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The 2,822nd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
10:35am EST, Tuesday February 10, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 28)

 
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1. MSNBC 'Impressed' by 'Intellectual' Obama, 'Love to Think w/ Him'
Shortly after President Obama's Monday press conference, MSNBC host Chris Matthews effused that he was "very impressed with his amazing ability," opining that the President was "at his best intellectually." After reciting one of Obama's answers, Matthews further gushed: "What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him." Keith Olbermann also alluded to his perception of Obama being "intellectual" as the MSNBC host put down President Bush's past performances: "This is an entirely different experience for anybody who really perhaps only knew in their young lives President Bush....This news conference in which a President will answer a multi-part question with a series of four different answers, all of them absolutely common sense and also intellectual and will take seven minutes to answer them. Is he going to adjust to where people were with George Bush's, kind of, more truncated performance, or is he anticipating the democracy to be participatory and people are going to go in there...is he going to demand of, you know, citizens, to go along with him and listen for the whole seven minutes?"

2. 'Teaching Moments,' 'Message' to Right, Fret Not Tougher Sooner
Some quick takes on the very brief presidential press conference wrap-ups on ABC, CBS and NBC before each returned to entertainment shows a bit after 9 PM EST: ABC anchor Charles Gibson lauded how President Obama treated "each question almost as a teaching moment with long and expansive answers." CBS anchor Katie Couric cited how Obama talked "about 'ideological blockage'" against the "stimulus" bill and wondered: "Do you think some of his Republican opponents on the Hill got the message with this news conference tonight?" On NBC, Brian Williams fretted Obama wasn't as tough sooner, postulating: "It may be said that if the President had used this voice -- some of the forcefulness we saw there at the top -- the result might, might have been different so far leading into this stimulus package vote."

3. Lauer Fearmongers: 'Draconian Cuts' In 'Jobs, Teachers, Cops...'
Matt Lauer invited on two Senate supporters, and no opponents, of the Barack Obama's stimulus bill on Monday's Today show and asked pro-stimulus bill questions to his guests, even chiding those who opposed it, when he asked Republican Senator Susan Collins about two of her GOP colleagues who are against it: "So what do you get that those two are not getting?" Lauer, also depicted a gloomy picture for the states because of "draconian cuts," made in the bill as he ominously asked: "Senator [Ben] Nelson, to get the support from even these moderate Republicans, cuts had to be made...You lose $40 billion in aid to the states, that means states are gonna have to make draconian cuts in jobs, teachers, cops, firemen. You lose the $16 billion in school construction money. So is it still a real stimulus package? Will it have clout?"

4. CBS Ignores Broad Public Support for Tax Cuts in Recent Poll
A CBS News poll conducted February 2 through February 4 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that tax cuts would do more to get the country out of recession, while only 16 percent thought government spending would. However, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric touted other results from that same poll on Thursday, February 5 she managed to leave out that particular finding.

5. Tickets Available for MRC's March 19 'DisHonors Awards' and Gala
Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume. It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!"


 

MSNBC 'Impressed' by 'Intellectual' Obama,
'Love to Think w/ Him'

     Shortly after President Obama's Monday press conference, MSNBC host Chris Matthews effused that he was "very impressed with his amazing ability," opining that the President was "at his best intellectually." After reciting one of Obama's answers, Matthews further gushed: "What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him."

     Keith Olbermann also alluded to his perception of Obama being "intellectual" as the MSNBC host put down President Bush's past performances. After referring to a Woody Allen joke about people's standards being lowered over time, the MSNBC host continued: "This is an entirely different experience for anybody who really perhaps only knew in their young lives President Bush....This news conference in which a President will answer a multi-part question with a series of four different answers, all of them absolutely common sense and also intellectual and will take seven minutes to answer them. Is he going to adjust to where people were with George Bush's, kind of, more truncated performance, or is he anticipating the democracy to be participatory and people are going to go in there...is he going to demand of, you know, citizens, to go along with him and listen for the whole seven minutes?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the discussion which aired at about 9:05 PM EST on Monday, February 9 on MSNBC:

     CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think our breed looked pretty good tonight. I think the press looked very good tonight. I think they asked great questions. I loved, I would be very impressed with the press tonight. I think Mara Liasson's questions, Jake Tapper's questions, Chuck's questions were very sound. I thought they asked interesting questions. They covered a range of American topics €" from the stimulus package to the situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan border, even to the question of A-Rod, they were asking questions that most people want answers to. So I think the press looked very good tonight.
     Secondly, I thought the President showed his analytical mind. I think there is a challenge to the presidency right now. These are complicated issues. We want to hear the President's mind working. We don't just want to just hear his final decision, his bottom line. That's useless to us. We want to know how he gets there. How does this decision to push this stimulus package get us down the road to a turned around economy? How's it, he tried to explain that. He said we're trying to stop the downward cycle, the downward spiral. We're trying to put money in people's pockets, we're trying to loosen up the credit markets. We're trying to get public works going out there to get jobs created. He said the benchmark, the metric he should be judged by in the first instance is three to four million new jobs. After that, certainly the credit markets loosening up. And after that, the housing situation stabilized.
     He was very precise, and I was very impressed with his amazing ability standing in front of the American people on a road block €" by the way, you couldn't find a channel hardly he wasn't on tonight €" a road block of American intention, and he was at his best intellectually. I thought it was a great example of how his mind works. And I think we're going to have to know that the next four years, how's he thinking on this thing?
     KEITH OLBERMANN: And there was nothing cut out. "At this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life," that is a pretty strong statement. You just hit on something here that's almost, it's half a question of style points and half a question that evokes the old Woody Allen joke about how people's standards have been lowered systematically by television over the last 50 years. This is an entirely different experience for anybody who really perhaps only knew in their young lives President Bush, and didn't know anything before that. This news conference in which a President will answer a multi-part question with a series of four different answers, all of them absolutely common sense-
     MATTHEWS: Right.
     OLBERMANN: -and also intellectual and will take seven minutes to answer them. Is this-
     MATTHEWS: Right.
     OLBERMANN: -is he going to adjust to where people were with George Bush's, kind of, more truncated performance, or is he anticipating the democracy to be participatory and people are going to go in there and, believe me, I'm the last person to criticize anybody for being expansive on television but is he going to demand of, you know, citizens, to go along with him and listen for the whole seven minutes?"
     MATTHEWS: Well, he's asking us to touch on all the points and agree when he does that it's worthwhile to do so. I think it was the difference in the old quiz shows between the $64,000 question when there was a multi-part question. By the way, some of that was rigged, obviously, but a multi-part question which required knowledge in a number of areas and you had to put it together as opposed to Jeopardy where you quickly give an answer. I think he showed his ability to go around the room with a flashlight to the question you put. You ask a question which is a holistic question. He goes, "Well, let me look at this part, that part." He does, what a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him. I think the more we get through this thicket of economic quandary right now, the more we're going to need to hear how our President's going at it, and he showed us tonight.

 

'Teaching Moments,' 'Message' to Right,
Fret Not Tougher Sooner

     Some quick takes on the very brief presidential press conference wrap-ups on ABC, CBS and NBC before each returned to entertainment shows a bit after 9 PM EST:

     - ABC anchor Charles Gibson lauded how President Obama treated "each question almost as a teaching moment with long and expansive answers."

     - CBS anchor Katie Couric cited how Obama talked "about 'ideological blockage'" against the "stimulus" bill and wondered: "Do you think some of his Republican opponents on the Hill got the message with this news conference tonight?"

     - On NBC, Brian Williams fretted Obama wasn't as tough sooner, postulating: "It may be said that if the President had used this voice -- some of the forcefulness we saw there at the top -- the result might, might have been different so far leading into this stimulus package vote."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     A little more on the barely minute-long, or less, post-news conference coverage:

     # While many would say Obama rambled with long, wandering answers, ABC's Gibson noted how he took "only thirteen questions over an hour, seemingly treating each question almost as a teaching moment with long and expansive answers."

     # CBS's Couric declared Obama's "tone was stern, no nonsense" before she turned to Bob Schieffer as she admired his rebuke of conservatives:

     COURIC TO BOB SCHIEFFER: Bob, we heard the President talk about 'ideological blockage.' Do you think some of his Republican opponents on the Hill got the message with this news conference tonight?
     SCHIEFFER: Well, he certainly made a compelling argument, whether you agree with it or not. But Katie, his problem is going to be with Democrats in the House. He's got to somehow keep them from loading up this bill with more spending, so much spending that they won't be able to get it through the Senate.

     # Last week, NBC's Williams revealed he had wanted to ask Obama if he is "ever tempted" to start over again with the stimulus bill "and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation," just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill" in The American President movie. Well, Williams saw his wish fulfilled Monday night, at least from his perspective:

     BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chuck, it may be said that if the President had used this voice -- some of the forcefulness we saw there at the top -- the result might, might have been different so far leading into this stimulus package vote.
     CHUCK TODD, AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Everything about today feels a week too late, although the White House would argue it's not too late, they're going to get their bill, they're winning the battle as far as getting the bill out of Congress €" maybe they're not getting the public approval ratings that they want, maybe they're not getting the number of Republicans that they want on board €" I think all of them wish they could re-do this and start a week earlier, literally take what happened today and have done it last Monday.

     The February 5 CyberAlert item, "Williams Urges Obama to Copy Douglas in 'The American President,'" recounted:

Brian Williams revealed Wednesday afternoon that in a question he didn't get to with President Obama the day before, he wanted to ask Obama if he is "ever tempted" to start over again with the stimulus bill "and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation," just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill" in The American President movie, "and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'"

In that 1995 film, in which Douglas played Democratic President "Andrew Shepherd," after compromising with Congress, he returns to his left-wing sensibilities and, in the climatic point of the movie cheered by liberal film-goers, walks to the press room where he delivers an impassioned lecture -- which earns affirmative nods from the journalists -- praising the ACLU, pushing for extreme action on global warming and promises, in the portion Williams admired, "to get the guns." President Shepherd: "The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I'm throwing it. I'm throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I'm going convince Americans that I'm right and I'm going to get the guns."

     February 5 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

 

Lauer Fearmongers: 'Draconian Cuts' In
'Jobs, Teachers, Cops...'

     Matt Lauer invited on two Senate supporters, and no opponents, of the Barack Obama's stimulus bill on Monday's Today show and asked pro-stimulus bill questions to his guests, even chiding those who opposed it, when he asked Republican Senator Susan Collins about two of her GOP colleagues who are against it: "So what do you get that those two are not getting?" Lauer, also depicted a gloomy picture for the states because of "draconian cuts," made in the bill as he ominously asked: "Senator [Ben] Nelson, to get the support from even these moderate Republicans, cuts had to be made...You lose $40 billion in aid to the states, that means states are gonna have to make draconian cuts in jobs, teachers, cops, firemen. You lose the $16 billion in school construction money. So is it still a real stimulus package? Will it have clout?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The only voices of opposition came in a Chuck Todd set-up piece, where a soundbite from John McCain saying the negotiations were not "bipartisan," was aired. A soundbite of stimulus opponent Sen. John Ensign was also aired but it only highlighted him admitting the bill will pass.

     Lauer, in the interview segment, did cite concerns from Senators Richard Shelby and McCain, as he noted: "Richard Shelby the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking committee said Sunday, 'This bill could put our country on the road to financial disaster.' And John McCain said, 'It was generational theft,'" but then added the, "So what do you get that those two are not getting?" line he asked Collins.

     The following is a complete transcript of Lauer's interview segment with Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Ben Nelson as it occurred on the February 9 Today show:

     MATT LAUER: Senators Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine and Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska played instrumental roles in crafting the Senate's version of the stimulus bill. Senators, good morning to both of you.
     [On screen headline: "Stumping For Stimulus, Will Senate Back Obama Plan?"]
     SUSAN COLLINS: Good morning.
     BEN NELSON: Good morning.
     LAUER: Senator Collins, let me start with you. Some of your Republican colleagues have expressed outrage over the spending in this bill. Richard Shelby the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking committee said Sunday, "This bill could put our country on the road to financial disaster." And John McCain said, "It was generational theft." He called for a bill about half its size. So what do you get that those two are not getting?
     COLLINS: Well, first of all, we worked very hard to reduce the unnecessary spending in this bill. We cut more than $110 billion. But in fact, we need a stimulus package. And it has to be robust enough to do the job. We've made the infrastructure investments, we provided more than $200 billion in aid to the states. We have put together tax relief. I think it's a good package and one that our country really needs.
     LAUER: Senator Nelson, to get the support from even these moderate Republicans, cuts had to be made. Senator Collins just alluded to some of those. You lose $40 billion in aid to the states, that means states are gonna have to make draconian cuts in jobs, teachers, cops, firemen. You lose the $16 billion in school construction money. So is it still a real stimulus package? Will it have clout?
     NELSON: Absolutely. The infrastructure spending is outstanding. We, that'll create jobs. And we're not looking to, to try to make sure that we take care of everything. It's impossible. There isn't enough money. But I think the things we have focused on will help turn this economy around. Joblessness continues to increase. If you look at the job loss numbers, $3.5 billion this last year, and 50 percent of that in the last three months. So there isn't any way that you can ignore what's going on. But we're still providing, I think in total aid to the states, around $200 billion, when you add the aid to the schools for special education, and all the other programs. There's a lot of money going back out across America.
     LAUER: Right. Senator Collins let me just make sure I understand this. Are you, are you gonna vote for this stimulus package, the Senate version, because you think it is the right bill at the right time? Or did you and some other people just get scared to death by those jobless numbers that came out last week, showing almost 600,000 jobs disappearing in the month of, of January?
     COLLINS: This bill is not perfect. We're not claiming that. But in fact, I think this bill will help to create three to four million jobs. And is that important to me? You bet it is. The American people want us to work together on this. We're facing a crisis. And it makes no sense to have a partisan divide on the most important issue facing our country. This bill is not the bill that Ben or I would have drafted if only we were making the decisions.
     LAUER: Right.
     COLLINS: But on balance, it is a good bill. It's needed and I think it will make a difference.
     LAUER: Senator Nelson, I'm gonna give you the last word here, obviously there are some key differences between the Senate's version and the House version. Where's the major area of compromise gonna be?
     NELSON: Well I don't know that there has to be a compromise. What we've done is we've put together something that will, will attract some Republican votes and essentially all the Democratic votes. As it goes to conference, I hope that the conference will not get into an auction or a bidding war. There were 20 individuals involved in this, these discussions this past week. About 12 Democrats and six Republicans. Three of them are not gonna participate in this bill. This was broadly viewed by a large number, almost 20 percent of the Senate.
     LAUER: Right.
     NELSON: So it's bipartisan, and I hope that it will pass through the House as well.
     LAUER: Senator Ben Nelson and Senator Susan Collins, thank you both very much for your time this morning.
     COLLINS: Thank you.
     NELSON: Thank you.
     LAUER: And just a reminder, you can see President Obama's first news conference tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, right here on NBC.

 

CBS Ignores Broad Public Support for
Tax Cuts in Recent Poll

     A CBS News poll conducted February 2 through February 4 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that tax cuts would do more to get the country out of recession, while only 16 percent thought government spending would. However, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric touted other results from that same poll on Thursday, February 5 she managed to leave out that particular finding.

     That poll finding has not been mentioned in any CBS News coverage since the poll's release on February 5. Instead, Couric focused on the aspect of the poll that found 51 percent of Americans support the so-called "stimulus" bill being pushed by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. In addition, later on Thursday's Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid also cited a poll question that showed 81 percent of Americans saw President Obama as being bipartisan in the debate over the massive spending bill.

     See the complete February 5 CBS News poll results here: www.cbsnews.com

     Read about Thursday's Evening News coverage of the poll here: newsbusters.org

     [This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

    

 

Tickets Available for MRC's March 19
'DisHonors Awards' and Gala

     Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume.

     It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

     The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!"

     The DisHonors Awards winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with videos played of each nominated hilariously-biased quote followed by surprise guests on hand to accept each award in jest on behalf of a media figure.

     Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with awards presented by Ann Coulter, Joe Scarborough and Ken Cribb. And, as always, we'll have a fantastic cast of conservatives joining us to roast of the liberal media. "Joe the Plumber" and Andrew Breitbart are amongst the many who have already confirmed.

     DisHonors Awards categories: "The Media's Messiah Award," "The Obamagasm Award" "Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin" and the "Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis."

     Plus, there'll be lots of funny video clips as we mock the media's infatuation with Barack Obama. It's sure to be an entertaining evening.

     Tickets for the Gala are $250 per person. If you are interested in joining us or for more information, e-mail Sara Bell at: sbell@mediaresearch.org

     Or call, 9 to 5:30 PM EST weekdays: (800) 672-1423.

     We have limited space and this event fills up quickly, so please make your reservation soon. The MRC has a reduced rate for the Grand Hyatt Washington, but the deadline to reserve your room is February 18. To book your room, please call the hotel at (800) 233-1234.

     We hope you can join us!

     Online page with information: www.mediaresearch.org

     For a look at all the fun at last year's event, with videos: www.mediaresearch.org
     DisHonors/Galas from earlier years: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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