CNN's Larry King displayed his liberal slant during an interview of left-wing celebrity Barbara Streisand on his program on Wednesday, his penultimate episode before retirement. King wondered why she was "singled out more than most...the right winger radio hosts will often refer to Barbra Streisand." The host also sought the celebrity's take on "this deal to permit the tax decreases for the wealthy."
King devoted the entire 9 pm Eastern hour to his interview of the Brooklyn native. At the bottom of the hour, as the two discussed her political activism for the left, the CNN host raised how many on the opposite side of the political spectrum do not hold her in high regard, and focused his attention on conservative talk radio:
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KING: Why do you think you particular- so many people in your business are active. Why are you singled out more than most? You know, the right winger radio hosts will often refer to-
KING: Barbra Streisand. Why do you think?
STREISAND: Woman? Big mouth? (laughs) I don't know- speaks what she feels, or if they feel I have any influence, which I don't know- I could be influencing one person, I don't know, you know?
KING: But you are controversial-
STREISAND: What do you think?
KING: I don't know why. I guess you're controversial, but- maybe because you have such talent- that your talent is so overwhelming-
STREISAND: I have no idea.
KING: That all people think- well, what is she- why is she butting into this business?
STREISAND: Well, that's as if you're not an American citizen first. First and foremost, I am an American citizen and- you know, was it Teddy Roosevelt who talked about the- what makes America great is the fact that we have an obligation to speak out about what we feel about our government, as citizens.
After a commercial break, King asked Streisand what she thought of President Obama. As she gushed over the current executive, the CNN host gave the liberal spin on the tax issue in a follow-up question:
KING: Has Obama- President Obama disappointed you?
STREISAND: At first, maybe a little, because I would have liked to have him use his executive privilege to- if that's possible legally- you know, to get rid of something like 'don't ask, don't tell.' I think people admire real strength, even though it's misguided, you know? Reagan, first George Bush- no, the second George Bush, I mean. He is- you know, he has an open mind. He has an open heart and-
STREISAND: Obama- and he's cool, and he's very smart-
KING: Is there a but coming?
STREISAND: Well, I had wished- I even left town. I went to Europe because of this last election. I couldn't face- I didn't want to be here for this bloodbath. There was no reason for the Republicans to win that many seats in the House, I didn't think, and that was a- you know, a mistake on the Democrats' part for not getting their message across- not communicating all that they've done that's good.
KING: What do you think of this deal to permit the tax decreases for the wealthy, in return for the other things?
STREISAND: Well, I think it's unfair, but necessary- I mean, in other words, to get the Republicans to extend unemployment benefits- you know, which they only gave for 13 months, as compared to two years of extending tax cuts for the wealthy. I mean, I'm one of those people who are going to benefit, as I'm sure you are, but it's not fair to working people in America. It's just not fair. So- but I think- and, you know, hearing President Clinton also say that this is the best we can do now, I think that's true.
The host followed-up by asking about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, as his guest mentioned the controversial issue in one of her answers. Streisand made a bizarre claim in her subsequent answer:
KING: You think we'll see 'don't ask, don't tell' end?
STREISAND: I'm not so sure in the near future. But I think it should go. Can you imagine? You have citizens who want to die for their country. They want to fight for freedom. They want to fight for their country, and are willing to die for their country, and they're not allowed to? You know, it's interesting, because I think- Allen Turing- I think his name was- he broke the code in World War II.
KING: Japanese code, yeah.
STREISAND: He was gay.
STREISAND: George Washington's second-in-command was gay. What is the big deal? What is the big deal? Why should anyone's sexuality- you know, prevent them from being a great soldier?
Turing, an admitted homosexual, actually worked on breaking German military codes during World War II. Streisand didn't specify who "George Washington's second-in-command" was, but the two officers under his command who are sometimes accused of being homosexual are Alexander Hamilton and Friedrich von Steuben. There is actually no definitive evidence to support these claims.
When CNN announced in late June 2010 that King was retiring, MRC's Tim Graham documented that the host made occasional shots at "wackos" on the "far right," particularly during the presidency of Bill Clinton. More recently, King channeled the left's frustration with the Obama administration concerning the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during a November 18, 2010 interview of Vice President Biden: "You were against it, as I understand? Certainly, the President is against it. Most of the administration is against it....So why is this our policy?"