MSNBC Brings on Nation Writer to Bash Rush, Tout Limbaugh Error

MSNBC host Tamron Hall on Monday talked to a contributor from the liberal Nation magazine who bashed Rush Limbaugh and also highlighted a historical error in the radio host’s address to the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend. Introducing Ari Melber, the "MSNBC News Live" host began, “Well, a lot of people are talking about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments and, perhaps, an- even- a mistake he made.

After playing a clip in which Limbaugh incorrectly attributed a quote from to the Constitution (it was from the Declaration of Independence), Hall touted the error to Melber, who is also a Democratic strategist. She quizzed, “So, Ari, Rush thought he was quoting the Constitution. It was the Declaration of Independence. How embarrassing is that for him, especially the way he slammed the President?” Of course, Melber helpfully piled on. He derided, “Well, this is the problem for Rush Limbaugh. He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

As if he would be the best person to answer such a question, Hall asked the Democrat and Nation contributor, “So, does he represent the mainstream Republican Party? Does he? Beyond that room in there?” 

To make the segment a little nastier, just prior to going to commercial break, Hall segued to a completely different subject. She instructed, “Conservative values- eww- are not necessarily keeping conservatives away from porn. Eww.  A new Harvard study shows that states whose residents bought the most online porn tended to vote for John McCain in the last election.” Think the placement of that little story wasn’t just another way for MSNBC to continue its attack on conservatives?

Earlier on Monday’s “Morning Joe,” guest Chuck Todd dismissed how Limbaugh was on the “dying medium” of radio.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 12:50pm on March 2, follows:

TAMRON HALL: At a conservative conference over the weekend, Rush Limbaugh condemned President Obama for, quote, “the bastardization of the Constitution.” Well, a lot of people are talking about Mr. Limbaugh’s comments and, perhaps, an- even- a mistake he made.  Ari Melber is a Democratic strategist and contributor to the Nation. Ari, good to see you. I want to play this clip from- Rush Limbaugh gave this 90 minute speech and here’s a moment people have picked up on where he, perhaps, made a little embarrassing mistake.  Let’s listen.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth:  That we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

HALL: So, Ari, Rush thought he was quoting the Constitution. It was the Declaration of Independence. How embarrassing is that for him, especially the way he slammed the President?

ARI MELBER (The Nation): Well, this is the problem for Rush Limbaugh. He really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He also said in this speech that Barack Obama is, quote, “bastardizing the Constitution.” But he didn’t give any examples. Of course, it was the last administration that had real problems on surveillance, you know, and other constitutional issues.  And I think this is a big issue for leaning on spokesmen instead of idea generators.  The Democrats are now arguing that Rush Limbaugh is the face of the party. And that’s a face that sounds incendiary, that makes a lot of noise, that gets people talking, but isn’t always right on the facts.

HALL: But, he was getting an applause there from the audience. He’s hitting home to a certain group. I mean, is that mission accomplished to quote another famous quote out there?

MELBER: It’s mission accomplished for him, because he makes millions of dollars doing this and he clearly is popular within the base. The real question here is does Rush Limbaugh represent the mainstream Republican Party as they try and develop a policy alternative to President Obama, who people do see, whether you agree with the policies or not, they see President Obama as going out and talking about the economy, budget priorities.

HALL: So, does he represent the mainstream Republican Party? Does he? Beyond that room in there? He’s a very powerful man.

MELBER: He seems to be very popular and it doesn’t seem that there are any members of Congress who will stand up to him. One Congressman from Georgia did recently and was so attacked within own district that he felt the need to backtrack. He went back to Rush Limbaugh’s show and apologized, as you know.

HALL: And apologized.

MELBER: I do think, to be fair, the Republican chair, Michael Steele, did say that some of Rush Limbaugh’s comments were ugly just over the past few days.

HALL: He says he’s not the leader of the party.

MELBER: And Steele is in competition. He wants to be the formal leader. I think he gets credit for that.

HALL: Well, does it benefit the President, we saw Rahm Emanuel on “Face the Nation” to take on Rush Limbaugh? What is- Shouldn’t you take on the high road on this? You are the President.

MELBER: Well, the President is getting attacked viciously here by Rush Limbaugh. That speech, as you know, was carried on several television channels. So, no, I think you got to come back and respond aggressively.

HALL: And I did say over the weekend, we talked about the first lady wearing short sleeves and if Rush was a man, we’d be talking a lot about that unbuttoned shirt with the hair coming out of it.

MELBER: Well, he gets away with a lot for some reason.

HALL: All right. Thanks you very much, Ari. Conservative values- eww- are not necessarily keeping conservatives away from porn. Eww.  A new Harvard study shows that states whose residents bought the most online porn tended to vote for John McCain in the last election. In fact, eight of the top ten states in the survey were red states. Researchers got their numbers by adding up anonymous credit card receipts. Well, it is legal.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org