Archive for ‘MSNBC’

June 11, 2009

Chris Matthews worries Palin ‘talkinglanguage of far right . . of paranoia’

Via Newsbusters, which has transcript:

Wonder who gave him this idea? Joan Walsh or David Letterman?

May 10, 2009

DijonGate: What have we learned?

“I’m going to have a basic cheddar cheese burger, medium well, with mustard. . . . You got a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that?”
Barack Obama, May 5, 2009

“The reaction proved one thing I already knew: The cult of personality surrounding Obama is real. And many of the cultists are demented, dangerous or both.”
William Jacobson, May 8, 2009

Congratulations to Professor Jacobson. Traffic at his Legal Insurrection blog, which was about 37,000 visits in February, surged to more than 107,000 in just two days Thursday and Friday, because he dared to point out how dishonest news coverage has become.

The point was not that Obama likes Dijon mustard — I do, too, as does the man who named it “DijonGate” — but rather that MSNBC and other major media are no longer in the news business. They’re doing public relations for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

What was the purpose of Obama and Joe Biden going to Ray’s Hell-Burger in Arlington, Va.? It was a photo-op, to show O and Joe bein’ Regular Guys, standin’ in line, eatin’ some burgers.

Obviously, reporters didn’t think “Dijon mustard” fit the narrative the White House wanted, and so they fudged the quote — and NBC even edited its own video — to omit the offensive French phrase. Jacobson pointed this out, and it was like showing a Rorshach inkblot to Charles Manson.

Obama Mustard Attack Becomes Full-Blown Right-Wing Talking Point
Huffington Post

Ivy League Professor Wingnut Pens Masterpiece About Dijon Mustard
Wonkette

Dijon Derangement Syndrome: Conservative media attack Obama for burger order
Media Matters

Why was the reaction so hideously overblown? Gateway Pundit, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others were just doing the same thing they did with John Kerry’s ill-fated wind-surfing vacation or any number of other incidents in which prominent Democrats act in ways that conflict with their populist rhetoric.

A burger at Ray’s Hell-Burger costs $6.95, so lunch at the Arlington restaurant isn’t exactly the value menu at Mickey D’s. If the White House believed they could show Obama as a Regular Guy by having him eat at a place where the burgers are seven bucks, maybe they need to work on their definition of populism.

Jacobson’s posts, however, pointed out how news organizations were actively involved in the image-shaping function of the Obama P.R. machine. It would be like learning that Fox News provided the “Mission Accomplished” banner at Bush’s famous 2003 aircraft-carrier event.

Exposure of the media role in the Obama phenomenon is what the Left fears most because, at some level, they understand that if the press were ever to report honestly on what the Democrats are doing, the game would change. So the Obama cultists, accustomed to only fawning coverage of their Leader, react with fury when the fawning coverage is demonstrated to be dishonest.

Obama’s high level of public support is largely a product of his positive image the media have crafted. “DijonGate” exposed how this image-making role is played. And therefore William Jacobson is denounced as a “wing-nut” pushing “right-wing talking points.”

Of course, there are no “left-wing talking points,” and if you dare suggest that Media Matters and Huffington Post are participating in an orchestrated propaganda effort — perhaps organized by Astroturf king David Axelrod — this only proves you are a “wing nut.”

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! My second ‘Lanche this weekend. I suspect Professor Reynolds was watching what I was watching — Ross Douthat doing “Q&A” on C-SPAN — and thought to himself, “If I don’t hit him now, there’ll be another raving manic e-mail at 4 a.m.”

Damned callow pretentious Harvard boy prattling on about Chesterton and Christopher Lasch and skinny-dipping with Buckley . . . well, never mind all that now. The raven’s calling your name, Douthat!

UPDATE II: Paco quotes . . . Lionel Trilling? What the hell? Has everybody gone all Douthat on me? “As Jeanne Kirkpatrick once said to Daniel Patrick Moynihan . . . .”

Barack Obama dildo. And what would Jeanne Kirkpatrick have to say about that, huh?

UPDATE III: Hey, remember when John Edwards was the liberal media’s idol?

UPDATE IV: The Left won’t let it go, will they?

May 6, 2009

Chris Matthews sucks bad

Turned on the TV in my home office, hoping to watch Michelle Malkin on the Glenn Beck show, but the old portable TV my kids hooked up doesn’t get Fox News.

So I switched over to MSNBC just to try to get an update on the non-Carrie Prejean nude news — just in time for “Hardball” with Chris Matthews.

He completely sucks, doesn’t he? I remember for years how the liberal bloggers were always ranting about the wretched awfulness of “Tweetie” Matthews. I didn’t get it, because I never watched his show. (I’m not a big TV watcher, period.)

I’d occasionally be switching channels, catch small doses of Matthews and not really think about it But . . . OMG!

To try to sit in a room where the TV is tuned to “Hardball” for a full freaking hour! Now I get what the liberal bloggers were complaining about. The man seems congenitally incapable of framing any argument except in the most superficially stereotypical terms.

Chris Matthews is to coherent discourse what Johnny Rotten is to fine jazz — which is to say, he’s never even attempted it. What is so annoying about Matthews is his utter lack of curiosity. He doesn’t ask questions in search of information, and he routinely mischaracterizes the scope of any controversy.

Matthews begins an interview with an antagonist — a guest who represents the “other side” — by expressing the most ludicrously pejorative caricature of the antagonist’s position. So, before the guest can begin to engage, he must first clear away this misleading distortion. Then, predictably, while the guest is attempting to clarify his own position, Matthews interrupts with some sarcastic idiocy.

He’s a much worse TV interviewer than either Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly, and I’m not a great admirer of either of those guys. The whole point of having a guest do a TV interview is to hear what the guest has to say, but Matthews is infinitely more interested in hearing his own voice than in letting the audience hear his guests.

At least when Hannity starts the bully-boy routine on a liberal guest — hectoring and interrupting — it’s entertaining in a pro-wrestling sort of way. O’Reilly has his own trademark brand of obnoxiousness, but it is arguably entertaining obnoxious.

What’s the difference? Hannity comes out of a talk-radio background, and O’Reilly has been doing TV all his life. Both of them are professional broadcasters, who have some basic concept that they are on TV to attract and engage an audience.

Matthews, by contrast, is a lifelong Democratic Party hack, who got hired for TV as a “political analyst” and parlayed that (via the DC schmooze circuit) into his anchor role. But because he was hired for his politics, he didn’t have to be any good at the audience-attraction part of the job, and never bothered to learn it.

Before anyone can yell “hypocrite” at me, I am well aware of my own bad rhetorical habits. But I do this in writing. The written word and broadcasting are very different media. You can skim through the written word and turn the page any time you want, so an article you disagree with doesn’t have the intrusive feeling that you get being stuck in a room with Chris Matthews on your TV. (This old 13-inch portable TV doesn’t have a remote.)

With TV, however, you can’t “skim.” There is a temporal linearity to the TV-viewing experience, from which the viewer can only escape by changing the channel. And the ability of Chris Matthews to inspire viewers to change the channel is the most obvious explanation for MSNBC’s persistently low ratings over the years.

It’s not about Matthews’ politics. Ed Schultz comes on right after “Hardball,” and Ed rivals Keith Olbermann for obnoxious liberalism. But Ed is entertaining. He’s a good interviewer who brings on the guest, asks questions, and lets the guest answer.

Matthews has been on MSNBC forever and has never attracted an audience. There is no evidence that he even has the capacity to learn how to be good on TV. If the executives at MSNBC cared anything about building an audience, they’d cancel “Hardball” immediately and negotiate a buyout of Matthews’ contract.

Somewhere out there in America is a good TV newsman — liberal in his politics, but skilled at his craft — who is being deprived of a career opportunity because the stupid suits at MSNBC can’t see what anyone with two eyes and a brain can see: Chris Matthews sucks beyond hope of redemption, and he’s clogging up a perfectly good hour of cable TV time.
April 24, 2009

Not Awesome, Ace

by Smitty

AoS has the title “Awesome: Crowd Cheers as GE Shareholder Rips MSNBC”. A questioner inquires if the Janine Garofalo clip is “hate speech”, and the crowd cheers and the suit waffles, and the crowd boos.
Pay attention class: why was Napoleon successful, until Wellington picked up the same baton and flogged Napoleon therewith? Among other reasons, both generals understood the ground.
In noticing JG, in bothering to attach “hate speech” to her pitiful remarks, you’re conceding the ground to the minions of Cthulhu. The Great Old One doesn’t care about JG or Sean Penn or the contents of their blather. All the minions want of you is to support the perversion of the First Amendment, and the need/capacity for government to regulate this new legislative product.
There is a place in the bowels of Cthulhu for JG when, to her sanity-shredding horror, her reign of useful idiocy is at an end. The means of avoiding joining her there is to not concede the ground to artful liars peddling nebulous goods: “fairness”, “hate speech”, and “spreading the wealth” are all markers on bad ground for battle.
Rather than engage the enemy head on, simply ask questions. Let the lack of any foundation in thought, fact, and history make the tower of babble collapse on Old Cthulhu.
Ace may think the MSNBC situation funny, and some sort of win. It was, but not for those concerned with freedom, truth, and the future. Do not concede the ground to the foe.

Update:This cover from the Economist makes the point graphically. The lure is the symbol “hate speech”, the school on the port side is anyone buying into its existence, with Cthulhu “smiling” to starboard.

March 22, 2009

MSNBC omits facts on AIG protests

Turned on MSNBC this morning and watched Alex Witt anchor a story about the protests at the homes of AIG executives (which turned out to be a pathetic farce, with more media than protesters).

What struck me was that Witt never mentioned who organized the protests. In fact, the organizers were The Connecticut Working Families Party, an ACORN front group. An uniformed MSNBC viewer would not have learned that from Alex Witt, who said nothing — zero, zilch, nada — about who organized the protests.

How many other news organizations reported the anti-AIG protests without reporting who the organizers were? And how many people understand the propaganda purpose of this omission? To explain briefly: The point of the protests is to make AIG execs the scapegoats for the idiocies of the bailout bill that ACORN’s Democratic allies supported. Blaming the AIG execs takes the heat off the politicians. But in order to convey that propaganda message effectively, media must pretend that there is no political ulterior motive to the protest, and thus no politically-connected organizing force behind it. To have mentioned CWFP or ACORN — and especially to have identifed those as left-wing groups allied with Democrats — would have destroyed the propaganda value of the story.

Meanhile, as scads of media turned out to cover one busload of anti-AIG protesters in Connecticut, some 300 turned out for a Tea Party demonstration in Ridgefield, Conn., that the major media ignored, just as they are trying to ignore the Tea Party movement nationwide. Try this: Switch off Fox News sometime and turn on NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN to see how much coverage they’re devoting to the Tea Party protests. The answer is, almost zero.

It’s almost as if there were a list or something . . .

UPDATE: Gahrie’s Grumbles also notes the glaring disparity of coverage between the AIG protests and the Tea Party movement. (Full disclosure: Gahrie is a first-time Rule 5 Sunday participant, which is a different kind of list.)

March 12, 2009

Ari: Thank You

by Smitty
I can’t stomach MSNBC in general, or Matthews in particular. Ari, your capacity to speak truth to jackass far exceeds my meager powers.

May fortune smile upon you, sir.

CWCID: Protein Wisdom

March 6, 2009

‘Morning Joe’ vs. ‘Fox & Friends’

This morning, I happened to be awake at 6 a.m. — did I mention I love my wife? — and while Mrs. Other McCain was in the shower getting ready for work, I relaxed contentedly by toggling back and forth between “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Fox fans can crucify me for saying this, but “Morning Joe” is the better program, and the superiority of the MSNBC show was blindingly evident today. While “Fox & Friends” had on Geraldo Rivera to talk about Rhianna (allegedly) getting beat up by her boyfriend, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan and Mika Brzrzbuyavowelski were talking about real news — especially the economic meltdown and the inability of Congress or the Obama administration to do anything to stop it.

Excuse me for thinking that gotterdammerung on Wall Street is more important than a domestic-violence case involving two second-rate pop stars that no one over 30 ever heard of until Chris Brown (allegedly) beat Rhianna to a bloody pulp.

OK, there may be some kind of “counterprogramming” rationale behind Fox producers going with celebrity tabloid news at 6 a.m., but there is a word for that rationale: Wrong. Most of those who get up at 6 a.m. and switch to the early news are essentially serious people. They’re in a hurry, getting ready to go to work, and they want to hear about news that makes a difference in their lives, which doesn’t include the obnoxious Geraldo sharing gossip about two pop singers.

Furthermore — and Steve Doocy’s my Facebook friend, so I want to be careful how I say this — the “Fox & Friends” crew seems too lightweight. The “Morning Joe” crew is anchored by a former congressman and features a veteran political adviser in Buchanan. Barnicle doesn’t impress me much, but Brzrzbuyavowelski, though hopelessly liberal, is at least a smart, serious liberal.

To employ an overused word, the implicit gravitas of the MSNBC crew gives them more leeway to joke around amiably like a bunch of buddies just talkin’ news, whereas Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade lack that sort of heft (Doocy wasn’t on the show this morning). My impression is that Kilmeade is a hometown favorite in the New York market, so Fox isn’t going to pull him from the show, and I wouldn’t want them to pull my buddy Doocy, which makes Carlson the prime candidate for replacement, if the executives want to tinker with the formula.

Bay Buchanan? Kate Obenshain? I don’t know. They need somebody with a credible government/politics background. They need to change something. The whole mood of the Fox show is wrong for the current economic and political climate.

Any serious news junkie toggling back and forth between Fox and MSNBC in the mornings — and this isn’t the first time I’ve done this in recent weeks — can’t help but notice the difference. “Fox & Friends” feels too fake perky-cheery like “Good Morning, Orlando” or something, whereas “Morning Joe” exudes a vibe that is simultaneously confident, smart, and relaxed.

Roger Ailes needs to be paying attention, because whatever the total Nielsen numbers, he’s losing “the eyes of the influentials,” to borrow a phrase from Jon Henke.

UPDATE: I’m getting some push-back in the comments, which is OK, but Hyscience agrees with me. To those who only watch Fox, you should try toggling between “F&F” and “MJ” some mornings. Maybe it’s me, but the Joe show is less show-biz, more laidback, and I like that — even if Barnicle and Brzrzbuyavowelski aren’t to my taste.

September 16, 2008

Bias? What bias?

John McCain to obscure cable-TV host: “I know you’re a supporter of Senator Obama.”

In fact, Mika Brzezinski is the daughter of former Carter administration foreign-policy bungler Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is now bungling foreign policy for the Obama campaign.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)