Mar
22
2010

If Chris Matthews Were Capable of Embarrassment

…he would have to take a leave of absence to recover from the shame of having heaped ridicule on a guest who tried to explain to him how Congress could and would pass a healthcare reform bill. Daily Kos (3/22/10) recalled the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, in which guest Rep. Alan Grayson (D.-Fla.) pointed out that the Senate had already passed a healthcare bill, and that the House could approve it and then pass amendments that the Senate could accept via reconciliation. Matthews' response: "OK, OK. OK, you know, this show is about reality." Matthews continually mocked Grayson […]

Aug
21
2009

Fox Still Leads in Misinforming Viewers

Think Progress' Matt Corley (8/19/09) has the depressing, if predictable, news that recent polling shows "'all the misinformation out there' about health care reform proposals in Congress is taking root with many Americans." Corley is discouraged to see that, "for instance, 45 percent believe the false claim that legislation includes 'death panels' while 55 percent believe the false claim that coverage will be extended to illegal immigrants"–and an MSNBC passage says that, in particular, self-identified viewers of Fox News are disproportionately misinformed": In our poll, 72 percent of self-identified Fox News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to […]

Aug
16
2009

Shallow Press Longs for Shallow President

WashingtonMonthly.com blogger Steve Benen (Political Animal, 8/12/09) has words for corporate pundits lambasting Barack Obama's "Attention to Detail" as "going "into the weeds": A few weeks ago, MSNBC's First Read had an item questioning whether President Obama "knows too much" about healthcare policy. The piece complained that the president is willing to offer Americans details about reform…. The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman raised a similar concern today, arguing that Obama cares too much about policy details…. This, apparently, is criticism, not praise. The president who inherited a devastating economic crisis is interested in U6 numbers–a measure that includes the […]

Jun
19
2009

CNBC's Jim Cramer Still on Air–Still Wrong

Amanda Terkel of Think Progress (6/18/09) has posted video and transcript of an MSNBC segment in which Joe Scarborough asked CNBC's Jim Cramer about "a stunning poll the New York Times has this morning suggesting that Americans are more concerned about deficits than stimulus": Cramer claimed that Americans aren't buying into healthcare reform right now because "it just means tax increases, and there's got to be someone who pays for it." According to Cramer, the solution that "everybody" wants is for Obama to "go away": "But until we get the economy moving again, I think everybody wishes that Obama would […]

Jun
11
2009

A Newsweek Story Gets 'Better' for Scarborough–With a Little Help From a Friend

The website Gawker (6/9/09) caught Newsweek making some sneaky changes in an online article–changes that were ordered by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, and which just happened to favor the host of a show that Meacham appears on regularly. On the afternoon of Friday, June 5, Newsweek's website put up an interview with Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program. The introduction pointed out that Scarborough had once been the defense attorney for an anti-abortion terrorist who murdered a doctor, and noted that the host had been criticized for giving insufficient attention to the murder of Dr. George […]

Jun
01
2009

Brought to You by Starbucks…

MSNBC's Morning Joe program seems to have turned its conspicuous consumption of Starbucks drinks into a paid commercial for the coffee chain, according to this morning's New York Times (6/1/09). As Brian Stelter put it, Joe Scarborough "sips Frappuccinos on camera so often that some viewers have wondered whether it is a form of product placement, paid for by the coffee company. Starting Monday, it will be." The deal is worth over $10 million, and will include "Starbucks graphics and mentions during each hour of the 6 to 9 a.m. program." The show might even broadcast from Starbucks locations from […]

May
09
2009

As Good as It Gets on Corporate TV

It is quite telling that, even considering how in Ed Schultz's May 7 MSNBC interview of Physician for a National Health Program Margaret Flowers and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, he "slaps a gratuitous insult on the heroines of Code Pink" and "says he's against protesting and "getting arrested" as a rule but thinks it's OK if doctors in suits and 'educated professional people' do it" and even "pretends to believe (or actually believes) that President Obama favors considering the possibility of creating single-payer healthcare," activist and author David Swanson (OpEd News, 5/7/09) "can't recall a better corporate news video segment in […]

May
01
2009

Pentagon Pundits Still Thriving at MSNBC

During coverage of the Obama administration's 100-day mark, MSNBC had war reporter Richard Engel and anchor Tamron Hall interview MSNBC analyst Barry McCaffrey, who CJR.org's Clint Hendler (4/29/09) calls "the retired army general whose many conflicts of interest have been analyzed by David Barstow's now-Pulitzer Prize winning reporting for the New York Times." When asked by Engel about attempts to "draw away the Taliban's source of funding by cutting down the opium crop or burning it or whatever," McCaffrey was emphatic: "I think we've got to take it on. But, you know, the lead agent can't be U.S. combat troops. […]

Apr
27
2009

The Dark Side of MSNBC's 'Crazy Political Uncle'

Noting that, "for the last decade or so, Washington has indulged Pat Buchanan as a sort of crazy political uncle" by having "agreed to forget about his long track record of racially questionable commentary and writing," TPM Muckraker's Zachary Roth and Justin Elliott (4/24/09) have caught a column "for the far-right web magazine, Human Events," that doesn't quite jibe with the image portrayed on Buchanan's "frequent MSNBC appearances, where he plays a mostly well-mannered, if hardline, conservative." The commentary in question asserts that "family-and-faith, God-and-country" America "does not comprehend how the president could sit in Trinidad and listen to the […]

Apr
20
2009

MSNBC's 'Train Has Left the Station'–and Left Truth Behind

Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (4/8/09) asks if maybe it's "Already Too Late for the Truth" in cable news coverage of U.S. military spending, considering that directly "after Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled his recommendations for restructuring military spending–and boosting the Pentagon budget by $21 billion (4 percent)–the response was immediate: The Obama administration is trying to cut defense in a time of war. It wasn't true. It didn't matter." Quoting a former defense secretary telling MSNBC viewers a "clearly false" tale of "deep cuts in military spending," Benen notes that anchor Contessa Brewer had asked him "to address the […]

Apr
15
2009

Tea Parties and False Balance

With Fox News Channel relentlessly promoting–and MSNBC mostly mocking– the right-wing "tea party" demonstrations around the country today, middle-of-the-road media critics are making a typically middle-of-the-road complaint: Yes, Fox shouldn't be sponsoring such events, but the rest of the corporate media shouldn't just ignore these allegedly newsworthy events. As Howard Kurtz put it in the Washington Post today: Some Fox News hosts have been pushing the tea party protests slated for hundreds of cities today, almost to the point that they seem to be the ringmasters of the event. "It's now my great duty to promote the tea parties. Here […]

Dec
18
2008

Who's Giving Press Heat on Obama?

By way of suggesting that corporate media should make even more aggressive efforts to tie President-elect Barack Obama to a politician who called him a "motherfucker" for refusing to try to bribe him, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer remarks: I know that there are journalists who are taking a lot of heat for not being aggressive and tough with Obama. Noting that she has heard similar claims several times from MSNBC's talking heads, digby (Hullabaloo, 12/17/08) asks the obvious question: Taking heat from whom? I expected that after the election the press would come under pressure exactly like this. It's a classic […]

Dec
01
2008

MSNBC's Pentagon Pundit

A recent New York Times article (11/29/08) offers fresh documentation of conflicts of interest involving one of TV's most famous retired generals, Barry McCaffrey, who continues to be employed as an NBC military analyst even as he rakes in profits from military contractors. The story of how McCaffrey and at least 74 other retired generals were receiving briefings through a secret Pentagon propaganda program was broken by the New York Times back in April (4/20/08); however, it received scarcely a mention on the TV news outlets that employed these Pentagon pundits. One exception was Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MNSBC (4/21/08). […]