U.S. Politics

Late Night Blog Wrap-up

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Fox wrongly blames increased health care costs on health care reform
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Glenn Beck’s Apocalypse for Dummies
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Rangel, Waters Trial Dates Split Ethics Panel Along Party Lines
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Fox News · Fox News Distortions · Obama Derangement Syndrome · President Obama

Obama: Fox News is ‘destructive’ to America

Well, he’s not wrong on  this issue, that’s for sure!


 President Obama is pulling no punches when it comes to Fox News, declaring the cable news outlet to be “destructive to [America’s] long-term growth.”

In a more than 8,000-word interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Obama compared the cable news channel to papers owned by William Randolph Hearst at the turn of the 20th century that unabashedly pushed the media titan’s own political views.

“You had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition – it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view,” Obama told the magazine.

Officials in the Obama White House have long made Fox News a punching bag, launching a full blown offensive last year when aides declared the network to be “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” Then-White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said the cable outlet “operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” and top aide Valerie Jarret called Fox “clearly biased.”

But the new comments from Obama constitute the president’s most direct attack yet on the network owned by business mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Fox News pushes “a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world,” Obama said.

“But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”

Fox has yet to respond to the president. But during the administration offensive against the network last year, network spokesman Michael Clemente slammed the White House for continuing “to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about.”

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Lawrence O'Donnell · MSNBC · Uncategorized

Lawrence O’Donnell gets his shot on MSNBC

I’ve mentioned on this blog before, that Lawrence O’Donnell is one of my favorite left-wing pundits.

MSNBC has placed O’Donnell on their prime time roster and I’m quite pleased about that.   I have DVR’d the show and haven’t been able to watch it yet.  When I do, I’ll update this blog post.

Associated Press

As Lawrence O’Donnell prepares to join MSNBC’s prime-time lineup, he’s proven that his years in politics have taught him the art of lowering expectations.

“The only way this can possibly work is if everybody here is much, much better at their jobs than I am,” O’Donnell said in a conversation at his Rockefeller Center office.

“I have no broadcasting training. No one’s ever said to me, `This is how you read a TelePrompter.’ They just pointed to it and said, `It’s over there.'”

Vice President Joe Biden is his guest Monday night on the premiere of “The Last Word.”

O’Donnell carries a varied background to the show. He was a former aide to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, worked in Hollywood writing scripts for “The West Wing” and wrote a political column for New York magazine. A lengthy strike by TV writers led him to call MSNBC and say he’s “desperately available.”

Network executives took notice when O’Donnell filled in for Keith Olbermann for several weeks earlier this year and the ratings held up well. MSNBC saved money and drew a larger-than-anticipated audience by airing an Olbermann rerun each night at 10 p.m., but was still on the lookout for something new. O’Donnell’s entrance allows MSNBC to repeat its three prime-time hours starting at 11, putting the shows in sequence to run from 8 to 11 p.m. on the West Coast.

“He’s the type of person that you want to hear at the end of the day,” said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s chief executive. “He’s very thoughtful, experienced and he’s got this elegance when he talks.”

O’Donnell’s experience on the network was also key. He’s a familiar face to regular MSNBC viewers, as was Rachel Maddow when she got her own show. It’s less chancy than starting from scratch with someone completely new.

Griffin envisions O’Donnell recounting the drama of a day in political life such as an episode of “The West Wing.” His competition is Greta Van Susteren at Fox News Channel, the ratings leader in the time slot, and the first part of Anderson Cooper’s nightly newscast on CNN.

The 10 p.m. rerun was starting to feel stale and it was important for MSNBC to get a fresh hour of programming, said Andrew Tyndall, a news consultant who publishes The Tyndall Report on TV news content. The host almost doesn’t matter as long as the show fits MSNBC’s left-of-center brand. Maddow established her own style and identity after getting on the air, he said.

O’Donnell is “definitely not a big enough name to get people to tune in” on his own, he said.

Paul Levinson, head of Fordham University’s communications department, said O’Donnell “has a real sense of dignity and is smart as a whip.” He said he could team with Maddow for quieter, less confrontational programming than shows hosted by Olbermann and Chris Matthews.

O’Donnell said he doesn’t want a loud, argumentative program and cites Maddow as an influence.

“She’s had conversations with people on television who believe that her daily life is a sin, and yet has a civil conversation,” he said. “She’s my model for that, and I really admire her.”

He plans to rely on guests, perhaps more so than other colleagues, and one week’s lineup makes O’Donnell tough to pigeonhole. After Biden, the show has scheduled New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, White House adviser David Axelrod, Meghan McCain and Levi Johnston for opening week.

His executive producer is Izzy Povich, who used to work with Olbermann.

“If I come up with nothing, we’ll go with Izzy Povich’s idea, the best producer MSNBC has,” O’Donnell said. “That makes me comfortable. The more I have to rely on me, the more uncomfortable I am.”



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REPORT: Fox News’ Candidates “Speak Through Fox News” A Whopping 269 Times

Of course we progressives/liberals already know this.  We’ve tried to tell everyone about this for years now.  Finally, a “report” lets the rest of the world know…

Media Matters

Five potential Republican presidential candidates that serve as Fox News contributors or hosts have made at least 269 appearances on the cable channel – compared to a total of six appearances on all other major news channels combined.

Palin: “[S]peak to the American people. Speak through Fox News.” Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appeared on the September 15 edition of The O’Reilly Factor and advised Christine O’Donnell, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware, to “speak to the American people. Speak through Fox News and let the Independents who are tuning in to you, let them know what it is that she stands for, the principles behind her positions.” [The O’Reilly Factor, 9/15/10]

Each Fox News candidate has appeared at least 36 times this year. Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 GOP presidential candidate who hosts his own Fox News show, appeared on Fox News 96 times through September 18. Fox News contributor Rick Santorum, a one-time Republican Senator from Pennsylvania appeared 52 times, and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has appeared 48 times on Fox News so far this year. Sarah Palin, the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, appeared 37 times, while Bush’s U.N. ambassador John Bolton appeared 36 times:

Fox News has well documented history of raising money for and promoting GOP candidates. Media Matters for America has extensively documented Fox News’ role in opposing Democratic policies, promoting and fundraising for GOP candidates, raising millions of dollars for Republican candidates and causes in the 2010 election cycle and donating $1 million to elect Republican gubernatorial candidates. 

GOP · GOP Agenda · Nikki Haley · Republicans · Sara Palin's Mama Grizzlies · Sarah Palin · Senate '10 · Senate Dems · Sharron Angle

Newsweek: What does ‘Mama Grizzly’ really mean?


Sarah Palin says that a new crop of conservative women will ‘rise up’ to protect their cubs. But will they?

ma·ma griz·zly noun, pl. -zlies

1. Large brown bear, female of the species, native to North America with big claws. 2. A certain breed of U.S. politician, female, who stands for…

…what exactly? On some level, the term isn’t hard to figure out. A mama grizzly is a conservative woman with “common sense,” as Sarah Palin puts it, someone who “rises up” to protect her children when she sees them endangered by bad policies in Washington. She is fearless, and that, in combination with her femaleness, makes her scary—a new kind of political predator. She will take on any foe and, the implication is, rip him or her to shreds.

Palin first described herself as a mama grizzly during her 2008 vice presidential run. She floated the current usage—as a movement—in a speech before a pro-life women’s group in May, and soon she was reflecting on the special qualities of mama bears on her Facebook page. “Mama bears not only [forage] for themselves to prepare for winter, they [work] twice as hard to slay salmon for their cubs, too.” By late June, Palin’s political-action committee had realized the emotional power of the image, and made an Internet ad—nearly half a million views to date, titled “Mama Grizzlies”—which is as plaintive and urgent as a 1960s protest song. It calls America’s women to a sisterhood of grizzlies “because moms kind of just know when there’s something wrong.”

