Guest: Eric Burns, Robert Greenwald, Jack Rice, James Esseks, Jonathan Alter, Heidi Harris, Stephanie Miller, Holland Cooke, Lizz Winstead
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
These stories have got my hot buttons going tonight.
Now, there‘s trouble in the foxhole. Bill O‘Reilly just won‘t quit telling the lies.
And with Sean Hannity, he gets yanked from a Tea Party protest. What‘s that all about? Apparently, ginning up the angry right-wing mobs doesn‘t fit the definition of fair and balanced.
The Bush administration tried to hide the fact they were using torture. We have the smoking gun now. E-mails show that Bush‘s CIA director, Porter Goss, signed off on destroying videotapes that showed waterboarding.
And Lizz Winstead will be here tonight to give us her take on the Tax Day “Psycho Talk” that took place and all the other events of the week. That‘s coming up.
But this is the story that‘s got me fired up tonight. It‘s not the most pressing story in the world, but I‘m still compelled to do this because a lie is a lie.
America‘s most watched cable news talent is on this nonstop crusade to cover his backside. Now, for the second time this week, Bill O‘Reilly is trying to basically worm his way out of a lie that he told on Tuesday night.
Just so we‘re all crystal clear on this, here is what he said to Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS: You don‘t know anybody on Fox News, because there hasn‘t been anyone, that said people go to jail if they don‘t buy mandatory insurance.
It doesn‘t happen here, and we researched to find out if anybody on Fox News had ever said you‘re going to jail if you don‘t buy health insurance. Nobody‘s ever said it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, the key word is “research,” isn‘t it? Media Matters called O‘Reilly‘s bluff with some stinging video evidence showing that he was flat-out dead wrong.
Now, he tried to pin the blame on Coburn on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: The senator from Oklahoma, if people missed it last night, you know, criticized Fox News about certain things, and didn‘t really have this facts in line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, I missed the press release. I didn‘t know they were bringing back “Beavis & Butt-Head.”
Now, look, I wish I could tell you that the story ended right there, but Bill just won‘t give it up. He jumped deeper into the hole, the foxhole, last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: Well, as we all know, the prison option was taken off the table when the final Obama care bill was being debated. And that‘s what we were talking to Senator Coburn about, the final bill debate. Not all that stuff.
So what I said is absolutely true. Nobody at Fox News reported inaccurately about the Obama care prison situation. Nobody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Oh, wait a minute, now. Hold the phone.
Nobody covered the health care debate in this country on cable more than I did. OK? From day one when I got here, that‘s what we talked about.
Now, I haven‘t heard anything about the prison option because it didn‘t exist. OK. So we did our research.
We checked with factcheck.org today, and we also called Senator Tom Harkin‘s office, who just happens to be the chairman of the HELP Committee. Both say O‘Reilly is wrong.
Now, if that‘s got good enough for you, take a look at Congressman Ron Kind. Here he is questioning the head of the IRS, Douglas Shulman, in a Ways and Means Committee hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON KIND (D), WISCONSIN: And no taxpayer is going to be subject to any IRS liens or levies or jail time for failing to disclose insurance requirements to the IRS?
DOUGLAS SHULMAN, IRS: That is what the legislation calls for, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know, I think this story speaks volumes about O‘Reilly‘s journalistic judgment and his desire for the truth. He can‘t just stop digging into the hole, can he?
It‘s always been the pattern that way over at the right-wing network across the street. They are absolute masters at lying and spinning even in the “No-Spin Zone.” People buy this garbage and they treat it like gospel. And really, this is how conservatives have manipulated the conversation on the health care debate and the stimulus package, but, of course, they both passed.
Earlier this week, I told the National Action Network this: “We have to be very cognizant of the fact that 90 percent of the electronic media in this country is owned, operated, programmed and controlled by conservatives. They made a concerted effort during and before the Reagan years that they were going to get the microphone. The fact is we have conservatives on the air electioneering.”
That goes for both radio and TV.
Now, it‘s interesting. Just last night, Fox News pulled Sean Hannity away from a starring role in a Tea Party rally. Rupert Murdoch recently said that the network should not be supporting the Tea Party movement.
Hannity was set to broadcast and cheerlead Thursday night for the Tea Party crowd in Cincinnati, but was forced to come back to New York Thursday evening after network executives learned of the whole plan and thought it was unacceptable. Cincinnati Tea Party founder Mike Wilson blames Media Matters for the Fox News executives caving in.
Get your cell phones out, folks. I want to know what you think about this tonight.
Tonight‘s text survey is: Do you think O‘Reilly and Hannity deliberately lie to their viewers?
Text “A” for yes and text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Eric Burns of Media Matters for America.
Eric, good to have you on tonight.
ERIC BURNS, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: I guess in all of my years of radio and television, I‘ve never seen an anchor of this stature in the industry make up something to cover his backside for a lie.
Is this an absolute test case, plus A-positive story?
BURNS: Look, you know, you might be able to compare his efforts to
cover up the lie with—you know, with other folks at Fox News, Ed. I
mean, that would be the only possible comparison. But Bill O‘Reilly, even
he really kind of stands alone.
And just to show you how bad it is, you know, we did a little more digging and found out that two days before—two days before the final passage of the final bill, Bill Hemmer was pushing the same lie on Fox News. And just this last Saturday, almost a month after the health care bill was signed into law, we had folks on the Fox Business Network pushing the same lie.
So it‘s beyond an open and shut case. And I think the takeaway here about Bill O‘Reilly is that, you know, he‘s tried to paint himself this year as kind of the reasonable voice and the reasonable man. The truth is he‘s just the same old Bill.
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I take a look at this story, and I see a guy who is ginning up an angle. We called Senator Harkin‘s office today. There‘s never been anything known throughout this whole debate as the prison option.
BURNS: I know.
SCHULTZ: Now, this is flat-out making stuff up.
SCHULTZ: Now, do you find them making stuff up on other stories in your research over the years?
BURNS: Of course we do. We see a pattern of it every day.
I mean, look, Fox News is the very definition, unfortunately, of the big lie. This is how they do business. And they depend on being able to, you know, orchestrate and push these lies, scare people to advance their political agenda, and to do so deliberately. But then they can‘t ever admit that they were lying, because the minute that they do, you know, it hurts them with their advertisers.
SCHULTZ: But have you ever seen them come back show after show and make stuff up to cover their tracks?
BURNS: Usually they‘ll just ignore you and move on and keep on lying.
I mean, that‘s the general pattern.
SCHULTZ: He is definitely punching down on this.
BURNS: Well, Bill O‘Reilly‘s got thin skin. And you and I both know that. And so he likes to pretend to take his honor and his integrity seriously, but I think what this really shows is that he just doesn‘t have any.
Because if he did, he would just man up and say, hey, you know what? I was wrong. That‘s the right thing to do, because he is wrong and the evidence is just irrefutable, Ed.
SCHULTZ: It is amazing. And it‘s amazing that people follow this stuff.
Eric Burns, great to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time.
And great work as always.
BURNS: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Robert Greenwald is with us tonight of Brave New Films. He made the documentary “OutFOXed.” No man I think has really followed the career of Bill O‘Reilly and his lies more than this gentleman.
And I have to ask you, Mr. Greenwald, is this one for the archives?
ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: It‘s pretty—it‘s way up there, Ed, let me say. It‘s way up there. And you nailed it at the beginning of the show.
The problem is O‘Reilly said he had done some research. They don‘t know how to research over there. He‘s never done it, never will do it. And this is more evidence of that. But we see this pattern over and over again.
Just about two years ago, we did a video showing that there were homeless vets in America, and O‘Reilly came on and said, no, there are no such thing as homeless vets. And we had the visual evidence.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, he does a lot of this. He makes stuff up and has done it for years.
But what‘s interesting here is that most of the time—correct me if I‘m wrong—the Fox anchors are always on the same page, pushing the same angles with the two, three, or four key words in the story. But this time, Neil Cavuto has came out and said, no, we checked it out and we did say this on the air. Yet, O‘Reilly is still going at it.
Is this a first?
GREENWALD: I think so. And I think we should start a campaign that Neil Cavuto should be fired from Fox for disagreeing with Bill O‘Reilly. We know he doesn‘t like anyone to disagree with him.
SCHULTZ: Now, do their correspondents, in your research over the years, do the same thing? I mean, how am I supposed to, as a news consumer, watch Major Garrett stand out in front of the White House when I know O‘Reilly bends the story and lies and tries to make stuff up to cover to his backside night after night? How do we know their correspondents aren‘t doing that?
BURNS: Well, they are doing it. And as we came out in the “OutFOXed” movie, Ed, with their memos, they get—I don‘t know if they still get them because our access, as you can imagine, has been cut off. They would get daily memos telling them how to talk about the news, what the point of view should be, and what they can say and not say.
That‘s not news. That‘s a political propaganda campaign.
SCHULTZ: Is this unusual, that Rupert Murdoch said a few days ago that none of his people should be aligning themselves with the Tea Party, and then, of course, they pull Hannity back from the right-wing city of Cincinnati when he was supposed to be up on stage, and he‘s been seen at these Tea Party rallies, for instance, holding up signs of congressional members like he did in Minnesota? I believe he was waving a sign of “Michele Bachmann.”
