Al Franken's Rerun Rove and Libby Execution Remark Draws Laughter From Lauer

<p><img hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="media/2005-10-25-NBCTSFranken.jpg" />On <i>Today</i>, at 8:52am Al Franken was on to promote his new book <i>The Truth</i> and repeated his twisted joke from Friday's Letterman in which he predicted that Rove and Libby <a href="http://newsbusters.org/node/2424">will be executed for treason</a>. Franken's &quot;joke,&quot; drew laughter from Matt Lauer and the rest of the <i>Today</i> show studio. The following is just a portion of this morning's interview: </p><p>Matt Lauer: &quot;All right, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby what’s their future? What’s your prediction in terms of indictments? Yes or no?&quot;</p><p> Franken: &quot;Oh they, they’ll be indicted. I, I am absolutely sure and this is about, of course, the war in Iraq really. It’s about the justification for the war and smearing Joe Wilson by outing his wife who’s a CIA agent. George H.W. Bush, the President’s father, said, as, when he was head of the CIA, that outing a CIA agent is treason. I, I agree. So I think that Rove and Libby will be executed.&quot; Lauer laughed along with those in the studio.</p><p><b>Video</b> excerpt: <a href="media/2005-10-25-NBCTS.rm">Real</a> or <a href="media/2005-10-25-NBCTS.wmv">Windows Media</a></p><p /><p>
<!--break--> A complete transcript of the rest of the interview segment, starting with Lauer's reaction to Franken's &quot;execution&quot; line:</p><blockquote><p>Lauer laughing along with others in the studio: &quot;That aside. Given the fact it has a lot to do with the mood in this country and the, and the thought process in this country prior to the war in Iraq how much do you think the average American cares about this story right now? We had James Carville on this morning, said about a two on a scale of 1 to 10. Laura Ingraham said minus one. What do you think?&quot;</p><p><strong>Franken: &quot;I think Laura Ingraham is an idiot.&quot;</strong></p><p>Lauer chuckling: &quot;Well you don’t have a lot of nice things about a lot of conservatives.&quot;</p><p>Franken: &quot;Well no but minus, I mean people, I think...&quot;</p><p>Lauer: &quot;But how much do you think people care about it?&quot;</p><p>Franken: &quot;I think people care, I think people care that people close to the President and the Vice President are, are outing CIA agents and lying and lying before, I think this is, and, and when they get indicted and when people start looking at this it’s gonna be very, very big.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Earlier in the interview Franken drew laughs from in studio when he called the President &quot;incompetent.&quot; Taking it from the top of the interview here is the conversation:</p><blockquote><p>Lauer gladly reciting the title of Franken's first book: <strong>&quot;The liberal voice of Al Franken first came calling when he declared Rush Limbaugh is A Big Fat Idiot,</strong> now the political satirist turned radio talk show host has a new book on the shelf simply titled, The Truth With Jokes. Al Franken, good morning. Just a little light reading? That, that by the way in the New York Times, that costs a fortune, that ad.&quot;</p><p>Al Franken: &quot;Yes, you know that shows exactly how much faith they have in this book.&quot; </p><p>Lauer: &quot;Yeah?&quot;</p><p>[Graphic read: &quot;Laughs From the Left&quot;]</p><p>Franken: &quot;Oh yeah.&quot;</p><p>Lauer: &quot;How are, how are, how are conservatives gonna feel about this book?&quot;</p><p>Franken: &quot;They will love it!&quot;</p><p>Lauer: &quot;Yeah, you think so?&quot;</p><p>Franken: &quot;Yeah well what’s, see the book is prescient. When I was writing the book there were, there were a number of people in this country who thought the President was competent.&quot;</p><p>[Laughter in the studio]</p><p>Franken: &quot;And now, now, now, now we know he’s not and that he is corrupt too so that’s, yeah, yeah?&quot;</p></blockquote><p>At the end of the interview Franken couldn't resist joining the rest of the left and many in the media in their ghoulish countdown to 2000 deaths. </p><blockquote><p>Lauer: &quot;You don’t have a solution for the problem we’re in Iraq right now. That fair to say?&quot;</p><p>Franken: &quot;That’s very fair to say. We do this on my show, I have a three hour show everyday on Air America and we talk to conservatives and we talk to liberals and we talk to people trying to figure out, ‘cause we’ve been put in a terrible situation there. And we’ve been put in there by this President and they won’t tell us the truth. That’s the problem is that you can’t rely on these guys for the truth. And that’s what’s so important. This is why this isn’t a negative one. This was about trying to smear a guy who is saying they, they didn’t try to buy nuclear material from, from Niger, you’re lying. They lied. So I think that’s kind of important and you can ask the families of the 2000 troops that died how important that is.&quot;</p></blockquote>

UPDATE 12:59 from Rich Noyes: Matt Lauer just smiled and laughed when Al Franken predicted the execution of Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. But a few weeks ago when Pat Robertson called for the assasination of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, an anti-American dictator who has cozied up with Iran’s ayatollahs and Cuba’s communists, Today was outraged enough to lead the show with Robertson’s supposed transgression.

<p /><p>“We fine broadcasters for using four-letter words, we say that’s offensive. So is it offensive to call for the assassination of a world leader?” NBC’s <a href="http://newsbusters.org/node/613">Matt Lauer castigated</a> back on August 23. But a left-wing host talks about executing top ranking officials of the executive branch — that’s just a joke, right? Or perhaps Today’s indignant reaction to Pat Robertson was, shall we say, a little “<a href="http://newsbusters.org/node/2199">staged</a>.”</p><p>Aren't double standards wonderful?</p>

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.