America No Better 'Morally' than Our Enemies; Gruber Scandal Just a Big 'Nothing Burger'

Vol. 27, No. 24

America: “Morally” No Better than Our Enemies?

“How are we better than our enemies morally, in light of what we all read about today?...What if you, God forbid, members of your family, had to undergo some of the treatments we are reading about in this report?”
— Anchor Brian Williams on the December 9 NBC Nightly News, asking former CIA Director Michael Hayden about the Senate Democratic report on interrogation techniques.

“Is this the responsibility of President Bush? Did he betray American values?”
— Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos to President Obama in a December 9 interview, a clip of which was shown the next day on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“We just heard John McCain describe this as shameful. Are you ashamed?”
— Anchor Scott Pelley to former acting CIA Director Mike Morell on the December 9 CBS Evening News.

“When you read this, if you envision Nazis doing this, and I even hate to say this, if you envision the Khmer Rouge doing this — it all — you can imagine it. It’s not that far removed from stuff they were doing.”
— CNN’s Anderson Cooper on AC360, December 9.


“It was legal at the time. The CIA was asked to do it. The CIA was passing on its intelligence to the President. So everyone in the world knew what was going on, including by the way, the Senate, which is now pretending to be a bit of a babe in the woods. They knew what was going on at the time, and in many cases were quite happy with the intelligence they were getting. I think this is about rewriting the narrative of history....This is really more about settling scores between this intelligence committee and the CIA.”
— NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel on MSNBC’s NewsNation, December 9.


The Gruber Scandal: A “Sideshow” and a “Nothing Burger”

“On the hot seat this morning, economist Jonathan Gruber....He is expected to be, shall we say, thoroughly grilled over those remarks where he called voters ‘stupid’ and bragged about the law’s lack of transparency. In the words of one GOP staffer in that hearing today, it’s going to be, quote, ‘A lot of fun.’...Kelly, how much of a sideshow are we expecting here?”
— Fill-in anchor Craig Melvin to NBC congressional correspondent Kelly O’Donnell, previewing the House hearing on MSNBC’s The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart, December 9.

“I’m sorry, Gruber is a nothing burger and always has been.”
— CNBC Washington bureau chief John Harwood on Squawk Box, December 10.


Gruber-Ignoring Nets Pounce on GOP Staffer’s Facebook Posts

“Now to a very different kind of story: The online outrage over an attack on President Obama’s daughters. A Republican congressional staffer posting a rant on Facebook about the way Sasha and Malia looked and acted at this moment here during the White House turkey pardoning the other day. The blowback here was fast and furious.”
— Co-host Dan Harris on ABC’s Good Morning America, November 30.

“Criticizing Presidents’ children has long been considered taboo in American politics, and as we’re seeing here in the age of the Internet and social media, the backlash can be brutal.”
— NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker on Today, December 1.


Scolding Obama for Not Ordering Amnesty Sooner

“If you, as you say, always had the legal authority to stop deportations, then why did you deport two million people?...For six years, you did it. You split up many families. They called you the ‘Deporter-in-Chief.’...You could have stopped the deportations, that’s the whole idea.”
— Anchor Jorge Ramos to President Obama in a December 9 interview shown on Fusion’s America with Jorge Ramos.

“Have you thought about, or what you would say to, the people — the hundreds of thousands of people that would not have had their families separated had you acted earlier? Hundreds of thousands.”
— Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart to Obama in an interview shown on MSNBC’s The Rundown, December 10.


Criticizing Obama as Not Lefty Enough on Race

“Mr. Obama has not been the kind of champion for racial justice that many African Americans say this moment demands. In the days since grand juries in Missouri and Staten Island decided not to bring charges against white police officers who had killed unarmed black men, the President has not stood behind the protesters or linked arms with civil rights leaders.”
New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear in a December 9 front-page story, “Unrest Over Race Is Testing Obama’s Legacy.”

“There are a lot of people that, in many cases, don’t think that you’ve been aggressive enough in talking about the numbers of African American men that are overwhelmingly shot, vs. white men. Are there ever times when the responsibilities and obligations as President get in the way of how you want to respond as a human?”
— BET’s Jeff Johnson to President Obama during the network’s December 8 special, BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama.

Anchor Jorge Ramos: “The killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, clearly show that we don’t live in a post-racial society, as many expected when you were elected.”
President Obama: “Well, I didn’t expect it. You probably didn’t either, but (laughs)”
Ramos: “But many people expected you, probably, to do more on race relations, dealing with white privilege. Do you get angry with this? Is it your responsibility?”
— From an interview shown on Fusion’s America with Jorge Ramos, December 9.


Piers Wants Ferguson Protesters as “People of the Year”

“I would actually make it probably the Ferguson protesters. If you ask me what has been the single biggest issue facing Americans right now in this country, it is the whole issue surrounding what happened there, and I think it has to be addressed by the black and white community of this country. Everyone’s got to come together and say we are simply better than this. So I would like to see them as the cover of Time and the people of the year.”
— Ex-CNN host Piers Morgan on NBC’s Today, December 8.


Chris Matthews Slaps Ted Cruz as the “New Joe McCarthy”

“Ted Cruz and his band of red hots on the right are at it again. They want to shut the government down. Big surprise there. Joe McCarthy is at it again....This plan by the new Joe McCarthy, which is always to blame the government as lawless...You know, demagoguery is not a good career choice. It usually lasts for a while, Huey Long, Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin. They had their spurts, like Roman candles, and then they putter out....He’s so much like Joe McCarthy in the way he makes his indictments, the way he sweats and makes these arguments. Everybody is a traitor but him.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Hardball, December 4.


Jeb Is Better than Those “Wacko Bird,” “Clown Car” Conservatives

“Lots of noise now about 2016. Jeb Bush seems like he wants to run, but he wants to run on his own terms. He’s not going to become a wacko bird. He’s not going to join the clown car. He believes in education, he believes in Common Core education. He believes in immigration, good immigration. He is different than some of those Ted Cruz-types out there, and he’s not going to cross-dress and pretend he ain’t.”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, December 2.


It’s Not Hillary’s Fault She Lives in a Bubble

Buzzfeed’s John Stanton: “I think Jeb [Bush] has less of a problem with that [relating to voters] than Hillary. She clearly has had troubles with this whole issue of does she understand what it’s like to be a real person. You know, like-”
Moderator Chuck Todd: “Twenty-two years, she hasn’t walked alone.”
Stanton: “Right.”
Todd: “I mean, that’s not necessarily her fault. I mean, she’s had Secret Service protection for 22 years. That is tough.”
— Exchange on NBC’s Meet the Press, December 7.


Journalism Should Be “Weapon for Justice” — Like Opposing Iraq War

“I think we can, and we should, use journalism as a weapon for a higher purpose: for justice. I think the best of journalism happens when we take a stand, when we question those who are in power, when we confront the politicians who abuse their authority, when we denounce an injustice....It is perfectly okay not to be neutral, and to openly take a stand....We stayed silent before the war in Iraq and thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians died unnecessarily. And we have to learn from that.”
— Univision anchor Jorge Ramos receiving the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, November 25, video of which was later posted to YouTube.


Advising Democrats to Write Off “Prejudice-Infested” South

“With Mary Landrieu’s ignominious exit, the Democrats will have lost their last senator in the Deep South. And that’s a good thing. They should write it off — because they don’t need....the reactionary, prejudice-infested place she comes from....Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment....Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise.”
— Former Newsweek reporter Michael Tomasky, now a writer for The Daily Beast, in a December 8 piece, “Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie.”


Rosie Rails Against “Systemic Racism in the United States”

“As I was sitting on the couch with my godson and my daughter watching, I just started to cry and my 12-year-old asked me, ‘Mommy, why are people racist?’...The conversation about systemic racism in the United States needs to be opened up for all of us in a dialogue — not just when atrocities like this happen, but all the time, because it’s prevalent in America and we need to look at ourselves.”
— Co-host Rosie O’Donnell talking about the Eric Garner case on ABC’s The View, December 4.


Can’t We Arrest the Bushies for War Crimes?

“This report of horrific, inhuman, illegal torture was on Iraqis....Saudis attacked the World Trade Center, but we invaded and tortured people in Iraq. And I think it’s so unbelievably demoralizing for us as Americans to have to face ourselves and the facts of what we did with our tax dollars. We are better than this....Couldn’t they be tried at the Hague for war crimes, because torture is illegal universally across the world?”
— Co-host Rosie O’Donnell on ABC’s The View, December 10.


Obama May Not Be the Best, But He’s Still a “Hall of Fame” President

“I’m trying to figure out the right analogy [for President Obama]. Everybody wanted Michael Jordan, right? We got Shaq. That’s not a disappointment. You know what I mean? We got Charles Barkley. It’s still a Hall of Fame career....It’s not that Obama’s disappointing. It’s just his best album might have been his first album.”
— Comedian Chris Rock in an interview with New York’s Frank Rich from the magazine’s December 1 issue.


PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Kyle Drennen, Matthew Balan, Jeffrey Meyer and Curtis Houck
MEDIA CONTACT: Ryan Moy, Jessie Markell