So, is this a first for Fox, that they would pull somebody off the assignment because it might look bad?
GREENWALD: Well, not only would it look bad, he was out fund-raising. The Tea Party people were selling tickets to that event, using Sean Hannity‘s presence to raise money.
And the fact that Murdoch said this is not acceptable, or I‘ll look into it in some way, I think gives all of us an opening to push very hard when they do that and say, wait a minute, Murdoch says you‘re not supposed to be doing this. Aren‘t you listening to your boss over there?
SCHULTZ: You know, I think about all the things, Mr. Greenwald, that they have been talking about with Barack Obama. Isn‘t it time for another “OutFOXed” documentary?
GREENWALD: Well, Ed, we don‘t have 10 or 15 hours to do a movie.
SCHULTZ: You‘ve got to get back to work, Robert. Just because it‘s Friday evening, come on.
GREENWALD: OK. I‘m starting tonight.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time tonight.
GREENWALD: Thanks, Ed. Sure.
SCHULTZ: I guess that‘s just how it goes in cable, folks. Just throw it out there. It doesn‘t matter what the story is, just throw it out there. If you‘ve got viewers, heck, you can do whatever you want. Unbelievable.
Coming up, only a few thousand—get this—only a few thousand showed up for their big anti-tax rally in Washington, D.C., yesterday? Poor showing, Tea Partiers. House Minority Leader John Boehner thinks it‘s because most of them are just so comfy at home in their chairs, although they‘re supposed to be really angry.
And President Obama made a historic change that brings us a little closer to fulfilling Thomas Jefferson‘s self-evident truths.
Plus, a new piece of legislation that could change the way you listen to radio in this country.
And Lizz Winstead is here in “Club Ed” tonight.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. And thanks for watching tonight.
Well, this is a big one. An internal CIA document released Thursday is bringing disturbing new details to light about the agency‘s cover-up of torture during the Bush administration.
The memo reveals that former CIA—the former director of the CIA, Porter Goss, agreed with the decision made by the agency‘s top officer clandestine to destroy videotape evidence of waterboarding. If the tape got out, there was concern that it would be devastating to the CIA and could possibly prove “Shooter” was a war criminal.
For more, let‘s turn to former CIA officer Jack Rice.
Jack, good to have you on tonight on this very important story. This could be a blockbuster before it‘s over with.
As a former agent of the CIA, can you tell us, is this standard operating procedure, to destroy tapes?
JACK RICE, FMR. CIA OFFICER: No, it‘s not. In fact, this is completely illogical unless you‘re essentially trying to hide this.
And the reason that you actually make tapes in the first place is because you want to see what‘s effective. Now, if torture is effective in the minds of some, what you‘re literally trying to figure out is, when did these people crack?
I look at this as darkly as I can, in the most dark manner possible. You keep those tapes because you can use them to reference later. That‘s why you keep them. The reason you destroy them is because you‘re trying to hide just what it is that you did.
SCHULTZ: OK. If the Bush administration and the CIA thought they were on legal ground, on safe territory, why would they destroy them?
RICE: That‘s a great point. In fact, what I‘m hearing is that they‘re concerned that they were not on legal ground, that they actual knew that they had gone beyond the parameters of the Justice Department.
And I guess the thing that‘s really frustrating for me is I look back at the Bush administration and, frankly, look forward to the Obama administration, and I still haven‘t seen any prosecutions on this thing. So, to some degree, I blame both sides, if you want to call it that.
SCHULTZ: The agency‘s top officer in Clandestine Operations, he swings a big stick in the agency, does he not?
RICE: Without question. He‘s known as the—
SCHULTZ: OK. He swings a big stick in the agency. So if he comes up and says, holy smokes, we‘ve got to get rid of these tapes, we‘ve got to destroy this stuff, then Porter Goss says, all right, get rid of it, is that illegal activity?
RICE: Yes, it is, especially if what you‘re finding is that above
them, and even if there‘s an investigation going on that says do not
destroy something that may be evidence, even if it comes from, in this case
Rodriguez was what is known as the DDO, the deputy director of operations. He is the head spy at the CIA, just under Porter Goss.
SCHULTZ: OK. So he would know if something was very wrong with these interrogations.
RICE: Without question.
SCHULTZ: And in the meantime, you had Dick Cheney out there defending waterboarding. And we had this big discussion in this country. And, of course, their defense was that it, you know, stopped terrorists from hitting us again. And that was made to be false later on.
But here‘s the bigger question now as we move forward. The Obama administration has been very reluctant to go back and dig into the operations of the Bush administration and seek prosecution.
Do you think this changes anything?
RICE: I don‘t know if it will. I was at the White House when Robert Gibbs came out and said they weren‘t going to release all the photos from Abu Ghraib. But I also recall President Obama saying very specifically that he wanted to look forward and not look backward.
The problem is, is it‘s a false dichotomy. You have to be able to look backward to understand exactly what it is that we have done and the damage that we have committed. That way you can look forward clearly and honestly.
This president must do that. I‘m still waiting for that.
SCHULTZ: OK. So you think President Obama, the administration and the Justice Department and the FBI should join forces here, get on the same page, and go full speed ahead to get to the bottom of this and possibly criminal charges?
RICE: Without question. I mean, clear this thing up one way or the other and make it as absolutely transparent as possible not just for the American people, but also for the world.
Remember, we‘re trying to recruit, if you will, 1.5 billion Muslims to convince them that we‘re on essentially everybody‘s side here, rather than essentially willing to ignore anybody who is Muslim. And that‘s a problem we‘re facing as we speak.
SCHULTZ: And, of course, the hoodwink in all of this was that Dick Cheney was out there telling the American people that were weren‘t safe and that Barack Obama was doing things wrong, trying to change the subject. It‘s all very interesting.
It would seem to me that Dick Cheney would have known about the destruction of these tapes. Or am I wrong on that?
RICE: That doesn‘t seem like a bad guess to me, Ed.
Jack Rice, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
RICE: Thank you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, the brains behind Iran-Contra affair may have stayed out of a prison on a technicality, but he can‘t escape “Psycho Talk” conviction after what he said about President Obama.
Oliver North, welcome to the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us..
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight on this Friday night, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North takes a trip into the “Zone” for the first time.
You remember him. He was involved in the part of the Reagan administration that conservatives like to pretend never happened. You know, when they sold weapons to Iran and used the cash to fund Nicaraguan rebels.
Well, these days, old Ollie, he pops up on Fox News every now and
then. And last night he was on Sean Hannity‘s show. The man who made
underhanded deals with Iran had the gall to say this about President Obama
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Do you think Barack Obama is emboldening America‘s enemies? Do you think he‘s showing weakness?
OLIVER NORTH, HOST, “WAR STORIES”: Well, certainly. And he‘s done that consistently.
I mean, one of the very few things that has not changed in this administration is this president‘s willing to be obsequious to our adversaries, to denigrate our allies, and essentially to walk away from the only real democracy in that part of the world. And, you know, no one can say it‘s because he‘s big on oil, because he‘s not in the oil business. So what is it? It‘s his core philosophy of being anti-American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: It‘s all about oil, isn‘t it? Not really, Ollie. It‘s about the truth.
Oliver North is calling President Obama anti-American? Of course, it‘s North who was the true American with a complete disregard of the law of the land. We all know just how American Ollie North was when he circumvented the Congress with his involvement in Iran-Contra. And, of course, we all know that Ollie North would never tell a lie under oath.
Oliver North is a fraternity brother of John McCain and one of America‘s leading warmongers. And he is now very guilty of “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, Goldman Sachs may have made big bucks off the subprime mortgage meltdown, but today their stock melted down after they were charged with fraud.
Plus, Tea Parties, well, they want to keep their distance from both Democrats and Republicans. Really? Kind of unusual how they‘re only targeting Democrats this November.
And “Mr. Tan Man” thinks yesterday‘s Tea Party turnout is just the tip of the iceberg? Heidi Harris and Stephanie Miller will go after that when we come right back.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
America is on the way to being a little more fair and a little more compassionate today. Last night President Obama signed an executive order that would grant gay Americans the right to visit their partners in the hospital and make medical decisions on their behalf. Any hospital that refused to comply could lose its federal funding.
On Air Force One, after he signed the order, the president picked up the phone and called Janice Landben. Well, her story moved the president to do this. Janice‘s partner of 18 years, Lisa, died of a brain aneurism in 2007. Neither Janice nor the couple‘s four children were allowed into Lisa‘s hospital room to see her before she passed away.
The president apologized to Janice and her children. His executive order won‘t have an immediate impact, but it instructs the Health and Human Services Agency to start making the changes.
For more, let me bring in James Esseks. He‘s the director of the ACLU‘s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Project. Mr. Esseks, good to have you with us tonight.
JAMES ESSEKS, ACLU: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Is this something that is long overdue and something the ACLU has been fighting for for a long time?
ESSEKS: I think this is long overdue, and we‘re so pleased to see it happen. The story you just told about Janice Landben and her partner is, you know, something I think we‘re all moved by. But the thing is it‘s not a story that‘s a unique story. That‘s something that we hear about, again and again, from all parts of the country. We hear about people being denied access in the emergency room and the intensive care unit, access to being with their partners who are in serious medical condition, and need to have them with them.
SCHULTZ: So the critics of this are going to say that this is probably one of the most liberal positions a president‘s ever taken on same-sex issues. What‘s your response to that?
ESSEKS: I‘d say it‘s one of the most human positions that the president or any administration has taken. I mean, put yourself in the position of Lisa—Janice and her partner. I mean, any one of us who‘s made that kind of commitment, 18 years together, I think would be devastating to any of us to be excluded from the room that our partner is sick and in that case dying.
SCHULTZ: What else needs to be done besides this executive order?
ESSEKS: There‘s a range of things that the government can do. Among them, there‘s a law called the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act that‘s before Congress, that would provide health care benefits for the domestic partners of federal workers. That would be a strong step.
This is very important, because, as I said earlier, this happens all over the country. And it‘s an easy thing the president can do by himself. He doesn‘t need the help of Congress. And it is such a wonderful human dignifying thing for him to recognize.
SCHULTZ: Did you expect the president to do this? Because the gay and lesbian community hasn‘t been real too happy with the White House.
ESSEKS: Look, we‘ve had our differences and there have been disappointments. But this is something that the president could do by himself. He did it. We‘re so happy. And it‘s a recognition of the—the relationships that we have and the harm that‘s really caused by, again and again, by people being excluded.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Esseks, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
Now, a Wall Street outfit that made big-time bank off the subprime mortgage market may finally face punishment. Today, the Security Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for securities fraud. It claims Goldman Sachs‘ risky mortgage investments to customers while betting the house market would go bust.
For more, let me bring in Jonathan Alter on this, who writes, obviously, for “Newsweek” and is a contributor here at MSNBC as political analyst. Jonathan, what about this move? The president can‘t go far enough on this, can he? I mean, middle America is furious about the way things have been handled in this regard. How popular is this going to be?
JONATHAN ALTER, “NEWSWEEK”: Well, I think it‘s going to be very popular. But remember this action was brought by the Securities and Exchanges Commission, not by the Obama White House as such. It‘s true that there‘s new leadership at the SEC. This is a very important step in restoring some accountability for the outrageous conduct of so many firms on Wall Street that helped to bring us to this sorry past that we have in this country now.
So many of our economic problems flow from the financial engineering, the use of these exotic products. While this particular odious behavior didn‘t, itself, trigger the crisis, it‘s symptomatic of a culture of self-dealing on Wall Street. Essentially, what they were doing is they were, you know, selling one of these exotic products, collateralized debt obligation, and then also advising their clients to short it, to predict that it would decrease in value. Talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.
Now, Goldman Sachs is trying to lay it on like one 31-year-old young trader, as if there was a rogue in their outfit, instead of it being something that was reflective of systemic problems at one of our, in the past, best respected financial firms.
SCHULTZ: Jonathan, doesn‘t this, for lack of a better term, grease the skids for financial reform? I mean, how can the Republicans stand in the way of financial reform when you‘ve got the major firm being charged with fraud?
ALTER: Well, I think they will anyway. They‘re pretty dug in into their position. Mitch McConnell is in this kind of Orwellian world, where even while he‘s carrying water for Goldman Sachs and all the other big banks, he‘s trying to say that this bill, which the banks are all tremendously opposed to, would somehow create permanent bailouts. It‘s like saying black is white, night is day, day is night.
And they think that the big lie technique and using these talking points that Frank Luntz gave to Mitch McConnell is somehow going to lead to the defeat of the bill. I think you‘re right that this does improve its chances. It‘s extraordinary important that this legislation pass, and that people let their elected representatives know that we need this, particularly the Consumer Protection Agency that will be established. If there had been a Consumer Protection Agency, if we had had watch dogs at the SEC who were more aggressive, not lap dogs as they were in the Bush administration, maybe Goldman would have been busted on this a long time ago.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight on this, Jonathan Alter.
ALTER: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. The Tea Partiers put out the list of seats they‘re targeting in 2010. There isn‘t a single Republican on the list. So much for being this great independent movement.
Minority leader John Boehner says the Tea Partiers are just the tip of the iceberg, and Republicans are working hard to earn their votes, all 3,500 of them in D.C. yesterday.
And President Obama says he‘s amused, as we all are, by the Tea Party protests. He thinks that they should be saying thank you. With us tonight, Stephanie Miller, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Heidi Harris, radio talk show host out of Las Vegas with us tonight.
All right, Heidi, let‘s start with this one. The Tea Partiers—Mr. Boehner says this is the tip of the iceberg. How is it that you can have this big promotion, this run-up to what‘s going to happen at the Freedom Square in Washington, and you only get 3,500 people? What‘s happening with that?
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don‘t know, but there are people all over the country who are still energized. I tell my listeners, they‘ve got to stay very focused until November to make some major changes. I do think it‘s the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people don‘t go out and protest or show up at events. But they‘re very, very concerned about the direction of the country. I wouldn‘t give that a lot of credence.
SCHULTZ: Stephanie, any ice melting? What do you think?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think unfortunately in this scenario, Ed, the Republican party is the Titanic. But thank you boner—Boehner—for your thoughts on that. I mean, so far, Ed, this has imploded on them in race after race, hasn‘t it? Upstate New York and Illinois. You know, the first race after health care reform passed, a Democrat won. So, you know, it seems to me the Republicans are the ones that have to be worried.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, you know, they‘re such nice people. They hold up signs right there that said liberalism is a mental disorder. Well, whatever. Tea Partiers, they say they‘re going to support candidates, Heidi, that they really want to get behind, but they just happen to be all Republicans. What about that?
HARRIS: I guess they feel Republicans are the right people with the right values for what they believe in. They just endorsed a Republican here in Nevada, Sharon Engel (ph), for senate. That was kind of interesting to a lot of people because she wasn‘t the front-runner. They‘re looking beyond the front-runner, who has the most money. They‘re looking for some other things. They‘re entitled to do that if they want to.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, but they‘re not independent if they‘re going to go ahead and target nothing but Democrats. You have them targeting Senator Lincoln, Reid, Specter and Boxer. I mean—
HARRIS: What a great list to get rid of.
SCHULTZ: This isn‘t a fair and balanced party anymore, is it, Stephanie?
MILLER: Ed, you know, people like you and I took heat for saying
these people seem like far right racists. Then they just did this poll
that showed they‘re kind of far right racists. They‘re an all-white, very
even more conservative than Republicans, generally. This “New York Times”/CBS poll, Ed, I‘m sure you saw it. It shows exactly what we thought.
SCHULTZ: They were out in full force, I guess, across the country yesterday. I‘ve never seen a demonstration or protest in Washington, D.C. of 3,500 people get so much coverage. So they‘ve got good promotional operators for sure. This is the president, when it‘s talking about tax protesting and too high of taxes. This is the president‘s reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year. And one thing we haven‘t done is raise income taxes on families making less than 250,000 dollars a year, another promise that we kept.
So I‘ve been a little amused over the last couple days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you. That‘s what you‘d think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Heidi Harris, are you ready to say thank you to the president for cutting those taxes?
HARRIS: I‘ll tell you something, 4,300 people in Nevada lost their jobs last month. Thank you, Harry Reid. Our unemployment is up to 13.4 percent. Nobody is buying it in Nevada. The stimulus package was supposed to keep it low. Where‘s my low tax? I haven‘t seen any low taxes.
MILLER: Oh, Heidi, give me a break. Ed, my favorite thing is the signs of Reagan at these rallies. Taxes were higher under Reagan. I mean, come on. Reagan raised taxes four times. It‘s hilarious. I mean, almost as entertaining as the signs with the “N” word misspelled. I mean, please, Ed. The poll bears out exactly who these people are.
SCHULTZ: Heidi, is the president telling the truth? The sound bite is, “in all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year.” Wasn‘t that the Republican mantra that when the economy is down, you always cut taxes to get the economy going again? Isn‘t that a move you could go along with?
HARRIS: You know what, I would if I believed it were actually true. I‘m going to tell you something, gasoline is almost three bucks a gallon here in Los Angeles. As I mentioned, the unemployment rate is outrageous. If people don‘t have jobs, what kind of tax are they going to be worried about?
SCHULTZ: Gas under Bush was four dollars a gallon. So we‘re getting a pretty good discount there under President Obama. You know, seriously, the guy has cut taxes since he‘s come into office. And no Republicans and no Tea Partiers, no protesters are willing to give the president credit for it.
HARRIS: I haven‘t seen any results. The economy is still in the toilet. Everybody knows it. What taxes has he cut that I‘ve actually seen? You tell me. Which ones? You want to name a few? I don‘t know what they are.
SCHULTZ: Stephanie, I‘ll give you that shot. I know what they are.
We‘ll let Heidi ask the questions here.
MILLER: I‘m sorry. I missed that question. I mean, Heidi, on every level, you can—you know, we were losing almost 800,000 jobs a month when George Bush left office. We are going in the right direction. In every quantitative study, the stimulus obviously is working. We‘re going in the right direction. Things are getting better.
I mean, taxes were higher under Reagan. I can‘t wait for the immigration debate, Ed, because Reagan was not only for—you know, gave amnesty to illegal aliens, you know, he was for zero nukes. Everything they criticize the president for, Reagan was for. And there they are at the Tea Party with the Reagan signs.
SCHULTZ: That‘s a good point. About taxes, though, taxes have gone up if you‘re a smoker. Those are the only taxes that have gone up since President Obama has come in on a federal level, anyway. Maybe somebody in some county across America has raised property taxes or something like that, which is done on a local and state level. This administration has not raised taxes. This Democratic Congress has not raised taxes, only on cigarettes.
Heidi and Stephanie, great to have you with us tonight.
Coming up, listen closely here now. This is for you. If Speaker Pelosi gets her way, the way you listen to radio may be coming to an end. Holland Cooke will rock his way into the playbook tonight. That‘s next.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, for the first time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has come out in support of the Performance-Rights Act, a bill that would require radio stations to pay a royalty to artists whose music they broadcast. Pelosi said in a statement that, quote, “artists deserve to be compensated for their work and rewarded for their contributions to our economy and culture.”
If this bill becomes law, then the favorite radio station that you listen to for your favorite music would have to start writing checks to artists. So you may end up with a lot more talk radio in your market, and a lot less music on your radio dial.
Joining me now is Holland Cooke, talk radio consultant for McVeigh Media and regular contributor to “Talker‘s Magazine.” Holland, what does this mean? Does this mean that F.M. stations have a big decision to make if this goes through?
HOLLAND COOKE, TALK RADIO CONSULTANT: When you and I met dozens years ago at an AM station in Fargo, your company brought me in to tweak up the programming and help build up the revenue. In the dozen years since, talk radio remains largely confined to AM stations. The number of talk stations could suddenly double if a bunch of FM Stations decide they can‘t afford to write checks to big, foreign owned record companies.
So I think we‘re on the verge of a talk radio tsunami.
SCHULTZ: Talk radio tsunami. Would that mean more conservative talk in America, as if we don‘t have enough?
COOKE: Hopefully, this will give voice to the other great stuff under-exposed in talk radio. There are a number of voices from the other side of the aisle, such as yours, who aren‘t heard on as many stations, because the big stations are owned by the big company who owns, guess what, “the Rush Limbaugh Show,” “Glenn Beck” and some of the other righty stuff. So it would at least balance the political conversation.
What about Dr. Laura and Dave Ramsey and some of the other apolitical acts that mean so much to people who are sick and tired of this Democrats bad/Republicans good show?
SCHULTZ: Yeah, well, of course, it would open up an avenue on FM talk or sports talk stations and such stuff as that. If you own—in a medium-sized market, you own a cluster of radio stations and you can‘t write the checks to these artists, if this bill goes through, is this going to gut jobs? Or is this going to create jobs, because you got to have the talk talent?
COOKE: Time will tell. Rush Limbaugh was accused a dozen or so years ago of costing jobs because he replaced local hosts. But arguably they gave birth to jobs because other talkers, including yourself, came along. So time will tell.
I think more talk is better than less talk. And clearly iPad, iPod, iPhone, Pandora and other new platform devices are showing us that while music radio may not be extinct, it is arguably obsolete, that people can program their own music station, if you will, without using FM.
SCHULTZ: Of course, in every market, there‘s a lousy rated FM station that‘s not generating revenue. So why in the heck would you write a check to play music on it? That‘s basically where it is, so you‘re going to have to get innovative with your program. Would we see a lot of simulcasting? Would you see big AM sticks end up being simulcast on FM? Would you see some more television-type audio being placed on FM stations across the country?
COOKE: The lowest-hanging fruit are the existing AM stations with a foundering FM sister station. Fact is, 80 percent of time spent listening to radio is on FM. So no matter how good the AM programming is, most people just aren‘t there. WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth, one of the biggest AM stations in America, just added an FM. The station I managed in Washington, D.C., in the ‘80s, WTOP, was an AM station at the time. And we always struggled with the geographic coverage that we were confined to as an AM station. Now it‘s on three FMs and it‘s number one.
SCHULTZ: Now, is this where Congress—is this—do you think this is something Congress should do? Should they get involved in this? I mean, isn‘t this going to pay people for the work that they‘ve done? The artists who, for years, have not gotten fair compensation for people playing their stuff?
COOKE: Over 250 members of Congress have signed a non-binding resolution against these royalty payments. So the Speaker‘s statement speaks volumes. This may be the next step toward the FM talk tsunami. But the labels are accusing radio of starving their artists. The labels do a fine job of starving their own artists.
I speak to you tonight from Cleveland, the home of rock ‘n‘ roll. Let‘s not forget that Bo Diddley died near broke and doing bar gigs because the labels kept all the money. To this day, if you buy an album download on iTunes for 9.99, the artist only gets 99 cents. It‘s a download. There‘s no overhead. Where‘s the other nine bucks going? To a big foreign owned record label.
SCHULTZ: Holland Cooke, McVeigh Media, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
COOKE: You bet.
SCHULTZ: It is a changing world we‘re living in.
One final page in my playbook tonight. A major volcano in Iceland that began erupting Wednesday is causing some of the worst travel disruptions since 9/11. The volcano affecting flights on six continents, including flights in and out of the United States. European air traffic controllers report that 17,000 flights have been canceled today, alone, leaving almost a million people stuck far away from home.
The ash is even affecting the United States military. There have been
they‘ve been forced to temporarily shut down two bases in Great Britain and two in Germany. Travel disruptions are expected to continue tomorrow, and likely into next week.
Coming up, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead will be here and have a double down on the Bachmann/Palin turkey sandwich, with a glass of Tea Party tax day, next in Club Ed. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back. If it‘s Friday, it‘s time for Club Ed, with Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “the Daily Show.” Next weekend, Lizz is going to be performing at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/LizzWinstead.
What did you make of the Tea Party deal going on this week?
LIZZ WINSTEAD, “WAKE UP WORLD”: Ed, again, Michele Bachmann, the pied viper strikes. I realize a pattern with Michele Bachmann. If you want to be able to tell how she‘s lying, watch her mouth and it moves and then words come out.
SCHULTZ: She does do a lot of that.
SCHULTZ: OK. What‘s this KFC double-down sandwich? Have you tried that yet?
WINSTEAD: I brought one.
SCHULTZ: Oh, you did?
WINSTEAD: Yes. Here, it is singly—Michelle Obama might be too late for America with the nutrition. Here it is. It‘s an indiscernible piece of food with indiscernible food product inside, and it‘s the color of John Boehner. It is so—Ed, food should not look like a crime scene. It just should be a rule of thumb if you‘re going to eat it.
SCHULTZ: I take it you‘re not going to try it on looks, right?
WINSTEAD: I don‘t even know what it is. I don‘t believe it‘s chicken. I would like to see the dental records of the chicken to make sure it actually lived. Oh, wait, chickens don‘t have dental records. I don‘t know. It‘s just foul. I mean, it‘s—I—I just don‘t know what America—like, Michelle Obama‘s work with nutrition is so insane. I‘m just waiting for Applebies to just open up a wall of onion, where it‘s just a big fried onion wall, and Americans just go graze on it for three minutes, standing in a mote of gravy. I think that‘s where we‘re heading.
SCHULTZ: All right. we got a lot of frustrated people on the planet because of this volcano, this ash that is canceling these flights. One thing I‘ve noticed is that nobody seems to be able to pronounce the name of the volcano.
WINSTEAD: Nobody says it. You know, we rely on the media to tell us something, especially a volcano epic that is epic that it‘s shutting down the entire world‘ airport. How do you say it?
SCHULTZ: It‘s a volcano. It‘s in Iceland. I‘ve never been there.
WINSTEAD: The spelling is very different than the pronunciation of it.
SCHULTZ: It‘s a big volcano. I call it the Big.
WINSTEAD: It is a volcano. I think you pronounce it Shar-Day (ph).
SCHULTZ: OK, Shar-Day.
WINSTEAD: Yes, I think that‘s how you pronounce it. Many people get confused.
SCHULTZ: Your website for the comedy festival coming up in Oregon.
Tell us about it.
WINSTEAD: It‘s a great festival. It‘s three days of comedy, music, pod cast with amazing Dana Gould, Patton Oswald.
SCHULTZ: You‘ll outdo them all, kiddo.
WINSTEAD: Oh, ed.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you on.
WINSTEAD: Don‘t eat the chicken.
SCHULTZ: I‘ll miss it.
Tonight, in our text question survey, I asked you, do you think O‘Reilly and Hannity deliberately lie to their viewers? Ninety percent of you said yes; 10 percent of you said no. I‘m in the 90 percent.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now. We‘ll see you Monday.
Have a great weekend.
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