Guests: Anthony Weiner, Sam Stein, John Harwood, Robert Greenwald, Bill Press, Michael Medved, Rev. Al Sharpton, Liz Winstead
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to THE ED SHOW.
Now, I‘m not starting out with “Psycho Talk” tonight, but you just won‘t believe this. Roger Ailes, the Fox News boss, is thinking of running for president in 2012.
I can‘t get enough of this. I have three words right off the bat: Go, Roger, go. How can I help?
All right. We‘re going to have more on this later in the show.
Now to Capitol Hill.
There are new developments tonight on the public option, as the story is very fluid. It‘s changing by the hour. And the reporting on this story actually has been all over the board the last 24 hours. And just 24 hours ago, the number four Democrat in the House, John Larson from Connecticut, told me on my radio show that Nancy Pelosi had the 218 votes that she needed for a robust public option.
This morning, Politico broke the story that Pelosi had given up on the public option because she didn‘t have the votes. So, the Speaker goes to work. She took her members behind closed doors and made them say out loud where they stand on the public option.
She stepped out of that meeting and faced the reporters that were pressing her about whether she has the votes for a strong public option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, if I just may go back to the public option for a moment, part of the decision is not just about votes, because that‘s one thing. We have a very strong Democratic majority here. Part of it is the end game of conference.
The atmosphere has changed. When we were dealing with the idea that the Senate would have nothing, it was really important again to go in with the most muscle for the middle class with the robust public option. Since that is now a possibility, a strong possibility, then I have to, again, discuss with my colleagues, what‘s the best approach to conference?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The public option is set in the House. Nancy Pelosi is looking ahead to the final bill.
I don‘t know about you, I trust Nancy Pelosi. I think she is a fighter for the middle class. She‘ll get it done.
But now it‘s up to you, Uncle Harry Reid.
At this hour, there are reports that Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, is just two votes short of an opt-out public option in the Senate.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is stepping forth as the first governor in the country to say that he‘s ready to opt out of a public option. Now, that means he says he doesn‘t like government-run health care.
Well, Governor Pawlenty, why don‘t you just ask the people of Minnesota to give up their Medicare? Wouldn‘t it be easier just to do that?
You‘ve got budget problems in this state, Governor. Heck, just ask people to give up their Medicare and tell the feds to ship the money to Minnesota so you can balance the budget.
Look, I want a strong, robust public option. None of this opt in, opt out stuff. And look, the conservative blogs are on my case because I‘ve let the cat out of the bag.
What cat? I‘m going to let the dog out of the bag tonight.
Let me tell you something, folks. This is the first step to getting a non-profit health care system in America, and I love it.
If we can get some positive outcomes, some positive stories, people who don‘t have insurance, people who have had the positive outcomes, we‘re going to be able to get even more reform the next time around. And, yes, that would be single payer. That is the big prize that Democrats and liberals and progressives want.
Now, I don‘t care if the Republicans get on board and sign on with this. All I‘m saying is, Harry Reid, this is what‘s coming down.
This is a time to make history in this country. And let me be crystal clear.
Unless you, Harry Reid, support a full-fledged public option, I will work against you and I will donate against you in 2010. And I will encourage other progressive groups and other progressives in this country to do the same. We have come too far and done too much to have this bickering about the public option in the 11th hour.
Now, next week on this program, I‘m going to start bringing people out who are running Web sites, who are going to raise money, and who are going to go against not only Harry Reid, but any conservative Democrat that turns their back on the public option. It‘s time now for the lefties of this country to gather at the war table and make sure that we are heard. Not only the phone calls, not only the e-mail, but where are we going to put our money and who are we going to back, and who are we going to throw out of office?
Michael Moore, I‘m with you on this 100 percent.
Now, our first guest tonight just released a study that says, interestingly enough, that 155 members of the Congress, well, gosh, they already get single payer. It‘s called Medicare. By the way, 55 of these folks are Republicans who don‘t want you, the American consumer, to have single payer.
Joining me now is New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
Congressman, this is so fluid. Where are we at this hour on the public option?
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Well, let‘s keep in mind one important thing. The majority of this country, the majority of Congress, the majority of the House and Senate, all support a public option. We‘re in a democracy here. We, Democrats, control the House and Senate, overwhelming majorities of both our caucuses in the House and Senate support the public option.
That should be the end of the conversation, but in classic Washington terms it‘s not. There‘s still a lot of pushback going on trying to peel off moderate or some conservative Democrats who won‘t go along with the public option. It‘s not a done deal, but I believe we‘re going to have it at the end of the day. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi both want to have it in, and I think we‘re going to.
