Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.
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You may have seen Bret Baier’s interview with former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Fox News Thursday evening. The conversation dealt with the Benghazi attack, and it was combative at times. Vietor spun hard for the administration, even smugly calling Baier “dude” at one point. But Baier appeared to be well-prepared for Vietor’s spin with a wide array of relevant video clips and sound bites.
On Friday, Baier went on Mornings on the Mall, a Washington, D.C. radio program, to talk about the Vietor interview. [See YouTube video embedded below.] He explained to the hosts how he prepared so well:
CNN’s Jake Tapper had some strong words for White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday. Appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Tapper accused Carney of making “dissembling, obfuscating,” and “insulting” comments regarding the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Hewitt came right out and called Carney a liar, but Tapper was not willing to go quite that far. He remarked, “[C]alling somebody a liar is – it’s not normally the kind of language I use. But I think that the comments that are being made are dissembling, obfuscating, and often, you know, insulting.” [Listen to MP3 audio here.]
Kenneth P. Vogel called attention to an important issue in a Wednesday Politico article – namely, the inherent hypocrisy of super-rich liberal donors who give big bucks to a Democratic party that repeatedly slams wealthy conservative donors like the Koch brothers.
Vogel’s article focused on this week’s annual spring meeting in Chicago of the Democracy Alliance, a club of wealthy Democratic donors. The political journalist apparently tried to ask several attendees about the irony of the Democrats’ position on campaign finance, but he was mostly stonewalled. Here's how Vogel opened his April 30 story:
Donald Sterling, the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been banned from the NBA for life. But for some in the media, the league's disciplinary action is something that should be pursued against socially conservative owners by virtue of their political beliefs.
Take Esquire political blogger Charlie Pierce, for example. Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, Pierce suggested that NBA commissioner Adam Silver should now consider taking action against the DeVos family, which owns the Orlando Magic, for the family’s opposition to gay marriage. Pierce pondered (emphasis mine):
MSNBC seized on Pope Francis’s tweet yesterday that “Inequality is the root of social evil” to once again flog conservatives for their economic views. On Monday’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, fill-in host Ari Melber began a segment on the pontiff by gloating, “[S]ome Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, between the pope's teachings and Rush Limbaugh's orders.”
First off, it’s a little dramatic to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s “orders.” He’s just one man who gives his opinions on the radio. And second, MSNBC wants to pretend Pope Francis is completely aligned with American liberals and against conservatives, but that’s not true. The pope may emphasize social justice, but he is thoroughly conservative and traditional on key cultural and theological issues.
MSNBC’s Irin Carmon is worried sick about women in the South. They may soon find it harder to kill their unborn babies in poorly-regulated abortion clinics!
On Monday morning, Carmon penned an article on MSNBC.com apocalyptically titled “The End of Abortion Access in the South?”
On Thursday night’s The Daily Show, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart took CNN to task for its sensational and sometimes over-the-top coverage of certain news events, such as the missing Malaysian airplane.
The comedian suggested that CNN should replace its obsessive missing plane coverage with obsessive coverage of global warming. That’s right, Stewart wants to replace breathless hype with breathless hype.
There’s a slow but steady drumbeat of support building up in the media for an Elizabeth Warren presidential run, and MSNBC is playing a huge part in it. On Wednesday’s All In, host Chris Hayes chatted with Esquire’s Charles Pierce about what makes Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) so great. Hayes began the interview by asking, “[W]hat is it about Elizabeth Warren that people love so much? There is some quality that is bringing something out in people.”
Pierce, who wrote a profile of Warren in Esquire, made a flattering comparison of the senator’s speaking style to that of an iconic liberal president. He exclaimed that “she gets the same effect out of ‘golly’ that Lyndon Johnson used to get out of curse words.”
As an environmentalist, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes sure does love Earth Day. He celebrated the holiday on Tuesday’s edition of All In by fantasizing about the day when 80 percent of the planet’s fossil fuel will stay in the ground. And why does Hayes not want energy companies to extract fossil fuel? To reduce emissions and prevent global warming, of course.
Hayes, however, lamented that the fuel he believes needs to stay in the ground is worth about $20 trillion, a pricey sum to leave untapped. He laid out the problem for his viewers, as he saw it:
On Monday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff sat down for a conversation with former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and she tried to get the amiable, elderly jurist to criticize his more conservative former colleagues. Stevens, to his credit, didn’t take the bait.
The interview focused on Stevens’ new book about six amendments he would like to see added to the Constitution. Near the end of the discussion, Woodruff sought to make waves by getting Stevens to charge conservatives on the court with a partisan agenda:
MSNBC doesn’t typically side with Christian churches – unless, of course, a church stands up for one of the network’s pet causes. That is exactly what happened on Tuesday, when a headline on MSNBC.com lamented how the “Boy Scouts Ban[ned] Church Over Gay Troop Leader.”
