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.
New York Times reporter Michael Brick went to College Station, Texas, to preview a college visit by Barack Obama today commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first President Bush's "Points of Light" volunteer organization.
In the condescending "At A&M, a Dance of Decorum for Obama Visit," Brick posed fears that campus conservative activists at Texas A&M might embarrass themselves and their college with their "unchecked fervor," which "can be a raw and fearsome thing." Last year, you see, "the Young Conservatives embarrassed the university by throwing eggs at a picture of Mr. Obama."
Brick is being awfully protective of Obama. If defacing a picture of a president is an automatic embarrassment to a university, then every big college in America should be red-faced, since posters of Bush as Hitler were pretty much de rigueur at any decent campus protest. But the Times never showed any concern for campus hatred of Republicans.
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 feud between the White House and the Fox News Channel took another, thanks to one of Glenn Beck's viewers.
On Beck's Oct. 15 program, the Fox News host played a video sent to him of White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who had previously slammed Fox News and called it an organ of the Republican Party. In the video, Dunn reveals her two favorite political philosophers - humanitarian Mother Teresa and Mao Tse Tung, Chinese revolutionary and Communist leader responsible for an estimated 70 million deaths (video embedded below the fold).
"A lot of you have a great deal of ability," Dunn said. "A lot of you work hard. Put them together and that answers the ‘why not' question. There's usually not a good reason and then the third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers - Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say why not. You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before, but here's the deal."
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:
With Rush Limbaugh now out of a group vying to purchase the St. Louis Rams, the continued smearing from ABC's "The View" on October 15 constitutes a late hit.
Whoopi Goldberg said that Limbaugh was dropped as a potential buyer because they're not "pleased" with him: "It actually might not be about conservativism. This one might be personal." She also claimed that Limbaugh is "part of the mainstream media."
Joy Behar added that Limbaugh likes to "be the victim" and, making Limbaugh owner of the St. Louis Rams would be like "making Michael Vick own the American Kennel Club."
NBC and CBS’s morning shows on Thursday completely skipped any reference to the false quotes that forced Rush Limbaugh to be dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams. Only Good Morning America had any coverage at all. News anchor Chris Cuomo simply recapped the development and added, "[Limbaugh] had been criticized for past statements about black players."
Cuomo made no mention of the untrue quotes, such as Limbaugh supposedly having said in the past that "slavery had its merits." Wouldn’t it be only fair for Good Morning America, NBC’s Today and CBS’s Early Show to at least discuss how false statements derailed the conservative’s attempts to own a team?
This ought to get the folks at the left-wing noise machine all wound up.
Fox News host Glenn Beck on his Oct. 14 show, after being a regular recipient of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons in the World" on his "Countdown" program, decided to have a little fun by mocking Olbermann and his MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews.
"Now, the President has an entire network devoted to singing his praises," Beck said. "There is a guy at night I love, he's like Shakespearean, he is waxing poetic about his oratory skills, writing soliloquies - got another one I must say about the greatness of Obama's speaking ability. And then another guy is like, ‘I got a thrill is going up my leg' when they just hear him speak. It is incredible."
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.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes celebrated one GOP Senator’s support for health care reform: “Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
Cordes went on to tout Snowe’s history of going against the Republican Party: “This is not the first time Snowe has bucked her party. In 2006, she helped kill an amendment that would’ve federally banned gay marriage. And she voted in favor of allowing federal funding for stem cell research. This January, she joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.”
After Cordes’s report, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Senator Snowe and wondered why other Republicans on the Finance Committee did not support the legislation: “You’ve described this crisis as like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg and this being an opportunity to turn away from it. If there is no bill, and if there is no Republican support, will they be abrogating their responsibility to avert this crisis?”
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann spewed bile at conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, accusing her of possessing "fascistic hatred," and comparing her to a "mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." During his show’s regular "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann attacked Malkin for her role in bringing attention to the recent controversy over school children in New Jersey singing a song about President Obama.
Blaming the conservative commentator for death threats made against a woman who posted video of the children singing, Malkin was crudely slammed by Olbermann: "She received death threats and hate-filled voice mails all thanks to the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it." [Audio available here]
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, October 13, Countdown show on MSNBC:
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
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.”
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell today demanded that CNN and MSNBC prove that radio talk show king Rush Limbaugh uttered a racist quote they have attributed to him as fact after Limbaugh publicly denied having ever said, “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” on his nationally syndicated airwaves.
"CNN and MSNBC must immediately and publicly source when Limbaugh uttered this phrase. He has unequivocally denied it. Now it is up to the same news media that reported it as fact to prove that it was, indeed, stated," NewsBusters Publisher Bozell insisted in a statement, arguing that if the charges are undocumentable, the offending networks are "100% guilty of character assassination."
The accusations against Limbaugh came in the wake of reports the radio talk show host is part of a group bidding for ownership of the St. Louis Rams NFL franchise. The full Bozell statement is appended below the page break:
However Brit Hume, now a senior political analyst for Fox News and regarded as a veteran figure at the news organization, took the White House head on. In his "Brit Hume Commentary" segment on Fox News Channel's Oct. 12 "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume, pointed out this "feud" the Obama administration has decided to elevate is a bad idea.
"Every president ends up disgusted with the news media in general and with certain individuals or outlets in particular, but there is an old adage often attributed to Mark Twain that advises against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel," Hume said. "He is speaking of the big media of his day, which were newspapers."
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:
[Limbaugh denies. See update below.] For the second time on Monday, MSNBC cited a dubious "quote" from Rush Limbaugh in which the conservative radio host supposedly said that "slavery had its merits." The source? A linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Discussing Limbaugh’s interest in owning the St. Louis Rams, News Live host David Shuster asserted that "James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like ‘slavery had its merits.’"
An onscreen graphic appeared that read "Limbaugh remarks: Slavery ‘had its merits.’" In the bottom corner of the screen, the citation is simply this: "Cited by James Farrior Pittsburgh Steelers." So, that’s it? A linebacker for the Steelers says something and that’s enough for MSNBC?
MSNBC on Monday featured the Nation magazine’s sports editor to rant against Rush Limbaugh as a "unreconstructed racist," a "swine" and also lobby that the conservative host shouldn’t be allowed to purchase the St. Louis Rams football team. Morning Meeting guest host Contessa Brewer completely ignored the left-wing affiliation of Dave Zirin and identified him only as "sports writer." [Audio available here.]
Raging against the idea that the Limbaugh might soon own a football team, Zirin asserted that the issue is "about having somebody in an NFL owners box who [players] know views them with naked and open contempt because of the color of their skin." He fumed that the radio star is someone who "has made hundreds of millions now on the issues of hatred and division."
Zirin even used a dubious, disputed quote that he assigned to Limbaugh: "[Players] don't want an owner who has said slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer." A Google News search finds this supposed comment attributed to the host: "I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: 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."
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:
If there was any question which side of the ideological blogosphere a lot of the inside-the-beltway media establishment go to regularly, Politico may have just cleared that up.
In an Oct. 11 Politico story headlined "Think Progress makes its mark," which was the top story on its Web site that evening, Daniel Libit paid reverence to the left-wing Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog.
"Can a liberal blog launched in the midst of the Bush era - a blog that once obsessed over Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and the outing of Valerie Plame - still make its mark in the age of Obama?" Libit wrote. "In the case of Think Progress, the answer so far is yes."
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter grouped conservative talk radio with Islamic radicals, specifically singling out Rush Limbaugh for attack, on Friday’s MSNBC Live. While acknowledging that “everybody agrees it was premature” to award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, Alter singled out the two groups that, in his view, were actually voicing criticism: “You’ve got the mullahs in the Taliban, and then you’ve got Mullah Rush” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Tamron Hall brought on the Newsweek senior editor and MSNBC news analyst minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the segment, Hall noted the “reaction from the world” and the “incredible pressure” that President Obama is facing concerning the war in Afghanistan. Alter replied that “it’s important to know that the award doesn’t go for pacifists....There have been plenty of examples of recipients who’ve been heads of state and...were war presidents. But...I also think it’s important to know who is actually sounding off against this. Everybody agrees it was premature, maybe undeserved. But who’s actually attacking it? Well, you’ve got the mullahs in the Taliban, and then you’ve got Mullah Rush [Limbaugh] -- you know, you have his, his [Obama’s] critics here at home” [video from the segment available below the jump].
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wondered about negative political fallout from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win: “one European commentator who said ‘will this become a poison chalice?’ In other words, is this going to hurt the President rather than help him?...is this going to widen the part of partisan divide rather than bring people together?”
Schieffer spoke with Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who asked: “Clearly a surprise to everyone, including the White House, for the President to be awarded this less than nine months into his term. And already some people are questioning whether he deserves it.” Schieffer expressed that skepticism: “My first reaction was, ‘what?!....It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘we’re giving you the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the election.’...I can’t recall anybody who won this prize for his aspirations. People usually get it for results.”
During 11AM CBS breaking news coverage of the President’s acceptance speech, anchor Jeff Glor got more Scheiffer reaction: “Is this more a commentary on the current administration and the current president or the previous administration, Bob?” Schieffer replied: “It’s almost as if the committee today was giving Barack Obama a prize for not being George Bush.”
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Friday used an odd expression to fawn over Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize win. She cooed that the award is "the Olympic gold of international diplomacy." (Was this Sawyer’s way of saying the prize makes up for the Chicago Olympic failure?)
In a follow-up segment, former top Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos touted what an enormous impact the Nobel Prize would have: "But on a serious note, White House aides do believe this will strengthen the President's hand, both at home and abroad." He explained how these "White House aides" (Rahm Emanuel, perhaps?) told him that "this will really strengthen the President's hand as they try to force inspectors in to the Iranian nuclear sites."
Sawyer should be credited for at least asking the obvious question. Talking to Geir Lundeestad, the director of the Nobel Institute, she quizzed, "Here’s the first question: Nine months into a presidency. Isn’t that a little fast?" Reporter Yunji De Nies mildly observed, "But with critics arguing that Mr. Obama's accomplishments have yet to rival those of previous winners, the chairman of the committee found himself on the defensive."
"But our winner, Michele Bachmann," Olbermann said, referring to the first place contestant, the "worst" person. "[Fox News host Bill O'Reilly], dimly aware of the world around him, asks her, ‘Now you are a pretty interesting politician, Congresswoman. You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, Michele Bachmann, she's this, she's that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?'"
In case you missed it, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh will be expanding his resume - long-time political commentator, potential NFL owner and now Miss America pageant judge.
On the Oct. 8 broadcast of Fox News "On the Record," host Greta Van Sustren revealed that Limbaugh would be one of the national judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, scheduled to be held in Las Vegas on Jan. 30, 2010.
"Rush Limbaugh, he's the King of talk radio," Van Sustren said. "He's trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. Well chalk up one more thing - Miss America judge. You heard that right - Rush Limbaugh has been named one of the national judges for the 2010 Miss America pageant. Limbaugh will be one of seven judges for the competition. Now that pageant is in Las Vegas now. It's coming this January at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino."
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
"You are a pretty interesting politician, congresswoman," O'Reilly said. "You are second to Sarah Palin in far-left angst. You know, Sarah Palin leads the league, no doubt. But they're after you now. We hear it all the time, you know Michele Bachmann, she is this and she is that. How did you get into that wheelhouse?"
Former President Carter's recent claim that he never portrayed most tea party participants protesting against President Obama as being motivated by racism has been highlighted both on Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier and on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC. As previously noted by NewsBuster Matt Balan, the Thursday, October 1, American Morning on CNN showed a clip of Carter denying what he previously seemed to suggest in an interview with correspondent Candy Crowley. Carter's original accusations of racism by conservatives were reported by NBC and CBS, but those networks have ignored Carter's attempt to backtrack.
On Friday's "Political Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report, host Baier relayed to viewers: "Former President Jimmy Carter is walking back from comments he made last month about President Obama and racism. Thursday, Mr. Carter said he did not mean protesters were upset at the reality of a black President."
After reading Carter's denial, Baier then played Carter's original words: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity towards President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he is African-American."