All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
October 24, 2013
Guest: Sherrod Brown, Olympia Snowe, Clay Shirky, Jose Diaz-Balart, David
Folkenflik, Joe Muto, Ana Marie Cox
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
And we begin with today`s hearing on Capitol Hill. It could have been a
constructive effort to get to the bottom of the serious problems with
healthcare.gov, but was, instead, used by Republicans to grandstand, to
obfuscate, and to derail a law they want to destroy.
And what made it even worse was that today`s hearing focused on, let`s say,
a weak spot for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And again, the Internet is not something that you just
dump something on, it`s not a big truck. It`s a series of tubes. And if
you don`t understand those tubes can be filled, and if they`re filled, when
you put your message in and gets in line, it`s going to be delayed by
anyone who puts in that tube, enormous amounts of material.
HAYES (voice-over): We know that every time Congress investigates the
Internet, we`re in for a good time.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Is anyone on these committees charged with
regulating the Internet understand how any of this Internet stuff work?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m not a nerd.
REP. MEL WATT (D), NORTH CAROLINA: I am not a nerd.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: I`m not enough of a nerd.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Maybe we ought to ask some nerds what this
thing actually does.
STEWART: You know, I think maybe the word you`re looking for here is
HAYES: The goal of today`s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce
Committee was to get to the bottom of the massive failure of
healthcare.gov. And as one astute tweeter described it, imagine all of
your grandparents interrogating a group of Facebook product managers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the American people can understand how complicated
this is. This might help a little bit. You know, you can`t re-cook eggs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I call them gaffes. They`re much bigger than
glitches, I believe. Glitches are little hiccups.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s only so many passwords that I have the mental
capacity to make up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really start with one in Delaware.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pardon me, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you really start out with one in Delaware? That`s
what I -- the liberal press is reporting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not familiar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going into a restaurant and you order two eggs
over medium and the server brings you out two eggs scrambled, somebody
HAYES: Texas Republican Joe Barton, a member of the infamous suicide
caucus, who shut down the government for 16 days to kill Obamacare, spent
his time today grilling witnesses on 47 lines of code from the
healthcare.gov Web site related to health privacy rules known as HIPAA.
REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: What that blue highlighted area that`s been
circled in red says is, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy
regarding any communication or data transiting stored on this information
system. And Mr. -- Ms. Campbell and Mr. Slavitt, you all both said you
were HIPAA compliant. How in the world can this be HIPAA compliant?
HAYES: It turns out the code Barton focused on is irrelevant. Tech
journalist Clay Johnson noting, "The whole thing doesn`t matter. If it`s
not displayed to the user, the user can`t agree to it. It`s not like Apple
can completely hide terms of service on iTunes and still claim people
accept the terms."
But Joe Barton is less concerned with the facts than he is about destroying
REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW YORK: Once again, here we have my Republican
colleagues trying to scare everybody --
BARTON: Will the gentleman yield?
PALLONE: No, I will not yield to this monkey court or whatever this is --
BARTON: This is not a monkey court.
PALLONE: Do whatever you want. I`m not yielding.
HAYES: Instead of trying to actually get to the bottom of what was wrong
with the Web site, the GOP spent their time decrying a broken government
they worked day and night to break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The botched rollout is all the more reason that the
individual mandate penalty should be delayed.
HAYES: But this is not the first time Congress has overseen t botched
rollout of a big new health care program. In 2006, the House held hearings
on the glitch-ridden Medicare part "D" rollout under Bush. Democrats
worked with Republicans to improve the program.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found the newsletter that I sent out to my
constituents after Medicare part "D," in which I said, "I oppose the law
that created this program, but people need to be armed with the information
HAYES: So imagine if the Republicans who attended today`s hearing, like,
say, Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania --
REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Given all these questions, Congress
should press pause on the tech surgeon and figure out what went wrong first
before throwing good money after bad.
HAYES: Had the same attitude he did when George Bush struggled to roll out
Medicare part "D."
MURPHY: Anytime something is new, there`s going to be some glitches. Even
-- no matter what one does in life, when it`s something new and learning
the ropes of it, it`s going to take a little adjustment.
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Ohio.
And, Senator, do you feel like you were edified by today`s House hearing?
Are you confident that Congress and Capitol Hill are going to get to the
bottom of this and get it sorted out?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, I don`t think there was much interest
in that hearing in getting to the bottom and sorting it out.
Look, first of all, there is far too much contracting out in this
government. You can look at NSA, you can look at Iraq, the privatization
of far too much of the armed forces. You know, from foodservice to
soldiers and you can look at contracting out here.
The fact is, the administration, of course, should have been better
prepared, but the opponent to Obamacare, the ones that shut the government
down to get rid of it are now saying delay it, delay it, delay it. They`re
of course going to try to do that.
In fact, the issue is the president and the White House and HHS have got to
fix this. They`ve got to make it work. A million seniors in my state have
already benefited from free checkups and screenings; 100,000 young people
have benefited by being on their parent`s health plan. Thousands of
families have benefited already because they`re not denied coverage because
of a child`s pre-existing conditions.
