Andrew Lautz


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MSNBC host Alex Wagner appeared to tie Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to ObamaCare opposition and libertarianism on Wednesday’s Now, with liberal guests Jared Bernstein and Mark Potok taking part in the anti-conservative argument. Wagner suggested that ObamaCare “extremism would seem to be of a piece with this radicalized rhetoric” that influenced the terrorist Tsarnaev.

Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, argued that one “could draw a line” connecting the terrorist attacks in Boston to “vehement opposition” to the president’s health care law. And Mark Potok, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, added:



MSNBC host Thomas Roberts took a hostile tone with RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer in a Thursday interview on MSNBC Live, suggesting the GOP just wants “to scream into an echo chamber” during the 2016 presidential cycle. Roberts appeared to take issue with the RNC’s campaign against planned Hillary Clinton projects from CNN and NBC, asking if the RNC was “making a huge mistake with this ultimatum.”

Spicer wasn’t going to let Roberts off easy, though. The Republican blasted CNN and NBC, pointing out that the two networks “are not the be-all and end-all of how people get their news.” Spicer suggested the RNC may reach out to Bloomberg, ABC, and Spanish-language networks for 2016 primary debates, simply asserting: “there are other networks.”



The New York Times’s Raymond Hernandez delivered New Jersey primary election results with a spin Tuesday night, offering a mushy profile of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the state’s landslide winner in the Democratic primary for United States Senate. The report’s lead lauded Booker as a “charismatic and media-savvy star in the Democratic Party,” noting the mayor’s efforts to “remake a notoriously troubled city.”

Hernandez celebrated Booker as a nonpartisan figure arguing for a “pragmatic brand of politics, favoring practical solutions over ideology.” And what about Booker’s Republican opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan? Well, Lonegan merited a mere paragraph in the Times’s New Jersey election coverage [picture after the jump, courtesy of Chang W. Lee, New York Times]:



On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported the Obama administration had delayed a “significant consumer protection” in the Affordable Care Act, a provision that limits how much individuals and families can pay out-of-pocket for health care, until 2015. Under ObamaCare, the limit on out-of-pocket health care costs was set at $6,350 per year for individuals and $12,700 per year for families.

The Times suggested the delay “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law” – yet, the development was ignored by both ABC and NBC on their nightly and morning news programs. CBS This Morning also failed to report the delay, while CBS Evening News offered up a short segment on the story.



It’s hardly surprising that MSNBC host and former DNC communications director Karen Finney took issue with Reince Priebus’ campaign against the liberal media on Saturday’s Disrupt. Finney mocked “Reince’s rage” and suggested that the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman is “full of you know what.”

What is surprising is that Finney’s searing critique came despite the fact that she and former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean did almost the same thing to Fox News back in 2007.



MSNBC host Karen Finney denounced Republican “scare tactics” over ObamaCare on Saturday’s Disrupt – and then employed liberal scare tactics to stress the benefits of ObamaCare. Finney further warned that the GOP wants to “[take] something away from people” in their repeal efforts, rattling off a long list of benefits that Americans would lose if ObamaCare was repealed.

Finney began the segment by fawning over President Obama’s Friday press conference, declaring that the president “heads to his vacation with a new verve.” Finney apparently chose to ignore Obama’s near record-low approval ratings.



Forget the journalistic norms of objectivity and fairness. According to MSNBC’s Ed Schultz and his Saturday Ed Show panel, Reince Priebus’ campaign against the liberal media is all about a weak crop of 2016 GOP presidential candidates.

Schultz and guests railed against the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman on Saturday’s The Ed Show, with Salon’s Joan Walsh concluding that Priebus is a “big cry baby” who’s trying to hide his “crackpot set of candidates in 2016.” Comedian Lizz Winstead agreed, describing the potential set of Republican presidential candidates as a “flotilla of fail.”



Joe Scarborough offered one of the most interesting ObamaCare metaphors to date on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming that President Obama’s signature health care reform is “like a zombie” that is “neither alive or completely dead.” The MSNBC host added that the law “just sort of slowly marches on,” amidst a barrage of criticism from both the right and the left.

Scarborough’s panel kicked off the segment by discussing Josh Green’s latest column in Bloomberg Businessweek, in which Green argued that the Obama administration is losing the battle over the ironically-titled Affordable Care Act on Twitter. MSNBC host Thomas Roberts turned the discussion to the fast-approaching open enrollment period for ObamaCare, which begins on October 1:



For a perfect illustration of why few conservatives wish to subject themselves to MSNBC, look no further than Rep. Tom Cole’s experience on the network’s Now with Alex Wagner. The Oklahoma Republican went into the lion’s den on Thursday’s Now, where the conversation was anything but fair and balanced – and certainly less than cordial.

