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New Yorker Editor: Rush Limbaugh 'Very Similar' to Bull Connor --2/19/2009


1. New Yorker Editor: Rush Limbaugh 'Very Similar' to Bull Connor
New Yorker magazine senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg: "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar." Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement. Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough: "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"

2. Matthews Prods Guest: 'Say Something Nasty About Rush Limbaugh!'
Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's Hardball, GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"

3. Suggests Water-Boarding Libby to Get Truth About Cheney Misdeeds
In a Wednesday segment on worries President Obama, in not ruling out renditions and water-boarding, may be "slipping back into the dirty old ways" of "torture" supposedly employed by the Bush administration, Hardball host Chris Matthews blurted out: "Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife?" When guest Michael Smerconish's answer didn't satisfy Matthews, he turned to Salon's chief, Joan Walsh, and expounded on the scope of who he thought could be physically treated like a dangerous terrorist: "Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera?...Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home?"

4. Just Four Weeks Until MRC's DisHonors Awards: Get Tickets Now
Just four weeks until the big night! Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume. The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!" Sean Hannity exclaimed: "I love this event!"


New Yorker Editor: Rush Limbaugh 'Very
Similar' to Bull Connor

New Yorker magazine senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg: "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar."

Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement. Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough: "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

(It should be pointed out that Bull Connor, the Alabama public safety commissioner in the '60s, was a Democrat, thus making Hertzberg's comparison even more faulty.) Scarborough began the segment by reading from the New Yorker article. The conservative host offered an aside that the piece made him want to "throw up in my mouth a little."

Hertzberg wrote in the February 23, 2009 issue: "Fifty years ago, the civil-rights movement understood that nonviolence can be an effective weapon even if'€"or especially if'€"the other side refuses to follow suit. Obama has a similarly tough-minded understanding of the political uses of bipartisanship, which, even if it fails as a tactic for compromise, can succeed as a tonal strategy: once the other side makes itself appear intransigently, destructively partisan, the game is half won. Obama is learning to throw the ball harder. But it's not Rovian hardball he's playing. More like Gandhian hardball."

For the article online: www.newyorker.com

Later in the segment, Scarborough attacked the notion that the stimulus bill was bipartisan. He derided: "But in my mind, and you've seen the show, I try to be somewhat down the middle as much as I can- um, Barack Obama offered a cocktail party and invitation to the Super Bowl."

A partial transcript of the February 18 segment, which aired at 8:30am EST:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back, we're having a debate about the 1990s right now with senior editor and political writer of the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg, who wrote this in the latest issue of The New Yorker: "50 years ago the civil rights movement understood that nonviolence can be effective weapon even if, or especially if the other side refuses to follows suit. Obama has a similarly tough-minded understanding of the political uses of bipartisanship. Which, even if it fails as a tactic for compromise can succeed as a tonal strategy once the other side makes itself appear intransigently, destructively partisan, the game is half won. Obama is learning how to throw the ball harder. But it's not Rovian hardball he's playing, it's more like-" I'm going to throw up in my mouth a little bit when I say this but I'm going to get the sentence out- "Gandhian hardball."

...

8:32
SCARBOROUGH: Did Gandhi go to the British and say "I won?" You're talking about How it's not Rovian. I thought it was a very Rovian display over the past week, where Rahm Emanuel was bragging about Obama mocking Republican people. Obama telling Republican senators, "Hey, I won. We're going to write the bill the way we want to write it." That's Gandhian?
HENDRIK HERTZBERG (The New Yorker): You got to learn a little bit more about what the Indian independence movement was really like. It was a whole of people and they weren't all wearing loin cloths. But this is- This is- I'm making this comparison, essentially, between the civil-rights movement and, and Obama. And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar. You know, when, when King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, "Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non- violence."
SCARBOROUGH: But, but, I mean, Barack Obama in your mind, in the mind of people that write for the New Yorker, Barack Obama offered bipartisanship. But in my mind- and you've seen the show, I try to be somewhat down the middle as much as I can- um, Barack Obama offered a cocktail party and invitation to the Super Bowl. What did Barack Obama offer to make himself Gandhian?
HERTZBERG: One third of his package was tax cuts. One third.
SCARBOROUGH: To who?
HERTZBERG: Oh, sorry, but it was to people who actually need and might spend the money.
SCARBOROUGH: To who?
HERTZBERG: Not to the rich. In other words, is your test that if you don't give a lot of money to the rich, a lot of tax cuts to the rich, then you're, then you're what? You're not bipartisan?
SCARBOROUGH: Your argument, though, is he gave tax cuts and, so, he was bipartisan. But, I don't know a single Republican in Washington that would give $80 billion in earned income tax credits, which most Republicans see as income tax cuts for people who don't pay income taxes. So, we can debate that. And you can take the traditionally liberal side and I can take the traditionally conservative side. But, it ain't bipartisanship to put in $80 billion of that.

Matthews Prods Guest: 'Say Something
Nasty About Rush Limbaugh!'

Chris Matthews is so obsessed with Rush Limbaugh's influence within the Republican Party, that he repeatedly dared, on Wednesday night's Hardball, GOP strategist Todd Harris to speak ill of the radio talk show host as he mockingly challenged: "Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?...Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights?...Say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!"

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After playing a clip of a Saturday Night Live skit -- in which two Republicans argue over who is smarter, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh -- Matthews asked his guest panelists Harris and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, to evaluate how powerful Limbaugh was within the GOP in the following exchange on the February 18 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: That joke, which was, "That we wouldn't want to speak anything unfavorably of Rush Limbaugh, our god-
TODD HARRIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thou shall not speak ill of Rush Limbaugh.
MATTHEWS: -the oracle of thieves, you know, the great oracle of Delphi," rather. Is he that big in your world? I mean really do you look up to him as the smartest person in America?
HARRIS: I don't know.
MATTHEWS: You personally, Todd Harris?
HARRIS: No, I don't think he's-, no.
MATTHEWS: You don't? Do your confers?
HARRIS: I'm sorry.
MATTHEWS: Do your confers? Your colleagues on the Republican side look up to him as a great thought person?
HARRIS: Yes a lot of people do. A lot of people-
MATTHEWS: A deep thinker?
HARRIS: Yeah and sure, sure.
MATTHEWS: Okay.
HARRIS: And, and he, look, he is the intellectual lightning bolt of a lot of people on, on the conservative side and a motivator. And he, and he directly can turn out people to the polls and because of that he's very powerful.
MATTHEWS: Would you live in a country where he wrote the Constitution?
HARRIS: I don't know. No, I-
MATTHEWS: Would you live in such a country?
HARRIS: No I'm happy to live in this country. But, but-
MATTHEWS: Would you live in a country where he wrote our rights? Listed our rights? Where he listed our rights. Would you live, would you live in that country?
HARRIS: No because, no because I want to make this point he is no more powerful or influential within the Republican Party than the labor unions, MoveOn, SEIU on, on, on the Democratic side.
MATTHEWS: Oh here we go. "Oh so's your old man." This is "so's your old man." I would expect more of you Todd than "So's your old man," kind of arguments. In other words, "You guys have idiots too on the other side." Andy Stern and Rush Limbaugh. About the same? Yeah.

...

MATTHEWS: Is he a sacred cow?
HARRIS: Limbaugh?
MATTHEWS: Yeah. In other words you dare not speak evil of him if you're a Republican?
HARRIS: I think if you're an elected Republican it makes your life very difficult-
MATTHEWS: Ha!
HARRIS -if you speak ill of Rush Limbaugh. Yeah Limbaugh, he has a lot of support.
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Or if you are a commentator on Hardball. But-
MATTHEWS: But you're not afraid to take him on are you?
HARRIS: Oh yeah. No I'm gonna go-
MATTHEWS: Say something, say something wrong, say something nasty about Rush Limbaugh!
HARRIS: I could probably beat him in arm-wrestling.
MATTHEWS: Okay you chicken.

Suggests Water-Boarding Libby to Get
Truth About Cheney Misdeeds

In a Wednesday segment on worries President Obama, in not ruling out renditions and water-boarding, may be "slipping back into the dirty old ways" of "torture" supposedly employed by the Bush administration, Hardball host Chris Matthews blurted out: "Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife?" When guest Michael Smerconish's answer didn't satisfy Matthews, he turned to Salon's chief, Joan Walsh, and expounded on the scope of who he thought could be physically treated like a dangerous terrorist: "Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera?...Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On the February 18 show, Matthews fretted over Obama: "He's apparently, according to the testimony we've gotten from Leon Panetta and others, he is going to consider, as an option, rendition. He is going to consider, as an option, additional authority when it comes to squeezing prisoners, using harsher techniques of interrogation. Is he slipping back into the dirty old ways?"

A couple of minutes later:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife? I'm asking you a simple question because you believe in this stuff. Do you believe he would give us an honest answer if we water-boarded Scooter Libby as to the role his boss played in what he did and got in trouble for?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, PHILADELPHIA RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I believe that there must be some efficacy in water-boarding or we would not continue to have this debate. Does that answer your question?
MATTHEWS: It does in a very abstract way. I was hoping for something more applicable. Let me go to Joan Walsh. Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera, but will not get pardons because the President will not play ball with his Vice President? Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home? Here at home? Do you think it works?
JOAN WALSH, SALON: Okay, this is easy for me, Chris. I don't believe in water-boarding, not even for Scooter. So I'm just -- I'm not even going to go there. So-
MATTHEWS: Okay. Good. Well let's go where we have to go tonight. In all seriousness, are you worried, as a supporter of Barack Obama in a general sense, you like his values. Do you believe he may be slipping away from them, backsliding into the old ways of torture?
WALSH: I am worried...

Just Four Weeks Until MRC's DisHonors
Awards: Get Tickets Now

Just four weeks until the big night! Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume.

It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!" Sean Hannity exclaimed: "I love this event!"

The DisHonors Awards winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with videos played of each nominated hilariously-biased quote followed by surprise guests on hand to accept each award in jest on behalf of a media figure.

Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with awards presented by Ann Coulter, Joe Scarborough and Ken Cribb. And, as always, we'll have a fantastic cast of conservatives joining us to roast of the liberal media. "Joe the Plumber" and Andrew Breitbart are amongst the many who have already confirmed.

DisHonors Awards categories: "The Media's Messiah Award," "The Obamagasm Award" "Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin" and the "Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis."

Plus, there'll be lots of funny video clips as we mock the media's infatuation with Barack Obama. It's sure to be an entertaining evening.

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-- Brent Baker