"A Tall Order" to Expect Good Press for Barack Obama?

Vol. 25, No. 19

“A Tall Order” to Expect Good Press for Barack Obama?


“You, I guess, have to play mistake-free ball now for 60 days, hope for nothing but positive coverage. That’s a tall order.”
— Anchor Brian Williams to Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett during NBC’s live convention coverage, September 6.

Still Inspired by Humble Dreamer Obama?


“I wanted to take you back to something you wrote. You wrote that ‘I have never had a President who inspired me the way people tell me my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe, I have found the man who could be that President.’ Do you still feel just as inspired by President Obama?”
— ABC’s David Muir to Caroline Kennedy on World News, September 5.

“In your job you get to listen to all of the psychiatrists analyze your husband. Peter Baker, this morning’s New York Times: He’s ‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”
— Brian Williams to First Lady Michelle Obama, September 6 NBC Nightly News.


Anxious to Hear More About Romney’s “Greed and Excess”


“Is it your job here, as you understand it, to argue that Mitt Romney is the personification of that Wall Street greed and excess?”
— Co-host Savannah Guthrie to Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on Today, September 4. [MP3 audio (1:03)]


Does “Slut” Slur Reflect Romney and the GOP?


“Rush Limbaugh called you a derogatory name. I’m wondering, do you think that Rush Limbaugh — and he called you, and these are his words, ‘a slut’ — do you think that his views represent Mitt Romney and the Republican Party?”
— CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar to Sandra Fluke on the floor of the Democratic convention, September 4. [MP3 audio (0:33)]


GOP Exposed as “Radical” and “Out of Touch”


“I thought, overall, the convention highlighted and exposed what the Republican party has become, which is a radical conservative party that demographically and ideologically is increasingly out of touch. I think they have a big, big problem as a result.”
New Yorker editor and former Washington Post reporter David Remnick grading the Democratic convention on CBS This Morning, September 7.


The Greatest of All Time vs. The Bayonne Bleeder


Co-host Savannah Guthrie: “You were obviously in Charlotte all week, you were in Tampa the week before. Pound for pound, speech for speech, night for night, make a call, who had the better convention and who had the most riding on it?”
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough: “Oh, good Lord, if we’re going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn’t Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner. [cheering in background by crowd in Charlotte] It was ugly...”
— NBC’s Today, September 7. [MP3 audio (1:20)]


Glad to Be Away from “Mean” Republican Convention


“I survived Tampa and am now glad to be here in Charlotte. I can’t resist. That convention was like dropping a bowling ball in a sand box....If they were trying to reach middle America with that convention, I don’t think they did it. I think the speeches weren’t that good. I think the tone was kind of mean.”
— Former Newsweek political correspondent Howard Fineman on MSNBC’s Hardball, September 3. [MP3 audio (0:40)]


MSNBC’s Blatant Bias Evident to Everyone


“If you watch MSNBC during convention coverage, you have a cheering section for the Democrats.”
— CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist, as quoted in the Huffington Post, September 5.

“MSNBC offers counterprogramming, not coverage. All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up the cable channel’s fans, but it constrains — and stains — NBC News, its corporate sibling.... Those anchors who do make dutiful appearances, like David Gregory and Tom Brokaw, are badly needed but don’t stay long or join the fray — like piano players in a brothel, they don’t go upstairs.”
New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley, August 31.


Underestimating Their Bias: Platform Fiasco “Has to Be Included” In Coverage


“You don’t want to put delegates in a position where they’re booing God and Jerusalem, especially on videotape, [since] it has to be included in all the coverage of the convention.”
The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes on FNC’s Special Report, September 5, at about the same time that ABC’s World News was failing to report the embarrassing decision by Democrats to revise their platform to add a reference to God and identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


He’s Proud to Be a “Planned Parenthood Democrat”


“I’m a Planned Parenthood Democrat on the issue of choice. And I think that that is where the country should be. That is where many, many women in this country are. And I’m glad there are people running for the presidency who will defend that position. Period. Paragraph. End it.”
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on the September 2 Meet the Press.


“Ruthless” Republicans’ “Colossal Hoax” of a Convention


“They [Republicans] knocked themselves out producing a convention that was a colossal hoax....[In Paul Ryan’s] speech Wednesday night, the altar boy altered reality, conjuring up a world so compassionate, so full of love-thy-neighbor kindness and small-town goodness, that you had to pinch yourself to remember it was a shimmering mirage, a beckoning pool of big, juicy lies.... Ryan’s lies and Romney’s shape-shifting are so easy to refute that they must have decided a Hail Mary pass of artifice was better than their authentic ruthless worldview.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, September 2.


Seeing “Raw, Visceral Hate” for Obamas: “Maybe They Should Just Die”


“I think one of Clinton’s lines really hit home. The amount of hate that the Republicans have for Barack Obama is just astounding. It’s not just political differences. It’s really raw, visceral hate, and you hear it week after week, day after day, moment after moment, to the Fox crowd....When it comes to the Obamas, for goodness sakes, they do nothing right. I’m prepared to just go ahead and accept that from you, Charles. They do nothing right. Maybe the thing that they could do that would make you happy — maybe they should just die.”
The Washington Post’s Colbert King addressing Charles Krauthammer on Inside Washington, September 7.


Republicans Play Racial Politics, but Democrats Don’t


“Using certain words to invoke racialized fear and scare white working class voters is a long-established part of the Republican playbook....Do Democrats use racial code? No. The Democratic party is a racially diverse coalition. There would be no value to playing this game.”
— MSNBC host and Time columnist Touré in a September 6 Time.com column, “How to Read Political Racial Code.”


Agitating for Romney to “Infuriate Conservatives”


“Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?...But are you going to, will you cut a deal to compromise even if it risks a conservative revolt?”
— Host David Gregory to Mitt Romney on NBC’s Meet the Press, September 9. [MP3 audio (1:21)]

“He [Mitt Romney] knows he’s going to have to make tough choices if he becomes President, that he would indeed have to infuriate conservatives on some of these budget deals.”
— Gregory on NBC’s Today, September 10.


Still Blaming Tea Party for Debt Crisis: “Republicans Are Like a Brick Wall”


Charlie Rose: “Let me look back to history, which you write about in this book. Is it possible that the administration could have done more to get to a deal, and we would not be facing the kind of fiscal cliff we face now?”
Washington Post’s Bob Woodward: “It’s always possible, and if you look — I mean, the Republicans are like a brick wall, and it’s very difficult to deal with them.”
— Discussing Woodward’s new book on the 2011 debt crisis, The Price of Politics, on CBS This Morning, September 12.


Scolding “Technically Factual” Paul Ryan as “Fast and Loose With the Truth”


“There are some people who are claiming that you played a little fast and loose with the truth on certain key elements. And I’m not just talking about Democratic analysts, I’m talking about some independent fact checkers. Would you concede that while many of the things you said were effective, some were not completely accurate?”
— Matt Lauer to Paul Ryan on NBC’s Today, September 4. [MP3 audio (1:13)]

“Some of his [Ryan’s] most effective lines have raised some eyebrows because of either facts he changed or simply left out....What he said many times was technically factual, by what he left out, actually distorted the actual truth.”
— NBC’s Chuck Todd on the August 30 Nightly News.


Just Like Al Gore’s Internet Boast — Except CBS Actually Mentions It


Fill-in host Norah O’Donnell: “Let me ask you about the time that you gave in terms of when you were asked about running a marathon and you said that you had run a two hour and 50-something marathon. It turned out that of course it was actually over four hours....How did you make that mistake?”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “It was an honest mistake. I was 20 years old....It was 22 years ago....”
O’Donnell: “Right, but remember, everybody was criticizing Al Gore when he said he invented the Internet whether fairly or unfairly.”
— Exchange on CBS’s Face the Nation, September 9. A Nexis search indicates CBS never asked Gore about his “Internet” boast during the 2000 campaign.


NPR Reporter Rues “Uncomfortable Moment” of Patriotism


“Mitt Romney’s rally in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday began the way every political event begins. ‘Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and our country’s national anthem.’ This is always an uncomfortable moment for me. While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling: ‘@Ari_Shapiro: As a reporter I’m torn about joining in the pledge of allegiance/national anthem at rallies. I’m a rally observer, not a participant.’”
— NPR’s Ari Shapiro writing at NPR.org’s “It’s All Politics” blog on September 11.

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