Guests: Chris Cillizza, Joe Trippi, Mike Allen, David Brock, Michael Musto.
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The day after in the Connecticut uprising. Antiwar Democrats celebrate the victory of Ned Lamont, Republicans embrace Joe Lieberman, the catch for the party that currently has that Senate seat, won‘t there now be two Democrats running for it in the general election? Did they just hand a senator‘s job to a Republican?
And a circular firing squad in the other party as well, a conservative magazine quoting one of her aides about Condoleezza Rice, “I‘ve never seen her so angry.” The president reportedly overrules his own secretary of state about her hopes that the U.S. would try to settle Israel‘s fight with Hezbollah.
Poltergeists fight with the truth. The new book already proved to be full of plagiarism also full of factual disasters, including Coulter turning a story about a sex ed course for adult students into how-to lessons about oral sex and dental bans for kindergartners. “Godless”? Should have called the book “Clueless.”
How do the British tabloids get so many scoops about the royal family?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people do depend on (INAUDIBLE) phone hacking to get to their stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Two men arrested, charged with eavesdropping on calls in the home of Prince Charles.
I‘m not wearing pants, but apparently I am wearing a wire.
And we‘ll apparently get a photo of Suri Cruise taken by no less than Annie Leibowitz. But don‘t look for new photos of Pitt and Jolie. She walked out on him. And then walked back in, but she walked out on him.
All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.
He is, to twist the title of one of Twain‘s darkest novels, a Connecticut Yankee in King Joe‘s court. At Harvard, Ned Lamont got to use the Lamont Library, named for his great-grandfather, who used to run J.P. Morgan. He also got to point to his grandfather, the former head of the ACLU. And he‘s not only beaten a three-term U.S. senator in a party primary, but he‘s evidently changed the political dynamic of both parties almost overnight.
Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, it certainly feels as if Ned Lamont has just nudged a snowball down a hill, but is it the hill that will take U.S. out of Iraq, or hand a Senate seat to a Republican or an independent snubbed by his own party? Lamont now the official Democratic candidate for the Connecticut Senate seat, winning the primary last night 52 percent to 48 percent, Senator Joe Lieberman conceding, but filing this morning to stay in the fight as an independent.
When asked if he would reconsider his decision to split from the party if powerful Democrats asked him to step down, he remained adamant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Respectfully, no. I am committed to this campaign. Yes, I‘m a proud Democrat, but I‘m more devoted to my state and my country than I am to my party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Most of his soon-to-be former Democratic colleagues, with the exceptions of Senator Inouye of Hawaii and Senator Salazar of Colorado, chose to stick with the party, including the minority leaders of both houses, and at least two of Lieberman‘s closest allies in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: This morning, I‘m endorsing Ned Lamont for the United States Senate, to be our candidate, and to be the next United States senator.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I‘ll be sending a contribution to Mr. Lamont today.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
OLBERMANN: Republicans putting a hand on one of Lieberman‘s shoulders, if not an arm around them, exactly, RNC chair Ken Mehlman calling him “well liked and distinguished,” New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsing Lieberman‘s candidacy, and the White House not even bothering to try to dress up its old refrain, The Democrats cause terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The real question for the American people to ask themselves is, do you take the war on terror seriously, with all the developments going on around the world? And if so, how do you fight it to win?
There seem to be two approaches. And in the Connecticut race, one of the approaches is, ignore the difficulties and walk away. Now, when the United States walked away, in the opinion of (INAUDIBLE) of Osama bin Laden in 1991, bin Laden drew from that the conclusion that Americans were weak and wouldn‘t stay the course, and that led to September 11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Nineteen ninety-one? Who was the president in 1991?
And apparently if you buy Mr. Snow‘s argument, more than half the country is encouraging terrorist attacks. A new poll commissioned by Opinion Research for another news organization found that 60 percent of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, 57 percent wanting a timetable for withdrawal of troops.
Joining me now, the political reporter for WashingtonPost.com, Chris Cillizza.
Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTONPOST.COM: Thanks for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: To Lieberman and Lamont in a moment.
But if we don‘t start with Tony Snow there, are we not burying the lead here? Did the White House press secretary not only nakedly say that Democrats can cause 9/11s, while at the same time he threw the current president‘s father under the bus of history?
CILLIZZA: Yes, I mean, geez, Tony, tell us what you really think. I mean, he—Tony Snow was no question asked sort of, this is the cut-and-run party versus the stay-and-fight party. And, look, I think this is a strategy born of necessity more than anything else. If you talk to any Republican strategist around Washington or in Connecticut or wherever you want to go, and they‘ll tell you, Look, there‘s not a lot good that we can talk about. The president‘s approval rating is—you know, when you‘re—when they‘re happy that it‘s at 40, that‘s never a good sign.
They don‘t have a lot. They didn‘t get a lobbying reform bill, they didn‘t get an energy bill passed, they didn‘t get almost anything. So they‘re going back to the old tried and true, the cut-and-run versus stay the stay it—stay the course. It worked in 2002, because we were right after September 11. It worked in 2004 again. I have real questions whether it‘s going to work in 2006.
OLBERMANN: And laying aside the obvious flaws in the logic of the Iraq to 9/11 to future terrorism triple play, does not the administration risk alienating what is now a majority of voters who are against the war, essentially accusing the voters of fostering terrorism?
CILLIZZA: You know, awhile back, and I‘ll admit that I‘m sort of a political nerd, but awhile back, I went through and looked through the polling to try and see, why aren‘t Democrats more forcefully saying, We need a timeline, we need to withdraw?
What‘s interesting, and what you find is that the American public seems like they‘re sort of ahead of where Democrats, and certainly where Republicans, are as it relates to the war. If you look at folks who want to either pull out immediately or pull out within six months or a year, you‘re talking about a majority of the American public.
So there‘s an argument to be made that Democrats are behind the curve, and that Ned Lamont more accurately represents what the majority of Americans do than certainly Joe Lieberman, and then most definitely than George W. Bush.
OLBERMANN: The Republicans also clearly preparing to capitalize on the Lamont victory to portray the Democratic Party not only as weak on national security, but also, thanks to the support of the left wing blogs, somehow in thrall to an extreme element of a party.
MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough, who was one of the Republicans who helped win back the House for the GOP 12 years ago, points out that the Democratic Party probably should move back towards the left, as the Republicans moved right in 1994, if they want to win back Congress. Is Joe Scarborough right, or should the Democratic Party try to remain centrist if it wants to win in the fall?
CILLIZZA: Well, let me invoke the ghost of Howard Dean past. You remember in 2004, when Howard Dean was running for president, he said, We need to stand up and be Democrats again. We need to say, This is what we‘re for, and this is what we‘re against, and this is what makes us different than Republicans.
Well, that‘s a lot of what Ned Lamont just said. You know, I‘m against the war. I don‘t think George Bush has delivered on health care. And he also said, I think Joe Lieberman and George Bush are a little too close for comfort.
So I think the lessons learned, although Dean lost that race, I think the lessons learned are important. He basically said, We need to stand up and fight. And when he did that, a whole group of folks, including—and these people get the most press—but including the folks in the sort of blog world, these netroots online activists, said, Yes, we do need to stand up and fight. We need to say we‘re against the war, we need to pull out.
And so I think Lamont‘s victory signals that that is a growing and an energetic element of the party. And they‘re going to turn out and vote. So if you‘re on the other side of that, and you‘re a Democrat, you‘re probably quaking in your boots a little bit at the moment.
OLBERMANN: What are the next couple of months like for Lieberman? Markos Moulitsas from the DailyKos says he‘ll be pressuring Harry Reid to take Lieberman off the key committees because Liberman is now running against the Democrat. As the Democrats rally behind Lamont, is that going to happen, are the Democrats politically trying to neuter Lieberman for the remainder of the term?
CILLIZZA: Look, I hate to say this, because it makes me sound like a cynic, but it doesn‘t really matter if they take him off the committees or not. Congress is going to meet for about five or 10 days more before the November election. So, you know, it‘s—it—there‘s no real practical effect of taking him off the committees.
The important thing to watch is, do folks like Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, the senator from New York who‘s the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, do they tell donors sort of, you know, grab them aside and say, Look, we really don‘t want you to give to Joe? Because that‘s the question for Lieberman. Can he now raise the money as a man without a party? Can he find the money to explain to people, Yes, I lost this race, but I‘m still running, and you can still vote for me. That‘s not an easy sell.
OLBERMANN: Chris Cillizza, political reporter for WashingtonPost.com, great thanks for joining us, sir.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: It is an ignominious end to a decades-long career within the Democratic Party. Joe Lieberman won his first primary campaign in 1970, gained a seat in the Connecticut state senate. Thirty-six years later, he lost a primary campaign to a political unknown. And now, after three terms as Democratic U.S. senator, after he nearly became vice president of the United States on the Democratic ticket six years ago, after he ran for the presidential nomination two years ago, Lieberman, abandoned by his party, in turn abandons it, to try and retain his seat in the Senate as an independent.
Joining me now, Democratic strategist, the former campaign manager for Howard Dean‘s presidential bid, an old friend of the program, Joe Trippi.
Good evening, Joe.
JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Great to be here, Keith. How you doing?
OLBERMANN: Good, and yourself?
OLBERMANN: Any thought here that in November, though, you‘ll have two Democrats on the ballot and one Republican, and that kind of math usually works to the advantage of the Republican?
TRIPPI: I don‘t really think so. I actually suspect that Lieberman‘s going to find it really heavy lifting to run as an independent. I don‘t think the money will be there. And I think Democrats and independents are going to rally to Ned Lamont‘s cause here. I mean, and some Republicans. I mean, I think the bubble‘s sort of been burst. There‘s—the air‘s leaking out of Lieberman‘s bubble when he was defeated last night.
I know the polls say that he‘s going to run strong as an independent. I don‘t think that‘s going to happen. I think he‘s going to be sorely disappointed. He still has not gotten the message that he‘s out of step with voters in Connecticut.
OLBERMANN: What are the mechanics of that? Does some senior Democrat take him aside and do a Barry Goldwater to Richard Nixon kind of message?
