Olbermann Ties FNC to Anti-Pelosi Threats, Hayes Sees Domestic Terrorism Possibility

On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tied Fox News to the recent threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he quoted the mother of the accused, Greg Giusti. The MSNBC host teased the segment at the top of his Countdown show, "The mother of the man accused of threatening Nancy Pelosi says he was driven to it in part by Fox News," and later opened the segment: "The man arrested yesterday on charges of threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about passage of health care reform got his ideas from Fox News. We know this because in our fourth story tonight: the defendant`s mother says so."

Soon an audio clip of Giusti's mother, Eleanor Giusti, was played:

Greg has frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas, and that are not consistent with myself or his, the rest of the family, and which gets him into problems. And apparently, I would say, this must be another one that somehow he`s gotten on to, either by, I say, Fox News, or all of those that are really radical, and he, that`s where he comes from.

The Countdown host brought aboard Chris Hayes of the left-wing the Nation magazine, who charged that there is "moral culpability" from Fox News for "increasingly violent rhetoric" on the right. Hayes: "There is increasingly violent rhetoric. And we know from the Southern Poverty Law Center`s latest report, we know from the Harris Poll, this stuff is really seeping into the grassroots, and there is a really kind of enraged and violent ethos that is being stoked. And I think it really is problematic, and it does, it does impart some kind of moral culpability ultimately."

Hayes went on to raise fears of a domestic terrorist attack coming from the "radical right": "I don`t want to be an alarmist, but look, I mean, the last time that we did have an extremely empowered and enraged radical right, there was the largest, at the time, domestic terrorist attack on American soil. And we`ve already seen domestic terrorist attacks by, or plotted domestic terror attacks. And so, I think, there really has to be a point at which you just put certain things outside of the spectrum of sort of civil discourse."

Olbermann wondered what it would take to make the public view Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes as "pariahs." Olbermann: "This isn`t debatable that there`s a link. So, what has to happen, there was a link in that case, and we have the Giusti link, to whatever degree of a man`s mother is useful in this situation, we think that probably she knows something of what`s going on, what has to happen for society at large to look at Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and the people who purvey this stuff as pariahs?"

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Thursday, April 8, Countdown show on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: The threats against the Speaker of the House, they mainline back to, well, to quote the accused man`s mother, "Greg frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas. I`d say Fox News or all those that are really radical, that`s where he comes from." But don`t worry; it`s all just a game. "I could give a flying crap about the political process," Lonesome Rhodes (Glenn Beck) tells Forbes magazine, "We`re an entertainment company."

...

OLBERMANN, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: On the same day Glenn Beck reveals he doesn`t give a, quote, "flying crap about the political process," the mother of the man accused of threatening Nancy Pelosi says he was driven to it in part by Fox News.

...OLBERMANN: The man arrested yesterday on charges of threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about passage of health care reform got his ideas from Fox News. We know this because in our fourth story tonight: the defendant`s mother says so. The defendant is Greg Giusti, a 48-year-old San Francisco man with previous convictions and a history of making threats. He`s accused this time of repeatedly calling Speaker Pelosi`s office and home and her husband`s business, reciting her home address and saying she should oppose health care reform if she wanted to see her home again. As MediaMatters.com has chronicled, Pelosi has spent the last year under blistering attack from Fox News hosts, portraying her and health care reform as fundamental threats to America itself. Bill O`Reilly referring to her "Fidel Castro stuff" and to her as "Marie Antoinette," who was, of course, beheaded in the French Revolution. Sarah Palin putting crosshairs on members of Congress, telling followers, "Don`t retreat, instead reload." Glenn Beck talking about poisoning Pelosi, claiming Democrats carried out a coup, hammering a nail in the coffin of America and bringing about the end of America as we know it, because now President Obama can control every aspect of our lives. Greg Giusti`s mother blames Fox News.

ELEANOR GIUSTI, MOTHER OF MAN WHO THREATENED NANCY PELOSI: Greg has frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas, and that are not consistent with myself or his, the rest of the family, and which gets him into problems. And apparently, I would say, this must be another one that somehow he`s gotten on to, either by, I say, Fox News, or all of those that are really radical, and he, that`s where he comes from.

