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MSNBC Trumpets Obama's Win: 'This is What the World Wanted' --11/5/2008


1. MSNBC Trumpets Obama's Win: 'This is What the World Wanted'
At about 2:50 AM EST Wednesday morning, MSNBC went live to NBC News reporter Dawna Friesen in London for world reaction to Barack Obama's election and she triumphantly declared: "It's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win." After blurry video of Kenyans dancing and singing a song which "had only two words, 'Obama' and 'miracle,'" Friesen held up the front page of London's left of center The Independent and explained how the newspaper's headline "dubbed" Obama "The history man." She also decided to highlight: "The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy."

2. ABC News Reporter Steve Osunsami Chokes Up in Joy for Obama's Victory
At 11:49 PM EST Tuesday night, live from Morehouse College in Atlanta, ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami choked up and came near tears as he recalled how "my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black President," but "this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong -- and we're the better for it."

3. Oprah Exclaims: 'I Haven't Seen This Sense of Unity Since 9/11'
At 11:49 PM EST Tuesday night, live from Morehouse College in Atlanta, ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami choked up and came near tears as he recalled how "my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black President," but "this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong -- and we're the better for it."

4. Mitchell: 'Centrist' Obama Will Rein in Congressional Liberals
During live coverage on Tuesday's Today show, of Barack Obama voting in his home state, Andrea Mitchell postulated that he will have to confront a "liberal" Congress because Obama, himself, is a "centrist." The Senator with the most liberal voting record, according to Mitchell, will be the one to "rein in expectations from an empowered liberal majority in the House and Senate."

5. Williams: Joe the Plumber Was Silly, a 'Rat Hole of Distraction'
NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Monday night and trashed Joe the Plumber's anti-tax cause as a silly issue, not a serious question about the redistribution of wealth: "Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers. We got a plumber who's the third member of the GOP ticket, in effect, and that's, it's all of our fault, yes, and there will be time to bloody our own backs with chains, but it's also the sorry state of our discourse as if, Tavis, we don't have enough serious issues to concentrate on." Williams added: "I think we may find out it was a movement year, we may find out we all had to step aside and just let it happen, and we may decide we went down too many rat holes of distractions on our way there."

6. Matthews Before Vote: We're 'Leaping Towards Something Better'
On his syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, the conspicuously pro-Obama MSNBC host announced how he expected that "election night is going to be emotional for all of us....Particularly if it goes in that historic direction, it's going to be very emotional for everybody. I mean, everybody." A few minutes later, in his closing commentary about the election, Matthews (a potential Democratic Senate candidate in 2010) offered a not-very veiled endorsement of Barack Obama, suggesting his election would mean a "leap towards something better and uniting our country as never before in our history."

7. Obama-Brokaw? Caroline Kennedy: Anchor Made Obama's Short VP List
In a Thursday night appearance on the PBS show Charlie Rose, it was revealed that the Democratic ticket could have been Obama-Brokaw. Rose reported: "I think it was Caroline Kennedy who said that when they have the short [running mate] list for Barack Obama, there was a name down there somewhere?" Tom Brokaw replied: "My name was on it." Rose pestered Brokaw to go into public service after his latest NBC stint ends: "There comes a time, you are reminding me of a conceited anchorman who once said to raise your right hand to enlist." Brokaw didn't utterly reject the idea of serving a new administration: "I understand the need to step up from time to time, and if the right opportunity came along, I would certainly be willing to take a good, hard look at that."

8. Surprise: Liberal NY Times Columnist Kristof Sees Media Bias
Nicholas Kristof, the occasionally iconoclastic liberal columnist for the New York Times, does it again with an Election Day post at his nytimes.com blog. The topic: Liberal bias. Surprisingly, Kristof basically assents to large swathes of the conservative argument: "But on the social issues -- gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion -- I'm not sure we're that even-handed....Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it."

9. NYT: McCain's Insults & Threats, Defending Obama's Ties to Wright
Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch site on liberal bias in the New York Times this week: "Obama Wins IN, VA, NH, NM? Bad for McCain. McCain Wins PA? Anti-Obama Racism," "One Last Biased Glance Backward Before Election Day," "Did McCain Really 'Tolerate Insults and Threats' of Obama?" and "One Last Time: Defending Obama's Ties to Jeremiah ('God Damn America') Wright."

10. ABC's Whoopi Goldberg, Like Wright 'I Cussed Out This Country'
Whoopi Goldberg, in defending Reverend Wright, admitted to, at times "cuss[ing] out America." On the November 4 (Election Day) edition of ABC's daytime show The View a conversation about Sarah Palin's clearance in the "Troopergate" probe quickly morphed into a fight (three on one) over Reverend Wright. In justifying Wright's "God damn America" remark, Goldberg confessed: "I have been guilty of cussing this country out because we have not always shown our best and put our best foot forward."


MSNBC Trumpets Obama's Win: 'This is
What the World Wanted'

At about 2:50 AM EST Wednesday morning, MSNBC went live to NBC News reporter Dawna Friesen in London for world reaction to Barack Obama's election and she triumphantly declared: "It's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win."

After blurry video of Kenyans dancing and singing a song which "had only two words, 'Obama' and 'miracle,'" Friesen held up the front page of London's left of center The Independent and explained how the newspaper's headline "dubbed" Obama "The history man." She also decided to highlight: "The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy."

For the article, "Farewell Dubya. Now to undo the damage done...; There's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy -- but Barack Obama will be hamstrung by high expectations," by Anne Penketh, go to: www.independent.co.uk

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

The CyberAlert item on Friesen's October 17 NBC Nightly News story, "NBC: 'If World Had a Vote, Barack Obama Would Win in a Landslide,'" recounted Friesen's earlier touting of world attitudes:

Friday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to how around the world "people want to turn a page on the Bush years" and, as if it's relevant, "if the world had a vote, Barack Obama would win in a landslide." A suggestion to viewers on what they must do to restore America's honor? Reporter Dawna Friesen warned that the next President "faces a grim reality: Much of the world deeply distrusts, even dislikes, the United States" and she rued "much of the sympathy and solidarity that existed after 9/11 evaporated during the Bush years."

Pointing to Iraq as the primary culprit ("so many believed it was invaded on false pretenses"), Friesen also highlighted "other reasons," such as how "after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. is perceived by many as a violator rather than an upholder of human rights" and "America is seen contributing, but not doing much to solve, global warming." From Istanbul, she concluded:

"Here in Turkey, as in much of the world, people want to turn a page on the Bush years. In fact, polls show the image of the U.S. has improved slightly this year simply because President Bush is leaving. And, that if the world had a vote, Barack Obama would win in a landslide. Regardless of who wins, the world is clamoring for a new America in 2009."

For more, see the October 20 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Friesen, live from London on MSNBC at about 2:50 AM EST on Wednesday, November 5:

You know, it's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win. And in Kenya, overnight -- that is the country that is the ancestral home of Obama's late father -- overnight, they were all up in the little village where his extended family still lives watching the results come in. And when they realized that their favorite son was going to become America's 44th President, the dancing, the singing began. Apparently the song had only two words, "Obama" and "miracle." Kenya's President has announced that tomorrow will be a national holiday in honor of Barack Obama.

This morning, reaction is beginning to come in from around the world, from world leaders. French President Nicholas Sarkozy issuing a statement saying: "At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hopes in France, in Europe, and beyond." And from Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, he said, "I applaud the American people for the great decision and I hope the massive show of concern for human beings and a lack of interest in race and color while electing the President will go along way in bringing the same values to the rest of the world sooner or later."

And as people in Britain wake and up head to work this morning, their morning papers show the face, pretty much, of one man. This is the cover of The Independent this morning. They've dubbed him "The history man." It's the headline. The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy.

ABC News Reporter Steve Osunsami Chokes
Up in Joy for Obama's Victory

At 11:49 PM EST Tuesday night, live from Morehouse College in Atlanta, ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami choked up and came near tears as he recalled how "my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black President," but "this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong -- and we're the better for it."

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

As he stood with cheering students, Osunsami told anchor Charlie Gibson:
"Charlie, I've watched a number of students here call their parents, call their fathers, their brothers and sisters. I received a text from a friend of mine who said black Americans everywhere should thank the country.
"From a personal note, as a kid, I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly black and my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black President. Well, this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong -- and we're the better for it.

Oprah Exclaims: 'I Haven't Seen This
Sense of Unity Since 9/11'

In an interview from Chicago's Grant Park taped shortly beforehand and aired on ABC just past 10:30 PM EST/9:30 PM local time, an excited Oprah Winfrey told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts: "I haven't seen this sense of unity since 9/11, really, really, and 9/11 was this tragic experience that brought us all together and now we're all brought together in the name of hope. Not since 9/11 have I experienced anything even kind of close to this."