The important thing to realize here is they‘re doing it—this has been a resurrection of the public option, and it hasn‘t happened from within the beltway. It‘s happened because of people like you and your viewers, who said, you know what? We want competition, we want choice, and the only way to have that is with the public option.
SCHULTZ: Well, Congressman, you‘re telling tonight that we‘re not there yet. I had Steny Hoyer on this program last night saying we got the votes. I talked to Congressman Larson yesterday. He‘s the number four Democrat in the House. He says they have the 218 votes.
Then there were reports overnight. Then Nancy Pelosi goes behind closed doors with the caucus.
Tell our viewers what happened in the caucus today.
WEINER: Well, listen, there are a lot of views going back and forth, but, overwhelmingly, the chorus was we need a strong and vigorous public option, even from people who say, I want to make sure we save every single dime we can in this program. And I consider myself one of those people.
If you want to contain costs, you need to have the public option. The burden is on those who say, you know what? No public option for me, is to say how it is that they‘re going to make up the costs.
SCHULTZ: But Congressman...
WEINER: Let me just answer your question though. Here‘s where it stands.
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute. I want to focus—hold on a second, Congressman. I want to focus—do we have the votes for a public option in the House? Yes or no?
WEINER: We have it in the House. The Senate, that cooling saucer of democracy, I‘m not as sure about. We have it. But we have to make sure that it‘s a true public option and not just something else with the clothing of public option on it.
SCHULTZ: Amen to that.
WEINER: You remember, we had this thrust, this attempt to make the co-opt the idea of a public option. A public option will only work if it has a couple of elements.
One, it actually exists. It can‘t be triggered off in some distance time horizon because it will never get its legs underneath it.
Secondly, if you‘re going to have people be able opt out, we have to make sure that folks like Pawlenty, who want to make a political point, they have to make sure that it‘s a couple of years in so they are telling their constituents they‘re not going to have this coverage.
You know, we did something interesting on CountdowntoHealthcare.com, the Web site I‘ve set up. We went and looked at what zip codes all of the people signing up for the public option came from.
WEINER: Coast to coast—we put red dots on a map—you couldn‘t discern whether it was a Republican district or a conservative district. The American people want a public option. Health care will not be a success without it.
SCHULTZ: All right. Now, you have taken it upon yourself to make sure the American people know just who in the Congress is getting Medicare. Senator Chuck Grassley, obviously he is on it. So is Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Jon Kyl and Mike Enzi. I mean, these are the top proponents against any government-run insurance program that would compete against the private sector.
Are they hypocrites?
WEINER: Well, let‘s put it more kindly. I think that they might be detached a little bit from their own reality.
I mean, the fact is that when I hear members of Congress say, “I‘m against the public option,” I say to them, “Why do you want it? Why do you think you should get the public option in the form of Medicare but someone who is 64 or 54, or happens to be unemployed at 34, can‘t have it?”
That‘s the question that we‘re trying to point out. At the end of the day...
SCHULTZ: Why don‘t you ask them to give it back? I mean, if they‘re against other Americans having it, Congressman, why don‘t you take the lead and ask them to give it back? Ask them to go buy insurance on the free market.
I mean, they‘re hypocrites. They are.
WEINER: I agree. Look, anyone can go to my Web site, CountdowntoHealthcare.com, and look to see if their senator or their congressman is on that list. And that‘s the question they should get.
You know, the Tea Baggers and these guys were saying, hey, you member of Congress, are you going the take the public option when it‘s offered? Well, these are people that already have the existing public option, Medicare. They take it and then they don‘t want the rest of us to have that same choice.
SCHULTZ: Congressman, you‘re a fighter. I love the way you go after this. I appreciate you coming on. Thanks so much.
WEINER: Thanks for having me on.
SCHULTZ: We‘re on the story. We‘re not giving up at all.
Congressman Weiner from New York here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
Let me bring in Sam Stein, political reporter for “The Huffington Post.”
And talk about all these different stories floating around. I know there‘s obviously a lot of competition in the media. We‘re in a different age right now. Web sites battling back and forth, networks, cables, everything else.
Sam, what do you make of this? Are there people getting on a public option, are they getting off? Are they changing their minds? How do you read this right now?
SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Well, it‘s making me very dizzy, Ed. There are a lot of stories out there. It‘s very tough to track.
The political story that the D.C. establishment woke up today was a bit jarring because it didn‘t seem to be coming from any of the other reporting that I‘ve read or I‘ve produced. And you saw that with Nancy Pelosi.
She pushed back really hard against it because the truth is, when the votes are counted, as the congressman said, the House will produce a public option. How strong it is, is what the debate is about.
