On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed MSNBC’s double standard in suspending Time’s Mark Halperin for calling President Obama by a vulgar word on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, even after the network tolerated former host Keith Olbermann’s numerous examples of harsh language about President Bush, liberal FNC contributor Alan Colmes was obsessed with inserting Rush Limbaugh into the discussion as he spent most of the segment missing the point about the Halperin/Olbermann comparison.
When Colmes finally noticed that the other panel members were concerned about MSNBC’s internal double standard, the liberal commentator contradicted himself from his earlier efforts to insert some of Limbaugh’s alleged name-calling against liberals into the discussion.
Without naming any, he also seemed to claim that news networks exist that attack President Obama "24/7." Colmes: "All the right-wingers on other, on various networks, on various talk shows and various cable networks who do nothing but blast Obama 24/7 and call him all kinds of names-"
As for Colmes contradicting himself, after host Jon Scott introduced the segment by playing a clip of Halperin’s apology, Colmes was first to address the issue and immediately charged that Limbaugh had called President Obama a "thug" and had called liberals "thieves," seeming to suggest a similarity in Halperin’s insult of calling Obama a "d—."
But, after Scott near the end of the segment explained to Colmes the double standard between MSNBC’s treatment of Halperin and Olbermann, Colmes claimed that the language used by Olbermann was not comparable to Halperin using the word "d—." After panel member Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation alluded to a time when Olbermann referred to President Bush possessing "murderous deceit," Colmes dismissed the insult: "Well, ‘murderer’ is not exactly the same thing as a human appendage the last time I checked."
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Saturday, July 9, Fox News Watch on FNC:
MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE, FROM MSNBC'S MORNING JOE: I can't explain why I did it. It was inappropriate. It's disrespectful and I already apologized, and I will again to the President and I’m sorry, I’m sorry to the viewers. It was the kind of thing that I can't really explain, but I take full responsibility for it, and it was a mistake and, as I said, disrespectful and I shouldn't have said it.
JON SCOTT: Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, an MSNBC contributor, apologizing there for calling the President an unflattering term last week to describe how he felt the President was conducting himself on deficit reduction and the debt limit issue. MSNBC suspended Halperin indefinitely and issued this statement:
Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable ... we apologize to the President, the White House, and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse, and comments like these have no place on our air.
Anybody mention that to Keith Olbermann when he was working there?
CAL THOMAS, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Yeah, there you go.
SCOTT: So what about it? All right, we know what happened. He was sitting there saying, you know, are we on delay, we have a seven-second delay, he was assured that he had a delay and that he could, he felt, utter this word-
ALAN COLMES, FNC CONTRIBUTOR: The amazing thing here is the incredible hypocrisy of the right wing. Rush Limbaugh-
COLMES: Yes, I'll say it again, Rush Limbaugh goes on about, oh, if we had done - meanwhile, Limbaugh calls the President a thug, he calls all liberals, you know, thieves, he says horrible things about the President, and he gets rewarded by it, and yet somehow Mark Halperin, the liberals are to blame for some kind of a double standard. I find that unbelievably (INAUDIBLE)
JIM PINKERTON, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: Look, let's go back a second. As you alluded to, Jon, as Bernie Goldberg and a million other commentators noted, Keith Olbermann was calling Bush 43 a "fascist," a "murderous" something or other, a "pathological" "idiot-in-chief."
COLMES: The kind of things that Limbaugh says about Obama.
PINKERTON: And the interesting thing here is that MSNBC took no action against Olbermann. In fact, they promoted him and gave him raises and so on. So, in other words, MSNBC clearly wants its talent to say bad things about Republicans.
COLMES: Just like conservatives want their talent to say bad things about Obama.
PINKERTON: They clearly don't want talent to say even the most mild things about a Democrat. And that would be the double standard.
COLMES: Wait a minute. What about these right-wing talk show hosts keep saying about-
THOMAS: What about free speech?
COLMES: Well, then, how come you’re being hypocritical about it?
THOMAS: I'm not hypocritical about it. I think that everybody ought to have their say. Here is the thing, Here’s what we ought to get it. You had Mika and you had Joe egging him on and promising him that this word that he telegraphed would not be acceptable on a family network, would be dumped with a dump button on a seven-second delay which didn't exist. Either they were lying or they should be canned as well.
COLMES: Canned for what, you said free speech.
THOMAS: Can one, can the other.
SCOTT: Let's let Judy have some free speech.
JUDY MILLER, FNC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I wrote about it with Doug Schoen this week for the Daily Beast. Why is nobody looking at the White House telephone call to MSNBC saying, we are really offended by this? Why is MSNBC not being asked did you cave over this, I mean, was this really that egregious an offense?
PINKERTON: I don't think they caved. I think that they thought it was getting in the way of their pitch to the audience, which is, we're the left-wing network, and so they don't want anybody on there saying bad about the fearless leader.
SCOTT: So to have an influential editor from Time magazine refer to a Democratic President by a term that describes the male appendage, that doesn't fly?
PINKERTON: That’s unacceptable. And MSNBC lost a brilliant reporter. He’s a co-author for Game Change-
PINKERTON: "Indefinitely," I think, is code for "forever." We’ll see about that.
THOMAS: Maybe they ought to put out a list of words that are acceptable when criticizing the President and that aren't. So if you can call George Bush a fascist and can't call Barack Obama the male appendage, then where is the-
PINKERTON: I can help you out. Here are the things you can say at MSNBC: You can say President Obama cares too much.
COLMES: I sure want to know why the right-wing talk show hosts keep getting rewarded for the nasty, disgusting, horrible-
PINKERTON: They're on their own network.
COLMES: Okay, that makes it okay.
SCOTT: But there is an apples to apples comparison here, that doesn't quite pass the smell test, don't you think?
COLMES: What’s the apples to apples comparison?
SCOTT: Some of the things that Olbermann said when he was on MSNBC were worse than what Halperin says as a guest.
COLMES: All the right-wingers on other, on various networks, on various talk shows and various cable networks who do nothing but blast Obama 24/7 and call him all kinds of names-
PINKERTON: I don’t think you really have to - Media Matters is watching - I really think it’s hard to find anybody on Fox that ever said that Obama was murderous.
MILLER: Or "pathological liar."
COLMES: Oh, he’s been called a liar. Obama has been called a liar by guests all the time.
MILLER: Or, as Keith Olbermann said, "Shut the hell up," and "idiot-in-chief."
PINKERTON: "Murderer," "murderer."
COLMES: Well, "murderer" is not exactly the same thing as a human appendage the last time I checked.