Political pundits and journalists were delighted. Like beauty-contest judges, they began to bestow the mama grizzly title upon the women Palin endorsed, such as Nikki Haley, who is running for governor in South Carolina; Carly Fiorina, a Senate candidate in California; and Susana Martinez, a gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico. Palin was soon anointing mama grizzlies herself. When she endorsed Arkansas congressional candidate Cecile Bledsoe on Facebook, Palin explicitly referred to her as part of a growing list of “commonsense conservative ‘mama grizzlies.’ ”  Continue reading…


Anderson Cooper confronts anti-Muslim candidate

Anderson Cooper visited Wolfson Children's Hos...
Image via Wikipedia

I saw this segment on the AC 360 podcast last night.  I was amazed at just how willfully ignorant people on the right and especially Islamophobic wing nuts, are these days.


“That’s like the lowest response I have ever heard from a candidate,” CNN host tells Republican House hopeful.”

On Friday night, Anderson Cooper conducted a must-see interview with congressional candidate Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who is running the most baldly anti-Muslim advertisement of the year. This was the ad we told you about last week that refers to the organizers of Park51, “the Muslims,” and “terrorists” interchangeably.

In the interview (via TPM’s Eric Kleefeld), Cooper challenges Ellmers on her conflation of Muslims and terrorists. She responds: “[T]hat is certainly not what I’m intending to say. I am not intending to say that all Muslims are terrorists.”

She floats the idea that the organizers of Park51 are terrorists before acknowledging that she doesn’t know much about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

During an exchange about whether Park51 is a “victory mosque,” a frustrated Cooper exclaims: “That’s like the lowest response I have ever heard from a candidate, I have got to tell you.”

Economic Inequality · Economy

Arianna: Special Interest Groups Are Buying Public Policy

It’s time for the country to be alarmed at what’s happening.   Corporations are buying candidates, election and formulating public policy.  This is NOT a democratic process.  This is Oligarchy at it’s best.   As it stands now, the richest 2% of our population owns more than 80% of the entire wealth in this country.  Therein lies the problem.

Thank the Supreme Court of the United States for giving them that power in the Citizens United case.

Huffington Post

On a recent episode of CBS News’ “Washington Unplugged,” Arianna joined a roundtable hosted by Bob Schieffer to discuss the state of the American economy. Slate’s John Dickerson and The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder were also on the panel.

Arianna made some powerful accusations about the folks in Washington:

“Right now powerful public special interest groups are buying public policy. We saw what happened with the bailout– yes, we had to bail out Wall Street but did we have to do it the way we did? Without conditions or strings attached? With Goldman Sachs getting 100 cents to the dollar?” she said.

“I have friends who sleep with a copy of Ayn Rand’s ‘Fountainhead’ under their pillows who are really upset about this. This is not a left-right debate…. Everybody, even the richest Americans, should want a thriving middle class.”

President Obama · Progressives · VP Joe Biden

Biden tells Democrats to ‘stop whining’

Vice President Joe Biden L'68
Image via Wikipedia


Vice President Joe Biden has a message for Democrats this November: “stop whining.”

At a fundraiser Monday in New Hampshire for three Congressional candidates, Biden said he thinks Democrats will retain control of both houses of Congress in November, but only if they are able to highlight their differences with Republicans.

Democrats should “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives,” Biden said, echoing the Democratic message this fall.

Voters have a right to be angry, he said, but the choice between parties is clear.

Part of that choice, he said, means voting against Republicans and the agenda of former President George W. Bush.

“Worst of all was the policies they had in place that decimated the middle class. That’s the real catastrophe,” Biden said.

Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Committee hit back at Biden’s comments Monday.

“[We are] picking up the ball that this White House dropped when they refused to fight for the overwhelming popular public option, refused to break up the big banks, and demobilized Obama voters who expected this President to at least fight for big change,” Green said in a statement.