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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Rick Steiner, Jeremy Scahill, David Weigel, Mark Ein
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Day 66: Deepwater drilling to resume in the Gulf, even as the oil keeps spewing from the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon.  The secretary of the interior abandons the moratorium.  The governor of Louisiana abandons common sense.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ®, LOUISIANA:  The fact that the federal agencies can‘t do their jobs shouldn‘t put thousands of Louisianans out of work, shouldn‘t cost us our jobs.
OLBERMANN:  Merely your Gulf and your health.
Blackwater-gate: First, the State Department rehired Xe, the mercenaries formerly known as Blackwater on a contract in Afghanistan.  Now, the CIA has awarded them another deal.  Jeremy Scahill, the author of “Blackwater,” joins us.
Mixed Murdoch message.  His TV operation helps persecute Hispanic immigrants, but he is on a new commission to encourage Hispanic immigrants.
RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN & CEO OF NEWS CORP.:  I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them.
OLBERMANN:  O‘Reilly‘s head just detonated.
The Florida Tea Party sues the Tea Party of Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re the People‘s Front of Judea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I thought we were the Popular Front.
OLBERMANN:  And it‘s even nuttier in Nevada.
ANNOUNCER:  We at the Tea Party Express have a message for Scott Ashjan, who has been trying to pretend he‘s involved in the Tea Party Movement: Get lost.
OLBERMANN:  And finally, it‘s a final, 70 to 68.  A dramatic college hoops game?  Huh-uh!
OLBERMANN:  At Wimbledon, John Isner defeats Nicolas Mahut in just three days, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70 to 68.  But the match was much closer than the score would indicate.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
JOHN ISNER, TENNIS PLAYER:  Nothing like this, it won‘t happen again. 
Not even come close.
OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.
The same judge who two days ago declared the freeze on deepwater drilling illegal, a judge heavily invested in energy industry stocks, that judge today rejecting the Justice Department request that he keep the moratorium in place only while officials appeal his ruling.  You could not have seen that coming.  Let the 100 percent safe drilling resume.
And our fifth story: what no one wanted to see coming, oil from the massive leak now nearing Mississippi‘s fragile barrier islands.  While in Florida, wave after wave of crude is forcing a massive cleanup.  Officials are urging people not to swim or fish along 33 miles of coastline.
In sweltering heat and high humidity today, more than 1,000 workers in protective gear are shoveling up oil along Pensacola Beach.  The work is slow and the implements poorly suited to the task, one piece of machinery being tested today getting stuck in the very sand it was supposed to clean.  Officials fearing that until the leak is plugged, this situation along Florida‘s beaches will keep repeating itself again and again.
More disasters like this one a distinct possibility now following Judge Martin Feldman‘s ruling and his refusal today to stay his ruling that overturns the Obama‘s administration six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.  The Justice Department is saying in court papers that Interior Secretary Salazar has instructed all employees to not take any action to enforce the moratorium.
At a rally against that moratorium in Houma, Louisiana Governor Jindal calling Feldman‘s ruling a rare instance of common sense from a federal official.
Perhaps even more jaw-dropping, BP‘s risky plans for drilling in Alaska, not even subject to that moratorium because of the fake island the company has built, little more than a mound of gravel, granting it the status of an off—onshore island, even though it is three miles off the coast in the Arctic Ocean.  As we first reported here Monday, BP planning to drill six miles down, then six to eight miles sideways to reach what is believed to be a reservoir of oil under federal waters.
“The New York Times” reporting that federal regulators allowed BP to write their own environmental review for the project, said to be highly irregular even for the Minerals Management Service.  Horizontal drilling, the paper reporting, riskier: “A,” because it is new and untested, “B,” because gas kicks more frequent and harder to detect, and “C,” because it requires more powerful machinery, putting extra pressure on pipes and well casings.
BP‘s self-written environmental assessment concluding that the risk to wildlife posed by the project would be minimal and the worst-case scenario should there be a spill—which BP claims it could handle—was estimated at 20,000 barrels a day.  The Deepwater Horizon is now gushing at least three times that much, maybe five times that much.
Earlier tonight, Bob Dudley, the new man in charge at BP, seeming to claim to our own Brian Williams on NBC “Nightly News” that everybody in Alaska drills in that highly orthodox way.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS:  Do you now step back and say, “Well, should we be doing this”?
BOB DUDLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BP:  Well, in Alaska, that is how you drill mainly offshore because of the ice.  So, that‘s not an unusual development plan.  But this kind of drilling goes on all over the world.
OLBERMANN:  Let‘s talk now with our own political analyst, Richard Wolffe, also, of course, the author of “Renegade: The Making of a President.”
Richard, good evening.
OLBERMANN:  Let me start with the moratorium.  Did the administration
has the administration abandoned it for good?  And if so, why?

WOLFFE:  Well, I talked to White House officials just this evening about it.  And it doesn‘t look like they have abandoned this.  They say that twin-tracking this like going down the court route.  Obviously, they‘re looking at this appeal, also stay is one thing from this judge.  They have filed the appeal.
And on the other side of it, they are readying the sounds or a new basis for another moratorium.  They say there is not going to be any drilling until people are sure that it‘s safe.  So, it seems that the policy taken on this twin tracks is designed to keep a moratorium in place one way or another.
OLBERMANN:  We heard, however, Governor Jindal, full speed ahead, that the jobs are important than whatever the next spill in the Gulf will do to the Gulf and to his state and to the people he claims to represent.  We heard Mr. Dudley of BP.  That sounded like lines that I read when I play the evil oil company president on “Family Guy.”  No, everybody does it this way.
What is—what is the political rationale here?  This is like dragging the Titanic off the ocean floor and filling it again with passengers and saying, “Don‘t worry, it will make it to New York this time.”
WOLFFE:  Well, the politics of it is curious.  I mean, the governor of Louisiana and the governor of Mississippi are basically saying that in spite of the economic damage to tourism, in spite of the environmental damage, which is pretty much incalculable at this point, they want those jobs in place.  They are so desperate for the jobs that the oil industry represents that they don‘t mind what kind of damage, what other costs they incur.  Of course, as long as the federal government, that‘s the United States taxpayer, picks up the bill here or passes on that cost in the immediate circumstances to BP.
You know, it is a strange calculation.  And that‘s why, as I‘ve said before, the comparison with Florida is so interesting, where another state that‘s directly affected by this.  The attitudes are completely reversed.  I think there‘s a question of leadership.  There‘s sure a question of economic diversity as well.
But the politics have made this situation very unpredictable.  And it impacts the climate change and energy bill that the president wants to push through in Washington as well.
OLBERMANN:  About the president, bad times according to the new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” Poll for—if your initials are O.B. or B.P.  The disapproval with the president‘s performance is higher than approval for the first time, 48 to 45.  BP‘s approval, 6 percent.  In the history of this poll, that‘s worse than Philip Morris Tobacco and O.J. Simpson.  It is only higher than Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro.
You put these two numbers together, how worried should the White House be about these numbers?
WOLFFE:  Well, they‘re not good numbers by any stretch.  Of course, the economy is still struggling.  And by any historic comparison, especially if you look at Ronald Reagan‘s numbers, you could argue that the glass is still half-full.  His numbers are still a couple of notches above where Reagan‘s was in the low 40s, mid-40s range.
But these are not good numbers.  Of course, they‘re much better than, I guess, Saddam Hussein‘s and certainly BP‘s.  If they can make the election in November about BP and tie BP to the Republican Party, there is a path forward.  And Joe Barton has given them that.
But more broadly for Democrats, this is a terrible scenario for them.  And it‘s not just about BP.  The general economy is really what‘s driving this.  But BP surely doesn‘t help.
OLBERMANN:  Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, author of “Renegade”—as always, Richard, great thanks.
WOLFFE:  Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  For more on BP‘s new plan on drilling in Alaska and what was said about it tonight—let‘s turn now to marine conservationist Rick Steiner, who joins us again from Anchorage.
Rick, good evening.
OLBERMANN:  More discouraged than usual on this.
This new untested drilling method, frequent gas kicks, puts extra pressure on pipes, extra pressure on well casings—does that sound like the drilling that‘s already happening all over the world?
STEINER:  Well, yes.  Extended reach drilling has gone on in various places throughout the world.  There‘s no question about that.  But just because there hasn‘t been a catastrophic blowout from one of these ultra-extended reach of wells doesn‘t mean that one cannot occur.
I mean, look back three or four months on the Deepwater Horizon and all the deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and until then, until Deepwater Horizon blew up, they had a pretty good safety record out there until they didn‘t.
The same thing with 8,700 tanker trips out of Prince William Sound, fully loaded with oil, everything went fine until the one that didn‘t.
The same thing can happen with extended-reach drilling.  And I think it certainly violates the intent, if not the letter, of the moratorium that was placed on offshore drilling in the Arctic and in the deep Gulf as well.
OLBERMANN:  As in the Gulf, MMS has allowed BP to write its own environmental report in Alaska.  Certainly—
STEINER:  Right.
OLBERMANN:  -- that part of this can be overturned, can‘t it?  Or is this the whole thing because it‘s been handed to BP and the right to do this—is this out of governmental control at this point?
STEINER:  Well, what‘s that old adage, “History if ignored tends to repeat itself.”  And unless we use the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and apply them to all offshore drilling, including, and particularly, the Liberty Project, with the extended-reach drilling that they‘re about to start, then we don‘t get it.  Somebody in BP doesn‘t get it, the government and, certainly, the state of Alaska don‘t want to apply the lesson.
So, this plan that was written and they‘re operating on was written three or four years ago, 2006, 2007 -- so none of the current understandings of what went wrong in Deepwater Horizon.  They had a very—you know, this is the same company that three or four months ago was celebrating that everything was going well in their Deepwater Horizon macondo (ph) well and celebrating to find the reservoir, et cetera.
So, do we trust them to do the Liberty Project safely?  No.
OLBERMANN:  Specifically though to Dudley‘s claim that this—that two miles down, six or eight miles across, that‘s the way you drill in Alaska.  Is he correct?
STEINER:  No.  This is new for Alaska.  This has been done elsewhere throughout the world.  This one is a little bit more extreme.  What I think he might have been referring to is the artificial islands and the very near shore at Beaufort Sea that are constructed basically because they‘re a lot cheaper to build than putting a rig out there and to make them ice firm, et cetera.
So, there are ways to do this and there are ways not to do it.  The thing—the thing I worry about, though, is, you know, the plan was laid and put in place years ago.  It was not accommodated and adapted due to what we‘ve learned from Deepwater Horizon.
Despite how well-engineered it maybe, there are these concerns, as referenced in “The New York Times” article this morning that there can be gas kicks, they can flow slower, they can be harder to detect.  We don‘t know if the—you know, they‘re going to make the same mistakes that they made on the Deepwater Horizon, if f they‘re going to make those in the Liberty Project as well.
So, is this a risk worth taking right now?  Shouldn‘t we wait another season, take a really good hard look at what the blowout preventer is?  What is their plan for dealing with a blowout?  Are they going to drill a simultaneous relief well like Senator Lautenberg‘s bill would require?
Some of those make a lot of sense.  But I don‘t think they‘ve incorporated them into the plan at this point.  And so, I have no confidence that this can go forward safely.
OLBERMANN:  Last question while we have you here.  Back just briefly to the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon.  Any headline out of that in the last day that has either encouraged you or discouraged you?
STEINER:  Well, very discouraged that—with the effort to lift the moratorium.  That‘s one of the more insane policy mistakes I have seen in recent history.  You know, if learning from our mistakes is a hallmark of intelligent life, then obviously there is a lack of intelligence in certainly the federal courts in Louisiana and possibly even in the state and federal government.
So, yes, it‘s a real concern.  That moratorium needs to be in place.  They cannot—you know, there‘s a lot of bad rigs out there in the deepwater.  The industry says that themselves.  So—
OLBERMANN:  Marine conservationist Rick Steiner in Anchorage—as always, thank you, Rick.
STEINER:  Thanks a lot, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  The Gulf could be worse.  We could be signing cleanup contracts to Blackwater.  Before you laugh derisively, the Obama administration has now handed out its second military contract to Blackwater now renamed Xe; its second this week.  And its founder says the company is the real victim here, the victim of a kind of proctology exam brought on by some in Congress.  Jeremy Scahill joins me—next.
OLBERMANN:  They came to represent the worst of this nation during the Bush war in Iraq.  So, why has the company formerly known as Blackwater gotten a new military contract from the CIA days after it gotten one from the State Department?  Jeremy Scahill joins us.
As of today, he is speaking out for immigrants in this country even while his propaganda network stirs up hatred of them.
This Florida pastor has a new explanation for BP‘s disaster in the Gulf.  It‘s God‘s revenge, for something he saw on FOX News.
And the score is finally in from court 18 at Wimbledon.  This man needed only 112 aces and 665 minutes of play to advance to the second round.  But there was one report of cannibalism during the match.
OLBERMANN:  If the Gulf oil spill and its relationship with BP have taught the Obama administration anything, it is caution about getting in bed with companies that flout the rules, especially those who do so with deadly results.
And so, in our fourth story tonight: the Obama administration in just the past week has awarded contracts worth nearly a quarter billion dollars to the company formerly known as Blackwater.  We told you Monday about the first $120 million of it.  The State Department paying Xe, that‘s X-E, Blackwater‘s new name, to guard new U.S. consulates in Afghanistan.
“The Washington Post” reporting today that the CIA just tossed Xe another 100 million to guard its facilities in Afghanistan.  And you don‘t want to know about its facilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.
On Monday, the State Department testified that Xe got the contract because other contractors were not qualified.  And so, yes, the State Department did take into account Xe‘s past performance, including the 2007 massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians by Xe mercenaries, one of whom has pleaded guilty, five others still being pursuit by prosecutors.
Xe nee Blackwater, says it has cleaned up its act.  One senior V.P.  testifying in February that Xe‘s, quote, “changes in personnel, attitude, focus, policy and practice, ownership and government represent a break from the past to a culture of compliance.  That in all circumstances reflects a responsible U.S. government contractor.
And unnamed U.S. official familiar with the CIA deal told “The Post,” quote, “Blackwater has undergone some serious changes.  They‘ve had to prove to the government that they‘re a responsible outfit.”
2008, hundreds of automatic weapons meant for Afghanistan police signed out for impermissible personal use by a Blackwater mercenary who signed his name, Eric Cartman.
January 7th of this year, two Blackwater—sorry—Xe mercenaries indicted for murdering Afghan civilians last year.
March of this year, Senate Armed Services Committee revealed Xe used a shell company to win other contracts in Afghanistan and made false statements to do so.
April 16th of this year, five top Xe officers indicted on weapons charges.  Does Xe‘s owner, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, think that Xe has changed its ways?  Less than two months after his top officers were indicted, Prince put his company up for sale.
On CNBC this morning, he made it sound as though his company is just fine the way it‘s always been.  It‘s the critics who are the problem.
ERIK PRINCE, BLACKWATER FOUNDER:  At the end of the day, after 3 ½ years of an assault by some of the bureaucracy, kind of a proctology exam brought on by some in Congress, it‘s time to hang it up because some in Washington view politics a lot more important than performance in the field.
OLBERMANN:  With us tonight, in this case, head of proctology, Jeremy Scahill, national security reporter for “The Nation” magazine, author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World‘s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”
It‘s good to see you again, Jeremy Scahill.
OLBERMANN:  So the CIA is hiring Xe?  Does Erik Prince have something on Leon Panetta or somebody in the agency?  How did this happen?
SCAHILL:  I don‘t think he hands secretly on Panetta sex tape or something.  But he does have is a 10-year record of participating in direct lethal actions, including the CIA assassination program, carrying out convert actions of the U.S. government around the world, many of which this administration doesn‘t want made public, the CIA doesn‘t want made public.  And so, Prince has been engaging in something called graymail, where you essentially are nervous that they‘re going to come after you, so you basically say to them, “I will show them where some of these bodies are buried and I‘ll tell who buried those bodies.”
So, the Obama administration, I think, is playing a very high stakes chess game right now with Blackwater.
OLBERMANN:  That quote, the senior V.P.: “Changes in personnel attitude, focus, policy and practice, ownership and governance represent a break from the past to a culture of—is that any of that true?  Have they cleaned up the act at all?
SCAHILL:  Yes, they‘ve cleaned up their act about as much as BP has cleaned up the Gulf.
SCAHILL:  I mean, if by clean up their act you mean they changed their name and they put some new figureheads in charge of the company, yes, their act is totally clean.  But this is the same company whose top five deputies to Erik Prince, as you mentioned, were indicted on serious charges.  There are rumors that Prince himself may face some kind of indictments.
And this is a company that continues to operate armed and dangerous, not just in Afghanistan, Keith.  As we understand, now, they‘re working for the CIA globally.  So, who knows what they‘re doing around the world right now on behalf of the U.S. government?
OLBERMANN:  The secretary of state when she ran for the presidential nomination opposed this kind of mercenary contracting.  So did President Obama, we thought he did.  What‘s going on relatively to the leadership at the highest levels here?
SCAHILL:  Right.  Well, I think that what this shows is that the United States has become entirely reliant upon these private sector forces.  The fact is that we are now addicted as a nation to outsourcing national security policy.
Seventy percent of all personnel that work for the Department of Defense are private contractors.  I‘m not just talking about on the battlefield.  I‘m talking about the whole Department of Defense.
So, you know, I‘ve talked to a leading member of the intelligence committee today, Jan Schakowsky, who told me that she‘s repeatedly asked the Obama administration to justify this and has been given no clear reason for why they continue to do this.
OLBERMANN:  If we‘re talking about convert ops, assassinations, other black bag jobs, and whatever else there is under the rocks, are there good companies that do this?  I mean, is it an academic discussion of who‘s a good murdering—murder-for-hire operation and a bad murder-for-hire operation?
SCAHILL:  Well, I mean, if you—if you review all of the companies and determine that Blackwater is your best company, you know that this country is in serious, serous trouble with its national security policy.
OLBERMANN:  You‘ve reported Mr. Prince here who is rumored to be looking to move.  He‘s outgrown the old place or—
SCAHILL:  Well, I talked to people that are involved with him personally and professionally at Blackwater who said that he is planning on moving his family to the United Arab Emirates which is, of course, in the Middle East, and has become famous for housing war corporations.  They also do not have an extradition treaty with the United States.  So, it will be an convenient place to relocate if you want to stay in the war business, service the corrupt monarchies of the Middle East, and avoid the U.S. law.
OLBERMANN:  So, we‘re putting him on TV.  And I‘m just—I don‘t mean just CNBC.  We‘re putting them on—as an industry, we‘re putting them on TV to encourage people to invest or buy his plane ticket for him?
SCAHILL:  I know this is your sister network here, Keith.
SCAHILL:  I mean, how can you have this guy on and not confront him with all that he‘s been alleged to have been involved with?  I mean, I think we have to have some journalistic integrity.  If we‘re going to have a man like Erik Prince sitting there, who‘s responsible for so much death and destruction in our name, ask him some real questions.
OLBERMANN:  Jeremy Scahill, the author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World‘s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” who‘s asked a lot of questions of these people over the years—and thank you for doing that and thank you for coming in.
SCAHILL:  Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  The illegal “legal” defense fund in the Palin case and Rupert Murdoch tells cluster “FOX & Friends” that immigration is good.  They look at him like, who are you and what have you done with the real Rupert?
OLBERMANN:  Rupert Murdoch urges Americans to embrace immigration while his TV network urges Americans to embrace their guns and chase the immigrants out.
First, the Tweet of the Day, leading us to the related anecdote of the day.  The first is from Gottalaugh, “McChrystal banned FOX News from the television sets in his headquarters,” with the hot tip to Lensman23.
