CNN anchor Rick Sanchez again attacked Fox News on Monday’s Newsroom, implying the channel wasn’t a “real news organization,” and bizarrely labeled Glenn Beck “pudgy-faced.” Unsurprisingly, Sanchez continued his silence concerning his own network’s left-wing bias [audio clips from the segment are available here].
The anchor began the segment by summarizing his attack on the Fox News Channel from the September 18 edition of Newsroom, and then dropped his hint that his competitor was not a genuine news outlet: “Real news organizations- real news organizations- are not supposed to stage events, nor should they promote news events, nor should they hype news events. Otherwise, they lose their ability to be impartial. They’re no longer even remotely objective if they do that, nor are they being ‘fair and balanced.’”
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez correctly pointed out that a full-page color ad by the Fox News Channel incorrectly claimed that his network missed the massive September 12 Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, but went on to paper over CNN’s own double-standard on covering left-wing protests versus conservative protests. Sanchez also accused Fox News of trying to “promote” the Tea Parties.
During the segment, which began 13 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, the CNN anchor seemed to be perturbed by Fox News’s ad, which ran in the Washington Post on Friday with one main line: “How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this story?” Sanchez led with a direct attack on the ad: “If you watch this show every day...you know that I usually don’t suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to the fools who perpetuate falsehoods. Well today, thousands of you flipped through the pages of the Washington Post, only to come across a lie so bold and so upsetting that frankly, I’m not just going to sit here in silence and allow my craft or my news operation to be unfairly maligned, because enough is enough. And, yes, I’m talking to you, Fox News.”
CNN’s Jim Spellman did his best to paint the participants of the Tea Party Express’s rallies across the nation in late August and early September as a bunch of extremists on Saturday’s Newsroom. Spellman played clips which zeroed-in on the protesters who called President Obama a Nazi, carried guns, or forwarded “outlandish conspiracy theories,” and labeled all of them “a dark undercurrent.”
The CNN journalist followed the Tea Party Express organization’s bus caravan during its 2 week journey across the United States, and the thirty-plus rallies held where it stopped. Spellman appeared just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom, and first played clips from seven men and six women who participated in these rallies. Six of the thirteen clips came from people who could be portrayed as “extreme,” as anchor Don Lemon put it, included one who referred to a “Gestapo-type tactic” and another who carried an AK-47:
Left-wing “comedian” Bill Maher is setting the news agenda for CNN. Literally. With “Motivated by Race?” on screen, CNN anchor Don Lemon previewed his 7 PM hour Saturday night by citing Joe Wilson, “town hallers yelling at lawmakers” and those “refusing to let kids hear the commander in chief. And on and on and on. What's behind it? Is it racial?”
In the subsequent segment, Lemon revealed his motivation was Maher, who Friday night on his HBO show charged racism drove Wilson's “you lie” shout and those concerned about Obama's address to school children (NewsBusters item). Lemon announced: “I was watching Real Talk, Real Time with Bill Maher and I was like 'finally someone's talking about this, finally someone is talking about this.'”
CNN’s Rick Sanchez conducted a softball interview of Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday’s Newsroom, during which the two railed against the influence of the wealthy in politics. Sanchez omitted the large donations Sanders has received from unions while taking other senators to task for receiving corporate money, and seemed to endorse the senator’s push for the public financing of elections.
The CNN anchor began the segment by lamenting how $375 million has apparently been spent “mostly by the health and insurance industry...to influence this important debate” on health care “reform,” barely mentioning the spending by “those who back the President.” He then introduced Senator Sanders as an “an independent from Vermont who is convinced that politics has become way too corporatized, if not controlled.” Sanchez did not mention how the Vermont Senator self-identifies as “democratic socialist” and has almost consistently supported left-wing causes throughout his political career.
On Wednesday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez used a recent pro-Texas secession rally in Austin to renew attention on Governor Rick Perry’s April 2009 speech to a tea party where he appeared to endorse this political view. Sanchez, along with CNN political analyst Roland Martin, later strongly hinted that Governor Perry could be painted as a racist for using “states’ rights” language.
Sanchez began the last segment of the 3 pm Eastern hour with a clip from a rally organized by the Texas Nationalist Movement, where Republican Debra Medina (who was not identified by the anchor or by the on-screen graphics) quoted from Thomas Jefferson in her plea for Texas secession: “Stepping off into secession may, in fact, be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
Correspondent Richard Quest made a frivolous attempt to tie the bad economy to men’s fashion on CNN’s Newsroom program on Tuesday. Quest proclaimed that pinstriped business suits are “old-fashioned...and out of touch with reality....because they are the pinstripe of bankers.” He continued that if you wore such attire, “you may be mistaken for one of those bankers reaping bonuses.”
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the CNN correspondent just before the bottom of the 1 pm Eastern hour, noting that “the global financial crisis has taken a toll everywhere, including men’s suits. That old business stand by, the pinstripe- well, it’s being hit especially hard.” Phillips turned to Quest, who immediately started joking around with his colleague. One might have guessed that Jeanne Moos, the network’s usual purveyor of light reports, was away on a late summer vacation, so they got the British correspondent to stand in for her.
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN correspondent Dana Bash reported on Senator Ted Kennedy’s alleged “deep Catholic faith,” and zeroed-in on how he “used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination,” but chose a clip of his bungling a biblical citation. “My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink” [audio clip available here].
Anchor Heidi Collins introduced Bash’s report, which shared a similar theme to AP’s report from Friday morning: “Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.” The CNN correspondent then highlighted how “Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.”
Douglas Brinkley continued his use of religious imagery to gush about the legacy of Ted Kennedy and his apparent Catholicism on CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday. Brinkley did his best to paper over the many moral downfalls of the senator: “He’s asked to be forgiven by people. He did a kind of a redemptive work throughout his whole career. He would fall off the wagon....But he constantly said, I can do better.”
Near the end of the 12 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, anchor Tony Harris asked the liberal presidential historian and CBS commentator, “You hear...about some of the failings in the senator’s life, and what is it about us as people that- on a day like today- a day like yesterday, we are willing to, in many cases, look past some of those failings, and focus in on the positive arc of a person’s life?” Brinkley played up Kennedy’s Catholic background, and instead using the “martyr” term he used on Wednesday, used more general religious language in his answer:
What is it about consequences that the liberal media and government simply cannot grasp?
CNN "Newsroom" admitted Aug. 27 that new car prices are "expected" to go up as a result of the government Cash for Clunkers giveaway.
Heidi Collins told viewers, "The success of the Cash for Clunkers program may be pushing new car prices higher. Dealerships are expected to have lower inventory over the next few months, meaning higher prices for consumers. Around 700,000 people took advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program."
Collins' use of the word "success" to describe the program was consistent with the media's advocacy of the program. All three broadcast networks called it a "victim of its own success," after the initial $1 billion in funding ran out after just a week - instead of the 14 weeks projected.
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez implied that the president of Conservatives for Patients Rights was lying about how “under the British health care system...health care has become so scarce that mothers are now forced to give birth to babies on sidewalks.” A woman in the UK did deliver on a sidewalk recently, but Sanchez complained, “As...you might expect, that statement went unchallenged.”
The CNN anchor made this accusation 18 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Just before this, he used the occasion of a new “attack ad” from Conservatives for Patients Rights to re-air the bulk of his August 6 interview with the organization’s president, Rick Scott. Sanchez questioned the credibility of the ad: “It makes the questionable charge that health care reform will raise your taxes on everything- everything, it says- and it comes from a group whose track record, as revealed on this newscast, is dubious.” In his view, CPR is “dubious” because their president Scott “does not really seem to want the government getting in the way of his profits....He got rich beyond imagination, while his health care chain was ripping off the federal government. And remember? Scott admitted to me that his company paid a record fine of $1.7 billion for defrauding Medicare.”
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and guest Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center concluded that there was a “disconcerting” infiltration of militia groups into tea party and health care town hall protests during a segment on Thursday’s Newsroom. The two focused on the appearance of armed people at these events, and one individual’s apparent connection to a militia which plotted violence.
Sanchez interviewed Potok at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour on how Ernest Hancock, a Ron Paul supporter and online radio host, reportedly defended the members of a militia called the Viper Team. Hancock also interviewed an acquaintance of his who openly-carried an AR-15 near a venue where President Obama was speaking. Before introducing Potok, the CNN anchor used a clip from a former Secret Service agent he interviewed to hint that Hancock and his acquaintance were “gun nuts.” He then played a clip of the rifle-carrying individual himself, who railed against taxation which redistributed wealth and a tyranny of the majority: “I want this and that, this and that, and I’ll just vote and take it from you. The burden of all this thievery gets too thick.....we will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote.” Sanchez then implied that these words were a threat of violence: “Somehow, the words ‘forcefully resist’ coming from a man with an AR-15 outside a presidential event is just a little unsettling.”
On Thursday morning, CNN downplayed the partisan nature of “legendary” Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to backtrack on a 2004 change in Massachusetts state law which allowed Democrats to hold on to John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the election. While anchor John Roberts and correspondent Dana Bash explained the circumstances of the 2004 change, Bash merely labeled it a “political irony.”
Roberts gave two news briefs about Kennedy’s letter to Massachusetts officials during American Morning, summarizing that the commonwealth “changed [the law] in 2004 requiring a special election because then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could have appointed someone had Senator John Kerry won the presidential election....Senator Kennedy wants there to be an interim appointment before a special election just to make sure that the state’s covered.” The anchor didn’t include any mention of the health care issue in either of his briefs, which is a clear factor in play with the liberal senator’s request.
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez accused anti-ObamaCare activists of forwarding “misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases” during a segment with “progressive” pastor and Obama apologist Jim Wallis on Wednesday’s Newsroom program. Sanchez placed the blame on the protesters relying “exclusively [on] right-wing media and right-wing television channels.”
The anchor brought on Reverend Wallis, the head of the “progressive Christian group Soujourners,” to discuss the phone-in town hall meeting he was hosting with President Obama. Midway through the interview, Sanchez raised the “wild behavior that we’ve seen in some of these health care forums” and made his first accusation against the anti-ObamaCare protesters: “When you hear, for example, some of the misrepresentations, and flat out lies in some cases, like calling things death panels and saying that people are going to be- old people are going to be killed, including some of them spread by people who profess to be Christians. How do you- how do you reconcile that as- as a Christian yourself?”
Time magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.
Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
On Saturday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon played a clip of his interview with Allen Hardage, identified as the director of America's Town Hall:
LEMON: Where was the outrage five years ago, ten years ago, 15 years ago? Why all of a sudden this outrage now? At least the president is trying to reform health care, so where did the outrage suddenly come from?
ALLEN HARDAGE, DIRECTOR, AMERICA'S TOWN HALL: Don, this is the second town hall he's done in the last week that I actually saw real Americans get up and ask questions. It wasn't a pre-selected group or a --
LEMON: But hang on, before you do that. Real Americans, that's another term that really sets people off.
HARDAGE: Well, let me tell you what I mean by that.
On Thursday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez couldn’t get a straight answer out of Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee about her cell phone use during a recent health care town hall, and after he repeatedly asked why she did it and if it was disrespectful, the Texas Democrat bizarrely raised the possibility that the YouTube video of her on the phone was “doctored” [the entire interview can be viewed here; audio clips from the segment are available here].
Sanchez brought on the Jackson-Lee to ask her about the viral video of her phone use as a woman tried to ask her a question at the town hall. He first asked, “How do you explain what you were doing there? What were you thinking, Congresswoman?” For about a minute and a half, the Democrat filibustered by talking about her town hall appearances and the health care issue. The CNN anchor repeatedly tried to get her to answer his question. He asked again: “Why were you talking on the phone?” She continued by avoiding the issue, talking about the “congressional hotline” her office had set up on the health care proposal. Sanchez interrupted, “Congresswoman, you’re not being fair. I asked you a very specific question....The question is, why were you on the phone and was it disrespectful?”
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and correspondent Ali Velshi bizarrely agreed that the issues of illegal immigration and abortion, as well as the constitutionality of the ObamaCare proposal, had little to do the health care debate, after citizens raised those issues at a health care town hall with Senator Arlen Specter.
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his questioning of the relevance of the abortion and Constitution issues to the health care debate, interspersed with clips from the Specter town hall: “A town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. But instead....children....the Constitution....the Gettysburg Address?...Overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly anti-Obama....Which party is being helped or hurt by this?” The first sound bite was of an unidentified participant who brought up the illegal immigrant issue, and stated “the illegals- they shouldn’t even be here.” The second clip was from another participant who brought up the abortion issue: “While that baby is in the mother, we don’t count that as a person.” The last clip came from someone who quoted from Lincoln’s most famous speech.
The CNN anchor then began the first segment by playing more complete sound bites from the Specter town hall. As he introduced the clips, Sanchez hinted that the only reason why the illegal immigrant and abortion issues were raised at the Specter town hall was because they were “wedge issues.” Out of the five clips, only one came from a participant who brought up an issue that was completely unrelated to the ObamaCare proposal- the planned closure of Guantanamo Bay.
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen tried to assuage the elderly over their concerns with ObamaCare on Monday’s Newsroom: “If there’s one group of people who needs to worry the least about health care reform, it’s probably the elderly... [they] already have Medicare.” This claim by Cohen ignores planned cuts to Medicare benefits announced by President Obama himself back in January.
Anchor Tony Harris brought on Cohen to answer viewer questions during the first minutes of the 11 am Eastern hour. One viewer named Jake asked if he would lose his Medicare under the Obama proposal. She replied, “If there’s one group of people who needs to worry the least about health care reform, it’s probably the elderly, and the reason for that is that the elderly already have Medicare. They already have government-sponsored health insurance. Reform is about helping people who are under the age of 65. So, he really doesn’t have to worry about his Medicare.”
There’s something deeply wrong with journalism that scrutinizes and criticizes the institutions of free and successful nations, but produces puff pieces on the supposed achievements of totalitarian dictatorships. On Thursday, CNN aired a piece of Communist Party propaganda about how Cuba could serve as “a model for health care reform” in the United States, complete with an authoritative sound bite from an American medical expert, identified only as someone “who’s lived and worked in Cuba for decades.”
But the expert, Gail Reed, is a longtime admirer of the Cuban revolution, married to the Cuban official who served as ambassador to Grenada in the early 1980s when U.S. troops liberated the island from hardline communists who had executed the leftist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. She's also worked at Granma, Cuba’s official communist party newspaper.
Correspondent Morgan Neill also recited all of the standard tropes about how Cuban health care is the best in Latin America, is completely free, and “no one falls through the cracks.” While he acknowledged that “critics charged that conditions in Cuban hospitals are appalling and that Cubans had to pay bribes to get decent care,” nearly all of the August 6 report was positive.
CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday ran a glowing documentary-style report about a pro-ObamaCare rally on Capitol Hill that was organized by a coalition of left-wing organizations. Anchor Heidi Collins introduced the report without referencing any of the organizers, which included ACORN, MoveOn.org and SEIU. The report also featured a former Obama campaign operative who pushed for the president’s plan.
The report, filed by CNN photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead, first ran 19 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of Newsroom, and ran again two hours later during the noontime hour. Collins introduced Moorhead’s report and described the apparent steadfastness of the left-wing activists, without referencing their ideology: “Despite the summer heat, thousands of activists have turned out on Capitol Hill to rally for health care reform. In today’s ‘Health Care in Focus,’ photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead gives us an inside look at the work and determination of volunteers hoping to make a difference.”
Yet when reporting the story shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT today, "CNN Newsroom" anchor Heidi Collins neglected to mention Jefferson's Democratic Party affiliation.
What's more, ten minutes earlier, neither Collins nor CNN producer Mike Ahlers mentioned the party affiliation of another ethically compromised Democrat, admitted adulterer John Edwards. The former one-term senator is under investigation for payments made by his political action committee to a former mistress.
During this correction at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour, Sanchez related his version of what had transpired near the end of Monday’s Newsroom program during a segment with CNN political analyst Roland Martin: “Yesterday, in trying to defend the meaning of Senator John McCain’s statement about the Republican Party being in, what he called, ‘a deep hole’- those were John McCain’s word [sic]- with Hispanics, and needing to recruit more Hispanics, as he’s telling the Republican Party- I paraphrased to my colleague Roland Martin that McCain had said the party needs to recruit ‘competent’ Hispanics. I just want to be fair about this, right? He didn’t use the word ‘competent’ when he said that.”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez misrepresented Senator John McCain’s words from an interview with his colleague John King on Sunday about the GOP’s outreach with Latinos. He described the Arizona Republican as recommending that “the Republican Party needs to find competent Hispanics who can fit into the party,” when McCain never used the word “competent.”
Sanchez had CNN contributor Roland Martin aboard during the final two segments of the 3 pm Eastern hour, and first played a clip from the McCain interview from Sunday’s State of the Union program, where the defeated presidential candidate warned that “unless we reverse the trend of Hispanic voter registration, we have a very, very deep hole that we’ve got to come out of.” The anchor continued that McCain “went on to say, interestingly enough, that the Republican Party needs to find competent Hispanics who can fit into the party. They need to actually recruit them -- is the word he uses.” Martin interrupted Sanchez and asked for a clarification: “Did he actually say 'competent'?” The CNN anchor replied: “Competent, they have to be competent.”
CNN’s Drew Griffin accused GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx on Wednesday’s Newsroom program of using a “a calculated distortion” that is “gaining credence in certain back alleys of the blogosphere” about the Democrats’ health care “reform” plan, specifically about the issue of end-of-life care for seniors. But all he did to try to disprove it was provide a link to the specific part of the legislation in question.
Griffin began to cast doubt on the Republican’s statement from the very beginning of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. After playing a clip of Rep. Foxx, where she touted her party’s alternative proposal wouldn’t “put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government,” the CNN correspondent, filling in for anchor Rick Sanchez, promoted his upcoming segment on the remark, and first hinted that it was a false accusation on the part of the representative: “Um, are people really concerned that a new health care bill will let old people die? We’ll drill down on the facts, the fiction and possible misrepresentations swirling around the debate.”
CNN daytime anchor Tony Harris has a bit of a different perspective on the Henry Louis Gates arrest.
Around 12:31 PM, after the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition held a press conference defending Sgt. Crowley’s conduct in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Harris spoke to the CNN reporter on the scene, Don Lemon. Having been informed that one of the reasons the union decided to hold the press conference was a sinking morale among officers after President Obama’s remarks on the matter, Harris said:
On CNN Newsroom today, anchor Kyra Phillips interviewed Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele on the topic of President Obama's healthcare push. Part of the interview:
PHILLIPS: But whether government-run or private, I mean, no one's going to demand that you go one way or another. You're still going to have a choice.
STEELE: We don't -- maybe we do. I don't know. We haven't had that debate. I mean, you're talking about -- you're talking about the possibility of reorienting one-sixth of our economy with legislators who haven't even read the legislation. I mean, are they going to do to health care what they did with cap and trade? Are we going to get amendments at 4 a.m. in the morning and no one reads them? And then only after the Health and Human Services Department has to begin to implement this craziness, we're going to find out exactly what's in the bill?
Steele was exactly correct, of course. No one knows what Obama's healthcare program will ultimately mandate. That's because, like the economic stimulus, Obama left it in the hands of his Democratic comrades in Congress to put something together. There are currently three versions in the House and another two in the Senate.
[Update, 10:36 pm Eastern: audio and video links added below.]
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez devoted an entire segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program to his interviews of five “wise Latina” women from his hometown of Miami, including his own mother, about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though Sanchez did point out how many Americans disagreed with the nominee’s decision in the New Haven firefighters case, all of the women supported Sotomayor [audio clips from the segment are available here; the video clips are available at this link].
The anchor traveled to Miami, in his words, going “out of the D.C. Beltway and find some other Latina women with a smart take on one of their own.” He conducted the interviews around the dinner table in his mother’s house, or, in his mother’s case, in the adjourning kitchen. Sanchez gave a preview of the segment on the Wednesday edition of Newsroom while on location in the south Florida metropolis. Both days, the CNN anchor featured the clip from his interview of his mother, who, through her son’s translation (she’s originally from Cuba), voiced her support for the Supreme Court nominee and her identification with her. Also on both days, Sanchez made light of the now-infamous “wise Latina” label that Sotomayor had used in the past, and is now being scrutinized over.
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stuck with his analysis of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from late June- that the judge was “mainstream,” and that it would be difficult to use the reversal of her decision in the New Haven firefighters case and her “Wise Latina” comment against her.
When anchor Rick Sanchez asked if one of those issues was more problematic, Toobin replied, “I think it’s a combination....some Republicans will use [it] to paint a picture of her as kind of an activist...someone who is more interested in helping her community than in interpreting the law. That’s a very tough sell, but I think that’s the argument that they’re building towards.”
During an earlier appearance on the June 29, 2009 edition of the CNN program with anchor Heidi Collins, the very day that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Ricci/firefighters case, the analyst stated that the decision “will be a main focus of the attack against her by conservative senators, who will say that her views are out of step with the Supreme Court. Now, that will be a somewhat-tough argument to make, because...her views are clearly in-step with four justices on the Court, including the justice she will be replacing. So, it’s not like her position was so far out the mainstream on this case that you couldn’t even get a single justice to agree with her.”
[Update, 8 pm Eastern: Screen capture, video link to interview added.]
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips sympathized with an outed homosexual army officer on Tuesday’s Newsroom program. Phillips questioned Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach about his recent meeting with President Obama, and asked, “What else did you tell him, because I know this has weighed heavily on your heart for a very long time....What did he tell you that gives you...hope...that he is going to get rid of this?” [video of interview available here]
The anchor’s interview with Fehrenbach occurred a day after he attended a “celebrating LGBT Pride Month” event at the White House. He was the guest of the homosexual activist group the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which presses for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (as Rachel Maddow announced on her MSNBC show a week earlier), and is promoting a petition on the lieutenant colonel’s behalf. After noting the officer’s career and “nine medals for bravery as a combat pilot,” Phillips began with an enthusiastic question: “So there you were- every chance to say everything you ever wanted...to the president about the situation that you are fighting for, which is your job, and to get rid of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ How did you make your way to the president for a one-on-one?”