I just spoke to the head of the biggest Medicare company in the state,
Medicaid company in the state today. They are going to sign up at least
100,000 people, come January in the first few months of next year, that
didn`t have insurance before. This is going to work, we`re going to look
back on this five years from now and wonder what the fight was about. It`s
just like Medicare. There was opposition in the beginning and people
become very satisfied with it over time.
HAYES: What did you think of Congresswoman DeGette`s comparison to
Medicare part "D." I remember interviewing you right after the Medicare
part "D" vote passed. You were in the House and I was profiling you at the
And I believe you were -- you were opposed to that. And I imagine you
turned around and worked with your constituents to make sure it worked.
BROWN: Yes, Congresswoman DeGette showed the kind of public official she
is in Colorado, that she didn`t like the bill, I didn`t like the bill. I
still think it could have been done so differently and so much better,
instead of the giveaway to drug and insurance interests, as the Bush
administration wrote it.
But I also knew that my constituents could benefit from a law that could
have been better, but was adequate for the needs of some of them and we
keep improving it. And you know the Affordable Care Act, as you know,
Chris, in my state, and in most states, on the average, it saved a senior
that stands -- that enrolls in this Medicare program, Medicare drug
program, it saved them about $800 additionally, because of what we did in
the Affordable Care Act.
So, that`s another benefit that`s come from this, as you know.
HAYES: And finally, Senator, what is your reaction to the members of the
House, the Ohio House of Representatives, who are suing to block the
Medicaid expansion that Republican Governor John Kasich has pushed there?
BROWN: I watched your interview last night. It was almost -- it was
almost a painful mismatch to watch, Chris. And Connie, my wife and, Connie
Schultz and I, were talking about it. But I`m just amazed by this.
I mean, I was with a group of people called the chamber of -- the
Cincinnati Cchamber of Human Services today, a group of people that provide
for people with less advantage in the community. And they`re just
incredulous. As people I met yesterday in northwest Ohio in Brian were,
that are taking care of patients with drug problems and mental illness.
And they`re just incredulous that people would want to deny these hundreds
of thousands of people insurance.
I was at a fast food restaurant in Centerville, Ohio, south of Dayton
today, talking to the workers. None of them had insurance. They`re all
making $9 and $10 an hour. Most of them will be eligible for Medicaid.
They`re going to finally have insurance, their going to live longer as a
result, and they`re going to have better lives, period, as simple as that.
HAYES: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, thank you for your time.
Let`s turn to former Republican senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe,
currently a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a self-described
centrist think tank.
And, Senator, I`m curious your perspective on this Medicare part "D"
analogy. It seems quite germane to me insofar as a lot of Democrats
opposed it. But Democrats, once it was passed, really did as legislators
attempt to kind of fix the program, make sure it worked, communicate
accurately to their constituents.
Do you think we will see that from Republican lawmakers as we go forward?
OLYMPIA SNOWE, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: Well, you know, I hope so,
because in the final analysis, we have to make the law work. And that,
obviously, is going to be the responsibility and the obligation of members
of Congress, as it is to conduct obviously this oversight, to get to the
heart of the matter in terms of what was underlined the implementation of
this program, because of the enormity of it.
But I do recall Medicare part "D," because I worked on that initiative when
I served in the Senate Finance Committee. Yes, there were problems with it
in the original rollout, but everybody worked to identify and to address
the problems. And the same should be true in this instance in the final
HAYES: What`s your sense of where the Republican Party is on this, having
just come tough the kind of shutdown battle, have lost that. Are they
still -- are the members of the Republican Party still focused on ending
the law, on destroying the law, on gutting the law, or is there going to
come a time where they just act as representatives, constituents who need
help in signing up for the law or getting the kinks worked out or making
the thing work?
SNOWE: Well, it`s important, as a lawmaker, obviously, to respond to your
constituents. And once a law becomes a law, you really do have, I think,
an obligation to make it work. I can`t obviously speak for our Republicans
and how they intend to move forward. But I do know this -- that tying the
strategy of delaying or defunding Obamacare was not the right strategy.
Obviously, was not a winning strategy, and it certainly wasn`t an
And what`s more, what is bothersome as well is that when one party adopts
the tactic, unfortunately, the next, you know, in the next term, the other
party could adopt a similar tactic. Depending on which position they`re
HAYES: That`s right.
SNOWE: If the majority becomes the minority or vice versa, they each
employ the other`s old tactics. So, we could see this ad infinitum.
That`s why I think we got to put an end to these types of, you know,
warfare strategy, holding legislation hostage, and in this instance, bring
the government to a shutdown and near default.
I think it`s a sad state of affairs and it really was a mega-overreach in
the financial analysis.
HAYES: Former Senator Olympia Snowe, thank you so much for your time
tonight. I really appreciate it.
SNOWE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me at the table, Clay Shirky, author, professor, and expert
on social media and Internet technologies.
And, Clay, you`ve been incredibly critical.
CLAY SHIRKY, SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT: Yes.
HAYES: Yes, unsparingly critical of the rollout of healthcare.gov. What
has gotten you so frustrated watching this as someone who`s a technologist,
work in technology, written about it?
SHIRKY: What`s gotten me so frustrated is that there are a set of
managerial mistakes, separate from the technology, separate from the
challenge, that didn`t have to happen.
It looks to me like what the Obama administration was doing was saying: we
don`t want to hand Republicans hand grenades as we go along, if something
messes up, if we have a mistake, if we have a glitch. And so, they kept
the whole thing under such tight wraps, but what they ended up doing in the
end was hanging over a gift-wrapped bomb of a much larger size.
HAYES: Right. And so, your point is that they weren`t testing early
enough, and the reason they weren`t testing, and it must be such a bunker
mentality inside there, precisely because of the reaction we`re seeing now,
which is that if you start testing a product and there are glitches, you`re
going to get killed for it. But, of course, your argument is that they
were so scared of that, what they ended up doing was delaying this
necessary testing process.
SHIRKY: Right. In fact, one of the things that -- anyone who ships a
large technology project recognizes that you have to get through a lot of
failure to get to a working system.
HAYES: Right. And it`s the process of failure and feedback that makes a
SHIRKY: That`s exactly right. So what they did in a way, they saved up
all the failure more after the public launch.
HAYES: That`s really important.
SHIRKY: And the real managerial failure, the thing that finally made me
blow my stack, as I did the other day, was recognizing that on October 1st,
when Obama was going to go out to the public to talk about healthcare.gov,
no one could pull him aside and say, hey, chief, play it down a little bit.
SHIRKY: Say we`re testing it in public, only try it if we --
HAYES: This is a soft launch. We just had a soft launch of a site.
SHIRKY: Exactly, exactly.
Instead, Obama goes out and not only compares to it Amazon.com, which is
insane, because Amazon.com is the greatest, you know, transactional tool
ever shipped on the Internet. So, already, he`s raising people`s hopes up.
Then, he issues this challenge. You don`t have to take my word for it. Go
take a look.
The opposite of what he should be saying.
HAYES: And one of the things -- you had a very interesting interaction
with the former chief technology officer of the Obama for America --
SHIRKY: Harper, that`s right.
HAYES: And Harper, and he`s a famous guy on the Internet, a real ninja
coder. And you`re basically saying, hey, man, you guys set up this
incredible thing on the campaign, this could have been done right, and he
was sort of replying back and I think there`s a really interesting case
study here about how government does big tech objects.
And it struck me this is the first time that you have a government project
dependent on shipping, a big, massive tech project. And we`ll have to
learn how to do this in the 21st century.
SHIRKY: In fact, what Senator Sherrod said earlier, which is the
government needs to bring some of this in house, Tim Bray has also written
a very interesting piece, saying, essentially, an increasing amount of
government is going to be shipped via software. This is no longer
something the government can buy on the open market. This is a capability
that they have to move in.
HAYES: And there are certain capabilities, you know, building dams or
building roads that have been moved in-house, and that we`re sort of used
to the government doing. This is something new. That`s part of what`s so
fascinating and I think worrying about this moment, we`re on the frontier
of something new.
HAYES: Clay Shirky of New York University, thank you.
SHIRKY: Thank you very much.
HAYES: Coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No one spent more time
trying to fix a broken immigration system than I am. I talked about it the
day after the election and I`ve talked about it 100 times since.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And yet today, while members of the House were talking about monkey
courts and amorphous clouds, the president was putting immigration reform
front and center. When we come back, I`ll explain why the Boehner strategy
on immigration spells doom for the Republican Party.
HAYES: We always love hearing from you on Facebook and Twitter. We know
what Republicans think about the healthcare the.gov site. What do you
Tonight`s question, if you could have spoken at the House hearing today,
what would have said about the healthcare.gov rollout?
Tweet your answers @allinwithchris or post at facebook.com/allinwithchris.
I`ll share a couple at the end of the show, so stay tuned.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It doesn`t make sense to
have 11 million people who are in this country, illegally, without any
incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with
the law, meet their responsibilities and permit their families then to move
ahead. It`s not smart, it`s not fair, it doesn`t make sense. We have
kicked this particular can down the road for too long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fresh off having successfully stared down the Republican Party over
a government shutdown and a default, the president today eagerly moved on
to the next fight, the big, unfinished business of his second term,
immigration reform -- reform that provides a path to citizenship for more
than 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The conventional wisdom is that it`s a fight that the president can`t win
because of opposition to a deal in the House driven by the Tea Party. But
the contours of the immigration fight are strikingly similar to the
contours of the shutdown fight that the president just won decisively.
Indeed, perhaps the best way to think about immigration reform is as an
opportunity to end a nightmarish shutdown of the basic legal rights of
millions of people.
It turns out John Boehner could potentially end that shutdown tomorrow, if
he would simply let the Democratic process play out.
Back in June, with Mitt Romney`s 44-point loss among Latinos, still fresh
in their mind, Republicans helped pass a bipartisan, immigration overhaul
in the Senate that included a pathway to citizenship. Boehner has refused
to allow that bill to come to a vote in the House, saying Republicans
prefer a piecemeal approach to immigration reform, but he`s not providing a
lot of details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I still think immigration reform is an important subject that
needs to be addressed and I`m hopeful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The easiest way to address immigration reform, of course, would
simply let the House vote on the Senate bill. And that isn`t a pointless
Earlier this month, 184 House Democrats signed on to an immigration reform
bill, similar to the Senate bill. Meanwhile, the group, America`s voice,
is counting 28 House Republicans who have offered support for a path to
citizenship. That almost gets you to a majority. And it suggests the
Senate bill has a very real chance of getting enough votes to pass if only
Boehner would bring it to the floor. So why won`t he do it?
Boehner has long insisted that he will not bring to the floor any bill that
does not have the support of the majority of the majority, a concept known
as the Hastert Rule. Boehner has now broken the Hastert Rule so many
times, he cannot hide behind that rationale anymore. Just last week, he
did it once again, with the bill to end the government shutdown and raise
the debt ceiling.
It wasn`t exactly under the cover of darkness. We all watched the roll
call. We all watched Republicans vote against it.
So there is no longer any credible excuse for Boehner not to bring the
Senate bill up for a vote. Because John Boehner will ultimately shut down
the government and then John Boehner who opened it back up, and it is John
Boehner currently shutting out 11 million people from full citizenship.
Joining me now, Jose Diaz-Balart, award-winning journalist and news anchor
And, Jose, do you understand the basic contours of this, as someone who
covers this day in and day out, do you understand them in the same way?
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, TELEMUNDO: I do, indeed. But, Chris, you know
something, let`s forget about the Senate bill for a minute. Let`s just --
HAYES: Throw it out.
DIAZ-BALART: -- forget that the Senate bill even exists.
In the House of Representatives, there has been a small group of four
Republicans, and that whittled down to essentially one now, that were
working on their own version of immigration reform, which would have
included some legalization for the 11 million undocumented, not even
dealing with the Senate bill, and that fizzled away.
DIAZ-BALART: Where is leadership, both in the House, and I would question,
in the Republican Party as a whole, when there are members, Republican
members in the House, that are dealing with their own immigration reform
bill, and that was left to sit and wither and die.
The question is, does the United States of America and does the House of
Representatives really think that there is going to be absolutely no
political cost --
HAYES: That`s the point, yes.
DIAZ-BALART: -- if immigration reform does not happen. And don`t they
realize the economic costs of no immigration reform in this country? The
president spoke very eloquently about the economic benefits of immigration
reform. And the Republicans that are so worried about amnesty, there`s an
amnesty right now in this country.
There are 11 million people in the United States that you and I don`t know
where they are, don`t know who they are, don`t know who the good ones are,
don`t know where the bad ones are. That`s amnesty.
HAYES: And here`s the political strategy, as I`ve seen it, from observing
this on the Republican side. There was so much pressure that built up in
the wake of the election and the Senate passed the bill. And my read on
this is the House and John Boehner are just like, if we pretend this
doesn`t exist, if we ignore it, if we do other stuff, everyone`s going to
forget about it and it will go away.
My question to you is, particularly in the Spanish language media, is it
going away? Because my sense is that it is not going away. They`re not
fooling anyone by not touching this.
DIAZ-BALART: No, no. No, Chris, no. And you know what? Let`s just --
can we talk about numbers for a minute?
DIAZ-BALART: It`s not just 11 million undocumented. It`s 15.5 million
Latinos in this country and some of those Latinos, if not most, know
someone who does not have their documents, may have a cousin, a son, a
daughter, a father, a mother who doesn`t have their documents. Every
single month of the United States, 50,000 U.S.-born kids turn 18 years of
age. That is voting age in this country. I remind my political friends.
And so, that is a reality. That`s not going away. It`s getting bigger.
The United States is getting -- there is more salsa sold than ketchup in
the United States of America. That`s not just because, you know, white
people are enjoying Taco Bell. That`s because the Latino community in the
United States is every day becoming more Americanized, whether they like to
recognize it or not.
And you know what? There but for the grace of God go is something that
many Latinos who have their documents --
HAYES: It`s a great point.
DIAZ-BALART: -- think of when they see 11 million undocumented.
There`s another side to this coin, Chris, which is there will be 2 million
deportees under the Obama administration. A recent study at UC-Merced said
up to 25 percent of them in 2011, up to 25 percent, have U.S.-born
children. That is going on every single day and that`s a reality that is
dividing and destroying families.
HAYES: We are seeing families ripped apart. We are seeing tens of
thousands of deportations. Those have continued.
What is the political fallout from that? We`re seeing tremendous activism,
very courageous activism, to stand in the way of that. But that feels like
it`s falling on deaf ears in the same way that the Senate bill sitting on
the House`s doorstep is.
DIAZ-BALART: You know, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it,
did it fall? I`ll tell you something, that tree that falls in the forest
is covered and it screams every single day in Spanish.
We`re covering it, our community cares about it, because it`s their
cousins, it`s their friends, it`s their mothers, and it`s their fathers.
And every single day in this country, up to 1,400 people are deported --
1,400 day, 1,400 tomorrow, until something is done.
But that`s not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is it`s an economic
benefit to this country to have immigration reform. And once and for all,
to know where the good people are, which is the overwhelming majority, and
where the bad ones are.
HAYES: Telemundo`s Jose Diaz-Balart, a great pleasure always -- thank you.
DIAZ-BALART: A pleasure, thanks.
HAYES: Coming up, do you remember this guy? He spent untold millions on
Republican candidates in the 2012 elections. This week, he gave us a
horrifying glimpse in an alternate future in which one of his candidates
win, a truly frightening and apocalyptic chain of events. And that is not
as farfetched as you think.
HAYES: Everyone`s favorite casino mogul and mega donor is back in the news
this week. Thanks to a truly jaw-dropping piece of video that surfaced
from his appearance on a panel discussion Tuesday night at Yeshiva
University in New York.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sheldon Adelson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMUELEY BOTEACH, AMERICAN ORTHODOX RABBI: So, you would support
negotiations with Iran currently as long as they first ceased all
enrichment of uranium?
SHELDON ADELSON, AMERICAN BUSINESS MAGNATE: No. What do you mean support
negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is
see is -- Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you
You pick up your cell phone, even at traveling rates. You pick up your
cellphone, and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, "OK, let it go."
So, there`s an atomic weapon goes over ballistic missiles in the middle of
the desert that does not hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and
scorpions or whatever.
And, then you say, " See. The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we
mean business. You want to be wiped out, go ahead and take a tough
position and continue with your nuclear development. You wan to be
peaceful -- you want to be peaceful, just reverse it all and we will
guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity
purposes, for energy purposes" --
BOTEACH: So, a tremendous demonstration of American strength. So that
they would get the message?
ADELSON: The only thing they understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. Let`s note a few things here. First of all, a nuclear strike
on Iran`s desert would, in fact, almost certainly kill a lot of people, not
just a handful of scorpions and rattlesnakes. Here`s a population density
map of Iran. It`s pretty hard to believe you could drop a nuclear bomb
anywhere on this map and not kill a whole lot of humans.
But, second of all, nuclear weapons are not BB guns. They`re not what you
turn to when you`re standing on your porch, trying to scare off an
intruder. You don`t use nukes for warning shots. And, if you did, you`d
shoot out more than just your eye. It is absolutely unequivocally not OK
to use a nuclear weapon to send a message. A first strike nuclear tact is
a war crime of epic, historic, historic, horrific proportions and is
unanimously viewed as such by everyone, seriously, not OK.
But keep in mind, this is not coming from some powerless old crank. These
might sound like the rantings of an anonymous basement dwelling wing-nut
internet commenter, but they are not. They are the rantings of an insanely
rich and incredibly powerful conservatives.
A top donor who poured almost $100 million into last year`s election. A
guy who hang out with republican nominee for president last year during his
big foreign policy trip overseas. And, he is not just powerful in
conservative circles. He is also hugely active and influential in
mainstream Jewish organizations.
His support has been crucial, for example, to the birthright foundation,
which sends young adults to Israel and has become a right of passage that
tons of Jewish-Americans from all political persuasions participate in.
And, this guy is instrumental in funding it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADELSON: So, there is an atomic weapon that goes over ballistic missiles
in the middle of the desert. And, then you say, "See. The next one is in
the middle of Tehran."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And, that is what is so scary about Sheldon Adelson. This is what
would happen if you swooped in on some nutty internet troll and gave him
billions of dollars in tons of influence. He is a chief influential donor,
not just to the Republican Party, but to mainstream Jewish organizations,
and here he is sitting in Yeshiva University in New York City getting
applause for suggesting the United States launch a first strike nuclear
attack on another country.
This man is using his power and influence to spread the fantasy that with
enough strength and power, there is no need for negotiation, no need for
diplomacy. That peace comes about through conquest and domination and
bullying. And, it is a reminder, as the president moves towards open
diplomacy with Iran, that skepticism of their intentions and roadblocks to
nonproliferation don`t just run in one direction.
I mean imagine for a moment you saw this video but instead of Sheldon
Adelson in New York City, it was an influential mullah in Tehran calling
for nuclear attack. You would probably think, "Wow! That is really
dangerous." Do these people really want peace? And, the answer to that in
Adelson`s case is "No."
HAYES: The journalist who wrote a new biography about Rupert Murdoch says
a lot was done to prevent cooperation with him. That journalist will join
me along with a man who has been dubbed the Fox News mole to talk about the
Murdoch media empire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): But, first, I want to share the three awesomest things
on the internet today. We begin with the latest jab at the ridiculous sexy
Halloween costume trend, which has evolved so far beyond the classic sexy
vampire that BuzzFeed comes out with sexy Halloween costumes that should
have never been made like sexy Mrs. Potato head. The unfortunate sexy
hamburger, and the truly upsetting sexy Burt and Ernie.
And, now artist, Jillian Tamaki, is mocking the trend that jams like sexy
unemployed contract worker. Sexy smelly old gym sock, sexy first edition
of old man and the sea and sexy inexplicable melon colleagues. But, for
the TV savvy, nothing really beats sexy remote control. That`s a real
The second awesomest thing on the internet today, a web photo that will
live in infamy, the resulting search for the mysterious Obamacare website
girl. BuzzFeed correctly noting that frustrated Americans were greeted by
one face as they waited. That face was everywhere and even inspired the
onions, people in healthcare.gov photo now visibly panicking, as well as
the obligatory CNN segment.
So, BuzzFeed got on the case, found the images filename tobe Adriana. They
went down the rabbit hole trying to find Adriana. BuzzFeedThey called Teal
Media, the design that worked on the site, even called its employees`
personal cell phones, until a public relations person says the photos were
provided that the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.
Finally, CMS spokesman replied, "The woman featured on the website signed a
release for us to uses the photo. And, to protect her privacy, we will not
share her personal and contact info with anyone. So, Adrianna is still a
mystery. But, wait! There is just in, Adriana now says she will reveal
her true identity if enough viewers like the "All In" Facebook page. Hey,
it was worth a shot. And, the third awesomest thing on the internet today,
back to Halloween and cool L.E.D. lights. Just add a kid and you get this.
HAYES (voice-over): Hold on. That toddler seemed a bit scared. And, what
is that long, dark hallway that those parents used for their amusement when
they could have been spending their money on a "What does the Fox say,
L.E.D. house." A note to parents, go easy with the spooky stuff on
Halloween or your kid could grow up like this.
(MOVIE CLIP OF CARRIE)
HAYES (voice-over): You can find all the links for tonight`s Click 3 on
our website, allinwithchris.com. We will be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWS CORP CHAIRMAN AND CEO: We are bringing diversity of
opinion. We are -- there is a diversity of opinion on Fox News. You may
disagree with that. We have many liberals there, many liberals invited.
We have liberal commentators, as we have conservative ones.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Who are your liberal commentators?
MURDOCH: Alan Colmes, for one. -- Greta Van Susteren. You know, it is in
the eye of the beholder, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Back in 2008, here is the story. A media reporter here in New
York, a guy by the name of Matthew Flamm, wanted to do a story about how
CNN beat Fox News in the prime-time ratings for the month of February. Fox
had ended 2007 as cable`s top news network. So, when they lost to CNN at
the beginning of 2008, amidst the heat of the presidential campaign, the
reporter thought it was worth writing about.
Fox didn`t want to have anything to do with the story, saying, we will not
participate, because they had no interest in talking about a story that
includes other cable news networks. So, after being stonewalled, the
reporter got an e-mail from a producer for Bill O`Reilly`s show from a
private hot mail account, saying that Fox execs were, indeed, worried about
the ratings had held a meeting to discuss shaking things up.
SigFox executives wanted to copy wanted to copy the success that MSNBC had
with their election coverage. "The Washington Post" got a hold of the rest
of that e-mail, which read, O`Reilly, not Brett Hume will be in the anchor
chair, Tuesday night. We are going to have an opinion, monger, anchor,
what is always been our hard news election coverage. To ask Bill O`Reilly
to take over anchor duties would call into question the Fox News maunder
fair and balanced.
So, although, the reporter only had the one source, he ran the story
online. Mistake, none of it was true. Actors, hours after it was posted,
Fox News pounced to a statement that a hit website, TVNewser, "Flamm is so
off the mark, it is embarrassing. The notion that O`Reilly would anchor
election coverage of any kind is beyond absurd and wildly inaccurate."
When Flamm called the producer of Fox to see what the hell was going on.
She claims they have no idea what he is talking about. By this time, the
Fox producer`s Hotmail account where he originally got this scoop has been
shut down. In short, he had been setup. According to explosive new book,
Fox`s PR team had baited Flamm into publishing a false tip, so they could
then discredit him and distract attention away from his story. And it
And, that`s just one tiny example of how things operated in the complicated
world of Rupert Murdoch, a man who is arguably the most powerful private
citizen in the world. A man whose ruthlessness, win-at-all-costs mentality
has changed the debate shifted the politics to the right across three
continents. A man who owns a major television network, a cable news
network, a major movie studio, T.V. stations, and more than a dozen cities,
several newspapers, and a publishing company. And, a man who is very
careful about how he is covered by the press.
He declined our invitation to appear tonight. But, we do have David
Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR, author of the new book, "Murdoch`s
World: The Last Of The Old Media Empire." So, the big question, when you
do a book about Rupert Murdoch is, how do you report it? Because it`s very
hard to get anyone to talk to you. How did you find the experience of
trying to break into this world?
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, NPR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly helped. I
have been covering media for over 13 years now, originally with "The
Baltimore Suns" since 2004 for NPR News. And, it means that I have done
stories over the years on all these properties and all these events. So,
that happens. It means that I have the knowledge base to start with and a
lot of sources to start with. And, then you build on that.
In 2011, on July 5th, I looked online in a video and I saw Prime Minister
Cameron talking from Afghanistan with the president of Afghanistan, Hamid
Karzai about some hacking scandal that was breaking out in London. And,
this struck me as incredibly important.
And, that itself offered an additional incredible window ultimately over
time through documentary and evidentiary path, to how news corp. worked
behind the scenes. And, in both these ways, through source work over many
years, including intensely over the last two years, and through what we
learned through the hacking scandal, even about what officials here didn`t
believe, you can learn a lot.
HAYES: So, what do you learn through the hacking scandal?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, you learn through the hacking scandal is really in
London. There was the purest version, perhaps, of the Murdoch vision. You
had a company that controlled roughly 40% of national newspaper
circulation. You had a company that had politicians at the highest levels
of government vying for their support, because Murdoch would swing the
support of the papers like "The Times" of the London and the "Sun" tabloid
between the two parties. He could do business.
One of the misunderstandings about him is that he is always conservative.
Well, he can do business with people in the center left like Tony Blair in
the UK or when Hillary Clinton was running for senate in this country as
well, in the center left. And, as a result, politicians will vie for his
HAYES: What comes through in the book, particularly the hacking scandal,
is the raw sort of instrumentality in which the media outlet is wielded in
these certain circumstances. I mean, it is a tool for power. It is a tool
for influence that is wielded by Rupert Murdoch. I want to talk more about
the Murdoch Empire, whether it is a dying empire or not.
I think that`s sort of an interesting through line in the book, and talk to
someone who worked at Fox News and wrote a tell-all book about it along
with the great Ana Marie Cox, right after this break.
HAYES: Fox News mole and Ana Marie Cox in just a minute. Earlier in the
show, I asked you what you would have said in today`s house hearing about
the failures of healthcare.gov rollout. Got a ton of answers posted to our
Facebook and Twitter accounts, including Kelly Cash from Facebook who says,
"Since when has any version 1.0 software release worked properly? Heck,
Microsoft Windows has been around since 1995 and it`s STILL buggy as hell."
Teresa Layne from Facebook, offering a solution says, "Phone still works."
@Repentedhipster on Twitter says, "If I were in front of congress today,
all I could have responded with was a face palm. Thanks." We will be right
HAYES: Talking about Fox News Rupert Murdoch and his right wing media
empire still with us. NPR`s David Folkenflik, author of Murdoch`s World,
which is just out and joining in the table Joe Mutto, a former producer at
Fox News, author of the book, "An Atheist in the Foxhole." Joe gained some
notoriety on the internet as the Fox News Mole. Also joining us Ana Marie
Cox, founder of Wonkette, Senior Columnist for the "Guardian" and the long
time chronicler of the world of Fox.
So, here is another excerpt from David`s book about "Fox PR staffers were
expected to counter not just negative even neutral blog postings, but the
anti-Fox comments beneath them. One former staffer recalled using twenty
different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Several employees had to acquire
a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that
could not be traced back to Fox news or News Corp. account." Is this sort
of paranoia and ruthlessness? Is that part of the institutional culture
JOE MUTO, AUTHOR, "AN ATHEIST IN THE FOXHOLE" BOOK: Absolutely. There`s a
weird thin-skiness to anyone who works there --
MUTO: -- And, you know, any criticism must be answered with strong force.
And, you know, there were at times when -- you know people seemed like they
had to feed stories, opposition research, basically, to outside media
outlets like drug report or the daily caller or something, attacking MSNBC
or attacking CNN.
HAYES: Or anyone who goes after them. In the story -- in the Flamm story,
they are circulating these blind quotes saying, "We wonder if he is going
to have a job the next day." They go nuclear on everything.
FOLKENFLIK: Well, there is a couple of things going on. First, they are
trying to forestall that coverage.
FOLKENFLIK: A very aggressive pushback, even when you make the first call
to inquire about ratings. Let`s remember, the story on which that occurred
was on such minor import. CNN had --
HAYES: It didn`t matter. They had one month that was good. It didn`t
FOLKENFLIK: Who cares? It didn`t matter and they went nuclear on it
FOLKENFLIK: The second thing is it`s warning the people who also cover the
-- very clear. You do this, you could be in peril as well.
HAYES: Ana Marie, you`re not working -- you are working for the "Guardian"
and there is a really -- one of the things that comes through in David`s
book, I think is interesting is that a culture of U.K. newspapers is so
different. And, in some ways, they are so much more central to the
national conversation. Here I think in some ways cable news ends up being
something that drives it a lot more. But, do you feel like Murdoch`s
influence is on the wane or on the rise?
ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN" SENIOR COLUMNIST: Well, that`s an
interesting question. I was actually thinking, as you`ve been talking
about this that Murdoch himself is a lot more nimble than Fox news is.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
COX: I think Murdoch -- to sort of reposition himself and reposition his
business interests on the fly -- I mean like he`s actually a very amusing
HAYES: Oh, my God. His Twitter feed is the most hilarious thing in the
world. Here is a guy who`s like the most powerful media mogul in the
world, just tweeting there like every other person who is like frustrated
watching the news.
FOLKENFLIK: What more efficient way --
COX: That`s right, like he is watching the news. He`s online. He is on
an airplane, whatever. But, I think he is very nimble. I think he is a
really interesting person. I think his opinions are that of almost like a
normal person. Like, he can contain two ideas in his head at the same
Fox News as an entity is actually not very nimble at all. I mean, they
have sort of struggled under their own weight a little bit. They have one
story decline that they push over and over and over. It`s been kind of
interesting to watch them sort of try to feel their way through the GOP
crackup, because they no longer have one boss, you know?
They no longer have one story line to push. They have conservatives come
on that are more GOP and they wind up arguing with an anchor, and they have
an anchor who is more Tea Party who argues with -- it can get a little
confusing. I think that`s their sort of clay feet right there.
HAYES: Yes. And, does that scare you, that in some way Fox is -- there is
a sort of question how much it`s a Murdoch creation and how much is a Roger
MOTU: Well, I men to play devil`s advocate from Fox`s perspective, which
having been inside the building, I know, they are surrounded by --
MOTU: -- from their perspective, liberal media figures trying to tear them
HAYES: At all times.
MOTU: Liberal NPR.
MOTU: Far-left MSNBC.
MOTU: Far-left "Guardian" Newspaper. So, that`s why they stay feel they
have to be so sharp elbowed and defensive.
HAYES: But, what I got from your book, that actual kind of feeling of
embattlement, which is very much a Roger Ailes character traits mole
reporting I read, it is also kind of a Murdoch traits.
FOLKENFLIK: It`s not kind of a Murdoch trait.
FOLKENFLIK: -- It`s fundamental Murdoch.
HAYES: Yes. Exactly.
FOLKENFLICK: There`s this sense of -- you know we were the outsiders. We
were the people excluded by the elites. Now, don`t forget, Murdoch is a
man who graduated from Oxford --
FOLKENFLIK: -- He is a man whose father was knighted for his service as a
newspaper man in the commonwealth colony of Australia before it was a
FOLKENFLIK: -- And, you know, he has the feeling that somehow he was
excluded from the establishment. You know, when David Cameron in Britain
met with people who felt that the press should be more regulated as a
result of these abuses, these -- you know, corruption and bribery of the
police, the hacking into phone mail messages in London, the victims and the
celebrities, you know? His response was -- well, these -- well-paid,
privileged people are meeting in secret. And, in fact, he has created the
establishment to which prime ministers and presidents bend.
HAYES: This is -- This is -- Ana Marie this is -- that character trait
comes through very strongly in your book and which comes from a very
strongly in reporting on Roger Ailes, with a very similar set of character
traits, which is this idea of being one of the most powerful people in the
world, who views yourself as a scrappy underdog, being a member of an over
class that use itself as scrappy. Is it a very dangerous combination?
But, that is perfectly part of the DNA of Fox, Ana Marie.
COX: It`s a part of the DNA of the Tea Party and the GOP alike.
COX: That`s one of the few things I guess they have in common. You know,
they are members of the ruling class. They are the people, the last
bastion of the great white male, and yet they are so aggrieved. And, I
think that, that is something that sort of, again, keeps Fox together right
now. It keeps its story line together.
I do wonder what`s going to happen, you know, if that coalition becomes a
minority. As the Republican Party sort of is unable to make a national
party out of its using that coalition. I don`t know what`s going to happen
to Fox. They have not proven themselves able to do much else besides sort
of push that story line along.
FOLKENFLIK: And, I would argue that Fox, under Roger Ailes and News Corp.
and 21st Century Fox, the larger company under Rupert Murdoch, has a great
gut feeling of what it`s going to do. Fox without Roger Ailes and News
Corp. and News Corp without Rupert Murdoch, those newspapers may not be
around, but Fox is throwing off so much money. You can`t totally dismiss
that formula. It is working.
HAYES: What trend do you think this is headed in which direction?
MOTU: I mean I think Fox is going to keep doing what it`s doing. It`s
reaching a wide audience, which makes it mind boggling that they still are
able to strike this pose, like, we are the underdogs.
HAYES: That is right.
MOTUS: You know? Like they are going to keep it --
HAYES: At a certain point -- yes. At a certain point you have to choose
between being sort of taking on the kind of aggrievedness of the victim and
the power of the powerful NPR. David Folkenflik, former Fox News Producer,
Joe Muto, Ana Marie Cox from "The Guardian," thank you. That is "All In"
for this evening and "The Rachel Maddow" show starts right now. Good
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank my friend.
HAYES: Thank you.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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