The link sends us to Marc Ambinder in “The Atlantic.”  “Now it can be told, the story about him, that would be McChrystal, voting for Obama is not contrived.  He‘s a political liberal.  He‘s a social liberal.  He banned FOX News from the television sets in his headquarters.  Yes, really.”
Meaning, the hysterical right is trying to make a martyr out of the guy who thinks the hysterical right is crazy.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
OLBERMANN:  We begin in the White House East Room.  The president is holding a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  The two were trying to reset U.S.-Russia relations and it appears they have found common ground.  They both have Twitter accounts—Mr. Medvedev opening his just yesterday.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  During his visit to Silicon Valley this week, he visited the headquarter of Twitters, where he opened his own account.
OLBERMANN:  Well, are you 140-character enabled?
Earlier, the two leaders lunched across the Potomac at Ray‘s Hell Burger.  It sounds like a fun spot.  Mr. Obama ordering a traditional cheeseburger; Mr. Medvedev had jalapenos, mushrooms and unions unto his.  Nice flight home.
Two translators were on hand to help the conversation, allowing Mr.  Medvedev to formally expressed his surprise about the meal.  In Russia, secret sauce eat you.
To Varanasi, India, where we bear witness to the union of one frog and another frog.  It‘s the same species marriage.  A lot is riding on this thing.  The arranged marriage is to appease the rain gods.  Anxious attendees are hoping the wedding puts the end of the drought there.  So far, forecasters are not predicting a change in the weather.  Nevertheless, all in attendance had a good time, until the groom slipped his bride the tongue.  What a toad. 
To the Philippines.  It‘s the end of June.  That must means it‘s time for the Harada In Inga Lechon (ph) -- according to the Google translator, that‘s the roasted pig parade.  The pigs are cooked, put in costumes and marched down the street by the locals.  Only one rule applies: the pig has to be dressed as an ordinary person, which is terrible news for all those who worked on the Lady Gaga at Yankee Stadium float.  There is also religious context to this festival, although I can‘t figure it out.  Spraying of water you see here signifies the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist, providing, of course, John himself had a Nerf super-soaker. 
Rupert Murdoch supervises his own network commentators by joining a commission to encourage Americans to accept and embrace immigrants.  I didn‘t know there were a lot of them sneaking over the Australian border.
OLBERMANN:  Rupert Murdoch visited his own network this morning, and spoke of the need for immigration reform, as if.  In our third story tonight, as if his network, Fox News, had not regularly maligned immigration reform.  As if his network had not equated undocumented workers with criminals.  As if his network actually used the phrase undocumented workers, instead of just illegals. 
The bizarro world rose when Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York enlisted big city mayors and CEOs, including Murdoch, to push for comprehensive immigration reform and its benefits for business and the economy, including a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., with certain requirements.  You know, the thing Fox News normally refers to as amnesty for illegals. 
But this morning, “Fox and Friends” deigned to use the phrase undocumented workers.  As for Mr. Murdoch? 
RUPERT MURDOCH, FOX NEWS CHAIRMAN AND CEO:  Well, I‘ve just got to keep the pressure on the congressmen.  And we‘ve got to do it in the press.  We‘ve got to do it on television.  It‘s a political thing.  They‘ve got to face up to it.  And, you know, you‘ve got the country divided about it.  You‘ve got the situation in Arizona, which is very understandable, because the border there is not secure.  You‘ve got to secure the border properly. 
But then, you know, you‘ve got to recognize there are millions of bright, intelligent people around the world, whether they‘re in China or in Hungary or Germany, who want to come to America, and live the American dream.  I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them. 
OLBERMANN:  Mr. Murdoch himself became a U.S. citizen in 1985, after U.S. law mandated that only Americans could own U.S. television stations.  And when Murdoch is not onset, it‘s quite a different picture at Fox News, as cataloged and sampled here by Media Matters for America from the same show Murdoch was on. 
Note how many times the word “illegals” is tossed around. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tell us about the threat of illegal amnesty by executive, where there are millions of illegals in this country.  And there is something going on where an executive order could make them legal. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thousands of illegal immigrants are being encouraged to participate in the 2010 Census. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Illegals in the census? 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Illegals.  The more illegals in the district, the better pore people in Congress. 
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  According to you, politicians seem to be more concerned about the illegals‘ rights than the rights of the Americans, some of whom end up dead. 
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  An avalanche of money goes from illegals here in the U.S., from Mexico, right back over into Mexico. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you told a group of Bishops and Cardinals—
I‘ve got a great idea, when you‘re in the pulpit and you‘re talking to your congregation, can you really push for the illegal immigration bill?  Because I‘ve got some time on my hands and it seems as though a lot of people go to church each week and I really could use you on our side. 
OLBERMANN:  I would like to thank President Carlson for joining us there.  We don‘t have time to list all the rest of the lies out of Fox News on this subject, or the special treatment by the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O‘Reilly or Sean Hannity.  Take it as given. 
Let‘s turn instead to political reporter of the “Washington Post,” David Weigel, also author of the blog, “Right Now.”  Dave, good evening. 
OLBERMANN:  Are we sure Mr. Murdoch knew where he was this morning? 
WEIGEL:  He did have a very Zen attitude to the media, considering that he controls much of what is on his network.  But I have sympathy for those “Fox and Friends” hosts, because I have never interviewed my own boss in such a fashion.  I don‘t know what I would say. 
I‘m not sure if he is taking the right tack here.  We have seen a couple efforts where multi-mega billionaires like T. Boone Pickens on energy, actually like Michael Bloomberg on guns, say they‘re going to do this, and produce a lot of research.  But because there‘s a—because people oppose immigration, because there is media that they read opposing, you know, open border as immigration, it doesn‘t really get through.  There is more distrust for people like Murdoch than not. 
OLBERMANN:  What—what do you suppose—never mind what the viewers of that might have made of it.  What would the ripple effect have been through that Fox News organization, such as it is, when you hear the boss talking essentially against if not the main principle point of the network‘s existence, one of the top five? 
WEIGEL:  Well, we don‘t have any sign that Fox—we don‘t have any sign that Fox is going to change the way it covers this issue.  And it‘s a sticky thing to talk about, the owner of News Corps putting the word out that everything is going to be covered a certain way.  But he owns the “Wall Street Journal.”  He‘s owned it for years.  And he wanted to own it as a prestige organization.  The “Wall Street Journal” is despised by immigration restrictionist conservatives because it takes that tack. 
He already owns a media organization that takes that tack, takes a lot of flack from conservatives.  So he could do this, but really that‘s the only important thing he could do on immigration.  I guess the think tank studies that will come out of this—I‘m not even sure if Fox will cover them. 
OLBERMANN:  Is it possible this was just to cover his own head?  I mean, if—it would be one thing if Fox took a skeptical view of immigration reform.  But, obviously, it consistently takes actual problems associated with undocumented workers and splices that together with the lies and the gross exaggerations.  Doesn‘t that kind of machine chew up one or two guests who might speak reasonable on the subject, even if one of the guests is Rupert Murdoch? 
WEIGEL:  Yeah, you have to do a lot of deprogramming to get this out of the bloodstream of conservative media.  And, again, it‘s something a lot of these viewers want.  They are giving it to the Fox News audience because they don‘t think they can get this kind of red meat on immigration, outside the Internet, on other TV stations.  But that is the most important thing, if Rupert Murdoch is serious about this, that he could do, is a slow, subtle shift in how Fox News covers this issue, from the clips you just showed that Media Matters—Media Matters captured them and picked the ones that looked the worst.  But there is a lot of that on Fox News, especially on the late-night shows. 
That‘s the most important thing that could change.  The rest of this I don‘t think is convincing.  Because conservatives I talk to today, people who oppose what he is supporting on immigration, as soon as they heard this, assumed that—branded him a traitor, basically.  There is no appetite for forgiving Murdoch or for thinking he is in the right here.  They consider him another open borders billionaire is the word they throw around.  And they‘re not surprised at all by this. 
Unless he changes the way Fox News covers this, I don‘t think you‘re going to have much of an impact from this group, like you didn‘t have much of an impact from T Boone Pickens. 
OLBERMANN:  I hate to suddenly find myself defending Murdoch, but if he suddenly shut off the juice on the right wing noise machine, you couldn‘t hear them if you were standing next to the tallest one.  They‘re all a bunch of midgets. 
A question about the one economic aspect of this—Doocey offered the economic bait that most undocumented workers would ultimately register as Democrats.  Murdoch said no, some would register as Democrats, some as Republicans.  Murdoch‘s biographer, Michael Wolff, insisted if Murdoch could make just as much money from a liberal network, he would be happy to do it.  He would even shut down Fox News, if that was what was necessary.  Is there something to be said here about Murdoch the profiteer as opposed to the propagandist? 
WEIGEL:  That‘s an interesting question, because he definitely, on other issues, has expressed conservative views before.  It‘s just that the basket of conservative beliefs includes, for the most part, really restricted immigration policies, and he‘s never really confronted that before?  Is there less money to make in this?  I don‘t know where Fox viewers would go if they were suddenly outraged at the amnesty talk they heard on Fox News daytime. 
But he‘s not going to stop Bill O‘Reilly from saying illegals.  He‘s not going to stop Glenn Beck from saying illegals.  So he might not be losing money, because there might not be a lot he can do, apart from word of mouth, a couple appearances, press conferences with Michael Bloomberg. 
OLBERMANN:  Murdoch the traitor from the right wing, what a concept.  David Weigel of the “Washington Post,” run with that.  Thank you and we‘ll talk to you soon. 
WEIGEL:  Thank y you.
OLBERMANN:  The match took so long, he says he may have gone from the heaviest player in tennis to the fittest.  Isner over Mahut at Wimbledon in just three days. 
So you started a legal defense fund to help defray the cost of ethics charges?  Then it found out the legal defense fund wasn‘t legal, but was its own ethics charge. 
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, again the Republicans have killed the extension of benefits to the long-term unemployed.    Her guest, Ezra Klein.
OLBERMANN:  A Lonesome Rhodes conspiracy theory makes it into the Congressional record.  Thank you, Dan Burton.  Worst persons ahead. 
First, no, that is not your water coming to a boil.  It‘s our nightly check up on the something for nothing crowd.  It‘s tea time. 
The Tea Party may be the first political movement in American history appear to rise even slightly, then fall, all within a span of 24 months.  South Florida Tea Party member Tim McClelan is suing the Tea Party of Florida because it isn‘t Tea Party-ish enough for him.  Better yet, Republicans in Florida are claiming the Florida Tea Party, at least some its candidates, actually constitute a front for the Democratic party.  The argument is that Congressman Alan Grayson gave Tea Party candidate Victoria Torres (ph) 11,000 dollars.  It turns out the money was for polling work.  That‘s what Torres does for a living.
But the Nevada Tea Party makes Florida‘s multiple tea paranoia look cogent.  Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We at the Tea Party Express have a message for Scott Ashjian, who has been trying to pretend he is involved in the Tea Party movement: get lost.  Dozens of Tea Party groups across Nevada have spoken out against your candidacy.  None of us has ever heard of you or even seen you at a Tea Party rally.  Nothing. 
OLBERMANN:  I am your Tea Party announcer, William B. Tea Party, speaking.  All of which suggests the Tea Party is headed in only one direction—from the classic “Monte Python‘s Life of Brian.” 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The only people we hate more than the Romans are the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are Judean People Front!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And the People‘s Front of Judea!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The People‘s Front of Judea. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re the People‘s Front of Judea. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I thought we were the Popular Front. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  People‘s Front! Whatever happened to the Popular Front? 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s over there. 
OLBERMANN:  When they talk about the two weeks of Wimbledon, who knew they were referring to just one match?  The tennis showdown that lasted three days, and led one writer to claim the players had turned into zombies who sought nourishment by eating the spectators.  That‘s next, but first, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 
The bronze to Sarah Palin.  The Alaska Personnel Board has said she acted in good faith and on the advice on lawyers, but that does not change the facts.  The Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund, it‘s illegal.  She set it up while still governor, included the word “official” on the website, implying some sort of governmental endorsement.  And that itself was an ethics violation.  She has to give back the money.  They‘ll pry it out of her hands. 
The runner up, Pastor Carl Gallops of Hickory Hammock (ph) Baptist Church in Milton, Florida.  Mr. Gallops claims, even though Israel celebrates the anniversary of its independence on May 14th by the lunar calendar, this year the anniversary is actually April 19th.  In an online video, he says, quote, “April the 19th, Israel celebrates its independence in 2010.  On April 19th, Fox News reports that the U.S. will no longer automatically support Israel in the United Nations.  The next day, on April 20th, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes.  Coincidence?  Or the hand and judgment of God?” 
Coincidence.  Number one, Leaks at the Deepwater Horizon were reported weeks before April 19th.  And number two, the U.S. denied the Fox story, much of which it had reported not on April 19th, but on April 18th.  And number three, if all that Gallop said had been true, why didn‘t God use his hand in judgment that day, rather than waiting until the 20th?  Are you suggesting he took the night off?  And number four, nowhere in the Bible does it say God has cable. 
But our winter, Congressman Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana, who told the House, quote, “we sent two billion dollars to Brazil so they can do offshore drilling.  We don‘t need to send money to Mr. Soros money in Brazil so he make more money by doing offshore drilling with our taxpayers‘ money.” 
Mr. Burton, who is crazy, was claiming that the Obama administration had just given two billion dollars to the Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras, and days later, George Soros had increased his investment in Petrobras.  Great story and true, except the president who gave two billion dollars to Petrobras was George Bush.  It was Bush appointees at the Export/Import Bank who voted five-nothing to award that money.  Except that Soros‘ hedge fund recently sold its voting shares in Petrobras.  It didn‘t buy any. 
So where did Burton get the palpable nonsense with which he humiliated himself, again, on the floor of our Congress?  He saw it on Glenn Beck on Monday.  Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, crazy, today‘s worst person in the world!
OLBERMANN:  If you still can‘t figure out how two tennis players could physically survive an 11-hour long match, the website—the impeccable website Deadspin points to the “Guardian U.K‘s” Wimbledon live blog for a possible explanation.  After play was suspended for a second time last night, “Guardian” sports editor Zan Brooks blogged, 9:25 p.m., “there is a strong suggestion, soon to be confirmed by doctors, that John Isner actually expired at about the 20:20 mark, and Mahut went soon afterwards.  The remainder of the match was contested by undead zombies, who ate the spectators during the change of ends.”
Our number one story, after the longest tennis match in the history of the game, tennis, and one of the longest professional sporting events ever, one of the undead zombies finally prevailed.  The match began on Tuesday. 
Six foot nine American John Isner, ranked 23rd in the world, against the
unranked Frenchman Nicholas Mahut—it‘s not Mahut.  It‘s Mr. Mahut, 
After splitting the first four sets, play was suspended due to darkness.  Back on Wimbledon‘s Court 18 on Wednesday for the decisive fifth set, neither man could break the other‘s serve.  After a total of 118 points over seven hours and a total of ten hours to that point, the fifth set was tied at 59, when the umpire again suspended the match due to darkness. 
Before the match would resume on day three, Isner summoned the strength for an interview with “The Today Show.” 
MICHAEL ISNER, TENNIS PLAYER:  We didn‘t even take a bathroom break up until about 58-all or something like that.  And eventually, I just—I couldn‘t hold it in any longer.  I had to go to the bathroom.  So I really don‘t know how to explain what went on yesterday.  I know, you know, people say it was something like that was a dream.  I honestly thought I was going to wake up any moment after the match. 
OLBERMANN:  Thanks for sharing the first part.  Somewhat rested and relieved, the men returned for a third day of play.  And with Isner out in front, 69 to 68, he was finally able to break Mahut‘s serve. 
After a standing ovation from the crowd, and an embrace at the net, the all-England club presented Isner, Mahut and their Swedish chair umpire gifts to commemorate the record breaking match.  In fact, there were large trees that grew since the first moment of play.  And then the two exhausted players somehow addressed the crowd. 
ISNER:  The guy is an absolute warrior.  You know, it stinks someone had to lose.  But to be able to share this day with him was an absolute honor.  I wish him nothing but the best.  And you know, maybe I‘ll see him somewhere down the road.  And it won‘t go 70-68. 
NICHOLAS MAHUT, TENNIS PLAYER:  We played the greatest match ever in the greatest place to play tennis. 
OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn now to Mark Ein, the owner of the 2009 World Team Tennis Pro League Champion Washington Kastles, the team that featured Venus and Serena Williams.  Welcome to the show.  Thank you for your time tonight. 
MARK EIN, OWNER, WASHINGTON KASTLES:  Thanks for having me, Keith. 
OLBERMANN:  Mr. Mahut, who just lost, called this the greatest tennis match ever.  What do you think of his assessment? 
EIN:  I think it was probably the most extra ordinary tennis match ever, and one of the most extraordinary sporting events ever.  I don‘t know if it‘s one of the greatest matches.  There have certainly been matches with higher quality play in finals of Grand Slams.  But just in terms of an extraordinary spectacle, it‘s probably unparalleled. 
OLBERMANN:  The explanation that the old record was six hours and 33 minutes, and they were, thus, just two hours away from doubling the old record for endurance—is the explanation for this even matching or similar styles of play?  Because the question I keep getting asked is, why did this happen, not how did they survive it so much?  They‘re athletes.  But why? 
EIN:  Yeah, that is the right question.  I think it is a little bit the styles.  Two really good servers.  For sure, John Isner is the best server in the game.  And truly two guys who can‘t really return that great.  So the challenge of trying to win four straight points on the other guy‘s serve just seemed something that they weren‘t able to achieve.  And it really is this extraordinary combination of events that made this result happen. 
OLBERMANN:  The best match I ever covered was Roscoe Tanner over Bjorn Borg, which was only four sets.  It was in the quarters of the U.S. Open in ‘79.  It took like three hours.  And it was one long grunting sweat.  The Connors match in 1991 was forever.  Many of the McEnroe matches were these long endurance battles.  Tennis, when it transcends other sports, seems to do it usually because you‘ve made the players play longer—and not to encourage a three-day match every tournament—but is there anything that can be done to sort of exploit the marathon and sell tennis, especially the team tennis game in this country? 
EIN:  Yeah, you know, I think that this match, first of all, I think captured people‘s imagination, people who aren‘t even tennis fans, people who aren‘t sports fans.  So I think this match will already do that.  I‘m not sure that having 11-hour matches—I think if there were too many of them, I think people might turn off from the sport.  So I think once in a while to have a match like this, as you said, captures people‘s imaginations and is great. 
And we have a great form of tennis in team tennis that Billy Gene King started 35 years ago and still runs.  And it takes its own spin on it and makes it really competitive and also really fun for the fans.  And people love that, as well. 
OLBERMANN:  Quote afterwards from John Isner, six foot nine, 245 pounds—he said he knew someday that 245 pounds would come in useful, one day or, as it turned out one week.  You said he is as good a server as there is, but did it surprise you that he, of all people, was able to survive the marathons aspect of it? 
EIN:  You know, a couple things.  One, you would think, intuitively, a guy that big wouldn‘t have the stamina to make it.  But, actually, it was the fact that he was that big and had a serve that bag is what made the match go so long.  And, you know—and also the fact that at that size, it‘s harder to be a great returner.  So I actually think, in a way, if you look at it, a long of these long matches end up with guys who you just can‘t break their serve. 
But the thing about John is he is such a competitor.  He‘s so mentally tough.  He‘s one of the very few guys in the last ten years who graduated from college.  He went to college for four years.  And you know, just—his—he has trained a long time for this and he deserves this outcome. 
OLBERMANN:  He and Mr. Mahut will be in the books forever.  Mark Ein, the owner of the Washington Kastles, world team tennis.  The 2010 season—we‘ll plug—gets underway next month.  Thanks for your time tonight.
EIN:  Thanks, Keith. 
OLBERMANN:  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 66th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 
And now to discuss the Republicans continuing efforts to block extension of unemployment benefits, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.  Good evening, Rachel. 
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