RUSH: The apology to Luke Russert. He is the son of late Tim Russert of NBC News. The reason that I am apologizing in advance to Luke Russert is that we are going to play audio sound bites of Luke Russert discussing his situation with Charles Rangel. Luke Russert actually behaves as a journalist, as you will hear in mere moments. Luke Russert does not cower. Luke Russert does not act as though he’s a member of the ruling class. He actually asks a member of Congress, a member of the ruling class, questions he’s not used to getting — and when he is disrespected by the member of the ruling class he continues to bore in. Now, the reason for my apology is that whenever I, in the past, have praised a member of the media, that person has gotten in trouble with his colleagues. It is never a good thing to be called out and singled out for praise as a journalist by me. But in this case, there can be nothing other than praise for Tim Russert’s son, Luke, who is flashing a little bit of his dad here. Here is how an actual reporter does his job. This is how journalists used to do their jobs. This is what reporters used to do. We have one sound bite here, but a couple others will follow with people analyzing what Luke did.
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: What are you talking about? You’re just trying to make copy? What job? The one I got?
RUSSERT: Yeah. I mean, these are really serious violations.
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: I mean, how do you think I got my job? I was elected. How do you think I lose it?
RUSSERT: Well, there’s two ways. You could lose it if your colleagues voted you out of here because of ethics violations or if your constituents do not find you upstanding.
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: What station are you with? Well, you’re young; I guess you do need to make a name for yourself.
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: But basically you know it’s a dumb question, and I’m not answering.
RUSSERT: How is it a dumb question?
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: The allegations that were made by some people!
RUSSERT: Sir? Sir? You did not file taxes on properties in the Dominican Republic, allegedly.
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: It doesn’t… It doesn’t sound like… It doesn’t…
RUSSERT: If that comes to be true, is that not a problem?
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL: It doesn’t really sound like NBC —
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL — asking these dumb questions. It just shows what has really happened to a channel that did have some respect.
RUSH: Charlie Rangel is insulting Tim Russert’s son, Luke, who began this, ‘Do you worry about losing your job?’ and Rangel said, ‘What are you talking about? You just trying to make copy? What job, the one I got?’ ‘Yeah. I mean, these are really serious violations.’ Rangel says, ‘I mean, how do you think I got my job? I was elected. How do you think I lose it? Luke Russert, ‘Well, there’s two ways. You could lose it if your colleagues voted you out of here because of ethics violations or if your constituents do not find you upstanding.’ Rangel: ‘What station are you with? Well, you’re young, I guess you — I guess you need to make a name for yourself. But basically, you know, it’s a dumb question and I’m not…’ Russert: ‘Well, how is it a dumb question?’ Rangel: ‘The allegations…’
Russert: ‘Sir? Sir? You did not file taxes on properties in the Dominican Republic, allegedly.’ Rangel: ‘It doesn’t sound — it doesn’t sound — It really doesn’t sound like NBC.’ Russert: ‘If that comes to be true, does that pose a problem?’ Rangel: ‘It doesn’t really sound like NBC asking these dumb questions. It just shows what’s really happened to a channel that used to have some respect.’ There you have it. That’s what it used to be like. This is how it used to happen: Reporters actually asking questions of people who hold positions of power. So this morning on Morning Joe on Mess NBC, Mika Brzezinski spoke with Carl Bernstein (who is contributing editor at Vanity Fair) and also Luke Russert about Rangel and so forth. And Mika Brzezinski says, ‘I want to split the screen between Luke and Carl Bernstein. Carl, did that ever happen to you? How did Luke do?’
BERNSTEIN: Luke did really fine. … It’s also important, I think, to keep in mind that the Rangel story is really a sideshow about the larger institutional corruption of the Congress.
RUSH: Now, this is… (snorts) ‘Luke did okay. Luke did fine. But, look, this is just Rangel’s story just a sideshow.’ So Bernstein has to try to diminish what Luke Russert did by saying what he did was not a big deal ’cause Rangel’s not a big deal. It’s a huge deal! It is a career Democrat who hasn’t paid taxes, who’s got multiple offices, who is as corrupt as the day is long, who’s finally been caught at it — and of course the ruling class circles the wagons. ‘Eh, it’s the larger corruption.’ What does he mean? Like Mark Foley? What larger corruption does he mean? Eh, Luke did okay. So back to Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, Carl Bernstein and Luke Russert. She said, ‘Luke, when he was treating you that way, you’re a young kid starting out compared to where he stands but your reaction was interesting to me because you were stone faced ’cause it seemed to me that it seemed to you that you thought it was a legitimate question.’
RUSSERT: Absolutely it is a legitimate question. There are a whole bevy of allegations against him. He has four rent controlled apartments in Harlem. You’re only supposed to have one as your primary residence. That’s a problem. He used official stationery, allegedly, to solicit money for a school named after him at the City College of New York. He also, allegedly, did not report hundreds of thousands of dollars of income on rental properties in the Dominican Republic as well as that million-dollar thing that Kelly talked about with the oil company in order to try and solicit money for his school. So there’s a whole plethora of allegations against him. It’s not just one thing.
RUSH: Luke Russert, and of course what’s Rangel’s reaction? (impression) ‘It doesn’t really sound like NBC asking these dumb questions. It just shows what’s really happened to a channel that used to have some respect,’ and here’s Mika Brzezinski, ‘Hey, Luke, he was treating you that way. You’re a young kid. You’re just starting out compared to him. What was your reaction? It seems to me that it seemed to you that he didn’t like what you were… What did you think, Luke?’ And Luke fired both barrels. This is how it used to be done. This is the kind of information reporters used to be able to rattle off about politicians in both parties, not just the Republican Party. Now, it’s been a long time. I understand this.