Wagner and weekend host Karen Finney used the opportunity to blast Republicans for their opposition to ObamaCare, with Finney – a former DNC communications director – suggesting the law is about “life and death” for some people. All too often, Cole could barely get a word in edgewise as he was badgered by the dynamic duo. He was often cut off by the two MSNBC hosts, especially when talking about the approval ratings of ObamaCare:



Joe Scarborough blasted NBC and MSNBC for liberal bias on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, criticizing his network’s parent company for producing what could be a “splashy biopic” about Hillary Clinton set to be released in 2015. Scarborough accused MSNBC of promoting liberal candidates, claiming the network is “exactly the same” as Fox News when it comes to pushing a partisan agenda.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski pushed back throughout the segment, arguing that the two networks – often seen as adversaries – are “not the same at all,” and that MSNBC has not tried to “push” Democrats “into the forefront.” The Lean Forward network, though, has promoted Clinton’s would-be candidacy early and often – from shameless praise to campaign strategy to the just-plain bizarre.



MSNBC host Alex Wagner rehashed an old and much-overblown feud between President Obama and Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) on Thursday’s Now, hyping Obama and Brewer’s first tarmac meeting since the Arizona governor allegedly wagged her finger at the president in early 2012. Wagner blasted Brewer for not giving President Obama “the respect that should be given the commander in chief,” asking her panel why the governor never apologized.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart took the criticism of Brewer a step further. Capehart argued that many of Brewer’s supporters saw the incident as “wagging her finger at this president who’s also black, who should not be there,” implying that many in Brewer’s “base” are racist:



Ed Schultz has spent weeks blaming Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing on Republican policies, even though the city has been firmly in Democratic hands for decades. The bombastic MSNBC host has called the city a “conservative utopia,” arguing that Republican anti-union policies have “gutted Detroit.”

Schultz’s latest tirade came on Saturday’s The Ed Show, when the left-wing host bizarrely claimed that Republicans have “taken democracy away from Detroit.” Schultz further suggested that Republicans “circumvent[ed] local elections in this country” and “discard[ed] what people want and say about their communities.”



MSNBC contributors Jonathan Alter and Joy Reid sound much like a good metronome: their commentary never changes, marching on at an endless, fixed pace. Alter and Reid have made a career at the Lean Forward network out of comparing Republicans to slave owners, terrorists, and drunks.

Their latest assault on the GOP came on Friday’s Now, with Reid serving as guest host in place of Alex Wagner. Discussing the latest attempt by Senate Republicans to defund ObamaCare, Alter blasted the “suicide caucus” GOP, claiming “smarter conservatives understand” that shutting down the government over ObamaCare “is suicidal.”



It’s rare when the Morning Joe crew unanimously agrees on an issue. It’s simply extraordinary when the issue is ObamaCare.

Host Joe Scarborough and a liberal panel mocked congressional Democrats on Friday for griping about high premiums under ObamaCare, after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Thursday that the federal government would continue to subsidize health care premiums for members of Congress and their staffs.



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.



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.



MSNBC contributor Joy Reid continued her daily assault on Republicans Tuesday on Martin Bashir, comparing Republicans to chain smokers and blasting the GOP for its resistance to President Obama’s economic agenda. Reid argued that offering Republicans tax cuts is “like offering a chain smoker a cigarette,” pushing the same anti-GOP rhetoric she’s known for on the Lean Forward network. [Video after the jump.]

Host Martin Bashir offered his own analogy to complement Reid’s, likening President Obama’s revenue-neutral corporate tax reform to giving “a drunk a glass of bourbon.” Reid seemed content with Bashir’s insulting and sophomoric joke, sneering:



MSNBC’s Disrupt only seems capable of “disrupting” conservative voices, even absent host and former DNCer Karen Finney. Guest hosting for Finney, Ari Melber teamed up with NBC Latino contributor Raul Reyes to try and shut down former Republican strategist Robert Traynham on immigration reform, insisting that Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) reprehensible comments on undocumented immigrants represent the GOP’s position on reform.

King is under fire for claiming that young, undocumented immigrants have “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they’re smuggling illegal drugs into the United States. Many Republicans have condemned King for his remarks, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho).



Ed Schultz took a dive off the deep end on Saturday’s The Ed Show, claiming that Social Security is a “cheap” program that “has never contributed one penny to the deficit.” The bombastic MSNBC host also blasted Republicans who support partially privatizing Social Security, arguing those lawmakers just want to “get their hands on the money.”

Schultz echoed similar arguments made by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who suggested that Social Security doesn’t contribute a “penny” or a “dime” to the national deficit. Both Democrats’ claims were challenged by fact-checking organizations, including PolitiFact, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, and FactCheck.org. And while the term "cheap" is relatively subjective, few would argue that Social Security – which takes up one-fifth of the federal budget – is "cheap."



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: