Thrashing Thatcher, the Brutal "Antithesis of Freedom;" MSNBC: Kids Belong to the Collective

Vol. 26, No. 8

Thrashing Thatcher: The Brutal “Antithesis of Freedom”

“This was the Prime Minister that decimated entire industries in the United Kingdom during her period in power, as she broke the miners’ unions in a push towards privatization to create a more flexible British economy, which it has become. But she decimated communities across the UK, and a lot of people absolutely despise her legacy.”
— CNN correspondent Max Foster on Starting Point, April 8, shortly after news broke that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died.

“She most certainly punished communities. She punished branches of government. She punished industries, she took a brutal, brutal look at what industries were working and just said, ‘We’re going to close it down.’...Would the economy have taken off in the ’80s without her? Probably. Would it have been restructured? Probably. Could it have been done in a more humane way? Absolutely.”
— editor and ex-Newsweek correspondent Richard Wolffe on Now with Alex Wagner, April 8.

“Margaret Thatcher, no question, she stood up to communism. As I said before though, she had an attitude to her domestic enemies that, frankly, was the antithesis of freedom.”
— Wolffe, later in the same interview.

“She was breaking unions, particularly with regard to the mining unions, which resulted in some incredibly violent, domestic strife and protest. And, also at the same time, she was developing this notion economically that regulation had been a problem. And so, many city bankers and individuals in the financial community felt completely unleashed to do as they wanted. And the result was a kind of flagrant, excessive and ostentatious pursuit of cash....In domestic terms, she was incredibly divisive.”
— MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on The Daily Rundown, April 8.


Does Intolerant Tea Party Want to Eliminate Gays and Enslave Blacks?


“What does your study tell you about the nature of the racial piece here of the Tea Party?...Is it sort of a resumption of the Old South, of the way things were before the Civil War, for example? Is it like that old dreamy nostalgia you get in the old movies, Gone With the Wind? Is it that kind of America they want to bring back or what? When there were no gays, where blacks were slaves, Mexicans were in Mexico? I mean, is this what they want?”
— Chris Matthews to author Christopher Parker on MSNBC’s Hardball, March 20.


MSNBC Promo: Kids Belong to the Collective


“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children....We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children....We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
— MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry in an early April “Lean Forward” spot.

“I have no designs on taking your children. Please keep your kids! But I understand the fear. We do live in a nation where slaveholders took the infants from the arms of my foremothers and sold them for their own profit. We do live in a nation where the government snatched American Indian children from their families and ‘re-educated’ them by forbidding them to speak their language and practice their traditions. But that is not what I was talking about, and you know it.”
— Harris-Perry in an April 9 posting to her blog, reacting to critics of her commercial.


Chutzpah: NBC Now Lets Sharpton Call Others Anti-Semitic

Fill-in host Mike Barnicle: “Let’s get down to it: Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City.  I mean, there’s a level of anti-Semitism in this thing, directed toward Bloomberg-”
MSNBC PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton: “No doubt about it....If he were not a big-city Jewish man, was from a different ethnic group, in some parts, I think it would be different.
— Talking about Bloomberg's gun control push on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, March 25.


“Probably some of the most documented cases were [sic] this one in The Economist magazine in 1995: ‘In 1995, [Sharpton] talked about the need to oust the ‘white interloper’ from Harlem, and his supporters marched daily outside Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a non-black-run store there, chanting [about] ‘blood-sucking Jews.’ This ended violently when a protester shot and wounded three whites and a Pakistani, and then started a fire that killed eight people, including five Latinos.’...The white interloper?...Do you regret using that phrase?”
— NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert to Sharpton, August 25, 2002.


Hang “Black Bunting” in DC Over Loss of “Assault” Gun Ban

“Michael Moore says introduce the bill, let Republicans vote against it. So my question, are Democrats weenies for not bringing an assault weapons ban to the floor?”
— Anchor Carol Costello to her panel on CNN’s Newsroom, March 20.

“I don’t have the words to describe the cowardice of Congress or the depravity of the gun lobby, which conspired to kill the assault weapons ban. I can’t explain the apparent impotence of President Obama who vowed to ‘use whatever power this office holds’ to convert the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School into commonsense common good....The ban on assault weapons sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California apparently died Tuesday with barely a whisper from media outlets or the White House. Black bunting should have hung from every window in Washington.”
The National Journal’s Ron Fournier, a longtime Washington-based correspondent for the Associated Press, in a March 20 column.

“How does the President and any other big politician who allows the gun nuts from the National Rifle Association to win again answer the larger question about weapons that make killings like the elementary-school massacre ridiculously easy: If not now for a ban for these weapons, when? If Sandy Hook Elementary doesn’t make every member of Congress take a stand against assault weapons in this country, then what does? How many small coffins do we need the next time?”
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, March 20.


Obama Ready to Fight the Nazis of the NRA


“Let me start tonight with this: You know that scene in Casablanca when the French police captain shoots the Nazi, Major Strasser, and Humphrey Bogart, the movie's hero, does the right thing by Ingrid Bergman, and the anti-Nazi hero Victor Laszlo says ‘Welcome back to the fight, Rick.’ Well, I felt that way today watching President Obama get back to the front in the historic battle for gun safety...”
— Chris Matthews opening MSNBC’s Hardball, March 28.


Blaming Pro-Second Amendment “Right Wingers” for Law Enforcement Shootings

“In Colorado, a top prison official was gunned down in his home. In Texas, two prosecutors were killed, a third has now pulled out of a case against the Aryan brotherhood of Texas for, quote, ‘security reasons.’...This 2nd Amendment remedy is no longer the crazy talk of a kind of an odd duck Senate candidate out in Nevada. Second Amendment remedies are what you do when you don’t like public officials — you shoot them! And that’s what’s going on now....This is verbatim here! This isn’t arguable. This is the way these right-wingers talk now....You can bet none of those characters ever voted for Obama.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Hardball, April 3.


Thanking Obama for His Cynical Sequester Gimmick

Co-host Norah O’Donnell: “Some of this year’s automatic budget cuts mean money coming out of the President’s pocket. That’s right — President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plan to give up five percent of their salaries....”
Co-host Gayle King: “Let’s see how many people sign up and say, I want to do that. Thank you, President Obama.”
CBS This Morning, April 4.


Reagan “Almost Liberal” Compared to Today’s GOP


Co-host Willie Geist: “Three in four Americans today thought our country was better off in the ’80s than it is now. Three in four....If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58 percent would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama.”
Weatherman Al Roker: “But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably — I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today, as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted.”
Geist: “Relative to what you see now, absolutely.”
— NBC’s Today, April 9, talking about a new National Geographic survey on how Americans view the 1980s.


Ready to Send Bush and Cheney to the Gallows

“Think of it this way, if someone invaded our country based on false premises and murdered 100,000 to a million of our people, as we are accused of doing in Iraq, depending on whose estimate you believe, would we be so sanguine? Would we be so forgiving? Or would we demand some accountability?”
— CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom on Newsroom, March 19, with the onscreen headline:  “Legacy of Iraq War: Should Bush officials be tried for war crimes?”

“I was really embarrassed by my country, how a President of such limited ability, limited rhetorical ability, mental ability, historic ability, could talk us into a war, a war that was just totally against our history. You know, the Nuremberg trials were primarily, before the Holocaust and all those other issues, was against people who launched an aggressive war. And this was an aggressive war. And I had never heard of the United States making a case like that before.”
— Chris Matthews during a March 22 primetime special promoting MSNBC’s anti-war documentary Hubris.


If North Korea Launches Nukes, What Happens to Obama’s Agenda?

“It occurs to me that this probably could not have happened at a worse time for the President’s legislative agenda up on the Hill. Because here you’ve got all these issues, the rubber is finally going to hit the road, and suddenly we have this situation in North Korea that there’s so much attention on.”
— Moderator Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation, April 7.


Suffering “Unthinkable Deprivations” Because Taxes Are Too Low

“The good news is, you are living in a country with a very low tax burden. The bad news is, because of that low tax burden, you are living in a country where good, deserving people who need government’s help continue to suffer. They suffer deprivations that none of the other countries on that chart would allow them to suffer in health care and other needs. They suffer deprivations that are unthinkable in the United Kingdom in Margaret Thatcher’s time or in our time. Their suffering is the price that we pay to be at the bottom of that list.”
— MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word, April 9, talking about a chart that assigns the U.S. the lowest tax rate of developed nations.


Forced to Choose Between Buying Food and Paying the Tattoo Parlor

“For the past three years, the [Rebecka and Jourie] Ortizes’ lives had unfolded in a series of exhausting, fractional decisions. Was it better to eat the string cheese now or to save it? To buy milk for $3.80 nearby or for $3.10 across town? Was it better to pay down the $600 they owed the landlord, or the $110 they owed for their cellphones, or the $75 they owed the tattoo parlor, or the $840 they owed the electric company?”
Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow in a March 17 front-page story profiling food stamp users in Rhode Island.



Columbus, Jefferson, JFK — and Now, Barack Obama


Anchor Scott Pelley: “Finally tonight, for Thomas Jefferson it was the Louisiana Territory; for John F. Kennedy, the moon. Well today, as Bill Plante reports, President Obama announced a mission to explore and map another frontier filled with mystery and possibility....”
Correspondent Bill Plante: “A half century ago, President Kennedy set the nation’s gaze skyward. This, says Dr. Kandel, is infinitely more ambitious.”
Dr. Eric Kandel: “Going to the moon — I don’t mean to in any way minimize it — was in part an engineering project. This is going into the unknown. This is like Columbus discovering America, if you will.”
— From a story on the April 2 CBS Evening News, talking about the President’s proposal to have the government spend $100 million over 10 years on brain research.


The Pledge of Allegiance = “A Whopper of a Lie”

“The next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance...remember: It’s a lie. A whopper of a lie. We coax it from the mouths of babes for the same reason our politicians wear those flag pins in their lapels — it makes the hypocrisy go down easier, the way aspirin helps a headache go away...‘Justice for all’ is a line item in the budget, sequestered now by the Paul Ryans of Congress and the fix-the-debt gang of plutocratic CEOs who, with a wink-wink from our President, claim, ‘Oh, we can’t afford that!’ Of the $146 billion spent every year on criminal justice in this country, only two to three percent goes to defend the poor. Of 97 countries, we rank 68th in access to and affordability of civil legal service. No, we can’t afford it, but just a decade ago we started shelling out $2.2 trillion for a war in Iraq born of fraud.”
— Bill Moyers on PBS’s Moyers & Company, March 31.


Join “Psychopath” Army So “You Can Kill for Free”


War correspondent Sebastian Junger: “Everything has a kind of intensity. The soldiers aren’t psychopaths, they don’t miss killing, they don’t miss getting killed, but what they miss is that sense of meaning and the bond that arises in that situation....”
Host Bill Maher: “Well, some of them are psychopaths. I mean, let’s be honest. Some people join the Army because it’s the one place where you can kill people for free, where you’re not charged with murder.”
— Exchange on HBO’s Real Time, April 5.


How Newsweek Chose to Eulogize Margaret Thatcher

“Every move she made was charged by negativity; she destroyed the British manufacturing industry, she hated the miners, she hated the arts, she hated the Irish Freedom Fighters and allowed them to die, she hated the English poor and did nothing at all to help them.... As a matter of recorded fact, Thatcher was a terror without an atom of humanity.”
— Morrissey, from the 1980s band “The Smiths,” writing on the Newsweek/Daily Beast Web site April 8, the day the former Prime Minister’s death was announced.


Hee, Hee — Let’s Shoot NRA Chief in the Crotch

“A toast then, to our friend Wayne LaPierre
For whom gun deaths have been a lucky totem
Methinks St. Peter will espy him, standing there
And smile, and aim a 30-30 at his scrotum.”
— Conclusion of a poem crafted by the Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten, “Ode to Pure Evil,” posted as part of a March 26 online chat with readers.


PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Jeffrey Meyer, Matt Vespa and Paul Bremmer