It’s been a long time but still this is how it used to happen. I want to put this in even greater context and greater perspective. The New Media has been doing the job Luke Russert did for a long time, but with not nearly the respect. Everybody is patting Luke Russert on the back…sort of. I don’t know if Luke’s been sort of taken aside backstage and they say, ‘Luke, okay. This time it’s okay but you don’t do that. (ahem) You’re not gonna last here if you go after these guys the way you went after Rangel.’ I don’t know if I anybody’s talking to Luke Russert that way. But Rangel said it. (impression) ‘This isn’t what NBC’s about! NBC used to have some respect. NBC never went after us Democrats.’ So I wonder if somebody is going to take Luke aside and say, ‘Luke, you know, that’s a young mistake. I mean, it sounds good and everybody likes it, but you don’t go after Democrats this way here at NBC, Luke.’ I don’t know if anybody’s saying that to him. But back on February 23rd on Capitol Hill, Jason Mattera, Young America’s Foundation, had this exchange with Representative Charles Rangel.
MATTERA: I was wondering, with Americans just struggling to pay their bills, losing their jobs, why the hell do you drive a taxpayer-subsidized Cadillac, use four rent-controlled apartments below market rates, and fail to pay taxes on rental properties. You write the tax code.
RANGEL: Why don’t you mind your God-(bleep) business?
MATTERA: No, I’m serious. Why are you such a disgrace?
RUSH: (laughing) ‘Why don’t you mind your God-d… business?’ So that was Jason Mattera, of the Young America’s Foundation back on February 23rd, 2009. So the New Media has been going after Rangel in many ways. That’s why Luke Russert has distinguished himself. He stood out here. When you consider, ladies and gentlemen, the long, time-honored tradition of political corruption in Harlem (as embodied by Adam Clayton Powell, Charlie Rangel, David Paterson) it’s no wonder that Bill Clinton chose to put his office up there. No wonder at all. I wonder if there will be…? (interruption) What did I do now? (interruption) What…? What…?
(interruption) Do you mean…? (interruption) What did I do now? (interruption) I didn’t. (interruption) Oh, I did not ‘attack Harlem.’ I’m simply pointing out here that there is a time-honored tradition. This is a tradition they’re proud of up there. I mean, they’re proud of this in Harlem. You got Adam Clayton Powell. You got Rangel. Now Clinton moved up there. They kicked Freddie’s Fashion Mart outta there. The only problem here is that Luke is young. He hasn’t learned yet. I wonder if there will be congressional hearings to investigate Luke. I mean, he went after the Democrat chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. At least he wasn’t cursed at like Jason Mattera was.
RUSH: I wonder if Charles Rangel will call Luke Russert disabled like he did Sarah Palin. He referred to Sarah Palin as disabled. Now, Snerdley’s all worried that I’ve stepped in it now by referencing Harlem. Look, it is what it is. Adam Clayton Powell was reelected numerous times in Harlem after being exposed, after being expelled from Congress. They got rid of him, he was reelected. This is the story: On March 1st the House voted 307-116 to exclude Adam Clayton Powell for various acts of corruption such as paying his wife for a no-show job. Powell won the special election in April to fill his own vacancy. They kicked him out. He ran for his own seat again, and he was reelected, after being expelled! It’s a time-honored tradition up there. He didn’t take the seat, however. He sued. The case was Powell vs. McCormack to retain his seat. He was again elected in November of 1968, and he always urged his supporters to keep the faith, baby, just keep the faith, baby. And they did.
RUSH: Charles Rangel has apologized to Tim Russert’s son, Luke. He probably found out who Luke Russert is. He probably did not know who Luke Russert was when Luke was asking him questions. This afternoon in Harlem, Rangel had a press conference.
RANGEL: I called this morning and had a very good conversation with Luke Russert and apologized for the way I treated him on television, but it’s awkward when you can’t give answers to questions, and sometimes reporters feel compelled to go beyond what I can do. And so I’m restricted to a note. I think everyone should be happy that I have not gone beyond that.
RUSH: What? That’s an apology? He says he apologized, good conversation Luke Russert, ‘apologized for the way I treated him, but it’s awkward when you can’t give answers to questions and some reporters feel compelled to go beyond what I can do. So I’m restricted to a note. I think everybody ought to be happy that I have not gone –‘ we’re supposed to be happy that you’ve not done what? Luke Russert, this afternoon on Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, she said, ‘Can you share anything from that conversation, the former chair of the Ways and Means Committee said he actually called you and apologized for how contentious he was during your interview with him.’
RUSSERT: I won’t get into specifics because that was between he and I, but what I will say is it was a very cordial and warm conversation. He called and actually apologized to me and said, ‘You were doing your job,’ essentially he said, ‘you outsmarted me,’ and he thanked me for doing my job and being a member of the press and I’ll leave it at that. But it was a nice gesture on his part to call me about a little less than an hour ago.
RUSH: Now, keep in mind Rangel has not apologized to Jason Mattera. He has not apologized to Sarah Palin. He called Sarah Palin disabled, but when he found out who Luke Russert is, he had to call Luke Russert and apologize, then call a press conference to tell everybody he’d apologized.