'Countdown' Uses McCain Flap to Bash Rush Limbaugh

Do MSNBC higher-ups ever watch the garbage being spewed on a nightly basis during their primetime schedule, or does Keith Olbermann have the freedom at this point to present anything he wants on the air regardless of how vile and devoid of facts?

Take for example the fourth story on Thursday's "Countdown" when the host and his guest, Air America's Rachel Maddow, used the New York Times hit piece on John McCain to bash conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh including labeling him a homophobe.

For those that can stand it, just listen to Maddow's answer to Olbermann's question concerning what Limbaugh wants McCain to do now that the Times has attacked him this way (video available here):

He's asking John McCain to play along with the kind of Republican presidential politics that right wing radio show hosts are comfortable with. He's essentially saying, it‘s time to play along now. It's time to get inline with the way we do this. Start using Barack Obama's middle name. Start blaming the ills of America and your political problems on phantom menaces like the homosexual agenda or whatever else you want to pick out here. He's essentially saying, you know, pick on the liberal media, get over anything that is in your political DNA that would keep you out of line with the kind of politics that we‘re comfortable with. Run a George W. Bush presidential campaign.

The beauty of this response by Maddow is that it's very clear she didn't listen to what Limbaugh said about this issue on Thursday. In fact, she obviously didn't even listen to the video clip Olbermann played before he asked her opinion on the subject.

See if you can find anything in what Rush said Thursday that dealt with "using Barack Obama's middle name," "the homosexual agenda," or "blaming the ills of America and your political problems on phantom menaces":

The important question for John McCain today is, is he going to learn the right lesson from this, and what is the lesson? The lesson is liberals are to be defeated. You cannot walk across the aisle with them. You cannot reach across the aisle. You cannot welcome their media members on your bus and get all cozy with them and expect eternal love from them. You are a Republican. Whether you're a conservative Republican or not, you are a Republican. At some point, the people you cozy up to, either to do legislation or to get cozy media stories, are going to turn on you. They are snakes. If the right lesson is not learned from this, then it will have proved to be of no value. There's a great opportunity here for Senator McCain to learn the right lesson and understand who his friends are and who his enemies are. He's had that backwards for way too long. He has thought the New York Times is his friend. He has thought Chris Matthews and these other people in the Drive-By Media are his friends. They aren't. That's the lesson today.

Senator McCain says that he's disappointed here in the New York Times. Of course, I'm sure he's disappointed. The question is, is he surprised? If he's not surprised, that's a positive. If he's surprised by this, then we've got a problem, Houston, because he doesn't understand who he's dealing with. You know, Senator McCain has disappointed me a lot of times, accusing our intelligence officers of engaging in torture, calling people who opposed his amnesty bill nativists, supporting others who called us racists and so forth, people who opposed campaign finance reform as people unwilling to clean up corruption and so forth. You look at this, and you see it for exactly what it is. Now, here's an interesting aspect here. You talk about the details of the story and how thinly sourced and all that. Yeah, right, yada yada. It's the Drive-By Media, for crying out loud. It's the New York Times reporting about a Republican. You know damn well a story like this wouldn't run about Hillary or Obama, even Bill Clinton, a story like this wouldn't run. If it did, it would be fawning. "Oh, there's old randy Bill out there, still showing us he got some lead in the pencil here after the heart surgery. Oh, yeah!"

I don't understand why it's so hard for the people on the Republican Party side to understand who the enemy is and who they're dealing with. This is another clear-cut illustration. But even now they're tiptoeing around, don't want to make 'em too mad because Senator McCain denied everything. He had a press conference today, denied everything. Better be right. You gotta ask yourself this about the New York Times. Did they put this story out as a singular story, or as their follow-up? You gotta figure they knew what was going to happen. You have to figure that they were aware of the firestorm that this would create. Do they have any more? Is there any more to the story? Are other people going to now start working it? Will they find anything? Will Senator McCain's denials be brought back into question? Let's listen to Senator McCain this morning. He's in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife, Cindy, at a press conference. We have a couple sound bites.

MCCAIN: I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true. As has been pointed out, I've served this nation honorably for more than a half a century. When I was 17, I raised my hand and supported -- said I would support and defend this nation, and I've had the honor of serving it ever since. At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust nor make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest and would favor anyone or any organization.

RUSH: All right, so Senator McCain there says he's very, very disappointed in the New York Times. Let's not forget that during immigration battles, illegal immigration battles, this whole Abu Ghraib situation, and the ability to make our intelligence officers at Guantanamo Bay out to be torturers and so forth, and the call to close down Guantanamo Bay, where did all that stuff come from? The New York Times. Day in and day out. You know how many front-page stories there were on Abu Ghraib? And guess who was right there agreeing with everything they said? The New York Times' favorite Republican, John McCain. I'm sure he's disappointed. The question, is he going to learn the right lesson from this? That's a great opportunity. If he can learn the right lesson from this and understand who his friends really are, then there may be a positive out of this. Now, folks, I understand, I've read my e-mail today, and I had conversations with people last night when the story first came out.

In fact, the theory last night, most people's predictions last night was that this was going to finally rally conservatives to McCain. McCain couldn't do it himself, but that the New York Times could and the Drive-By Media. I got some e-mails, "That's it, Rush, I hadn't planned on voting for McCain, but I'm going to send him some money now. I'm not going to sit here and let the New York Times destroy my candidate." Well, you let the New York Times pick your candidate. The media picked the Republican Party candidate this year, folks, whether you want to believe it or not, they did. Republicans didn't, and so you see what happens.

Nothing there about Barack Hussein Obama, homosexuals, or phantom menaces, is there? Doesn't appear that either Olbermann or Maddow actually listened to what Limbaugh said on Thursday, does it?

Of course, that shouldn't be a surprise, for these folks have Media Matters to do their listening for them.

Regardless, shouldn't this concern the good folks at MSNBC? Do they want to be considered as a news organization, or did they abandon that years ago?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.