Want to know just how in the tank MSNBC's Dan Abrams is for Barack Obama?

On Thursday's "Verdict," the network's former general manager actually tried to deflect criticism from Michelle Obama by bringing up statements John McCain made concerning his experience as a Vietnam POW making him realize how much he loves America.

This is how Abrams began the program: "Tonight: We have uncovered comments from John McCain on camera that could undermine the steady right-wing attacks against Michelle Obama."

Is that Abrams' role as a journalist: to undermine attacks against the wife of a presidential candidate?

Readers are warned that the following transcript is likely to offend them in a fashion that might not be desired on a Saturday (video embedded upper right, use scrollbars to center, h/t Hot Air via NBer Thomas Stewart):

Although MSNBC and NBC officials are flatly denying the allegations, the New York Post on Friday reported that Keith Olbermann is threatening to quit if he's not promoted to host "Meet the Press."

The Post also claimed that Chris Matthews was actually heard lobbying for the job during Wednesday's memorial service for Tim Russert.

As reported at the Post's "Page Six" column (h/t TVNewser):

In 1992, reporters like Joe Klein and Sidney Blumenthal were mocked as Clinton Conformity Cops, telling other journalists that the goal of electing Bill Clinton was too important to create any obstacle of objectivity that might get in the Democrat's way. This came to mind when watching MSNBC on Thursday night, but Keith Olbermann took it a step further. He attacked ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos for having "bigger IQs" than to make the apparently simple-minded statement that Barack Obama reversed himself on accepting public financing for his campaign.

His guest, Newsweek political reporter Howard Fineman, also played Obama Conformity Cop by completely agreeing with and hailing Obama’s lame line that taking millions of small private contributions really is "public financing." He claimed Obama wasn’t really flip-flopping: "I don't think of it as an 180-degree reversal. I think of it as a recognition of reality, and one he's been signaling for a long time. This guy cares about changing the system, paradoxically in his mind and I think to some extent, he's right. This is what he has to do to try to change the system."

Doesn't this sound like they're desperately spinning that Obama has to burn the McCain-Feingold village in order to save it?

Almost two years ago, NewsBusters wondered when media would begin reporting Enron's ties to higher oil and gas prices.

Recently, we've gotten our answer: when it could be blamed on the Republican presidential nominee.

Such was certainly the case Wednesday evening when Obama advocate Keith Olbermann did a segment on "Countdown" pointing fingers at John McCain for having not done more to repeal the so-called "Enron Loophole" created by the enactment of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

Though predictable, Olbermann conveniently ignored how the first version of this bill passed in the House with almost unanimous bipartisan support, cleared final approval in the Senate by a voice vote without any objection, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton who had also been a strong advocate (video embedded upper-right, use scrollbars to center):

Not a mere hell-freezes-over-moment.  Call it–in honor of Chinese Olympic diving which made the NY Times today–a a triple-twisting forward three-and-a-half flying pig, pike position.  An MSM reporter has condemned socialist big-government programs, adding a pitch for unrestrained free-market forces.  Check the end of this item for a factoid making the moment even more remarkable.

CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera made the stunning statement on Morning Joe today while reporting on a change in Chinese policy that should lower the price of crude oil world-wide.

View video here.

It's rare to hear an MSM figure flatly suggest that a presidential campaign lied, but Joe Scarborough broke out the the l-word today in wondering whether chief Obama strategist David Axelrod did just that when he emphatically denied, on yesterday's show, that there is a concerted "makeover" of Michelle Obama in the works.

View video here.

An article in yesterday's New York Times, After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction, claimed that just such a makeover was planned:

Now her husband’s presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on “The View,” the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation.
When Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe yesterday at 7:40 AM EDT, Scarborough quizzed him about the matter [dialogue as per closed-caption transcript].  The senior Obama aide's denial of a makeover plan couldn't have been more categorical:

The Obama campaign is trying to re-create Michelle Obama after her stumbles on the campaign trail, and the mainstream media are more than willing to pitch in.

Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Clay Waters, director of the MRC’s Times Watch project, critiqued a New York Times story, written by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor, which helped Obama soften her image and suggested that her "proud of my country" remarks were unfairly covered.

Powell reprised his work spinning Michelle Obama on MSNBC today.

The Times staffer sat down with MSNBC's Tamron Hall during the 9 AM hour of the June 18 "MSNBC News Live." During this time, Powell claimed that the potential first lady’s harsh image has "certainly been imposed on her," as though Mrs. Obama’s statements do not reflect who she really is and that those who criticize her public pronouncements are somehow putting words in her mouth.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of Barack Obama's blunder. As a certain junior senator from New York said during the primary season, while John McCain has obviously passed the Commander-in-Chief threshold, it's not clear Obama has. If there is one fundamental challenge facing the Dem candidate in this campaign, it is to prove that he has the values and the toughness necessary to protect our country against the terrorists who seek to destroy us.

Yet now—in an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper—Obama has proposed a read-them-their-Miranda-rights approach to dealing with the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  It's the policy equivalent of Dukakis-in-a-tank, and is likely, in this NewsBuster's opinion, to have an even more harmful impact on his campaign. The McCain camp has wasted no time in weighing in.  In a conference call yesterday, former CIA director James Woolsey said Obama's advocacy of giving terrorists access to U.S. courts was an "extremely dangerous and an extremely naive approach to terrorism." 

Discussion on Morning Joe today among, on the one hand, Barack fans Mika Brzezinski and WaPo's Jonathan Capehart, and on the other a Joe Scarborough preaching realpolitik, revealed just how vulnerable Obama is on the issue. I'd encourage readers to view the extended video clip here, but for present purposes will focus on one exchange:

When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.

But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)

The day after Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Detroit, MSNBC kept repeating the allegedly big news with the on-air question "Will Gore Help or Hurt Obama?" Left out of that question: Who cares? Does Gore’s endorsement matter at all?

Pundits usually declare in today’s media-saturated world that endorsements from major politicians or movie stars just don’t have much impact. A Who’s Who of the Beautiful People in Hollywood endorsed and actively campaigned for John Kerry – and had no impact.

With Al Gore it’s the same thing. He doesn’t bring a single vote Obama doesn’t already have. He could have participated in the process but he waited until the primary challenge from Hillary was over. Now he supports Obama. Where in the world is the news there?

Simple mistake, or wish fulfillment?  Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, a Washington Post reporter claimed the paper's latest poll results showed Barack Obama with a "big lead" over John McCain on the issue of handling Iraq.  The only problem: the poll actually shows McCain with a small lead on the issue. David Shuster interviewed Ed O'Keefe of WashingtonPost.com at 3:03 PM EDT.

DAVID SHUSTER: Ed, when asked who do you trust on the economy Barack Obama is ahead by 16 points.  On women's issues he's ahead by 32 points. So where's John McCain making up the difference.

ED O'KEEFE: Terrorism. He's ahead of him big on that issue and that issue alone, it seems.  Also, there's a perceived weakness for Barack Obama generally on his experience. McCain's certainly ahead on those two things. But you're right: on everything else, especially the big issues—Iraq and the economy, health care—Barack Obama has a big lead.

View video here.

Here's something you don't see every day: four people on MSNBC agreeing that an ad attacking Republican presidential nominee John McCain is a "cheap shot."

Yet, that's exactly what transpired Tuesday morning when Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, and John Ridley discussed the new ad just released by the far-left MoveOn.org suggesting that if McCain is elected president, the baby pictured will be fighting in Iraq eighteen years from now.

First up to criticize the piece was NPR's Ridley (video embedded right, use scrollbars to center):