Washington Examiner’s ‘Mainstream Media Scream’ with the MRC’s Assessment (June-Dec 2013)

Since late January of 2012, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has once a week featured a “Mainstream Media Scream” selection in his “Washington Secrets” column. For each pick, usually posted online on Monday, I provide an explanation and recommend a “scream” rating (scale of one to five).

This post contains all the “Mainstream Media Screams” starting with June 17, 2013, the day the Washington Examiner became an online-only publication, through the end of 2013. (Previous “Mainstream Media Screams,” from January 31, 2012 through June 11, 2013, when the Washington Examiner was both online and a printed daily newspaper distributed around the Washington, DC area.)

Newer “Mainstream Media Screams,” starting in January of 2014.

Check Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” blog for the latest choice and his other Washington insider posts. Each week, this page will be updated with Bedard’s latest example of the worst bias of the week.

(For more of the worst liberal media bias, browse the MRC's Notable Quotables with an every other week compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.)

♦ December 16, 2013: Mainstream Media Scream: NYT’s Tom Friedman calls GOP ‘knuckleheads’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features a back-and-forth on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” in which New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman called Senate Republicans “knuckleheads.”

Host Bob Schieffer: “I think the great lesson in Mandela here is for all of us to step back and realize, he was a person who led, you know, he wasn’t worried about getting a primary opponent. He went out and stood for what he thought was right, and that does make a difference.”

Friedman: “He challenged his base, Bob. Look at these knuckleheads in the Senate, you know, on the Republican side. Now, these guys, are they really worried about agreeing to this minor, you know, budget deal? Not one of them is a profile in courage in the least and we’re going to lecture Ukrainians on what to do?”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Yes, to media liberals like Friedman, 'courage' is always defined from the left to mean having the 'courage' to raise taxes and the 'courage' to increase spending. In this case, where there's a D.C. media/political establishment consensus in favor of the budget deal, the truly courageous position is to oppose that consensus. But Friedman is too clouded by his own ideology to see that."

Rating: Three out of five screams.


♦ December 9: Mainstream Media Scream: Ed Schultz says God backs Obamacare

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC host Ed Schultz suggesting that God supports Obamacare.

Answering questions from viewers on "The Ed Show" last Wednesday, Schultz pulled one from Twitter.

“Would you interview Michele Bachmann and find out what God says we should do about the Affordable Care Act?”

Schultz: “I’ll tell you what I think God thinks of the Affordable Care Act — it’s a big ‘Amen.’ ”

Media Research Center Vice President for Research and Publications Brent Baker explains our pick: “We knew Schultz had a God complex. Now he’s speaking for God? It makes sense, if you equate Obama with God, which is common for MSNBC’s staff.”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ December 2: “Mainstream Media Scream: David Gregory cuts off Obamacare critic”

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features NBC “Meet the Press” host David Gregory cutting off an Obamacare critic, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., so he could talk the program up.

Gregory: “My reporting, Congressman Rogers, indicates that this is also where the president’s going to go. He’s gonna go on the offensive. He’s gonna argue that Republicans are trying to sabotage this instead of getting it right, that they’ve got no real ideas of their own. Is that what’s gonna actually make some improvements here to get this helping people?”

Rogers: “No. You have to remember what happened. This is unprecedented confiscation of people's health care. And so here’s what I think they're missing. They're trying to make this a political fight. When you have somebody who just lost their insurance, and by the way, there are millions of people who got cancellation notices. And the next go-round on the business side is 80 to 100 million people will get cancellation notices.

“And let me tell you why I think they’re missing the boat on this, trying to make this a political fight between Democrats and Republicans. A guy grabbed me the other day, whose wife is expecting a baby at the end of December. They’ve got a cancellation notice. If she has the baby in January, he is absolutely apoplectic about how he pays for it. If she has the baby in December, that – there’s no compassion in that.

“And this is happening hundreds of thousands of times all across the country. They’re getting ready to close high-risk pools that have cancer survivors, people who are trying to fight cancer are getting thrown out of their high-risk pools at the end of this year. And as a cancer survivor, you want your whole focus being on beating the disease.”

Gregory: “Alright, but there’s enough-”

Rogers: “They’re making a horrible mistake by trying to make this political when real people are getting hurt by this.”

Gregory: “But congressman, you talk about confiscation, the reality is there's also a lot of people who are going to have the potential to get insurance who never had insurance. And you have a small piece of the market where people may lose plans. Many of those will get better plans in the individual market.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “There’s nothing necessarily wrong with an interviewer cutting off a guest he doesn’t think is responding to his question. But in this case, Gregory went beyond the role of a dispassionate journalist and became a policy advocate – forwarding dubious White House claims, as facts, about how only a ‘small’ number will lose their insurance and ‘many will get better plans.’ He should leave such Obama talking points to his Democratic guests, lest viewers confuse him with a liberal politician.”

Rating: Three out of five screams.

♦ November 25: Mainstream Media Scream: Post essayist uses JFK killing to slap Tea Party

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features a column in the Washington Post's coverage of the 50th anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas. In it, University of Texas journalism professor Bill Minutaglio used the killing to impugn the Tea Party and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

“To find the very roots of the Tea Party of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months and weeks leading to the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry political polarization, driven by a band of zealots, burst wide open in America,” he wrote in the column, “Essay: Tea Party has roots in the Dallas of 1963.”

He added:

“Here we are in 2013 and the echo is painfully clear: The ad hominem attacks against a ‘socialist president.’ The howling broadcasters. The mega-rich men from Texas funding the political action campaigns. There is even another charismatic, Ivy-educated ideologue: Sen. Ted Cruz would have been quite comfortable in Dallas 1963.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “If new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos wants to get conservatives to read his newspaper, this is the kind of derisive silliness he needs to rid from his pages and site. No matter what ‘far right’ hostility to JFK existed in Dallas, it is irrelevant given a far-left communist committed the murder. And for the Post to use the 50th anniversary to impugn a modern conservative politician, Ted Cruz, as somehow ‘comfortable in Dallas 1963’ is an outrageous slander.”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ November 18: Mainstream Media Scream: Ed Schultz says media wants Obamacare to fail

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC's "Ed Show" host Ed Schultz claiming that the mainstream media wants Obamacare to fail.

From his show last week:

“Why is it that people in the media have a fascination with failure? They will take a number and they will make a negative story out of it,” he said.

“The mainstream media, I believe, wants Obamacare to fail. They look for every negative number they can find. They’re afraid to do a positive story, because they’re afraid that somebody might not watch. The media is just cherry-picking the bad facts that are out there, repeating them over and over again, and in many cases, they’re making stuff up.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research and Publications Brent Baker explains our pick: “Schultz is losing his marbles. The press corps spent 2009 and 2010 sycophantically promoting Obamacare and discrediting the very criticisms which are now coming true. Now, they can’t avoid the disastrous Obamacare rollout, and Schultz presumes they want it ‘to fail.’ No, they just have a better grasp of reality than Schultz. But I can assure him, the media elite yearn to swoon again for Obama.”

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ November 14: Mainstream Media Scream: Matt Lauer sees forgiveness for Obama’s broken promise

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features Today show co-host Matt Lauer suggesting that Americans may be better off with their new health insurance, despite President Obama's broken promise on keeping current insurance.

On Monday’s show during an interview with former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Lauer said, “He [Obama] apologized for the fact that he made a promise during the rollout, during the campaign for health -”

Palin: “Many, many, many promises.”

Lauer: “Made it over and over again. Said you get to keep your existing policy if you like it. Five percent of Americans can’t keep it because it doesn’t meet the standards of the new health care law. If it turns out, governor, that they end up – those five percent of people – with a better health insurance policy, do you think they’ll forgive him for the broken promise?”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “I hope President Obama appreciates how nice it is to have allies in the news media so eager to spin ?broken promises' into opportunities to tout how those who trusted you will really benefit in the end. The Americans who feel betrayed likely won't be so eager to forgive Obama as is Lauer.”

Rating: Three out of five screams.