MSNBC.com's Amanda Sakuma explained that the Boy Scouts of America recently shut down a Seattle troop, sponsored by a United Methodist church, because church leaders stood behind the troop’s openly gay leader. While the BSA now allows openly gay scouts, it retains its ban on openly gay scoutmasters. Predictably, MSNBC framed the story to make the church and the scoutmaster the victims in this drama, even though both know perfectly well the rules of the organization.
Some liberals refuse to believe any bad news about ObamaCare, and MSNBC contributor Angela Rye is clearly one of those people. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Rye got into a heated argument with Republican strategist Joe Watkins about the nature of Watkins’ own health insurance coverage, which he says is worse under ObamaCare than prior to the law going into effect.
It all started after Watkins commented that some people have to “pay more money a month for less coverage” under ObamaCare. When Rye got her turn to speak, she ripped into Watkins:
Al Sharpton entered truly ludicrous territory during an appearance Wednesday on Tom Joyner’s radio show. While talking about the meaning of Easter, the Baptist minister and MSNBC host dragged President Obama into the mix:
"As I looked at President Obama at our convention last Friday, where all he took he’s been able to rise politically again, I’m not comparing him to Jesus, but I am saying that to every crucifixion there is a resurrection for those that believe." [YouTube video embedded below.]
In a Wednesday post for his The Fix blog, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza smacked down former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg over his anti-gun crusade.
Cillizza pointed out that, while the mayor holds a lofty opinion of himself, he doesn’t realize how much he is disliked outside of his city, adding:
MSNBC contributor Jared Bernstein pulled off a deft sleight-of-hand on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. It started after host Al Sharpton played a clip of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calling for fiscal responsibility: “If Washington is serious about helping working families or serious about getting families out of work back to work, then it needs to get serious about our national debt. How do we do it? First we stop spending money we don't have.”
Bernstein, formerly Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist, blasted Ryan for being “wrong on the numbers” (even though Ryan didn’t cite any numbers in the clip). He claimed:
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich made a very curious statement on Monday’s Morning Joe. During a roundtable discussion on income inequality, former congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) asked Reich what policies, besides raising the minimum wage, the government should employ in order to improve economic mobility and increase middle class purchasing power.
Reich, who is significantly to the left on economic issues, signaled his support for expanding the earned income tax credit, but then added that we should also “spread ownership,” asserting, “ [W]e really do have to spread, seriously, ownership because if most of the gains are coming from stock rate gains, the whole country ought to be part of that.”
MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams blurred the lines of reality while arguing with Republican strategist Ron Christie on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. The two men were sparring over the desire among some Republicans to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder.
Witt asked how Holder can work with Republicans when some of them are calling for his impeachment, and Christie responded with an example from the George W. Bush presidency:
MSNBC personalities frequently turn to race to explain away society’s ills, and on Thursday’s All In, host Chris Hayes cried racism on the topic of state Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. Hayes started by admitting what many people have probably guessed about him and many of his fellow MSNBC hosts – that he sees American politics through a racial lens. He proclaimed:
“The racial prism I use to analyze American politics has grown sharper and I think in some ways more pessimistic in the Obama era. I will cop to that, unquestionably. Like, I do think, see things more thoroughly through the prism of race.”
More than five years after the end of his term, George W. Bush still finds himself the target of attacks from the liberals at MSNBC. On Wednesday’s All In with Chris Hayes, the network found a new way to smear the former president – by criticizing his paintings. Fill-in host Ari Melber actually brought on an art critic, Jerry Saltz from New York magazine, to dissect some of President Bush’s paintings, now displayed in an exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. But Melber offered his own commentary as well. Remarking on the fact that Bush has painted several self-portraits and portraits of world leaders, Melber griped about what the ex-president has not painted:
“These are not pictures of people at Abu Ghraib or Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. He's positioning himself, as you said, either at the most personal or at the diplomatic level with foreign leaders. We're not seeing any sort of focus on other worst parts of his legacy.”
Al Sharpton was thrust into the media spotlight this week thanks to newly released documents that detailed his role as an FBI informant in the 1980s. At the end of his MSNBC show PoliticsNation on Tuesday night, the reverend addressed the revelation, although he put his own spin on it to portray himself in the best possible light.
Sharpton claimed his involvement with the FBI arose out of a music industry dispute. He said “people who claimed to be mobsters” threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop demanding that black promoters be involved in promoting a Michael Jackson tour. This death threat supposedly led him to call the FBI and cooperate with them against those mobsters.