Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.
Connor Williams was a summer 2014 and 2015 News Analysis Division intern for the Media Research Center, and is now freelancing for NewsBusters. He is currently a senior at the University of Michigan, studying political science. He is a native of Novi, Michigan.
Latest from Connor Williams
Thursday on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, a panel discussed the 2016 presidential election, taking shots at both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the process. Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport slammed Donald Trump, suggesting he has a “ strong, old school, slave owner mentality.” He added: “[H]e told the Latinos, you're this, you’re that, you’re this and I’m gonna win your – and you’re gonna vote for me! That's slave owner 101, and people are like, keep going! Because the middle of the country is like, we feel the same way.”
Wednesday night on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter claimed that Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge “has helped to wreck the United States." The discussion centered around New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s decision to sign the pledge, and Jeb Bush’s refusal to do so. The Newsweek veteran declared the pledge was “about the worst kind of public policy for the reasons you just heard...[i]t’s terribly destructive.”
Last night on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly and former Dick Cheney staffer Shannen Coffin ripped Hillary Clinton amid new revelations indicating the former secretary of state emailed classified information on her personal server. Kelly read multiple quotes from Clinton in recent months denying the allegations, and then remarked on the 2016 presidential candidate’s inconsistent statements: “Now it turns out [to be] not just classified, top secret [information]. And on top of that, the server, the server she said she would never turn over is being turned over. In fact, we believe it is in the DOJ’s possession right now.”
On Morning Joe today, a panel discussed the news that Hillary Clinton will turn over thumb drives to federal investigators as well as the discovery of emails on Clinton’s private account that were labeled top secret. McClatchy’s Anita Kumar, who broke the story regarding the classified nature of the emails, tried to spin for Hillary by making the case that she was not personally being investigated: “There are several investigations into her conduct – not into her – but into her use of personal e-mail and a personal server.”
On Tuesday's Morning Joe, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson attacked the Republican Party for “going way, way, way to the right on abortion.” The columnist based this opinion on Marco Rubio’s refusal to rule out voting for a bill that wouldn't have exceptions for cases of rape or incest. No word from Robinson about a move to the left in the Democratic Party despite a surge in the polls from self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders.
On the August 10 edition of Morning Joe, host Mika Brzezinski criticized opponents of the Iran deal and defended President Obama’s harsh rhetoric. She claimed that supporting the deal was a “no-brainer” because, in her mind, there are no alternatives. The Morning Joe personality lauded the president for “being sharp” in trying to gain support for the deal.
Following Thursday night’s explosive Republican primary debate on Fox News, MSNBC’s Morning Joe was in Cleveland for reaction. A panel heaped praise on Ohio governor John Kasich, particularly regarding his response to a question about Medicaid expansion. Willie Geist described it as “the best answer of the entire night that any candidate gave.” Host Joe Scarborough thought he “hit it out of the park.” John Heilemann cheered Kasich’s general performance as “Reaganesque in some ways.”
Following the president’s comments comparing Republicans in Congress to the terror-sponsoring hardliners in Iran, Charles Krauthammer eviscerated Obama's entire conception of the Middle East nation. Appearing on The Kelly File last night, the Fox personality hit the president for being “delusional...pretending that those who chant death to America are some kind of KKK fringe in Iran.”
Tuesday on The Nightly Show, Larry Wilmore went after conservatives who want to defund Planned Parenthood, accusing them of potentially “stranding millions of women without health care.” The comedian linked the Center for Medical Progress – the group behind the release of a series of videos appearing to show the organization trafficking fetal body parts – to ISIS: “And the group leading the charge against Planned Parenthood, Center For Medical Progress, the most ironically named group since the ISIS Center for Women's Literacy, says – thank you – Planned Parenthood is profiting off of fetal tissue donation.”
Tuesday morning, Joe Scarborough slammed Elizabeth Warren for her attacks on the opponents of Planned Parenthood. The Morning Joe host objected to the Democratic Massachusetts senator’s contention that defunding the women’s health organization would send women back to the 1950s or 1890s. Scarborough implored Warren to “stop insulting our intelligence.”
The former Florida congressman was angered about the way the conversation about Planned Parenthood has been framed: “It has been set up that way so you can't have this discussion without being against women's health. But you can be against the funding of Planned Parenthood without being against the support of women's health care. Nice try Elizabeth, nice try Elizabeth Warren. Nice try.”