In the Senate, what we‘re getting right now, what I‘m getting from my sources, is that they are going to pass likely—or they‘re trying to pass a public option with the opt-out provision. They‘re about two or maybe even one vote away from that.
They‘re also whipping, as in counting the votes for an opt-out—a public option that is triggered into existence by economic conditions. So, you have all these variables in the air.
In the end, what‘s going to end up happening is the House comes to the negotiating table with the public plan. The Senate comes with some variation of it. And the critical moment ends up being what happens in conference.
I know Congressman Jim Clyburn said he expects the White House to intervene really hard when it goes between the two houses of Congress. So, it‘s not like it‘s—right now is a critical moment. The critical moment is going to come when we get that final conference committee.
SCHULTZ: Well, I just wonder if there aren‘t some agendas being played out here. I have an agenda. I admit it.
I talk about it every night. I want the public option. I know where the American people are on this issue. And we‘re slowly winning this thing.
But I wonder if there aren‘t some reporters out there that have an agenda, that want to do anything they possibly can to kill a government-run insurance program that would be competition for the private sector. I don‘t want to impugn anybody‘s character in any way, shape or form, but it just...
STEIN: Yes. I‘m not going to malign other reporters, but there are sources for these reporters who obviously have an agenda. And what I‘m told is that, you know, a lot of these leaks are politically motivated, as leaks tend to be.
What I know from my sourcing and from my reporting is that the situation right now is incredibly fluid. As I noted, there‘s tons of whip counts going on just to see what will pass.
The angle in the Senate remains, where do you get the 60 votes? Now, there‘s conflicting reports, but what I hear is that the White House is pushing Senate Dems to actually get behind the trigger proposal. And their motive in this is that they would like a bill to be bipartisan. They want to keep Olympia Snowe on board.
Now, it doesn‘t mean that that‘s going to be the end game, because Senator Reid does, in fact, favor the opt-out proposal, I‘m told. And leadership, Democratic leadership, is hoping that the White House will come around, because they‘re convinced if the White House intervenes, they‘ll get those one or two votes that they need to break the Republican filibuster.
SCHULTZ: All right. Sam Stein, “Huffington Post,” always a pleasure to have you with us.
STEIN: Always a pleasure, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Way to get after it.
I want to be very clear. I want to be very clear. I don‘t think progressives should sell out for a trigger or this opt-in, opt-out stuff, because you‘re going to have a lot of Americans that aren‘t going to get the help that they need or the help that they want. And don‘t turn it over to state legislatures, because that could be just something to string it out.
It will delay the process. It‘s a stall tactic, again.
Look at Olympia Snowe. Yesterday, she said she‘s not really ready to jump on an immediate run for a government-run public option. Well, what does that tell you?
They‘re trying to string this thing out. This is all about beating Obama.
But the White House bears a great deal of responsibility on this as well. They have got to step to the plate and say emphatically, this is exactly what they want, stop all the trigger talk, stop all the opt-in, opt-out stuff, and let‘s get after it.
All right. Coming up, The Drugster‘s getting creepier by the minute.
He‘s found a way to compare MSNBC to porn and CNN to child porn?
Let‘s bust him up in “Psycho Talk.”
Plus, this is wonderful. Roger Ailes, his buddies to trying to talk him into running for president in 2012. I think “The Beckster” ought to be his running mate.
Run, roger, run.
We‘ll see how “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead makes out of all of this coming up in THE ED SHOW in “Club Ed.”
Stay with us. We‘re right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Teddy turned to Chris and he asked him if he would be the one to shepherd health reform through the committee that Teddy had chaired. And in that role, Chris did an outstanding job both leading and listening, incorporating Republican and Democratic ideas.
And thanks to Chris Dodd‘s work and the work of senators like Max Baucus and others, we are now closer to Ted Kennedy‘s dream of health care reform than we have ever been. It will pass this year in part because of the work of Chris Dodd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was President Obama just moments ago speaking at a fund-raiser for Senator Chris Dodd in Connecticut.
One of Dodd‘s Republican challenger, WWE co-founder Linda McMahon, is making an interesting play today. She‘s running a new ad attacking President Obama‘s visit without ever mentioning the president.
Let‘s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA MCHMAHON, WWE PRESIDENT: Today Chris Dodd is getting another pat on the back from Washington. Chris Dodd, who predicted that passing the stimulus package would create or save 41,000 jobs in Connecticut. Instead, we‘ve lost 24,000.
Does Chris Dodd deserve a pat on the back for that? We‘ve heard enough from Washington and their empty promises.
I‘m Linda McMahon, and I approved this message because it‘s time for a different kind of senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is John Harwood, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and political writer for “The New York Times.”
John, a couple of the polls that are out tonight, Quinnipiac poll has got Senator Dodd‘s approval rating in Connecticut sitting at 49 percent disapproval and 43 percent approval. In the meantime, President Obama‘s approval rating in Connecticut is a very solid 57 percent.
Can the president help Chris Dodd in Connecticut? What do you think?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely he can, Ed. But could I clear up one thing first? If Rush says MSNBC is porn, does that make me a porn star?
If so, don‘t tell my daughters. OK?
SCHULTZ: You‘re not going to get paid like one, that‘s for sure.
HARWOOD: I‘ve noticed.
HARWOOD: But look, yes, the answer is President Obama got over 60 percent of the vote in Connecticut. That‘s a very cute tactic by Linda McMahon to go after “Washington,” not mention Barack Obama. We‘ll see if she can get away with it.
Chris Dodd is down. He‘s taken a bunch of hits. The AIG bonuses were a problem for him. Washington is not very popular.
The hope for the Dodd team, though, is that that state is so blue.
You know, more than a 20-percentage point victory by President Obama there. That in the end, you have a nasty Republican primary. They hope Chris Dodd will be able to limp home with a money advantage over his Republican opponent.
SCHULTZ: John, I thought that comment just a moment ago by President Obama was telling, playing the emotional card, the connection to Ted Kennedy, the hope that health care reform is going to be meaningful and it‘s going to pass this year.
When you look at the president‘s approval rating in Connecticut with Independents is at 56 percent, you look at Chris Dodd and you look at the number—what we has done on reform, and you‘ve got the number of folks in Connecticut at 64 percent, voters who support the public option, I mean, all the numbers are good for Chris Dodd because Obama is so strong and because of the health care issue.
Is that the strategy?
HARWOOD: Well, I think it may be. And it‘s a fascinating point, Ed, because one of the questions that I‘m asking and wondering is, how much credit are Democrats going to get if they pass health care reform?
I think President Obama was accurate, they will pass it this year. Not sure whether it‘s going to have a public option or, if so, how robust it will be. But then the question is, in a bad economy with unemployment at 10 percent, how much credit do you get for that?
How much credit do you get if you pass—Chris Dodd is chairman of the Banking Committee—re-regulation of Wall Street? I‘ve got to think you get some, but a lot of Democrats are really worried the economy is going to drive everything.
SCHULTZ: Is his opponent going to be a nightmare for Chris Dodd, just on her ability alone? What do you think?
HARWOOD: Well, if Linda McMahon wins the Republican primary, she could be tough. And she‘s not some money. But that‘s not a given.
Remember, she‘s running against Rob Simmons, who is a former Republican congressman. He‘s well known in the state. He‘s somebody who had a moderate reputation. He‘s moved a bit to the right for that Republican primary.
But we don‘t yet know if it‘s going to be Linda McMahon. And Chris Dodd is going to be ready for either alternative. And I think he‘s going to end up with a fairly well-funded campaign. So, it‘s going to be very competitive.
SCHULTZ: John Harwood with us tonight, here on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much, John.
HARWOOD: You bet.
SCHULTZ: It should be pointed out that McMahon is spending just a boatload of money. Commercials are all over the place in that part of the country.
All right. Coming up, a justice of the peace has refused to marry an interracial couple because he doesn‘t believe in mixing the races, yet swears that he isn‘t a racist. I‘ll get to the bottom of that with someone on this program later on.
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: In “Psycho Talk” talk tonight, “The Drugster” has really outdone himself this time. He must be trying out some new kind of drug cocktail or something, because Limbaugh is upset that the White House is finally calling out Fox News for what it is, a biased conservative network with very little resemblance to news.
So he‘s lashing out at other cablers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Obama is out there saying that Fox News is talk radio. I am living rent free in this guy‘s head.
Fox News is talk radio? If that‘s true, MSNBC is pornography, and Obama likes MSNBC. CNN is child porn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That‘s pretty low rent, even for you, Rush. No wonder the NFL doesn‘t want you.
This is just further proof that you‘ll say anything to make sure that people might check your radio show out. You know, I get that we‘re not on the same side of just about anything, but believing and saying something like that about a network, it is desperate “Psycho Talk.”
And speaking of “The Drugster,” Reverend Al Sharpton issued an ultimatum the other day—apologize by Friday or face a defamation lawsuit.
The reverend is in the house tonight. He‘ll give us the latest in my “Playbook.”
Plus, the White House is Fox hunting. And I‘m releasing the hounds. Award-winning filmmaker and mastermind behind it all, outfoxed, exposed, will join me in just a moment.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that‘s one thing. And if it‘s operating as a news outlet, then that‘s another. It‘s not something I‘m losing a lot of sleep over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The White House says it‘s at war with Fox News. And President Obama, as you can see there, isn‘t pulling any punches. Conservatives are crying that it‘s un-American to attack a news organization. I don‘t think the president is attacking the news. If you need proof, take a look another this clip from Media Matters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Even at the inauguration of a black president it seems white America is being called racist.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOT HOST: We‘re being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He‘s not going to succeed. Socialism has failed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the honeymoon is over.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You can‘t break all your campaign promises.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think it‘s really socialism. Why?
ANN COULTER, COMMENTATOR: The next Jimmy Carter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama was elected by—mostly by black racists and white guilty people.
HANNITY: End of capitalism as we know it bill of 2009.
BECK: We‘re starting to look at fascism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Closer toward socialism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Closer to communism. How do you quantify whether or not your country is socialist?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dangerously like socialized medicine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sure feels like open season on capitalism in
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The president pitches and the Dow dies?
HANNITY: Sounds like the honeymoon is over.
BECK: I feel like President Obama is saying, you know what? I‘ve got that 3.5 trillion dollar budget that we‘re doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We‘re celebrating the first 100 days of Barack Obama‘s tenure.
HANNITY: One hundred days of America going down the drain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we did by talking to Hugo Chavez, embracing him, fist bumping, making lovey-dovey in the hotel—god knows what went on behind closed doors.
DICK MORRIS, POLLSTER: We have a president whose foreign policy can only be described as anti-American.
BECK: The enemy is not only in the gates, they‘re inside the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, all of that before the White House responded. Joining me now is filmmaker Robert Greenwald. He delegated the landmark documentary “Out-Foxed.” Mr. Greenwald, we‘ve known that Fox has been like this for a long time. Is this a game changer for maybe even more material, now that the White House is on the offensive, calling them out.
ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: I think it‘s great that the White House has called them out. It‘s exciting. We should all get up and cheer and thank them for doing it. Remember, Ed, the crucial thing with Fox News has always been not the people who watch Fox, but every other news organization, except for yours, that has in the past picked up the lies, picked up the distortions, and amplified the message that Fox is trying to drive out there.
What the—Obama administration calling them out, I hope and believe it will be harder for the other news organizations to play follow the leader.
SCHULTZ: Do you think Fox News lies and misleads purposely?
GREENWALD: I don‘t think so. I know they do. They lie. They mislead. And they distort. It‘s not a question. And it‘s factual. Media Matters has made it clear. The Newshounds has made it clear. At OurFoxAttacksOnline, you can see it over and over and over again.
Again, we must be very clear. This is not going after an individual reporter. This is an organization that in its DNA is committed to propaganda, and one point of view, and one point of view only. They had 22 different clips covering the health care debates. Every single one of those clips covered people who are opposed to health care reform.
SCHULTZ: What about the news today that Roger Ailes has got his country club buddies trying to prod him along, to encourage him to run for president? I mean, I say, let‘s go. What can I do to help? I mean, I think it would be great entertainment. And I‘d like to see him actually debate Barack Obama. It would be great for our industry. What do you make of that?
GREENWALD: I think you and I should join up to be his co-chairman to start the campaign now. Get him off Fox and into a debate with Obama. That would be truly an event that would be made for television.
What it makes clear, of course, is his political agenda, in case there‘s a doubt in anybody‘s mind. By the way, shame on Tapper from ABC for coming to the defense of Fox and claiming they‘re a sister network. That‘s absolute nonsense. We should let him know that.
I also want to call out to MoveOn, that‘s doing a great job raising the issue and saying, you know what—they have a big petition out there saying we don‘t think any Democrat should go on Fox until Obama agrees to go on again.
SCHULTZ: There‘s another thing here, Mr. Greenwald. People believe what they hear and what they see. The lies Fox throws out there—and the documentation you‘ve done and Media Matters—I come out here in the Heartland and I‘ll do some pheasant hunting and I‘ll run into people. They‘re reciting this stuff as if it‘s gospel. Like, well, I heard it on Fox, it must be true. Look, I don‘t come here on this program distorting anything. But if you don‘t believe or like what I say, you can obviously make a content judgment. But don‘t let me be your only source of information.
Fox is just constantly driving home what they believe in. And they don‘t care about the facts. But the thing is, the consumption by some people out there who are just novice news consumers, that catch a couple of minutes and drive it home between their ears, like, well, gosh, that must be the way it is—what do you think the best way is to fight that? Have the White House come out and go after them big-time? What do you think?
GREENWALD: Absolutely. I think the White House is doing the right thing. Now there‘s a response. When people say, well, Fox News said, then we say yes, but the White House and others are very clear that Fox News is an arm of the conservative and the Republican party. We never have had that before. You know, when we did the Fox film years ago, it was a dream that one day we would be hearing the president and his advisers talk this way.
So I think we need to do everything we can. And, again, Ed, I can‘t emphasize strongly enough, you know, the folks you may see when you‘re hunts, we may or may not be able to reach them. But damn it, we have to be able to reach everyone else in the other news organizations, and encourage them to stop and knock it off when they pick up a political propaganda talking point from Fox.
SCHULTZ: Well, it‘s easier to do that than to read something. I think one of the most troubling things in our society right now is that young people aren‘t reading the way past generations have. And we‘re losing our curiosity for what the truth is. And that‘s why folks like you and Media Matters have got to stay out there on the forefront. I appreciate your time, Mr. Greenwald. Thanks so much.
GREENWALD: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Robert Greenwald—you bet. Robert Greenwald with us here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
For more, let‘s bring in our panel, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Michael Medved, radio talk show host, and author of the book “The Ten Big Lies About America.”
Gentlemen, I want to start out with this; this is coming from NBC‘s “First Read” on Fox viewers. “In our poll, 72 percent of self-identified Fox News viewers believe the health care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants; 79 percent of them say it will lead to a government takeover;
69 percent think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions; 75 percent believe that it will allow the government to decide when to stop providing care for the elderly.”
Bill Press, why are their numbers so high if their facts are so terribly wrong?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And Ed, you forgot to mention the 72 percent believe Saddam Hussein flew the first plane into the World Trade Center towers. Just as believable. I tell you, Ed, I think it says a lot about the Fox viewers. They just—you said it.
Look, Fox News is right-wing talk radio on television. That‘s all it is. And the people watching or the people listening, they swallow that stuff. They don‘t think about it. They believe it because it‘s on Fox. And that‘s pretty dangerous.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, you‘re a conservative talk show host. But I do believe that you‘re a guy with integrity. I don‘t believe you lie to your audience. I do believe you‘ve got an—well, you try not to. That‘s good to know. I think that—you know, you‘re on the wrong side of the issues in my opinion, but you‘re a good guy. What do you make of Fox News? Do you think they lie? Do you think they twist the truth? Do you think they‘re on an agenda?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Of course they‘re on an agenda.
So are you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Yes, but I admit it.
MEDVED: You‘re right. By the way, I have said publicly I think this slogan of fair and balanced is kind of silly. Fox News is not fair and balanced, but neither is MSNBC. I‘m glad MSNBC is there. I don‘t want to cut you off. I don‘t want anybody to tune out THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW. I want them to watch THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW and then watch “The Bill O‘Reilly Show.” Let a thousand flowers bloom.
What I don‘t understand here is what the liberal desire is to cut out the one television network that is clearly conservative. MSNBC I think has become the one network that‘s clearly liberal.
SCHULTZ: No, no, no. Michael—nobody‘s trying to cut them out.
They‘re just trying to point out exactly that they don‘t tell the truth.
Now, I will say—
MEDVED: That‘s your job.
SCHULTZ: Wait a minute. If I don‘t tell the truth, I want the White House to say something. If I‘m wrong on public option or health care, I‘m all about bring it on, give me the criticism. If I‘m wrong on something, and if I‘m not saying something right, hey, you know, I‘m not up on a pedestal. Just let me have it.
MEDVED: Here‘s the question, Ed. It‘s a very fundamental question. I am all for that. If I say something that‘s wrong, I would love someone to call up from the White House, and I‘ll put them on in a minute. By the way, that‘s all Fox News wants. If you disagree with what they‘re saying, come on and debate it. I don‘t understand why people are afraid of that.
PRESS: Michael, here‘s the problem. There are some people saying because of Fox—the White House will criticize Fox, that they‘re making an enemies list or something. That is absolutely BS.
Look, the White House is right. If the insurance companies go after them, call them out. If the banks go after them, call them out. If Fox is telling lies, call them out. This is not ping-pong. They can‘t expect to lie and get away with it.
MEDVED: No one is attempting to shut down the White House or saying don‘t listen to them. As a matter of fact, Fox News viewers would like to hear more from the White House. You see, this goes back to the basic idea. There is an urge that some people have to censor, to say that if someone disagrees with me, they don‘t have the right to say it.
PRESS: Michael, nobody‘s talking about that.
SCHULTZ: Michael Medved, I have to get in here. I got to get in here. You know that you were on the cover of “Talkers Magazine” in the Oval Office with Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham. How come George Bush didn‘t ask any progressive talkers to come in and talk to him? It was a big front cover of “Talkers Magazine.” There‘s President Bush with all the righty talkers. I didn‘t see liberals in that.
PRESS: I wasn‘t there.
MEDVED: Ed, every president has the right to favor people he thinks are going to get his ideas out effectively. John Kennedy favored Joe and Stewart Alsop (ph). By the way, President Obama has a perfect right to go ahead and favor some people. But what he doesn‘t have a right to do is saying there is one news organization that I don‘t agree with, therefore, we‘re going to boycott them. A boycott by the White House stinks.
SCHULTZ: Bill press, final point. Is this the right strategy by the White House to go after Fox in your opinion?
PRESS: I think it‘s the right strategy on the White House to go after anybody who is telling lies about what they‘re really proposing. Absolutely.
MEDVED: This is great for Fox. It helps Fox a lot.
PRESS: Then Fox ought to stop lying.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, although four in ten Americans think racial relations have improved since Obama became our president, race remains a major flash point in this country; 72 percent of blacks say racism is still widespread. I‘ll ask Reverend Al Sharpton about that, and is he going to sue Rush Limbaugh? That‘s all coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh wrote an op-ped in the “Wall Street Journal.” He went after Al Sharpton, made some accusations. The reverend earlier on this program this week said he would sue Rush Limbaugh if he didn‘t get an apology.
Where does that stand right now? Let‘s bring in the reverend. Reverend Al Sharpton joins us on THE ED SHOW. Have you gotten an apology from Rush Limbaugh?
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: No, we haven‘t. We got a letter from his attorneys explaining why they felt he had the legal right to say what he wants about a public figure, which we think is absurd. I want you and your audience to know that we‘ve already prepared a notice of claim, and will be filing early next week.
Mr. Limbaugh does not have the right to say what he wants about any one public person or not. If I disagree with a person‘s economic policies, I don‘t have a right to say they played a leading role in a bank robbery. If he disagrees with my politics, he does not have the right to say I played a leading role in a riot. That‘s a criminal act, like a bank robbery or some kind of murder or something.
And public figure notwithstanding, you cannot accuse a person of a crime and act like it‘s all right, that‘s in public do main.
SCHULTZ: OK. This is exactly what Rush Limbaugh wrote in the “Wall Street Journal” op-ped last weekend. He wrote, “the media elicited comments from the likes of Al Sharpton, who played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights Riot. He called neighborhood Jews ‘diamond merchants‘ in the 1995 Freddy‘s Fashion Mart Riot.”
Now you say that‘s absolutely false. You told us that earlier this week. So it is a definite, you will file a lawsuit against Limbaugh, the nation‘s number one conservative talker, early next week?
SHARPTON: Absolutely, we will file it and we will go all the way with it. I think these guys must be held accountable. And clearly when you cross the line, they must have to deal with it. You cannot just say what you want, particularly criminalizing people that have spent their lives doing the opposite.
You know, I‘ve fought all my life on civil rights but always advocate, always stood for non-violence, even when I was a victim of violence, myself. I cannot tolerate to be defamed in this way. And I think Mr. Limbaugh has to be held accountable.
SCHULTZ: Well, he says some pretty outrageous stuff. One of the things that caught my attention, because I went to a black high school 30 years ago—and when he made the comment that “in Obama‘s America, black kids are beating up white kids on school buses,” I really thought at that point he had done more than go over the line, and he is really damaging the minds of a lot of people with that kind of thinking in this country. It‘s unfair to the president, I might add.
This is some of the polling that is out there right now, reverend. I want you to respond to this. As a result of Obama‘s election, race relations have gotten better in this country; 41 percent of Americans say it has gotten better; 35 percent say it‘s not changed; 22 percent say it‘s gotten worse.
I want you to speak to the 22 percent. What does that mean that race relations have gotten worse in this country? What‘s your take on that, Al?
SHARPTON: I mean, I have no idea how anyone could say that. I lead a civil rights organization, National Action Network. We‘re all over the country. We fight for cases of discrimination and civil rights. I think there‘s no question it‘s gotten better.
Have we solved all the problems? No. Do we still have a lot that we have to do? National Action Network, we‘re doing that every day. It has certainly improving. I think more Americans are more open to the discussion. I think we all unite more around dealing with bigotry and dealing with bias.
I could not imagine how 22 percent could say it‘s gotten worse, when we have a country now that we are far more tolerant and far more seeing people unite around issues of discrimination. I couldn‘t imagine that that poll would be wrong. I think probably more than 41 percent should be saying it has improved. I‘m a guy that deals with civil rights issues on a daily basis.
SCHULTZ: The American people think it is going to get better. In the years ahead, race relations will get better; 61 percent of Americans believe that; no change at 25 percent; 13 percent think it will get worse. Did Obama‘s election speak to the younger generation and really send a message that America can do things for people that couldn‘t happen in other countries?
SHARPTON: I think it did. I think it gave a lot of younger Americans and older Americans the hope that, one, we could work together. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can set a tone where people can state their views, but not be considered to be dismissed, marginalized, or attacked for having different views.
If you take how he handled the situation with Professor Gates and the policeman in Cambridge, or even during the election, how he dealt with his own pastor, and whatever that disagreement was, I think he set a tone for dialogue which we did not have. It‘s not us against you, you against us. It‘s well, we may disagree, but let‘s talk.
I think the tone has made race relations better and will continue to make it better in the future. We need policy. We need substance. We need to finish it. But I think he‘s put us on a good course. And we‘re on our way, in my opinion.
SCHULTZ: Reverend Al Sharpton, appreciate your time tonight. I can‘t wait for the deposition. Keep us posted.
SHARPTON: No problem.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, breaking news, Roger Ailes has friends. And they‘re encouraging him to run for president in 2012. Well, we‘ve got to ask Liz Winstead what she thinks about that. Is she ready to go door to door? That‘s coming up next in Club Ed. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. It‘s Friday, and that means it‘s time for Club Ed. Liz Winstead, oh, look at this. Miss Winstead goes to Washington. She‘s the co-creator of “The Daily Show.” She is the brains behind “Wake-Up World.” What‘s happening there this weekend? Some kind of comedy festival.
LIZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”: There‘s a crazy comedy festival that is last night, tonight and tomorrow. They just got all these comics from around the country performing a million sets all around DC. It‘s really fun. I‘m a little hung over. I got to be honest. I‘m a little hung over.
SCHULTZ: All right. OK. What about Roger Ailes running for president? What do you think of that? Roger Ailes may be running for president.
WINSTEAD: It would be the first time that a Mike Douglas producer actually has the job as president. It makes sense to me. He is the mastermind behind all of these horrible attack ads. Why not be—instead of doing it for others, Roger Ailes can just do it for himself now. The big question he will ask is shall I portray Obama with the knife in his hand or not?
SCHULTZ: All right. Harry Reid seems to be the big player of the hour when it comes to health care reform. His numbers in Nevada don‘t look very good. Where‘s the material on Harry?
WINSTEAD: Ed, here‘s what I don‘t understand: every time I think I know where we‘re at with the health care bill, Harry Reid explains it in a way—he‘s like a drunk at a fun house. You know, it‘s like I think I know. Then he says we have one or two votes, so we can sort of get the public option opt out, trigger happy—and it‘s like, what are you talking about? You have just mesmerized everyone with your craziness. I think his magical underwear are just a little too tight and just needs to dial it back a little bit, so we know what‘s happening. I‘m super confused.
SCHULTZ: All right. Are you saying that Harry might have a chance at this comical competition this weekend, or these displays there? Is that what I‘m hearing?
WINSTEAD: I think really maybe more performance art in the East Village. He‘s angling more toward alternative theater.
SCHULTZ: What about Rush Limbaugh getting sued by Al Sharpton? News here tonight. The reverend‘s going to sue him. What do you make of that?
WINSTEAD: Well, there are so many reasons we should sue. I don‘t even know what to say about that, actually, because, you know, I think when you‘re a big giant public figure, things are said all the time and you run the risk. It‘s like Meghan McCain being very upset because she put pictures of her own self up on Twitter with her breasts heaving about, and wonder why people are freaked out by it.
Really, Meghan? You‘re just home on a Friday night with a stylist and a Victoria Secret bra, holding a book. This is what you do on Friday. I don‘t really understand.
SCHULTZ: All right. Liz Winstead, great to have you with us on Friday evening on Club Ed. We‘ll see you next week. Thank so much. Have a great time this weekend in the nation‘s capital.
Earlier in the show I asked you, is it a smart move for the Obama White House to take on Fox News? All right, 85 percent of you say yes; 15 percent of you say no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. We‘re back on Monday, 6:00 Eastern. Coming up next here on MSNBC is HARDBALL with Chris Matthews. You‘re watching the place for politics, MSNBC. We‘ll see you for the big debate between Barney Frank and Ralph Nader on THE ED SHOW on Monday night, about regulation for Wall Street. Have a great weekend.
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