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Ted Koppel Opines on Media Civility

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, now back to the phones we go, and it's to Philadelphia. Joe, great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. How are you, Rush?

RUSH: Very well. Thank you.

CALLER: Long-time listener, I've been listening since '92. I've never called before, but I was watching Rock Center with Brian Williams last night -- a mistake I don't usually make (chuckles) -- and Ted Koppel was doing the report on NBC News, of all places, on network bias in the news.

RUSH: I've got some audio sounds bites from this, and it's worse that that. The segment also included a feature on talk radio and how it "incites," and yours truly was mentioned.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: I was called an "assassin" by Bill O'Reilly. I've got the sound bites here. Me, Hannity, Levin all called assassins, and said to be inciting people. Bill Maher made the comment. O'Reilly said he agrees with that kind of thinking and so forth. Yeah, I wasn't even gonna play the sound bites. You brought it up, so now I may as well play 'em.

CALLER: Oh, you want to play 'em now?

RUSH: No, I will. You just reminded me. Is that it? What else did you call about?

CALLER: I just was calling because I thought the whole thing was just so laughable that the most-biased network of all would have the guts to run a story like that. And then when he's talking to Ann Coulter, Ted Koppel actually says to her, "Well, you gotta admit, the New York Times isn't bad. That's a good newspaper." I almost fell out of my chair when he said that.

RUSH: Well, nah, that shouldn't surprise you, that Koppel would love the New York Times.

CALLER: It doesn't surprise me. I don't know. He just seemed to be really throwing it in our face.

RUSH: Well, of course.

CALLER: It's like they don't have a problem doing that.

RUSH: We are the one element of the media that hasn't fallen in line. We're the one element of the media, and certain places at Fox, that haven't fallen in line. And, as such, we're looked at as dangerous renegades. But I agree with you. I think it's laughable for, of all places, NBC to be worrying about media bias and this kind of thing. They asked us... Joe, thanks for the call. HR told me months ago that Ted Koppel had called him and asked me to participate in this.

I made the decision not to appear on it, just like I've made the decision that I'm not gonna appear on any of these networks for anything about anything, anytime. There is no reason to. They're not interested in what I have to say. They don't care about what I have to say. That's not their purpose in asking me on. It makes no business sense (and it's not enjoyable, so there's no fun in it). So there's no reason to do it. I didn't not do it because it was Koppel. I just did it 'cause it was NBC.

Why do it, specially with this premise?

Why go on where the assumption is that I'm guilty and somehow I have to defend myself against some allegation out there? I don't know who else they're gonna be talking to on tape. They'll go out and play whatever I say, and then get people to react to it. I used to have a good relationship with Ted Koppel back in the late eighties/early nineties. I was on Nightline now and then, and we had a falling out over something Barney Frank said. I forget totally what it was now, but it hasn't been the same since.

Ted and I had a falling out, and it just has not been the same. (interruption) Oh, I know what it was. He apologized to me privately for something. I had been maligned on the show by a guest, and he apologized privately, and I mentioned his apology on the air, and he thought that was a betrayal. I thought the apology should have been in public. The insult happened on his show; why not the apology? He thought that was betrayal, and we haven't spoken since, until HR gets this call.

"Hey, NBC's doing this thing for the campaign. It's gonna be in September, October, blah, blah." I said, "I'm sorry, don't try to talk me into it. I'm going nowhere near it." So, let's grab sound bites 29, 30, 31, and 32. Cookie gave me this for a reason. I don't know why, but when I hear it all, I might. This is what I said Monday about the arrest of the guy who did the video. This is supposed to have incited the attacks on the US embassies in Egypt and Libya. Susan Rice had been out there on Sunday making this point. Obama and Hillary, to this day, are still apologizing to countries in the Middle East for this video.

Again, I ask you: Why in the world, when your ambassador is killed by these people, would you exonerate the terrorists? Why would you go out of your way not to blame the people who did it? Why would you want to give them a pass by blaming some Internet video? And, of course, we answered that in the first hour. But let's go back. Let's play what I said. I don't know if this is a factor in what they said last night or not, but there's a reason this is here. I just got these so I haven't had a chance to read 'em or understand what it is. We're gonna hear 'em together for the first time.

RUSH ARCHIVE: The guy was rounded up. He was pulled out of his house at 1:30 in the morning by sheriff's deputies. He was taken in and interviewed, supposedly for a parole violation or what have you. It was left to no speculation whatsoever that this video caused all this. We've all been manipulated, and I'm telling you that my theory is the reason that this has happened is this is a campaign aid. This was designed as part of the Obama campaign. It does two things. It makes this guy who did the movie...

What is he? He's a Coptic CHRISTIAN. What is he? Intolerant! What is he doing? Making fun of Islamists! What does he do? Cause violence! All of this is filling in a cliche or a brand or an image. The purpose of this is to make it impossible to support a guy like Romney. Romney's a Mormon but he's intolerant, Republican, racist, sexist, bigot, all of this stuff. It's designed to suppress the Romney vote. It's designed to dispirit the Romney vote. It is designed to make liberals and Obama look like the compassionate big-hearted, understanding, tolerant.

RUSH: Okay. So I said that on Monday, and I guess it's a See, I Told You So, because Obama's still apologizing in the Middle East for this guy and his video. There, I'm just explaining why. Now, I don't know that that's got anything to do with what comes next, but it doesn't hurt to have aired it 'cause it is still a See, I Told You So. This is Rock Center last night on NBC, Special Correspondent Ted Koppel's report about "civility and media." Ann Coulter is in this, and Bill O'Reilly. and me. We've got three of these, and here's the first of them.

KOPPEL: O'Reilly is loud and frequently over the top, but --

COULTER: Obama is a liar.

RUSH ARCHIVE: The nuns have gone feminazi on everybody.

KOPPEL: The bar for civility on cable television and talk radio has fallen so low that, by comparison, O'Reilly seems almost reasonable. [to O'Reilly] Talk about the folks who take it too far. You and I had a phone conversation couple of weeks ago. You used a term that really resonated with me. You called a couple of people "assassins."

O'REILLY:  Sure.  You can make money by assassinating people that differ from you.  You can make money speaking to the choir.  The haters.

RUSH:  Okay, now, who do you think O'Reilly's talking about there?  (laughing) Snerdley, "I know who he'd better not be talking about."  Well, who else could he be talking about?  "You mentioned a couple of names to me, Bill."  Obama's a liar, is that uncivil?  Ann Coulter said Obama's a liar, is that uncivil?  What did they say about Bush?  I wonder if Ted ran any of these comments about Bush that people like Bill Maher made or anybody else on the left, I wonder if he ran any of those comments by these policemen of the civility discourse and I wonder what they thought of that.  Or is this just a one-way street? 

And, by the way, the nuns have gone feminazi on everybody?  You talk about taking something out of context.  But wasn't O'Reilly doing character assassination here by calling people assassins?  And of course Koppel ate it up.  You heard Koppel, (imitating Koppel) "Oh, man, you said something that fully resonated with me.  You called a couple of people assassins."  Here's the next bite, and this is, again, Ted Koppel, we got Steny Hoyer and Bill Maher in this bite.

HOYER:  Today's journalists too often, because it's profitable to do so and it builds audiences, see their job not to inform but to incite, to get people riled up, to get their juices running.

MAHER:  The people who wake up to AM radio and listen to Rush Limbaugh at lunch and Sean Hannity at dinner and only have Fox News on, they live in a world outside of facts.

RUSH:  Okay, aside from the fact that that's not true, what business is it of... there's a First Amendment, there's the free speech.  What this is about is the latest effort to try to drum up support for shutting down speech that you don't like, and that's why the focus on the video, by the way.  There were stories in the LA Times just this past week, "You know, maybe criticizing a religion is outside the bounds of the First Amendment.  Maybe criticizing Islam is outside the First Amendment."  Of course Steny Hoyer here, today's journalists, it's profitable to incite.  So you see what this whole theme now is, is that talk radio incites, that we are intolerant, and you bring in guys like Steny Hoyer of the American left to carry this forward. 

And, finally, this is Brian Williams with Koppel talking about the report.  Brian Williams said, "As one of the three remaining practitioners of the kindly evening newscast genre, first, do you think any of this has splashed up against what we do for a living? And second, is it baked into our society?"  So I guess he's asking, "Ted, all this rotgut assassination type media out there, has it hurt us, Ted, has it hurt us?  Has it harmed what we do for a living, Ted, or is it baked into the society now?"

KOPPEL:  Yes, on both counts.  What works about cable television is it's cheap and it makes a ton of money.  There is nothing cheaper than a bunch of talking heads, and the people who hire those talking heads have discovered that the more irascible, the more partisan, the nastier they are, the bigger an audience they get.  Yes, it has an impact on us, and the only way it's ever gonna change is if the audience says, "You know something, I'm tired of it."

RUSH:  Well, did MSNBC come under their microscope?  Hm-hm.  If these guys don't like what I have to say, why don't they just riot?  Isn't that what they do in the civilized world, just riot.  Harry Reid called Bush a liar.  Harry Reid has tried to get me taken off the air.  What was Harry Reid tried to incite when he called Bush a liar?  All the people that called Bush Hitler, chimpy, all this kind of stuff.  Anyway, I wasn't gonna play that stuff for you, but the caller talked about it, and he was curious how could NBC, of all people, be doing a special report on bias in the media and not finding any where they are.  So that's that.
BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Speaking of civility, do you believe this has come back again?  Obama gets this started after Gabby Giffords.  Who was it who called Mitt Romney a felon?  It would be Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign, right?  Who was it that called Romney a murderer?  Who said that Romney stood idly by while some steelworker's wife died?  Who tried to make the connection to Romney and some guy's death?  Wouldn't that be the Obama campaign?  I tell you, my friends, what it all means is that the daily drivel and bilge that you see is not true.  If these people were so on top of the world, and if what they were doing was winning so big, we wouldn't be any more than a bunch of gnats.  Talk radio, Fox News, wouldn't matter a hill of beans to 'em.  But we are still profoundly effective, and that is what bothers them. 

Now, even if we were just a bunch of gnats, they'd still try to squish us just because that's who they are.  But they're worried.  They're not amused.  They're not just irritated.  They're worried.  All this stuff about Obama running away with this and Romney's imploded and Romney doesn't have a chance, don't buy it.  And they know it.  They know they're running a rigged game, and they know they're cheating, and they know this isn't a level playing field.  They know they're rigging their polls. 

Looky here.  "Sixty percent of Americans have little or no faith in the media to report the news accurately and fairly, according to a Gallup Poll, and 40 percent trust them a fair amount or a great deal. Three-fifths of Americans distrust the mass media -- an all-time high, according to a poll released Thursday. ... In 2011, 55 percent of Americans were distrustful."  Today, one year later, 60%.  So you might say, "Well, Rush, wait a minute.  If it's true, then how come Romney isn't ahead by 60/40?  The two don't necessarily follow." But what does follow is that if 60% of Americans have little or no faith in the media to report accurately, it could well mean that what the media is reporting in these polls is not anywhere near true. 

If people don't believe the media by 60 to 40%, then they're not gonna believe by 60 to 40% all of the crap that's being said about Obama and how wonderful he is and how he's trying and the economy's not bad. People aren't buying it.  It may not be reflected in the polls in these percentages, but let's wait for Election Day, or let's wait for the polls in the last week, leading up to the election.  These people in the media know they don't have their monopoly anymore.  They're worried about their ability to move public opinion on a mass basis the way they used to, and their day is now given to daily demonstrations to themselves of their power. 

They write news for each other. They do TV and radio reports for each other. They do magazine articles for each other to read, not for their audiences.  They have the biggest disconnect, and that's what this poll shows.  The mainstream media today has the biggest disconnect with its audience that it's ever, ever had.  And as the disconnect grows and as more and more people distrust them, then the media digs in more and more and says you don't know what you're talking about, you don't know how we do our jobs, you don't know what's important.  They're the only business in America the customer is always wrong.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Sheila in Mattoon, Illinois. Great to have you, and I'm glad you waited. Hi.

CALLER: Oh, Rush, thank you so much for taking my call! I have talked to you at the radio for years, but now I actually get a response.

RUSH: Well, thank you.

CALLER: (chuckling)

RUSH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: Listen, why I called was, this morning I was listening to Martha MacCallum, and she was interviewing a reporter in Pakistan. And, of course, they were using the video as their rationale. But Martha pressed her after saying she thought it was off, and the gal actually admitted that the film probably had not been seen but had been heard about. Well, my theory is --

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait just a second here.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: I need to ask you a question. You were an eyewitness to this?

CALLER: I was watching, yes.

RUSH: Martha MacCallum?

CALLER: Yes, Martha MacCallum.

RUSH: Okay, I need to ask you this because of that report on NBC last night.

CALLER: (chuckling)

RUSH: Was Martha MacCallum attempting...? Because that's Fox News!

CALLER: That's right.

RUSH: Was she attempting to incite anybody or anything with this deeply probing question? Was she berating this poor Pakistani woman? You said she "pressed" her.

CALLER: She did.

RUSH: Did she effectively have her up against a wall and was slapping her back and forth to get her to get the answer she wanted?

CALLER: She wasn't close enough! The gal was in Pakistan.

RUSH: Oh.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: Oh. Well!

CALLER: Here's what happened. After she pressed her she admitted that probably it had just been heard about, and that might have been causing the riot. My question was:
"Well, who did they hear it from first?" Let's see, Susan Rice, Jay Carney, Obama, Hillary Clinton.

RUSH: Exactly.

CALLER: So who spread it?

RUSH: They haven't seen it, and the woman in Pakistan admitted that nobody seen it. All they've done is heard about it! I'll tell you where I first heard about it was when the Cairo embassy apologized.

CALLER: But to your point earlier -- and I'm so glad I had a chance to hang on -- Carney, Rice, are they informing or they inciting? That's my question.

RUSH: Well, that is a brilliant question, because I'm gonna tell you what: I think they're inciting.

CALLER: I do, too.

RUSH: I think Obama incited at the Democrat convention when he starts bragging about killing bin Laden 21 times. I think they are inciting. I think Ted Koppel (if he had any guts), if he wants to talk about who's inciting who and what? You take a look at this administration saying how all this activity in the Middle East, this uprising, is due to some video. Who is it inciting? You are exactly right.  Who's telling everybody about the video, and who is characterizing the video as something horrible, and who's bragging about killing bin Laden?

CALLER:  So, Rush, in essence, I mean, this is gonna sound radical, who has blood on their hands?

RUSH:  Well, well --

CALLER:  I mean, really.

RUSH:  Well, but it only sounds radical because you're asking the question on talk radio.

CALLER:  That's probably it.  And you know, and another quick one 'cause I don't want to monopolize here.  It's taken me like 20-some years to get a hold of you.

RUSH:  You're not monopolizing.  It's up to me.  You're still on 'cause I want you to be.  I still gotta light my cigar anyway, so go ahead.

CALLER:  Well, and then another one, of course, that radical Fox News that I was watching.  She was talking to Ryan Crocker, he's a former US ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, I think.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  And when she was talking to him, again, about the video aspect and so forth, I thought he had a brilliant comment, and it was very controlled, but he said, "simplistic explanations of the Middle East are almost always wrong."

RUSH:  Yep. Look, I think what's happening, Sheila, all of this, everything that's happening in this regard is part of the campaign.  And this is the great disgust.  This is the great indictment of Barack Obama.  All of this is really being manipulated and used as a campaign issue.  It's not even about foreign policy.  That's playing second fiddle to the value all of this has in the campaign.  American foreign policy playing second fiddle, secondary, tertiary status to Obama's campaign.  That's the real disgusting thing about this.  Well, you're great.  You joined the parade of absolutely fabulous callers that we've had this week, and I thank you.  That's Sheila, Mattoon, Illinois, we gotta go.  Thanks, Sheila.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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