Monthly Archives: September 2013

President Obama sells the Affordable Care Act

Chuck Todd of NBC News created a media firestorm last week when he blamed President Barack Obama “for not selling” the Affordable Care Act (“ACA“) a/k/a “Obamacare,” and said that media figures like himself had no responsibility to counter Republican lies about the ACA. Well, President Obama answered Chuck Todd and the Republican lie machine yesterday with a blazing speech at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland (see video above). Some of the highlights from President Obama’s speech were as follows:

NBC’s Chuck Todd creates Obamacare controversy

 

Chuck Todd of NBC News caused a media firestorm yesterday when he stated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that the Republicans’ false talking points about the Affordable Care Act a/k/a “Obamacare” were “more importantly, … stuff that the Republicans have successfully messaged.” Todd went on to say that that it’s not the fault of “folks in the media” like Todd that Republicans are getting away with their Affordable Care Act lies, but rather, “it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

On Twitter, users expressed their anger at Chuck Todd, starting a hashtag called #chucktoddexcuses and posting messages such as “If people like me called out politicians on lies, we wouldn’t have had all that fun in Iraq.” Sites like politicsusa.com also pointed out the flaws in Todd’s thinking:

Todd’s logic falls apart, because he is missing the point of what people are trying to tell him. People aren’t saying to the mainstream media that they want them to support Democrats. The message is that the media should be interested first and only in facts. People get frustrated with the media, because they give lies the same weight as facts.

Lawrence O’Donnell makes Anthony Weiner look good

This past Monday, Anthony Weiner scheduled some 13 televised interviews in a last-ditch effort to improve his flagging campaign chances in the New York Mayoral primary that took place the next day. The last of these scheduled interviews was with Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC‘s “The Last Word.” Viewers should have gotten a hint that the interview would not go well when O’Donnell tweeted earlier in the day that:

For his last TV appearance before election Anthony Weiner will grace at 10pm. But I just can’t think of anything to ask him.

Sure enough, as seen in the video above, when Weiner appeared on “The Last Word,” O’Donnell said, “I have really just one question for you…: What’s wrong with you?” The interview devolved from there into what Weiner accurately characterized as a “split screen harrangue” by O’Donnell, who seemed obsessed not with Weiner’s sexting, but with the ex-Congressman’s years of public service and failure somehow to work for free after resigning from the U.S. Congress. It was beyond rude and bizarre. It was poor journalism. By the end, Weiner came off as a completely sympathetic figure and O’Donnell, ironically, was the picture of an ass.

This “interview” should be shown in journalism school with the caveat: If you’re being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to be a “journalist” and you schedule a tv interview with a public figure, either ask real questions or, if you admittedly can’t come up with any, cancel the interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t take on political comedians like Bill Maher

 

Bill Maher, who says he is the most frequent guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” over the past 20 years, sat with Leno Tuesday night and proved once again why political comedians are killers. Maher recapped his feud with Donald Trump, calling Trump an “insufferable racist,” an “egomaniac,” and perhaps most insulting of all, “a pop reference from the 80s. In return, Trump merely posted a couple of pathetic tweets attacking Leno and Maher:

“I’ve always defended @jayleno but he never defends me. He’s not a loyal person & I now understand why everybody dumped him. Jay sucks!”

“I hear this moron @billmaher said nasty things about me (hair etc—boring) on the terminated @jayleno show. Stupid guy/bad ratings!”

Bill Maher is part of a slate of political comedians, including Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, some of their cohorts such as John Oliver, and John Fugelsang, with whom, if you’re a politician, you just don’t want to tangle. These guys write the best material, in some cases along with their writers, and deliver it in deft ways. Recall Stewart’s appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” in 2006, slamming hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala for “hurting America.”

It’s also worth noting that all of this effective and funny political comedy is coming from the Democratic or progressive side. When Republicans and conservatives try political comedy, it falls painfully flat.

Bill Maher and this crop of political comedians are looked to not just as a top source of comedy, but as a top information source as well. They deserve both honors.