Taking a Sip of Water = the End of Marco Rubio?
“So, can a drink of water make or break a political career? A U.S. Senator, possible presidential candidate. We’re going to find out, whether he likes it or not.”
— Anchor Wolf Blitzer with the words “Career Ender?” on-screen, teasing an upcoming segment on CNN’s Situation Room, February 13, referring to how Senator Marco Rubio paused for a sip of water while delivering the GOP response to the State of the Union. A CNN spokesman later tweeted that the headline was a joke. [MP3 audio  (0:26)]
It Will “Certainly” Be “Remembered Forever”
“Back in a moment with the televised moment from last night that just might live on forever....It’s one of the cruelest aspects of politics in the television age. No matter how well-crafted the content, no matter how thoughtful a person you are, it’s the television moments, the superficial, purely visual moments that are often remembered forever instead. And that will certainly be the case with Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s GOP response last night.”
— Anchor Brian Williams on the February 13 NBC Nightly News.
MSNBC Sneers At “Claws Out,” “Primitive” Rubio...
Anchor Rachel Maddow: “I thought he [Rubio] was going to give his optimistic Reaganesque speech. This was a claws out, kind of aggressive speech.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I thought it was Tinker Toys. I thought it was primitive, something you would hear on a high school debating team....It was almost like a YAFer convention speech, Young Americans for Freedom speech, from the 1950s. There was no originality to it. It was basic. Again it was Tinker Toys. It was a kid’s presentation of a philosophy, reduced to maybe the ninth grade level. I’m sorry, that’s what it was.”
— During MSNBC live coverage following Rubio’s response to the State of the Union message, February 12. [MP3 audio  (0:46)]
...But CBS Thinks Obama Made Beautiful Music
“This was a
speech that had some music to it, as they used to say. He coined a few
phrases in there, talked about the ‘unfinished task before us,’ sort of
reminiscent of what Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address.”
— Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer during CBS’s post-State of the Union coverage, February 12.
Slapping Rubio for Failing to Follow Liberal Playbook
“Senator, you have been called ‘the Republican savior.’ Yesterday, you voted against the Violence Against Women Act. You’ve opposed repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ You opposed universal background checks for gun buyers. You’ve yet to introduce a bill on immigration reform. Is that the future of the Republican Party?”
— Co-host Norah O’Donnell to Marco Rubio on CBS This Morning, February 13.
Chris Insists: “There’s Nothing Lefty” in Obama’s Speech
“These weren’t Hail Mary passes. ‘Let’s at least have a vote on gun control.’ He’s, ‘let’s have a $9 minimum wage; let’s have real comprehensive immigration reform with some teeth in it.’ I mean, basically, he was moving the ball maybe one foot to the left of the midfield....There’s nothing lefty in here. What’s the left-wing part? Objectively, was there a left-wing piece to this speech last night? I mean, truly left? I didn’t see it.”
— Host Chris Matthews to NBC’s Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 13. [MP3 audio  (0:42)]
Scolding Boehner for Daring to Criticize Obama
“Speaker Boehner this morning told a group of reporters over breakfast, and I’ll quote, that the President ‘does not have the guts to do what needs to be done.’ That’s pretty personal, and I wonder if it’s helpful in terms of reaching compromise on legislation?”
— Anchor Scott Pelley to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an interview shown on the CBS Evening News, February 12.
“By calling the President of the United States out in such harsh terms today, on the day of the State of the Union address, and questioning his guts and questioning his courage, and he’s going to walk into that chamber tonight, and he’s going to hand you a copy of his speech and he’s going to stand in front of you and people are going to be watching your face through that entire speech. And you know what? I think a lot of people are going to say, ‘Here we go. Same old division. Same old animosity.’ Don’t they have a right to say that?”
— Co-host Matt Lauer to Speaker of the House John Boehner on NBC’s Today, February 13, from an interview recorded the previous day. [MP3 audio  (0:57)]
Castigating Cruz: “Echoes of Joe McCarthy”
“You know, I don’t often say it, and I rarely say it, but there was echoes of Joe McCarthy there. Really strong echoes....The jackals are in the street tonight.”
— Host Chris Matthews on Hardball, February 14, talking about Senator Ted Cruz’s factual observation that Iran’s foreign ministry had responded positively to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Defense Secretary. [MP3 audio  (0:50)]
Obama Frustrated by “Violently” Divided Congress?
“In many ways, tonight the real work of the second term of the Obama presidency begins, at least the part the President would like to accomplish and where he sees the nation headed. He faces, of course, a sharply divided Congress, sometimes violently so....”
— Anchor Brian Williams starting off NBC’s live coverage of the State of the Union on February 12, at the precise time a manhunt for a mass-murdering ex-police officer was coming to a fiery end in California.
Pressuring GOP to Jettison Their “Core Beliefs”
“Isn’t this more than tone that’s an issue? Isn’t it more than re-branding? Isn’t it some of the central beliefs of the Republican Party that have hurt it with the electorate?...There are core beliefs of the Republican Party that the polls show were rejected by a national electorate that you want to try to recapture some of, if you’re going to get to become a national party.”
— Moderator David Gregory to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on NBC’s Meet the Press, February 10. [MP3 audio  (0:56)]
CBS Anchor Frets Puny Spending “Cuts” Could Trigger a “Recession”
“We found out last week that the economy actually shrank in the last three months of last year. If the federal spending cuts that are on tap for March actually take effect, will that push the country into recession?”
— CBS’s Scott Pelley to President Obama in a pre-Super Bowl interview, February 3. The “sequester” set for March 1 would reduce planned federal spending by about $85 billion, or only about 2% of the $3.8 trillion total anticipated to be spent this fiscal year.
Slashing McCain: “Angry” Vietnam Vet Having a “Flashback”
“Why is John McCain so angry? Forty years after the Vietnam POWs came home, the most famous of them is angrier than ever....Tonight, we dig into the deep well of resentment burning in John McCain’s patriotic heart....I’m absolutely convinced we’re watching a flashback. Watch this. Here is Senator John McCain — he did a long, angry windup before he launched into his first so-called question....It looks like a flashback. McCain is so angry. Is it really about the surge?”
— Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 1, talking about the confrontation McCain had with former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel at the latter’s confirmation hearing.
Behar Smears: Why Pick from Ranks of Ex-Hitler Youth?
“It’s such an interesting thing, of the — how many million? — 50 million Catholics in the world [sic, actually more than one billion], they find one who is in the Hitler Youth. I never understood that....Of all the people, all the people they could have found, they found one that was in the Hitler Youth. Why? There are millions and millions of Catholics — plenty of cardinals could have filled the post. Why him? I’m just curious?”
— Host Joy Behar on Current’s Say Anything, February 11. Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman, a guest on the program, lectured Behar that her insinuation against Pope Benedict who had “quite a distinguished career,” was not fair.
Even CNN Notices Media Puffballs for Hillary
“When we saw Steve Kroft sitting down with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last Sunday, things were so lovey-dovey, it almost sounded like a therapy session....Seems like the media, you know, whether you think that Hillary Clinton did a good job or not so good of job as Secretary of State, are almost portraying her exit as walking on water....Could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?”
— Host Howard Kurtz on CNN’s Reliable Sources, February 3.
Conservative Movement: Born of Racism, Perpetuating Extremism
“Republicans looked pretty good on civil rights under Eisenhower. We had the Brown decision, the Central High in Little Rock, where he did the tough thing and sent the troops in, and we had the first modern civil rights act.... The conservative movement was born right then, and they decided the road not taken, they were not going to be pro-civil rights....No, they were going to side with the Southern oppressors....”
— New York Times “Book Review” editor Sam Tanenhaus on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 11.
“What the country has seen throughout Barack Obama’s presidency so far is a handful of extremely conservative Republicans in the House who oppose everything he does....Until they [Republicans] stop portraying the federal government as this invasive, predatory force, they’re going to continue to alienate large segments of this population, many of whom are people of color who’ve profited from government or who found government to be helpful and useful in their lives.”
— Tanenhaus on NPR’s All Things Considered, February 11.
Rejecting Obama on Guns = Rejecting Ronald Reagan
Co-host Joe Scarborough: “Back when the assault weapon ban passed in 1994, the man who made it happen: Ronald Wilson Reagan, by lobbying Republican moderates that were afraid to support the assault weapon ban....Tonight, the Republicans have to decide whether they want to be the party of Ronald Reagan or they want to be the party of Wayne LaPierre.”
ABC’s Cokie Roberts: “I’m not sure Ronald Reagan could get elected in the Republican Party today.”
Scarborough: “I don’t know that he could...”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 12.
Can We Blame Global Warming for Asteroids?
“You know, talk about something else that’s falling from the sky [besides snow], and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this an effect of perhaps global warming, or is this just some meteoric occasion?”
— CNN Newsroom anchor Deborah Feyerick to Bill Nye “the science guy,” February 9. [MP3 audio  (0:39)]
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
DEPUTY RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Dickens
TIMESWATCH: Clay Waters
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Jeffrey Meyer, Matt Vespa and Paul Bremmer