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RUSH: Could Donald Trump be the end of CNN? What a legacy that would be. We will answer that question, or we will explore it, on today’s excursion into broadcast excellence hosted by me, America’s Real Anchorman, Rush Limbaugh. Here we are at 800-282-2882. The email address, ElRushbo@eibnet.us.

We may have found out exactly why — and once again some great, great journalism is being done here by John Solomon at Circa. We may have found out why the Obama administration and the intelligence community and the FBI have been going after Michael Flynn. And it has nothing to do with what you have been told it has to do with. It’s personal. It involves sexual harassment and Flynn attempting to identify some FBI people having maybe have engaged in it. I will have the details for you as the program unfolds today.

Three CNN members of the new investigative unit have resigned, i.e., been fired. One of them is a guy named Thomas Frank. This for the fake news, the bogus story on Anthony Scaramucci supposedly having a link to a Russian bank system, colluding with them to help Trump doing whatever. It turned out to be total BS, like everything else that CNN has reported with this Russian story.

Eric Lichtblau, who, they got this guy from the New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize winner. He leaves the New York Times going from print to the big screen of TV and is now out. I’m sure the Times will take him back with open arms.

Thomas Frank, who wrote the story — the name might ring a bell. This guy wrote a book way back when called What’s the Matter With Kansas or What’s Wrong With Kansas? He is an active, uber-leftist. He despises conservatism, and his book about What’s the Matter with Kansas, What’s Wrong With Kansas, was his befuddlement over how middle class Americans in Kansas would vote Republican and thereby vote against their own self-interest.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This Jim Acosta guy, little Jim Acosta, CNN, guy that lost his cookies yesterday with the press briefing when the cameras weren’t turned on. We got the audio coming up. I’ll tell you what this guy reminds me of. Have you ever had a cat, pet cat, and got one of these red laser pointers. You point it at the floor, and the cat tries to catch it. You point it up against the sofa, cat runs into the sofa. You point it against the wall, cat runs into the wall.

I think that’s what the Trump administration is doing with many in the media. They’re like cats. He’s got this little red laser light and is just causing them to make fools of themselves and everybody’s laughing at ’em as they’re crashing into walls, the sofa and the floor. And that’s what little Jim Acosta had happen to him yesterday.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, we mentioned at the top of the program that three employees of the brand-new investigative unit at CNN were let go and fired or they resigned or what have you. They published a totally fake story about a Trump aide, Anthony Scaramucci, supposedly meeting with the Russians to collude with them about the election. It contained erroneous element after erroneous element. There was nothing in it that was true, and it was sourced by one anonymous individual. CNN pulled it. It was about Scaramucci having a relationship with a Russian banking unit, and the Russian bank unit went public and denied everything that CNN was saying. The details of the banking unit, the fact that Scaramucci had done business with them, none of it was true.

So CNN pulled it, and they did so in somewhat of a public manner, and then they announced yesterday that these three guys, these people in the investigative unit were gone. One of them was a guy named Thomas Frank, who wrote a book about What’s Wrong With Kansas or What’s the Matter With Kansas, and it’s why the people of Kansas, in his mind, kept voting against their own self-interest by voting for conservative Republicans.

He couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t be voting liberal Democrat. Big, long book. He’s also had a couple treatises on the inherent failures and faults in conservatism. Another reporter is somebody named Eric Lichtblau from the New York Times. CNN stole him from the Times. He’s a Pulitzer Prize winner, and there was a third person.

So they’re gone, and now we’re told that brand-new procedures have been implemented at CNN to make sure something like this can’t happen again. The president has tweeted, “What about all the other mistakes CNN has made?” In fact, I think we’re gonna call ’em FNN here, Fake News Network. You know, people call ’em the Clinton News Network, but that’s kind of outmoded and outdated.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: So CNN gets rid of these guys, new procedures making sure this never happens again, Trump starts tweeting, what about all the other mistakes CNN’s made? Because there are legions. Nothing in the Russian story is true, folks. There hasn’t been any collusion and there probably isn’t even any obstruction. None of it is true, and yet these three guys are made to pay the price for the whole network.

Now we come to James O’Keefe, James O’Keefe Project Veritas, a secret video. O’Keefe got into CNN and secretly recorded a CNN producer who has admitted that there’s nothing to the Russian story, that they don’t have any evidence, that they don’t have any proof. But they don’t care, because the narrative is all that matters because their ratings are going up and they’re earning more money and everybody at CNN knows the story is not true.

In the video, the guy that’s referenced here, we have the sound coming up, his name is John Bonifield. “Bonifield says that CNN leadership regularly axes coverage of other newsworthy stories to shift coverage back to the Russia story. He provided as an example of the network’s coverage of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords — which he is seen saying in the video lasted less than two days — before management deliberately shifted coverage back to the Russia scandal.”

