Liberal publisher Arianna Huffington on Tuesday expressed sympathy for Fox News host Glenn Beck.
Appearing on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" to talk about Beck's bizarre interview with Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) earlier in the day, Huffington said, "And, to his credit, Glenn Beck...apologized to his audience for wasting an hour of their time."
She surprisingly continued, "I never thought anything would make me feel sympathetic towards Glenn Beck, but having to interview Eric Massa for an entire hour make -- made me really feel for him" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Eric Massa on -- that was both on "Glenn Beck" on FOX and "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight.
Joining us now, Arianna Huffington of "The Huffington Post," and senior political analyst David Gergen.
David, what do you make of this? I mean, on the one hand today, he seems to be saying that he's taking responsibility for groping or tickling or -- or whatever horseplay he was doing with a couple of -- members of his staff. And, on the other hand, he's sort of intimating that he was pressured out or this -- this is politically motivated.
What's your take?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, you know, people say that Washington politics is a freak show. And Eric Massa is writing a whole new chapter.
I don't think we really know exactly what happened here. What's really important is that he made an explosive charge, that he was forced out of Congress by an orchestrated effort by Democrats.
Today, on "Glenn Beck," when he was pushed and pushed on that, he didn't deliver the goods. He finally said: I wasn't forced out. I forced myself out.
That's the big story here right now, I think.
Interesting. So, Gergen admitted that Beck "pushed and pushed." That means Beck did a good job, correct?
COOPER: Yes. Clearly, Arianna, there were some conservatives earlier who were hoping that he would somehow reveal some shady doings, some corruption, either on Capitol Hill or the White House. And it's really kind of amounted to nothing right now.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Indeed.
And, to his credit, Glenn Beck acknowledged that much at the end of the show, when he apologized to his audience for wasting an hour of their time. In fact, you know, Anderson, I never thought anything would make me feel sympathetic towards Glenn Beck, but having to interview Eric Massa for an entire hour make -- made me really feel for him.
And it was clear that, not only didn't he deliver, but his story is become more and more preposterous.
Indeed. His story became more and more preposterous because a Fox News host exposed such. And therein lies the rub.
If Beck and Fox were such GOP shills, this would have been a perfect opportunity to make President Obama, his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and the entire Democrat establishment look like a bunch of corrupt, hapless fools.
Instead, a Fox News host often derided by folks like Cooper, Gergen, and Huffington exposed Massa for being not worth the air time.
Despite the sympathy coming from Huffington, these liberal media elites didn't give Beck the credit he deserved for not acting like the conservative shill they claim he is:
COOPER: I -- I mean, I think Glenn Beck is an enormous talent in what he does, but he clearly seemed kind of clutching at straws at some point today...
COOPER: ... you know, kind of saying like -- and, as you said, he turned to the camera finally and said, you know what? I think I have wasted your time.
I just want to play a quick SOT from -- from him earlier today on "Beck" earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GLENN BECK")
MASSA: I never translated from my days in the Navy to being a congressman.
GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": All right.
MASSA: But I did not -- let me be very clear.
BECK: I don't know of tickle fights in the Navy. I have never been in the Navy. I don't know of tickle fights in the Navy.
MASSA: Oh, hey, let me show you something.
BECK: You're going to show me tickle fights...
MASSA: I'm going to show you a lot more than tickle fights. Can you imagine transporting back to this today? It looks like -- like an orgy in "Caligula."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: David, you were in the Navy. What do you make of the whole tickle fight explanation?
GERGEN: I don't remember any tickle fights.
GERGEN: And I -- listen, I don't know whether this fellow needs media help or mental help. It's probably both.
It -- I think he's sort of a mess. I don't know -- he's -- I think he's addled by all of this. In some ways, you know, he's become a political corpse. The best thing we can do is draw -- put a sheet over him and move on. I think the critical thing is, he does not have the goods in making this wild charge about the Democrats forcing him out.
COOPER: Arianna, is that -- is that your take as well, that, at the end of the day, this is just some temporary sideshow?
HUFFINGTON: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I'm sure there may be another chapter to this, when his accusers may come out and speak, or write a book about it. But when it comes to...
COOPER: Or sue him civilly, maybe.
HUFFINGTON: Or sue him. You know, any of these things may still happen, because, so far, we have only heard his side of the story -- or, rather, his multiple sides of the story.
But he is not really going to have any effect on the health care battle. It only means that Nancy Pelosi now needs 216 votes, rather than 217. But he was not the defining vote, as he tried to make the world believe.
COOPER: Yes. We're going to leave it there.
Arianna, thanks for being on, Arianna Huffington, David Gergen as well.
In the end, Beck shouldn't have received sympathy; he should have been applauded for acting like a journalist rather than an advocate.
After all, during the Bush presidency, any time a former Adminstration member or Republican official would speak out against the White House, media members would give said person free rein to air the dirty laundry.
On Tuesday, a former Democrat Congressman went on the supposedly hyperpartisan Fox News, to meet with the supposedly hyperpartisan Glenn Beck, to air grievances against his own Party.
Instead of being allowed to say whatever he wanted, he was "pushed and pushed" to such an extent that the host finally apologized to his audience for wasting their time.
How'd you like to see a mainstream media host do the same thing the next time someone on the Right wants to voice unsubstantiated allegations against a Republican?
Readers are advised not to hold their breath.