Guest Host: Cenk Uygur
Guest: Milissa Rehberger, John Yang, Nathan Daschle, Eric Boehlert, David Sirota, Joan Walsh, Karen Hunter, Heidi Harris, Keith Boykin, Lynn Sweet
CENK UYGUR, HOST: Good evening, and welcome to THE ED SHOW.
We‘ve got a fantastic program ahead for you guys.
I‘m Cenk Uygur, in for Ed Schultz.
We‘ve got breaking news first.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich found guilty of one count in his corruption trial of lying to the FBI. We‘ll have a live report coming up.
But these stories are also hot tonight.
The Republican Party is bought and paid for by Fox News. The network across the street is now the biggest single sponsor of the Republican Governors Association.
My blistering commentary on that in just a moment.
Fair and balanced commentator Sarah Palin steps up the GOP‘s Muslim hate-baiting. She says building an Islamic community center near Ground Zero would be like stabbing Americans in the heart.
And I think gay marriage is the civil rights of our time. I want to know which Democrat is going to step up and fight for what‘s right.
But first, breaking news in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial.
MSNBC‘s Milissa Rehberger has more—Milissa.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, hi there.
As you said, the verdict is in. Former governor—Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich faced 24 counts in federal court. The verdict is in today.
He‘s been found guilty of exactly one of those counts. The jury deliberated for 14 days, during which time they asked to re-look at testimony. They also asked to re-look at the oath that they took. That has caused a lot of buzz.
Blagojevich‘s attorneys have said all along that a long deliberation spelled good news for their client. Obviously, today that does seem to be true. He has been found guilty of one count. That count would be lying to the FBI.
The jury is hung on 23 of the other counts. The judge is expected to declare a mistrial on the 23 remaining counts. Obviously, the government plans to retry this case. It is far from over.
Let‘s go to NBC‘s John Yang, who is outside the federal courthouse in Chicago to bring us up to speed—John.
JOHN YANG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is a big disappointment for the prosecution, obviously. The one count—they said when they arrested him, the U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, said that this was a political corruption crime spree. He said that Abraham Lincoln would be spinning in his grave.
He brought 24 charges against Rod Blagojevich, including racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, bribery. And the only count on which the jury was able to reach a unanimous verdict was lying to the FBI. That brings a maximum term of five years and a $250,000 fine. Now, the prosecution declared in court that they absolutely intend to retry Rod Blagojevich on these charges, and the judge has set August—I believe August 26th as the date in which he will set a date for that retrial.
So, even though this has been something of a victory for Rod Blagojevich, he did not show any great emotion in the courtroom. His attorney put his arm and him as if he was consoling him, because in a lot of ways this isn‘t over.
He still face as retrial on those 23 other charges, and all of this will continue. But a big letdown and possibly, you might even say, an embarrassment for the U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, as the jury cannot reach agreement on 23 of the 24 counts he brought against Rod Blagojevich, and the only count which they found him guilty was lying to the FBI.
REHBERGER: How much time, John, does he face on this one count?
YANG: It carries a maximum of five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
Now, it‘s not clear—I don‘t know what the sentencing guidelines are for a first-time offender on this. I doubt he would get the maximum. But there was much more than just his freedom, his personal freedom at stake here.
If he had been found guilty on the racketeering charges, the prosecution was ready to ask the court to seize assets, that he‘d forfeit essentially the proceeds from his criminal activities, if he had been found guilty, of up to $400,000. Now, the Blagojeviches say that this defense has essentially—that they are essentially broke. They say they have personal debt of about $200,000.
So, at stake was his home here in Chicago and his condo in D.C. He has personal property that could have been seized by the federal government.
REHBERGER: Well, John Yang, as you said so yourself, this is far from over. Thank you so much.
Rod Blagojevich remains free on bond tonight. Cenk will be following this up throughout the show.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you, Milissa.
I want to know if somebody is going to try him for that ridiculous haircut. But that‘s a different story.
We‘re going to come back to the Blagojevich case with Lynn Sweet a little later in the program. But I want to start with Fox News tonight.
Fox News came out of the closet today. Everyone with two bits of sense always knew they were a Republican propaganda machine, but today they made it official.
Bloomberg News reported that News Corp., the parent company of Fox News Channel, “The Wall Street Journal,” and “The New York Post,” donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. Now that they are open about their orientation, they are free to get in bed with any Republican they like. And they‘ve already taken full advantage.
In the recent Iowa Caucus Poll of Republicans, Mike Huckabee came in number one. Newt Gingrich was number three. And Sarah Palin was number four. All of them Fox News employees. In case you were wondering, Mitt Romney came in second, and Fox is facebooking him as we speak.
According to Bloomberg, News Corp‘s gift is the largest from any corporation to the Republican Governors Association. How is that for fair and balanced?
Is this any surprise given that the president of Fox News is Roger Ailes, who was a media consultant for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Richard Nixon? Nixon would have been so proud. Fox News does on a daily basis what Nixon could only dream of doing to his enemies in the press.
Now, remember when the White House was considering banning Fox News and the rest of the media jumped all over them, saying how can they possibly do that to us? News organization. Do you get it now? They don‘t do news. They do propaganda.
Did Newt get challenged when he said this outrageous statement just yesterday on Fox News?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Nazis don‘t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There‘s no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: By the way, there‘s a Japanese cultural center in Honolulu. I looked it up today. Apparently, Fox News didn‘t.
So, how about when Barbie girl pushes her latest attacks on Obama and the Democrats on Fox News as well?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR: This leader of the free world has such power in his words, he should utilize that power in the words to represent the will of the people and not underestimate the wisdom of the people in America. And the overwhelming majority of Americans right now are saying, Mr. President, no, this hurts. This is a slap to those innocent victims who were murdered that day on 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: How about when Huckabee asked if Obama is going to start Armageddon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS: Are we now living in the end times, from your perspective?
TIM LEHAYE, EVANGELICAL MINISTER: Very definitely, Governor. I believe that what we see around us—for example, the three major issues of our day are the global government, global economy, and global religion. And those are the three legs of the stool of globalism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Funny how that all changed right after Bush left office. They never asked that question about the end times when Bush was around. That sounds fair and balanced, right?
Then there‘s the Fox News support/creation of the Tea Party movement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: This year, Americans across the country are holding Tea Parties to let politicians know that we‘ve had enough. Celebrate with Fox News. This is what we‘re doing next Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: I love that, “Celebrate with Fox News.”
Don‘t you get it? They‘re on a seek and destroy mission with the Democratic Party.
Their viewers know that and they love it. And by the way, there‘s nothing wrong with that. It‘s a free country. All we want is truth in labeling.
Democrats should go on Fox as soon as Fox admits, yes, we‘re with the opposition party. We‘re conservatives and proud.
No shame in that. Come out. Tell your friends and family. Don‘t worry, they‘ll accept you for who you are.
But the most important thing is that the rest of the news media not take their stories at face value. Fox News has a purpose to help the Republican Party. They do it with their programming, they do it with their anchors, they do it with the stories that they push into the mainstream media, and now they are doing it with their money.
How much clearer does it have to be?
All right. Well, you tell me what you think in our telephone survey today. The number to dial is 877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you think political candidates should be on the Fox News payroll? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no. I‘ll bring you the results later in the show.
Joining me now is Nathan Daschle. He‘s the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association.
Nathan, it appears that Fox News is your opposition. What are you going to do about that?
NATHAN DASCHLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION:
Cenk, you hit the nail on the head. In what is arguably the most important election in a generation, this is a growth violation of the whole notion of an independent media. I mean, this would be similar to the Super Bowl referee betting on the outcome.
I think what we saw today was Fox News actually make a movement from a media organization to a political organization. We always knew they held conservative viewpoints, but we never knew that they were actually going to inject $1 million to see the defeat of Democratic governors.
UYGUR: I mean, when you consider that, why would a Democratic governor or candidate or any Democrat, really, across the country go on a news network where they just paid money to your opponent?
DASCHLE: You know, it‘s a good question. And I think you said it right in the outset, that the real answer here is that we ought to just recognize Fox News for what it is. It is literally the mouthpiece of the Republican Party.
And, you know, your point about going on Fox News is interesting because today, I tried to get on Fox News numerous times. I‘ve tried to get on there and ask them why they think it‘s appropriate for a media organization that claims to be fair and balanced to be giving $1 million, the single largest corporation of the RGA, to defeating Democratic governors? And I couldn‘t get a single response.
UYGUR: You know, there‘s another issue here, too, which is that the corporations can now come and buy whatever they like. So, it could have been Fox News, it could have been another corporation that says, oh, you know what, I‘d like to put in $1 million, $10 million, $100 million. It‘s still a good investment. I‘m just going to give it to the Republicans and you Democrats are out of luck.
Do you have a plan for that? I know it‘s a tough question, but how do you deal with that?
DASCHLE: Well, I‘ve got to tell you, I had not anticipated until today having to fund-raise from news corporations. But I‘ll tell you the most interesting thing about all of this is that Fox News got it wrong.
Apparently, they are spending way too much in political contributions and not enough on their research. Their spokesperson said that the reason they gave it to RGA was because of the RGA‘s pro-growth agenda. Well, they didn‘t see the recent study that just came out that had the 10 worst economies. Eight of those have Republican governors.
UYGUR: Yes. Well, of course. They don‘t care about that. That‘s their excuse. That‘s their fig leaf.
DASCHLE: That‘s right. This isn‘t about policies. This is about politics.
UYGUR: All right. Nathan, let me ask you one last time. I mean, I know it happened today and it‘s a tough thing, right? But it looks like they‘ve declared war on you guys.
How do you fight back? Because they‘re a news organization. At least they have this giant media microphone. And you guys are a political party.
So what do you do?
DASCHLE: Well, you‘re right. I mean, I think today what they said to the world was that we‘re not even going to try to maintain this facade anymore of impartiality. We‘re not even going to pretend we‘re objective.
We are here to see the defeat of Democratic candidates. And I think the answer is twofold.
First, Fox ought to stop using the phrase “fair and balanced” until either they ask for their money back or they give us a million dollars. And second, we all ought to condemn this for what it is. I ought to condemn it, you ought to condemn it, Bill O‘Reilly, Glenn Beck.
If they had any character, they would condemn this. And they would also tell Fox News, don‘t undermine my credibility, because what Fox News has done now is they‘ve showed the world that these talking heads on Fox News are simply spokes people for the RNC.
UYGUR: Right. Nathan, thank you. We appreciate you joining us tonight.
DASCHLE: Thanks for having me, Cenk.
And I want everybody to keep in mind, too, News Corp. is mainly a news corporation. So that‘s—it‘s not just even a giant company. It‘s specifically a news corporation and it does have other facets to it.
But now let me bring in Eric Boehlert. He‘s a senior fellow at Media Matters for America.
Eric, what do you think distinguishes Fox News from the other media outlets?
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: I was going to say, from the Republican Party, I was laughing because it‘s impossible. There‘s no daylight anymore, and now they don‘t apparently care who knows it.
What distinguishes them from the other news outlets is they don‘t do news. I mean, it‘s that simple.
You know, years ago, five, six years ago, they were a conservative news outlet. They presented the news in a conservative, friendly way. Ever since Inauguration Day with Obama, they have become the opposition party.
They are picking the candidates. As you pointed out, they essentially created the Tea Party movement. I mean, if there was any logic to this, it would be the Republican Party donating $1 million to Fox News, not the other way around.
UYGUR: Right. And Fox News also does the indirect donation by giving Sarah Palin a lot of money, Newt Gingrich a lot of money, Mike Huckabee a lot of money while they wait to run for president. So there‘s that angle to it, too.
But let me throw the same questions at you. What is the Democratic Party supposed to do? How do you fight back against this?
BOEHLERT: Well, I think the White House sort of started getting it right last fall, as you pointed out. They declared Fox News as not a legitimate news organization. And as you noted, there was sort of this freak-out within the beltway press.
Let‘s have a do-over. Let‘s see who among the beltway media elite, after today, specifically, will stand up and say, yes, we think Fox is really doing great news? They‘re not doing news. They are doing propaganda.
They‘re the opposition party. And now everyone really—this is yet another example of why everyone should understand that.
UYGUR: Eric, real quick, is that the bottom line here? Is that up to the rest of the media to say, hey, look, it‘s OK, you can be conservative media, there‘s nothing wrong with that, just—we‘re not going to take your news at face value like you‘re any other news organization, we‘re going to say, OK, that‘s a conservative spin on this, and then put it in its proper context?
Would that really help? Would that be the main answer?
BOEHLERT: I think it would help. I think if they look at what Fox News does and see it‘s no different than the right-wing blogosphere, it‘s no different than what Bill Kristol and his magazine does, it‘s purely partisan right-wing media, it‘s purely GOP propaganda. And if people want to see that for what it is, that‘s fine. Let‘s just end this charade about it being a news organization.
UYGUR: All right. Eric Boehlert, thank you so much for joining us.
UYGUR: All right.
Coming up, I love that President Obama took it to Mitch McConnell and to the righties for obstructionism. I‘m going to show you why the party of no is worthless. Yes, I said that.
And more on the big news of the day, Rod Blagojevich guilty on one count. Lynn Sweet joins me live.
Stay with us.
UYGUR: Welcome back.
President Obama has been throwing around some possible Republican campaign slogans for the midterms like, “No, we can‘t.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, apparently that‘s their plan for the future: No, we can‘t. Clean energy? No, we can‘t. Health care? No, we can‘t. Wall Street reform? No, we can‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Or, as John Boehner put it—
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: Hell no, you can‘t!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: That is unless if you ask him about going golfing, in which case he‘ll tell you, hell, yes, we can.
Mitch McConnell just said that he wishes that they could have obstructed more in the last two years. Really? Is that possible?
Bob Corker says that we should stop reforming anything and everything.
What a positive agenda.
This, of course, leads to the question of, what are the Republicans for? Family values? Unless, of course, it‘s Newt Gingrich getting married three times, Larry Craig visiting men in bathrooms, Mark Foley texting young boys.
Do you want me to keep going? Because I can keep busting you up all night long.
Number two, they say that they are for more and more wars. Well, on that one you‘ve really got to hand it to them. They delivered.
I used to have a shirt that said “Beer is the answer. I forgot the question.” I was a young kid.
Well, that‘s the current state of the Republican Party: War is the answer. I forgot the question.
So what‘s their answer for an improved economy? You want to know?
Here it comes. More tax cuts, always.
But wait a minute. We tried that. Bush passed record-breaking tax cuts, and what happened? A complete economic collapse.
We lost eight million jobs. And the Republican answer now is, do it again? Are you kidding me?
Joining me now is David Sirota, a radio show host, nationally syndicated columnist, and the author of “The Uprising.”
David, maybe you can help me answer this question. What does the GOP stand for?
DAVID SIROTA, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think it‘s a great question, Cenk.
I mean, I think what they are for is a kind of extreme form of Reaganism, where, as you said, war is the answer to all foreign policy problems. Tax cuts for the rich, targeted to the are rich, are the answers to all of our economic problems. And that‘s really what this party stands for.
That‘s what the party is putting forward in Congress. That‘s what the party is putting forward out on the campaign trail.
And the other thing that they are for, I should say, is they are against anything that the Democrats are for. Anything and everything that the Democrats say they‘re for, the Republican Party is against.
UYGUR: David, I‘ve got to be honest with you, I think you‘re being a little unfair to Reagan, because Reagan actually raised taxes four different times, which these Republicans would never do. You say he‘s for war, but he actually ran from Lebanon, right, which they say they‘re against. Right? They would have been in Lebanon to this day if they were in charge, the current Republican Party was in charge. And he gave amnesty to, you know, millions of illegal immigrants.
Isn‘t this Republican Party massively to the right of Ronald Reagan?
SIROTA: That‘s what I mean, a really extreme form of Reaganism.
I think if you go back and look at what Ronald Reagan ran on in 1980, Ronald Reagan ran on a much more extreme, conservative platform than how he governed as president, as you note. And so I think what the Republican Party has done is that they are basically banking on rerunning effectively a 21st century version of the 1980 campaign: extreme on taxes, extreme saber rattling on war and peace issues, and, frankly, extreme rhetoric when it comes to race and ethnicity.
UYGUR: David, given all of this, I mean, we got what happened during the Bush years. He left incredibly unpopular. The whole country knows it. The economic collapse happened on his watch, et cetera, et cetera.
It looks like the Democrats in the midterms are going to lose these guys. So how are they losing to these guys?
SIROTA: Well, I think part of it is that the Obama administration and the Democratic Party has not been as forceful early enough as it could have been. Look, I think—and I think when you take a look at their legislative policies, I think you see some weak, watered-down policies.
The health care bill wasn‘t nearly as strong as it could have been.
And frankly, the president didn‘t fight as hard as he could have.
The Wall Street reform bill was not as strong as it could have been. You have got Goldman Sachs going out into the public saying that it‘s going to continue to make as much profits as it‘s been making. That says to the public the Democrats have not really tried as hard as they could to take on the Republican Party and really fight for the American people.
And so I think there‘s a weakness problem. There‘s a wimp factor for the Democrats right now. And the question is whether extremism will defeat that or whether the Democrats, in the last stretch run here, can overcome their own wimp factor.
UYGUR: Right. Making their case might help.
All right. David Sirota, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
SIROTA: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: Yes. Thank you, man.
Coming up, it‘s getting down and dirty in Arizona. Ben Quayle reveals why President Obama is the worst president of all time.
I‘ll knock him around in the “Zone.”
And more on the breaking news. Rod Blagojevich found guilty of lying to the FBI. My panel weighs in ahead.
Stay with us.
UYGUR: In “Psycho Talk” tonight, Dan Quayle‘s son Ben is still serving up the crazy in his run for Congress. Remember just last week he came out with this awesomely bad campaign ad?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN QUAYLE ®, ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama is the worst president in history. And my generation will inherit a weakened country. Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Are you kidding me, man?
Well, he‘s getting a jump-start on that hell-knocking by releasing a list of nine reasons why Obama is the worst president in history. These are my three favorites, and there‘s plenty.
First, “With his policies and threat of more such policy, Obama has destroyed more wealth than any human being in history.”
Did he provide any proof? What does he mean by destroying wealth?
But how quickly these right-wingers forget, because when George W. Bush took office, he inherited a $236 billion surplus. Eight years later, he turned that into a $1.2 trillion deficit. If that‘s not wealth destruction, I don‘t know what is.
Second, Quayle says the president “—has divided America along racial lines in destructive ways.”
What, by being black? What does he mean by that? He never explains.
This is like an angry third-grader‘s book report.
Now here‘s another one. Quayle says Obama “—has hired people of strange and radical views to hold important federal posts in which they pursue more bad policy that no administration in history has ever pursued.”
That was a quote, “They pursue more bad policy.”
What, are you a child? If you want to talk strange and radical views, are you kidding me? How about W. and his gang of Cheney, Rummy and Wolfy?
Nothing any more strange and radical than that.
Ben Quayle‘s book report on why Obama is the worst president in history is today‘s “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Sarah Palin says putting up an Islamic center near Ground Zero is a stab in the heart to Americans.
I‘m calling on the Democrats to fight back. Wish me luck.
And nut job Tea Partier Sharron Angle forced Harry‘s hand, and he fell for it hook, line and sinker. I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response.”
All of that, plus Rod Blagojevich found guilty of lying to the FBI.
My panel weighs in next.
UYGUR: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. I‘m Cenk Uygur in for Ed Schultz.
Now, for the Battleground story tonight. The republicans are stepping up their attacks on this Islamic center near Ground Zero. We see this every August, last summer was the Tea Party as enmeshing town hall meetings and saying, health care reform was a democratic plot to kill the grandma. This summer, it‘s the mosque. Trying to exploit 9/11 ahead of the midterms. Well, fears about Muslim Americans. On FOX News last nigh, Sarah Palin said building the center would be like stabbing Americans in the heart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, POLITICAL NEWS COMMENTATOR: He just doesn‘t get it that this is an insensitive move on the parts of those Muslims who want to build that mosque in this location, that feels like a stabs on the hearts of collectively Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: When we ever heard a democratic politician make a comment like that? Can you imagine what FOX News would have done if any democrat had said that the President Bush was stabbing Americans in the heart? This is like the Nazi comparisons in the last couple of days. The right throws bombs, used the most outrageous rhetoric without any relation to reality and it works. The republicans are scaring the democrats into silence. The president made a brave statement on the mosque on Friday and, in my opinion, he backtracked a little bit. Harry Reid flat outset the mosque should not be built there. More of the same retreat.
All right. Now, for more on this, let me bring in Joan Walsh, editor in chief of salon.com. Have I got the pattern right here, Joan? Is August the time where FOX News and the conservative attacks and the democrats to run and, you know, try to cower and it wasn‘t burning them.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF: It is unbelievable. I mean, because it‘s a similar pattern we had, Sarah Palin really kind of kick this off on twitter, Cenk, remember when she asked peaceful Muslims to please repudiate the mosque a few weeks ago? Newt Gingrich followed and other FOX employees you pointed out and it was Sarah Palin who brought up the death panels. And the democrats were slow to respond to that. The only good thing about the death panels was democrats when they finally got it together, were passionate in repudiating and refudiating, I got those words straight, Sarah Palin‘s remarks and her idiocy, this time around, as you said, some of them at least seem to be falling for it. And, you know, this is an old story with democrats, if they can‘t be trusted to fight for themselves, to fight for what they believe in, how can Americans trust them to fight for them, to fight for working people who need so much help in this awful economy? So, they really look like wimps and that‘s the worst thing.
UYGUR: Right. And, Joan, by the way, on that death panel issue, they lay one of their democrats backtracking and taking that portion out of the bill.
WALSH: Well, that‘s not another good point. Anything that, you know, could be described as a death panel when, in fact, let‘s not relive that. But that was compassionately making something available to middle class and working class people that rich people already have, which is they consult with a lawyer about how to handle end of life decisions. That‘s all that it was. But it had to be taken out because someone damn called it a death panel, so yes.
UYGUR: Well, I mean, isn‘t this part of the problem for democrats that, you know, the republicans have this concerted strategy, they go out, whenever there is a law, their natural instinct is ironically in the words of Alan Grayson to go on the offense and stay there?
UYGUR: And the democrats seem—have they ever had a plan in August? Or are they always reacting?
WALSH: You know, I mean, Speaker Pelosi wanted to keep them working. That was part of the plan. That was a good idea. That got some stuff done. That was one plan. But, right, you know, there was no campaign to make democratic issues, to make the economy the big issue of the summer, to make republicans reconcentrate the issue. The president is out there, I like, you know, the parties of no idea but he‘s doing—it‘s a little late and he‘s just not being combative enough and maybe people think the president should not be the one but somebody has got to step up and be the leader. Somebody has to set the stone here. And they are on their heels constantly. And it‘s just too bad.
UYGUR: Joan, I would be a little unfair though, I know the president is a bully pulpit. So, he has a huge advantage there but they don‘t have this enormous media organization like FOX News that speeds them, all right, this is how you attack. I want to put everybody on air who does that kind of attack and we‘ll going to repeat, repeat, repeat until the whole media is talking about it. The democrats don‘t have anything like that. So, are they at a structural disadvantage?
WALSH: They are at the structural disadvantage. That‘s for sure. There‘s nothing, you know, FOX really has changed the landscape, the political, and the media landscape in this country for the worst. For the detriment of American ideals. And, you know, degrading American intelligence, really, but whatever, it works and they make a lot of money doing it. There‘s nothing on the democratic side. And in fact, you know, the White House has been frustrated with that. Those of us who support the president but who find things to criticize were chided last week at the professional left for not following the party lines. But we don‘t see that as our role, we‘re journalists and we see ourselves as people who are telling the truth about issues even when it hurts our side or people we respect and admire because that‘s the job. That‘s not the job over at FOX, it never has been. And it creates a difference in messaging for sure.
UYGUR: Absolutely. Thank you Joan, we appreciate you joining us.
WALSH: Thanks, Cenk.
UYGUR: Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories.
The jury finds Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of just one count in his corruption trial lying to federal agents.
Sharon Angle, slam the mosque near Ground Zero and Harry Reid took the bait. Making the cowardly statement that it should be built somewhere else. Go practice your religion somewhere else.
And Sarah Palin doesn‘t speak for them, the women‘s political action committee EMILY‘s List launched a new campaign spoofing Palin‘s “Mama Grizzlies.”
With us tonight, Karen Hunter, a journalist and publisher. And Heidi Harris, our radio show host in Las Vegas.
All right. Karen, let me start with you. Blago is done either way, right? And whether—actually, hold on guys, we have breaking news on Blago. Let‘s go there right now.
FMR. GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH, ILLINOIS: I want to thank them, I want to thank Jerry Wallace for being here—and all of the other young attorneys who worked hard on our behalf. Let me also express my appreciation to the men and women who served on the jury, thanks them for their hard work, for giving up their summer. They did their duty as citizens and they deliberated and they took time and I want to thank them for their hard work and for their deliberation and for the sacrifices that they made as our citizens. Let me also say that the people of Illinois that from the very beginning when this all happened, I told them that I did not let them down, I didn‘t break any laws, I didn‘t do anything wrong. The government, the federal government and this particular prosecutor did everything he could to target me and prosecute me, persecute me, put pressure on my family, try to take our home, take me away from my kids, arrest me in the early morning hours on December 9th, with Patty and me in our bedroom and a little Annie in bedroom with us, a sitting governor and that very prosecutor said that he was stopping a crime spree before it happened.
Well, this jury just shows you notwithstanding the fact that this government and the power and the resources and it bring the bare, this jury just showed you, that notwithstanding the fact that the government through everything but the kitchen sink at me that on every count, except for one, and every charge except for one, they could not prove that I did anything wrong, that I did break any laws except for one nebulous charge from five years ago. A conversation that I had with the FBI where the FBI and I agreed to that interview, refused to allow me to have a court reporter in the room. I want the people of Illinois to know, I did not lie to the FBI. I told the truth from the very beginning. This is a persecution. We have police officers who are being gunned down on the streets, we have children who can‘t play in front of their homes in the summertime because they might get gunned down and we have a prosecutor who has wasted and wants to spend tens and millions of taxpayers money to keep persecuting, persecuting my family, take me away from my little girls as well take my home away from us.
But I want to thank the men and women in this jury for what they came up with. Most people say you can‘t fight city hall and most people have said, from the very beginning, when the federal government and prosecutors come after you like they did me, and they throw everything they could on me, 24 charges, but I‘ve said from the beginning, that‘s false and the jury agreed that the government did not prove its case. And let me also point out that we didn‘t even put a defense on. And the government couldn‘t prove its case. And so Patty and I are going to continue the fight because this fight is a lot bigger than just me and my family. This is a fight for the very freedom that we as Americans enjoy, the right to be able to be innocent, the right to be able to do your job and to not be lied about. And so, we‘re going to continue the fight and again, I just want to express my gratitude to the men and women of the jury and remind the people of Illinois, I did not let you down. The jury has shown, and the government could not prove that I did anything wrong. We‘re going to appeal that lying decision and we‘re hopeful that the law is in on our side with regard to that.
JOHN ADAMS JR., ROD BLAGOJEVICH‘S ATTORNEY: That may be. That‘s true. However, you have to remember where we are at Mr....
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This is one of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich‘s attorneys. That would be John Adams Jr., a father-son team, who fought for Blagojevich in his trial, 24 counts against him. He wasn‘t found guilty of one of those counts today, that would be lying to the FBI. The former governor coming out just moments ago, saying he will continue to fight. He thanks the jury for their hard work and their deliberations. He once again declared his innocence, saying, he did not let the people of Illinois down. He says, he did not lie to the FBI, that was count number 24, 23 of those counts resulted in a hung jury, which will lead to a mistrial, which will lead to a retrial. The prosecutors saying today, they absolutely will re-try the governor on those 23 counts. The count that he was found guilty on today, the one unanimous verdict, he faces five years, and $250,000 in fines. The government rather has until September 7th Cenk, to announce a retrial. Something they say they will absolutely do. This is not over.
All right. Thank you, Melissa.
All right. Karen, let‘s go to you now. What do you think, is there any chance that Blago isn‘t guilty?
KAREN HUNTER, JOURNALIST: It doesn‘t really matter. The jury has spoken. And he‘s not going away. You were saying, he‘s done, well, he‘s not done. I could see—I did not lie to the FBI. I see it coming up. He‘s not going anywhere. And I don‘t know if we want him too. There‘s a certain segment of this population that kind of enjoys Rod Blagojevich being on the forefront. His attorney did the smartest thing not putting him on the stand, however. I think that saved him.
UYGUR: Yes, intensely unlikable, if you ask me. But, Heidi, how about you? Does this say anything about politics overall, democrats, republicans? Or is this just one, you know, eccentric guy in Illinois?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it‘s too bad you can‘t charge this guy with just being a slim ball and having bad hair, right? He is not going away. He is like a car accident, he can‘t turn away from no question. He‘s going to be retried. Did he tried to use his power for position for advantaged? Of course he did. They do it all the time. Left and right, so no surprise there. It‘s interesting too see what happens in the next trial.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you so much, both of you, for hanging in there with us.
Now, coming up, thanks to a federal judge, gays, lesbians in California have to wait until next year before they can get married. Is this a civil rights issue of our time? The democrats need to stop running from me. That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.
UYGUR: Let me know what you think, in our phone survey, the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc. Tonight‘s cell phone survey question is, do you think political candidates should be on FOX News payroll? Press one for yes, press two for no. Again, the number to dial is 877-ed-msnbc.
UYGUR: Same-sex marriage in California is un-hold again. Days before gay marriage was set to resume by order of a U.S. district judge, a federal appeals court blocked that order pending a hearing. I think, the civil rights issue of our time, yet most democratic politicians are running away from it. President Obama, who was a beneficiary of an earlier civil rights movement, is rather unbelievably against gay marriage in this civil rights movement. Once again, democrats are scared to end the game, stand up for their beliefs, fight for what‘s right and lead.
Joining me now is Keith Boykin, editor in chief of “The Daily Voice.” Keith, do you even really believe that Barack Obama is against gay marriage?
KEITH BOYKIN, “THE DAILY VOICE” EDITOR IN CHIEF: I don‘t know if I want to get into that but he is opposed to Prop 8 and I think that‘s an important statement. The problem here is that this issue is no one but just republicans and democratic issue. This is an issue where the republicans have tried to exploit gay marriage for the past few elections, that was basically in 2004 but he have actually moved on now in this election cycle. They are barely even talking about it. They are more than just even exploiting and scapegoating Muslims and Mexicans now than they are talking about gays and lesbians.
UYGUR: Well, that is interesting, you know, they like to pick new targets everyone. Keep it fresh, right?
UYGUR: But I get the republicans. I‘ve always understood the republicans. They‘ve got to try into strategy. But how about the other side, I mean, the democrats are supposed to step up and do the right thing, right? Other than Gavin Newsom, is there a prominent democrat who‘s leading the fight?
BOYKIN: Well, Jerry Brown, the attorney general who‘s running for governor is also opposed to Prop 8 and the state of California both the republican governor and democratic attorney general are both opposed to this. That‘s why I think that this issues are actually now beginning to transcend, democratic versus republican politics, a new poll that came out just last week show that the majority of Americans for the first time now supports same-sex marriage. That‘s remarkable progress. Yes, I‘d like to see the democrats be more forthright about this issue. I think they are afraid to do—anything that has to do with LGBT issues. I think the president has been advised by some to stay away from these issues as well. But, you know, the reality is the politicians won‘t be the ones to win the freedom for the LGBT community, it would be the people on the ground who are in the LBTJ community leading that fight and the politicians have to be persuaded and pushed to do the right thing by the people on the ground.
UYGUR: But Keith, isn‘t it kind of sad? Because, we know what is
happening. We‘re going to win this fight. But, you know, the republicans
actually, the conservatives fought against civil rights earlier for African-Americans for women, they lost, they are going to lose this too, right?
BOYKIN: In fact, right.
UYGUR: But how come the democratic politicians can‘t see what‘s clearly ahead. They so scared of the short-term political calculation, when the country is already swung. I mean, come on! Why don‘t we get to it already? Why is President Obama still pretending to be against gay marriage?
BOYKIN: I don‘t think it‘s just about President Obama. I think that the republicans know that they were on the wrong side of history in 2004. The democrats know that the tide has changed in this too. Look, I worked in the White House back in 1993 when the gay military issue first came up. And after that issue, nobody in the White House ever wanted to touch gay issues at all for the rest of the Clinton term. And I think even with the discrimination act came up, which President Clinton has supported, people didn‘t even want the assistant attorney general for civil rights to go and testify in favor of a bill that the president supported. This is like toxicity for a democratic White House because they are afraid of standing up for their own issues.
Yes. I think the democrats are to be much more aggressive on this but not just this but on every other issue, on the mosque issue that‘s going on right now at Ground Zero, on the immigration issue. I think the democrats have to start standing up and start acting like democrats again. If nobody defends and articulates the democratic values, who will? The republicans and FOX News are busy attacking those values. Somebody has got to stand up and say, these are good values. Nobody is doing that education process, where the White House or anybody else, we need to have more aggressive efforts on that. And the people on the left have to push through it. I think it‘s a good job that you are doing that Cenk, but I think, it has to be an aggressive effort by everyone involved.
UYGUR: Appreciate. I love to hear that. All right. Keith, thank you so much. I‘m going to end it on a note where I‘m 100 percent agree with you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, coming up, Blago is guilty but it‘s not over yet, there‘s still plenty of courtroom drama ahead. Lynn Sweet tells us what to expect, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: In the very beginning when this all happened, I told them that I did not let them down. I didn‘t break any laws. I didn‘t do anything wrong. The government, the federal government and this particular prosecutor did everything he could to target me and prosecute me, persecute me, put pressure on my family, try to take our home --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Yes. That was a grown version of Dennis the menace. Oh no, OK, it was a former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just a few minutes ago doing a victory lap which is interesting, after the jury found him guilty of just one count in his corruption trial lying to the FBI. The federal judge in the case, plus to declare a mistrial on the other 23 counts.
So, for more, let me bring in Lynn Sweet here, she‘s the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times and columnist for “Politics Daily.” Lynn, is this a victory for Blagojevich?
LYNN SWEET, “POLITICS DAILY” COLUMNIST: Tonight he should be feeling good because he‘s not facing more than five years but, you know, the game is not over. The judge said they wanted to have another trial. So he‘s not out of the woods. He‘s still in trouble but I could see he‘s having his say and he knows that at least his strategy, this kind of be a goofy guy strategy, don‘t testify after telling everyone for more than a year I‘m going to testify, that strategy to a degree has been vindicated. But a mistrial, as you know and everyone out there knows, is very different than being found not guilty.
UYGUR: Absolutely. I mean, he seems to be spending it like they let him off another 23 counts but they certainly didn‘t. So, can you tell us why there was mistrial? What was the reasoning behind that? Because that‘s a big mistrial in 23 counts.
SWEET: We‘ll know more when the reporters in Chicago interview the jurors. Because that‘s the focus group. That is what counts. They can tell you what worked and what did not in the trial. But here‘s some guessing that I have. I‘m guessing that when you have counts dealing with an attempt to commit a crime, you have a hard time proving it. And that‘s what a lot of the charges were, that it‘s a conspiracy and attempt charges are just complex and difficult. The prosecution cut short its case. It didn‘t call everyone that it could have to perhaps put on the case. And just an absorber of the case, I think they made a complicated set of schemes even more complicated. And that is something they will learn if they have a trial to do over.
UYGUR: And Lynn, is this Fitzpatrick‘s go-to move, same thing with that they got scooter Libby on? I can‘t somehow convict on the substance but I‘m going to convict him on lying to the FBI?
SWEET: That is amazing that of all the charges that stock this count 24, it‘s something that Rod Blagojevich now is convicted of lying about a perfectly legal activity. Isn‘t that an irony? After all the very serious stuff he was charged with, trying to shake down officials and exchange for campaign cash or give his wife some employment help, he is—he is charged with lying for doing normal political activity. He said, he maintained a firewall between politics and government. It‘s OK not to and he lied about it.
UYGUR: Real quick, is the lesson we learn from this is if the FBI comes, you say, yes, I did it, who cares?
SWEET: I think the lesson you learn with is God forbid for anyone that they ever get into this kind of trouble, just be—call your lawyer. Call your lawyer.
UYGUR: Probably that works.
SWEET: God forbid anyone get in trouble.
UYGUR: All right. Thank you, Lynn. We appreciate it.
SWEET: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, tonight in our phone survey, I asked you, do you think political candidates should be on the FOX News payroll? Eight 8 percent said yes, 92 percent said no. Really? Shocking.
All right. That‘s THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching. I‘m Cenk Uygur.
Stay right here. A live edition of “HARDBALL” starts right now.
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