Lyndsi Thomas

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Christine Romans, CNN American Morning | NewsBusters.orgThursday's edition of CNN's "American Morning" featured a "fact checking" segment on the claims former President Bill Clinton made about his accomplishments as president during his speech to the Democratic National Convention. The segment wasn't much of a "fact check" as CNN Business Correspondent Christine Romans mostly reminisced about the "glory days" of the '90's. But what she did find was that the worst part of Clinton's presidency was one of his more conservative actions: "He also signed into law a historic deregulation of the financial system, dismantling laws from the Great Depression that many say would have protected us against the current mortgage crisis."

Other problems the correspondent found with Clinton's presidency include: "the go-go days of the '90s also gave us the dotcom boom. And when that went bust, Allan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve lowered the interest rates to ease the pain. Dropping them so low, many now see the roots of the current housing mess way back in the dotcom boom. Plus, the '90s gave us this obsession with record home ownership with Clinton as a principal cheerleader."

Brian Williams, MSNBC News Live| NewsBusters.orgWhile hosting the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live, Brian Williams interviewed Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Jack Reed as well as former Republican presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, the differences between the discussions were stark.

Williams whipped out Democratic talking points during his interview with Giuliani. The host asked:

[W]hat can the Republicans tell Americans who are concerned about having troops on the ground in two nations overseas, concerned about a rather dire financial outlook, the list of banks that are in trouble yesterday that in the last reporting period went from 90 to well over 100, the environment, all of the issues that have been on the plate of the current administration for eight years, all the stuff they're hitting you with from this podium?
Also during his discussion with Giuliani, Williams brought up that "the area where your candidate, Senator McCain has admitted weakness has been famously economics" to bring up the subject of McCain’s Vice Presidential choice. The Nightly News anchor also asked: "Mr. Mayor, now that Senator Clinton has spoken to this gathering and President Clinton tonight and presumably the Democrats will leave here Thursday after Obama’s speech saying they are united as one, for how long is Senator Clinton going to be a fixture in Senator McCain’s ads?"

On two separate occasions during the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live on Wednesday, host Brian Williams continued to wonder, as he did repeatedly the night before, if there will ever be a female President: "If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when?" He recited the line during discussions with Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. Williams first raised the topic during the second segment of the hour. After asking Rep.

Kiran Chetry with Rudy Giuliani, CNN American Morning| NewsBusters.orgFormer New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was interviewed on Wednesday's "American Morning" by co-host Kiran Chetry about Senator Hillary Clinton's Tuesday night speech to the Democratic National Convention. After Giuliani argued that Clinton never answered the "big question" surrounding Senator Barack Obama of whether he is ready to be Commander-in-Chief, Chetry asked: "Well, what I'm wondering though, you know, is the GOP trying to paint her into a no-win situation? If she started bringing up some of Barack Obama's weaknesses that she talked about in the primary, she would have been panned for that."

Giuliani responded by saying that Clinton wouldn't have to actually bring up anything she's said about Obama's readiness to lead during the Democratic primary, she could have simply "talked about how she's gotten to know him, how much she believes in him, his character, his strength."

Chetry then brought up the Democratic talking point that Senator John McCain's term as president would continue the last eight years of President George Bush's presidency. She mentioned that some McCain supporters claim the senator is a maverick on issues such as campaign finance reform. However, the co-host was not convinced. She asked: "But really, how will McCain show besides those things that he is different from the Bush administration?"

Dan Abrams with John Decker, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgDuring the 11 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday’s MSNBC “News Live,” host Dan Abrams interviewed Reuters Washington correspondent John Decker about Senator Obama’s campaign seeking a criminal investigation against the American Issues Project over an ad which links Obama to terrorist Bill Ayers.

While none of the American Issues Project ad was shown, MSNBC did help Obama rebut any claims of a connection between Obama and Ayers by airing part of Obama’s response ad: “Why is John McCain talking about the sixties trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes committed when Obama was just 8 years old.”

