to put the names and faces of these senators on wanted-style posters in attempt to anger viewers against them.
As Joe Scarborough said, "this is liberal on liberal on liberal violence. I love watching it." He was referring to the intra-squad liberal dogfight, spurred by Rand Paul's filibuster, that broke out on Morning Joe today over the use of drones by the U.S. government. H/t NB reader Ray R.
Though former car czar Steve Rattner played a supporting role, the two main combatants were Sam Stein of the Huffington Post and Richard Wolffe of MSNBC itself. Stein criticized the lack of guidelines that the Obama administration has established for the use of drones on U.S. citizens, supporting Paul's argument that it should be an easy question for the Obama admin to answer. In the other corner, Wolffe was the internationalist, suggesting all terrorists should perhaps be entitled to the same due process, be they Saudi, Kuwaiti or American. Stein and Scarborough had to enlighten Wolffe about the special protections the Constitution extends to U.S. citizens. View the video after the jump.
Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made news earlier this week by offering unsubstantiated and unattributed claims about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the Huffington Post.
On Wednesday, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart tore into Reid saying, "You are the Senate Majority Leader. You can’t just run to the Sideboob Gazette with ridiculous speculations" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When even a panel of liberal journalists thinks the New York Times has gone too far with its Romney-bashing, you know the paper's descending to uncomfortable subterranean depths of bias. With the lone exception of Jodi Kantor, herself a New York Times reporter, the members of today's Now with Alex Wagner panned the Times for its Home section front-pager about Romney's La Jolla, California, home, "The Candidate Next Door." The story was written by political writer Michael Barbaro in a section that usually has to do interior decorating and other apolitical domestic fare.
"Can I call bull on this?" Nation magazine contributor Ari Melber asked. "What they've done here is taken a campaign reporter who covers the campaign with a really thin, silly story, and then put it in the home section." [audio available here; video update coming shortly]
If you haven't seen the hilariously effective ad by Karl Rove's American Crossroads group that portrays Barack Obama as a celebrity president with a failed economic record, check it out in the video clip.
Mika Brzezinksi was clearly peeved at how well the ad was playing even with her liberal-dominated panel. After Obama fan Donny Deutsch, and no-conservative-he John Heilemann praised the ad, a Mika at wit's end sought to recruit HuffPo's Sam Stein to help her out. "Can you debunk some of the things in the ad?", she entreated. Stumbled Stein: "ah-h-h-h-h, sure, I guess." After offering a paltry defense that Joe Scarborough demolished, Stein was reduced to saying that Mika had invited him to try to debunk the ad, and that "I'm trying my best!" View the amusing video after the break.
The machinations in Congress over extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits into 2012 could be rendered moot if Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gets her way.
Appearing as a guest on Ed Schultz's radio show yesterday, the Texas lawmaker suggested Obama extend both by 60 days through executive order and bypass the GOP-led House. (audio clips after page break)
You have to wonder if a day has gone by since the September 7 GOP presidential debate without someone on MSNBC referring to audience members cheering when NBC's Brian Williams asked Texas governor Rick Perry about capital punishment in his state.
Likely the most colorful description of this incident to date occurred on Monday's Hardball when host Chris Matthews said Republicans "look hot and horny for executions out in that Reagan library" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Remember "What's The Matter With Kansas?" That was liberal native Kansan Thomas Frank's extended kvetch over the refusal of average Jayhawkers to engage in class warfare by supporting soak-the-rich policies.
The same mindset was on display on Morning Joe today. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein asserted that the failure of many less-than-rich Americans to support tax increases on the rich amounts to voting "against their own self interest." View video after the jump . . . including the amusing moment when Stein sulks about getting interrrupted by Scarborough.
Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein suggested that the budget plan that the House Republican leadership is trying to pass would harm the economy, and, as if the government did not take in lots of tax revenue already, referred to the absence of a tax increase as "no revenues." Stein:
Six out of seven reporters, called on by Barack Obama at today's press conference, asked a question of the President that came from the left and/or blamed Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans for standing in the way of a deal on the debt ceiling.
Ben Feller of the AP, began the trend of questioning when he asked how Obama was going to deal with Republicans who were "adamantly" opposed to tax increases. CBS News' Chip Reid followed with "isn't the problem the people who aren't in the room, and in particular Republican presidential candidates and Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill?"
During the 2008 presidential campaign, media members were conspicuously disinterested in one candidate's connection to domestic terrorists as well as his ties to an America-hating reverend.
Following the second debate during this election cycle, the Huffington Post's Sam Stein actually wrote an article about Mitt Romney having knowledge of a hockey game going on at the same time Republican presidential candidates were swapping jabs, and whether that may have violated the rules:
Following its controversial decision to ban Andrew Breitbart from publishing articles at its front page, the Huffington Post has found itself in quite a pickle now that one of its regular contributors, comedian Bill Maher, made disgustingly vulgar references to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Breitbart made some comments about President Obama's former green czar Van Jones that precipitated the following hypocritical statement from HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz last Thursday (readers are warned of vulgar content in full article):
Chris Matthews, once again, abandoned any notion he was serious about establishing a new tone of political civility in the wake of the Tucson shooting, as on Wednesday's Hardball he compared former Speaker of the House and possible GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to a terrorist as he screeched "He looks like a car bomber" and even described him in demonic terms, adding: "He's got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing."
The following Matthews rants came during a discussion about possible GOP presidential contenders with the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page and The Huffington Post's Sam Stein on the March 2 Hardball:
There was almost a full-fledged panic attack on Thursday's "Hardball" as three devout liberal media members fretted over the possibility that Tea Party success at the polls next month could make the GOP more conservative.
So worried about this was MSNBC's Chris Matthews that he opined at the end of the segment, "At some point, they`ll become not the party of the elephant but the party of the barking dogs as the cars go by" (video follows with commentary and full transcript at end of the article):
Chris Matthews bizarrely accused Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of using code language to appeal to the Birther crowd for saying, on Sunday's Meet the Press, that "The President says he's a Christian. I take him at his word." The phrasing of "take him at his word" sent the MSNBC host, on Monday's Hardball, into a rage as he charged McConnell's statement was a "Pitch perfect, dog whistle to the haters."
In fact, Matthews devoted much of his show to "The right wing's attempt to de-Americanize the President" as he invited on Newsweek's Howard Fineman and the Huffington Post's Sam Stein, in the first segment, to dissect what they thought was some sort of nefarious strategy on the parts of McConnell, Reverend Franklin Graham, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to ride a "message of fear" to victory in November.
Matthews began his opening segment by attacking McConnell for failing to denounce any sort of conspiracy theories as he claimed: "The Republican leader of the Senate played Birther politics with abandon." He even brought on Fineman -- who proudly claimed that since he used to work in McConnell's home state of Kentucky and therefore "understands it" -- to explain to viewers that the GOP senator was trying to get Rand Paul elected by playing to a "nativist appeal" that "really works big time" in that state.
However McConnell wasn't the only target of Matthews' ire as the conversation soon turned towards Rush Limbaugh: