Refusing to See "Atmosphere of Scandal" Around Obama; On Cue, MSNBC Finds Racism

Vol. 26, No. 12

On Cue, MSNBC Equates Scrutiny of Obama With Racism


“The IRS is being used in exactly the same way as they tried to use the President’s birth certificate...Despite the complete lack of any evidence linking the President to the targeting of Tea Party groups, Republicans are using it as their latest weapon in the war against the black man in the White House....This afternoon, we welcome the latest phrase in the lexicon of Republican attacks on this President — the IRS. Three letters that sound so innocent, but we know what you mean.”
— MSNBC host Martin Bashir, June 5.

“His whole life has been crystal clear, and clean as a whistle and transparent. We know his whole life, through all the great, excellent education he’s had, the good pro bono work he’s done through his life. He’s never been a money-grubber. He’s never doing anything wrong in his life — legally, ethically, whatever. His family is picture-perfect. The way he’s raised those daughters. Everything is clean as a whistle. And yet, they just refer to him as evil. They just refer to him as a liar. I’ve got to believe it’s ethnic with these people. They just got a problem with this guy being President. Is there any other evidence to justify why they keep calling him a bad man?”
— Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, June 5.


Refusing to See “Atmosphere of Scandal” Around Obama


“It’s very easy to lump all of these issues together. I know that they absorb journalists inside of Washington. But I’m not sure how much any of these particular issues has absorbed the American public....Clearly, I’m very concerned about the leak cases, which is why I came here to talk to you this morning. But I’m just not sure, you know, they come together and create, you know — quote, unquote — ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson on CBS’s Face the Nation, June 2.

“You know, I think it’s true that the White House has often been tone-deaf, but every second term has scandals. And if you compare these with Iran-Contra, with Monica Lewinsky, I mean, these just seem pretty minuscule.”
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, June 2.


“Tragedy” if Scandals Keep Obama from Accomplishing “Economic Restoration”


Moderator David Gregory: “Tom Friedman, this is part of a bigger issue that the President faces, which is, where is his agenda left in all this? I want to show something. You wrote about how to get a job this week, which got incredible response. Here’s a poll from Quinnipiac this past week, that shows the following: ‘What should be a higher priority?’ Investigating Benghazi and AP at 22 percent, people said, relatively low; the economy and unemployment was at 73 percent — clearly a much higher priority as you look at that poll. The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman: “Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us.”
— NBC’s Meet the Press, June 2.


Obama Doesn’t Have Any “Scandals,” Just “Kerfuffles”


“See, my problem with Obama, and it continues, and I don’t understand it. You know, the reason he’s been in trouble the last four or five weeks, and it’s because of these kerfuffles. They’re bad, but they’re not awful....Has the White House learned any lessons from the scandal — the kerfuffle, rather — over at the IRS?”
— Chris Matthews on Hardball, May 28.


Conservatives’ Exit Gives Journalist “Faith in Humanity”


“I have faith in humanity, I have faith in America in that if you think about a lot of the most controversial figures who’ve gotten big platforms in politics — Michele Bachmann today announcing that she retired, Steve King not running for Senate in Iowa, Allen West in Florida, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin — all these people who were the most bombastic voices on the Right, who were political celebrities....They’re gone. They have been discredited.”
Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei on PBS’s Charlie Rose, May 29.


GOP: Extreme, Intolerant, Stupid and Paranoid


“The big problem with today’s Republican Party isn’t its policies. Certainly, those policies are extreme and would be deeply injurious to middle-class and poorer Americans should they be enacted. But Bob Dole wasn’t thinking, I don’t believe, just of policies. He was talking about the whole package — the intolerance, the proud stupidity, the paranoia, the resentments, the rage. These are intertwined with policy of course — indeed they often drive policy. But they are the party’s real problem.”
Newsweek/Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky, May 28.

Nasty Conservatives Want to “Punish” Immigrants With “Alligator Moats”


“Around immigration, there’s a sense that we need to punish people when they come here and they don’t know our language. We gotta punish people who came here the wrong way, even if they’ve been contributing to American society for a decade or more. Bigger, meaner, scarier fences by people suggesting electrified, alligator-filled moats to prevent ‘them’ coming in, by the language we use to talk about ‘those people’ who want to be here. You know what? Those people who want to be here are us. That’s what this country is made of.”
— MSNBC host Alex Wagner in one of her network’s “Lean Forward” commercials.


Getting Ready to Bash GOP for “Beating Up Two Women”


Anchor Chuck Todd: “Any danger that the Samantha Power nomination [to become U.N. Ambassador] becomes sort of a proxy that some Senate Republicans try, because that is a Senate confirmation appointment. And that some Republicans try to somehow go after her because they can’t go after Susan Rice?...Beating up on two women, I think, would be something that the Republican Party brand doesn’t need.”
Politico’s Lois Romano: “They don’t need it, but they — they haven’t had much, you know, problems beating up on Susan Rice.”
Todd: “True, before. That’s for sure.”
— MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, June 5.

“Isn’t there any Republican hesitation — Howard, you and I have watched this game for a long time — hesitation about beating the hell out of an African American woman again. I mean, don’t they feel any hesitance on just the gender and the ethnic front? Here they are, the old white guys, kicking the hell out of another African American candidate for something. Don’t they say, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t going to look good for the Republicans?’”
— Chris Matthews to The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman on Hardball, June 5.


Frank Lautenberg: A Liberal Even Before It Was “Cool”


Host Chuck Todd: “Frank Lautenberg [was] sort of an interesting character in the U.S. Senate over the years.”
Washington Post’s Dan Balz: “Yes, he was. And a liberal when people weren’t necessarily-”
Todd, interrupting: “When it wasn’t cool.”
Balz: “-when it wasn’t cool to be liberal. And, and he never hid that....”
Todd: “He would push things. He was on the gun issue, again, before it was cool to be on the gun issue. Smoking bans. He was a big proponent of that. I think he himself was a recovering smoker. And I believe that’s why he pushed some of these things so hard.”
— Discussion on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, June 3, just a few minutes after news of the New Jersey Democratic Senator’s death was announced.


CNN Hosts Deplore America’s “Gun Culture”


Host Piers Morgan: “Do you think that the gun debate will ever change in the way that the drunk-driving debate changed in the ’70s, the civil rights debate changed from the ’60s onwards? Do you think it’s one of those things that in the end, it will change?”...
Panelist Margaret Hoover: “You and I both know that there’s a culture in the United States, a gun-owning culture. And it is the difference between rural and urban, coastal and the middle of the country-”
Morgan: “There was a racist culture, there was a drunk-driving culture...”
Liberal panelist Mark Lamont Hill: “A Southern gun owner is not like a Klan member. I mean, come on.”
— CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, May 30.

“Look at how many guns are around. Look at how easy it is to get a gun. You can go to a department store and get a gun in this country. That makes me uncomfortable, because I grew up in a [Canadian] city where if you have a gun, you’re going to jail. We don’t have the same culture of guns. We don’t have the John Waynes, dude.”
— Newly-named CNN nighttime host George Stroumboulopoulos in a June 3 HuffPost Live interview.


Benghazi: Already a “Ridiculous” Scandal Like Lewinsky?


Host Gwen Ifill: “But Ed, why is this — why is this stuck? Why is this [Benghazi] a story that never went away?”
Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe: “It never went away because House Republicans especially believed that there was always something more. And now that they have these emails, the fact that we’re talking about it at all, to them is a victory....The big problem, just real quick, is that now House Republican leadership is saying, despite their genuine concerns and interests in this, ‘Be careful. Don’t overreach. Don’t turn this into a Lewinsky-like scandal, where we begin to look ridiculous for doing some things and saying things. Let’s do a measured response.’”
CNBC’s John Harwood: “I think we’re already there.”
O’Keefe: “Well, some would say.”
— Exchange on PBS’s Washington Week, May 17.


Obama Regime Raising Media Bias to “Dangerous” Level


“Liberal media bias is an old complaint, but the Obama presidency has given it a new and dangerous form. Never has the prevailing bias of the media been so closely aligned with the ideological aims and political interests of the party in power. The American media remain free and independent, or you would not be reading this column. But to a large extent they have functioned for the past few years as if they were under state control.”
The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” editor James Taranto, May 20.


Denouncing Bush for Helping Disabled Vets


“George Bush, over the Memorial Day weekend, held the Wounded Warrior 100K [bike ride], which was a kind of a celebration for wounded warriors who came back from Iraq, and I guess they walked or ran or something on their prosthetic limbs. And I found this to be nauseating. I mean, first he sends them off to war to get their limbs blown off, and then he has them over for a barbecue. This is like the Cleveland guy having a pizza party for those girls he had in his basement.”
— HBO’s Bill Maher on Real Time, May 31.

PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Jeffrey Meyer, Matt Vespa, Paul Bremmer, Andrew Lautz and Nathan Roush