Carol Costello took great offense to an ad from Ted Cruz showing the Texas senator humorously cooking bacon on a machine gun. Tuesday on CNN Newsroom, the host argued “we no longer respect our weapons. We forget that guns can actually kill.” Costello lamented “America’s cavalier attitude toward guns” and thought Cruz’s ad may have crossed the line.
This Sunday on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, a panel discussed the possibility of infidelity on Bill Clinton’s part and the impact that could have on Hillary’s campaign. The chat revolved around the potential of a Joe Biden run in 2016 and what could bring that about. MSNBC contributor Robert Traynham wondered what could derail the former secretary of state: “It could also be Benghazi...it could also be some Clinton email stuff. It also could be, perhaps, some infidelities in her marriage.”
After The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg suggested that infidelity in that marriage may be baked in, Harris-Perry lost it: “Okay, whoa. I’m sorry, we have to pause. Because I don’t know if we can just say that on TV. So let me just. Not that there may be infidelities, but just that we presume it to be baked in.”
In a recent piece for Slate, Mark Joseph Stern argued that videos released showing Planned Parenthood to be trafficking fetal body parts gives him hope. Is it the possible defunding of the ‘reproductive health’ organization that gives him hope, you might ask? Nope. Stern opined: “The graphic images of aborted fetuses are meant to disgust me, to convince me that abortion is a barbaric act of killing. But I don’t see death in these videos. I see hope.” Later in the piece, after outlining the supposed medical benefits, he claimed abortion “is not an act of killing. It is an act of altruism.”
Wednesday night on All In, MSNBC's Chris Hayes invited Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens to the program to discuss the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Seemingly not too concerned with the selling of fetal baby parts, Hayes wondered if there was “some sense” that the “reproductive health” organization has “been infiltrated. I mean, are there security concerns?”
Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews hit the Republicans Party for having “this love affair with anger.” In a panel discussion on the 2016 Republican race for the nomination, the MSNBC personality explained that part of Donald Trump’s appeal is that the Republicans are “an angry party.” Matthews thought it unlikely that the party in its current state could nominate an establishment figure like Jeb Bush.
Tuesday on Morning Joe, regular contributor Mike Barnicle slammed Republicans who want to continue the fight against ObamaCare. Barnicle was aghast that Mike Lee (R-UT) expressed frustration at Mitch McConnell for the Kentucky Senator’s refusal to put another ObamaCare repeal on the floor. Barnicle shouted: “What is wrong with these people? I mean, what is going on?...Are they so unbound from reality that they continue to do this?”
On Monday’s Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell started his program with a panel discussing Mike Huckabee’s controversial comments about the Iran deal. Daily Beast columnist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter had harsh words for the Republicans, claiming their rhetoric is far worse when compared to the Democrats: “[T]here's a vileness gap that is developing between our political parties.” The ex-Newsweek reporter charged: “They don't talk this way in the Democratic Party. That's not a partisan comment. It's an examination of the record and the rhetoric.”
A Monday New York Times editorial compared transgender access to restrooms to the civil rights-era struggles against Jim Crow laws as well as women’s rights and Americans with disabilities. The Times argued that banning transgender students from bathrooms that do not align with their sex at birth “reinforce[s] cruel policies that deny dignity to some of the most vulnerable students and subject them to more bullying and stigmatization.” The editorial made a civil rights comparison: “African-Americans challenged Jim Crow laws that barred them from so-called white restrooms.”
In a discussion on Planned Parenthood today on Morning Joe, regular MSNBC contributor and editor of Bloomberg Politics Mark Halperin championed the popularity of the ‘family planning’ organization. Halperin asserted that “Planned Parenthood in general and what they do – as we saw with Mitt Romney – is pretty popular with a lot of people who will vote in this presidential election.”
Last night on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly slammed the Obama Administration for refusing to “take seriously” those who have raised concerns about illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. The Fox News personality explained: “That’s the message 24 hours after a half dozen witnesses went before Congress to testify about this issue. Many were families who lost loved ones at the hands of illegal immigrants. All of them begging Washington for some help.”
After playing a clip from Jim Steinle, father of murdered San Francisco native Kate Steinle, Kelly declared: “Well, that last person was Mr. Steinle, the father of Kate Steinle, whose daughter was allegedly shot by an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record who should have been deported and was repeatedly, but instead, he had been put back on the street because of sanctuary cities policies in the city of San Francisco.”