Near the end of the Tuesday 3 p.m. EST hour on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster invoked the riveting “Toyota hearings” currently taking place on Capitol Hill as an excuse to compile a grab-bag of liberal gotcha moments – consisting of Joe McCarthy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate – and ignore historical events unfavorable to liberals.
He also seized upon the opportunity to chide Fox News in the context of Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and currently works for the network. “North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he’s doing now. Hmmm…” said Shuster.
Here is a full transcript of the brief segment:
DAVID SHUSTER: It is now time for today's Top 3. And in light of the Toyota hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, we've been thinking about the best congressional hearings of all time. For our number 3 we went with some of the very first televised hearings focused at the time on the threat of Communism. And it lead to this famous moment when Senator Joe McCarthy was publicly rebuked by a lawyer for the US Army.
US ARMY LAWYER: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
SHUSTER: Number 2, in the summer of 1987 our nation was riveted by the Iran-Contra hearings. A previously unknown marine named Oliver North had led an illegal plan to arm Nicaragua's Contra rebels with money from covert arms sales to Iran. And he admitted to destroying much of the evidence.
OLIVER NORTH: Director Casey and I had a lengthy discussion about the fact that this whole thing was coming unraveled, and that this thing ought to be quote "cleaned up." And I started cleaning things up.
SHUSTER: North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he's doing now. Hmmm…
And the number 1, the best congressional hearing of all time. What else? The Watergate hearings that ultimately brought down a President.
WATERGATE ATTORNEY: The central question at this point is simply put: what did the President know, and when did he know it?
SHUSTER: One survey found that 85% of all American households watched at least some portion of the Watergate hearings. The drama ultimately ended with the resignation of President Richard Nixon.