Of course, the 47 percent who voted for McCain may not share Winfrey's unity.

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

She had prefaced that contention: "It's my town. My town's been vibrating all day. I mean, from the moment I left the building this morning -- the doorman, everybody vibrates, just great. It's one of the greatest experiences of, certainly my lifetime and it's been wonderful, I think, for everybody in the country who has called somebody or somebody has called them. Everybody was e-mailing everybody standing in line."

Mitchell: 'Centrist' Obama Will Rein
in Congressional Liberals

During live coverage on Tuesday's Today show, of Barack Obama voting in his home state, Andrea Mitchell postulated that he will have to confront a "liberal" Congress because Obama, himself, is a "centrist." The Senator with the most liberal voting record, according to Mitchell, will be the one to "rein in expectations from an empowered liberal majority in the House and Senate."

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

Mitchell made the following proclamation on the November 4, edition of Today show:

ANDREA MITCHELL: If Obama is elected and if it is a big margin, two big "ifs" he's also gonna have to rein in expectations from an empowered liberal majority in the House and Senate. House might be harder to deal with than the Senate because they have been not only making promises but building expectations for people, for health care and for all sorts of reforms in Medicare and more benefits on.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Well that's been the Republican cry, right? "Watch out for Pelosi and Reid and everybody if, if the Democrats take over!"
MITCHELL: As we saw in 1992 with Bill Clinton. Smaller issues but back then he had to deal with a Congress that was more liberal than he. And Barack Obama, if you look at whom his advisers are, is more centrist than the Democratic majority.

Williams: Joe the Plumber Was Silly,
a 'Rat Hole of Distraction'

NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Monday night and trashed Joe the Plumber's anti-tax cause as a silly issue, not a serious question about the redistribution of wealth: "Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers. We got a plumber who's the third member of the GOP ticket, in effect, and that's, it's all of our fault, yes, and there will be time to bloody our own backs with chains, but it's also the sorry state of our discourse as if, Tavis, we don't have enough serious issues to concentrate on." Williams added: "I think we may find out it was a movement year, we may find out we all had to step aside and just let it happen, and we may decide we went down too many rat holes of distractions on our way there."

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Williams also complained once again about the delay in his Sarah Palin interview, given his network's leading stature. "I went more than third -- I went fifth or sixth," even as he added: "I think she's a professional at her job, I try to be at mine, and we kind of quickly got over it." Sounds like he hasn't.

The interview began with the plumber-bashing:

SMILEY: Has this campaign, honestly and frankly, gone on just too long?
WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. I don't even have to be honest or frank about it. It's just flatly gone on too long, and what's sad about it is I remember saying, naively, innocently, "Well, at least we'll have a thorough and serious and sober airing of the issues."
And instead, look at what we did. Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers. We got a plumber who's the third member of the GOP ticket, in effect, and that's -- it's all of our fault, yes, and there will be time to bloody our own backs with chains, but it's also the sorry state of our discourse as if, Tavis, we don't have enough serious issues to concentrate on.

He returned to the theme just a few sentences later when asked if the networks did too much horse-race coverage:

WILLIAMS: A funny thing happened on the way to the nomination for President Giuliani and President Hillary Clinton, and that is it appears that if these polls hold and we've got it at 51-43 as of tonight, and our pollsters are very good, it looks like everybody else in this race ran smack into an American history movement. Ran smack into a changing of those iconic symbols at the front of all the classrooms we grew up sitting in, all those oval pictures, depictions of our presidents. It's about to change, after 43 of them, if these polls hold, and people need to get out to vote.
The American voter has a funny way of deciding for themselves what happens in our elections. So I think we may find out it was a movement year, we may find out we all had to step aside and just let it happen, and we may decide we went down too many rat holes of distractions on our way there.

Then came the Palin exchange:

SMILEY: You mentioned one woman a moment ago, Brian, of course, Hillary Clinton. There's another woman in this race, still in it as of this moment, Sarah Palin. Let me just ask you in a very forthright way. When you're sitting for a conversation, as you did days ago, with one Sarah Palin, and your own network, in fact, "Saturday Night Live," has made such a wonderful run of jokes about Sarah Palin, and they're not the only ones. But clearly, she has been ridiculed -- my words, not yours here -- ridiculed for being, shall we say, an intellectual lightweight. When you're going into an interview and you know that that's the rub, that's what's out there, how do you prepare for that conversation so that you don't get chastised for being too soft or too hard?
WILLIAMS: Well, by then, remember the context, Tavis. By the time I got to sit down with Sarah Palin, I was (A) allowed eight minutes with her in private; (B) allowed an extended period of time only if the top of the ticket, John McCain, was sitting with her. I went more than third -- I went fifth or sixth, if you count some of the interviews she granted. Charlie went first, then Katie. Here we are, to be gross about it, we're the largest evening news audience, and it was clear -- I joked about it on David Letterman's show - we were paying for some of the perceived sins of our cable network, and these days, everyone knows that in prime time cable programming, there's attitude.
You know what you're getting. There's truth in labeling. Nobody's being fooled. So was there a little tension? Absolutely. Can I develop a relationship, one on one, with someone? John McCain I've known for a long time, but the governor was new to me. Absolutely. And you -- I think she's a professional at her job, I try to be at mine, and we kind of quickly got over it. But a lot of -- to be frank about it, a lot of the good questions had been taken, so I chose to go down different roads.

Finally, Williams rather ridiculously claimed that no one, absolutely no one would have any idea of which presidential candidate he favors. Does he think no one noticed the difference between the pounding he gave McCain and Palin and the repeated hand-holding in interviews with Obama? But he implausibly claimed that he was a hard-core political agnostic:

SMILEY: Let me shift gears dramatically here. Obama, as you certainly know and have covered on the "NBC Nightly News," for whatever reason or reasons, has generated a certain level of enthusiasm and energy in the younger generation. You have two kids - I think 17 and 20. If my research is as good as yours, I think my facts are right. Seventeen and 20; and so they're in that age group that Obama has played so well to. Without betraying the confidence of your children, are you one news anchor who's had your children in your ear when you're not on the anchor desk about this campaign?
WILLIAMS: Oh, you've just landed on the recurring theme in my house. My family knows that I am such a political agnostic, I've never told my wife of 22 years or either child who I voted for for president. I've only said publicly that I think my politics might surprise some folks, that I've voted for members of both parties for president. But it drives them crazy, and it's been driving me crazy that I have to put ear plugs and blinders on when I come in the house. I can't hear it. I can't hear it, I don't want to hear it, I don't have a dog in this. I go up to my easy chair on the second floor of the house. My dog comes with me. She sits with me and keeps me company. She has expressed no view in this election, and so far she's the only member of my household to express no view in this election.

Matthews Before Vote: We're 'Leaping
Towards Something Better'

On his syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, the conspicuously pro-Obama MSNBC host announced how he expected that "election night is going to be emotional for all of us....Particularly if it goes in that historic direction, it's going to be very emotional for everybody. I mean, everybody."

A few minutes later, in his closing commentary about the election, Matthews (a potential Democratic Senate candidate in 2010) offered a not-very veiled endorsement of Barack Obama, suggesting his election would mean a "leap towards something better and uniting our country as never before in our history."

So we'll be more united than we were after 9/11? More united than during World War II? Maybe the bartender who serves the Obama Kool-Aid at MSNBC had better cut Matthews off -- he's had a few too many.

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During a panel discussion of the significance of Obama's election (which seemed to be the assumption of all of Matthews' guests on Sunday), Time magazine's Joe Klein announced how the election of an African-American president would be a "huge" and "profound" development:
"We're watching something huge taking place. And, you know, to go back to the African-American vote, there are an awful lot of African-Americans, I know, who don't believe in their heart of hearts that white people will vote for a black man....with just cause, because of the way they've been treated in their lives. It is going to change -- if this man is elected, the inner life of so many Americans is going -- is going to change in the most basic profound sort of way."

A few moments later, Matthews announced that election night would be emotional: "I'm glad you used the word 'huge,' Joe, because I think election night is going to be emotional for all of us. And I think, even those of us who do it for a profession, if this election goes -- particularly if it goes in that historic direction, it's going to be very emotional for everybody. I mean, everybody."

Of course, there are a lot of conservatives who will be quite distressed if Obama wins -- not because they are against any progress by African-Americans but because they are disturbed thinking about the laws that might be passed by a liberal House and Senate and signed by the liberal President Obama in the White House.

Matthews revisited the theme in his closing thoughts on his November 2 show:
"If Americans elect Barack Obama President, we will evidence for ourselves and for the world the truth said by our forefathers to be self-evident, not just that we are created equal, endowed with certain liberties, but that old founding notion of 'we' has been replaced by something new and truly American.
"So as we start this new century now at full speed, Americans seem on the verge of, in one vote, achieving two goals: taking a great American leap towards something better and uniting our country as never before in our history."

Obama-Brokaw? Caroline Kennedy: Anchor
Made Obama's Short VP List

In a Thursday night appearance on the PBS show Charlie Rose, it was revealed that the Democratic ticket could have been Obama-Brokaw. Rose reported: "I think it was Caroline Kennedy who said that when they have the short [running mate] list for Barack Obama, there was a name down there somewhere?" Tom Brokaw replied: "My name was on it." Rose pestered Brokaw to go into public service after his latest NBC stint ends: "There comes a time, you are reminding me of a conceited anchorman who once said to raise your right hand to enlist." Brokaw didn't utterly reject the idea of serving a new administration: "I understand the need to step up from time to time, and if the right opportunity came along, I would certainly be willing to take a good, hard look at that."

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Rose also curiously worried that a President Obama might end up being a very cautious centrist: "What do you make of him? Tell me what you see there. Because I was talking to a friend of mine, and he said, I see someone who is clearly aspirational, someone who is clearly bright, someone who is clearly ambitious in the best sense of that, but who is clearly cautious, and in the end, he may very well be a man of the center."

Later, he came back to the same idea: "Let me come back to Obama. Is he, in your judgment, even though he has a liberal voting record in the Senate, essentially a man of caution, a man of the center, a man who doesn't want a whole lot of dissension around him?"

Brokaw strangely suggested Obama was a cautious centrist running for the Democratic nomination, which is certainly not how he ran, especially in highlighting his eternal opposition to a war in Iraq, to the delight of MoveOn.org and Code Pink:
"I think he is a cautious guy and I think if there is a central tenet, as I watch him, I don't know whether it is the central tenet in his political philosophy, it certainly -- it is in his political instinct, which is to move to the center because that's where I am a going to, A, get the nomination and, B, given the challenges that we are facing in this country, if I get elected president, and we still don't know whether that will happen or not, it is the only way that I can be remotely successful. I can't go out and stake out the left side of the room and expect to govern."

Brokaw came on the October 30 PBS show to plug the paperback edition of his book on the 1960s, titled "Boom!" He stuck to his odd assertion from early this year that ideology is playing no role in this election: "I think what is unique about it is -- certainly in contemporary terms is that all of the assumptions of the last several election cycles have been utterly scrambled in all of this. I said last spring, I think, values will still be an important part of it, but this not an election about ideology, as the last several election cycles have been. This is about solutions and finding new ways."

Rose then recirculated an October 26 column from pseudo-conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, who wrote about how the Republican Party needs to "modernize" and reject its Reaganite, free-market aspects. Brokaw then seemed to disagree with himself, that the election did have an ideological result. It showed conservatism was leading to the GOP's destruction:

ROSE: This is David Brooks, I'm sure a column you saw called "Ceding the Center," and he ends it with this paragraph. "He has become an experienced legislative craftsman," he is talking about John McCain. "He is stalwart against the country's foes and cooperative with its friends, but he never escaped the straitjacket of a party that is ailing and a conservativism that is behind the times. And that is what makes the final weeks of this campaign so unspeakably sad." What comes out of that is whether -- is this so much more about the party and the time than the man?
BROKAW: You know, the old lessons of history just are renewed every 10, 12, 15 years or so. In 1968, you could have said the same thing about the Democrats, and I write about that in the book. The FDR coalition came to an end in 1968 on the streets of Chicago and in other places. And the Republicans had reinvented themselves under the guidance of Richard Nixon, and with the help of Pat Buchanan and others, they moved into the South and far West. They reached out to what came to be known as the Reagan Democrats and pulled them into their party.
And the Democrats broke themselves up into 1,000 different parts, and remained that way until Bill Clinton came and reestablished a center and then that went away again. So now you have a Republican Party that appears to be on a track of self-destruction. And however much John McCain tries to separate himself from all of that, and with good reason, because when he was in the Senate, he was the guy who put together 14 other senators and tried to find the center in the Senate. But to get the nomination, he had to be a Republican and he had to run as a Republican. So it is complicated and one way or the other I think this will be a historic passage.

For Brooks's October 26, 2008 column in the New York Times, see "Ceding the Center," at: www.nytimes.com

Earlier in the program, Brokaw suggested McCain sort of put his authentically centrist self at home to win the GOP nomination: "I think -- this is speculation on my part, and he may not welcome it, but I think that part of it, he had to make a bit of a deal to get the nomination that was -- ran a little counter to his truest beliefs as a Republican."

Surprise: Liberal NY Times Columnist
Kristof Sees Media Bias

Nicholas Kristof, the occasionally iconoclastic liberal columnist for the New York Times, does it again with an Election Day post at his nytimes.com blog. The topic: Liberal bias. Surprisingly, Kristof basically assents to large swathes of the conservative argument: "But on the social issues -- gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion -- I'm not sure we're that even-handed....Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it."

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

A longer excerpt fro Kristof's November 4 post:

Conservatives are utterly convinced that the mainstream news organizations have been deeply unfair to the Republican ticket, and they have some points they can cite as evidence. For example, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that there were twice as many favorable Obama stories after the convention as favorable McCain ones. Conversely, twice as many McCain stories were negative. The Center for Media and Public Affairs found that network TV coverage of Obama was 65 percent positive, compared to 31 percent positive for McCain. As Politico.com put it: "in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press." Indeed, one of the editors of Politico.com received a scolding note about bias from his own mother.

Then there's also the well-known fact that national reporters for major news organizations are disproportionately likely to vote Democratic. Slate.com polled its staff and found that Barack Obama won 55 votes, and John McCain 1. That's partly because Slate's staff is composed of young, urban, highly educated techies, but still -- that's some margin.

SUSPEND Excerpt

In the media's defense, Kristof argued that negative McCain coverage was natural, given that the campaign had "made a series of mistakes" and that it was arguable "that any mainstream bias to the moderate left in the national newspapers and networks is balanced by an extreme right tilt" on the Fox News Channel and talk radio. But he expressed discomfort with that argument.

He concluded by saying that the liberal lean of reporters wasn't a major problem in explicitly political stories, but when it came to social issues, he wasn't sure the media was "that even-handed." More Kristoff:

Lately we've been pursuing George W. Bush because he's in power, but if Obama wins then he'll be the object of tough scrutiny even by journalists who share much of his world view. But on the social issues -- gun control, abortion, gay marriage, religion -- I'm not sure we're that even-handed. The fact is that there are plenty of political conservatives in the Northeast, for example, but not nearly so many social conservatives. Journalists move easily in the world of business Republicans, less easily in the world of Evangelical Republicans. So that makes it easier to slip into caricaturing social conservatives at times, and we should try harder to avoid it.

END of Excerpt

For Kristof's blog posting: kristof.blogs.nytimes.com

Kristof even praised former Public Editor Dan Okrent's "brave and wise" piece that began: "Is the Times a liberal newspaper? Of course it is." More on Okrent: www.timeswatch.org

NYT: McCain's Insults & Threats, Defending
Obama's Ties to Wright

Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch site on liberal bias in the New York Times this week: "Obama Wins IN, VA, NH, NM? Bad for McCain. McCain Wins PA? Anti-Obama Racism," "One Last Biased Glance Backward Before Election Day," "Did McCain Really 'Tolerate Insults and Threats' of Obama?" and "One Last Time: Defending Obama's Ties to Jeremiah ('God Damn America') Wright."

Some noteworthy items by Clay Waters on the MRC's TimesWatch site:

# Obama Wins IN, VA, NH, NM? Bad for McCain. McCain Wins PA? Anti-Obama Racism

Double standards on the front page on Election Day from Katharine Seelye. While Obama wins in Indiana, Virginia, and other states would be a "disaster" for McCain, a McCain win in Pennsylvania would bring "grave pronouncements about racism."

Full TimesWatch analysis: www.timeswatch.org


# One Last Biased Glance Backward Before Election Day

Frank Bruni: "In Philadelphia in March, Mr. Obama delivered a set-piece speech that sought to do nothing less than explain centuries of racial enmity and move Americans past it...In recent weeks, the ire and ugly catcalls of some supporters of the McCain-Palin ticket have suggested a division in this election that goes well beyond tax policy or Iraq strategy."

Complete TimesWatch article: www.timeswatch.org


# Did McCain Really "Tolerate Insults and Threats" of Obama?

Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller also paints a distorted picture of John McCain's "devastated" reaction to Rep. John Lewis comparing him to segregationist George Wallace.

Full TimesWatch post: www.timeswatch.org


# One Last Time: Defending Obama's Ties to Jeremiah ("God Damn America") Wright

Lame excuse for Obama from Michael Falcone: "After Sept. 11, 2001, [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright delivered a sermon suggesting that the terrorist attacks were a consequence of American foreign policy. But there is no evidence that Mr. Obama was present for this or the other sermons cited."

Entire TimesWatch article: www.timeswatch.org

ABC's Whoopi Goldberg, Like Wright 'I
Cussed Out This Country'

Whoopi Goldberg, in defending Reverend Wright, admitted to, at times "cuss[ing] out America." On the November 4 (Election Day) edition of ABC's daytime show The View a conversation about Sarah Palin's clearance in the "Troopergate" probe quickly morphed into a fight (three on one) over Reverend Wright. In justifying Wright's "God damn America" remark, Goldberg confessed: "I have been guilty of cussing this country out because we have not always shown our best and put our best foot forward."

Aiding Whoopi's tirade against Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd defended Obama's decision to forego public financing "because they're swift boating Barack Obama with this Jeremiah Wright stuff." Shepherd and Goldberg also scolded Hasselbeck for allegedly not understanding black issues and Reverend Wright's bitterness towards his country.

[This item, by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Adding to the pile on, Joy Behar, for her part, claimed she did not want to sit in judgment as a white woman, stating: "I don't really think that I have any business to discuss what goes on in a black church because I am not black." When Hasselbeck called out Behar for defending Wright when "Obama hasn't," Behar comically denied defending Wright. When Hasselbeck questioned Obama for sitting in Wright's church for 20 years, Behar made a bizarre comparison, claiming: "A lot of people sat, a lot of people sat for eight years while Bush committed his little atrocities. So let's not cast stones."

The transcript from the relevant portion of the November 4 show:

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: She is cleared, okay, on the record cleared. And if we're going to investigate that, there are things that have happened in this election that have been bold faced broken promises. What about- you want to talk about improper use of power when Barack Obama, look-
JOY BEHAR: Isn't it over yet?
HASSELBECK: No, it's not over yet. [applause] Palin- look he's not my president yet. I can fight this to the very end because I believe that and I will. It's my right.[applause] This- what about- if you find problems with that. So that's like a claim on a maybe, and on something that's already been cleared. So you still have a problem with that. But why don't you then ethically have a problem with Barack Obama who promised America, promised John McCain that he wouldn't take public financing, and then if a Republican did it they'd say-
SHERRI SHEPHERD: You know why? You know why? Because they're swift boating Barack Obama with this Jeremiah Wright stuff. If he didn't take public financing from taxpayers who wanted to give it to him, he wouldn't have money to fight that stuff.
[applause]
HASSELBECK: He's swift boating? Swift boating? Jeremiah Wright, Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate issue. Let me tell you why because Barack Obama sat in that church for 20 years and we're supposed to elect him in with good judgment, who attends a church with- who preaches those- "it is this world where white folk's greed runs a world in need." This is a man who chose to have his children in this church. He- you have defended- you have defended Reverend Wright more than Barack Obama has.
BEHAR: Can I say something as a white person, as a white person?
HASSELBECK: This is outrageous. Barack Obama hasn't even defended it.
BEHAR: I don't really think that I have any business to discuss what goes on in a black church because I am not black. So I don't know- Oprah Winfrey belonged to that church. A lot of prominent people belonged to that church. If Jeremiah Wright wants to spout these things against the-America-
HASSELBECK: God da- [bleeped out]
BEHAR: Wait a second. Wait a second. Then, then those people may enjoy that type of eruption.
HASSELBECK: Enjoy?
BEHAR: That doesn't mean that they're blowing anything up or doing anything illegal.
[applause]
HASSELBECK: That's William Ayers. That's William Ayers.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Let me put it to you this way. I have tried to give you some idea of why people of a certain age feel the way they feel, black people in particular. Somewhere along the lines, you know, you have to look at Barack Obama as a person who has come after the Civil Rights movement. He has a different way of thinking. So his attitude about this Reverend Wright thing is vastly different. Also, I have been guilty [bleeped out] I have been guilty of cussing this country out because we have not always shown our best and put our best foot forward. [applause] I can not be angry with anyone who feels that way. And, you know, it is his right to be angry about having to walk in the street instead of the sidewalk because we had, have racial issues in this country. The other thing, you talk about somebody being cleared, William Ayers was cleared. Okay? William Ayers was cleared. So if we're clearing everybody, then we're clearing everybody. Let's be fair as you are asking. Let's be fair. Let's be fair.
HASSELBECK: He actually did the-
GOLDBERG: He was cleared.
HASSELBECK: He actually carried out bombings.
GOLDBERG: [singing] He was cleared in the court!
HASSELBECK: Due to a mistrial.
GOLDBERG: [singing] He was cleared in the court!
[...]
HASSELBECK: The three of you right now have defended Reverend Wright more than Barack Obama has. Barack Obama-
BEHAR: We're not defending Revered Wright. We're not defending Reverend Wright. See that's where you're wrong. I'm not defending Reverend Wright.
HASSELBECK: You're defending the fact that, look. This is a man, he sat in his church for- I don't trust his judgment.
GOLDBERG: I'm trying to educate you.
HASSELBECK: I don't need education on this Whoopi. There's judgment.
GOLDBERG: Well, you do, a little bit you do.
HASSELBECK: And I'm trying to educate you- to say that is not fair.
GOLDBERG: I understand that you- no Elisabeth you have not.
HASSELBECK: I don't care what color church it is, it is not right to say we got what we deserved on 9/11. It's not right to say-
GOLDBERG: You know what? Excuse me! Didn't what's his name say that? Didn't that preacher say that?
HASSELBECK: It's not right.
GOLDBERG: I'm sorry- Hagee. What's the other man, the other man? I believe Jerry Falwell. I believe that young Mr. McCain was at Jerry Falwell's school. Now, he wasn't too put out by that either. We know that people say things that we don't like. You judge it on how you feel about the person that you're dealing with. That's why John McCain said "look, I don't like what he said, but I like what his school is doing."
HASSELBECK: Is that his mentor, his personal mentor for 20 years who baptized his kids?
GOLDBERG: It doesn't matter. And getting back to- yeah and baptizing his kids. You know what? That's the way we do it.
BEHAR: I made the point- I made the point one time that being a Catholic, there are many things that the Catholic Church has done over the years. The sex scandal has been an abomination on the Catholic Church. That does not stop me if I want to go into a Catholic Church-
HASSELBECK: It stopped Barack Obama. Why doesn't he go to that church?
BEHAR: Well, I'm talking about me right now.
HASSELBECK: Why did he quit the church?
BEHAR: I'm talking about me.
GOLDBERG: Because people like you took it to that level.
BEHAR: My aunt Julie still goes to church. When someone dies, a priest comes to the funeral. It is still part of our culture.
HASSELBECK: Same thing with me.
BEHAR: But, but that's the point. I don't stop going to church because one priest molested a kid. And the same thing goes for him.
[applause]
HASSELBECK: But you can't- what I'm saying is there's irony here. There's irony in the fact that if it's not so bad, then why did he walk away, just to get votes? That to me seems not founded on good principle. Who are you? Who are you?
GOLDBERG: You know why he walked away? Because it became, it became about Reverend Wright and not about him. And I want to clear something up because I didn't mean to mis speak to you. When I said educated, I was talking specifically about the history of what-
HASSELBECK: I understand history. I have been through many years of school.
GOLDBERG: You know, why am I trying to explain it?
SHEPHERD: I don't know if going through many years of school, Elisabeth, I don't know if going through many years of school qualifies you to understand when a corporal comes home from serving in Vietnam and he tried to get a cab on the day that Martin Luther King died, and he tried to get a cab in Boston, in uniform and a white cab driver would not pick him up, you can go to school all you want, but you can not understand the anger that he might have. He might be angry and he might say-
HASSELBECK: Reverend Wright is entitled to feel the way he feels based on his past. Barack Obama himself obviously thought there was something wrong with that if he distanced- if he separated himself from the church and quit that church. So you have defended this notion-
BEHAR: A lot of people sat- a lot of people sat for eight years while Bush committed his little atrocities. So let's not cast stones.
[applause]

-- Brent Baker