Latest from Mike Sargent
There are times when speaking in a stream of consciousness is a good and wholesome thing. None occur in front of a camera, as evidenced by the public escapades of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch.
The former ad-man took to today’s “Morning Joe” set yesterday morning to offer the following wisdom in reference to the impending Massachusetts electorate:
He is a traditional-looking middle-aged white male. We’re going back to basics, we’ve obviously had our first African American president we’ve had the female candidates and what-not – you look at him, he looks like the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate, and is there a visceral comfort in that for people? I’m just curious from real kind of sociological point of view.
Obvious questions abound, of course.
TVNewser has a transcript par excellence, for your reading pleasure. In sum, Mika Brzezinski has gone off the Big Media reservation again, in a good way. Let’s just say she unwittingly (?) offers praise for a cable news network with much better ratings.
In an interview for her new book, Brzezinski spoke with Julie Menin about the partisan nature of today’s American media:
BRZEZINSKI: "I've worked in the mainstream media for all the networks and I will say what people aren't saying. It's got a liberal world view. There are great people working at the networks, and they're mostly Democrats, ok? They try really hard to be objective, really hard and they do a great job at it, but the balance is not there within the objective mainstream media. It's not, it is not and I'm not sure how we fix that. I hate the polarizing extremes that we're seeing on cable where there's these sort of ‘Think my way or you’re evil’ kind of subliminal message or cartoonish type characters on the right and the left.
Interesting enough – but even more piquing is Brzezinski’s solution to the problem of a partisan media:
Coming back from commercial this morning at the MSNBC Clown Kingdom, the bump-in video clip was one of Sarah Palin’s interview with Glenn Beck. Palin stated that it took all of the Founders to come up with the Constitution, but that George Washington (as the leader) would necessarily rise to the top.
Mika Brzezinski took the lead-in rather hard:
A brief (and humorous) hypothetical: What would the reaction of the mainstream media be if Sean Hannity took the video of President Obama’s obeisant greeting of the Japanese Prime Minister, and turned it into a video loop to be played in the corner of the screen whenever Obama was the subject du jour?
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did a very similar thing with Republican National Chairman Michael Steele on Friday’s edition of ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’
You may remember the mildly irritating pop-up starring Steele that inhabited the redesigned GOP.com at its first launch. It would launch in the upper corner, helpfully explaining the features of the site like the infamous Microsoft Word paper-clip assistant. Maddow revived this animation for use as a ‘bug’ in the corner.
MADDOW: Also, I‘m very proud that for the first time ever, we had a little dancing Michael Steele as the bug in the corner of our segment there.
Rolling Stone, a music magazine in the same sense that MTV is a music-video channel, was featured on this morning's edition of Morning Joe. Their cover story is not about the latest escapades of Kanye West or Lady Gaga; instead, they have chosen to write about global warming. Before anyone asks, none of the above recording artists (to my knowledge) have recorded a song which would have spawned this article.
"As the World Burns," is the eyes-bleeding hyperbolic title of the article. Contents: The 17 people whom Rolling Stone calls "climate killers." And the first target of the article: Billionaire investor and ardent Obama supporter, Warren Buffett:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You put Warren Buffett on that list, I thought he was an Obama supporter?
On Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America, Elizabeth Vargas was joined by former Bush pollster Matt Dowd and Democrat strategist James Carville. Astonishing though it may seem, Carville was not the left-most member of the panel.
Carville and Dowd were there to provide commentary on the Obama administration's response to the attempted Undi-Bomber attack. Dowd agreed with Carville's assessment of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's response - and then, after a bit more discussion, the conversation turned to the political ramifications:
VARGAS: We already have one Republican congressman from Michigan, who is running for Governor of that state, who is saying, trying to make hay out of this. Issued a statement, a fund-raising statement yesterday saying, "it is insulting the Obama administration would claim the system worked. These are the same weak-kneed liberals," he writes, "that tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to Michigan." Any surprise that members of the opposite party are looking to make hay on this?
In the midst of a left-slanting report on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) triumphant return to his home state, there was a brief moment of sanity provided by (presumably) a Dodd constituent.
This can’t be a good omen for Senator Countrywide (hat-tip to FireAndreaMitchell.com):
REPORTER: A tired, but triumphant Senator Chris Dodd meets the media just hours after passing health care reform in the Senate, but he is heckled from a passer-by.
JOHN Q. HECKLER: You’re not going to get re-elected.
SEN. CHRIS DODD: And uh – thanks. Merry Christmas!
