Jul
05
2012

Shamir Remembered–With Selective Amnesia

In death, the U.S. media remembered the late Yitzhak Shamir as "a political hard-liner who served two terms as Israeli prime minster" (CNN, 6/30/12), "the hawkish Israeli leader who balked at the idea of trading occupied land for peace with the Palestinians" (MSNBC, 6/30/12) and "a man of iron will and simple tastes" (Washington Post, 6/30/12) who prided himself on his hard-line views, his relentless determination to hang onto every square inch of what he considered the Land of Israel, and his championing of Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, defying the demands of Israel's most […]

Jun
01
2012

MSNBC: No Time for Obama's Kill List?

The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies "militants" who are targeted for assassination? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. In fact, a far more interesting discussion of these questions can be heard on Fox News Channel. It's not all good on Fox, naturally. Host Bill […]

Jun
01
2012

On Chris Hayes and Heroism

It is a very good thing that the Nation's Chris Hayes has a weekend show on MSNBC. The panelists are smart and the lively conversations dig deeper than virtually anything else on cable news. (The same can be said for MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry.) In other words, sounds like a recipe for trouble.  And trouble arrived after a Memorial Day show that aired on May 27. Here's the clip that caused the controversy.  To me, his words sound carefully measured, and I think you get a better sense of that tone from seeing the clip rather than from reading a transcript […]

May
24
2012

Chris Matthews and the Awesome Power of Cable Television

Here's the video of MSNBC host Chris Matthews speaking at a cable industry conference this week. We noted here the odd notion that, as Matthews argues, 24-hour cable news would have stopped the Iraq War lies–despite the fact that 24-hour cable news had been around for more than 20 years at the time of the invasion. But watching the video is rather jarring: Matthews' passionate critique of embedded, what-officials-say-is-OK-with-me journalism sounds like Amy Goodman. It's so fundamentally at odds with Matthews' actual work that you have to wonder whether he believes any of it. Of course, Matthews was speaking at […]

May
23
2012

Chris Matthews: Cable News Would Have Stopped Iraq War Lies

(UPDATE: See the video of Matthews' comments here, along with some discussion of what it all means.) Reporting from the big cable TV industry event this week, Broadcasting & Cable's Andrea Morabito writes (5/22/12): Hardball host Chris Matthews argued that because of the rise of opinion-based news networks, the non-critical aspect of the media is gone, going as far to say that the reporting that verified the U.S. administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002 would not happen today because of cable news. "I would like to think there would be a reckoning we didn’t have […]

May
04
2012

Matthews Remembers Mission Accomplished (Some of It)

On Wednesday (5/2/12), MSNBC host Chris Matthews played a long clip from the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart mocked Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Stewart naturally recalls George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op stunt from 2003.  Stewart points out that if Republicans are angry about Obama "spiking the football," Bush was spiking the ball before the game started. So the clip played, and then we cut to Matthews, chuckling away. Of course Stewart's point is right on–anyone who listens to this whining from the right is bound to recall […]

May
02
2012

May Day Media

With Occupy Wall Street making its May Day comeback, what did the corporate media have to say? Take a look at the New York Times story (5/2/12), which was stuffed in the Metro section and focused on… well, take a look at the headline: About half of the article is focused on arrests, "occasionally bloody clashes" and the like. Before the protests even started, there were warnings about what was to come. On ABC's Good Morning America (5/1/12), Josh Elliot warned viewers: We're gonna begin with what's shaping up to be a potentially brutal morning commute, particularly in major cities […]

May
01
2012

Romney's the Right Kind of Flipflopper

As we've written before, some political flipflops are better than others. The ones that Mitt Romney commits, or might commit in the future, are often seen as being the good kind. That argument was advanced once more this Sunday (4/29/12) on the Chris Matthews Show, by Time editor Rick Stengel and the host himself, who were engaged in a familiar Beltway media discussion where journalists pretend to be campaign strategists. In this case, the question was whether the Obama campaign should push the idea that Romney is a flipflopper, or the idea that he's very conservative. STENGEL: The thing that […]

Jan
23
2012

Rooting for Newt?

To me, the most interesting observation after the South Carolina primary came from New York magazine reporter and regular TV pundit John Heilemann, who said this on MSNBC (h/t Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars): Gingrich is going to get so much free media attention over the next few days. It is going to be wall to wall Gingrich, and I think it is fair to say that, in some ways, the "liberal media," as Gingrich would put it, is kind of rooting for Gingrich right now. They want this–they/we, want this race to go on, so he is gonna […]

Dec
16
2011

The New Anti-Corporate Populism Isn't So New

Last night (12/15/11), MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes were impressed by a new Pew poll–flagged by Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent–showing that a vast majority of the public believes that corporations and the wealthy have too much power. The picture one gets from the poll is pretty dramatic: The question that seemed most important to Maddow and Hayes was why Republican politicians aren't shifting their policies in response to this apparent surge in anti-corporate populism: MADDOW: The national sentiment right now being expressed to pollsters is that the people at the top are getting way too much of […]

Nov
14
2011

Chelsea Clinton, TV Reporter

The New York Times reports that Chelsea Clinton will be a full time special correspondent for NBC News, starting more or less immediately. Salon's Glenn Greenwald connected this news to the media careers of Meghan McCain (MSNBC), Luke Russert (NBC) and Jenna Bush Hager (NBC), and reached this conclusion about the state of our meritocracy: We all owe our gratitude to NBC News for single-handedly correcting the shameful, long-standing exclusion from our media discourse of the views of young, journalistically accomplished heirs and heiresses to political power and great fortune; it is long overdue that former NYT executive editor Bill […]

Oct
18
2011

When Meet the Press Met Martin Luther King

On his MSNBC show (10/15/11), Chris Hayes went through the NBC archives to look at Martin Luther King's appearances on Meet the Press. He was struck by the tone of the questions King was asked–and the show put together this clip reel (apologies for the ad you're likely to be forced to watch before the clips play; it's mercifully brief):

Sep
22
2011

Meet the Other Chuck Todd

I caught this MSNBC commercial last night featuring their own Chuck Todd, explaining (apparently) how he thinks about his job: My job is to bring up issues that Americans care about. It's my responsibility to ask the tough questions. No matter who's leading the country, they need to be held accountable. I have unique access to the president, his advisers, the candidates and members of Congress. I'd better use that access for a greater good. Use it for people who can't get through the White House gates. For people who can't be heard. The American people deserve answers. Huh. The […]