♦ November 4: Mainstream Media Scream: Ed Schultz says Obamacare stories are too negative

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC host Ed Schultz slamming reporters for being too negative when reporting on Obamacare. From his Tuesday "Ed Show," he said:

“I know we’re fixated on web sites right now. You know what? I think that network reporters, throughout the entire industry, may be caught in a dilemma that Obamacare is so positive and going to have such a tremendous impact on American life and American society – it’s setting the foundation for better changes in the future.

“I think that network reporters and people on TV are having a hard time saying something nice about it or positive about it because they might be viewed as journalistically compromised. They’re not really showing a great deal of integrity if they say something positive about Obamacare.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Integrity? Schultz lives inside MSNBC’s bubble where President Obama’s biggest challenge is a hostile news media. Quite an imagination. The journalists Schultz condemns spent years promoting Obamacare, but aren’t so obtuse and so are able to accept the reality that Obamacare is stumbling. By Schultz’s logic, journalists must also think Ted Cruz is wonderful since they never say anything positive about him.”

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ October 28: Mainstream Media Scream: Chris Matthews on ‘Confederate Cruz’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features a regular, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s "Hardball." This time, his focus is the “Confederate Party of Ted Cruz,” the Texas senator and foe of Obamacare. On Oct. 24, Matthews said:

“Let me get started tonight with this emerging war in the Republican Party: The insurgent Confederate Party of Ted Cruz and the northern mainstream party personified by Chris Christie. When you look at Cruz, you can see the insurgent right in all its indignant victimhood. He complains of the Washington establishment being mean to him, as if he were an eight-year-old in the recess yard. Like others who have offered themselves up as populist leaders, he presents himself as the one who’s been wronged. He speaks of challenging the bosses, even though they’re his party’s elected leaders and he or any other Republican senator is free to run against them.

“He speaks of folks saying mean things about him as if he wasn’t the one who brought the government to a shutdown and nearly over the fiscal cliff. But who are the people who rallied to the Texas senator believing what’s so obviously not true: that he’s the innocent, he’s the casual bystander in this civil war when he, Ted Cruz, is the very figure who fired on Fort Sumter, not the other way around. Or is the hard right so dizzy in its anger right now that it can’t tell up from down or north from south or victim from troublemaker?”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Matthews is the one who should be dizzy from his obsession over seeing nearly everything through a racial prism where a conservative like Cruz, who dares to challenge the Washington elites, must be impugned as a traitorous secessionist.”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ October 21: Mainstream Media Scream: MSNBC anchor calls Obamacare critic ‘unpatriotic’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC morning anchor Thomas Roberts suggesting that Obamacare critics hate the the health system more than they love the United States. It came during a Tuesday interview with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Roberts: “Let me ask you though, when it comes to Obamacare, do you hate Obamacare more than you love your country?”

Blackburn: “I’ve got to tell you something, I think that comments like that that you are making are just incredibly inappropriate. What we have to realize is that the CR —”

Roberts, interrupting: “You don’t think it’s incredibly inappropriate to shut down our government and take all the hostages of Americans that you’ve taken?”

Blackburn: “I said your comments. No.”

Roberts: “No, no, no, it’s not inappropriate because you took the government hostage through the shutdown and all the American people, you’re walking them to a cliff, the economy, and you’re going to push them over one by one based on the fact that you don’t like the ACA. That’s all it is. You don’t like the Affordable Care Act.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “And liberals on MSNBC accuse conservatives of McCarthyism? Roberts jumped from standard MSNBC mode as mouthpieces for President Obama, to doing the dirty work for left-wing operatives who want to smear Obamacare opponents as ‘unpatriotic.’ That’s less journalist than henchman.”

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ October 14: Mainstream Media Scream: Tina Brown smears ‘Republican crazies’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown using unusually foul language to described Republicans fighting Democrats over the budget and debt ceiling. The attack came during a video interview with Sen. John McCain during her website's “Hero Summit,” and it was played on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Said Brown to McCain: “The story of this political crisis is really, you know, the culpability not just of the Republican crazies, but of the Republican non-crazies. I mean, how did we get to the point where Mitch McConnell is Rand Paul’s b---h? I hate to use that word, but I mean, it’s like where’s the heroism in your own party? I mean, why aren’t the moderate Republicans, you know, fighting back? We’re always saying why don’t, you know, the moderate Muslims fight jihad, but, you know, this is jihad.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Better question: How did we get to the point where Tina Brown is considered a journalist when she’s to Barack Obama and the radical left what she says Mitch McConnell is to Rand Paul?”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ October 7: Mainstream Media Scream: NBC’s Brian Williams hits GOP ‘Suicide Caucus’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams on "The Late Show with David Letterman," slamming the House GOP as a “suicide caucus” holding up action in Congress.

Brian Williams: “It's about the results of the last election. It's about a standing law for three years. It's about a small --they've been called 'the suicide caucus' in the U.S. House, about 80 members. They come from districts where Obama lost by an average of 23 points. They come from districts where they won by an average of 34 points. Very safe seats. They tend to be more white, more conservative districts than other congressional districts. And right now they have a hold on the House of Representatives. Certainly on the speaker, John Boehner. And that is what is doing this right now.”

Letterman: “Is this — a friend of mine was saying today that this is classic obstructionism, is that correct?”

Williams: “You can label it that. It’s been called a political hostage taking, it’s been called political extortion. You’ve heard the vitriol and the rhetoric this week. But right now, because of this caucus, this cabal, nothing moves.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Williams tries to play an impartial anchor on NBC, but letting loose a bit on a late night show, he exposed how his personal views align perfectly with liberal disdain for conservatives — an attitude reflected in widespread journalistic contempt for House Republicans. Can you imagine him ever using the pejorative ‘cabal’ term for liberal Democrats?”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ September 30: Mainstream Media Scream: Krystal Ball says conservatives want Obamacare deaths

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC's Krystal Ball on "The Cycle" last week suggesting that conservatives would rather have people die to “score political points” against Obamacare.

Ball: “The GOP is saying to young people, ‘We would like to have the government stick an unnecessary transvaginal probe in you if you want an abortion, but when it comes to health insurance, don’t take any government help. Don’t go to the state or federal government-operated insurance exchanges to buy private insurance. Stay away. Stay uninsured.

“Skip that pap smear. Skip that tetanus shot. Skip that prenatal care. Skip that cholesterol test. And if you die an agonizing and unnecessary death, one that could have been prevented by the health insurance reform that bears the president’s name, at least you know your death will have not been in vain. You will have died to serve the noble and patriotic cause not of conservatism, but of hurting this president and denying him a victory. ... They would sacrifice the lives of young people if it helped them score political points. That is not conservative. It is a national disgrace.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Wow. Ball charges those opposed to Obamacare are sacrificing lives to advance a political agenda and yet it is MSNBC hosts who condemn Tea Party conservatives as extremists. MSNBC is lowering the level of political discourse with such over-the-top extremist polemics.”

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ September 23: Mainstream Media Scream: Bob Schieffer compares Obamacare foes to Japanese WW2 vets

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features CBS Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer delightfully claiming that foes of Obamacare are like Japanese World War II warriors who thought the was war still being fought after emerging from jungles in the 1950s.

On CBS' "This Morning," he said, “I mean, they’re going to pass this in the House, I would assume. And it’s going to go nowhere in the Senate. When the Wall Street Journal compares them to, you know, those Japanese suicide pilots in World War II, I wonder if it isn't — I think that’s apt. But even more apt, you remember — way on into the 1950s when they go into the jungles of the Philippines and they find these Japanese soldiers that thought World War II was still going on?”

[Hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell all laugh.]

Gayle King: “Good analogy.”

Schieffer: “I mean, you know, the war over Obamacare is over. You know? An they still continue to fight it. This is not going to change here.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Might Schieffer be the one wandering clueless in the jungle? He ridicules Obamacare opponents at his own peril. This kind of analogy — harking back to isolated soldiers 60 years ago — just demonstrates how out of touch he is. The latest CBS News poll showed 54 to 36 percent disapproval for Obamacare, yet the more the public opposes Obamacare, the more adamant Obama’s allies become about denigrating those who dare try to stop it. They’re racing to get it enacted before public backlash undermines it and their smug certainty.”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ September 16: Mainstream Media Scream: Ed Schultz asks, ‘Where is the love for Obama?’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features Ed Schultz, the host of MSNBC’s "The Ed Show," asking why it is that Americans aren’t in love with President Obama.

On his show Friday, he said:

I want to start with a number and a poll tonight, and I want to talk about the economy, because...

I just cannot believe this number. Seriously. President Obama's handling of the economy. Only 45 percent of the American people think he's doing a good job on the economy and 52 percent disapprove? You mean to tell me we've had 41 months of private-sector job growth? We've got a stock market that is absolutely going through the roof? We've got record profits? People's 401(k)'s are in the market and that's the best people think? You know what that is? That is a lot of negative campaigning in the media. That is the Republican, conservative effect on how we think as a country.

Here's the man, the Republicans always love to quote. [Picture of Ronald Reagan appears onscreen.] Here is the man they genuflect to. Here is the man they point to for direction, Mr. Trickle-Down Economics, Ronald Reagan. Brought the philosophy, 'If the wealthy people don't pay much in taxes, our job market is going to go nuts.' It was Ronald Reagan who said 'We've got to deregulate Wall Street.' It was Ronald Reagan back in the '60s who campaigned hard against Medicare, and how many lives has Medicare saved and the quality of life for people in their later years has been just enhanced dramatically? Reagan was against all of that.

And we have put up with a set of basics dealing with Reagan -- Reagan's economic philosophy for the past 35 years. So where are we right now? It amazes me that people don't love Obama. It amazes me that the conservatives who are seeing the stock market go through the roof in dealing with a president who has pretty much been hands-off on Wall Street, it just amazes me he can't get above 50 percent when it comes to a favorable view of the economy. Well, you see, Reaganomics has hammered the working folk of America.

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “Ed Schultz must be making Chris Matthews proud, using Matthews’ old time slot to genuflect to Barack Obama. Most recognize the economy is barely limping along, with the lowest job participation level in decades. But like Matthews, Schultz lives in MSNBC’s alternate universe where everyone has drunk the Obama-loving Kool-Aid.”

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ September 9: Mainstream Media Scream: CNN anchor’s ‘I’m a little sick’ over Limbaugh kids book

(Washington Examiner post)

This week’s Mainstream Media Scream gets a little queasy at CNN Newsroom anchor Carol Costello’s sneer at conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for writing a children’s history book that features “Rush Revere.”

Costello expressed her disgust over Limbaugh's upcoming children's book, "Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims,” via Twitter last week. Costello first snarked: "Um. Oh. Seriously?" Minutes later, the on-air personality tweeted, "I'm a little sick now."

Both were in reaction to tweets by HuffPost Media.

And she didn’t back down when criticized. A TV Newser story Friday was headlined: “CNN Anchor Stands By Tweet Critical of Rush Limbaugh Children’s Book.”

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: “What is Costello so afraid of? That kids might learn to admire the founders and Revolutionary War heroes by reading a book by a man in touch with more Americans, judging by ratings, than anyone on CNN? CNN wants you to believe its anchors are moderates situated mid-way between FNC and MSNBC, but Costello shows she has just as much contempt for conservatives as anyone on MSNBC."

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ August 30: Mainstream Media Scream: Woodruff-Ifill Obama ‘idolatry’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream looks at the reaction to President Obama's performance at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and comments about him by PBS hosts Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill.

In an interview with Obama at the White House following Wednesday's march, Ifill suggested a theory that the president is "a victim of partisan racial gridlock," while Woodruff hailed how "you've been able to do — help the country in many ways."

    JUDY WOODRUFF (to Obama in interview shown on PBS's NewsHour, August 28):

    "And let me just pick up on that because you did tie Dr. King's vision to your own agenda, and you've been able to do — help the country in many ways. We didn't go into the economic abyss after the financial collapse. Wall Street's booming. Corporations are making great profits. But as you pointed out today, average wages, the gap between wealthy and those who are not wealthy has never been bigger than it is today. The wages, especially of African-Americans, haven't improved. Mr. President, how much does it weigh on you that your policies haven't made more of a difference in those areas?"

    GWEN IFILL (later in the same interview):

    "I interviewed Taylor Branch, the civil rights historian for part of our series on the March on Washington yesterday, and one of the things he said was that you suffer — you are a victim of partisan racial gridlock. That's the way he put it. And you talked a moment ago about that a little bit. I wonder whether you think that's true. And if so, what if anything — the first African-American president can do to break through that kind of motivated gridlock?"

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Woodruff and Ifill provided a tag team of Obama idolatry, treating him as a victim of unfair attacks and trumpeting his supposed achievements while ignoring scandals like the IRS. They demonstrated, once again, that the elite of the Washington press corps are incapable of holding this president accountable since they are invested in his success. If MSNBC ever needs new hosts, both would fit right in."

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ August 26: Mainstream Media Scream: Cokie Roberts on ‘evil’ voting rights moves

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features Cokie Roberts on Sunday's "This Week" program lashing out at moves she feels waters down voting rights.

"You know, having grown up in the deep south in the era of Jim Crow, the difference is dramatic," said Roberts during a section of the show to discuss this week's 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. "And the fact that Andy Young was Mayor of Atlanta and John Lewis is a member of Congress from Georgia, is a great testament to the fact that when you do something like pass a voting rights bill, that it makes a difference. Which is why, at the moment, what's going on about voting rights is downright evil because it is something that really needs to keep going forward not backward."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Roberts perfectly illustrated liberal condescension. Instead of rationally discussing the pros and cons of a policy, impugn the position as 'evil' in an effort to discredit those with whom you disagree by claiming to hold the only moral position. She's learned well from Barack Obama - or maybe he learned it first from her and other left-wing members of the D.C. press corps."

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ August 20: Mainstream Media Scream: Chris Matthews cheers Democratic unity

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features a regular: MSNBC's Chris Matthews. This time, it's not for his hosting of Hardball, but Andrea Mitchell's daytime show. Wrapping up an interview with Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, he cooed, "Congresswoman, I want to congratulate you on one thing that nobody ever gives you credit for, which is uniting the Democratic Party as it's never been united."

Matthews, co-hosting with his wife Kathleen, continued: "And I'm telling you, it's not - I grew up with a Democratic Party that was never united, and you are united. And that's something the Republicans are going to envy you for." A beaming Wasserman Schultz replied: "Thank you. We're very proud of that."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Wasserman-Schultz should just go ahead and confirm the obvious and make Matthews the 'Honorary Chairman' of the Democratic National Committee for all he does to cheerlead on her behalf."

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ August 14: Mainstream Media Scream: Obama flubs, media shrugs

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream highlights some flubs made by President Obama during his interview by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show last week. For example, despite falsely claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB and confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics, the networks fell silent.

Some flubs:

a) "Terrorists depend on the idea that we're going to be terrorized. And we're going to live our lives. And the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately."

b) Obama claimed Putin once "headed up the KGB."

c) "Our ports. You know, the Panama Canal is being widened so that these big supertankers can come in. Now, that will be finished in 2015. If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf -- places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida -- if we don't do that, those ships are going to go someplace else."

d) He confused Winter and Summer Olympics. Russia will have Winter games: "If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people's sexual orientation shouldn't have anything to do with it."

Baker's comment: Imagine if that had been George W. Bush, Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle on Leno's show. Hard to imagine every TV story wouldn't have focused on the miscues as the latest proof of the idiocy of the Republican politician. Must be nice to have journalists cleaning up your errors so you look more erudite than ill-informed bumbler.

Rating: Four out of five screams


♦ August 5: Mainstream Media Scream: CNN’s Costello ‘haha’ at House GOP's shutdown threat

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features CNN morning anchor Carol Costello laughing over the possibility the Republican-controlled House will shut down the government instead of doing "its job."

On Facebook on Friday, she wrote, "Anyway, in the news: The jobs report comes out today. It's expected to be 'meh.' Many economists think the economy could be a lot better if Congress did its job, but the House is, again, threatening to shut down the government. We've been down this road before...but, with an approval rating of 17 per cent, you'd think the House would come up with something new. Hahahahaaha."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Remarkable. Five years into Obamanomics, Costello's first instinct is blame conservatives for the bad economy and laugh about it. Maybe one reason for the low approval rating of Congress is the hostility journalists like Costello show toward House Republicans while not holding the president accountable."

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ August 1: Mainstream Media Scream: Chris Matthews calls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee ‘political terrorists’

(Washington Examiner post)

Our latest Mainstream Media Scream features a regular: Chris Matthews, the hard-charging, blunt-speaking host of MSNBC's Hardball. This time he was vilifying the Tea Party senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

Matthews concluded Hardball on Wednesday, July 31:

"Let me finish tonight with this. They are political terrorists and like all terrorists, including those who use bombs, their number one goal — their only goal — is to blow things up. Cruz, Paul and Mike Lee are on a mission to destroy, shut down the American government, destroy Obamacare, drive the country into default, destroy the U.S. credit rating. Terrorists with one purpose: To bring down, not just this administration but, let's face it, the American government. Just watch. And the fact is, the likelihood out there, is this crew could be the one that crashes the Republican convention next time. And that, fortunately, could be the end of them."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Another pathetic tantrum. Matthews must not have much faith in the soundness of his own political views if he keeps resorting to pejorative attacks instead of debating the substance. He's the one 'blowing things up' by using a term which should apply only to mass murderers of the innocent, not to demeaning senators simply trying to enact the policies the citizens of their states elected them to pursue."


♦ July 29: Mainstream media scream: MSNBC’s Hayes befuddled that more crooks in jail means less crime

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features the host of "All In with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC disturbed that the nation is fearful of criminals even though more are in jail.

On Friday night, Hayes was discussing some commentary from Fox's Bill O'Reilly with California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee when he said:

"What I find most frustrating is that we have seen is incarceration go up at the same time that crime is going down, and yet the fear level is still stoked, even though what we have is, objectively, less murders every year, we have less crime, we are living in a safer society, and we are putting more people in prison."


Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Duh! Just because liberals don't like imprisoning people does not mean it doesn't work to decrease crime if more criminals are incarcerated and thus unable to murder or rob. It's not a paradox, but a basic cause-and-effect outcome which has perplexed the supposedly erudite Hayes."

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ July 23: Mainstream Media Scream: CBS’s Schieffer raps Boehner’s House

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer blaming House Speaker John Boehner for failing to enact President Obama's agenda and taking down the popularity of the House.

Schieffer: "Any way you cut it, and whoever's fault it is, you have presided over what it perhaps the least productive and certainly one of the least popular Congresses in history. How do you feel about that?"

Boehner: "Well, Bob, we should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal. We've got more laws than the administration could ever enforce. And so we don't do commemorative bills on the floor. We don't do all that nonsense. We deal with what the American people want us to deal with. Unpopular? Yes. Why? We're in a divided government. We're fighting for what we believe in. Sometimes, you know, the American people don't like this mess."

Schieffer: "But it's not the case, Mr. Speaker, of just passing or not passing new laws. You've got the government in gridlock. You're laying off people in the Defense Department. They're working four days a week. You've got the sequester that is the creation of Congress. This is not something that was foisted upon Washington by somebody from Mars."

Boehner: "Who insisted upon the sequester? The President of the United States."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Schieffer perfectly reflects the conventional wisdom of the liberal Washington press corps: Measure success by how many new laws are implemented and blame conservatives in the House for 'gridlock,' absolving President Obama of any responsibility."

Rating: Three out of five screams.


♦ July 15: Mainstream media scream: MSNBC's Chris Jansing says George Zimmerman verdict had pre-teens cowering in bed

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features MSNBC host Chris Jansing claiming that George Zimmerman's acquittal of murdering teen Trayvon Martin prompted children to hid in bed with their parents "out of fear."

At 12:43 a.m. on Sunday following the verdict, she said on the cable network: "Whatever your opinion is about this case and whether or not you think that the prosecution proved its case, I think there is one thing that is undeniable. And that is, the result of this case, there are 12-year-olds who are crawling into bed with their parents tonight out of fear and while there may be some more legal recourses, some more legal issues that will be dealt with in the courts, there are other things that are going on right now, including a phone call among civil rights leaders about where do we go next."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "How low can MSNBC go? They spent months exploiting racial fears to advance the left's agenda. Then, even after that theory falls apart in court with Zimmerman's acquittal, Jansing refuses to adjust to reality and puts nightmares into the heads of gullible viewers."

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ July 8: Mainstream Media Scream: MSNBC calls Limbaugh a tyrant

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC's "All In" show, lumping Rush Limbaugh in with dictators feted by stars like Elton John.

On his show last week, Hayes reported that superstar singer-actress Jennifer Lopez had performed for the authoritarian and repressive Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. He then sneered:

"As one Twitter user put it, on the bright side, Gigli's no longer the worst thing she's done. Now, of course, this isn't the first time a celebrity has performed for an egomaniacal tyrant who uses fear and paranoia to keep followers in line. Beyonce did sing at a New Year's eve bash to entertain the family of Moammar Gadhafi and Elton John performed at the fourth wedding of Rush Limbaugh."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "So, when it comes to tyrants who use paranoia to 'keep followers in line,' Hayes' mind goes to impugning a popular conservative voice. Just the kind of cheap shot which must delight his liberal audience, but which likely turns off everyone else."

Rating: Four out of five screams.


♦ July 1: Mainstream Media Scream: MSNBC guest calls Justice Clarence Thomas ‘a metaphoric Hitler’

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor who is a regular fill-in host on MSNBC, bashing Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas after the decision to gut the Voting Rights Act.

A guest on Martin Bashir's MSNBC show Tuesday following the court's decision, Dyson said: "Clarence Thomas's actions here today, though consistent, though tragic to me, are even more so in light of the bulk of decisions he's rendered in the name of a judicial vote on the Supreme Court. A symbolic Jew has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit holocaust and genocide upon his own people."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Even after this vicious, race-based smear, David Gregory brought Dyson aboard Sunday's 'Meet the Press' as a panelist. NBC News journalists have no credibility to decry the supposed extremism on Fox News when they reward such contemptible hate speech against a Supreme Court justice."

Rating: Five out of five screams.


♦ June 24: Mainstream Scream: Chuck Todd’s excuses for Obama’s poor Berlin speech

(Washington Examiner post)

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd's analysis on why President Obama didn't hit a homerun in his Berlin speech last week, dwarfed by his 2008 speech there given during the presidential election.

"There was an attempt to shrink the crowd size. Now the White House was all too comfortable with allowing that to happen because they feared they could never live up to the billing of what happened five years ago, that they could never recreate another 250,000 people showing up. Maybe they would have gotten 25, 30, 40,000 people," said Todd.

"Now, what I noticed in following this president for as long as I have - and you probably know exactly what I mean, is President Obama feeds off a crowd very well. The way this was all put together, this incredible setting, this incredible backdrop, and then you had that very distracting glass and you could just see that the President himself wasn't feeding off of the crowd. And look, part of it, it was hot. Those folks were out there for two and a half hours. Trust me, I was along there with them. And so, it can sap your energy a little bit, and I just wonder if that added a little bit to this," Todd added.

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Obama's much-touted speech was a flop, so much so that the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows the next day didn't utter a syllable about it. Yet Todd was set on proving his Obama-friendly bona fides, coming up with ridiculous excuses he'd never extend to a conservative politician."

Rating: Three out of five screams.


♦ June 17, 2013: Mainstream Media Scream: CBS honcho calls Obama scandals ‘little fires’

(Washington Examiner post;
(Washington Examiner post;

(Washington Examiner post)

There they go again, members of the mainstream media shrugging off the scandals swirling around President Obama.

This week's Mainstream Media Scream features CBS News Political Director John Dickerson shrugging at the affairs. On Thursday's "CBS This Morning," he asserted that the White House was "trying to get something done on immigration. ... They're trying to stay focused on the things that really matter to this presidency, and only trying to spend a small amount of time putting out these little fires."

Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our pick: "Treating all the scandals as 'little fires' is why the Obama administration is able to remain focused on its liberal agenda. If this were a conservative president, journalists like Dickerson would make sure the scandals were a major conflagration which disrupted the White House's agenda."

Rating: Three out of five screams.


>> Newer “Mainstream Media Screams,” for 2014 <<

>> Previous “Mainstream Media Screams,” from January 31, 2012 through June 11, 2013 <<

— Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Follow Brent Baker on Twitter.