HARWOOD DIDN’T PULL HIS PUNCHES…. For all the complaining I do about media figures who buy into conservative spin or embraced forced neutrality, it’s only fair that I praise a reporter who gets it right.

On MSNBC yesterday, John Harwood was asked about conservatives who don’t want children to hear President Obama encourage kids to do well in school. “I’ve been watching politics for a long time, and this one is really over-the-top,” Harwood said.

He explained, “[L]et’s face it, in a country of 300 million people, there are a lot of stupid people too. Because if you believe that it’s somehow unhealthy for kids, for the president to say ‘work hard and stay in school,’ you’re stupid. In fact, I’m worried for some of those kids of those parents who are upset. I’m not sure they are smart enough to raise those kids.”

Also yesterday, Harwood, in a separate appearance, went on to call this an “idiotic controversy,” pushed by “clowns.” He added, “It is the stupidest thing that I’ve ever seen in 25 years of covering Washington.”

John Harwood, I should add, is not generally considered a firebrand. He’s the chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for the New York Times, and apparently, some right-wing controversies are so breathtakingly inane, Harwood feels compelled to tell viewers the unvarnished truth.

Good for him.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.