MSNBC Obama Propaganda Exposed

Caveat:  This diary will be mostly a cut and paste job.  I am acknowledging that fact up front, so please do not feel the need to reference this fact in the comment section.

Caveat No. 2:  This diary quotes extensively from an article in The New Republic.  Hopefully however, regardless of your feelings towards the publication, you will read the article with an open mind.

Dangerous Liaison
by Isaac Chotiner
The pro-Obama case against MSNBC's pro-Obama political coverage.

Two weeks ago, on the night of Barack Obama's big win and narrow loss in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, respectively, I turned my television set to MSNBC, as I normally do on election nights. It was early in the evening, and Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann were discussing the first exit polls that were trickling in. Considering that the exit polls in these contests have been--to say the least--a bit unreliable, I assumed that they weren't going to put much stock in the numbers. Just two weeks earlier, I had watched MSNBC's coverage of the Pennsylvania primary, where an excited Matthews practically gave the state to Obama, only to acknowledge later that Clinton had easily won. Surely, Matthews and company were not going to make the same mistake again.

They didn't--but only because the exit polls, predicting a good night for Obama, happened to be right; the coverage itself was exactly the same. And this was only the latest example of the network's undeniable Obama favoritism. David Shuster's comment about the Clintons' "pimping out" their daughter, Chelsea, was clearly boneheaded, but, as Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson pointed out, it caused such a stir among Clintonites because it highlighted the rest of the network's anti-Hillary coverage. Now, that's not to say that their slant has been bad for business; to the contrary. And it has certainly made for some enjoyable television--Matthews is often supremely engaging (who, after all, does not enjoy watching someone exclaim that seeing Obama speak gives him a "thrill going up my leg"), and however withering he can be, Olbermann is frequently hilarious. But the network's coverage has helped create a bubble around Obama supporters that in the end is neither healthy nor desirable.


And even if you think (as I do) that the Clintons have made too big of a deal out of the "sexist" and "unfair" portrayal their candidate has received in the press, if you watch enough MSNBC, you realize that their claim isn't without truth. How could you believe otherwise when Olbermann, with his trademark hauteur, told Hillary that "voluntarily or inadvertently, you are still awash in this filth [of the campaign]," or when Matthews took such self-evident glee in trouncing Clinton in between the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary? Similarly now, by mocking Clinton's decision to stay in the race, Olbermann has only bolstered her argument that "the boys" are trying to push her out. And finally, on a number of primary nights, but most notably in Pennsylvania and Ohio/Texas, MSNBC has become so excited by early exit polls that it has raised expectations that Obama ultimately could not live up to.


I increasingly started watching the channel last year because of its political focus, and for the novelty of seeing outspoken liberals on television. How often does one hear a news anchor rant against the corruption of Bush's Washington, after all? As the campaign progressed, however, it became clear that neither Matthews nor Olbermann could stand Hillary Clinton. This, I must admit, I found appealing, too--especially because I agreed with the hosts that some of the Clinton campaign's tactics have been either ridiculous or dirty or both.

Still, a downside quickly surfaced. Shuster's "pimping" remark and Matthews's crude (even if somewhat accurate) comment about the Monica Lewinsky scandal being a boon for Hillary's political career were notable precisely because they had nothing to do with policy or ideology. It wasn't as if Shuster and Matthews and Olbermann were siding with Obama on the issue of individual mandates. Rather, by giving "the personal" precedence over "the political," the network was using Hillary Hatred to fuel its coverage in a similar fashion to how Fox News uses Democrat Hatred to excite its viewers. But there is a distinction here that makes MSNBC's agenda almost more disquieting than Fox's. With Fox, I have to believe that most people know they're watching something that approximates GOP talking points (seeing an analyst like Paul Begala spin for Hillary on CNN doesn't really stick, either; everyone knows he's an apparatchik). With MSNBC, however, the bias is much harder to pin down. Does it stem from a personal vendetta? Sexism? Corporate diktat? Who knows? (snip) Conservatives have ably chipped away at the press's credibility these past few years, with disturbing results; now--consciously or not--with their aggressive, intra-Democrat side-taking, MSNBC is doing the same thing.

Dangerously, too, MSNBC's coverage can lead to a perverse sort of cognitive dissonance in viewers like, well, me. Throughout the primary process, I often found myself much more bullish on the Illinois Senator's chances after watching MSNBC than I had any reason to be. After Obama's Iowa victory, for instance, I remember hearing Matthews' description of a giant "wave" of Obamamania sweeping across the nation; surely, the race was over. Likewise, during the month of February, when Obama won eleven straight primaries, I recall watching the network and occasionally convincing myself that Clinton was certain to drop out before Texas and Ohio because her chances had become so diminished. The problem here is that when supposedly "straight" news anchors phrase questions in leading ways, and report one campaign's spin as if it were fact, it distorts what is actually going on in the campaign--even for those of us who make a living obsessing over and writing about politics. And when anchormen themselves shill for Obama, the distinction between his talking points and the truth grows even blurrier still. So, as much as I find MSNBC entertaining, their creation of a parallel, pro-Obama universe is the type of thing I'd expect of Fox. That's when I know it's time to change the channel.

There's more...

Chris Matthews' Clingy Tingly For Obama Nearly "Official" + Olbermann's Blatant Sexism

Turns out that Chris Matthews' leg-tingling* that he discussed recently on MSNBC's Hardball -- aired on a network so blatantly pro-Obama that we all call it MSNBO these days -- is not due to restless leg syndrome.  It's a far more serious mental obsessive-compulsive condition that has disabled his ability to be neutral when discussing Obama.  Numerous reports confirm this exchange before a Harvard Crimson audience:

Praising Barack Obama throughout his speech, Matthews said the Illinois Democrat is a symbol of the positive change that he believe the country needs. [...]

When asked by another audience member how he would respond to the claim that MSNBC officially supports Obama, Matthews responded with typical Hardball wit, "Well, it's not official."

So it's "not official." But it's sure clear as day to all of us who used to watch MSNBC (except for Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan, of whom we've all become very fond for his sharp, objective insights and encyclopedic knowledge of political history).  

And you can take it to the bank, as they say, that MSNBO will not cover the Indiana illegal polling place activity today by Obama supporters, or the North Carolina Obama field coordinator urging his volunteers to call in sick and lie to their bosses.

Only the stories that help their "Chosen One" will be covered. And when Hillary must be mentioned, she is described, for example, by Andrea Mitchell as looking "wistful"this morning.

There's more...

Chris Matthews Slams Rev. Wright [Video]

Chris Matthews, in a reprieve from his normal state of Obama-euphoria, moderated a discussion today about Rev. Wright's interview by Bill Moyers scheduled to be aired tomorrow on PBS.

The panel members were dismayed at Wright's remarks that Barack "goes out as a politican and says what he needs to say" to win elections, as opposed to himself (Wright), a "pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God."

What is Wright thinking?  It's especially bad timing since the NC GOP just previewed a TV ad in North Carolina starring Wright's "god damn america" rant.  I'm stumped by this.

Elsewhere in the segment, they all praised Hillary's performance this week, Matthews going so far as to declare her "the Norma Rae of Pennsylvania."

What's going on? It's hard to believe that this is MSNBC.  Is it possibly a sign of buyer's remorse by the mass media?

Take a look...

There's more...

HRC Supporters Boycott NBC

I've turned off the news this election season. I guess that's the wave of the future, but my motivation was how biased the MSM is against Hillary. Particularly NBC.

Why do they do it? In the old days, a guy like Russert would have been paid a few hundred thousand. Thus it was natural for the 4th Estate to challenge power. These days, these are rich men and major stockholders, good for them, bad for the system.

Now: Who's the biggest threat to General Electric stock (parent company of NBC)? Not McCain, obviously. Not Obama who, if he manages to get elected a few years out of the state senate, is not exactly going to hit the ground running. Hillary is the biggest threat.

I don't mean to imply these guys at NBC are issued marching orders in the form of "get Hillary." I just think they know which side their bread is buttered on. (I mean, I assume the head of GE sometimes watches TV) And if nothing else, Obama's a better story--first black candidate, etc.

There's more...

When Does The 100 Years Begin?

As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have escalated their criticism of John McCain's comments that it would be "fine with him" if we're in Iraq for 100 years, the RNC, conservative columnists and McCain himself have pushed back trying to get out ahead of what they fear could be this cycle's "I voted for it before I voted against it."

Charles Krauthammer began his column on the subject as follows:

Asked at a New Hampshire campaign stop about possibly staying in Iraq 50 years, John McCain interrupted -- "Make it a hundred" -- then offered a precise analogy to what he envisioned: "We've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so." Lest anyone think he was talking about prolonged war-fighting rather than maintaining a presence in postwar Iraq, he explained: "That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."

And lest anyone persist in thinking he was talking about war-fighting, he told his questioner: "It's fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintained a presence in a very volatile part of the world."

Well, the campaign to bring the full context of McCain's comments to the fore is working and, which is fair enough, but as Josh Marshall explains, it's McCain who's being disingenuous with his explanation and the media is allowing him to do so...again.

Now McCain and his handlers are trying to say he wasn't talking about 'war' in Iraq or even an 'occupation' but only a 'presence' in which no US military personnel are killed and seemingly one which doesn't cost anything either.

If reporters who've bought into McCain's explanation actually think this is true, then the logical follow-up is to ask: if he is only happy continuing the 'presence' in Iraq for a century under his fantasy conditions, how long is he willing to continue it with a price tage of $100 billion and hundreds of US military fatalities a year? Or how about $50 billion and only 500 fatalities a year. If he really wants to run away from the bold commitments he made as a primary season candidate, reporters really need to do some due diligence gaming out just what he means.

Indeed. Although credit where credit is due, one pundit who has been very skeptical of the right's apologia for McCain's view is Chris Matthews. On Hardball yesterday he hammered Pete Hegseth of Vets For Freedom with a question that should be asked of John McCain directly and of every surrogate who defends McCain's "100 years, hell, make it 1000..." construction: when exactly does McCain expect this 100 years of US violence-free presence to begin? (h/t E Pluribus Unum for the transcript):

Chris Matthews: "John McCain says we will stay there 100 years without getting shot at. When does that commence?"

Pete Hegseth, Exec. Dir. Vets for Freedom: "That's if we have an Iraqi government that can do the vast majority of the fighting out front."

Matthews: "Well, when does this 100 years begin?"

Hegseth: "It's already begun. And 100 years -- that statement is misconstrued over and over and over again."

Matthews: "No, that's not what he said...He said 100 [years] without casualties. I'm just wondering when we start not getting casualties."

[Hegseth bows his head and snickers.]

Matthews: "That's not funny."

Hegseth: "No, it's not. But it's not talking about leaving without any casualties."

Matthews: "He said no casualties, no wounded, no KIA."

There's more...


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