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MSNBC's Dan Abrams: 'Shameful' Rush Limbaugh 'Un-American' --3/7/2008


1. MSNBC's Dan Abrams: 'Shameful' Rush Limbaugh 'Un-American'
On Wednesday's Live with Dan Abrams on MSNBC, Abrams lit into Rush Limbaugh as "un-American" for encouraging Republican voters to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. In his "Beat the Press" segment Abrams attacked Limbaugh, mocking him for a segment on Monday night's Abrams show on Limbaugh's "Far Right Dirty Tricks." On Wednesday, Abrams associated Rush with the "radical right" and attempted to describe a Limbaugh radio show snippet: "He was upset that I said he was perverting the process by encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries in an effort to quote, 'bloody up' Obama....When you encourage someone to vote for a candidate that they don't want as President, I believe it is actually un-American, and they are willing to increase the chances of what they consider to be a bad candidate winning in the hope they may slightly increase their candidate's chances? It is shameful."

2. In Obama Interview ABC's Gibson Imitates Saturday Night Live?
In the February 23 Saturday Night Live parody of journalists in the tank for Barack Obama a reporter at a debate oozed: "Senator Obama, are you comfortable? Is there anything we can get for you?" Ending a taped interview Thursday with the real Obama, a real journalist, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, seemed to match the concern for Obama's personal comfort expressed in the SNL caricature: "Senator, you're kind to take the time, on a day when you legitimately should be able to simply just take long naps. I thank you. All the best to you."

3. ABC's Diane Sawyer Touts Clinton and Obama 'Dream' Ticket
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Thursday peppered guest James Carville about the possibility of a "dream solution," an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama presidential ticket. The ABC journalist was so insistent on the subject that she posed the question to the Democratic strategist four times. Without adding modifiers, such as "so-called or "alleged," Sawyer began the discussion of the two Democratic candidates coming together by cheerfully wondering: "Let me go to the other dream solution." It seems unlikely that members of the media would refer to a McCain/Romney or a McCain/Huckabee (the top GOP vote-getters) as a "dream solution." The GMA host then segued into a question that she would repeat over and over: "Knowing Hillary Clinton, as you know Hillary Clinton, will she ever run for Vice President with anyone?" Sawyer insistently followed up by asking, "You think she would do it and you would recommend her to do it?"

4. Perino Tells FNC as Iraq Improves Press Corps Less Interested
As conditions in Iraq improve to the point where even adamant Iraq War opponents concede the surge has worked, the press seems less interested in questioning the Bush administration on the war. On Thursday's Fox and Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino when she last received a question about Iraq. Perino responded that she does not remember "having sustained questions about Iraq...since probably early December," and added: "I think that's as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground."

5. CBS's 'Foreclosure Crisis' Hype: 'American Dream Slipping Away'
Delivering a ridiculous level of vacuous hyperbole, Thursday's CBS Evening News greeted reports of a 0.83 percent 4th quarter foreclosure rate with just under 6 percent of mortgages more than a month past due as proof "the American dream" is "slipping away" since "foreclosures are spreading like cancer." Those may indeed be unusually high levels, but the American dream is hardly "slipping away" when 99.17 percent are not in foreclosure and 94.18 percent are paying on time or nearly on time.

6. Friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton Takes Over CBS's Early Show
Shelley Ross, Executive Producer of The Early Show, has left the position and, the AP's David Bauder reported Thursday afternoon, Rick Kaplan, a long-time Friend of Bill, "will temporarily take over for Ross" while remaining Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News. Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's "legacy" was "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."


MSNBC's Dan Abrams: 'Shameful' Rush Limbaugh
'Un-American'

On Wednesday's Live with Dan Abrams on MSNBC, Abrams lit into Rush Limbaugh as "un-American" for encouraging Republican voters to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. In his "Beat the Press" segment Abrams attacked Limbaugh, mocking him for a segment on Monday night's Abrams show on Limbaugh's "Far Right Dirty Tricks." On Wednesday, Abrams associated Rush with the "radical right" and attempted to describe a Limbaugh radio show snippet:
"He was upset that I said he was perverting the process by encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in open primaries in an effort to quote, 'bloody up' Obama....When you encourage someone to vote for a candidate that they don't want as President, I believe it is actually un-American, and they are willing to increase the chances of what they consider to be a bad candidate winning in the hope they may slightly increase their candidate's chances? It is shameful."

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

From Limbaugh's Web site, here's how Limbaugh addressed Abrams:

ABRAMS (clip from Monday): Rush Limbaugh and others on the far right, now trying to pervert tomorrow's results, calling on Republicans in Ohio and Texas to vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton -- not because they like Clinton, but because they want to keep the Democrats in disarray.
LIMBAUGH: Perverting the Democrat process? What did you guys do to our process? All you Democrats and independents crossing over, not only in 2000, but here in 2008, nominating and voting for Senator McCain. What, you guys are going to vote for McCain in November? You think we don't understand what you were doing here? You're trying to choose our nominee, why can't we try to choose yours?

Limbaugh's clip of Abrams was from a promo for the Monday segment. Abrams began the actual March 3 segment by suggesting conservatives were out to damage the democratic process:
"The right-wing media's hatched a new plan to damage not just the Democratic party but perhaps the democratic process. Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh now urging Republicans in the open primary states of Ohio and Texas tomorrow to cross party lines and vote for Hillary Clinton. Rush and his cohorts want to keep the Democratic primary going as long as possible so Obama will be quote, bloodied up politically, and presumably Clinton as well."

The Abrams guests were Democratic strategist Laura Schwartz and conservative talker Lars Larson, who quickly took issue with Abrams putting conservatives on the extremes:

LARS LARSON: Why is it that Rush and I end up being the far right? Does that make Obama the far left?
ABRAMS. No. Because -- I'm not going to debate with you that now. For you to question whether Rush Limbaugh is on the far right is laughable.
LARSON: Rush and I are reasonable Republicans.
ABRAMS, with a sneer: Oh yeah. All right. Okay.
LARSON: We are reasonably conservative.

What's really amazing in these transcripts is that Dan Abrams considers Keith Olbermann a model TV anchorman, but Rush Limbaugh is the "radical right."

In Obama Interview ABC's Gibson Imitates
Saturday Night Live?

In the February 23 Saturday Night Live parody of journalists in the tank for Barack Obama a reporter at a debate oozed: "Senator Obama, are you comfortable? Is there anything we can get for you?" Ending a taped interview Thursday with the real Obama, a real journalist, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, seemed to match the concern for Obama's personal comfort expressed in the SNL caricature: "Senator, you're kind to take the time, on a day when you legitimately should be able to simply just take long naps. I thank you. All the best to you."

In the segment aired on ABC's World News, Gibson empathized with Obama's plight as a victim of Hillary Clinton's attacks and seemed to regret how Obama may have to go negative as he prodded him: "To fight back, do you have to do the same? In other words, do you have to, in effect, show some toughness in all of this, greater than you have so far?"

Gibson recited Clinton's criticism of Obama, but only the in gentlest way. Quoting her contention that he is too inexperienced to be President, Gibson queried: "I wonder your reaction?"

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

Will Gibson be as mellow in any future interviews with other presidential candidates?

Gibson set up the March 6 World News piece: "This afternoon, I had a chance to speak with Senator Obama and I asked him about the Clinton argument that he lacks the credentials to be Commander in Chief."

Gibson's questions to Obama:

# "You've had a few hours, day and a half, now, to analyze the results on Tuesday. What happened on Tuesday? A lot of people thought there was a chance you could close the deal on Tuesday. Was it her contention that you are too young, too inexperienced to be Commander in Chief?"

# "You made the point on your campaign plane yesterday, you said she went negative in the last few days of that. To fight back, do you have to do the same? In other words, do you have to, in effect, show some toughness in all of this, greater than you have so far?"

# "She said Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. 'I will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. Senator Obama will bring a speech that he made in 2002.' Now, she said that before. But it's pretty in-your-face. I wonder your reaction?"

# "Senator, you're kind to take the time, on a day when you legitimately should be able to simply just take long naps. I thank you. All the best to you."

The ABCNews.com online version: abcnews.go.com

ABC's Diane Sawyer Touts Clinton and
Obama 'Dream' Ticket

Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Thursday peppered guest James Carville about the possibility of a "dream solution," an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama presidential ticket. The ABC journalist was so insistent on the subject that she posed the question to the Democratic strategist four times.

Without adding modifiers, such as "so-called or "alleged," Sawyer began the discussion of the two Democratic candidates coming together by cheerfully wondering: "Let me go to the other dream solution." It seems unlikely that members of the media would refer to a McCain/Romney or a McCain/Huckabee (the top GOP vote-getters) as a "dream solution." The GMA host then segued into a question that she would repeat over and over: "Knowing Hillary Clinton, as you know Hillary Clinton, will she ever run for Vice President with anyone?" Sawyer insistently followed up by asking, "You think she would do it and you would recommend her to do it?"

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

Apparently finding the subject of an Obama/Clinton ticket fascinating, Sawyer reiterated: "So, you think that she would do it if it came to it? You think she would do it if she's not ahead?" The ABC host then mentioned a bet on the subject she had made with "your old friend George Stephanopoulos." (Both Carville and Stephanopoulos were top aides to Bill Clinton. Stephanopoulos is now the anchor of This Week on ABC.) Sawyer, yet again, used the bet as another query about Obama and Clinton joining forces. She speculated: "And it's a question of whether, she, if she is on top, she will certainly ask Barack Obama to be her running mate. Who is going to win? Is he going to win? Is she certainly going to ask him?"

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:10am on March 6:

DIANE SAWYER: And now, for another perspective on all of this, we turn to friend of Senator Hillary Clinton, supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton, author of "40 More Years" that's James Carville joining us from Miami Beach, Florida. Good morning, James.
JAMES CARVILLE: Good morning, Diane. It is a good morning.
SAWYER: All right, well, If you're in Miami, I guess it is. Let me paint a portrait of two political parties. Yesterday, we saw the President actually doing a little dance on the White House, waiting for John McCain to come up. John McCain arrives. He slept late. He's planning his campaign ahead, he's thinking. On the other side, the Democratic Party arguing over super delegates, arguing over Michigan and Florida. And we read in the "Washington Post," the Clinton campaign arguing internally. Is messiness going to hurt the Democrat party?
CARVILLE: I can't imagine this country watching President Bush dancing and then John McCain embracing him and the message being if you like the last eight you're going to love the next four. The Democratic party -- You're right. We're having a heck of a contest out there. We're going on. This is exciting. It's thrilling. Our turn out is enormously larger than the Republicans. Our fund-raising is going great. So, yeah, I'll take that contrast any time. You have McCain and President Bush hugging each other in the midst of a recession like there's a big party going on and Democrats out there arguing and fighting about issues. So, I'll take this every day, Diane.
SAWYER: Let me tell ask you about a couple things that we heard Howard Dean talk about though.
CARVILLE: Sure.
SAWYER: He said Michigan and Florida can appeal the process. They can even hold another election. If they decide to hold caucuses, caucuses which tend to favor Barack Obama, would you go to Clinton campaign and say take 'em up on that offer?
CARVILLE: Well, of course not. What we want to do is we want to enfranchise as many people as possible. It's absolutely ludicrous. I'm sitting here in Florida which has been racked by this sub prime crisis. I don't know how many foreclosures there are in this state. If you look at what's happening economically in Michigan and what's happened to jobs up there and incomes. It's unbelievable that the Democratic Party cannot come together and figure a way to empower Washington, I mean, Florida and Michigan Democrats to get as many of them in the process. People in Pennsylvania are loving doing this.
SAWYER: What is wrong with a caucus if they decide to have a caucus?
CARVILLE: Why wouldn't you want a primary? Who would argue against having a primary?
SAWYER: Money.
CARVILLE: Wheat the basis upon which you wouldn't want to have a primary?
SAWYER: Money.
CARVILLE: Governor Crist has said he'd way for it.
SAWYER: But it would take longer to gear it up?
CARVILLE: So, what's the -- Why does it take that long? Why wouldn't anybody want to empower as many people to weigh in and make a decision on this? In particular in a state like Florida or Michigan, which is critical to the Democratic Party, to say we want to hear from you. Both of these states are suffering as a result of the idiotic economic policies of this administration. Why would we want to exclude Florida or Michigan Democrats. I have no idea.
SAWYER: All right. I assume that's a no. Let me go to the other dream solution. We heard Senator Clinton herself talking about the possibility that maybe they're heading, maybe everybody is heading to the point you have to have a Clinton/Obama, Obama/Clinton ticket. They have got to run together. She said, the question is, who is on top of the ticket. This is my question to you: Knowing Hillary Clinton, as you know Hillary Clinton, will she ever run for vice president with anyone?
CARVILLE: We have to weigh what the circumstances are. Democrats like both of their candidates. I mean, both of them have enormously high favorable in this party. Both of them, Democrats like the way they're out there fighting and talking about things. It may be that when the party comes together in Denver this is one option people have to consider. I think, Senator Clinton, if that's the case, Senator Clinton would have to consider a lot of things. But she's a loyal American and loyal Democrat. I'm sure she has to do what she thinks is the best interest of her country and the party. But we're a long way from getting to that decision.
SAWYER: So, you think she-- You think she would do it and you would recommend her to do it?
CARVILLE: Well, I wouldn't, I mean, I think that she's going to be the nominee. And you know, what I'm going to do is do everything I can to ensure that. And when we get to Denver we'll see what the situation is. By that time, I will expect that she's won the Ohio primary, the Texas primary and the Pennsylvania primary and the to-be-held Florida and Michigan primary. So, I think she will be in a strong position. But, I, the Democrat voters are in charge of this. I would rather let the Democratic voters and I think Chairman Dean is exactly right. This is a voter-driven process that we have here, so let's hear from them.
SAWYER: So, you think that she would do it if it came to it? You think she would do it if she's not ahead?
CARVILLE: I, again, when we get to Denver, you know, whatever the situation is, I think that she'll be the person on top, as we say. We'll wait to see what everything is. I think she's getting ready -- She's poised to have some incredibly big election nights here. But I don't know that, because, you know, these voters have a way of surprising all. I'm not a person to believe you take anything for granted. I'm a person that believes you believe you go out -- I think -- I know she agrees with me on that, because I've never seen a more heroic person in politics than she's been in these primaries in Ohio and Michigan -- I mean, Ohio and Texas.
SAWYER: All right. I need to know this. Quick yes or no here. I have a bet with your old friend George Stephanopoulos.
CARVILLE: All right. Okay.
SAWYER: And it's a question of whether, she, if she is on top, she will certainly ask Barack Obama to be her running mate. Who is going to win? Is he going to win? Is she certainly going to ask him?
CARVILLE: I think there's a good chance of that. I don't know for sure. But, boy, we've had President Kennedy ask Senator Johnson. We had a case of President Reagan and George H.W. Bush in 1980. We had John Kerry and John Edwards. I think Democrats like both of their candidates. And I think whoever the nominee is going to have to look at their primary opponent and give serious consideration to it. And I kind of like that. I mean, I love Senator Clinton to death. She's probably my favorite person in the world. But I like Barack Obama a lot too. And, we'll have to see.
SAWYER: Favorite person in the world, huh? Okay.
CARVILLE: She is. Outside of my wife, Mary! Come on. And you, Diane, after Mary and Diane, then I love Hillary the best.
SAWYER: I think you have your priorities reconciled there. Thank you, James.
CARVILLE: I love being on the show. Thanks, Diane.

Perino Tells FNC as Iraq Improves Press
Corps Less Interested

As conditions in Iraq improve to the point where even adamant Iraq War opponents concede the surge has worked, the press seems less interested in questioning the Bush administration on the war. On Thursday's Fox and Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked White House Press Secretary Dana Perino when she last received a question about Iraq. Perino responded that she does not remember "having sustained questions about Iraq...since probably early December," and added: "I think that's as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground."

Do the media only want to report the bad news in Iraq? A recent MRC study suggests just that. For "Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of Iraq: Networks Minimize Good News From Iraq, Don't Press Democrats on 'Wrong-Headed' Predictions," go to: www.mediaresearch.org

[This item was adopted from a NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]

Kilmeade followed up: "Do you think it's simply because there's progress in Iraq or is the election taking over? Do people not want to report the good news?" Perino felt "it could be a little bit of both," but quickly added: "I think the good news is getting out there, actually."

The transcript from 7:24 AM EST on March 6:

BRIAN KILMEADE: Dana, when's the last time you got a question about Iraq when you're in the press briefing?
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know if this is precise, but I don't remember having sustained questions about Iraq, maybe there would be one off, but really since probably early December. And I think that's as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground.
KILMEADE: Do you think it's simply because there's progress in Iraq or is it because the election is taking over? Do people not want to report good news?
PERINO: It could be a little bit of both. And I do think that we, I think the good news is getting out there, actually. I think that reporters that are on the ground in Iraq who are seeing for themselves what's happening. They're able to get that news out and so there's not been a lot of controversy. We are heading into a conversation with Capitol Hill on funding for the troops. And we're going, we need $108 billion that they've been waiting to act on. And we're going to need that money fairly soon. So I expect that battle to start.

CBS's 'Foreclosure Crisis' Hype: 'American
Dream Slipping Away'

Delivering a ridiculous level of vacuous hyperbole, Thursday's CBS Evening News greeted reports of a 0.83 percent 4th quarter foreclosure rate with just under 6 percent of mortgages more than a month past due as proof "the American dream" is "slipping away" since "foreclosures are spreading like cancer." Those may indeed be unusually high levels, but the American dream is hardly "slipping away" when 99.17 percent are not in foreclosure and 94.18 percent are paying on time or nearly on time.

Anchor Katie Couric at the top of the March 6 CBS Evening News, with "Foreclosure Crisis" on screen: "Good evening, everyone. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a family, but it's happening to more and more in this country. They're losing their homes to foreclosure. The mortgage industry reported today that the foreclosure rate in the final quarter of 2007 hit an all-time high [0.83%]. And the government says, that for the first time ever, lenders own a greater percentage of the average home than the homeowner does. Anthony Mason now on the American dream that's slipping away."

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

Mason began his lead story: "From the Bronx to Boston to St. Paul -- foreclosures are spreading like cancer. In Minnesota, legislators aren't waiting for outside help. They've introduced legislation to require lenders to defer foreclosures on sub-prime loans for a year...Across the country, the delinquency rate for all mortgages -- those are payments more than a month past due -- has soared to nearly 6 percent [5.82%], the worst since 1985...."

Friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton Takes
Over CBS's Early Show

Shelley Ross, Executive Producer of The Early Show, has left the position and, the AP's David Bauder reported Thursday afternoon, Rick Kaplan, a long-time Friend of Bill, "will temporarily take over for Ross" while remaining Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News.

Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's "legacy" was "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."

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

For a detailed rundown of Kaplan's political and media blocking for Bill and Hillary Clinton, with two video clips, check the March 8, 2007 MRC CyberAlert item posted when he took over the CBS Evening News: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker