Matthews Bellows: Is GOP 'The Party of Tax Cuts and Torture?' --4/22/2009
2. ABC Touts Meghan McCain as Moderate GOP Voice on Gay Marriage
3. Hilton on CBS, No Mention of Vulgar Insults of Miss California
The Dick Cheney-obsessed Chris Matthews opened Tuesday's Hardball by taking umbrage with the former Vice President's criticism of Obama declassifying CIA interrogation memos, as the MSNBC host compared Cheney to "The Empire" in Star Wars, and called him "The Bush administration's tail gunner manning his burp gun with that same nasty look we recall from the war comics." Matthews went on to wonder if Cheney's outspokenness was a good thing for the GOP as he questioned: "If the Republican Party really wants to be branded right now as the party of tax cuts and torture?"
[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Matthews didn't waste any time getting to the Cheney bashing as seen in the following intro to the April 21 edition of Hardball on MSNBC:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Empire Strikes Back! Let's play Hardball! Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight. Clash of civilizations. Two different views of the universe out there right now. That's what's at war in Washington today. The dark view of Dick Cheney that sees no shame in brutal interrogations. Indeed refuses to blame America for anything. That against the new view of Barack Obama that America does best in the world when it upholds a moral standard and admits past failings. Who believes our government lost its moral bearings in pushing the moral envelope in our treatment of those prisoners. Two different views of the universe. And last night the old empire struck back as the former vice president, who refuses to leave Washington, took aim at the new values system.
Not long after that intro Matthews, in a segment with guest panelists Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Newsweek's Howard Fineman, depicted the GOP in stark terms:
MATTHEWS: I wonder Howard if the Republican Party really wants to be branded right now as the party of tax cuts and torture? I mean that's what they're selling. I mean tax cuts are always happy to be heard about, even if they're not possible. But the torture part - the image of, of a party that seems to have attached itself to this method, this difficult, hard to justify, sometimes, perhaps necessary, method of getting to the truth in, in urgent circumstances. Is it what you want to be known for?
Fineman went on to doubt the "credibility" of Cheney's claim that interrogation techniques helped thwart more 9/11 style attacks, even though, as reported by CNSNews.com, the CIA still stands by its 2005 memo stating an attack on Los Angeles was prevented due to information gained from the waterboarding of al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
FINEMAN: Look he doesn't have a whole lot of credibility Chris, given all the videotape that there is of the testimony he gave the American public about what we were gonna find, about what we knew, about what the rationale for the war in Iraq was, about a host of different things. Yes it's a dangerous world, Mr. Former Vice President, but you've got to prove it in specific ways. I'm wondering, I have to wonder what's actually in whatever CIA memos exist. If he could have gotten a hold of them to make his case, I think he would've started lickety-split to do it and the fact that he's only now saying he's gonna do it, makes me have to question, given his track record, what really did we gain from those things? And I think it's a very open question and his own history doesn't help his credibility on this.
Before closing the segment Matthews and Fineman challenged the "stupidity" of Cheney's "dark side," critique of Obama's performance at the Summit of the Americas:
MATTHEWS: Let's move on now to the broader charge. I opened the show by saying there is a battle of the universe going on here, Gene and Howard, and it's a battle of universes. The one universe is, "Let's be the good guys in the world and the world will rally to us." The other side, the darker side if you will, and Cheney calls it that, says, "No let's be the toughest guys on the block and people will respect us." Here's Cheney reminding us of the dark side, saying that our new president, Barack Obama, is just too darned weak. Here he is talking about the President's behavior this past weekend with Venezuela's Chavez....He doesn't mind being King Gringo as long as we're the boss. He doesn't mind what they call us, as long as we got the stick. Howard?
FINEMAN: But the point is that, that, that strength is defined in different ways. Stupidity is not strength. And there were, you know, you can give George Bush credit, if you want, for saying that there is such a thing as evil in the world, okay? And Dick Cheney said the same thing. But what they didn't understand and still don't is that, that's the beginning of the discussion, not the end of the discussion. If there is evil in the world you have to be shrewd about dealing with it. And not making enemies unnecessarily is not strong or smart. And what Obama is trying to do, is to try to see what's out there on the table. I mean Obama is examining the poker table, now, for the first time. He's sitting down at it, he's seeing who has what cards. I guarantee you he's gonna be a tough player but he's not gonna try to turn the table upside down before he starts.
To read about the CIA's confirming that interrogation techniques were helpful in preventing another 9/11-style attack see: www.cnsnews.com
Good Morning America on Tuesday highlighted a controversy involving gay marriage and a beauty contest and touted Meghan McCain as an example of a moderate Republican. Reporter David Wright referenced the daughter of Senator John McCain in a piece on the developing story over the Miss USA pageant and whether or not an answer on gay marriage caused the contestant from California to lose the title.
After asserting that gay rights are more mainstream these days, Wright reminded viewers of a decision by the Iowa Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage. He spun: "And over the weekend, the daughter of the former Republican standard bearer, Meghan McCain, suggested she is all in favor of it." ABC then played a clip of Ms. McCain calling herself a Republican. Of course, just as MSNBC did in a story Monday on McCain, Wright made no mention of the fact that the senator's daughter voted for John Kerry in 2004 and supported Al Gore in 2000. See a April 21 CyberAlert posting for more on MSNBC's coverage: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Wright explained the background, that contestant Carrie Prejean was asked by a pageant judge, the liberal (and openly gay) blogger Perez Hilton, if she supported gay marriage. She said no and went on to ultimately lose. Wright added, "Hilton wasted no time in blogging his contempt." The ABC journalist featured a clip of the gossip blogger calling her response "the worst answer in history." What Wright completely ignored, however, is the hateful language Hilton has used since. In posts and on television, he referred to Ms. Prejean as a "bitch" and stated that he wanted to use the "c-word." Isn't his vulgarity and anger relevant to the story?
Wright, in reference to Prejean's opposition to gay marriage, did close the piece by noting, "She's in good company. The voters in California clearly agree with her, even though the state Supreme Court there does not." But, using a Gore and Kerry supporter (and not mentioning those facts) as an example of GOP moderation on the subject of same sex marriage is misleading at best.
A transcript of the April 21 segment, which aired at 7:15am, follows:
CHRIS CUOMO: Now, we have the latest development for you in a growing and divisive cultural issue, gay marriage. Next week, Iowa will become the first Midwestern state to recognize gay marriage as a right, several more states are considering laws. But 30 states have taken measures to limit gay marriage. This has become a cultural divide that was on full display Sunday night at the Miss USA pageant. ABC's David Wright has more.
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen talked to gay blogger Perez Hilton about his question to Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean about gay marriage: "Miss California, Carrie Prejean, decided to tell gay blogger and judge Perez Hilton what she really felt about same-sex marriage, and it might have cost her the Miss USA crown...Hilton reacted angrily after the show, posting this video blog on his website." Chen played a clip of Hilton's video blog tirade in which he said he was "disappointed" in Prejean, but not the portion in which the blogger called her a "dumb b***h." Chen also failed to mention that during live coverage on MSNBC on Monday, Hilton declared that he was not sorry for using that language and even went on to say that he wished he had used the "c-word" to describe Prejean. Chen only vaguely alluded to Hilton's vulgarity as she asked her first question: "Perez, let me begin with you. When you first heard her answer, what did you think? And please keep it clean, this is a live morning program."
Hilton's initial video blog rant here: michellemalkin.com
Hilton's hateful comments on MSNBC here: michellemalkin.com
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The only thing depicted as controversial in the segment was Prejean's answer to the question, not the question itself or Hilton's attacks. Chen asked Hilton: "So give me a good example of how you think she should have handled it and still staying true to her beliefs, Perez." Hilton basically called for her to have dodged the question: "A very simple way she could have answered it is, 'as a future Miss USA it is my job not to be a politician, but to be someone who represents and inspires the women and the troops, and I think it's great that the states get to decide for themselves.' Something like that, she could -- she would not have had to insert her own personal politics into it." It's good Hilton did not insert his "personal politics" into the pageant.
Chen also spoke with Miss USA pageant co-director Shanna Moakler about the controversy: "Shanna, what do you think? How did she handle it? Did it cost her the title? What are your thoughts? You've been down this road." Moakler acknowledged the question was the reason for Prejean losing: "...this is not the first conservative Christian title holder. And, you know, I have to applaud her that she was willing to miss out on the opportunity of being Miss USA, you know, to stay true to her convictions. But, on the same token, you know, I think she has muddied the waters a little bit by -- by making -- just by -- her question was insensitive. And it's now become more about compassion, being compassionate in the way that she answered her question."
Moakler went on to explain: "...we're not abandoning her and we don't hate her. But it puts us in a difficult situation because we do have a difference of opinion. And we also have sponsors, and people that have supported her, and helped get her to where she was standing on that stage, that I think there's now become a sense of betrayal. So it's just, you know, that's where I'm saying it's become a topic of sensitivity, and she needed to answer her question with more compassion."
Here is the full transcript of the April 21 segment:
-- Brent Baker