Matthews has had quite the week already, so he kept it going on Thursday’s Hardball as the MSNBC host compared Joe Biden and the rhetoric in his campaign video to Nelson Mandela and, earlier in the show, joked about the prospect of Congress having Trump administration officials arrested and jailed if they ignore House subpoenas.
While Al Sharpton is certainly no stranger to controversy, his latest ploy has raised eyebrows across the political spectrum. Before the liberal activist steps down as president of the National Action Network next year, he has apparently found a new way to make money off the charity he founded in 1991: selling his “life story rights for a 10-year period” for more than half a million dollars.
Just when it seemed that NBC's Meet the Press couldn't sink any lower, ratings for the last three months of 2013 for the Sunday morning news/interview show fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 1992. That development has added to the speculation that liberal David Gregory might be on his way out as host.
From October through December, NBC's program came in third place for total viewers -- behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week -- and the numbers among viewers in the important demographic from 25 to 54 years of age collapsed to their lowest level in the program's history.
Right now, the White House press corps is in a shouting match with the Obama Administration over the White House's refusal to allow media photographers to take pictures of various presidential events. While the left-leaning journalists are tossing around words like "propaganda" to describe the official photos which are being released, the recent trip President Obama took to South Africa for the funeral of Nelson Mandela illustrates that the media elite really isn't interested in news so much as it is in preserving its institutional power.
Perhaps the most-discussed news item out of the Mandela funeral trip was a picture that was taken of Obama, British prime minister David Cameron, and Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking a “selfie” -- a self-portrait usually shot with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone -- a moment that was caught by Roberto Schmidt, a photographer for the French Press Agency. Now, Schmidt says that the overwhelming interest in the shot makes him “ashamed of mankind.”
Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.
But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize. Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand. View the video after the jump.
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
Once again, the folks at MSNBC have whitewashed the bloody history of a Communist dictator in order to provide political cover for President Obama. Following video of President Obama shaking hands with Cuban dictator Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, the folks at the Lean Forward network jumped to President Obama’s defense.
Appearing on his daily MSNBC show on December 11, host Thomas Roberts mocked the controversy over the handshake while calling Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) decision to walk out during Raul Castro’s speech a “a stunt to make some attention and some news about himself." Cruz, is the son of a Cuban immigrant and doubtless found the notion of Raul Castro speaking deeply offensive.
After Brian Williams touted President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro as "one of the better moments" at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, correspondent Lester Holt went further on Wednesday's NBC Today, hailing the encounter as "a true Mandela moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Democratic Congressman John Lewis gushing: "It's the power of Nelson Mandela to bring President Barack Obama together and Raul Castro together here in South Africa." Prior to Williams on Tuesday, Holt had similarly declared that "the measure of Mandela [was] so great" that "America's presidents shared a stage" with Castro.
Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday again exposed MSNBC’s Al Sharpton for deceptively editing a video, this time to make it appear the Factor host was disparaging Nelson Mandela within hours of his death.
“Sharpton uses the occasion of Nelson Mandela's death to dishonestly attack people he doesn't like,” said O’Reilly. “They don't come lower” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Leave it to CNN to take a completely non-controversial post by Sen. Ted Cruz honoring Nelson Mandela and whip it up into a public image problem for the senator. Conversely, President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro was spun into a positive.
Even though Cruz appeared at Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday, CNN focused on controversial comments by his Facebook fans over his praise of the late Mandela. And during the 9 a.m. ET hour of Newsroom, anchor Carol Costello dug up a critic's broadside of the Senator: "'when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.' Although that's probably a vile slur on dogs." Costello's guest, Rev. Raphael Warnock, then admonished Cruz for his "fringe" fanbase:
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
Tuesday's CBS This Morning swooned over President Obama's appearance at Nelson Mandela's memorial, hailing his "remarkable" speech as "the rhetorical and even emotional high point of this day."
Correspondent Bill Whitaker was particularly star-struck with the President's performance. "The crowd here sees him as a kind of hero. He has said that Nelson Mandela is a hero of his, but people here see some similarities between the two," he insisted.