Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell to appear on FNC's Kelly File at 9:20 p.m. EST

ABC Touts 'Huge Impact' of Spending, Credits Dow Up to Home Plan --3/5/2009


1. ABC Touts 'Huge Impact' of Spending, Credits Dow Up to Home Plan
Two weeks after ABC championed how the "stimulus" would enable mayors to create many jobs, World News on Wednesday night trumpeted how "the government is now ready to start writing the checks to get people working again in states and cities across the land." Reporter David Muir touted how "with hundreds of millions of dollars in the pipeline from Washington, contractors are hiring now" and so "in the quiet college town of North Manchester, Indiana, 26 people are expected to be hired to build a water treatment plant. Economists say 26 people in a small town of 6,400 can have a huge impact." Muir's one and only expert, economist Stephen Leeb, then saw a beneficial ripple effect: "It's not just 26 people. It's 26 people that are getting more money. Those people are spending money at, say, the corner store, the corner drugstore, maybe buying an extra shirt for their kids; and the people that are receiving that money, in the stores, are also going to spend their money. So you have this kind of ripple effect that can spill all the way through the town." At the top of the newscast, anchor Charles Gibson credited President Obama's home mortgage bailout plan with causing a stock market up tick, citing a "ray of hope: The government outlines how it will help nine million homeowners avoid foreclosure. And the stock market responds positively."

2. Matt Lauer Excoriates Steele for Not Condemning Limbaugh
According to the Politico, Democratic strategists, months ago, planned to paint Rush Limbaugh as a bad guy to hurt the GOP and on Wednesday, the Today show followed that blueprint as Matt Lauer pilloried RNC Chairman Michael Steele over his flap with the talk show host: "Doesn't Rush Limbaugh put people like you in a very tough position? If you agree with him publicly it sounds like you're rooting against the economic recovery and yet if you disagree with him and call him an 'entertainer' and say he's provocative and sometimes what he says is 'ugly,' you're put in the position where you gotta run and apologize to him?" Lauer repeatedly misinterpreted Limbaugh's comment that he wants Obama's to fail, never clarifying that Limbaugh is rooting against his policies precisely because they will hurt the economy as Lauer presented the false choice of, you're for Obama or you're against the economic recovery, to Steele: "Mr. Steele, let me try it this way, there are as many Republicans out there as well as Democrats who are unemployed right now. People are hurting across this country. Republicans, as I mention, like Democrats are losing their homes, they're unable to send their kids to school. Do you think those Republicans want the policies of Barack Obama to fail right now?"

3. MSNBC's Shuster Badgers Ron Paul: 'Even You' Won't Slam Rush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue host David Shuster on Tuesday repeatedly pestered Texas Congressman Ron Paul to publicly attack Rush Limbaugh and seemed frustrated when "even" the outspoken representative wouldn't give him what he wanted. After wondering "why it's so difficult" for Republicans to disagree with the talk show host's assertion that he wants Barack Obama's policies to fail, Shuster repeated the same question over and over. He complained, "How can we have that argument [about other issues], when even you, Ron Paul, are not willing to take this opportunity to say when Rush Limbaugh says that every Republican wants President Obama to fail, Rush Limbaugh is wrong?"

4. Matthews Accuses Limbaugh of 'Preposterous Pomposity'
On Wednesday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews used several different animal references to depict the battle between Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh as he likened the fight to wrestling with "a walrus," and getting into "a peeing match with a skunk," and claimed Limbaugh thinks he is Charlie Brown's dog: "He's Snoopy! He thinks he's taking on the Red Baron." Matthews devoted several segments to the Democratic strategy of attacking Limbaugh and opened the show with the following monologue/diatribe: "Leading off tonight. Pomposity on parade! Not since Snoopy challenged the Red Baron in the Peanuts cartoon have we witnessed an episode of such preposterous pomposity. Rush Limbaugh today challenged the President of the United States to come and debate him in his Palm Beach radio booth. What's the radio man thinking of?"

5. CNN Uses Unlabeled Left-Wing Group to 'Fact Check' Mike Pence
On Wednesday's Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to "fact check" Representative Mike Pence's appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn't follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.


ABC Touts 'Huge Impact' of Spending,
Credits Dow Up to Home Plan

Two weeks after ABC championed how the "stimulus" would enable mayors to create many jobs, World News on Wednesday night trumpeted how "the government is now ready to start writing the checks to get people working again in states and cities across the land." Reporter David Muir touted how "with hundreds of millions of dollars in the pipeline from Washington, contractors are hiring now" and so "in the quiet college town of North Manchester, Indiana, 26 people are expected to be hired to build a water treatment plant. Economists say 26 people in a small town of 6,400 can have a huge impact." Muir's one and only expert, economist Stephen Leeb, then saw a beneficial ripple effect:
"It's not just 26 people. It's 26 people that are getting more money. Those people are spending money at, say, the corner store, the corner drugstore, maybe buying an extra shirt for their kids; and the people that are receiving that money, in the stores, are also going to spend their money. So you have this kind of ripple effect that can spill all the way through the town."

At the top of the newscast, anchor Charles Gibson, unlike CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams, credited President Obama's home mortgage bailout plan with causing a stock market up tick, citing a "ray of hope: The government outlines how it will help nine million homeowners avoid foreclosure. And the stock market responds positively."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For the February 18 item, "ABC Champions How 'Stimulus' Will Enable Mayors to Create Job," check: www.mrc.org

Gibson teased the Wednesday, March 4 World News: "Welcome to World News. In the headlines, ray of hope: The government outlines how it will help nine million homeowners avoid foreclosure. And the stock market responds positively."

Gibson opened: "Good evening. If you live in your house and are struggling with your mortgage, the government has got a $75 billion plan for you. And maybe, just maybe those $75 billion will bring stability to everyone's home price. The announcement of details of how the program will work seemed to hearten the stock markets today. The Dow industrials rose 150 points, and the NASDAQ was up 33."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcripts of the story on the benefits of all the spending:

GIBSON: And the mortgage program, of course, is just one part of the President's overall economic plan, which is centered on the giant stimulus package he signed two weeks ago. Well, the government is now ready to start writing the checks to get people working again in states and cities across the land, and they're more than ready to cash them. They have plenty of projects ready to go. Here's David Muir.

DAVID MUIR: In cities and towns across this country, in order to be shovel ready, they're getting the workers ready.
BRIAN MAY, INDUSTRY PEOPLE GROUP: They can create a job alert.
MUIR: Brian May posts jobs online for contractors across Iowa. With hundreds of millions of dollars in the pipeline from Washington, contractors are hiring now.
MAY: One company, in particular, will be looking for 30 to 40 workers this year. And those could be anyone from flaggers to laborers, crane operators, dump truck drivers, foremen.
MUIR: In just the five weeks they've been posting jobs, they've already heard from 60 contractors, all looking to hire. In Iowa alone, they normally spend $550 million a year on road projects. They're now banking on an additional $380 million. In Silver Spring, Maryland, this construction company has called back 59 people in just the last two weeks, 59 workers who'd been let go. They're hoping to call back nearly 300 more. Their first project, repairing this Maryland road. It's been 17 years since anything's been done to fix it. In the quiet college town of North Manchester, Indiana, 26 people are expected to be hired to build a water treatment plant. Economists say 26 people in a small town of 6,400 can have a huge impact.
STEPHEN LEEB, ECONOMIC ANALYST: It's not just 26 people. It's 26 people that are getting more money. Those people are spending money at, say, the corner store, the corner drugstore, maybe buying an extra shirt for their kids; and the people that are receiving that money, in the stores, are also going to spend their money. So you have this kind of ripple effect that can spill all the way through the town.
MUIR: In Elkhart, Indiana, home to one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, the mayor confirmed today that he knows of $9 million in road work already on the way. This worker told us he'd take anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm not particular about what I do.
MUIR: And in Columbus, Ohio, 27 police recruits cut just days before they joined the force will now report to work.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: We start work this Sunday, Sunday evening. I specifically start Sunday evening.
MUIR: Back to work, in days. Tonight, the Department of Transportation in Washington says in just the past two days, it's greenlighted $1.5 billion in road work across 20 states. They've got $25 billion more for roads and bridges, and, Charlie, they're poring through requests from governors across the nation tonight.

Matt Lauer Excoriates Steele for Not
Condemning Limbaugh

According to the Politico, Democratic strategists, months ago, planned to paint Rush Limbaugh as a bad guy to hurt the GOP and on Wednesday, the Today show followed that blueprint as Matt Lauer pilloried RNC Chairman Michael Steele over his flap with the talk show host: "Doesn't Rush Limbaugh put people like you in a very tough position? If you agree with him publicly it sounds like you're rooting against the economic recovery and yet if you disagree with him and call him an 'entertainer' and say he's provocative and sometimes what he says is 'ugly,' you're put in the position where you gotta run and apologize to him?"

Lauer repeatedly misinterpreted Limbaugh's comment that he wants Obama's to fail, never clarifying that Limbaugh is rooting against his policies precisely because they will hurt the economy as Lauer presented the false choice of, you're for Obama or you're against the economic recovery, to Steele:
"Mr. Steele, let me try it this way, there are as many Republicans out there as well as Democrats who are unemployed right now. People are hurting across this country. Republicans, as I mention, like Democrats are losing their homes, they're unable to send their kids to school. Do you think those Republicans want the policies of Barack Obama to fail right now?"

Lauer began the March 4 Today show by greeting viewers with news that the GOP was in dire trouble due to Limbaugh: "Good morning. Who's the boss? The GOP facing a major image problem. Its leaders quick to attack controversial comments made by Rush Limbaugh and even quicker to apologize to him, as our new poll shows the party's rating has sunk to a new all-time low. What's going on and how will they turn things around? We'll ask RNC chairman Michael Steele."

[This item by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After Lauer noted a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows: "Only 26 percent of voters have positive feelings toward the party. That's an all-time low," NBC's political director Chuck Todd came on to discuss the GOP's unpopularity with a report headlined with the graphic: "Republican Rumble, GOP Infighting Hurts Party Support," and relayed that, "The White House is borderline giddy about the entire episode," between Steele and Limbaugh.

The following is a complete transcript of the intro, Todd set-up piece and then full interview with Steele as it was aired on the March 4 Today show:

MATT LAUER: Good morning. Who's the boss? The GOP facing a major image problem. Its leaders quick to attack controversial comments made by Rush Limbaugh and even quicker to apologize to him, as our new poll shows the party's rating has sunk to a new all-time low. What's going on and how will they turn things around? We'll ask RNC chairman Michael Steele.

...

MEREDITH VIEIRA: No secret the Republican Party is in turmoil right now and there are new poll numbers out this morning that show that voters basically feel the same way.
MATT LAUER: That's right. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 26 percent of voters have positive feelings toward the party. That's an all-time low. Then there's the ongoing debate over conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh and the power and influence he has over Republican voters. RNC chairman Michael Steele got into it with the talk show host this week before, later apologizing to him. We're gonna talk to him about that and the future of the GOP coming up in a live interview in just a couple of minutes.

...

MATT LAUER: But first to the state of the Republican Party. Chuck Todd is NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent. Chuck, good morning to you.
[On screen headline: "Republican Rumble, GOP Infighting Hurts Party Support"]
CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt. Well, you know, after two straight election drubbings, the Republicans are hoping that this might finally be bottom. Just six weeks after being reduced to the role of a weak opposition party, the Republicans continue to sink. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Republicans have seen what was an already all-time low rating in December drop even lower. Just before President Bush's re-election in 2004, almost half the country had a positive feeling toward the Republicans. That number is just 26 percent today. Republican pollster Bill McInturff, though, sees a silver lining.
BILL MCINTURFF: You can't start the building until you hit the bottom. So, one piece of happy news is, believe me, this is it. We're going up from here.
TODD: And as President Obama enjoys high approval ratings, 68 percent have positive personal feelings for the new president and a clear majority have confidence in his policies, that popularity is rubbing off on the Democratic Party. Nearly half of those surveyed believe Democrats will do a better job of pulling the country out of the recession. That number is just 20 percent for the Republicans. Compounding the party's dismal poll ratings, Republicans are fighting among themselves.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: What is so strange about being honest in saying I want Barack Obama to fail?
TODD: An intra-party feud broke out this week between Republican chairman Michael Steele and talk radio mogul Rush Limbaugh.
MICHAEL STEELE: Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh his, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes it's incendiary, yes, it's, it's ugly.
LIMBAUGH: When I go out there and quote, unquote, "do the dirty work," they try to cut me off at the knees. They're opposed to the Obama agenda too. They are just too gutless to say so.
TODD: Steele has since apologized. And the White House is borderline giddy about the entire episode.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I was a little surprised at the speed in which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC apologized to the head of Republican Party.
TODD OVER LAUGHTER IN THE STUDIO: Well Matt there is a little bit of good news. It's still 608 days until the next election. So they do have some time to get it together. But it's been a tough start.
LAUER: Don't put the clock on already, alright Chuck?
TODD: Hey c'mon it's the political director part of my title that I love.
LAUER: That's your job. Chuck thanks very much. Michael Steele is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Steele it's good to have you here.
MICHAEL STEELE: It's great to be with you Matt. How are you doing?
LAUER: I'm, I'm good. Thanks. You had this job now for little more than a month and already you are in the white hot spotlight.
MICHAEL STEELE: Yeah.
LAUER: You found yourself in a back and forth with one of the-
STEELE: Yeah.
LAUER: -the conservative voices of your party, Rush Limbaugh. So let me get right to that. Rush Limbaugh says it very bluntly, "I want him to fail." Referring to Barack Obama. Do you agree with that?
STEELE: Look my job is to build my party after, after a tough two election cycles. My job is to try to craft a message for our party and work with the Senate and the House leadership to work with our governors across the country and build us back. I mean, you've seen the numbers. We're at 26 percent. I've got to try to rebuild the, the front and the back and the top and the bottom of this party and that's what I'm going to do.
LAUER: But let me ask you, but let me ask you as you try to rebuild it. Go ahead.
STEELE: And so, let me, now let me just make my point. My point is that there are lot of opinions out there. Some come from people who are notable, some from people who are not so notable. And my job is to try to balance that. I wasn't that effective at it this week but you know I've been 30 days on the job and we'll get, you know we'll move forward. And I, that's what I'm about at this point.
LAUER: I guess, but I'm asking your personal opinion. Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh when he says, it's common sense that as a conservative he wants the policies of Barack Obama to fail?
STEELE: Well my personal opinion doesn't matter in this. My pers-, my job as the RNC chairman is to take into account all the various views out there within our party and, and try to put together a strategy and a team that's gonna help us win elections. I'm focused on the, the 20th congressional district in New York. I'm focused on gubernatorial races in New Jersey and, and, and Virginia. So we've got a lot of work to do. The polls show it. I mean I'm not surprised by that poll. I mean we got a drubbing in the last two elections. So we've got a lot of building to do and along the way they'll be some hiccups. We'll get through the hiccups and keep going.
LAUER: It seems as though Mr. Limbaugh is taunting Republicans like you though, saying, "Look they all agree with me, they're just too gutless to say it." Doesn't, doesn't Rush Limbaugh put people like you in a very tough position? If you agree with him publicly it sounds like you're rooting against the economic recovery and yet if you disagree with him and call him an "entertainer" and say he's provocative and sometimes what he says is "ugly," you're put in the position where you gotta run and apologize to him.
STEELE: Look, that's the nature of this job, baby. Everyone puts you in one position or the other, and you just have to work through it and keep focused on your mission. My mission right now is to tell the American people what's happening to their wallets and explain to them in real terms the cost of this, of this stimulus package, the cost of the excessive spending. And along the way, my opponents, Democrats and even a few others out there, will try to mix us up and get us off track, but my goal is to stay focused on trying to get us in a direction where we can win and have something important to say to the American people.
LAUER: Right.
STEELE: This is a great sideshow distraction. You know there's a lot of popcorn going around for, for folks who are watching this and enjoying it. But I've got to try to stay focused on trying to put a message-
LAUER: Let me-
STEELE: -out there that's gonna move us forward.
LAUER: Mr. Steele, let me try it this way, there are as many Republicans out there as well as Democrats who are unemployed right now. People are hurting across this country. Republicans, as I mention, like Democrats are losing their homes, they're unable to send their kids to school. Do you think those Republicans want the policies of Barack Obama to fail right now?
STEELE: I don't think the, I don't think that Republicans, Democrats or independents or anyone wants policies that redistributes the wealth of this country, wants policies that nationalizes our health care and our financial systems, wants policies that are pushing us in the direction in which we are more dependent on government than focusing on how we energize small businesses, get credit and, and capital flowing into the markets again. So, those people who actually create the wealth, those people who will employ the folks who've just lost their jobs, Republicans, independents and Democrats alike, can do that, and that's the small businesses of this country.
LAUER: Right.
STEELE: That's what I'm trying to get done. And you know, this has been a great little distraction. That was yesterday's news. Let's move forward. I've been in the job 30 days, and as, as the political director said, I've got 608 more days to go, so-
LAUER: There are a lot, there are a lot of commentators out there, Mr. Steele, who say that Republicans have found their voice on this issue and standing up in opposition to the economic policies of Barack Obama, but without control of the House, the Senate or the White House, how are you gonna use that voice to say something other than no?
STEELE: Well that's, you know Matt, that's a very good question, and it's one of the challenges that is presented to the minority party is to, is to get heard. And I think that, you know, some of the things that we've been trying to, to draw out there talking and focusing on the impact of the stimulus bills. You know within this stimulus package, in this omnibus bill, for example, you're talking about 122 federal accounts that double dip, that are taking from the pot twice. That increases the costs. Little things that make a big difference for people are what we're trying to get conveyed. I know the Senate and House leadership have put together packages on housing, put together packages on the economy as a whole, and the problem is getting the Democrats who talk about bipartisanship to actually take those policies and try to integrate them into what the President's agenda is.
LAUER: Alright.
STEELE: That hasn't happened yet, and we're gonna keep pushing and trying to make as much noise as we can in a positive direction.
LAUER: Alright Michael Steele. You having fun in this job?
STEELE: I am actually. You know it's been a crazy 30 days. There's no doubt about that. But we're building slowly. Let's see where we are in 30 or 60 or 90 days from now. I think we'll be making a difference Matt, I really do.
LAUER: You have, you have an open invitation to come back in 30, 60, or 90 days. We'd like to have you here and thanks for spending time with us this morning.
STEELE: You got it bud. I'm looking forward to it.
LAUER: Alright, great.
To read the Politico.com article that revealed the Democratic strategy to attack Limbaugh see: www.politico.com

MSNBC's Shuster Badgers Ron Paul: 'Even
You' Won't Slam Rush

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue host David Shuster on Tuesday repeatedly pestered Texas Congressman Ron Paul to publicly attack Rush Limbaugh and seemed frustrated when "even" the outspoken representative wouldn't give him what he wanted. After wondering "why it's so difficult" for Republicans to disagree with the talk show host's assertion that he wants Barack Obama's policies to fail, Shuster repeated the same question over and over. He complained, "How can we have that argument [about other issues], when even you, Ron Paul, are not willing to take this opportunity to say when Rush Limbaugh says that every Republican wants President Obama to fail, Rush Limbaugh is wrong?"

He continued, "How can we have the next conversation if you're not willing to have that first one?" Paul, refusing to allow Shuster to guide the debate, snapped back, "Because you want to control the semantics and the definitions." He added, "And, you know, in the media you like to personalize and then have a fight going on and that's the way politics works." The conversation didn't seem to be going the way Shuster had intended. Later, he derided, "It just seems, congressman, like so many Republicans are terrified of Rush Limbaugh. We're just trying to explore that."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Clearly, Shuster saw the unpredictable Paul as, perhaps, his best shot at finding a Republican willing to attack Limbaugh. He teased the segment in the show open by asking, "Is any Republican willing to criticize Limbaugh on anything? Perhaps Congressman Ron Paul. We'll talk to him live." He led off by challenging, "Congressman Paul, do you and every Republican want President Obama to fail?" And while Paul was more than willing to critique the talk show host for his support of the PATRIOT Act or for not hitting former President Bush hard enough on spending, he wasn't willing to be the Republican who would trash the radio star. At one point, Paul referred to Limbaugh as a "good conservative."

However, Shuster, with dogged determination, kept returning to the same question. After saying that he wanted to be "absolutely clear," Shuster interrogated, "So, when Rush Limbaugh says that every Republican wants President Obama to fail, are you willing to take this opportunity to say on that point, and even that very narrow point if you want, Rush Limbaugh is wrong?"

A transcript of the March 3 segment, which aired at 6:05pm, follows:

6pm EST tease:
DAVID SHUSTER: Is any Republican willing to criticize Limbaugh on anything? Perhaps Congressman Ron Paul. We'll talk to him live.

6:05
DAVID SHUSTER: Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul joins us now live from Washington. And congressman, let's get right to the heart of this. Rush Limbaugh said the following. Quote, "The dirty little secret is that every Republican in this country wants Obama to fail but none of them have the guts to say so." Congressman Paul, do you and every Republican want President Obama to fail?
CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL (R-TX): No, I don't even think of it in those terms. I want nobody to have credibility on bad ideas. If they are promoting socialism and welfarism and totalitarianism and foreign intervention, I don't want that to be successful. But, I want the message to be that liberty works, that free markets works, sound money works. And therefore, I take it out of the context of personalities. I think the personalities are irrelevant. It`s only the issues that count, it's only the ideas that count, it's our philosophy that counts. And I've been wanting to make the case-
SHUSTER: Fair point. Well, fair point. But let's just be absolutely clear. So, when Rush Limbaugh says that every Republican wants President Obama to fail, are you willing to take this opportunity to say on that point, and even that very narrow point if you want, Rush Limbaugh is wrong?
PAUL: No. But I would - I'd be quite willing to say when you hear Obama say what his goals are, I want him to be successful. But-
SHUSTER: Right. But, I'm asking about Rush Limbaugh.
PAUL: I don't even think about him. Because I don't- I don't-
SHUSTER: [laughs] Congressman, we're thinking about him right now. Everybody's thinking about him. Why is it so difficult- Why is it so difficult to say, hey, when Rush Limbaugh says, 'Look, we could all agree or disagree that maybe the President's policies are destined to fail.' That's a point of view. But when Rush Limbaugh says 'I want President Obama to fail,' why can't Republicans say, Rush Limbaugh is wrong when he says that?
PAUL: I think a few has. And I think it's a matter of semantics and I think we dwell too much on the semantics rather than dealing with the real issues. Why don't we ask questions like I'd like to. If I had a reasonable intellectual debate with Rush Limbaugh, I would ask him, why doesn't he stand up more for civil liberties? Why doesn't he explain why he has doesn't- why he has supported the PATRIOT Act?
SHUSTER: Congressman, that's such a great point. I think you would win that argument. But here's my point: How can we have that argument, when even you, Ron Paul, are not willing to take this opportunity to say when Rush Limbaugh says that every Republican wants President Obama to fail, Rush Limbaugh is wrong. How can we have the next conversation if you're not willing to have that first one?
PAUL: Because you want to control the semantics and the definitions. Yes, he's wrong. If he- he doesn't have the same understanding as somebody else. But he's absolutely wrong. And you can't put your definition on a particular word about failure. I want- I want those goals to be successful. Yet, I don't want his philosophy to be successful. So, it's two different things. And, you know, in the media you like to personalize and then have a fight going on and that's the way politics works. But, I would much rather talk about, you know, why Rush Limbaugh doesn't support my position on looking into the Federal Reserve and being able to audit the Federal Reserve. Now, that's an important issue. Not whether or not I can say something that is confrontational to Rush Limbaugh. I think philosophically I have confrontation. Because, I was disappointed with Rush because he is a good conservative, yet he hardly said hardly boo against George Bush. He supported all that big spending. Did he complain about George Bush? Did he complain about all those wars that were going on that caused us so much trouble? That's the kind of issues that I want to talk about. And I will be quite willing to challenge Rush Limbaugh on those issues. But just to pick out a word or two and say, he is wrong, I don't think that solves any problems.
SHUSTER: Here's the related issue. In terms of solving problems including these very important issues that you raise, is Rush Limbaugh the head of the Republican Party right now?
PAUL: No. No. I mean, I don't know who-
SHUSTER: He's not?
PAUL: How could he be a head of a party? I mean, he has a lot to say.
SHUSTER: When Republicans are so quick to apologize to him as Michael Steele has, when Senator Barrasso was on air last night, wasn't even willing to say Rush Limbaugh was wrong. Wouldn't go as far as you have. It just seems, congressman, like so many Republicans are terrified of Rush Limbaugh. We're just trying to explore that.
PAUL: He's very influential. But they shouldn't be terrified of him, you know. Why should they be? But they don't have any answers. They don't have an explanation on why the party is shrinking, and how you can reach out, how you can reach people who care about personal liberties. How we take our philosophy and translate it into real policy. We talk about personal liberties and balanced budgets. The Republican Party lost credibility because they didn't do any of that. It violated the privacy of individuals, it flaunted the spending and ran up these huge deficits. Got us into wars that are not winnable. And those are the real issues. That's why it's been translated into personality squabbles and who's running what because they're really not talking about why the Republican Party is a minority party and why they lost. And I think, as long as they do that, they're not going to solve their problem and we will continue to dwell on Steele versus Rush Limbaugh. And quite frankly, I don't think that's a relevant debate. I think the debate ought to be our foreign policy. Why don't we have a foreign policy of non-intervention and why don't we deal with the Federal Reserve?
SHUSTER: Congressman- Congressman- Congressman, you raise some very important issues. We always appreciate having you on. Good of you to join us tonight in the midst of all this. We appreciate it.
PAUL: Thank you.

Matthews Accuses Limbaugh of 'Preposterous
Pomposity'

On Wednesday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews used several different animal references to depict the battle between Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh as he likened the fight to wrestling with "a walrus," and getting into "a peeing match with a skunk," and claimed Limbaugh thinks he is Charlie Brown's dog: "He's Snoopy! He thinks he's taking on the Red Baron."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Matthews devoted several segments to the Democratic strategy of attacking Limbaugh and opened the show with the following monologue/diatribe: "Leading off tonight. Pomposity on parade! Not since Snoopy challenged the Red Baron in the Peanuts cartoon have we witnessed an episode of such preposterous pomposity. Rush Limbaugh today challenged the President of the United States to come and debate him in his Palm Beach radio booth. What's the radio man thinking of? What were the Democratic wags thinking of when they invited themselves and the President into this walrus wrestle? Was it poll data that convinced them of the smart politics in matching themselves against the man with the mic, passing over such dashing conservatives of Congress like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell? However it started it's come to this to what happened today, to this ultimate jumping of the shark."

And before Matthews concluded his show he had one final cheap shot at the conservative talk show host's expense: "We're gonna have an award tomorrow night, a 'Hardball Award,' tomorrow night. And I think everybody who's watching knows who's gonna get it for dominating the news the last week. Somebody who's never been elected to anything, has no responsibilities on this planet except talking. Who has no duties whatsoever except to talk. Has dominated the world stage. He has dominated the debate with the White House. He has made himself bigger than even he was before and I mean in every way bigger. We're gonna give a 'Hardball Award,' tomorrow night to somebody really big, in more ways than one."

The following are just some of the Limbaugh tidbits from the March 4 edition of Hardball:

MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight. Pomposity on parade! Not since Snoopy challenged the Red Baron in the Peanuts cartoon have we witnessed an episode of such preposterous pomposity. Rush Limbaugh today challenged the President of the United States to come and debate him in his Palm Beach radio booth. What's the radio man thinking of? What were the Democratic wags thinking of when they invited themselves and the President into this walrus wrestle? Was it poll data that convinced them of the smart politics in matching themselves against the man with the mic, passing over such dashing conservatives of Congress like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell? However it started it's come to this to what happened today, to this ultimate jumping of the shark.

...

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: The President is gonna encounter real opposition to his agenda among Republicans. What they want to do is spin that opposition to appear as if it's coming from nothing but the nutty Limbaugh section of this party. If they can associate it with that, then that will help them overcome that opposition.

...

MATTHEWS: I tell ya it's Snoopy and the Red Baron, there's no doubt about it. Nothing like it. He's up there flying around with his goggles on and his hat. He's Snoopy! He thinks he's taking on the Red Baron. I'm not gonna stop with that one.

...

MATTHEWS: Here's Rush Limbaugh, I compare him to Snoopy thinking he's fighting the Red Baron up in the skies in World War I. This pomposity, this notion that the President of the United States is really gonna come down to your radio booth, down in Palm Beach and sit there and talk to you because you invited him in this sort of macho man number is only not funny to the people who call themselves "Dittoheads." I mean they take this guy seriously, don't they? I mean they really believe this is a serious, sort of challenge. Throwing down the gauntlet or whatever.

...

MATTHEWS GOING TO BREAK: I think the old line is don't get in a peeing match with a skunk, right?

...

MATTHEWS CONCLUDING SHOW: We're gonna have an award tomorrow night, a "Hardball Award," tomorrow night. And I think everybody who's watching knows who's gonna get it for dominating the news the last week. Somebody who's never been elected to anything, has no responsibilities on this planet except talking. Who has no duties whatsoever except to talk. Has dominated the world stage. He has dominated the debate with the White House. He has made himself bigger than even he was before and I mean in every way bigger. We're gonna give a "Hardball Award," tomorrow night to somebody really big, in more ways than one.

CNN Uses Unlabeled Left-Wing Group to
'Fact Check' Mike Pence

On Wednesday's Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to "fact check" Representative Mike Pence's appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn't follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.

Before introducing Burns, Sanchez played a clip of Representative Pence stating that he fought President Bush "on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I'm going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts." The CNN anchor then made his introduction of the Media Matters president, omitting the left-wing stance of Burns' organization: "Eric Burns is joining us now. He's with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I've been called."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sanchez first asked Burns if Pence was "telling the truth" in his answer to Sanchez's question about Republicans supposedly "feigning so much outrage now after essentially rubber stamping so much of the spending that went on during the Bush/Cheney years." The Media Matters president included a standard liberal criticism of the Bush administration's tax cuts in his answer:

BURNS: You know, I'll tell you, it's a little bit of a half-truth there. We do know Congressman Pence, and he certainly did vote, you know, against education funding, as he said. You know, he voted against SCHIP funding....but I'll tell you the part that you didn't hear is that he voted for Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut, that actually destroyed the surplus that we had coming out of the Clinton years. He also voted to make those tax cuts permanent, helping to create the largest deficit in American history."

Burns later used another Democratic talking point against Republicans in his criticism of Representative Pence:

SANCHEZ: Did he [Rep. Pence] ever show signs that he was that outraged before -- when some of these decisions were being made -- that, as I said earlier in this newscast, were even bigger earmark totals?
BURNS: Absolutely not. I mean, this is -- this is pandemic of the entire conservative establishment and the Republican party. I don't know if, you know, if they've got amnesia or if they're schizophrenic now --possibly both -- but I was working in Congress for much of the Bush presidency and under Tom DeLay and, you know, there was a lot of spending going on. There was a lot of Enron accounting, hiding war -- you know, wartime expenditures, pulling it out of the budget. There was, you know, the worst ethics and corruption scandal that we saw since Watergate. And so, this notion that there's some sort of accountability that's going to be brought to bear by Chairman Pence and other Republicans -- I just don't think holds water.

Burns did indeed work in Congress, but he didn't mention that he worked as the communications director for Democratic Representative Louise M. Slaughter of New York, and before that as the primary spokesman and a senior adviser to another Democrat, Representative Chris Bell from Texas. Sanchez did not bother asking Burns about these past occupations, which are mentioned in Burns' short bio on the Media Matters website. In addition to this, Burns made $500 donations to the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns in February 2008.

For Media Matters' short biography of Burns, see their Staff/Advisors page at: mediamatters.org

For more information on Burns' political donations, see Huffington Post's Fundrace site: fundrace.huffingtonpost.com

At the end of the segment, the Media Matters president twice complimented Sanchez: "I want to congratulate you for being one of the few folks in the media that is actually willing to do these fact check segments, to challenge folks on this stuff.... [You're] doing a great job."

This isn't the first time a Media Matters employee has appeared on Sanchez's show. Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow for the organization, appeared on the February 6 edition of Newsroom. Sanchez introduced as merely the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush," and touted the liberal claim in his book that the mainstream media went easy on the Bush administration during its early years.

The full transcript of Sanchez's interview of Burns, which began 29 minutes of the 3 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday's Newsroom:

RICK SANCHEZ: Here's something we've been trying to get at for a while, and I think it's a perfectly legitimate question. Why are Republicans feigning so much outrage now after essentially rubber stamping so much of the spending that went on during the Bush/Cheney years? It's a legitimate question, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, because it's going on right now and it's in the news. I want you to listen. I asked this question of almost every Republican I talk to on this show, and I asked it yesterday of Mike Pence when he was on talking to us. Here's -- here's the exchange that we had. Let's listen to it.
SANCHEZ (from taped interview): To quote, Congressman, one of your own, you spent like drunken sailors for eight years in this country. Why weren't you making these arguments then? Why weren't you holding the throat of these guys who wanted to spend a lot of your money -- AKA, let's see, I think the names were Bush and Cheney? Did you know them?
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE PENCE: Yeah, Rick, I knew them well, and you don't know me very well if you don't know I fought my president on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I'm going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts.
SANCHEZ (live): Eric Burns is joining us now. He's with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I've been called. Let's -- let's be fair to him [Representative Pence]. He was on our air yesterday. I asked him that question directly, and he said, you know what, you don't know me very well Mr. Sanchez, because I did challenge President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Is he telling the truth?
ERIC BURNS, MEDIA MATTERS: Well, thanks, Rick, for having me on. You know, I'll tell you, it's a little bit of a half-truth there. We do know Congressman Pence, and he certainly did vote, you know, against education funding, as he said. You know, he voted against SCHIP funding-
SANCHEZ: So he was telling -- so he's right? He did -- he did challenge a Republican administration, albeit as a Republican?
BURNS: On just a few things, but I'll tell you the part that you didn't hear is that he voted for Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut, that actually destroyed the surplus that we had coming out of the Clinton years. He also voted to make those tax cuts permanent, helping to create the largest deficit in American history --
SANCHEZ: So he went along -- so he went along with the gang, which, by the way, the gang included just about everybody back then, Democrats and Republicans, to be fair. But he did tend to go along with the gang back then, but he wasn't a leader?
BURNS: Well, he wasn't a leader back then, but he certainly went along with the gang, and I do know that he joined [Representative] Jeff Flake in opposing a few earmarks -- opposing some earmarks for others. But in this recent transportation bill that came through the House, he got two earmarks of his own. So to suggest that he's out there championing the fight against earmarks, I don't think is really -- is really accurate or genuine.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know, I was watching -- in fact, just before talking to you, I went on the website and I read his speech on -- that he gave at CPAC -- strong, very pro-capitalism speech --
BURNS: Sure.
SANCHEZ: In fact, I'm going to quote him here. He said, 'they're writing the obituary on capitalism.' I mean, that sounds like a guy who's outraged about what's going on in our government now. Did he ever show signs that he was that outraged before -- when some of these decisions were being made -- that, as I said earlier in this newscast, were even bigger earmark totals?
BURNS: Absolutely not. I mean, this is -- this is pandemic of the entire conservative establishment and the Republican party. I don't know if, you know, if they've got amnesia or if they're schizophrenic now --possibly both -- but I was working in Congress for much of the Bush presidency and under Tom DeLay and, you know, there was a lot of spending going on. There was a lot of Enron accounting, hiding war -- you know, wartime expenditures, pulling it out of the budget. There was, you know, the worst ethics and corruption scandal that we saw since Watergate. And so, this notion that there's some sort of accountability that's going to be brought to bear by Chairman Pence and other Republicans -- I just don't think holds water. And I think it's also, Rick, worth noting that as the chairman of the House [Republican] conference -- you know, Mr. Pence does have some influence in these matters in this omnibus spending bill that the House just passed. Forty percent of the earmarks were put in by Republicans.
SANCHEZ: Let's go to the Twitter board real quick just before I let you go. Here's Jen Grassey -- she says, as she watches our newscast, 'Pence's shameful expression says it all. He should just sit down and get out of the way. Why pretend to be innocent?' I'm not sure that's fair. Let's go to one at the very top there, Robert. You see it? The one that says 'Renatanicole' or something like that -- whatever: 'I want to see the line item veto put in place. I hope this can get some real legs on it.' Is that a good comment? Is that -- let me ask you, is that something that we should do -- a line item veto?
BURNS: A line item veto? Well, I'll tell you what -- I'll leave that to Congress to decide. You know, I fought -- I personally, before going to Media Matters, fought for ethics reform for three years in Congress and -- so I support anything to clean up the process. But I'll tell you, Rick -- I want to congratulate you for being one of the few folks in the media that is actually willing to do these fact check segments, to challenge folks on this stuff, because in this economic economic crisis we're facing, it affects every American, and it affects every American family. We just recently did a study at Media Matters showing that, you know, during the stimulus debate, over 700 interviews -- had on cable television and Sunday talk shows, only six percent of the guests were actually economists. And I think Americans have a right to know what's going on-
SANCHEZ: Yeah.
BURNS: You know, the media is their town hall meeting every day. It's how they get their information.
SANCHEZ: Well, if ours -- if there's a town hall meeting, I think ours is, because we don't use a teleprompter. We don't read to you. We're just basically just having a conversation as we go with people on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook --
BURNS: And doing a great job.
SANCHEZ: And people like yourself. Eric Burns -- we'll keep trying to do as best we can. Thanks -- truth wins out in the end.
BURNS: Thank you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: We appreciate it.
BURNS: Thank you. Take care.

-- Brent Baker