Roger Ailes On Competing Networks

I flip to MSNBC occasionally to make sure their blind pig didn’t find an acorn. But they never have once. I tell you who I do like at MSNBC — I like Joe and Mika. I don’t watch much CNN, they got out of the news business in primetime. But I look to see if they have a good documentary or movie. If they do, I’ll watch that.

— Fox News chief Roger Ailes, quoted by the Hollywood Reporter.

Joy Reid’s New Show Starts Today on MSNBC

Joy Reid, one of the smartest, insightful and best-informed political analysts in the business, is finally getting her own show on MSNBC. It starts today at 11 a.m., Pacific.

We’re glad she’s getting a show but would much prefer to see her in the network’s primetime line-up — she’s among the best at the network, rivaled only by Rachel Maddow in terms of breadth of knowledge and depth of analysis. So if you like tough-minded political thinkers who do not pull punches or hesitate to call right-wing b.s. what it is, Reid is your gal.

Reid discussed her rise through the MSNBC ranks in a recent interview with Lee Bailey:


GOP Head of North Carolina Environmental Agency Appears to Be an Anti-Science Conspiracy Nut

John Skvarla, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, [bio] has suggested that he believes a theory promoted by World Net Daily contributor Jerome Corsi — one of the originators of Birtherism and a promoter of other conspiracy theories, including one that Pres. Obama is gay — that oil is not a finite resource created by centuries of compression of organic material but is a renewable resource created by the earth on an on-going basis, like wind or solar.

Skvarla is the head of the agency charged with regulating Duke Energy, which is responsible for the third-largest coal-ash spill in U.S. history, an on-going disaster that is still unfolding in North Carolina.

Never heard of it? You’re not alone. As Rachel Maddow says at the end of the segment above, “This North Carolina story, and this federal criminal investigation into what’s happening in North Carolina, is a terrible and amazing story from about a million different angles. Why the Beltway refuses to care about it, I do not know, but it cannot last long.”

Read more about the story here.

News Anchor Asks Tea Party Rep: ‘Do You Hate Obamacare More Than You Love Your Country?’

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A member of the Fourth Estate finally asked a tea party Republican a question that cuts to the heart of their latest manufactured crisis. The exchange occurred today when MSBNC’s Thomas Roberts interviewed the eternally unctuous Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn:


MSNBC’s Liberal Hosts Question the Obama Administration’s Drone Strike Program

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During the presidency of George Bush, Fox News operated as an adjunct to the White House political office (or was it vice versa?). That’s why, if there were Fox hosts who had concerns about the many nefarious activities of the Bush administration — breaking the international anti-torture treaty that Ronald Reagan signed or deliberately betraying the covert identity of a CIA specialist in the WMD black market, for example — they rarely, if ever, voiced their criticisms on air.

I don’t watch Fox 24/7, so I can’t say that it never happened, but if it did, questioning Bush-Cheney policies was never given the high-profile airing that concerns about the Obama administration’s drone strike program have been given by liberal hosts on MSNBC this week. This is notable because it upends the meme in the political media — of which Andrew Sullivan is a prime exemplar — that Fox and MSNBC are just obverse and reverse on the same coin.


NBC News Flogs Horse Race: President Up by 6 Points in Poll, But NBC Leads with Obama’s ‘Weak’ Favorable Rating, Even Though It Is 14 Points Higher Than Romney’s

One metric that never gets factored into presidential election prognostication is the degree to which the media manipulates facts in order to keep the race as close as possible. Folks like Chuck Todd, the top poll watcher at NBC, certainly have a motive to promote a tight race — imagine what their ratings would be if it were crystal clear now that the race was going to end in a rout in November.

“Romney would be the first GOP presumptive presidential nominee since 1996 to head into his nominating convention with a net-negative favorable/unfavorable score.”
– NBC News, burying the lede

The release of data from the new NBC Wall Street Journal poll this week is a case in point. The full results of the poll were embargoed until Tuesday, so on Monday, Todd and others at NBC teased the poll by releasing the most dire result for Pres. Obama they could find in the data. After weeks of bearing the brunt of Mitt Romney’s negative and spurious advertising, the president’s negatives were up a bit.

Whoah. That’s bad news, right. Well, on Tuesday, when the top line of the poll hit the news, it revealed that Obama leads Romney by 6 points, 49 percent to 43 percent. In 2008, Obama-Biden beat John McCain and Sarah Palin by 7.2 points (52.9 to 45.7 percent) that was considered a walloping. But in describing the president’s 6 point lead over Romney now, NBC said, “The horse race remains tight.”

Compared to what? […]

Lawrence O’Donnell Fills in the Gaps in Gingrich’s ‘Patriotism Made Me Do It’ Excuse for His Extramarital Affairs

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Lawrence O’Donnell’s send up of Newt Gingrich’s attempt to excuse his adulteries by saying that his patriotism combined with his workaholic tendencies drove him into the arms of congressional staffers is must-see video.

But I have to point out that not only was Gingrich having an affair with a staffer when he led the Republicans’ campaign to impeach Pres. Clinton because he lied in a deposition in civil lawsuit over his affair with a staffer, as O’Donnell points out, but both Gingrich and Clinton were engaged in extramarital affairs when they made the Defense of Marriage Act the law of the land.



Did Michele Bachmann Deliberately Sugarcoat the History of Slavery in America?

Around the time that “Good News for Modern Man,” the modern-English version of the New Testament, was published in the mid-1970s, I was spending a summer out of college in the Southern, suburban small town where I’d gone to high school.

No one I knew personally objected to (or cared about) the new translation, but among a vocal minority out in the hustings who believed that the Bible was the dictated word of God, there was outrage. One of their leaders, a country preacher called Rev. Johnny, found the “Good News” to be so blasphemous that he scheduled an old-fashioned book burning in front of the courthouse.

Being young, irreligious and bored, my friends and I tuned in to the reverend’s pre-conflagration sermon on a fuzzy AM radio station, during which he made this unforgettable statement:

REV. JOHNNY: The King James version of the Bible is the only true version of the Bible because it’s the version of the Bible that Jesus carried with him on the Crusades. (Emphasis his.)

For the history challenged, what Rev. Johnny asserted here was that Jesus, who is said to have died about 33 A.D., led the Crusades against the Muslim infidels in the Holy Land, circa 1000 to 1300 A.D., and that he had in hand an edition of the King James Version of the Bible — an English translation from the original Greek commissioned in 1604 by England’s James I.

I was reminded of Rev. Johnny’s rewrite of the first 1,600 years of the Christian era when I heard GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running for president, rewrite the history of slavery in speech to potential Iowa caucus-goers over the weekend: