Bill Maher had no problem working an insult against middle America into his opening monologue during the Friday night edition of Real Time. Maher talked about Jussie Smollett and how “he paid two men $3500 to assault him for being black and gay, something he could have gotten for free in Texas.”



Despite controversial West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship only finishing a distance third place in Tuesday’s Republican primary, on Wednesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted much of their election coverage to his defeat while barely mentioning the GOP candidates who won primary contests in numerous states.



In a speech at a Republican Lincoln Day dinner in West Virginia earlier this week, Murray Energy Corp. founder and CEO Robert Murray decried the Obama administration's determination to, as described at the financial news site SNL.com (to be clear, no relation to Saturday Night Live), "bypass the states and their utility commissions, the U.S. Congress and the Constitution in favor of putting the U.S. EPA in charge of the nation's electric grid."

In the establishment press, Murray's speech was only covered in a single snarky paragraph by Darren Goode at the Politico titled "Don't Hold Back Now" — obviously attempting to paint Murray as unreasonable and extreme — and a writeup at the Wheeling (WV) Intelligencer. After all, what does Murray know? He's only the head of the largest company in an industry which is still responsible for fueling 39 percent of America's electrical grid, and the majority of it in many states. Who would want to give him any visibility, as if he has anything valuable to say? Well, I do.



There are a few Democrats in Vicki Smith's coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Adminsitration's Press, of the fraud investigation of former Mine Safety and Health Administration Director J. Davitt McAteer. As is AP's derelict custom in cases where Dems are involved in scandal or corruption, the party affiliation of those Democrats isn't mentioned.

The first Democrat is McAteer himself, who, based on a review of Federal Election Commission records, given roughly $1,900 to various Democratic Party candidates and causes during the past 13 years, including contributions to the party's presidential nominees in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Then there's West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who was previously the state's governor. Finally, although the AP gets a pass for this (it's Sunday, and we're in a forgiving mood), the name and administration of Democrat Bill Clinton, the guy McAteer worked for when he headed MSHA, never comes up. Excerpts from Ms. Smith's party ID-free report follow:



Yesterday, in what appears to have been a not particularly sweat-breaking research enterprise, blogger Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail demonstrated that the Richard Muller, a Berkley scientist who the Washington Post's Brad Plumer declared to be a "cliimate skeptic," has been a believer in human-caused global warming -- since the 1980s.

Muller convinced Plumer that as a result of looking at matters more closely, he has now become convinced that his skepticism was unwarranted. In Plumer's words, "Muller’s team appears to have confirmed the basic tenets of climate science." Surber smelled insincerity, and found supporting evidence quite quickly, which of course makes one wonder why Plumer didn't even bother to look for it, or was so clumsy that he failed to find any (bolds are mine):



 On Saturday’s World News, ABC anchor Dan Harris seemed to fret that the current debate over the budget is taking attention away from an "unprecedented assault" that is being "quietly" waged by conservatives "on environmental regulations." As the report from Blair, West Virginia, focused on a coal mining technique that destroys the tops of mountains, correspondent Jim Sciutto featured two soundbites supporting restrictions on such mining with only one opposed.

And, while Harris in his introduction shined a light on conservatives as the group who want fewer mining regulations, the one soundbite that Sciutto included in the report that was on the more anti-regulation side was centrist Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia. And no liberal label was used for those who were shown supporting the regulations, including environmental activist  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Harris set up the piece:



The New York Times marked the death early Monday morning of veteran Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who served a record 51 years in the U.S. Senate, with an online obituary by former Times reporter Adam Clymer. While acknowledging Byrd's Klan past and his pork-barrel prodigiousness, Clymer's lead also emphasized Byrd's proud fight as the keeper of Congressional prerogatives. The obituary headline was hagiographic: "Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92."

While Clymer's opening statement on Byrd wasn't exactly laudatory, it did not match the paper's hostile treatment of the passing of two veteran Republican senators accused of racial prejudice: Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Clymer's lead paragraph:

Robert C. Byrd, who used his record tenure as a United States senator to fight for the primacy of the legislative branch of government and to build a modern West Virginia with vast amounts of federal money, died at about 3 a.m. Monday, his office said. He was 92.
The bulk of Clymer's obituary for Byrd may have been written some time ago, as is customary. Clymer retired from the Times in 2003, after a career of bashing President Bush and prominent conservatives, while defending old-guard Democrats like Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Clymer acknowledged what he called Byrd's changing perspective, moving from conservative to liberal over the years, and in the 16th paragraph brought up Byrd's membership in the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and his filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


A country boy can survive the Obama administration. Just ask Hank Williams, Jr.

The country music artist --  best known to millions of Americans regardless of their musical taste for his "Are You Ready For Some Football?" theme to Monday Night Football -- was profiled yesterday by Bill Lynch of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette (h/t my NB colleague Tim Graham).

Lynch spent a considerable portion of his profile focused on Williams's politics, including his upcoming gig at a Labor Day TEA Party:



2008 was the safest year ever to be an American miner. The combined number of fatalities from all forms of mining was the lowest ever.

2007 (latest information available) also shows the lowest "all-injury" rate for miners on record by far.

Yet Ken Ward Jr.'s early-January contribution at the Charleston (WV) Gazette to the spate of final-month Bush-bashing pretended that this data doesn't exist. Instead he gave the impression of an opposite situation. Media outlets have been trying and failing to make this case since the Sago Mine Disaster of January 2006 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), even while the safety stats have generally showed nearly continuous improvement.

You'll see that Ward also uses a headline that will leave those who recall Barack Obama's campaign promise to bankrupt new coal-powered plants shaking their heads in disbelief (bolds after headlines are mine):



Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by a 2-1 margin in Kentucky's primary on Tuesday (Obama won easily in Oregon), but the paper's lead headline didn't even reference it. While an article inside the paper did state Hillary's case for staying in despite trailing in delegates late in the game, it also forwarded bizarre suggestions that she should quit because she is...getting too many votes from white people.

The Times has suggested Hillary voters are motivated by racism before, but here the idea is explicitly used to guilt-trip Hillary to drop out and clear a smooth path for Barack Obama. Here's Patrick Healy in Wednesday's "Clinton Still Sees Plenty of Reasons to Press Her Campaign."



West Virginia primary voters were asked at least two factually faulty exit poll questions yesterday, both of which asserted that the U.S. economy is already in recession. This, of course, is absolutely false. A recession is marked by at least two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. The last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 were marked by slow, but positive, economic growth.

See the screencap from CNN.com below (h/t e-mail tipster Jeff Williams):



Guest hosting on Tuesday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews assigned dark motives to the voters of West Virginia and repeatedly reaffirmed that nobody should be surprised if Barack Obama loses the May 13 primary to Hillary Clinton. According to Matthews, "You could have predicted West Virginia 20 years ago on this one." Making his racial overtones more clear, Matthews derided, "These people made up their mind in '57." [audio available here]

This was all too much for fellow guest host Pat Buchanan. One of the few conservatives on MSNBC, he first laughed and then alluded to the fact that West Virginia has been almost exclusively controlled by Democrats: "What an indictment! What an indictment of your party, Chris!" Matthews snidely responded by claiming his remarks indicated "a suggestion of understanding the geography of America." He followed up by jokingly referring to Buchanan's previous presidential runs and not-so subtlety asking, "How did you do in West Virginia? Pretty good, huh?"