OLBERMANN: Shepherd Smith of Fox said on air last month that some of those shouting end of the world, quote, "maybe don`t believe it." Now, a new Forbes magazine profile of Beck confirms it. Beck`s only real interest is making more than his current $32 million a year as a man of the people. Quote, "I could give a flying crap about the political process. We`re an entertainment company." He has these pictures, the magazine reports, in his office: Ronald Reagan, who was in favor of the START treaty; Paul Harvey, Orson Wells, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Walt Disney. No Thomas Paine. And, of course, if Mr. Beck really believed Democrats were turning America socialist and destroying capitalism, why would he bother to try to earn $32 million a year if the government`s going to take it from him anyway? Let`s bring in Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of the Nation magazine, who I think makes a little less than $32 million, but not quite.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: How did you guess?

OLBERMANN: Just a wild one. Good to see in the flesh.

HAYES: Good to see you, too.

OLBERMANN: If Fox News viewers are crazy enough or easily led enough, which is the principle to it, to believe that America is under assault from within by essentially a fraudulent government, isn`t taking arms up to defend America versus the government, isn`t that, if the premise could be illogical but the follow-up is logical, and that`s the danger, right?

HAYES: That`s right. I mean, look, I tend to be really sort of free speech absolutist about this stuff, and I think you sort of share that ethos that you want to be careful about drawing these distinctions.

OLBERMANN: Yes.

HAYES: That said, there is increasingly violent rhetoric. And we know from the Southern Poverty Law Center`s latest report, we know from the Harris Poll, this stuff is really seeping into the grassroots, and there is a really kind of enraged and violent ethos that is being stoked. And I think it really is problematic, and it does, it does impart some kind of moral culpability ultimately.

OLBERMANN: The Fox hosts are already on record blaming Pelosi for inciting violence against herself, which is, of course, a wonderful way out of complicated situations. Does the odds against seeing this story turn them into people who say, "Oh, we have, the scales have fallen from our eyes, we better cool this," the odds against that are what?

HAYES: Well, they`re zero because right now, there is no, I mean, this is one of the things I think that`s dangerous and disturbing. There`s only incentives to fuel the fire.

OLBERMANN: Right.

HAYES: The marketing incentives all push that way, in terms of fundraising, in terms of audience share, everything pushes in the direction of extremity, and nothing pushes against it. And so that`s the really problematic thing. It`s locked into this kind of vicious cycle in which stoking and stoking and stoking is what is getting people, ratings what`s getting people`s attention. I don`t see any incentive or space for people to be the brakes on that.

OLBERMANN: We can say also that maybe there are links and Fox can respond, "Well, there`s no evidence of links," but this Jim David Adkisson is the example I always used and not because he had books on his shelf, but this is the guy who walked into a Unitarian church in Tennessee and shot the place up and killed two people because, he said, in writing, in his manifesto, that he could not kill the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg`s book of the liberals who were destroying the country. That`s not, Bernard Goldberg is on Fox News every night, virtually. That`s not, this isn`t debatable that there`s a link. So, what has to happen, there was a link in that case, and we have the Giusti link, to whatever degree of a man`s mother is useful in this situation, we think that probably she knows something of what`s going on, what has to happen for society at large to look at Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and the people who purvey this stuff as pariahs?

HAYES: Well, I mean, what you hope is that something really awful doesn`t happen.

OLBERMANN: Yes.

HAYES: I mean, I, and again, I don`t want to be an alarmist, but look, I mean, the last time that we did have an extremely empowered and enraged radical right, there was the largest, at the time, domestic terrorist attack on American soil. And we`ve already seen domestic terrorist attacks by, or plotted domestic terror attacks. And so, I think, there really has to be a point at which you just put certain things outside of the spectrum of sort of civil discourse.

OLBERMANN: How?

HAYES: I don`t know. I mean, that`s the problem, right? I mean, you call them out.

OLBERMANN: I know. I`m not going to put you on the spot because I have no answer to that either.

HAYES: Right. Look, I mean, I believe in John Stuart Mill that the response to bad speech is more speech, right? And you call them out as much as possible. But, you know, again, it seems like there`s a structural problem here that has to be kind of unpacked. And I think that, hopefully, what you see are some people on the right, you know, standing up to say, look, we are, this is fundamentally, we want to be a democratic nonviolent movement. Those are two incredibly important words, not a revolutionary movement. And those two things are really distinct.

OLBERMANN: Maybe we could pledge it with everything from the left, starting with those exact words. Literally, every speech given by somebody on the left or in the Democratic Party or even a moderate or independent should start by saying, "We are pledged to nonviolence."

HAYES: Yes. We are a democratic nonviolent movement.

OLBERMANN: Exactly. We are, yes, we are an American – there it is – we are an American nonviolent, we got all, we wave the flag and everything else. Chris Hayes of the Nation, great thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Thank you.