Tag Archives: MSNBC

‘Fair and balanced’? Sure thing

They call themselves the “Fox ‘News’ Channel.” It’s a conservative-leaning cable network that has purported to present the “news” in a “fair and balanced” manner.

Well, check out the caption under the TV image that flashed on the Fox “News” Channel. It parrots the epithet that Donald J. Trump has used to disparage U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has just announced the formation of an exploratory committee to help her decide to run for president in 2020.

The “Pocahontas” label, of course, is Trump’s way of ridiculing Warren’s contention that she has some Native American blood in her background. The president has decided Warren’s claim is without merit, so he has hung that label on her.

Fox has glommed onto it as well.

Is that how one might define a mainstream “news” network’s “fair and balanced” coverage of a still-developing presidential campaign?

Imagine what political conservatives might think — and say — if CNN or MSNBC broadcast an image of Donald Trump with the caption that read “Cadet Bone Spur,” or “Liar in Chief,” or, well . . . you get the idea.

The Fox “News” Channel simply demonstrates yet again that it is neither “fair” or “balanced.” It serves instead as a de facto presidential mouthpiece.

Disgraceful.

Language might give away author’s ID

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell has posited an “educated guess” on who he thinks wrote the anonymously published op-ed column that talks about White House efforts to protect the nation against the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

O’Donnell thinks it’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who’s in his 70s and is occupying the final public service job in his career.

The more I think about it the more plausible O’Donnell’s guess appears to be.

Then I went back to the essay and found this passage: … United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior.

I zeroed in on a pair of terms: malign behavior.

I have heard that phrase used exactly once in my life. It was stated recently to discuss the Russian involvement in attacking our electoral system.

It came from, yep, DNI Dan Coats.

Coincidence that it appeared in this NY Times commentary? I think not. Read the essay here.

MSM now gets pounded … from the left!

The so-called “mainstream media” can’t get a break.

They’ve long been the punching bag for conservative media and fellow right-wing adherents, suggesting that the mainstream media were tools of the liberal/progressive left.

But, hey, get a load of this: Now the mainstream media are under attack from a noted liberal/progressive activist who blames the MSM for allowing Donald J. Trump to be elected president of the United States in 2016.

Welcome back to the fray, actor/comedian Rosie O’Donnell, an occasional target of Trump’s insults and barbs.

According to The Hollywood Reporter: Though speaking to MSNBC, the comedian did not shy away from critiquing the network for being one of the outlets that refused to be sufficiently critical of Trump. “It took you guys a long time to call him a liar, and the man’s been lying every single day since he’s been in office,” she argued.

Though the president and O’Donnell have notoriously feuded in the past, with Trump once referring to her as a “fat pig,” the comedian says she’s actually “never spoken” to Trump. “He was on my show once. …. But I never spoke to him in my life.”

So, there you have it. The mainstream media have been targeted from those on both ends of the political spectrum.

If I were still working for an MSM outlet, I would consider it a compliment.

Trump defends a killer? Weird, man

Donald J. Trump’s infatuation with men who run their nations under heavy boots, heavy hands and sheer fright is shining more brightly than ever.

The president is defending his newest best friend, Kim Jong Un, by suggesting that his ruthlessness in governing North Korea is done out of necessity.

Here is how Politico reported some of what Trump has said about Kim: “He’s a tough guy,” the president said during a Fox News interview that aired Wednesday. “When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people and you take it over from your father — I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have — if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.”

So, Kim’s father — Kim Jong Il — died in 2011, giving the young man a chance to lead his desperately poor nation. How does Kim Jong Un respond? By furthering the starvation, intimidation, abuses, crimes against humanity that his father and grandfather made infamous during their respective regimes.

Politico continued: Trump made his comments Tuesday aboard Air Force One on his return from Singapore, where he’d met with Kim and hailed the North Korean leader as a “smart” and “funny guy” who “loves his people.”

Smart? Funny guy? Someone who “loves” his people?

He is cagey, cunning and supremely frightening to his subjects, the citizens of North Korea.

I laughed out loud last night when MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell made this curious observation: He said Kim Jong Un is the only “overweight” North Korean because he — unlike his subjects — is able to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants and in whatever quantities he chooses. North Korea’s citizens, meanwhile, are starving — many of them to death.

This is the guy Donald Trump calls “honorable”?

Disgraceful.

More armchair diagnosis is coming

John Harwood is an educated man. He’s smart. He is well-spoken. He can string sentences together.

He lacks, however, a certain credential that is important in his assessing the president’s state of mind and, I’ll presume, his medical competence: Harwood lacks a medical degree.

He writes for the New York Times, he once wrote for the Wall Street Journal and he is a contributor to CNBC, the cable news network that specializes in business news. He graduated from Duke University with a degree in history and economics.

But here he goes, popping off about Donald Trump’s mental state. He said the president’s press conference before departing the G-7 summit was a stumbling, bumbling performance.

Then he said this on MSNBC: I got to say that the upshot about this press conference was about tariffs. I’ll be honest as a citizen: I’m concerned about the president’s state of mind. He did not look well to me in that press conference. He was not speaking logically or rationally. It sounded as if he was making stuff up, saying China told me nobody’s ever talked to us, saying, ‘Oh, I talked to Justin Trudeau and can’t believe he was getting away with so much trade stuff.’

I don’t think those things are true. And he — there was something about his affect which was oddly kind of languid for him. I don’t know what it means but he did not look well to me.

C’mon, Mr. Harwood. Leave the diagnoses to the pros, the individuals who have training in observing people’s behavior.

This kind of cheap-seat evaluation is getting tiresome. A journalist’s national forum does not give him license to discuss issues of which he knows nothing.

Suck it up, Michael Wolff, and take the heat

I am well into Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” and am finding it an interesting and entertaining piece of work. Much of it rings true as well.

But when the author goes on these national TV talk shows to discuss some of the more, um, salacious elements of the book, he needs to prepare for the grilling he should expect to get.

He got grilled hard this week on MSNBC by “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who wondered why he would suggest that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would be engaging in an affair with Donald John Trump.

Wolff took offense at the question. Brzezinski persisted, noting that he implies an alleged Haley-Trump “relationship” near the end of his book.

The back-and-forth continued for a few moments before Brzezinski shut the interview down.

Wolff defamed Haley, according to Brzezinski. Wolff decided to go after the MSBNC co-host in a series of tweets after his appearance on “Morning Joe.”

I won’t comment yet on “Fire and Fury,” as I have a good bit of it yet to read. I do object, though, to assertions he is making about our nation’s U.N. ambassador and the president. This is a serious head-scratcher, given the ubiquitous presence of cameras, recording devices and other gadgets that can detect any kind of, um, “suspicious” behavior.

As for the author’s inability or unwillingness to endure tough questioning from journalists, well, he needs to toughen up.

This former GOP rep has, um, ‘evolved’

Joe Scarborough has gone through an interesting evolution since when he was a young member of Congress from Florida.

He was a conservative Republican who once voted to impeach President Clinton. Then he left public office in 2001 and has pursued a career as a cable news host and commentator.

Now he is one of Donald J. Trump’s most reviled critics. He has left the Republican Party; he’s engaged to be married to his MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host, Mika Brzezinski.

He is now speaking more, um, candidly about the president and, to my mind, is speaking more truthfully about many of the nonsensical things that fly out of the president’s mouth.

He said this week that had Democratic presidents, such as Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, “slandered” the FBI the way Trump has done, conservatives would mount a virtual all-out rebellion against either of them. They would give Obama or Clinton “holy hell” for saying the things Trump has said.

He now accuses the GOP of being “accomplices with their silence” about the president’s harsh criticism of the FBI.

Indeed, there once was a time when Americans hardly ever heard Republicans say things out loud that one could construe as critical of law enforcement. Indeed, the GOP was often considered to be the “law and order” party.

Those days are gone. The roles seem reversed, with Democrats now standing solidly behind the FBI as it seeks to do its job.

So, too, is Joe Scarborough, the one-time Republican who’s had enough of his former political party and its leader, the president of the United States.

Welcome to the club, Joe.

Turn off the TV, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump told us he wouldn’t tweet once became president of the United States.

“I’ll be too busy” making America great again, building a wall, defeating ISIS and bringing back jobs that had been shipped to “China and Mexico,” the president said.

The president has gone Twitter crazy. He can’t stop tweeting policy decisions, criticism of foes, friends and the media.

He also told us he wouldn’t have time to play golf, that he doesn’t even think he’ll take vacations once he took the presidential oath. How’s he done there?

Trump is set to play more golf in his first year than his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, did during his eight years as president.

He’s now zero for two.

OK, now he says he doesn’t watch much television. No time for that, either. The president says he reads “a lot of documents.” Is he telling the truth on this one? The New York Times reports that Trump watches more than four hours of TV daily; it might be as much as eight hours.

He watches CNN, Fox, a little MSNBC, perhaps a broadcast network news show or two, according to the Times. Then he tweets almost immediately after hearing the news, whether it’s “fake” or whether it comes from Fox — his favorite news network.

So, by my score, the president is zero for three on these promises and declarations.

Oh, but what the heck. He “tells it like it is.”

Media getting the lashing they deserve

It hurts a bit to say this, but the so-called “mainstream media” are getting trashed — for the right reasons.

The media have been criticized for the slant of their coverage of news events, of politicians. Conservatives have labeled the MSM as tools of the liberal political establishment. I haven’t bought into that argument.

What’s happening now to the media, though, is an examination of a culture that seems to pervade it. We are witnessing the toppling of media heavyweights because of the way they behave toward women … allegedly.

Bill O’Reilly at Fox News: gone; Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS; he’s toast; Mark Halperin of MSNBC: he’s outta there; Glenn Thrush of the New York Times and MSNBC: he, too, is gone; Michael Oreskes of National Public Radio: see ya later.

What do these men have in common? They all were accused by women of making sexual advances on them, of committing acts of sexual harassment, of sexual abuse. The allegations include groping, prancing around in the nude, making inappropriate remarks … and some things I probably shouldn’t mention here because they’re in poor taste.

The word now is that media outlets are soul-searching. They are schooling their employees — the males at least — on how to behave, how to treat their female colleagues.

What gives this story its extra legs quite arguably is that the media have been covering the sexual misdeeds of others, namely politicians and entertainment tycoons. That coverage has exposed media companies — and the men who report and comment on others’ conduct — to the very revelations we have learned about their own behavior.

As Politico has reported: “We have robust policies in place and have become more focused on communicating those policies across the organization,” said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha in an email. “In recent weeks, we’ve reminded employees of our Anti-Harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Non-Discrimination policies and we’ve highlighted the many ways an employee can raise an issue or file a complaint, including through an anonymous hotline.”

That’s fine. Now it’s time for the Times and other media outlets to root out the bad actors within their ranks immediately.

Let’s banish partisan stereotypes

There’s a common stereotype kicked around about Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans are hard-hearted; Democrats are squishy do-gooders.

I want to take on the GOP stereotype briefly here by calling attention to something U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas said about four of his Republican colleagues who voted recently against a package that include $15 billion in aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

You’ve heard of Harvey, yes? It blew in twice over the Texas coast, ravaging communities from the Coastal Bend to the Golden Triangle. Four of McCaul’s GOP colleagues voted “no” on the aid package because it sought to raise the debt limit ceiling.

One of the four happens to be my congressman, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Oh, Mac. I mean, really?

Here’s what McCaul said, according to Texas Monthly: “I don’t want to judge them,” McCaul said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “I judge myself and my conscience, and when I have people dying and hurting in my home state, it was my duty and my moral obligation to help them, and I felt that that vote was a vote of conscience to help people in my state and also now in Florida. I think that’s what Americans do, and I think it’s unconscionable to vote against something like that.” 

Actually, he did “judge them.” But that’s all right with me. Judge away, Rep. McCaul.

More from Texas Monthly: “I think having to raise the debt ceiling was the issue, and the fact is that Mick Mulvaney is the director of [the Office of Management and Budget], and he was a Freedom Caucus guy when he served with us, and he told us point blank that you could not appropriate disaster relief if you didn’t raise the debt ceiling, so we were stuck with that choice,” McCaul said. “What do you with that choice? Just stand on principle and vote ‘no’? And I question that principle. Or do you vote to help people back in your home state who are hurting really badly?”

Well said, Rep. McCaul.

So, let’s end the stereotyping.