Jackie Seal


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Eight months before the 2006 midterm election, President Bush made a “surprise” visit to Afghanistan. On the March 1, 2006 edition of the Today show, hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer made sure to paint Bush’s visit as a publicity stunt due to his approval rating being at an “all-time low” and the controversy surrounding a bid by a United Arab Emirates-based company to run operations at various U.S. seaports. Couric touted it as an “important symbol.” Kelly O’Donnell cited the visit with all its baggage as a “difficult stretch for the president.”

At the time, the network insisted their viewers be absolutely clear about the president’s approval rating and scandals bedeviling his administration back at home. Not only that, Today's coverage included a guest who argued that it was simply impossible to “divorce how the war is going with the perception of how President Bush is doing as president.”

Retiring West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller recently slandered Republicans as racist, including, by implication, his colleague from Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson. The Morning Joe crew on MSNBC tackled the controversy today, with host Joe Scarborough livid at Rockefeller's remarks and for the wealthy liberal politician's refusal to apologize.

“That’s one of the stupidest, most offensive things I’ve heard a sitting senator say. He owes Ron Johnson an apology,” Scarborough exclaimed. The former Florida Republican congressman, however, was alone in that assessment, with liberal panelist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post defending Rockefeller, and Ezra Klein of Vox.com trying to stake out a middle ground between Robinson and Scarborough.

When it comes to TV punditry, there's your garden variety liberal talking points, and then there's your absurdly over-the-top liberal spin. Fox News contributor Juan Williams opted to offer the latter in an appearance today when he hinted that, if anything, President Obama cares a little too much about America's military veterans.

Appearing on the 11 a.m. Eastern hour on Fox News's Happening Now along with New York Post columnist Charlie Hurt, Williams insisted that President Obama has nearly gone "overboard" in his support of veterans. This response came, however, to a simple question from host Jon Scott: "[I]f, as the president said this was one of the causes of his presidency, why hasn't it [the persistent problems with the VA] been fixed?"

Yesterday morning, President Obama made an overdue statement regarding the widening VA scandal. That afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his regularly scheduled Press Briefing. Understandably so, the briefing dealt primarily with the president’s statement and handling of the aforementioned scandal.

The real fireworks took place about halfway through the briefing when Jay Carney took questions from ABC Chief White House correspondent, Jon Karl. Karl spent roughly five minutes grilling the press secretary on the President’s handling or lack thereof of the recent events. For this the reporter was rewarded by his network with no air time on the Wednesday edition of World News.

On Tuesday afternoon’s closing segment of MSNBC’s The Cycle, host Krystal Ball delivered an epic soliloquy, holding nothing back as she attacked the Tea Party from just about every angle.

The segment was introduced by clips of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz all using the phrase “We the People.” She chided the recent efforts of various “Tea Party” groups which fell short on delivering a crowd at different planned protests. What followed was boiler-plate MSNBC spin which seeks to pump up its left-wing audience by seeking to marginalize and misrepresent conservatism. Ball accused conservatives of having “developed a strange relationship with reality.” This strange relationship, of course, in Ball’s words because of conservatives:

MSNBC guest host Ari Melber devoted significant attention on Monday night's The Last Word to shielding potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from scrutiny, both on questions about her health and on her record as President's Obama's first-term secretary of state.

As part of that effort, Melber and two panelists tackled recent comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) regarding Mrs. Clinton's handling of the Benghazi fiasco. Melber lamented that Graham was heretofore a member of the “serious wing” of the Republican Party who is flushing that down the drain in the interest in going down "what Jon Stewart called the Brainghazi rabbit hole to pull at her health in this theory."

In 2012, CNN host Fareed Zakaria took to the commencement circuit delivering nearly-identical speeches at Harvard and Duke. A New York magazine took notice and wondered if these carbon-copied addresses could serve as “a meta-lesson for the kids on how, unlike in college, people get away with phoning it in once they've reached a certain level of success?”

This year, it’s happening again. This past weekend, Katie Couric delivered her second and final commencement address of the season and rehashed the same laments about supposedly sexist critics who never took her seriously as a journalist. Not one to disappoint, she made sure to re-use her "Latin for testicles" joke.

Continuing with the trend this week, Chuck Todd and his guests looked to protect Hillary Clinton from Karl Rove's remarks regarding her age and health. Former Democratic political consultant Mike Feldman -- husband of NBC journalist Savannah Guthrie -- took protecting Clinton to the next level by simply asserting that, “Nobody has been lied about more by her political opponents in a political career than Hillary Clinton.”

That's quite the claim to make, but Todd didn't bother to press him on that statement for being, at best, a touch too melodramatic.

Two years ago, Katie Couric delivered the commencement address at her alma mater, the University of Virginia.  NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes noted at the time that Couric used the occasion to complain about her many critics from her five-year stint as the anchor for the CBS Evening News.

Last Saturday, Couric gave an encore performance of her airing of grievances at a commencement address at American University’s School of Communications. Couric recycled some of her favorite lines about her time at CBS informing students that “critics complained about my clothes, my hair, my make up, my delivery, even the way I held my hands on the anchor desk.”  She followed up with a lament of sexism in the broadcast news business. "Some claimed I lacked gravitas. I decided, that’s Latin for testicles," she quipped.