Just like in the Obama ad, Abrams only referred to Ayers as a “radical,” and never mentioned the bombings Ayers took part in or his September 2001 statement that, "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough."

photo by Win McNamee of Getty Images | NewsBusters.orgWhile the national media fret over whether or not there will be unity in the Democratic Party and gush over Monday night’s speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama, pro-lifers are out in Denver, Colorado, protesting and working hard to get their message across. Of course, it would be easier to get their message out if the national media paid attention to their protests.

None of the big three broadcast network morning shows -- ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today" and CBS’s "Early Show" -- reported on these protests. Of course, this should come as no surprise. The broadcast networks also ignored this year’s March for Life as well as the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.

In contrast, all three of the network evening news broadcasts reported on the anti-war protests on the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Moreover, these reports all aired within the first ten minutes of each program.

Gwen Ifill of PBS, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgLive from Denver, Colorado, on Monday, Brian Williams hosted the 1 p.m. hour of MSNBC's "News Live" and featured guests Gwen Ifill of PBS and Michele Norris of NPR to talk about Michelle Obama’s upcoming primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention. The segment turned out to be a love-fest of Michelle Obama and her humble roots.

Williams started off the segment by asking the typical question of "what does Michelle Obama have to do tonight in this hall?" Ifill immediately went into gushing mode, first about Senator Ted Kennedy and then about Obama:

Michelle Obama has to find a way to be more amazing and more emotional than Ted Kennedy. If it looks like Ted Kennedy actually walks across that stage tonight and appears in some fashion in person and speaks, it’s gonna be an emotional highpoint. Michelle Obama, however, also has to deal with preconceptions about who she is. A lot of people have never seen anything that looks like a Michelle Obama before. She’s educated, she’s beautiful, she’s tall, she tells you what she thinks and they hope that she can tell a story about Barack Obama and about herself.

Roland Martin, CNN American Morning| NewsBusters.orgMonday’s "American Morning" featured a segment on CNN political analyst Roland Martin’s recent TV One interview with Michelle Obama which seemingly sought to counter negative assertions about Obama by Republicans and “crazy folks on the right.”

After airing a clip of Obama talking about her blue-collar upbringing, during which she stated that her story was the "quintessential American story," co-host Kiran Chetry asked Martin about how important it would be for Obama to address that in her speech at the Democratic National Convention. In his reply, Martin contended that "crazy folks on the right" are to blame for mischaracterizations of Obama, although he has previously acknowledged that "idiot Democrats" were also to blame for certain rumors:

CHETRY: Roland, how important is it going to be for her to bring that up tonight as she gives the speech?

MARTIN: It’s vital because it lays the foundation that, look, I’m just like you. I’m not, you know, I wasn’t some rich kid who went to Princeton and Harvard where I had a silver spoon in my mouth. She makes the point in the interview on TV One last night that, look, I was born in a two bedroom apartment, grew up with my brother, my dad, my mom. So, when you’re able to tell that story, you’re able to counter this different kind of version that’s been put upon her by frankly a lot of the crazy folks on the right.

An August 4 Time magazine article by Michael Grunwald comes to Sen. Barack Obama’s defense against Republican claims that his energy policy of keeping tires properly inflated is a joke. The article, entitled "The Tire-Gauge Solution: No Joke," argues that if everyone were to keep their tires properly inflated and keep up with regular auto maintenance, demand for gasoline would immediately be reduced by several percentage points whereas offshore drilling would only meet one percent of America’s demand two decades from now:

The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.

Grunwald also used this opportunity to promote energy conservation, claiming that:

Contessa Brewer with Christopher Dickey, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgNewsweek Paris bureau chief Christopher Dickey appeared as a guest on the August 4 edition of MSNBC’s “News Live” to discuss a recent trip through the South he took in order to determine “if Obama's candidacy was helping to pull people in the South together, freeing them of their histories, or pushing them apart.” During their discussion, the two journalists disparaged white Southerners who are skeptical of Obama as racists.

Responding to an inquiry by Brewer about his description of emotions in the South as “raw,” Dickey rendered any hesitations white Southerners may have with Obama as thinly-veiled racism:

The South is part of the country that’s had to deal with race as an issue for a very long time and often very painfully so the idea that Obama is a black man that may be the next President of the United States has raised hopes among African-Americans tremendously, uh, but it’s also raised a lot of concerns among whites who may not talk about it as a race question but raise lots of other issues that may in some cases be code for race.

In following up with that response, Brewer noted that Southerners often deal with the stereotype that they are all racists, yet proceeded to depict them as clinging -- I suppose bitterly along with guns and Bibles -- to racist traditions:

Andrea Mitchell with Nancy Pfotenhauer, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgDuring the 1 p.m. hour of the July 30 edition of MSNBC’s “News Live,” host Andrea Mitchell once again defended Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), this time in regards to Sen. John McCain’s newest TV ad tagging Obama as a celebrity that isn’t ready to lead America. During an interview with the Arizona Republican’s senior policy advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer, Mitchell asked: “Tell me about the ad and the reasoning behind [the ad]. Why Paris Hilton? Why Britney Spears? It does seem that you're trying to demean Barack Obama.”

Later, when Pfotenhauer asserted that McCain has proven he’s a leader and has put his country’s interests first on more than one occasion whereas Obama has just given speeches, Mitchell questioned Pfotenhauer’s statement about the presumptive Democratic nominee and claimed that comparing Obama to Paris Hilton raises questions:

The media have been barking up the wrong tree for while, insisting the economy is in recession when we’ve yet to have even one quarter of negative GDP growth.

But of course the mainstream media keep digging around for more reasons to say the economy has gone to the dogs. NBC’s “Nightly News” recently claimed that pets are the “silent victims of this whole economic downturn” because they were given up by their owners whose homes were foreclosed.

Now, a July 28 article on claims that the economy is to blame for a rise in pet thefts.

Interestingly, the article by MSNBC contributor Kim Campbell Thornton also notes that “Police reports don't make a distinction between pet theft and other property theft, so there's no way to pinpoint the exact number of stolen pets each year, but anecdotally, officers say that pet theft is increasing this year.”

Judy Woodruff with Andrew Tyndall, PBS's News Hour | NewsBusters.orgBarack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.

On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgWhile many in the media rather enjoyed Obama’s speech in Berlin, particularly CBS which declared that it “confirmed his rock star status,” many conservatives felt that this speech, like others, lacked substance. But, Obama need not worry because NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reporting from London, came to Obama’s defense during the 3 p.m. hour of the July 25 MSNBC “News Live”:

Well, [the Obama campaign] have rebutted that and I think when you look at this speech, this was a broad, overarching, thematic speech. It was never intended to be a checklist of legislative programs. So I think that they can fairly defend themselves and say this was the big picture of let’s have the United States and Europe re-engage.

Of course, it could be argued that with the rise of center-right leaders in Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, that Europe has largely re-engaged President Bush’s administration in the past few years, but why bother with such minor details?

Earlier in the segment, Mitchell reported on Obama’s meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, describing the meeting as a “love fest” and gushing about their “full scale presidential news conference”:

Three days after former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech outlining his plan for countering climate change, he appeared on “Meet the Press” with Tom Brokaw who lauded the former Vice President's efforts but also pressed him on his own energy usage and suggested that Americans must sacrifice in order to fight climate change.

Brokaw started off his program lauding Gore, claiming that since losing the presidency to Bush in 2000, Gore has “since focused on his environmental crusade, winning an Oscar for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ as well as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. On Thursday he proposed a bold new plan to address global warming and the energy crisis.”

After Gore joined the program, Brokaw again lauded the former Vice President and showed his personal beliefs on global warming by describing him as “Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner and crusader for conservation of energy and attacking the climate change that we're all experiencing in this country.”

Brit Hume, C-SPAN Q&A | NewsBusters.orgWhen the Bush administration reported that 15 of 18 political benchmarks set for Iraq had been met, which is nearly twice as many that were met last year, only Fox News reported on the story. And during his July 2 report, Brit Hume predicted that the story wouldn’t gain much traction elsewhere:

I suspect that this broadcast tonight -- and maybe some others on this channel -- are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.