He says on the video: “‘My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like I want you to know what we are up against here. And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia.’ When asked by the Project Veritas investigator if it was the CEO of CNN — according to O’Keefe they were referring to CNN president Jeff Zucker — who made that determination, Bonifield is heard saying: ‘Yeah.’ ‘So, even the climate accords, he was like a day or so it’s okay but we’re moving back to Russia.'”

So let’s go to the audiotape on this. CNN producers know that the Russia coverage at the Fake News Network is nothing more than ostensibly for their ratings and feeding their base and hopefully increased ad revenues as a result. An unidentified Project Veritas journalist speaking here under the cloak of secrecy to CNN senior producer John Bonifield about the network’s coverage of the Russia election meddling story. The journalist says, “So you believe the Russia thing is a little crazy, right?”

BONIFIELD: Even if Russia was trying to swing an election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA do (bleep) all the time. We’re out there trying to manipulate governments. You win because you know the game and you play it right. She didn’t play it right.

O’KEEFE: Then why is CNN constantly like Russia this, Russia that.

BONIFIELD: It’s ratings. Our ratings are incredible right now.

RUSH: This is a senior producer at the Fake News Network admitting, hey, even if the Russians were trying to swing an election, we try to swing theirs. Our CIA’s doing stuff all the time. We’re out there trying to manipulate governments. You win because you know the game, you play it right. They know. The bottom line is, what you see on the air at CNN is not representative of what they know behind the scenes. What you see at CNN is trumped up acting.

Now, it’s not all acting because all the people on CNN want this Russia story to be believed. They’re trying to convince you that it’s true because they want to take Trump out, but they know that there’s nothing here. They know they’re being ordered to do this for ratings and what have you. They know, in other words, that whatever’s happening here with Trump and Russia, that it isn’t unusual, that it happens all the time. This next exchange is somewhat interesting.

BONIFIELD: The CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said, “good job, everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it. Let’s get back to Russia.” They gotta do what they do to make their money. I think that there are a lot of liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized. And Trump is good for business right now.

P.V. JOURNALIST: But honestly, you think the whole Russia sh*t (bleeped) is just bullsh*t (bleeped), right?”

BONIFIELD: Could be bullsh*t. (bleeped) I mean, it’s mostly bullsh*t (bleeped) right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof. I think the president is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch-hunting me. Like, you have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.

RUSH: Senior producer at CNN. Were you able to hear all that? Okay. See, without the transcript, I would not have known what the guy said. I’ve got the transcript. I know what he said, I’m just saying if I had not had the transcript here I would not have been able to pick out the voice from all the other voices in that thing. It sounded to me like they’re in a submarine and the sonar was going crazy.

At any rate, “Yeah, yeah, do you think this whole Russia story could be BS?”

“Yeah, it could be BS. I mean, it’s mostly BS right now. We don’t have any big giant proof. I think the president’s probably right to say, ‘Look, you’re witch hunting me, like, you’ve got no smoking gun. You have no proof.’ The president’s right about it.”

They know. Folks, I’ve thought they know all along. I think everybody in the Drive-Bys knows. I think they know exactly what they’re doing. This outrage over Russia-Trump colluding, it’s mock outrage. These people have been around too long to know what regularly happened all over the world. Look, Washington, D.C., is the most powerful city in the world, and it’s the wealthiest. Washington, D.C., routinely collects $3 trillion of revenue every year, taxes, arms sales, you name it, $3 trillion.

It is the capital city of the only superpower in the world and everybody is there trying to influence what happens. And everybody, more than you can count, is there trying to get their hands on as much of that three trillion as they can. From lobbyists, to elected officials, you name it, foreign governments, the State Department and its foreign aid budget, everybody there is trying to get as much of that three trillion as they can get. And they’re trying to influence what happens in that town. It isn’t news! And everybody there knows it. The New York Times knows it. The Washington Post knows it. All of this is totally manufactured. Even the outrage is manufactured.

Now, at some point I think, if you act it for a certain length of time, you are gonna fall into the trap of the acting is gonna become your reality. And I have no doubt that they long ago crossed the line here at CNN and a number of these other places. But as you see here by the evidence of the testimony, shall we say, of the executive producer, whatever is news is not the determining factor of what CNN covers. They’re going for ratings; they’re going for money.

How often do they criticize other people in the media for doing what they do for ratings, as opposed to the purity of journalism and so forth? So this is a big expose, and it isn’t gonna surprise anybody that is regularly attuned. Now, there might be some low-information voters that hear this and will be properly outraged, if they do hear about this. The Fake News Network will not cover this of course, obviously, neither will the Washington Post, neither will PMSNBC. So it’s gonna have only a certain percentage of American media making it known.

Now, Jim Acosta, little Jim Acosta went nuts. He lost it yesterday at the press briefing because once again cameras were not permitted. Little Jim is a White House correspondent for the Fake News Network, CNN. He was literally heckling a reporter, the White House correspondent ended up heckling the press secretary, Sean Spicer, about the fact that the cameras were not turned on.

And I think Trump is driving these people crazy. My analogy holds. I have a little cat, and I love to get that little red laser dot pointer and play with it. It fascinates me to watch this. I point that red dot anywhere on the floor, and the cat goes berserk trying to catch it. If you move it around real quickly, the cat’s head will try to move as quickly as it can to follow it. You slowly move the laser pointer to the wall, and the cat follows it and will jump into the wall trying to catch the red dot. Then you do it on the sofa, and it will jump onto the sofa trying to catch the red dot.

It will look around, slap at it with its paws and look around puzzled like it’s inexplicable why can’t I catch this thing. And it looks at me plaintively, “What’s wrong?” And like me in my cruelty continue to point the red dot somewhere else until I finally give up and say I’m through tormenting my little cat. The cat loves every moment of it, don’t misunderstand. But I think that’s what they’re doing to many members of the media. I think Trump has got the laser dot pointer, and he’s forcing these people to crash into the walls as they try to catch him.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, I was afraid of this. I know that there are two Thomas Franks, and I asked somebody to find out for me today, I was in a time crunch, and I said, “Find out for me if the Thomas Frank at CNN is the same Thomas Frank who wrote the book on Kansas,” and they came back, “Yes, same guy.” But I know there’s a second one out there.

So now Snerdley is getting Drive-By calls saying it’s a different Thomas Frank. The author who wrote the book on Kansas is not the Thomas Frank who was on the CNN investigative unit and got blown out, fired, canned, resigned, what have you. So my bad. I thought I had nailed that down. There are two of ’em. One of them may be Franks, the last name may be Franks, Thomas Franks and Thomas A. Frank, I’m not sure which, but I know there are two of them. And I thought they were the same.

Anyway, audio sound bite time. Jim Acosta at the White House press briefing yesterday. These are like kids in the kindergarten, folks. They’re more out of control than Trump and Spicer or any of that. And there are kids in kindergarten who have more maturity than Jim Acosta. He threw a fit in the briefing room because it was audio only.

He claimed the Constitution was imperiled. He claimed that the nation was hanging on the precipice because Spicer and Trump wouldn’t let the TV cameras be turned on yesterday. Spicer was calling on other people and Acosta kept interrupting. He was heckling him. We put together a montage for him.

ACOSTA: (crosstalk) Maybe we should turn the cameras on, Sean.

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA: Why don’t we…

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA:…turn the cameras on?

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA: Why don’t we turn the cameras on?

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA: Why not turn the cameras on…

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA:…Sean? They’re…

SPICER: Jen?

ACOSTA:…in the room, the lights (crosstalk) are on.

SPICER: Doug?

ACOSTA: Why are the cameras off, Sean?

SPICER: Trey?

ACOSTA: Why are they — why did you…

SPICER: Trey?

ACOSTA:…turn them off? Can you just…

SPICER: Trey?

ACOSTA:…give us an answer to that? Can you…

SPICER: Trey?

ACOSTA:…tell us why you turned the cameras off? Why are they off? It’s a legitimate question.

SPICER: Trey?

ACOSTA: Can you at least give us an explanation as to why the cameras are off?

SPICER: There’s no camera on, Jim.

RUSH: No camera, Jim. We’re not gonna turn the cameras on, Jim. Can you get through your head no cameras. (imitating Acosta) “Why don’t you turn them on, John? Why don’t you turn them on?” Out of control. Then after the briefing Acosta got his face time to complain that the White House is blackballing CNN by not calling on ’em to answer or ask questions. I think CNN’s lucky they’re still in there. I wouldn’t object if Trump pulled their credential after all this.

Yesterday Ana Cabrera, the anchor on CNN talked to Acosta — do I have enough time? No, I’m not gonna have to time to get this in ’cause the question’s as long as the answer. So we’ll have to take a brief break here and I’ll get Acosta’s answer in. He was asked on CNN, “What do you what do you think of what happened there, Jim? In the press briefing, they wouldn’t let you turn on the cameras and so forth?”

And I’m telling you, we’ve seen reporters ask questions, but this was heckling. And I think all this is getting to CNN, frankly. I mean, you have these three guys in the investigative unit canned, have to retract a story and delete it and apologize for it, and it’s essentially a bogus story on Trump colluding with Russia. I think the pressure may be getting to some of them.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: By the way, CNN’s report on this press briefing yesterday — and we’re getting back to the phones here just a second — it was audio only, and the audio was not released until after the press briefing. It was not covered live and that’s why Acosta was going nuts. He was claiming the White House was escaping accountability.

And CNN’s report — you’ve heard Acosta, you heard him act like a heckler, you heard him. He was out of control. He was heckling the press secretary about the cameras. CNN’s report on this says, “CNN’s Jim Acosta confronted White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the administration’s decision to ban cameras from the briefing room on Monday.” It’s not all what happened. Their reporter lost control. Their reporter made a fool of himself, pent up rage.

Put yourself in position of CNN, New York Times, Washington Post for a moment. You know the momentum on all this is shifting. They haven’t damaged Trump. Let me take that back. They may think the they. They haven’t got rid of Trump. The objective is to get rid of Trump. The objective is to make Trump so frustrated he just wants to quit. The objective is to frustrate Trump. The objective is to cause Trump to break and break down. The objective is for Trump to explode. The objective here is for Trump to realize you can’t beat them and to slink away.

None of that has happened. Can you imagine their frustration? They think they’ve got the guy dead to rights ever since the NBC Access Hollywood video. They think it’s just a matter of time. And what they’re discovering is that they are living daily in the reality of their own relative impotence. Their objective of getting rid of Trump has not been advanced. They’re no closer to it than they were on Inauguration Day.

And you, in their shoes, have got to imagine how frustrated they are, because they’ve shot everything they’ve got. They are breaking every rule of journalism and being applauded for it. They’re using anonymous sources, sometimes only one. They are acknowledging that they’re publishing things that aren’t true and that they’re engaging in what they’re doing just for ratings. But as far as the talent is concerned, the objective is to get rid of Trump. They are failing, and it’s got to be frustrating them to no end, and we had one of them boil over yesterday, Acosta.

So after it all happened, he goes back to CNN for his live shot, and the infobabe says, “Hey, Jim, it sounds like it was really rough in there. It sounded like Spicer was ignoring your questions.” Now, you heard the bit, right? He wasn’t asking questions. He was heckling. “Hey, Jim, it sounds like Spicer was ignoring your questions.”

ACOSTA: Sean Spicer has refused to take questions from CNN for weeks now. It has been going on for some time. You know, he may have taken a question here or there over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve largely been just blackballed during these briefings. We’re just not getting questions to the White House press secretary. That would not have happened in previous administrations. Fox News always got a question every day at the briefing under President Obama. This is a new thing that this White House is doing to us here at CNN and to a couple of other news outlets as well.

RUSH: And America is applauding, Jim. The way you’re treating Trump, you’re treating him with disrespect, and you have been from the get-go. CNN being treated this way is exactly what Trump voters supported and are applauding. And, by the way, this appeal for sympathy that you’re making, isn’t gonna happen. I mean, the irony of the Drive-Bys asking for sympathy over the way they’re being treated. Let the Drive-Bys focus on you, and you ask them for understanding and sympathy, see how far that gets you. Put that in the story, that you’re a weakling, that you can’t handle the big leagues, you’re begging CNN to cancel and not do the story. That’s how they would treat it if you asked for sympathy.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay. Getting back to the phones here just a second. So the Republican health care bill in Colorado: 120,000 people will die over the next 10 years. Folks, anybody tell off the top of your head: What is the mortality rate in America? What is the American mortality rate. Google it and see what you get. In the meantime, George, Vero Beach, Florida, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Mega dittos, Rush.

RUSH: Thank you, sir, great to have you with us.

CALLER: Hey, be with listen, breaking news! It sounds like the Fake News Network is gonna drop Russia and drop health care to cover this thousand… This is according to a unnamed cat, but this Thousand Cat March to protest the red lasers that people are using —

RUSH: (chucking)

CALLER: — to make these little kitty cats run back and forth and crash into walls and, of all things, get concussions, Rush.

RUSH: Yeah. Guy is… You may have a point. In the old days, without Trump, this could have ended up being a conspiracy. Not a conspiracy, but it could have been a big story. The media could have decided to do a story on me and cruelty to cats with my red dot laser pointer story. But the problem is everybody who has a cat plays with ’em that way. When I describe the cat running into the wall, the cat doesn’t go flying into the wall head first. It stops in time. But it’s still fun to watch. (laughing) It does! It tries to catch that red dot with its paws, with its mouth. It’s just funny. And it never catches on. It never catches on.

I’ve been doing it for years. My cat’s three or four years old, and the cat still falls for it. It just… You know, I expect at one point the cat to look at me and say, “Let’s try something else. I’ve got this figured out and I’m tired of it and I’m smarter than you. So go back to the drawing board.” But the cat falls for it each and every time. The mortality rate in the United States is 100%. So far, no exceptions. The mortality rate Cuba is 100%. The mortality rate even your favorite socialist utopian country is 100%. No reported exceptions. Maybe Trump will live forever, just to tick everybody off.

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