In a January 23 interview at MediaBistro, MSNBC NewsNation host Tamron Hall addressed the (accurate) perception that her program is not exactly objective journalism. Asked by MediaBistro about whether CNN's attempt to be "objective" was dragging it down in the ratings or if the left-leaning MSNBC was simply a better news network, Hall insisted that the primetime news coverage was definitely opinion based but that "That's not what we do on NewsNation.... [F]or me, our show is not an opinion show, but it's not a show that's afraid of opinions." [h/t TV Newser]
Hall is unafraid of divergent opinions? That's a good one. Someone should tell conservative columnist Tim Carney, whom Hall chewed out on air on her May 11, 2012 program, ultimately cutting off his microphone for daring to challenge the network's liberal bias. As my colleague Scott Whitlock reported at the time (emphasis his):
As NewsBusters reported Friday, MSNBC's Tamron Hall threw a hissy fit when her conservative guest, the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, called her network's coverage of the Washington Post's hit piece on Mitt Romney "ridiculous" and "absurd."
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, host Howard Kurtz came down strongly on her asking, "Does Hall only want guests who agree with her handling of every story?" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Tim Carney has an excellent post this morning at the Washington Examiner about how the media are reluctant to note the reason that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng -- who is believed , but not confirmed, to be in hiding in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing -- is in hot water with the Communist government. Chen "has exposed the horrors of China’s one-child policy, including forced abortions and forced sterilizations," Carney noted.
Yet that fact was curiously missing from today's "1300-word Washington Post story." Indeed, "Of the five Post news articles I found discussing Chen, only one of them has the word 'abortion,'" Carney noticed. And the Post isn't alone in its bias by omission:
John McLaughlin on the PBS show bearing his name asked his guests this weekend, "Has America done more to spread peace and prosperity than any other power in human history, yes or no?"
The conservatives on the panel - syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney - were quick to say "Yes" as their liberal colleagues - Newsweek's Eleanor Clift and the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page - both equivocated (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the August 15 "Dylan Ratigan Show," MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney sparred over the extent to which Big Labor impacts the political process relative to other industries.
Ratigan, who has made a career out of bemoaning the influence that the energy, banking, health care, defense, telecom, and agriculture sectors exert on politics, omitted organized labor from his exhaustive (exhausting?) list. After Carney pointed out that labor unions collectively direct more campaign contributions to political candidates than any other industry in the country, Ratigan sternly corrected him: "That's not right. You can't invent facts...that's a great distortion of facts to make it look like labor controls the government."
On this weekend's McLaughlin Group Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used the occasion of Barack Obama's immigration speech to opine that Hispanics "know which side, which party is on their side" and implied it's not the GOP as she declared Republican Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has "negative attitudes" towards them. During a discussion about Obama's immigration speech last week Clift even bragged: "This president has done far more in terms of security crackdown than George W. Bush did."
This was all too much for the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney to bear as he wittily retorted that instead of having an open dialogue with the governor of a major border state like Brewer, the President chose to talk about the vital issue with Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, as seen in the following May 15 exchange:
On last Friday and on this past Tuesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper ran fact-checks against the claims of two anti-abortion members of Congress against Planned Parenthood – but did not bother to conduct similar fact checks on the claims of Planned Parenthood and its Democratic supporters.
During his Tuesday segment of "Keeping Them Honest," Cooper countered the claims of conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) that Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the U.S. "They are a big abortion provider, although that's only a small fraction of what they do," he stated.
"Bipartisanship" is one of those buzzwords that proponents of a policy will invoke whenever possible. But a rush to demonstrate that the policy appeals across party lines can often obscure partisans' real motives in endorsing it.
Since former Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle teamed up to endorse ObamaCare this week, plenty of media outlets have touted the "bipartisan" backing of the law.
Daschle is of course a Democrat so his support isn't as newsy as Frist's. But when a credentialed Republican, a former Senate GOP leader comes out in favor of a piece of landmark liberal legislation, the keen observer is a bit suspicious. Why the ideological shift? In Frist's case - and this fact has amazingly gone unmentioned in reports by MSNBC, NPR, and Politico - it seems to be due to his significant financial stake in ObamaCare's preservation.
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, who last year wrote a lengthy book on the first year of Barack Obama's presidency, looked very displeased on Dylan Ratigan's MSNBC program earlier this week when other guests concurred with accusations of corruption against the White House.
The Ratigan segment centered on a statement by Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Goernment Reform Committee, that Obama's is "one of the most corrupt administrations ever."
"There is zero evidence" of corruption, he insisted. When fellow guest Tim Carney, a Washington Examiner columnist, disagreed, Alter demanded Carney produce evidence. So he did (video below the fold).
President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.
Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.
Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).
In Howard Fineman's mind, the real "sordid" story behind the now infamous RNC/Voyeur Club kerfuffle is not the inappropriateness of the venue or the expensing of the outing on the donors' dime, but the whole system of raising money from large-dollar private donors in the first place.
Talk about bondage. It feels like we are in thrall to cash and the pursuit of it as never before. I know senators in both parties who spend every spare minute in the soul-shrinking exercise of dialing for dollars. Donors are just as trapped. Once they're on a list, they're on every list.
Fineman went on to add a new boilerplate complaint from the Left as well as to mourn the demise of the media's favorite Republican "campaign finance reformer":
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans were treated to a number of populist sermons on the "special interests" who would oppose "reform" at any cost to maintain the "status quo" from which they "profit financially or politically." The drug companies, the energy companies, the Wall Street bankers, and the health insurers were the corporate enemies of a just and harmonious America, or so one might have gathered.
Obama was at the vanguard of this populist charge. But since his election, he has proposed health care legislation that would subsidize Pfizer and PhRMA, a cap and trade plan that would drive profits to General Electric, and Wall Street bailouts that lined the pockets of the same Goldman Sachs bankers he so reviled during the campaign. What happened?
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney exposes and investigates this monumental disconnect in his new book "Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses." Carney explores the "political strategy of partnering with the biggest businesses in order to create new regulations, taxes, and subsidies." Those measures, he argues, actually benefit the biggest businesses by crowding out competition, consolidating market share, or giving billions in subsidies directly to those companies.
Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen scored a front page hit on...wait for it...conservative advocacy groups that oppose Obamacare. (See Funding for Health-Care Interest Groups Often Fuzzy.) Eggen is scandalized that (big) business interests want to fund groups that oppose President Obama's plans to socialize insurance in the U.S. Eggen singles out a handful of non-leftists groups and complains about "opaque financing" and "hidden support from insurers, drugmakers [and] unions."
The second part of Eggen's report similarly blasts left-of-center groups that take corporate money to support Obamacare. Yeah, right. Actually, Eggen expends just one paragraph mentioning that liberal groups might be "beholden to labor unions and liberal foundations with deep pockets." No serious discussion of the fact that industry lobbyists have been a huge backer of Obamacare - or, specific provisions thereof. (See, for example, DC Examiner author and columnist Timothy P. Carney's article this week on PhRMA's influence within the Obama administration and, last week, on another major trade association, America's Health Insurance Plans.)
Isn't it curious that Eggen omits entirely any examination of what corporate interests fund left-wing groups?
Three years ago, NBC launched a holiday tradition of environmental awareness. In 2007, it kicked off its "Green Week" by turning off the lights during a Sunday sports broadcast (as if turning off studio lights for one minute could mitigate three hours of blazing stadium lights).
The rest of the week consisted of cringingly cheesy, greenwashed TV moments, like the cop on the crime drama Life buying a solar farm in his quest to find the person who framed him for murder.
Sadly, the line-up for this year's "Green Week," which launches Nov. 15, is just as cringe-worthy. Al Gore will appear again on "30 Rock," undoubtedly spewing dire warnings of the Earth's imminent doom. "The Biggest Loser" will coach its participants to buy organic food and bring their own mugs to coffee shops. Dwight Schrute from "The Office" will role play as a character named "Recyclops," and, in the comedy "Community," Greendale Community College will be renamed "Environ-Dale."
MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell on Thursday appeared mystified as to why anyone would have a problem with New Jersey school children being led in a song praising Barack Obama. The February 2009 video contained these lyrics: "He said we must be fair today! Equal work means equal pay! Barack Hussein Obama! He said, red yellow, black or white, all are equal in his sight! Barack Hussein Obama!"
She complained to conservative columnist Tim Carney, "I mean, this is children. They're singing a song...If you can make your point again about why this is indoctrination, political indoctrination to praise your President." The MSNBC News Live guest host also dismissed, "I remember certainly in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was President and we sent him jelly beans." Carney quickly quipped "Did you sing a song praising the 1981 Kemp/Roth tax cuts? ‘Cause we sure didn't."
After Carney pointed out that the line about equal pay for equal work is a specific policy endorsement, O’Donnell attacked, "Oh, you don't believe in equal pay for equal work?" The quick-on-his-feet Carney again shot back, "I believe in equal pay. I would love to make equal pay to you ladies, but I don't."
You might have figured this was coming, that when dust settled from the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C., the brain trust at MSNBC would attempt to frame it as negatively as possible.
And MSNBC's resident left-wing curmudgeon-in-training David Shuster didn't disappoint. The former host of the canceled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" took a report from the Huffington Post debunking attendance figures and attempted to belittle the event. The story focused on an old photograph that had been circulating on some minor conservative blogs showing a huge crowd for the Sept. 12 march.
Shuster asked Washington Examiner columnist and author of "The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money" if some conservative blogs were going to circulate a phony photo, why should the movement have any credibility? But Carney didn't take the bait and instead showed that MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets were committing a similar offense.