As Hume predicted, CBS’s “Evening News,” NBC’s “Nightly News” and ABC's “World News Tonight” did not mention the story in their broadcasts that night.

Tamron Hall and Mike Dorning, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgIn the wake of Barack Obama’s complaints featured in Glamour magazine about Republican attacks on his wife, “MNSBC News Live” host Tamron Hall interviewed the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Dorning on the subject.

After asking Dorning if Democrats have ever attacked Republican spouses, Hall claimed that Cindy McCain has not been a target for the Democrats in this election:

We have not seen the Democrats, uh, during this election cycle attack Cindy McCain. Do you at all believe that that will happen if these attacks from the Republicans continue? Will it be a tit-for-tat that could inevitably make voters feel very uncomfortable?

Dorning went along with the assertion and even brought up criticism of Cindy McCain in the process:

On Cindy McCain, I don’t think people are gonna attack her unless they think it will help the political cause. And the only place I could see something coming up there that would actually be politically effective would be over the whole foreign buyout of Budweiser. Her family owns a lot of stock in Anheuser-Busch and obviously she would benefit from that. But in general it doesn’t quite fit the tone that the Barack Obama campaign wants to establish that they’re supposedly getting beyond attack politics. So I don’t see how that would profit them.

Of course, Cindy McCain has already been the subject of Democratic attacks. As Jake Tapper noted in his Political Punch blog in May, the Democratic National Committee attacked Mrs. McCain for not publicly releasing her tax returns:

Contessa Brewer with Richard Pompelio, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgDuring the 9:00 a.m. hour of the July 16 "MSNBC News Live," Richard Pompelio, a lawyer with the New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center, appeared as a guest for a segment on a New Jersey appellate court’s recent decision that cities cannot implement their own laws regarding child sex offenders. After asking Pompelio to describe Megan’s Law -- which requires law enforcement personnel to provide information about a child sex offender to the community in which the offender lives -- "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer worried:

The question that always comes up when you have these community hearings where law enforcement gather the neighbors and they say "look, we just wanna let you know that there's a sex offender moving in so that you can keep an eye on your children and stay safe." The neighbors say "why, why is he moving into my neighborhood.?" But they've served their time, they’ve done their, they've done the punishment so don’t they deserve a chance to come out and try to live a good life?

What Brewer must have forgotten is that the inspiration for Megan’s Law was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka by Jesse Timmendequas, a twice-convicted sex offender who happened to live across the street from Megan.

The day after many in the media jumped to Barack Obama’s defense over the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker magazine, MSNBC News Live host Contessa Brewer brought on comedian and satirist Andy Borowitz to make fun of John McCain’s age.

Borowitz founded, is a blogger at the left-leaning Huffington Post and is performing an on-stage production entitled “Countdown to ‘08” with guests such as Joy Behar from “The View” and CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, both of whom are no strangers to NewsBusters criticism.

Brewer introduced the segment by informing viewers that:

When John McCain was born, there wasn’t even FM radio and forget about computers, they weren’t even a blip on the technological horizon.

Later, Brewer played clips of McCain trying to be humorous, including him parodying the Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann” with the lyrics “bomb Iran” and joking that perhaps U.S.-exported cigarettes are shipped to the regime in order to kill Iranians. What followed was an exchange about McCain being too old to properly function as president:

Lester Holt with James Warren, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgAppearing as a guest during the 10 a.m. hour of the July 11 MSNBC News Live, Chicago Tribune managing editor James Warren compared McCain adviser Phil Gramm’s recent comments on the economy’s health to those of Henry Ford during the Great Depression:

But I think in the annals of a not particularly sensitive remarks this will rank up there with a bunch of things. Somebody, a historian reminded me yesterday, the auto manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford during the Depression said something to the effect that “these really are good times, it’s just that few know it.”

Warren then went on to suggest that Gramm needs to be reminded of the current economy’s impact on average Americans: