The Ed Show for Monday, February 7th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: E.J. Dionne, Rep. Gary Peters, Mike Papantonio, Eric Boehlert, Roy
RACHEL MADDOW, “TRMS” HOST: The long national nightmare of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” is not yet over, but for Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, it is at least dawn.
Now, it‘s time for THE ED SHOW. Good night.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight, from New York.
These stories are hitting “My Hot Buttons” at this hour:
Big business has done a heck of a job of taking but they haven‘t done a very good job of giving—especially to American workers. Today, President Obama went before the Chamber of Commerce to try to get that crowd to kind of act like patriots. Commentary on that coming up.
Glenn Beck imagines a coalition between Muslim Brotherhood and the American labor unions. And even some conservatives are cringing.
And the Super Bowl, heck of a game. The messed up national anthem that has everybody talking at the water cooler; and the people who paid 200 bucks to watch the whole thing from the parking lot? That‘s a fan.
But this is the story that has me fired up to start things off tonight: American business. Now, here they are, they‘ve had a heck of a run. They‘re sitting on $2 trillion and President Obama wants them to get in the game for the American worker. It sounds like the American thing to do.
The president went into the lions den over at the Chamber of Commerce today and delivered this message very clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now is the time to invest in America. Today American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets and I know that many of you have told me that you‘re waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand. And that with millions of Americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like.
We‘re in this together. But many of your own economists and salespeople are now forecasting a healthy increase in demand. So, I just want to encourage you to get in the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: President Obama, I think, has done everything in his power to encourage American business to get off their wallets and invest in the American wage earner. Now, this White House has put at least 17, count them, 17 tax cuts on the table for small businesses across America. Nothing that President Obama does is ever good enough for the boys over at the Chamber.
Their president, Tom Donohue, always gives this lame excuse, quote, “The reason the companies are sitting on $2 trillion worth of cash is because of uncertainty.”
Gosh, that‘s a hell of a word. A very expensive word, too, isn‘t it?
Look, the stock market is on a roll. The Bush tax cuts are locked in for the next two years. And the people are starting to buy U.S.-made cars again.
Donohue and the suits over at the Chamber, I don‘t think they have any idea what they‘re talking about when it comes to uncertainty.
But I‘ll tell you what uncertainty is. It‘s over 15 million jobless Americans that don‘t know where they‘re going to get their next paycheck. They don‘t have any idea on how to cover the rent check at the end of the month that‘s coming up, you know? That‘s an obligation. That‘s pressure.
And God forbid, one of them gets sick, you know? That‘s uncertainty.
The fact is that the American big business doesn‘t believe in the American worker is what drives me to do this show every night. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: Your tax money went to bail out Wall Street, one of the big firms. And you know what they‘re doing? They‘re creating jobs in China.
Tell me about the economic patriotism that the Republicans bring forward in this country. We are seeing no economic patriotism whatsoever from the very companies that got taxpayer dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
SCHULTZ: The super rich in America haven‘t been asked to sacrifice anything. Now it‘s time for the people with the money to show some economic patriotism and create some jobs. This is why I keep pounding the table for economic patriotism, the race to the bottom line. That mentality, we‘ve seen last over the last 30 years is now coming home to roost.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: And the president delivered a similar message directly to Tom Donohue today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: For all the disagreements, Tom, that we may have sometimes on issues, I know you love this country. I know you want America to succeed just as badly as I do. So, yes, we‘ll have some disagreements and, yes, we‘ll see things differently at times.
But we‘re all Americans. And that spirit of patriotism and that sense of mutual regard and common obligation—that has carried us through far harder times than the ones we‘ve just been through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, if Ronald Reagan had said that, they would be
cheering like crazy in the halls of the Chamber. But today in the 35-
minute speech according to “Politico,” the president only got two applause
two in 35 minutes.
President Obama needs to keep talking about an economic spirit of patriotism because that‘s what it‘s going to take. Republicans, you know, they love to wrap themselves up in the flag when it comes to national security, but they always step over the American worker to make a dollar. Don‘t they?
The president can‘t force big business to start investing in America or the American worker, but he used the speech at the Chamber to ask them to do it for the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I understand the challenges you face. I understand you are under incredible pressure to cut costs and keep your margins up. I understand the significance of your obligations to your shareholders, and the pressures that are created by quarterly reports. I get it.
But as we work with you to make America a better place to do business, I‘m hoping that all of you are thinking what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire more American workers, what you can do to support the American economy and invest in this nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The guy can‘t be any more direct than that, can he? It mean, it‘s hard to believe that the Chamber or the companies sitting on the cash will be inspired because of a speech but President Obama has done everything he can with all these tax breaks on the table. Now, it‘s time for the American companies to man up, quit talking about uncertainty, because it‘s not there. And get some skin in the game.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this issue tonight. Tonight‘s text question is: will President Obama, reaching out to business, silence his critics? Text “A” for “yes,” text “B” for “no” to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is “Washington Post” columnist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, E.J. Dionne.
E.J., good to have you with us tonight.
Gosh, only two applause in 35 minutes. That‘s a tough crowd. What does the president have to do to get approval and action from the Chamber?
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: I don‘t think there‘s much he can do. You know, I was watching that and it reminded me of this great old New Yorker cartoon of two business guys in their men‘s club and in their big chairs, and one turns to the other and says, “I don‘t understand it. Every time these socialist Democrats win, I make a pile.”
I mean, when you look at what‘s happening on Wall Street, when you look at profit margins, companies are doing very well. And I thought it was really interesting what the president did today. He didn‘t go into the Chamber and pander.
Yes, he talked about being pro-business. But most of us are pro-business if you define that as believing basically in a market economy. And, you know, thinking that we like people who invent good things.
But he wasn‘t pandering to them. He defended regulation. He said as you showed that clip, said it‘s time to invest in America. It was a John F. Kennedy sort of “ask what you can do for your country” speech.
SCHULTZ: No doubt. But business keeps using the word “uncertainty.” How should the president and the White House and the Democrats combat that when we‘ve seen 12, 13 months actually of private sector jobs created? The numbers are definitely turning around. The stock market is through the roof.
But for some reason, you just get the feeling that the Chamber wants to se this guy out of office.
DIONNE: Well, I think they probably do—although I think if the economy gets better, and it looks like Obama‘s going to win, there might be a slightly better relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, because they also have priority on doing business with the government.
I actually think whatever people say about uncertainty, people actually are starting to invest. I mean, you wouldn‘t have the stock market at that level if people didn‘t have confidence in the future of the economy.
SCHULTZ: But he gets no credit for it. This president gets no credit for it. They just can‘t bring themselves to any kind of credit that, you know, maybe this economic plan is working; maybe this stimulus package, maybe we were on the wrong side of it.
SCHULTZ: Those are very telling I think.
DIONNE: Well, you know what really bugs me is when you look at what happened in Detroit. When President Obama proposed the rescue of the auto companies, everybody on the conservative side and some other people, too, said this will never work. You should let them go down.
DIONNE: It‘s probably the single most successful program he engaged in. G.M. is back. Chrysler is coming back. Ford has continued to be strong.
You know, the government came in and prevented us from losing one of the core industries of our country. And nobody wants to talk about that.
SCHULTZ: E.J. Dionne, always telling it like it is and right on the money. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
And he is correct. Less than two years after the federal government
loan—and it was a loan. It was not a bailout. American car companies -
they‘re roaring back. A record 111 million people watched Chrysler‘s imported from Detroit commercial during the Super Bowl last night. Here‘s a portion of that two-minute ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TV COMMERCIAL)
NARRATOR: It‘s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel, add hard work and conviction, and the know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That‘s who we are. That‘s our story.
Now, it‘s probably not the one you‘ve been reading in the papers, the one being written by folks who have never even been here, don‘t know what we‘re capable of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That ad showed America, the Detroit auto worker is back and better than ever. People loved it. “The L.A. Times” reports, “Edmunds.com said traffic for the Chrysler brand shot up 267 percent in the hours after the ad aired, including a 1,619 percent spike for the new Chrysler 200.”
The success of the auto loan by the Obama administration is one of the most under reported stories in America.
“Back in 2009, the federal government loaned $82 billion to G.M. and Chrysler.”
Late last month the Obama administration, the Obama auto industry adviser Steve Rattner told members of the International Motor Press Association, quote, “We have gotten about $72 billion out of it—about 90 percent of our investment.”
Chrysler is on pace to pay of every dollar of that federal government loan.
The Congressional Oversight Panel released a report in January showing that once Chrysler has a successful IPO next year, it will be on track to pay back 100 percent of the taxpayers‘ investment.
And let‘s, for the record, point out again and again, not a single Republican supported President Obama when he saved the automobile industry in this country.
All the auto workers in Detroit, all they needed was a chance. The president stepped up. The Democrats stepped up. But, of course, there was a lot of uncertainty over on the Republican side.
Well, you know what? Now the American auto worker and Chrysler and G.M., they are back in the game.
Joining me now is Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan. His district is the home to Chrysler world headquarters.
Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. This is—
REP. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: Ed, it‘s always a pleasure to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
As E.J. stated, this is one of the best stories that the Obama administration has to tell. It‘s great for the American worker.
Why can‘t you do a better job of telling it?
PETERS: Well, we‘ve got to keep telling it. That‘s why I appreciate the fact you‘re out there telling that story to the American people because we are back. Certainly the ad that we saw at the Super Bowl yesterday, which was very powerful from Chrysler Corporation showed the hard work and grit of what the people here in the state of Michigan have gone through that we‘ve now got world class products that are being sold. Sales are up. Jobs have been preserved.
SCHULTZ: So, government has a place. No doubt. You got it right.
The government has a place in all of this, correct, Congressman?
I mean, because where were the Koch brothers—where were all these big billionaires that, you know, supposedly love America? It took the American taxpayer to love America which shows government can play a role at revitalizing manufacturing in America. So, where is the strategy from here?
PETERS: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, as you know, Ed, the reason the auto industry—one of reasons why it was in trouble was because of the disaster on Wall Street, because of the unbridled greed we saw there that brought down the capital markets. You needed to have that infusion of cash. You needed the American taxpayers to stand up and say, we want to stand for manufacturing in this country because we understand without manufacturing, you cannot have an American middle class. And without a middle class, you can‘t have a strong economy.
SCHULTZ: You can‘t get away from the story there were no Republicans onboard. What does that say to the American people about Washington?
PETERS: Well, it certainly shows that a lot of Republicans were more concerned about scoring political points and attacking the president and were not concerned about the American middle class and manufacturing in this country. And that‘s what we‘ve got to be focused on. We‘ve got to be laser-focused. It‘s all about jobs, making sure we have good-paying jobs in this country as well so we can have a strong economy and a vibrant democracy.
SCHULTZ: Saved millions of jobs in your neck of the woods. It‘s a great story.
SCHULTZ: The Democrats have got to tell it.
Congressman, great to have you with us tonight. Congressman Gary Peters of Michigan, thank you for your time again here on THE ED SHOW.
Remember to answer tonight‘s text question there at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Koch brothers‘ payday, donating over 300 grand to members of the House Energy Committee who have promised to fight for less EPA regulation. Who could possibly benefit from that? Consumers won‘t.
Ronald Reagan‘s 100th birthday.
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Remember that President Reagan, he lived that mantra, “trust but verify.”
SCHULTZ: Republican revisionist history. Oh, we‘ll do more than just verify.
Movement conservatives say Glenn Beck is too toxic for TV.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: What does the Young Communist League have to do with the UAW or the steel workers?
SCHULTZ: Conspiracy theories are alive and well.
Ticket holders without seats, and anthem singers without lyrics. The big blunders in big D.
And AOL and “The Huffington Post” strike a deal. The mega dotcom deal and its implications with “The Huffington Post” founding editor, Roy Sekoff.
SCHULTZ: Koch Industries is the biggest donator to Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, bigger than ExxonMobil. And now, the Koch brothers—they‘re ready to cash in.
President Ronald Reagan moved the country really hard to the right. But actually, he‘s not conservative compared to this crowd. But Reagan would never satisfy today‘s hard right, would he? And yet Republicans act like Reagan is still the hero of their cause.
And when “The Star-Spangled Banner” gets bungled on the most watched television show ever, just about everyone has something to say about it. And we do.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching tonight.
The billionaire Koch brothers spent millions to have a seat at the Republican table in Washington. And let‘s be upfront about this now, folks. Now, they are the table.
The Koch industries is one of the biggest polluters in the United States. As we reported here on THE ED SHOW, the Kochs stand to lose up to $40 billion a year under proposed climate change legislation. So, they bought their way right into the Congress.
“The L.A. Times” reported Koch Industries contributed nearly $300,000 to 22 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Nine new Republicans on the committee signed Koch-sponsored pledge to oppose the regulation of greenhouse gases. Now, you get the picture.
And next on the committee‘s agenda, replacing restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency, which we don‘t need.
Joining me now tonight is Mike Papantonio, host of the nationally-syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire.”
Good evening, Pap.
I know the Koch Brothers—they get you going. No doubt about that. But the fact is that they are the table right now, correct? I mean, they call a lot of shots in the Republican Party.
MIKE PAPANTONIO, HOST, “RING OF FIRE”: Ed, they‘ve been calling them for decades. The point is we just haven‘t known who they are. Now, they have a light shining on them.
We understand what they‘re doing is simply picking up where Daddy Fred Koch left off, and that‘s to deconstruct—completely do away with any FDR New Deal kind of changes that took place in America that helped the American workers, for example. If the Koch boys had their way about it, they would roll back all the rights for workers where there wouldn‘t be pension programs, we wouldn‘t have wage-and-hour laws. We wouldn‘t be able to protect the worker in the workplace.
What we don‘t understand about the Koch brothers, what most people don‘t understand, is they‘ve been doing this, Ed, for decades now, but they‘ve been doing it very quietly. Right now, we hear about meetings that they have, for example, in Palm Springs, where they put together a bunch of inheritance—billionaire inheritance babies and they—this is a gaggle of people that met about issues, about things like deregulating the environment and so on. And so, everything is—
SCHULTZ: Does the Republican nominee have to go through the Koch household?
PAPANTONIO: I think absolutely he does right now. Listen, we—this is—these brothers were the people behind Citizens United. We—you know, that story was not told well. I know you told it. Most mainstream media didn‘t tell it. That they were the money behind Citizens United.
They‘re the money and the influence behind federal judge appointments. They‘re the money and influence behind congressmen who are as far-right as you can imagine that are now up in Congress because the Kochs put them there.
SCHULTZ: So, how are we going to get any environmental laws changed with this kind of power and this kind of muscle behind the Republican Party? It looks to me like they‘ll stop at nothing.
PAPANTONIO: Well, Ed, I tell you how you do it. Doing what you‘re doing right here tonight. When the Kochs have a light shined on them, they don‘t handle it very well. As a matter of fact, when they found out that there was so much recognition about what they were doing in Palm Springs a couple weeks ago, and, all of a sudden, they understood the American public, that you and other people in the media understood what kind of adverse effect they‘re having on democracy in this country, they started backing off.
And that‘s the only thing we can do here. You have to shine a light on it. It‘s like walking into—it‘s like walking into the kitchen of an old house. You flip on the light and all kinds of creepy critters come rolling out because they don‘t like the light. That‘s the same thing here with the Koch brothers.
SCHULTZ: And have they influenced the chairman, Fred Upton? I mean, this guy used to be a moderate on the environment and now, of course, he‘s doing pretty much the bidding for the Koch brothers.
PAPANTONIO: Ed, here‘s what they do. They take a guy like this and they say the Cato Institute says this. Or the Heritage Foundation says this. Or the Americans for Prosperity say this.
But what they don‘t say is we, the Koch brothers, are behind all of that. We‘re the ones funding al of those organizations. So, a character like this might buy into the argument. But really what he buys into is the Kochs have more money than third world countries and they‘re willing to spread it around for anybody who is willing to lose their character and dignity and sense of moral right.
And you know what? You‘re going to have a lot of guys like this who are willing to do it as this Congress goes forward.
SCHULTZ: Mike Papantonio, always a pleasure. Again, telling it like it is. Great to have you with us tonight, Mike. Thank you.
For his 100th birthday, the right is rolling out some of the greatest Reagan myths of all time—like this one: he was a small government kind of guy. To present day progressives, maybe; to present day conservatives, no way.
Some voices on the right are sick and tired of Glenn Beck. His latest conspiracy theory attacks American labor again, and drags the Muslim Brotherhood into the conspiracy.
And Super Bowl blunders. The lost seats inside the stadium. What a deal.
The over priced seats in a parking lot. Another great deal.
And the “Star-Spangled” screw up.
It‘s all coming up. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: WWRD, what would Reagan do? I mean, when it comes to Egypt, we see how Obama is handling it. What about Reagan? I mean, where do you think he would be with all of this going on?
PALIN: Remember that President Reagan, he lived that mantra, “trust but verify.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: All these experts flying around.
Yesterday was the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan who has become the patron saint of modern conservatives. He was elected by promoting lower taxes, less government, and a strong national defense.
Here he is during his 1981 inauguration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, government was the solution for the problems of the wealthy. Reagan cut taxes for the rich by more than 40 percent. That‘s one of the reasons they love him so much.
But you don‘t hear them talking about how spending under his administration surpassed spending under Jimmy Carter‘s.
He promised an end to the Departments of Education and Energy, then increased funding for both. From the time he was in office, he more than tripled the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson identified 11 separate tax increases signed by President Reagan.
He raised the gas tax. He signed the largest corporate tax increase in history. And he raised payroll taxes to save and expand Social Security.
Now, can you imagine the Republicans doing that today? Yet he is their idol?
A caller tried to explain this to Rush Limbaugh on Friday. Watch how El Rushbo got tongue-tied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER: Oh, he‘s a tax raiser, an amnesty giver, a cut-and-runner, and he negotiated with terrorists. Why is he a hero to conservatives? I don‘t think you understand it.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Oh, I do. Most assuredly I do. I just don‘t—I don‘t think that you would understand it. Where did you—where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes on Social Security?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, here‘s a little history lesson, Rush. The Social Security Amendment Act, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1983, raised the payroll tax to more than 11 percent. And if you don‘t believe Ronald Reagan signed a bill to protect Social Security, you don‘t have to take my word for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill demonstrates for all time our nation‘s ironclad commitment to Social Security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Dog gone it, Rush, it‘s just too much time on the links, buddy. You got to pay attention to what‘s going on.
Fact of the matter is Ronald Reagan deserves a tremendous amount of respect. I voted for the guy years ago. But, of course, things have changed in this country.
Not to diss the man that we honored yesterday for his hundredth birthday, but to tell the truth, it was Ronald Reagan who gave us the road map to take down the middle class in this country. He was a great communicator, but he never communicated where the middle class was going to go as all the tax breaks went to the rich, and the corporate power went against the working folk of America.
My eyes opened up when he fired air traffic controllers. He attacked labor. He set the playbook right out in front of conservatives to follow, that this is the way we‘re going to do it. It was Reagan who undoubtedly has been really pitted against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR. In fact, they wanted to take his caricature off the dime and put it there with Ronald Reagan.
You see, an aircraft carrier, a building and an airport is how we have honored Ronald Reagan for years. But the fact of the matter is this conservative crowd that loves Ronald Reagan today, they really can‘t identify him because they‘re too radical. The fact is that the conservatives—their movement is at loss right now.
But they know that Reagan, way back when, made the country feel good about itself. It made citizens feel good to be Americans. We had a good feeling about the country back then. But the playbook was put out in front of Americans then that this is how you attack labor, this is how you outsource, this is how the free market is going to benefit a few and leave millions behind.
I take issue with a lot of things Reagan did. As we look back, history judges him different, in my opinion. But I do respect the man.
Glenn Beck is at it again. This time making a bizarre connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and labor unions in the United States of America. Enough is enough.
Watching the Super Bowl in the parking lot. Not at the top of my list. Right outside of the Super Bowl?
And the big sale of one of the left‘s biggest websites. “The Huffington Post” goes to AOL. We‘ll ask the founding editor at Huffington Post if HuffPo will lose its liberal voice and its independence. Now the corporate side is in.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. The Battleground Story tonight, the conservative world is finally starting to get sick of Glenn Beck‘s act. And that‘s what it is, an act. And his latest conspiracy theory involves radical Islam, American labor unions and me.
Fox News conservative Bill Kristol is calling Glenn Beck‘s ideas on Egypt hysteria. “Times‘” Joe Klein says “prominent Republicans have approached Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes about Beck” and, quote, “the speculation is that Beck is on thin ice.”
According to Beck, Egypt‘s revolution isn‘t about democracy. It‘s a radical Islamic plot to take over the Middle East and Europe. Meanwhile, Beck thinks the left is attempting a socialist overthrow in this country.
And when that‘s over, socialist America will team up with the Islamic extremists, just like they did in the 1940s with Hitler and Mussolini.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The same kind of socialist ideas, the same kind of fascist ideas were embraced in Germany and in Italy. And those two reached out to the Islamic extremists of their day as well. And the Islamic extremists joined the socialists. It is the same coalition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Beck says the socialist overthrow is being orchestrated by unions, and all the people at the—last October‘s One Nation rally in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Look at the roster of that One Nation Rally. That is who you‘re against.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hey, I was on the roster of that One Nation Rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: One nation! We are together!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn‘t for that meddling Beck. Joining me now from Media Matters is senior fellow Eric Boehlert. Eric, good to have you with us tonight.
ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: All right. How serious is this conversation about Beck on thin ice all of a sudden? What do you think?
BOEHLERT: Well, it‘s interesting. I think the conservative movement has to decide if it wants to have a demagogue like Glenn Beck as its public face. And right now he is. The conservatives have sort of—if not cheerleading Glenn Beck for the last couple years, they have certainly played dumb about his—you know, his madness, as you just described.
And, you know, it‘s sort of shameful. And years from now, they‘re not going to be able to look back—when we look back, they‘re not going to be able to explain or erase that shameful performance. I think people like Bill Kristol and a couple others with this Egypt nonsense are finally stepping forward, two years into this act, and saying, enough is enough.
But as Bill Kristol is finding out, they can‘t turn Glenn Beck off. Today, on his radio show, he said to explain Egypt to Bill Kristol, he‘d have to dumb it down. He portrayed Kristol as sort of this out of touch, power hungry fool. So, you know, they helped create Glenn Beck and now have to deal with the mess.
SCHULTZ: Do you think more conservatives will become critical of Beck?
BOEHLERT: I don‘t know. I mean, Media Matters, we‘ve been waiting for two years. They‘ve had about 20 chances, you know. And the previous 19, they all failed to distance themselves from Beck.
Look, Beck can sell a lot of books for these conservative authors. He‘s good for fund raising. He gave massive free publicity to the Tea Party movement. He seemed to be a pretty good get out the vote mechanism last November. So, you know, they have profited from his madness.
SCHULTZ: Why does he hate American workers? Why is it always labor unions that are the—actually labor unions are the problem for everything when you listen to the guy.
BOEHLERT: Oh, yeah, yeah. The labor unions and Acorn, they‘re all behind Cairo sort of, if you look at it. We have this sort of pan-continental movement.
Look, it makes no sense. That was Kristol‘s point. This is idiocy. Rich Lowry of the “National Review” basically said the same thing. Media Matters has been calling out Glenn Beck‘s idiocy for two years.
It‘s interesting. Like I said, some of them are finally realizing enough is enough. But look, like I said, they can‘t turn the guy off. They helped create this monster, this Frankenstein. Fox News isn‘t going to listen to Bill Kristol, even though he works there, because, you know, Glenn Beck is a profit center.
SCHULTZ: Where does this conspiracy theory rank? I mean, if you had a top ten, would this be in the top five?
BOEHLERT: The Caliphate, the infamous caliphate. Top ten, I‘m not sure top five. But it‘s up there. Again, what‘s so striking I think for Bill Kristol and others—it‘s basically Glenn Beck and some others on the radical right not backing the Cairo protesters, and trying to cast this as some sort of—this pro-democracy, pro-reform protest as some sort of evil event. Amazing.
SCHULTZ: So the political calculation is going to have to be made by those running for office. Is it a liability to stand on the platform with that guy?
BOEHLERT: Exactly. And it‘s not just him. It‘s—the larger problem is Fox News. But yes, absolutely. You know, Beck wants to be a player in the presidential campaign. You know, he is clearly going to want to endorse people. And people are going to have to finally decide, you know, do I want to stand with this demagogue?
SCHULTZ: Is this the most outlandish one he‘s come up with so far?
BOEHLERT: The caliphate?
BOEHLERT: No, I think it‘s just so high profile and so bizarre. My gosh, I would send people to the Media Matters archives. I mean, it‘s a conspiracy a week. He basically just has to stitch stuff together every week. And these were the cards he was dealt and he came up with the caliphate.
SCHULTZ: Eric Boehlert, great to have you on tonight. Thanks so much.
The big deal that could have very big consequences; “the Huffington Post” is sold to AOL for more than 300 million dollars. HuffPo‘s founding editor will answer all of our questions.
The botched National Anthem at last night‘s Super Bowl. And the botched seats in a billion dollar stadium. How did that all happen? Kicking 1,200 fans out? Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Last night‘s Super Bowl is estimated to be the most watched television program of all time, with 111 million people tuning in. And that is just the audience at home. That‘s not counting the 103,000 people actually at the game, including 3,000 fans who paid 200 dollars to sit in folding chairs outside the stadium and watch the game from the parking lot.
The game itself was fantastic. I mean, with Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers leading the Packers to a six-point victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The guy had a hell of a run in the off-season, didn‘t he? An outcome really correctly predicted by a commentator here at this show who shall remain nameless.
I picked the Packers, although by 14. But at least I got the team right.
But outside of the game itself, there was plenty to keep your attention. Whether it was the odd mix of celebrities and politicians sitting together, or a beautifully sung rendition of “The National Anthem” with one slight hiccup.
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SCHULTZ: Well, you know what? It takes guts to get up there in front of all those people and do that. We probably all would have screwed it up. I guess she just really liked the “what so proudly” line.
For a network like Fox, putting itself up there as America‘s network, reading the Declaration of Independence, flags just pasted everywhere, you would hope that they would get the National Anthem right. Maybe I‘m being too critical.
But I‘m more concerned with how the average Joe watched the game, if you know what I mean; 1200 fans -- 1,250 fans actually showed up with tickets and they were turned away. Some of them got seats inside, but there was a good number of folks that were turned away because their seats were declared unsafe by the Arlington Fire Department.
Are you kidding me? For nearly four years, you‘ve known that you‘re going to be hosting the Super Bowl. You construct a billion dollar stadium. And you still have over 1,200 seats unsafe to sit in? Four hundred fans were put outside. They got to watch the game from the parking lot. They were paid three times the value for their seats. But what the heck‘s that? Man, they missed the game.
And given tickets to the next super bowl? There might not be a next Super Bowl. Heck, they can‘t even sit down and talk it over about what they‘re going to do about pension. How in the heck are they going to get a Super Bowl cranked up for next year? They might walk out.
When I heard that story about how fans were turned away because of safety problems in the stadium, I remembered when my son David was eight years old, I gave him for Christmas Super Bowl tickets. And he was so fired up. I put them on the Christmas tree. Of course, just a month later, we went to see the Redskins and Buffalo play in the Metrodome.
And of course Washington won it. But if he had been turned away at the door, as a dad, I don‘t know how I would have explained that one.
You know, with all the billions of dollars floating a round the league, at least they should probably send them to the rest of the Super Bowls. As long as they want to go, they get to go to the Super Bowl. How do you make up for that?
“Huffington Post” goes AOL, which has left a lot of people wondering if a major progressive voice is going mainstream. AOL‘s chief executive makes the provocative claim one plus one equals 11. And the founding editor of the “Huffington Post,” Roy Sekoff, joins us next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, AOL is doing a—what Joe Biden would say a big deal with “Huffington Post.” The struggling media company will pay 300 million in cash, 15 million in stock. And when the deal is finalized, the Post‘s co-founder, Arianna Huffington, will be in charge of all of AOL‘s editorial content, as part of the newly created Huffington Post Media Group.
She will also have oversight of AOL‘s editorial operations. That includes Mapquest, Moviefone, Pop Eater, and Tech Crunch.
As the “New York Times” reports, AOL is seeking to brand itself as a serious provider of content. And with 25 million monthly visitors, well, the “Huffington Post” can provide that opportunity. No doubt.
AOL‘s chief executive Tim Armstrong does the math. One plus one will equal 11. But to many, “Huffington Post” is more than just a website. It‘s a progressive force.
This morning, “Huffington Post” bloggers got a memo from Arianna Huffington and our next guest, Roy Sekoff, assuring them the team will continue to operate as it always has.
Joining me now, as promised, is founding editor of “The Huffington Post,” Roy Sekoff.
Roy, good to have you with us tonight. Have you talked to Joe Biden about this? Is this a big F‘ing deal?
ROY SEKOFF, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: You nailed it. Biden has been the buzz word this weekend. It is a big F-ing deal, Ed.
SCHULTZ: All right. You know what? You‘ve done a fabulous job over the years at “Huffington Post.” And it‘s just risen in power so fast as the place to go to for progressives and the blogster a little nervous. Will progressives still be able to count on “Huffington Post”? No major changes?
SEKOFF: Ed, listen. You know what this is like? This is like THE ED SHOW moving to 10:00.
SCHULTZ: I like it.
SEKOFF: It‘s just more people seeing the stories. This is really a win, Ed, for people who care about journalism focusing on people, real people, and the impact that policies have on them. We are going to go in the same direction.
The way we‘ve been talking about it, we‘re getting off a very fast moving train and we‘re getting on a supersonic jet. We‘re heading in the same direction. We got the same people at the wheel. We‘re just going to get there a lot faster.
SCHULTZ: Roy, doesn‘t this kind of big corporate merger go pretty much against what “Huffington Post” has stood for a number of years now?
SEKOFF: Ed, you know what? I got to tell you. You quoted Tim Armstrong and he is the CEO. And he‘s really dynamic. He really has a vision. And the great thing about this, we weren‘t looking to sell. What happened was sort of like a Nora Efron movie, when Tim met Arianna—they met each other and they started talking. And they saw that they had this shared vision.
And we are really not heading into this corporate mall. We‘re heading into a place where we‘re going to just be supercharged by AOL‘s scale and their resources and their global reach. But the “Huffington Post” brand, as you say, will live on and, in fact, will now be overseeing all of the AOL content.
SCHULTZ: Editorial content; will it be more aggressive? Will it be more liberal? What about it?
SEKOFF: Ed, you know what? I think—and you know this. We‘ve talked about this before. I think when you try to label things too much, it can delegitimize. It is too easy to dismiss it. Ed, you know, he is on this side of the spectrum, so I don‘t have to listen to him.
But, in fact, we‘re talking about issues and you do, Ted—Ed, all the time—issues that are central to our democracy. I don‘t think they fall into this easy left/right dichotomy. Afghanistan, for instance, getting out of Afghanistan—They want to say that means you‘re a lefty. Really? Joe Scarborough, Grover Norquist, George Will?
These are issues that are beyond left and right.
SEKOFF: That‘s where our heart is. That‘s where—is it left or is it right to hold banks accountable? Is it left or is t right to say that jobs need to be in the forefront? So I don‘t really think that.
The way we look at it is, Ed, facts don‘t come with a little D or a little R next to them.
SCHULTZ: All right. Well, today one of those popular stories on “Huffington Post” was, of course, Christina Aguilera flubbing up the National Anthem. I mean, is the focus going to be just getting as many page views and clicks? Or is it going to be really a force for what‘s good and what‘s right for America?
SEKOFF: Ed, I got to say this: I reject that kind of it‘s either this or it‘s that. I mean, I consider myself and the friends that I have really passionate people who care about the world, care about making a difference. But we still like to talk about funny things. We still like to talk about who is going to win the Oscars. We still want to talk about who won the ball game.
I think you can do both. If we‘re just this one narrow thing, all I‘m going to do is talk about the debt ceiling, that‘s going to be a very boring conversation. We can do both, Ed. We can have some fun. We can talk about funny things.
Don‘t forget, we have 26 sections now, Ed. You know? We still are going to do the same things we‘re doing. We‘re still going to keep a laser focus on trying to do good journalism. And in fact, Ed, we‘re going to expand that.
One of the great things about AOL is they have patch, their local—hyper local initiative. It‘s in 700 different towns. Think about what that can mean moving into 2012.
SEKOFF: People, boots on the ground. Not people who fly around with the candidates in that little bubble, just talking about the horse race, who is ahead, who‘s not. Let‘s talk about the real issues. Let‘s have some hyper local coverage, you know, telling us how it‘s happening, how it‘s playing. I think that‘s really exciting for us, for journalism, and for the audience.
SCHULTZ: Roy Sekoff, congratulations no doubt in order. Great job, my friend.
SEKOFF: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our phone survey, I asked will President Obama reaching out to business silence his critics? Fifteen percent of you say yes; 85 percent of you say no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. And tell me what you think on Facebook.com/EdSchultzShow. Or talk to me on Twitter at Twitter.com/WeGotEd.
“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Have a good one.
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