Raging Over Failed Debate: “Obama Should Watch MSNBC!”

Vol. 25, No. 21

Raging Over Failed Debate: “Obama Should Watch MSNBC!”


“I don’t know how he let Romney get away with the crap he threw out tonight... Obama should watch MSNBC!... He will learn something every night on this show and all these shows. This stuff we’re watching, it’s like first grade for most of us. We know all this stuff.”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC following the first presidential debate, October 3.


Media Excuse #1: Blame the Altitude


“Let’s get right to it. That debate, what happened?...Your supporters have been saying, ‘This wasn’t a bad night, he didn’t show up.’...Again, why did it happen? Al Gore said, ‘Was it the altitude?’”
— Anchor Diane Sawyer to President Obama in an interview shown on ABC’s World News, October 10.


Media Excuse #2: Obama a Victim of Racial Double-Standard


“It was just very frustrating to watch a guy lie to the American people and not be counter-punched because we’re afraid he’s going to be called an angry black man.”
— MSNBC host Ed Schultz talking about the previous night’s presidential debate on MSNBC Live, October 4.

“Lest we pretend that that doesn’t make a difference, the specter hanging over his neck that, ‘I can’t come off as too vigorous because then it looks like I’m being an angry black man.’ And because of the angry black man phenomenon, Mitt Romney is able to be a vigorously engaged man who’s able to play to his strength.”
— Georgetown professor and fill-in MSNBC host Michael Eric Dyson on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, October 4.


Media Excuse #3: Obama Overwhelmed By All of Romney’s Lies


Co-host Savannah Guthrie: “There’s also the issue of style. People said he seemed checked-out, not really present, not engaging. What do you think was going on?”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz: “I think that there were so many lies coming across that stage, and so many inaccuracies, it was hard for the President to comprehend it and decide which one he wanted to attack first. I really believe that.”
— NBC’s Today, October 5.


Media Excuse #4: Obama Just Too Busy Being President to Prepare?


“Mitt Romney has spent, literally, two months, almost every night, rehearsing every answer for this very moment. He practiced hours and hours and hours, did multiple — literally, double-digit rehearsals — to be able to practice for this moment. The President had to be the President, and had to be a candidate, and so he didn’t have nearly as much prep time.”
Politico editor and former Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei talking about the previous night’s debate on MSNBC’s Way Too Early, October 4. [MP3 audio (0:38)]


Seething Over Romney’s “Attack on Children”


Anchor Soledad O’Brien: “PBS lovers, and really Sesame Street lovers, were very, very angry, including actor LeVar Burton. He hosted Reading Rainbow on PBS for 21 seasons....The CEO of PBS, Paula Kerger, said that she nearly fell off the couch while she was watching the debate and she heard that particular part of the debate. What was your reaction? Did you have the same reaction?”
Actor LeVar Burton: “I was outraged. I couldn’t believe the man actually fixed his mouth to say that. I interpreted it as an attack on children, Soledad. It’s an attack on children.”
— CNN’s Starting Point, October 5.


Journalists Push the Liberal Talking Points Obama Forgot


“I mean, the President made a decision not to get in Romney’s face a little bit more. Stop him, disagree with him. He didn’t bring up the 47 percent! He had a whole, you know, area to discuss the role of government and he didn’t talk about a philosophical divide!”
Meet the Press host David Gregory during NBC’s post-debate coverage, October 3.

“Obama rescued the American auto industry, our largest industrial industry; it never came up....The ‘47 percent’ — he let Romney come out there as a guy who cared about people on Social Security. He’s on the record with his fundraisers, where you pay $50,000 to hear what he really thinks, as using your phrase. And he says these people were all moochers and bums....How did the President let him get away with point after point after point?”
— MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews on NBC’s Today, October 4.


Obama Will Win “Easily” — Oh, Never Mind, “Debates Don’t Really Matter”


“[A U.S. news producer] called just before the debate and said, ‘So, I guess Obama’s going to win easily tonight. Do you want to come on and talk about it?’ I replied that I’d love to but that Romney was actually the stronger debater and I’d be tipping him to win. ‘Really?’ Yes. ‘Well, that is a surprise. I’m not sure people will buy it, but if you want to say that — it’s up to you.’ The day after the debate, he rang again. I was expecting him to say, ‘Hey, you were right! Can you come on to talk about how Romney won?’ Instead, he said, ‘Can you come to talk about how debates don’t really matter?’ I sighed deeply.”
— Washington, DC-based London Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley, October 5.


Gushing Over “Fantastic” Hillary: “I Love Her”


Co-host Mika Brzezinski: “Let’s get to Hillary Clinton who was fantastic. And she totally went there yesterday. She was talking taxes...”
Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative: “And one of the issues that I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country. You know I’m out of American politics, but [audience laugher and applause] it is a fact that around the world, the elites of every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.”
Brzezinski: “I love her. She’s right.”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, September 25.


Ruing “Threat” to Hillary’s “Much-Admired Legacy”


“The fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya last month has become a test of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s leadership and a threat to her much-admired legacy as America’s top diplomat just a few months before she plans to step down.”
The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan in an October 10 story, “Deadly Benghazi Attack Could Mar Clinton Legacy.”


“Never Been” Any “Radical” Democrats, but Today’s GOP Is “Truly Radical”


“The real issue in this campaign has become the Republican Party in Washington, that it’s a radical party such as we’ve never seen in a presidential race before, that Mitt Romney has become a captive of it....In Washington, there has been by Republicans in Washington since the McCarthy era, a hunt for so-called ‘radicals’ on the other side. There’s never been a really radical Democratic party, but now we have in Washington a truly radical Republican Party way outside the mainstream of even the Ronald Reagan party.”
— Journalist/author Carl Bernstein on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co., September 27.


Chuck Todd Trashes Rasmussen Polls as “Slop”


“We spend a lot more money polling than Scott Rasmussen does. We spend a lot more money on quality control....These guys [NBC’s pollsters] are the gold standard. We spend so much money. So it is — I hate the idea that their polling, which is rigorously done, has to get compared to what is, in some cases, you know, slop.”
— NBC News political director Chuck Todd on CNBC’s Squawk Box, October 3. [MP3 audio (0:48)]


Getting Thrills Over Joe Biden, “Sex Symbol”


“He’s No. 2 on the ticket but No. 1 in their hearts. Women born before the baby boom generation seem to have a collective crush on a handsome vice presidential candidate with piercing blue eyes and a wide smile who likes to talk about government benefits for seniors. No, not Paul Ryan. Joe Biden’s bringing sexy back....”
Politico’s Jonathan Allen in an October 2 story posted to his newspaper’s Web site, “Joe Biden, Sex Symbol?”


NBC Touts Venezuelan Strongman, “A Star Among the Poor”


“Hugo Chavez, 58 years old, a star among the poor in South America, was himself surrounded by a Hollywood star Sunday, actor Danny Glover, a Chavez supporter. For almost 14 years, Chavez’s socialist revolution has captured the imagination of the poor here....”
— NBC correspondent Kerry Sanders reporting from Venezuela for the October 8 Today show.


Election-Year Double Standard on Unemployment


“The jobless rate abruptly dropped in September to its lowest level since the month President Obama took office, indicating a steadier recovery than previously thought and delivering another jolt to the presidential campaign. The improvement lent ballast to Mr. Obama’s case that the economy is on the mend and threatened the central argument of Mitt Romney’s candidacy, that Mr. Obama’s failed stewardship is reason enough to replace him.”
— Lead of Shaila Dewan and Mark Landler’s October 6 New York Times front-page story on the Labor Department determination that the unemployment rate was 7.8% in September.


“Employment growth in the United States slowed last month, falling far short of expectations, the U.S. government reported Friday. The new jobs report cast doubts on the strength of the U.S. economic expansion and appeared to bolster Senator John Kerry’s case against President George W. Bush’s handling of the economy just hours before the second presidential debate.”
New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter detailing the much-lower 5.4% unemployment rate on October 9, 2004.


Conservative “Trope”About Liberal Bias “Losing Traction”


“Many Republicans see bias lurking in every live shot, but the growing hegemony of conservative voices makes manufacturing a partisan conspiracy a practical impossibility....The trope is losing traction, partly because there are many robust champions of the right, which gives conservatives the means to project their message far beyond the choir.”
New York Times reporter David Carr in an October 1 article, “Tired Cries of Bias Don’t Help Romney.”


Offended by How Republicans “Attack Women”


“The way that Republicans attack women is so offensive to me. And the way they talk about religion is offensive. I may not be a practicing Jew, but why we gotta talk about Jesus all the time? And it’s baffling to me how a poor person in Georgia can say, ‘I’m a Republican.’ Why?”
— Actress Mila Kunis as quoted by USA Today’s Ann Oldenburg in an October 8 Web posting.


The “Fonz” Wishes for More Caring Obama’s Re-Election


“I hope that the man who actually cares about 300 million Americans as opposed to very few is re-elected....I would like to get his autograph one day.”
— Actor Henry Winkler in October 3 Washington Examiner “Yeas & Nays” item by Nikki Schwab.

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