For the second time in less than 24 hours I find myself wondering how an American television "news" network could have assembled such a collection of ignoramuses.

After MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Monday evening claimed the Founding Fathers would have understood the need to raise the debt ceiling in order to protect the country's credit rating, Martin Bashir on Tuesday actually asked former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo if he would have preferred President Obama's death over Osama bin Laden's (video follows with transcript and commentary):

On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered a "Special Comment" aimed at Tea Party activists in which, rather than rhetorically bludgeoning them with his usual name calling, he came across as trying to reason with Tea Partiers, appealing to them to admit to having racist motivations against President Obama as the Countdown host suggested that he felt sorry for them. Before a commercial break, he plugged the segment, relaying that he would ask questions to Tea Party activists "sincerely and with sympathy." At one point, Olbermann even seemed as if he were on the verge of expressing remorse for his history of using terms like "Tea Klux Klan" and "tea baggers," which he referred to as "incendiary."

As he encouraged Tea Party members to be honest about feeling racism against Obama, he characterized racism as a normal human instinct, but for some reason singled out white men as all feeling some level of racism: "And I think, having now been one for 51 years, I am permitted to say I believe prejudice and discrimination still sit defeated, dormant, or virulent somewhere in the soul of each white man in this country."

After theorizing that the Tea Parties are a "backlash" against having a black President – analogous to the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws in post-Civil War America – Olbermann ended his show by asking Tea Party activists: "Why are you surrounded by the largest crowd you will ever again see in your life that consists of nothing but people who look exactly like you?"

And, as Olbermann suggested that some of the anti-government political complaints voiced by Tea Party activists are really "code" for racism against President Obama, he ludicrously claimed that a real socialist would support "stupid tax cuts," and, ignoring the massive economic stimulus package passed by the Democratic Congress during the Obama administration, he blamed the current budget deficit’s size on the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. Olbermann:

On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann highlighted suggestions by former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo that there should be civics literacy testing for registered voters made at the recent Tea Party convention, which Olbermann referred to as the "Tea Klux Klan," and painted Tea Party activists as wanting to deny minorities the right to vote using the tactics of the Jim Crow South. As if Tancredo wanted to discriminate against African-American voters, Olbermann referred to "Tancredo harking back fondly to the electoral strategies once used to keep poor people – specifically, explicitly, black people – from voting."

After bringing aboard the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson for further discussion, Olbermann’s first question employed the premise that "mainstream Republicans" wish to discriminate against minorities:

If you ever thought mainstream Republicans would openly reminisce about race-based election stealing, did you ever think that you would, as a grown man in the 21st century, see the once proud Republican party let it happen with the only kind of peep of integrity coming from the daughter of a Senator?

Robinson charged that Tea Party members were displaying "naked Jim Crow racism." Robinson:

Rachel Maddow on Friday referred to attendees of the National Tea Party convention in Nashville, Tennessee, as white-hooded racists.

Continuing MSNBC's sad tradition, Maddow first attacked one of the convention's speakers: "The opening speech last night was given by failed presidential candidate, ex-congressman and professional anti-immigrant, Tom Tancredo who started the event off with a bang, a big loud racist bang."

From there, she went after the audience (video embedded below the fold with transcript):

Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgCNN’s Rick Sanchez failed to mention the party affiliation of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on Friday’s Rick’s List program, but made every effort to identify former Congressman Tom Tancredo as a Republican. Sanchez ranked Tancredo higher on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” for his remarks at the Tea Party Convention, despite Dixon’s conviction for illegally using donated gift cards for the needy.

The CNN anchor gave the number three and number two spots on his “List You Don’t Want to Be On” just before the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez chose Dixon as his number three, and gave a brief on her resignation from office and how she received two years probation for her crime. He didn’t mention her Democratic Party affiliation during his brief, nor was it mentioned in the accompanying on-screen graphic.

Where has Ed Schultz been for the last eight years?  Obviously not out with his progressive peeps.  Otherwise he could not possibly have said what he did on his MSNBC show this evening:

"I never saw anywhere in the news a Democrat carry a picture to any kind of a rally with a picture of Adolph Hitler putting them close to a characterization of President Bush.  Never saw that!"

Oh, really?

Chris Matthews apparently thinks the GOP is just one big bag of crazy.

MSNBC's "Hardball" host challenged Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on the Republican Party's commitment to addressing climate change during the May 5 broadcast. Matthews claimed to Pence that the GOP is not passionate about environmentalism because, "There are people that really are against science in your party who really do question not just the science behind the climate change but the science behind evolutionary fact, that we were taught - you and I - in our biology books. They don't accept the scientific method. They believe in belief itself."  

Matthews prefaced his argument with, "There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we've discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible." - Media Research CenterFollowing up on Al Gore’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register asked the Republican candidates several questions on the issue of "global climate change" and related topics. At the beginning of the debate, Washburn stated "we won't talk a lot about issues like Iraq or immigration. They're important issues, no doubt, but Iowans say they know where the candidates are coming from on those." But Washburn gave no indication that Iowans actually wanted to hear more about the Republican candidates’ stance on climate change.

In the most florid criticism I can recall a network "correspondent" leveling at a major party presidential candidate, MSNBC's David Shuster has branded Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) a border-control "fanatic."

The editorializing came in the course of Shuster's report during today's 5 PM ET "Hardball," which included an update on the GOP primary.
DAVID SHUSTER: No television commercial in Iowa is generating as much heat as the one just unveiled by Republican Tom Tancredo, a border-control fanatic.

View video here.

This is interesting. In an article that describes frustration by the State Department over recent hawk-like commentary coming from presidential candidates, only the Republican is labeled a "radical."

For various reasons, the majority of the Republican presidential campaigns have said they are not going to participate in a CNN debate co-sponsored with the Google-owned

Despite the fact that the Democrats' YouTube debate featured left-wing questions far out of proportion to questions from the right (see NB's prior coverage of the debate here), Republican activist Patrick Ruffini is arguing the GOP is really dropping the ball. Here's an excerpt from an open letter he's attached to a petition urging the candidates to change their minds:

We've read the news reports that only two of your fellow candidates have agreed to attend the Republican Party of Florida/YouTube debate, and there are major candidates considering snubbing the event.

As Republicans, we believe this is a serious mistake. Every Democratic candidate eagerly accepted the opportunity to answer questions from the American people via YouTube, even Hillary Clinton, the most cautious and calculating of the bunch.