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
It is with heavy heart that I report the following: Two great CBS television dramas, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, went the way of Law and Order last night (hat tip to NewsBusters reader Chris Reising). If you’re a fan and have not seen last night’s episode, be warned that this blog contains plot spoilers. [audio clip available here]
Now is the time of year when the network dramas are running the “Happy Holidays” message episodes. The NCIS franchise, a sort of military CSI show, ran with this message in each of last night’s episodes – with a twist. On NCIS, a young Marine is found murdered. He is found to be a recent convert to Islam (formerly a Christian), and the son of a retired Christian Marine chaplain. As the plot progresses, we find that the widow (also a Christian) has been, shall we say, unfaithful during her husband’s deployment. The father (the chaplain) has been paying his son’s unit members to harass him into quitting the Marines. And the murderer, we find, is the brother of the deceased.
Why did one brother kill the other?
The Washington Post has a problem with partisan memory loss.
Many of you may have heard of the recent nastiness of a Virginia homeowners’ association attempting to deny Colonel Van T. Barfoot (U.S. Army, Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, the right to erect a flagpole in his own front yard. If you are like me, you heard about this first on Wednesday, December 2, on the Mark Levin radio show.
If you’re like the Washington Post, however, you heard about it from Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on December 3, 2009.
Today’s WaPo story, by Christian Davenport, sums up the participants in the flagpole fracas in this way:
“Morning Joe” was a little tense this morning.
Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform. Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:
MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?
MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'
For the dog-bites-man news category: Joe Scarborough had a moment of intellectual schizophrenia today.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Willie Geist and Politico.com executive editor Jim VandeHei were discussing a Politico story about internal political pressures at National Public Radio (NPR). Apparently, NPR's top political correspondent Mara Liasson was asked by NPR executives to reconsider her appearances on Fox News, for concerns over Fox's perceived political bias.
Scarborough pointed out the obvious:
Former President Bill Clinton was in Chicago yesterday, speaking at a fundraiser on the subject of the current health insurance overhaul.
Somehow, some way, Clinton wound up talking about ethnic diversity, the Fort Hood murders, and – most bizarrely – the AMC network’s “Mad Men.”
Clinton began his descent with the following, quoted from Lynn Sweet’s Chicago Sun-Times blog:
The Washington Post apparently has a soft spot for serial killers.
John Allen Muhammad, the infamous Beltway Sniper, is set to die by lethal injection tonight. After being found guilty of capital murder by a jury of his peers, Muhammad was sentenced to death. The Washington Post, however, sees the “humanity in [the] D.C. sniper.”
The Post quotes defense attorney Jon Sheldon as saying:
Sometimes – no, scratch that, many times – it is difficult to imagine a caricature of the media.
Tom Brokaw made an appearance on this morning's edition of Morning Joe this morning, plugging his interview with the former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Brokaw was, of course, reporting from the historic Brandenburg Gate this morning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Brew Crew were gathered in their studio with national security expert Dr. Richard Haas, discussing such weighty subjects as the American response to the fall of communism, the geopolitical advantages and disadvantages of that event, and so on. And which of these subjects did Brokaw use to segue into the subject of his interview?
None. Instead, Brokaw, the constantly prostrate Gorbachev apologist, chose to highlight Mikhail Gorbachev's approval of President Barack Obama - and his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize:
After Joe Scarborough’s intra-squad snarking of Keith Olbermann yesterday morning, one might have expected a better-behaved Brew Crew today.
No such luck for Chris Matthews – Pat Buchanan had different plans.
In a discussion of the polling data in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Joe asked Lawrence O’Donnell why the Democrat was doing so poorly in a state that President Obama won by a large margin last year:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Why [crosstalk] Democrats doing better in Virginia a year after Obama’s historic victory?
The technical term for the following video is “busting his chops.”
Joe Scarborough provided a wonderful satire of Keith Olbermann’s 2008 election-night bias on this morning’s edition of Morning Joe. A partial transcript follows the video, which really must be watched for the full effect.
This sort of thing makes up for your left-of-center moments.
Update [Ken Shepherd, managing editor]: Scarborough responds via Twitter, insisting he was joking [see more at bottom of post]. Video embedded to the right.
Joe Biden is the "greatest Vice President of our time."
No, dear reader, I have not lost my marbles. I'm merely citing MSNBC's token quasi-conservative Joe Scarborough, who said on this morning's edition of "Morning Joe":
We understand that Joe Biden's numbers are going down, which I think is just stupid because all he has done is – I mean, he's become, in a couple of short months, the greatest vice president of our time.
Not content to allow his credibility to go down in flames alone, Joe took the rest of the Brew Crew with him:
I rise today in defense of bacon, as well as consuming hamburgers on Independence Day. And, most importantly, in defense of my mother's awe-inspiring pot roast.
Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, wants the government to make these classic American foodstuffs, as well as soda, alcohol, and being overweight, cost more. I apologize in advance for the long length of the transcript snippets – while Brzezinski is pontificating by reading the ‘New York Daily News’ editorial, the rest of the Brew Crew is making fun of her.
No, really [emphasis mine]:
BRZEZINSKI: Some people actually cares about their health, so I'm going to read that for those people. [reading] "A tax on sodas containing sugar has also been under consideration by Governor Paterson, among others."