An old reliable libertarian maxim was “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” which stood in stark contrast to socialists always boasting of “free” health care or day care or other public benefits. On the PBS NewsHour Friday night, that maxim was turned upside down.

On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."

This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."

Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:

On Tuesday night, the PBS Newshour discussed the debate over gays in the military, but that didn’t mean there was a debate on the show. Instead, PBS booked three gay-promoting liberal academics and pollster Andrew Kohut to talk about "American attitudes evolving." The liberal hope and dream of suppressing religious speech against homosexuality was blatantly expressed by Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin:

KAZIN: You know, one of the things that -- when laws change, that helps to change consciousness. When the civil rights law was passed, when the Voting Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, then people's attitudes began to change.

Even if they didn't necessarily -- white people didn't like African-Americans any more, but they felt that, well, it wasn't OK anymore to voice their dislike of African-Americans. Racism began to be something that was marginal, that you had to talk about in private. And that I think could begin to happen also with views about gay rights...

ABC on Monday night again empathized with the Obama White House’s disbelief that they could lose “Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat” -- and thus ObamaCare -- if Republican Scott Brown beats Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts. George Stephanopoulos saw a “Shakespearean” tragedy just over a week after PBS’s Judy Woodruff, on ABC’s This Week, described such a scenario as “a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
Stephanopoulos conveyed on Monday’s World News how “Democrats in the White House and Capitol Hill are braced for a shattering loss. And it's really hard for them to wrap their head around it, the idea care reform may be in peril because Democrats can't hold the seat that Teddy Kennedy held for nearly half a century. You know, one White House official summed it up in a single word: ‘Shakespearean.’”

During the roundtable on the January 10 This Week, CNN and NBC veteran Woodruff despaired: “I was just going to say, quoting somebody in the White House, a tragedy of Greek proportions if Ted Kennedy's successor is the one, is the one who was responsible for the death of health care.”

A somewhat surprising debate occurred Sunday when conservatives George Will and Liz Cheney took different sides of the Harry Reid racist remark issue.

Appearing on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," the former Vice President's daughter said, "[O]ne of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals."

Will, after shaking his head, replied, "I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it."

Likely to the surprise of many viewers, Cheney responded, "George, give me a break" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):

In his look at the "McCain campaign's end-run around media," San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli pitted one media insider's defense of McCain campaign strategy on the matter of Gov. Palin's press availability, and that at the end of his 20-paragraph story:

"All politicians go through a stage where they want to minimize how much they are exposed to the media," said Paul Friedman, vice president of news at CBS, the network that scored one of the three major Palin interviews. He shrugged at what could be learned in a news conference that couldn't in a one-on-one interview. "I just don't think it is that cosmic of an issue. We'll see more of the candidates soon. Just wait for the debates."

To counter Friedman, Garofoli cited female journalists and pundits who complain that Palin is being overly sheltered. Aside from PBS's Judy Woodruff and CNN's Campbell Brown, Garofoli noted the complaints of conservative Kathleen Parker, labeling the syndicated columnist, and rightfully so, by her ideological label.

But when it came to labeling a liberal critic of Palin, the chief of a liberal feminist organization was treated as a non-partisan observer, even though her organization was co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem:

On Tuesday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff offered Michelle Obama the kind of cozy interview she has typically offered to Democratic wives at convention time. Her sharpest question dealt with her unfavorables in the polls, and Mrs. Obama strongly asserted that she wouldn't lose sleep over conservatives mischaracterizing her, and knows that the Obama family narratives are deeply compelling to voters: 

WOODRUFF: Now your speech was also view by some as an effort to repair what some polls I guess had shown were negative impressions that had accumulated about you – your values, your view of the country. How concerned were you about that going in and do you have any concerns about that now?

MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, this is politics. And I’ve always felt that when people hear my story and they hear the truth of my story, then they’ll understand who I am. You know, I try not to lose sleep over how Barack’s opponents have mischaracterized who I am.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had some harsh words for members of the media today, especially those associated with the cable network MSNBC.

Speaking at a discussion put together by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, he called the coverage of Barack Obama "embarrassing," and accused MSNBC of being "the official network of the Obama campaign."

UPDATE at end of post: "Fox & Friends" weighs in.

As reported by Michael Calderone at Politico Sunday (h/t NB reader Wisdom6773, file photo courtesy USA Today):

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.

Here's another sure sign the new HBO Campaign-2000-nailbiter movie "Recount" will have a liberal slant. (Sunday NB post on a review in Entertainment Weekly magazine, "HBO's 'Recount' Movie: Favors Democrats, Harris as Cruella De Vil"). In a full-page newspaper ad appearing on the back cover of the A section of Monday's Washington Post, it was endorsed as "terrific" by a list of Gore-voting liberal media notables: Joe Klein, Matt Cooper, Jonathan Alter, Tina Brown, George Stephanopoulos, and Judy Woodruff. The movie's slogan is "The future of the nation was hanging by a chad."

We haven't seen these quotes in print, so we assume they come from a celebrity screening or publicist interview. The text below in bold tells you which words were increased in size for emphasis:

The votes are in.

Joe Klein, "Terrific"

Matthew Cooper, "HBO is as good as ever. Watch ‘Recount’ and see...[they do] history better than any other studio."

Jonathan Alter: "This is the seventh presidential campaign I’ve covered for Newsweek and Recount conveys the nitty gritty of politics better than any movie I’ve ever seen."