Want to know how the left really feels about free speech? Look no further than Huffington Post editor and co-founder Arianna Huffington.
Huffington appeared on MSNBC's Nov. 19 "Countdown" to discuss a report by the Anti-Defamation League that alleges Fox News host Glenn Beck is "the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke fires of anti-government anger" and therefore endangering society.
"It would be nice to think of Glenn Beck just as a joke, as fodder for this show and the "Daily Show" and others that point out how stupid some of this stuff is," "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann said. "But this report, you know, suggests something else, this is - fear-monger-in-chief term is frightening."
I haven’t seen “The Blind Side” yet, so I won’t say anything about the quality of the film. But based on the trailer and the true story, my wife and I are as excited about this as any film in a long time. It tells the true story of the adoption of Michael Oher by the Tuohy family in Tennessee and how they helped him go from homeless teenager to professional football star. The book was incredible, the story miraculous. We’re especially excited because we’re big adoption advocates, currently in the middle of our first of many planned adoptions. Also, the Tuohys happen to be conservative Christians like we are, and we don’t normally get to see families like that on screen, at least in movies that are watchable.
Apparently, this makes me a racist.
You see, Michael Oher happens to be black, and the Tuohys happen to be white. I actually think that’s pretty cool, especially because they live in Tennessee, and what gets us farther from the evil days of segregation than an increased number of mixed-race families? One would assume that liberals especially would be excited about that, right?
On Monday's Countdown show, responding to Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour's recent contention on NBC's Meet the Press that President Obama has personal popularity -- based partially on being the first black President -- that is separate from the unpopularity of Obama's policies, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann labeled Barbour's words as "incoherent," and charged that President Obama is in reality a "target of racism from the right." Olbermann:
But it was Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour who had perhaps the most incoherent read, explaining that Obama, the target of racism from the right, remains popular not because of his policies, but in a Donovan McNabb way, because of his color.
During a discussion with MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, Olbermann also suggested that "Barbour knows that members of his party hate the President for being a black Democrat," as he posed a question to Wolffe about Republicans being in denial about their party's unpopularity and the meaning of the 2009 elections. Olbermann:
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that Fox News is a racist organization that would hold race or religion against its employees in awarding promotions, as he used the show’s "Worst Person" segment to slam Fox and Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Peter Johnson, for raising questions about whether Muslims serving in the military should be treated with more attention. While every show in MSNBC’s primetime and morning lineups has a host who is white and non-Muslim, Olbermann suggested that the Fox and Friends hosts would have trouble succeeding at FNC if they were Muslim or non-white. Olbermann: "Since we’re asking questions, I have one for Carlson, Johnson, and Kilmeade. You guys ever wonder if you all succeeded inside a company like Fox mostly because you’re not Muslim or black or Asian or Hispanic?"
Olbermann's allegation ignores FNC personalities like Geraldo Rivera and Julie Banderas, who have hosted their own shows; and Juan Williams and Michelle Malkin who have both guest hosted for The O'Reilly Factor in addition to their work as contributors. Even on Fox and Friends, Lauren Green used to read the show's news briefs.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the "Worst Person in the World" segment from the Friday, November 6, Countdown show on MSNBC:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez shocked his colleague Kyra Phillips on Monday’s Newsroom, after agreeing with a New Mexico hotel owner who had asked his Latino employee to use an unaccented version of his name: “My real name is Ricardo Leon Sanchez de Reinaldo. I don’t use it because I want to be respectful of this wonderful country that allowed us as Hispanics to come here, and I think it’s easier if someone’s able to understand me by Anglicizing my name.” Earlier, Phillips and HLN anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell berated the owner for his supposedly bigoted treatment of the employee [audio clips available here].
Phillips and Velez-Mitchell interviewed Larry Whitten, the owner of Whitten Inn of Taos, New Mexico just after the bottom of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Whitten recently fired some Hispanic employees who wouldn’t conform to his guidelines, which included not speaking Spanish in his presence and asking those who operated the hotel switchboard to use Anglicized versions of their names. He is now being accused of racism by these former employees and by Hispanic organizations who have taken up their cause.
Joy Behar, HLN's conservative-basher of record, today derided conservatives as immature bullies who smell bad and pick their noses. Obama, by Behar's account is the smart kid in class who knows all the answers but keeps letting the bullies push him around.
Her bully characterization is astoundingly hypocritical, given that she goes on to suggest that Obama bully Glenn Beck and other conservative commentators into silence. And the President hardly seems like the kid on the playground "least likely to fight back." He certainly has the means, and has been using his pulpit to deride Fox News for the past two weeks for saying things that he doesn't like.
In the schoolyard of American politics, President Obama is the big, smart kid with all of the test answers who's being bullied by a bunch of Neanderthal ankle-biters from all sides.
John Avlon of the Daily Beast gave his “Wingnuts of the Week” on Friday’s American Morning on CNN, and omitted the Democratic past of his “wingnut” on the right- Lousiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell, who recently denied a marriage license to an interracial couple. Avlon didn’t give judge’s party ID at all, and gave the impression that he was on the “right” merely because of his racist conduct.
The Daily Beast writer appeared just after the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour with anchor Kiran Chetry, who asked the “independent analyst,” as she labeled him, to begin with his choice for “wingnut” on the right: “Wingnut on the right, as you said, Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, who denied a marriage certificate to an interracial couple, saying he was doing it for the kids. Maybe he was concerned they’d grow up to be president.” Avlon never gave Bardwell’s party ID during the segment. Perhaps its because he was a Democrat during most of his career. He only became a Republican last year, according to a Louisiana state government website.
The Obama ascendency, the president's acolytes have been keen on telling us, is the dawn of a new post-partisan era. But a development that undercuts that fiction -- the Obama Justice Department's recent move to scuttle non-partisan local elections in Kinston, North Carolina, on the basis of racial and partisan considerations -- has escaped the interest of the mainstream media.
Both the Washington Times (in a Tuesday front-pager) and NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com have reported the story, but a Nexis search today yielded no stories from print outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, or Los Angeles Times. Broadcast news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC have also failed to touch the story. Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" briefly discussed the story shortly before 7:00 a.m. EDT on the October 21 edition with Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
A search for news stories about the controversy on Google News this morning yielded only 14 hits, most of them from conservative organizations or blogs.
Below is an excerpt from CNSNews.com reporter Adam Brickley's October 21 story:
Two Republican chairmen in South Carolina have apologized for an op-ed article that made a clumsy comment about wealthy Jews being fiscally prudent. Reporter Robbie Brown and The New York Times's headline writers quickly let us know the two offenders were Republican: "2 South Carolina Republicans Apologize for Reference to Jews."
It made quite a contrast from how the Times treated a Democratic candidate for Congress who circulated truly scurrilous claims against her Jewish opponent in a 2008 primary election.
In Wednesday's story, both the online headline (the print edition headline is different) and a photo caption readily identified the offenders as members of the GOP, as did Brown in his first sentence:
Two Republican county chairmen in South Carolina have apologized for a newspaper op-ed article that stereotyped Jews as financial penny pinchers.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was out campaigning this weekend with current NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is running for a third term. The New York Times loathed Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, and has run several revisionist articles suggesting his mayoralty, during which the city's crime rate plunged, was ridden with racial demagoguery and racist police brutality.
Raising the specter of a return to higher crime and greater anxiety, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani warned on Sunday that New York could become a more dangerous city if Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is not re-elected in November.
Mr. Giuliani did not mention Mr. Bloomberg's Democratic challenger, William C. Thompson Jr., by name. But during the first of two campaign events alongside Mr. Bloomberg, he said that not long ago many parts of the city were gripped by 'the fear of going out at night and walking the streets.'
"You know exactly what I'm talking about," Mr. Giuliani said at a breakfast sponsored by the Jewish Community Council in Borough Park, Brooklyn. "This city could very easily be taken back in a very different direction -- it could very easily be taken back to the way it was with the wrong political leadership."
Mr. Giuliani made his blunt -- and to some minds, incendiary -- comments a day before Mr. Bloomberg, a two-term incumbent, was scheduled to be endorsed by the city's largest police officers' union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, according to two people told of the plans. It would be a big step in his quest to secure the strongest anticrime credentials in the mayor's race.
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell took to the MRC studio Saturday morning for an interview with "Fox & Friends" about how the media latched onto phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh, helping to scuttle his St. Louis Rams ownership bid.
Bozell also commented on how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted his quarrel with the radio talk show host was his "polarizing comments" about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb back in 2003.
"Nine out of ten people have no idea what Roger Goodell is talking about" and those who do know what Goodell was referencing know that "again, Rush Limbaugh was right," that some sports journalists hyped an overrated McNabb because of politically correct considerations [MP3 audio available here]:
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
As reported on NewsBusters on Friday morning, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez read his apology on Friday’s Newsroom for running a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh earlier in the week on October 12 [audio available here].
Sanchez hinted to his error in a promo for the apology 37 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “Rush Limbaugh gets denied [his NFL bid], but when it comes to one specific point, I will tell you this: he was right and I was wrong. Sometimes you got to say you’re wrong when you’re wrong, right? I'll tell you exactly what I’m talking about when we come back.”
After going to a commercial break, the CNN anchor came back, and after giving a summary of the controversy, read the apology, which was released earlier, almost verbatim:
During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.
On Monday, Shuster revealed the supposed source of the false quote: “Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like ‘slavery had its merits.’” Speaking with columnist Stephen A. Smith later that afternoon, Shuster’s co-host Tamron Hall wondered: “Should a person who says there are merits with slavery be able to have this privilege of owning a team?”
As result of the ensuing controversy raised by the false quotes reported by MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets, Limbaugh was removed from an investment group that was considering purchasing the St. Louis Rams football team.
Yesterday CNN's Rick Sanchez was set to go on air and issue an apology for running an unverified quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh. Breaking news of the now-infamous "balloon boy" intervened, and Sanchez was unable to deliver his apology.
It came to the attention of the NewsBusters staff that Sanchez plans on issuing a correction today on-air, reading the following statement:
The debate over Rush Limbaugh's NFL bid is roiling the racial landscape. This evening, after Juan Williams explained that Rush's "Barack the Magic Negro" parody was based on a column by an African-American author, a black radio talk show host told Williams to "go back to the porch." [H/t NB readers Tracy B. and Ken T.]
Warren Ballantine uttered the insult on this evening's O'Reilly Factor:
CNN’s Anderson Cooper became the first on his network to acknowledge that some of the quotes used against Rush Limbaugh in his NFL bid were false on his program on Wednesday: “I also should point out, on this program, we did not use the wrong quotes.” Cooper also brought back Al Sharpton as a guest, and the activist again brought up Limbaugh’s “Crips and Bloods” remark, which he took out of context [audio clips are available here].
The CNN anchor began by noting how the talk show host had been forced out of his part in buying the St. Louis Rams by the controversy: “Tonight, breaking news: Rush Limbaugh sidelined, his bid to buy into the National Football League sacked. What happened, and is it fair?” After giving a recap of the controversy, Cooper introduced his guests- Sharpton; Stephen A. Smith, whose has consistently expressed sympathy for talk show host’s bid; and talk show host McGraw Milhaven from St. Louis.
Cooper first hinted that the slavery quote attributed to Limbaugh was false in one of his questions to Smith: “Was the criticism fair, though? Some of the quotes attributed to him- you used one of them about the slavery- that was not something he ever said.” Smith acknowledged his hasty use of the quote, but continued that the talk show host was still a racially-divisive figure:
When it comes to slurring Rush Limbaugh in his quest to obtain an interest in the NFL's St. Louis Rams, someone's going to have to work hard to top Adrian Wojnarowski. The Yahoo Sports reporter today called Rush a "racist" and a "bigot" and implied he would never hire a black coach.
Wojnarowski spouted his slurs on Jim Rome's "Rome Is Burning" show on ESPN this afternoon.
ADRIAN WOJNAROWSKI: People do not want a bigot as an owner. He's a racist. He's a bigot. He's shown it for years. He's made his career off in a large way off marginalizing black culture and African-Americans, and now he wants to buy into an industry where 70% of the players, the talent, the work-force is African-American and make money off of it? He doesn't get to do that.
In response, Rome didn't exactly leap to Rush's defense, but did pose this question.
On the June 3, 2009 Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow cited a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh in which the radio host supposedly said he wanted to award Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin the Medal of Honor. Since Limbaugh expressed interest in becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams in October, several MSNBC hosts have repeated that and other false quotes.
Reacting to Limbaugh calling then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Maddow declared: “When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.” Maddow’s dishonest rant was originally reported by NewsBusters’ D. S. Hube.
Before lying about Limbaugh, Maddow attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for also labeling Sotomayor as racist and not fully retracting his statement: “Last week, Mr. Gingrich used Twitter to declare that Judge Sotomayor is a Latina woman racist. Today, he issued a statement that seemed designed to take credit for retracting that comment without actually retracting it.” Viewers are still waiting for MSNBC to retract its charge of racism against Limbaugh based on fabricated quotes.
"How can the NFL overlook the a sleazy pop diva's questionable background while holding Limbaugh accountable for comments he's never made," wondered Brian Maloney in a Radio Equalizer blog post yesterday.
While the NFL is presenting itself as merely gun-shy of the controversy Rush Limbaugh would bring to the ownership table, it hardly seems worried about the controversy that a saucy pop star's ownership bid would bring.
Maloney explains, pointing out a double standard between the NFL commissioner scrabbling to denounce Limbaugh while practically encouraging a bid from pop artist Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, an avid Obama supporter:
Perhaps having a slot on Glenn Beck's former network wasn't enough for the newly minted host of CNN Headline News "The Joy Behar Show." Instead, she obviously finds bashing Beck is the way to reach her audience.
One of the most damaging accusations you can level at opponent is call that individual a racist in one form or another. And that's the tactic MSNBC and others left-wing opponents of Rush Limbaugh are taking to thwart his bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
During a segment on MSNBC on Oct. 13, former Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Hunter appeared to voice her opposition to the Limbaugh's NFL bid. She made one of the most outrageous - likening Limbaugh's ownership of an NFL team to being a plantation owner, a metaphor that invokes the image of antebellum South during the 19th Century, when slavery was rampant.
"I can just see the visions of plantation grandeur dancing in his head as we speak," Hunter said. "Yeah, it doesn't make you a racist to want to own a team. But, it does kind of with all his history question his power position over these players who make millions of dollars and his ability to be able to move them around, deny them contracts and do whatever he wants willy-nilly. It's the ultimate power position to be an owner of an NFL team."
On Tuesday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez read Rush Limbaugh’s denial that he ever made a quote attributed to him in which he praised antebellum slavery, but added that the denial “that does not take away...that there are other quotes...which many people in...minority communities do find offensive” [audio available here]. Sanchez broadcast the quote yesterday without any source, and made no retraction of it.
Sanchez first indicated during a promo for a segment about the Limbaugh controversy that the talk show host is “now setting us straight on a remark that’s been wildly publicized about what he has said in the past.” The segment came just before the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour, and after giving a brief synopsis of the controversy, read the dubious quote attributed to the conservative: “One of the quotes that has been attributed to Rush Limbaugh is the one about him saying that ‘slavery built the South, and I’m not saying that we should bring it back.. I’m just saying that it had it’s merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper brought on Rev. Al Sharpton- a person with an actual racially-divisive past - on his program on Monday to expound on his argument that Rush Limbaugh is “divisive” and even “anti-NFL.” Sharpton went so far as to claim that the issue of the talk show host’s involvement in the purchase of the St. Louis Rams is “whether or not the NFL is going to have standards.”
The leader of the National Action Network appeared 23 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, along with former NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris, who was making his second appearance on CNN that day. Cooper first played a clip from Limbaugh’s radio show where the conservative defended himself against his critics. Before introducing his guests, the anchor read an excerpt from Sharpton’s letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Rush Limbaugh has been divisive and anti-NFL on several occasions, with comments about NFL players, including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, and his recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons was disturbing.”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez read a disputed racist quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh about antebellum slavery on Monday’s Newsroom: “Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name. Here’s a sample- he once declared that ‘slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.’”
Before discussing the Limbaugh controversy with his guest, former NFL player Eugene “Mercury” Morris, the CNN anchor raised the 2003 scandal involving talk show host’s comments about quarterback Donovan McNabb, reading the statement which got Limbaugh in trouble and leading to his resignation from his job as an ESPN sports commentator. After reading the alleged slavery quote, the CNN anchor read another racially-charged quote from Limbaugh: “In President Obama’s America, white children get beaten up on school buses by blacks.”
This is an actual quote from Limbaugh, which he made on his talk show on September 15, 2009. But, as in the case of the McNabb controversy, he was attacking the mainstream media. Here’s the full context:
Thus began El Rushbo’s interview with NBC national correspondent Jamie Gangel. It is remarkable that, even when the media sit down with Limbaugh, they still find a way to be biased. To be fair, Gangel did not conduct the interview like Keith Olbermann might have. But there were a few points of interest which must be noted – and some even pointed out by Rush during the interview.
First up, Gangel asks Rush if he’s a racist or a homophobe:
JAMIE GANGEL [voice over B-roll]: Rush’s brand of satire also keeps everyone talking. Parodies like this one, of Congressman Barney Frank, who also happens to be gay:
BARNEY FRANK IMPERSONATOR, singing: “I am the banking queen!”
GANGEL: And this one about race, and candidate Barack Obama:
Well, in a curious turn of events on MSNBC's Oct. 8 "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann told his viewers that those who are opposing Limbaugh's bid for the Rams were the third worst people in the world on this particular day.