TRIPPI: Well, I think—I don‘t know that that‘s going to happen, but I don‘t think it really matters here. I mean, either he—whether he decides to leave on his own or faces the voters in November, I suspect he‘s going to lose this thing, and I think Lamont‘s going to be the senator.
I mean, he‘s a giant-killer now. He‘s done something that everybody thought was impossible. That‘s going to open up a lot of people in Connecticut‘s eyes so they could bring around real change by rallying around Ned Lamont, and sending him to the Senate.
I think the—like I said, I think the air‘s just slowly leaking out of Lieberman‘s balloon, and I think it‘s not going to turn out good for him. And I think that‘s sort of a problem in its own right, I mean, given that he was the nominee of the party for vice president just six years ago. (INAUDIBLE) it‘s really the—quite a fall.
OLBERMANN: The balloon leaking obviously has a lot to do with how close the balloon was to the president, and none other than Karl Rove reached out with a personal call to Lieberman. We have that confirmed. ABC reported that Rove made an offer directly from the president, telling Lieberman‘s camp, The boss wants to help, whatever we can do, we will do. The White House says that report is inaccurate. There was just a call of friendship.
Whatever it is, is it possible that the White House, that the Republicans could wind up supporting Lieberman over a Republican in Connecticut?
TRIPPI: I think it‘s possible. I think it‘s crazy that the call even happened out of friendship. It‘s just—it‘s totally bad politics for Lieberman at this point. I mean, he—here‘s a guy who, you know, yesterday was trying—or two days ago was screaming that he was a card-carrying Democrat, and already he‘s taking calls from Karl Rove.
And he lost the whole thing because he was too close to Bush. I don‘t—I mean, I don‘t understand what anybody‘s thinking here. And now you‘ve got a situation where, look, he lost predominantly because of his support to Bush on the war. What we have, you know, in the last few days is another poll coming out saying now 60 percent of the American people oppose the war and think it was a mistake.
This isn‘t some fringe blogosphere group that they—the Republicans want to paint us as. This is 60 percent of the American people now. That‘s tough traction for Lieberman to get now. Now that he‘s literally fallen from grace and is no longer a Democrat, and with Rove calling him, I just think everything‘s heading in the wrong direction for him.
This isn‘t about—I don‘t believe it‘s about him caring more about the state and the country. Now it looks more like a guy who‘s just—cares more about holding onto personal power. And I think his voters in Connecticut realize that. They‘re going to look towards the Republican nominee and to Ned Lamont, the Democratic nominee. And I think the guy who‘s going to get left out in the cold here is Joe Lieberman, unfortunately for him.
OLBERMANN: You mentioned the blogs. Your work with Howard Dean really made the political old fogies sit up and take notice of the Internet, regardless of how influential this was. Clearly the Lamont victory suggests the Net‘s influence has grown in three years. Is that reason invalid, and if so, where do Internet politics go from here?
TRIPPI: I think Internet politics is politics of—well, it‘s people-powered politics, it‘s politics that puts people back into the process and gets them involved. Clearly, no one‘s laughing at it anymore, not after last night. And I think while the blogs deserve a lot of credit for bringing attention to Ned Lamont‘s candidacy early on, there are a lot of people in Connecticut, obviously, who were knocking on those doors, and Lamont himself, that deserve credit.
But I think where we‘re going now, it‘s—is—it‘s going to become more powerful going into 2006 and 2008.
OLBERMANN: The Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, one of the harbingers of the new Internet political age. And great thanks for your time tonight, as always, sir.
TRIPPI: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: A report of another in-house cat fight about Israel and Hezbollah, only this time, it‘s a Republican president versus a Republican secretary of state, again, reported in a conservative publication, again. But is any of it true?
And speaking of the truth, the latest evidence that the truth is one fellow Ann Coulter never met. Another nightmare for the publishers of Coultergeist.
You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: Tonight, we top our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN with a
rare peek into the top levels of delicate, high-stakes geopolitical
diplomacy. The conservative magazine “Insight” says the president
overruled Secretary of State Rice‘s plea to position the U.S. as a
mediator, or at least a damper, in the Middle East crisis, and claiming
also a State Department source said, quote, “One Jewish friend of Bush
actually called up a senior Israeli official and began yelling, ‘What the
hell‘s going on here? Are you going to fight, or what?‘”
Tonight, it appears, the answer is not “or what.” Israel‘s security cabinet has voted to authorize a further push into Lebanon, as much as 13 miles into, in an offensive that Reuters news service quotes one source as saying could last 30 days.
But if those days are anything like today, Israel will have to pay a heavy price. Fifteen Israeli soldiers died in today‘s fighting. Israel claims 40 Hezbollah fatalities today, including Iranians. Citing Israeli TV now, Hezbollah has denied there were any Iranians among their number.
Also today, Hezbollah‘s leader on TV warning civilians, that would be Arab civilians, to get out of Haifa, Israel, now, so that Hezbollah can aim for a higher body count without killing, in their eyes, the wrong civilians.
On the diplomatic front tonight, senior U.S. officials telling NBC News the next 24 hours will determine whether there is any U.N. resolution at all that could silence the guns on both sides.
And as to that reported Bush-Rice tiff, from the same conservative publication, Rice, says “Insight,” wants increased American engagement and a ceasefire, Mr. Bush, not so much. But could there really be a rift? Or is this a case of two different people articulating complementary aspects of the same policy?
“TIME” magazine‘s White House correspondent, Mike Allen, joins us now from Washington.
Mike, good evening.
MIKE ALLEN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Let‘s first address whether or not the story has anything in it. Rift or no rift?
ALLEN: Well, Keith, the big picture of that story is not right. There‘s no meaningful, lasting daylight between the president and the secretary of state. It was described to me as B.S., which is a little blunter and more to the point than we usually get.
But, Keith, I think that story did point to some of the tensions that bubble up when things aren‘t going the way that you expect them to or hope that they will.
I just heard you talk about 30 days in an Israeli offensive. As you know, this is one more situation where the president could be right in the long run. It‘s possible that this winds up being an opportunity, a moment of clarity, where Arab nations can stand against terrorism.
But in the short run, things definitely aren‘t going the way he expected to. A very small indicator of that, you saw the president and secretary of state standing together at his ranch in Crawford in that hangar with the blue drape behind them, symbolically showing that they‘re standing together. But they had hoped to announce there that the secretary of state was headed to New York for the conclusion of one of these U.N. resolutions. Obviously that didn‘t happen. It‘s up in the air again now. Today we found out we can‘t trust the French. What a surprise.
OLBERMANN: So why this story in this magazine? That‘s not a liberal publication by any stretch of the imagination. We‘re quoting there. It‘s not even the “New York Times.” Who would want that kind of story out, and why? It didn‘t just appear in the paper by magic.
ALLEN: Yes, well, one thing that—one way that these stories can arise is the president and secretary of state have different jobs, so they stress different things at different times. Keith, on your air, I saw the secretary of state saying in Jerusalem, when she was there, It‘s time for a ceasefire now. And there were some people that thought she‘d gone a little native to the State Department. And the next day, I was with the president in Miami. He stressed very clearly that not only does Israel have the right to defend itself, Israel was defending itself.
And then that night the president, the secretary of state, the national security adviser, Steve Hadley, had dinner together, and finished any differences that there were, were cleared over then.
But Keith, I want to point out to you that one reason I think some people look at the diplomacy and think that maybe there are divisions, or that there are not successes, is there‘s sort of a false premise, an assumption that the Unite States wants a quick ceasefire. There was no expectation that it was going to take this long to deal with Hezbollah.
But now that it has, even though no administration official will say this to you, they will smile when you point out to them that the United States is trying to buy time and give Israel the time to do what needs to be done to take care of that situation.
OLBERMANN: Certainly, anybody who‘s looked at this from the beginning of the process has said, If we dictate a policy that says the United States can preemptively go after terrorists for however long it takes, it‘s not very likely that we would be saying to our allies at any point, Hey, we can enforce this, we can have this policy, we can have this stratem (ph), but you can‘t.
That has been in effect since day one. Is it likely to stay in effect permanently, as long as this continues?
ALLEN: Absolutely. This is not a president who changes his big-picture principles. I guess we used to talk about situational ethics and situational and diplomacy or foreign policy. It‘s not something this president engage in even when some people think that he should be more flexible. So you‘re going to hear the administration sticking with its same, its same line.
But I think you‘re going to hear more people saying, Would the United States be doing Israel a favor to talk about a some restraint, to in the past, Israel‘s needed that for their internal reasons.
So these are the sort of differences you hear bubbling up, and you get these backstairs stories that maybe hint at them but get the details wrong.
OLBERMANN: Mike Allen of “TIME” magazine. Great thanks for clearing that up for us.
ALLEN: Have a great week, Keith.
OLBERMANN: And you too.
Also here tonight, why did the fireman climb into the clothes dryer?
To look for his red suspenders?
And, is Surry Cruise real? Would a portrait by Annie Leibowitz be sufficient proof for you?
All that and more, ahead tonight on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Customarily, WE start Oddball with some bizarre anniversary or another. But all we have today is Richard Nixon resigning 32 years today. Everybody knows that. And the Visigoths beating the Romans at Adrianople (ph) 1,628 years ago today. Big whoop. So the video better be funny.
Let‘s play Oddball.
And we begin on the Internets, where the video is always funny, or deeply disturbing. This one a bit of both. It‘s a British firefighter setting a great example for the kiddies by stuffing himself into a dryer and riding the tumble cycle while his colleagues looked on and laughed. Of course, this is completely dangerous. The man risked serious burns, not to mention permanent static cling. It is why the fire chiefs weren‘t laughing when the video became a Web sensation. Now Dryer Guy is out of a job, and the rest of the boys, no laundry privileges for a week.
To Cape Town, safe, where you-- Do you know how to find the really swanky restaurants? They‘re the ones with the huge, disgusting worm farms in the kitchen. This is the restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel, doing its part for the environment by feeding all of the leftover table scraps to the huge bucket of worms in the back. It‘s working out for everybody. There‘s less garbage to process, the worms get a five-star meal, and parents around the world can now tell their children, Finish your dinner. Don‘t forget the hungry worms.
You know, the segues sometimes just write themselves. From worms to Ann Coulter. We stay on topic. Even if an analysis of the footnotes in her book suggests Coultergeist can‘t stay near the truth, then happy beginnings for Vincifer. Is Vaughniston really engaged? And when will we be free of producers who connect names to make celebrities sound cute when they‘re actually boring.
But first, time for COUNTDOWN‘s top three newsmakers of this day.
Number three, a suspect in a home invader issue in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Check out the artist‘s rendering. We‘re wondering if that‘s really what the guy looks like, or if the sketch artist simply watched Russell Crowe playing boxer James J. Braddock in the movie “Cinderella Man” one time too many.
No. 2, Jennifer Thompson of Richardson, Texas, says she was being held up at an ATM in the mall there. She remembered that money machines have security cameras, if she could make the guy reach for the money as it came out of the slot they‘d catch him on tape. She did, he was, and now police have a picture of their man. Pretty good, Jennifer.
And No. 1, some other ATM thieves (INAUDIBLE) in Malaysia. Not really good ATM thieves. They removed the entire machine from the bank, they pulled it out with ropes and cars and only later did they discover they had stolen a machine that contained no cash, only some deposited checks. Oops!
OLBERMANN: Our third story tonight, the conflicting evidence over the existence of Coultergeist. Readers of the Shreveport, Louisiana “Times” have now voted, yes they do believe in Coultergeist, enough in her to keep reading her column. The vote was 60/40. The editor says was able to through the non-local voter. Good for him. So, he says Coultergeist stays for now.
But on the national front, growing evidence that Coultergeist simply is not real. Consider the latest exhibit from MediaMatter.org. The website examined sourcing in Coulter‘s new book, new that is if you disregard the alleged plagiarism. And when it comes to many of her footnoted citations, let‘s just say, there doesn‘t seem to be any WMD there.
For instance, discussing a 2005 “New York Times” article about
creationism, Coulter wrote, “The ‘Times‘ reporter.was forced to keep
describing the evolutionists‘ entire retort to these arguments as: ‘Others
disagree.‘ That‘s it. No explanation, no specifics, just ‘others
Media Matters checked out footnote No. 2 there and so did we. That phrase she quotes, “others disagree,” it was not used. Those explanations of evolution she says were not there. Allow me to quote from the “Times” piece:
“Early vertebrates like the jawless fish had a simple clotting system, scientists believe involving a few proteins that made blood stick together.scientists hypothesize that at some point, a mistake during the copying of the DNA resulted in the duplication of a gene, increasing the amount of protein produced by cells. Most often, such a change would be useless. But in this case the extra protein helped blood clot, and animals with the extra protein were more likely to survive and reproduce. Over time, as higher-order species evolved, other proteins joined the clotting system. For instance, several proteins involved in the clotting of blood appear to have started as digestive enzymes.scientists have largely been able to determine the order in which different proteins became involved in the helping blood clot, eventually producing the sophisticated clotting mechanisms of humans and other higher animals. The sequencing of animal genomes has provided evidence to support this view.”
Your mileage may vary. Yes, it‘s long, complex, boring. You got to speed it up, that‘s the point, that‘s why some people still believe in creationism it‘s hard to grasp the complexities of evolution—like why we humans have Adam‘s apples.
And the complexity is why fake authors with fake ideas can still peddle their crap by crafting their talking point so that honest rebuttals are by necessity, long, complex and boring, which is way why it‘s important to check out the footnotes.
We left a message with Crown Publishing to ask them about that little matter. Nothing yet.
Fortunately Media Matters just loves checking out footnotes. Joining us tonight with some details on just how dishonest, in accurate, and misleading—well, I‘m giving it away.
David Brock, founded and runs Media Matters with it Ann Coulter of the world in mind and in the crosshairs.
David, thanks for your time tonight.
DAVID BROCK, MEDIA MATTER: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Why does this mater?
BROCK: Well, it matters for a couple of reasons. One, as you mentioned, this came up in the context of her publisher defending her against charges of plagiarism and they said in a statement a few weeks back that believed she wasn‘t guilty of plagiarism because she knows how to do we research and she makes her citations and she make her annotations correctly. And so we took them up on that challenge and we found and we‘ve published 14 cases of false documentation, No. 1.
No. 2, as you know, she‘s had access to network and cable television for several weeks now, promoting this book, and I think it‘s important for media enablers to know precisely what it is they‘re allowing her to promote, which it is something here, based on false documentation.
OLBERMANN: Give us the most egregious example of that and back it up, if you will.
BROCK: Sure, well there are many. One I would point to would be a case where she claims that kindergarteners were being schooled in sex education classes in adult sexual practices. And that does sound shocking; she made the claim in the book and on television. When you look at the “New York Times” article that cites for the case that kindergarteners are being exposed to this, what you find is a 20-year-old article that says that actually adult students at Dartmouth College were getting instruction in sex education on AIDS prevention.
OLBERMANN: It‘s a little different then, isn‘t it?
BROCK: It‘s very different and so this is part of her pattern to say that liberals are doing saying and doing crazy things, but when you look it up, you find they didn‘t say or do the things she says they said.
OLBERMANN: Why don‘t you take on the corporate oversight, here? Does anybody check any of this anymore or is the premise of a publisher now, just make sure you can‘t be sued and that the checks can be cashed?
BROCK: Well standards vary, I mean, we believe that the publisher certainly should look at this and make a public accounting. But I would note that in the past one of her prior books, “Slander,” there was a famous factual error in there where she claimed Dale Earnhardt‘s obituary was never reported in “New York Times” back in 2001 and it was. She lied about it and said she corrected it in the book, and we checked she didn‘t correct it. So, the issue is partly for the publisher, but as I said, I think it‘s very important for all the media outlets to know the wider context here, as you‘ve discussed is, you know, in the context of a book that smeared the 9/11 widows. She‘s been on television advocating political murder and lately, and very strangely, saying that Bill and Hilary Clinton and Al Gore are all gay. So, I think there‘s serious issue of media accountability here. Ann Coulter can say her nonsense but she has no right to be given these platforms and we have a petition on our website at MediaMatters.org if people are concerned about this issues.
OLBERMANN: David Brock of Media Matters, thanks always for your watchdog work on all of these things and thanks for your time tonight, David.
BROCK: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: Speak of media matters, spying on the royals. British tabloids caught red-handed, listening in to the telephones at the home of Prince Charles. There have been arrests today.
And Pitt and Jolie on the rocks until he can—what the difference does it make to me? Analysis from Michael Must ahead, but first here are COUNTDOWN‘s “Top 3 Sound Bites” of this day.
TUCKER CARLSON, “TUCKER” HOST: Well now for your daily dose of Nancy Grace.
Nancy talks a lot about victims on her show. Well, there‘s a victim sitting in her control room every night.
NANCY GRACE, TALK SHOW HOST: Now Rosie, as soon as you can pull that up, Rosie. Let‘s keep it going, Rosie. Thanks, Rosie. Rosie, pull that video back up. I‘m talking about the pic, Rosie. Keep that going, Rosie. Now, let‘s go back to Kelly, Rosie.
Rosie, do we have a shot of Ted Bundy? There you go.
Hey Rosie, see if you can put up—pull up the gas station surveillance video.
CARLSON: That was on the air. Imagine what it‘s like after the show.
REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA: (SINGING) (INAUDIBLE) tell you about hard work, minimum wage with a baby on the way. Let me tell you about hard work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “Pork Chop” can predict the weather, or actually, his owner says he can simply by scanning the thickness of “Pork Chop‘s” coat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The longer the hair, the colder the winter.
Wouldn‘t you know it, “Pork Chop” is nearly bald right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re going to have triple digit temperatures for the next three weeks. And I‘m sticking with it and so is he.
OLBERMANN: Eavesdropping on the Royal Family by reporters. Scotland Yard looking at who‘s spying on the Windsor‘s. Perhaps Scotland Yard should be looking in the mystery of little Suri. More news on the photo front. That‘s next, this is COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: One of the best television political dramas ever was a sequence of three mini-series produced by the BBC and broadcast here by PBS called “House of Cards,” “To Play the King,” and “Final Cut,” starring the impeccable Ian Richardson as a British prime minister, slightly more devious and bloodthirsty than say, “Macbeth.”
The first one televised in 1990 prophesied the downfall of Margaret Thatcher, the last in ‘95 imagined a world in which politicians employed their own terrorists to whom they could turn for convenient disappearances of foes and rationalizations for increased national security. The middle one from 1993 suggested that reporters and politicians could bring down members of the British Royal Family, even the monarchy itself, by eavesdropping electronically on their phone calls.
Our No. 2 story on the COUNTDOWN tonight, the Thatcher thing already happened, obviously. A lot of people think the terrorism thing has too, and as our man in London, Keith Miller, now reports, that last idea, eavesdropping, there have been arrests.
KEITH MILLER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police picked up three men in connection with hacking into cell phones of at least three members of the Royal Family. The clue, a cell phone message left for a member of the Royal Family ended up in the newspaper. A popular form of news gathering here.
JESSICA CALLAN, FORMER COLUMNIST: And a lot of people do depend on mobile phone hacking to get to their stories. For some people it‘s another method of getting gossip.
MILLER: One of the men being questioned is Clive Goodman, the royal editor of the “News of the World,” one of Britain‘s most notorious tabloids. In the ‘90s, both Prince Charles and Princess Diana were the victims of cell phone taps by British journalists.
KEN WHARFE, FMR. ROYAL SECURITY: I always advised them, as the Royal Family, when I was working for Diane and Charles, that the tconversations should be kept to an absolute minimum because, you know, nothing is secure on cell phones that we know.
MILLER: But this case could go beyond the juicy story. The arrests are part of a wider investigation detailed in a statement from Scotland Yard. It is focused on alleged repeated security breaches within telephone networks over a significant period of time. Investigators from the anti-terrorist unit say the phone taps may have gone beyond the Royal Family to include politicians and celebrities.
OLBERMANN: Keith Miller in London. There is late news tonight that two of those three men arrested, including Clive Goodman, the royal correspondent for the “News of the World,” have been charged under the regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and also with conspiracy to access voice mail messages.
It is a short trip, thus, from that story to the roundup of celebrity and entertainment news we call “Keeping Tabs.”
Remember how Paul and Heather Mills McCartney were going to divorce amicably? Part as friends without bitterness or public mudslinging? Well as a McCartney-friendly columnist just wrote at length of the ex-misses as a, “former hooker,” I think that‘s out the window.
More practically, Sir Paul reportedly miffed to find out some bottles of cleaning fluid had been taken from his home and taken to his ex-wife‘s office—soon-to-be ex-wife‘s office. He reportedly responded by locking her out of the house and freezing the couple‘s joint bank account. Cleaning fluid? Really, Paul, you have $1.5 billion, you‘re freaking out over bottles of Formula 409? Hey, we can work it out, all you need is love, why not do it in the road and all that stuff. What ho?
And another day and another celebrity checks into rehab, comedian Robin Williams for alcoholism. A publicist saying Mr. Williams, “Found himself drinking after 20 years of sobriety, checked in a rehab for his own well-being and that of his family.” The “National Inquirer” reports Williams had been hiding his drinking and only bought booze at Asian-owned liquor stores in the hope that he would not be recognized there. Or perhaps simply just mistaken for Sasquatch.
And still more good news about the health of America‘s foremost sports reporter. Barely six weeks after surgery for a brain aneurysm, Peter Gammons was at a ballpark last night. The newspaper the “Cape Cod Times” reporting the ESPN broadcaster was at Lowell Field in Cotuit, Mass for the first game of the playoffs for the summer circuit for college players, the Cape League. The paper quotes Gammons as reminiscing at length with one of the managers about his favorite players from the league from the year 1995. With six cylinder memory evidently in fine fettle. Asked by the paper if and when he would be returning to his unmatched baseball coverage, Peter Gammons answered, “I‘m feeling beter but it will be a while.”
The mystery of Suri Cruise. We‘ve tried to get to the bottom of it all and now a new word on if and when we might see some pictures.
Also, trouble in paradise. Reportedly Angelina Jolie moves out, takes the kid and—until, that is, Brad Pitt wins her back and presumably her front, as well. That‘s ahead, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s latest list of nominees for “Worst Person in the World.”
The Bronze going to an un employed Brazilian mechanical workshop employee who decided the correct way to open up a rocket propelled grenade was with is a sledge hammer. He‘s dead, coworker in critical condition, the workshop a memory.
The runner-up tonight, Antoine Yates, remember him? The man who lived in a small apartment in Harlem in New York City along with his 450 pound pet tiger and his six-food-long pet alligator, until the tiger mauled him and the city had to go in and get the tiger and the gator? Yates sued the city of New York for entering his apartment without a search warrant. A judge has now dismissed the suit and in writing it up, for some reason, the judge kept using the word “chutzpah.”
But the winners tonight, the employees of the Zurcher Kantonalbank in Zurich, Switzerland. A unnamed 85-year-old woman customer was in the safe deposit section of the bank, carefully and slowly examing her documents, but then came quitting time at 4:30 and the employees locked everything up and went home, including the safe deposit volt with the 85-year-old woman still inside. Four hours later, when she was finally freed, embarrassed managers gave her a bouquet of flowers. One can only hope she gave them in return a swift kink—kick in the Kantonalbank.
The punctual, but not-too-bright the employees of the Zurcher Kantonalbank in Zurich, today‘s “Worst Persons in the World.”
OLBERMANN: To our No. 1 story and tonight it‘s a tripleheader of stories my producers are forcing me to do, all in one. Angelina Jolie boomeranged away from Brad Pitt after a fight, Vince Vaughn popped the big question to Jennifer Aniston, and we don‘t mean, “did you like ‘Wedding Crashers,‘” and secret spies tell the “New York Post” that world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz will take the first pictures of Suri Cruise for “Vanity Fair,” as soon as they find one.
In a minute, Michael Musto will help us digest our celebrity pooh-pooh platter—a lot of pooh on that, first the details. To Brangelina, “Star” magazine reporting in oversized font, “She‘s moved out!” Sources telling “Star” that Jolie bristled at the suggestion that she should stay home with the kiddos while Brad filmed “Oceans 13” on location, so she took the kids and spent a few days at the Bellaire Hotel eventually making up with Mr. Pitt and moving back home with free publicity.
To Vincifer Anistaughn, according to “Us Weekly” the pair engaged six weeks ago, the question was popped on the way home from a vacation at the $25 million Mexican retreat owned by guy who makes the “Girls Gone Wild” videos. We all went into the wrong line of work, eh?
The ring, allegedly worth half a million, no date had been set.
And then there‘s the elusive Suri Cruise who will allegedly appear now in a Fall edition of “Vanity Fair” the photographer will be Annie Leibovitz. The renowned has had several “Vanity Fair” covers including this one of a naked and pregnant Demi Moore and this one of the “Star Wars” cast, including a Photoshopped (ph) Jar Jar Binks.
Let‘s turn now to the only man who can make any sense out of any of this is, Michael Musto of the “Village Voice.”
Welcome back, Michael.
MICHAEL MUSTO, “VILLAGE VOICE”: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: So, it appears the world‘s going to see Suri cruise through the lens of Annie Leibovitz, she‘s taken some iconic photographs that Demi Moore one, the “Rolling Stone” cover of John Lennon naked entwirled (ph) with Yoko Ono. What should we expect from her image of Suri Cruise.
MUSTO: We can expect the image of a pillow, an illegitimate, mind you, a bastard pillow. What‘s the word for a female bastard? Oh, Ann Coulter—an Ann Coulter pillow. Where are they going to get this baby if it is a baby? From the same agency where they got Katie? Somebody on-line said, “Oh, it actually is a baby and it just finally healed from the surgery to make it look like Tom.” No, that‘s not true, it‘s going to be beautiful. It‘s going to be like going inside the Demi Moore cover.
OLBERMANN: The magazine choice, are we surprised it will be “Vanity Fair” and not say, “Cracked” magazine or “Pillow Fancier?”
MUSTO: I‘m surprised it‘s not the Bed, Bath, and Beyond the pale (ph) catalogue or “Tromp Wad (ph) Digest” or “How to Turn Home Furnishings into Children Weekly” or really “Vanity Unfair” is where it belongs because this is making me mad.
OLBERMANN: You stick to the idea that there is no child, correct?
MUSTO: There is, but it‘s a pillow. That‘s my point and I‘m sticking to it.
OLBERMANN: I‘m gong to write that down and diagram it, but we don‘t have time right now.
MUSTO: I was right about Fatty Arbuckle.
OLBERMANN: OK. The Angelina Jolie boomerang story. Now, according to “Star,” this is not the first time she‘s taken the kids and split for a while. Did we almost witness the implosion of the world‘s most important super couple?
MUSTO: Bear in mind, these same magazines write stuff like Lance
Bass is dating Kathy Griffin, Hillary Clinton is married to a space alien -
well, that one was true. Let‘s just sat this is true. In that case, Brangelina is definitely branching off and becoming Branchelina. I mean these two have had so many children and neither one of them wants to stay home and take care of them. It‘s really crazy. And you know what, if Brad pulls a Woody Allen, there‘s really going to be trouble. I don‘t mean date Sahara, I mean play jazz every Monday.
OLBERMANN: Or start getting all serious with his films.
MUSTO: And make bad ones.
OLBERMANN: We‘ll talk now about the couple that I‘m calling Vincifer Anistaughn. First of all, “Us Weekly” says they got engaged after spending time in a resort owned by the guy who makes the “Girls Gone Wild” videos. Do we need to read anything into that other than as I observed earlier we all went into the wrong line of work?
MUSTO: Well, that connection really makes me scared. It‘s obviously going to be a beautiful wedding at Hooters with Jennifer reciting her vows from a stripper pole, as Vince scratches his crotch and everyone toasts them from a toilet bowl, it‘s really ridiculous. I mean, -- Vince, you know proposed to her on a plane after spending time Joe Francis (ph) estate, and I hear that he heard the engines had died so he figured, what the hell. He asked, she said yes, engines were fine, he‘s stuck. It‘s going to be great, though, she‘s going to wear brown, throw a bouquet of condoms. Can‘t wait.
OLBERMANN: All right, so the other thing in “Us Weekly” in this is that they‘ve been engaged for six weeks. The Pony Express delivered news faster. Who fell down on the job, here? Who screwed up? I‘ve got to know.
MUSTO: I blame the editor who used to make this stuff up much faster. I also blame the anonymous sources close to the couple. The should have spoke up sooner. Of course they didn‘t exist, so how could they? But, you know, whether it‘s true or not, I don‘t care, I prefer a six-week-old, what is it Vaughiston—Vincifer gossip to stuff about, I don‘t know, Regis and Joy Philbin or something.
OLBERMANN: The ring that we hear that she got from Vince Vaughn, worth a half million dollars and her previous ring from Brad Pitt, worth $200,000. If everything goes belly-up for her is she just going to open up her own branch of Tiffany‘s or what does she plan to do here?
MUSTO: I think next time around, she‘s going to have to have Selma Diamond on her hand, like a whole human. I mean, by her fifth husband she‘s going to have like a whole South Africa, you know, diamond mine and Angelina‘s going to go, “Oh, South African, I should adopt that.” And Jennifer‘s going to go, like “Uh-uh, you stole my man.” It all comes together here on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Selma Diamond, you went for Selma instead of Dianne Diamond the celebrity (INAUDIBLE) you went for Selma Diamond.
MUSTO: And I looked it up and she‘s dead and I still went for it because I still think it‘s better than Lou Diamond Phillips.
OLBERMANN: All right, well, last night we had Chris Matthews had a Uncle Tonoose (ph), “Danny Thomas Show” reference, so I guess we‘re keeping the vernacular going for the whole week.
The one and only Michael Musto. As always, great thanks if are your time.
MUSTO: Thanks Keith.
OLBERMANN: That‘s COUNTDOWN for this, the 1 1,196th day since the declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. Keep your knees loose, I‘m Keith Olbermann, goodnight and good luck.
Our MSNBC coverage continues now with “Scarborough Country.”
Joe, good evening.
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