Appearing as a guest on Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley claimed that President Ronald Reagan "used to fabricate stories," and alluded to a story about the Holocaust as an example. After fellow guest James Fallows of The Atlantic recalled possible holes in stories told by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, lamenting that voters do not seem to care, Brinkley brought up false stories that circulated in 1972 about Ed Muskie, and then moved to Reagan as he added: "So there are these fake kind of stories that come in, but I agree with James Fallows completely with the honey badger idea, nothing Donald Trump says, he can make up stories, but, you know, Ronald Reagan used to fabricate stories."
By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2016 | 5:06 PM EST
The Associated Press's choice of a headline to accompany business writer Stan Choe's Saturday morning report on the state of the economy — "MAIN STREET HOLDS UP AS WALL STREET STRUGGLES, FOR A CHANGE" — has a couple of interesting implications.
Is AP celebrating the fact that Wall Street is struggling? Or does the idea that "Main Street" is holding up "for a change" mean that it hasn't been doing so for the past seven years? (Or both?) In any event, the AP's Choe used recently published data cooked with heavy doses of seasonal adjustments to support his "Main Street is okay" contentions, but without using the "seasonally adjusted" descriptor, thereby misleading readers and subscribing media outlets into believing that the situation out in the real world is far better than it really is.
By Curtis Houck | February 14, 2016 | 3:56 PM EST
In separate Sunday morning interviews of Republican presidential candidates and Senators Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Marco Rubio (Fl.), ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos and NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd urged them to consider whomever President Obama nominates to replace the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia since “the people elected President Obama” and he doesn’t serve for “only three years.”
Washington Monthly Blogger: ‘Unorthodox’ Trump, Unpopular Cruz Pose Problems For Fox News Message MachineBy Tom Johnson | February 14, 2016 | 3:05 PM EST
Democrats have long envied Republicans’ message discipline, which presumably means Dems are relishing what Martin Longman calls the “disarray” in the GOP and in its main “official organ,” Fox News. “I don’t think right-wing media is set up to deal with an unorthodox candidate [Donald Trump] who doesn’t consistently hew to the conservative line,” remarked Longman. “I also don’t know how they’d promote [Ted] Cruz without willing and eager surrogates to fill the chairs.”
Longman also sniped, "I’m not a Foxologist. I can’t watch the network without feeling ill. And I know that this gives me a bit of a blind spot in my political analysis, but I’m just not willing to pay that kind of price to know everything I ought to know."
By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2016 | 1:31 PM EST
Anchoring live coverage of the death of Antonin Scalia on Saturday night, MSNBC’s Ari Melber whined that the GOP not approving a successor to the conservative would impede the “governing of the country.” Reporter Perry Bacon agreed, echoing Democratic talking points: “I think you're right. I think you're already hearing that.”
By Curtis Houck | February 14, 2016 | 1:31 PM EST
During the panel segment Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol schooled ABC News political analyst and former Bush administration official Matthew Dowd on how Democrats have long politicized judicial nominees after Dowd lamented that “Republicans have made a mistake” in reacting to the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and urged them to consider President Obama’s nominee.
By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2016 | 12:57 PM EST
What was the most important thing for readers of Washington Post to see on the front-page of the paper Sunday morning? A headline focusing directly on the death of Antonin Scalia? No. In bold, large font, the Post declared, “Supreme Court Conservative Dismayed Liberals.”
By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2016 | 12:07 PM EST
According to the journalists at NBC’s Today, a Hillary Clinton operative is the perfect person to weigh in on replacing conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Co-host Craig Melvin brought on Ron Klain to blast Republicans for declaring that a new president would pick the next judge, not Obama.
By Brad Wilmouth | February 14, 2016 | 12:06 PM EST
Appearing as a guest on Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS, veteran singer Harry Belafonte declared that there is a "new wave of racist definitions and racist practices" in the U.S., and went on to claim that the election of a black President "awakened a right-wing energy" and "shocked a lot of racist forces in this country." He then added: "I think a lot of the hurdles, problems that Obama has faced is really very much based upon the fact that there is a force in this country that says no black man should ever be at the helm of this country."
By Scott Whitlock | February 14, 2016 | 10:52 AM EST
The morning after the shock news that Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia died, ABC and NBC actually opened their Sunday shows with nice tributes to the “legendary” “American original,” seeing the conservative as a “giant” who was “funny and sarcastic.” That didn’t stop Good Morning America and Today from constantly referring to Scalia as “controversial.”
By Bruce Bookter | February 14, 2016 | 8:18 AM EST
This year when ESPN decides who should receive their Courage Award, they might want to consider giving it to one of their own.
By Ken Shepherd | February 14, 2016 | 7:30 AM EST
One of the raps on secular news journalism is that folks in the profession tend to be markedly areligious if not irreligious, compared to the general population. But there are notable exceptions. Here's one I came across last week from across the Pond.
By Curtis Houck | February 14, 2016 | 4:01 AM EST
Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer received the first comments late Saturday night on FNC’s post-Republican debate coverage and ruled that if the Democratic debates could be described as “skirmishes with the occasional subtle jabs,” the latest GOP debate on CBS could be chalked up to being a “thermonuclear” war “if the previous Republican debates have been World War I or II.”
By Curtis Houck | February 14, 2016 | 3:04 AM EST
Opining on MSNBC’s breaking news coverage early Saturday evening on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, hosts Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams took respective swings at the Senate Republicans for wanting “a functionless Supreme Court for an entire year” and for originalists like Scalia for failing to “anticipate” things like abortion, airplanes, and iPhones.
By Curtis Houck | February 13, 2016 | 11:41 PM EST
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin took part in the network’s post-Republican debate panel Saturday night and used the occasion to lecture the GOP candidates for all having “bad moments” in “a raucous screamfest” and rallied to the defense of Chief Justice John Roberts to lament the direction of the party he doesn’t even belong to. Further, liberal CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley proclaimed that “Donald Trump won the debate” by being “bombastic” and prepared “to rumble” with the five other candidates.