Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas condescendingly charged, on this weekend's edition of Inside Washington
, that opposition to the UAE ports deals resonated with the public “because it's something that simple idiots can understand.” After a bit of snickering from the other panelists, especially NPR's Nina Totenberg, Thomas zeroed in on talk radio, even though the most popular talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, supported the deal. Thomas called the subject matter “a classic for talk radio” because “you can get it on a bumper sticker.” Expressing his support for the UAE's purchase of the company operating several U.S. ports -- “We need Dubai as an ally. On balance, it would be better that the deal went through” -- Thomas proceeded to lament how “it was an easy one to demagogue on talk radio." As if much of the mainstream media didn't pile on too. (Uninterrupted transcript follows.) Video clip
(25 seconds): Real
(800 KB) or Windows Media
(900 KB). Plus, MP3 audio
(150 KB) UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh quoted this item
on his Monday, March 13 show: MP3 audio
(55 seconds/335 KB)
Joining Thomas on the panel: Totenberg plus syndicated columnists Mark Shields and Charles Krauthammer.
I caught the Thomas comment on the Friday night (march 10) airing of Inside Washington on WETA-TV channel 26, Washington, DC's PBS affiliate. The program is taped at ABC's Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where this edition will re-air Sunday morning at 10am after This Week
. Before that, it will also run Saturday night at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.
A brief transcript of the relevant exchange, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Fill-in host Kathleen Matthews, a WJLA-TV anchor who is the wife of MSNBC's Chris Matthews, set up Thomas: "Evan, nothing has lit up the telephones on talk radio more than this Dubai ports deal. Why did it resonate so much with the American people?"
Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek: "Because it's something that simple idiots can understand [other panelists snicker, especially Nina Totenberg]. I mean, it was an idiotic issue, and it is a classic for talk radio. You can get it on a bumper sticker. But I'm with the elites on this one. It was really, it was ridiculous. We need Dubai as an ally. On balance, it would be better that the deal went through, but it was an easy one to demagogue on talk radio."