Reports that Media Matters for America’s (MMfA) campaign to attack Fox News and other news outlets has an ally in Fox competitor MSNBC are evidenced in multiple examples of MSNBC hosts using MMfA material in segments for their shows.
Just in recent weeks, there have been several examples. Two MSNBC hosts who have recently, and regularly, used the organization’s content for their programming are Ed Schultz of “The ED Show” and Al Sharpton of “PoliticsNation.”
While they vary, the most popular targets have been Fox News personalities and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Feb. 9, 2012 “The ED Show” — Schultz vs. Hannity on “Bin Laden Denialism”:
“I recently read that [Fox host] Bill O’Reilly says MSNBC doesn’t deal in facts,” Schultz said on his February 9 show. “Well, he should check out his own network before he starts throwing around accusations. Bill, tell your buddy [Fox host] Sean Hannity to explain his attack on the Obama administration.
Schultz was referring to comments Hannity had made on his February 7 program about how much credit President Barack Obama deserved for Osama bin Laden’s death.
But Schultz may have had some help from Media Matters’ Simon Maloy. On February 8, Maloy posted “The Roots of Bin Laden Denialism” on MMfA’s “County Fair” blog critiquing the Fox News Channel host’s remarks.
“Sean, look, stop with the distractions,” Schultz said. “Hannity claims torture helped find bin Laden, but he’s wrong — very wrong.”
That clip of Schultz also found its way to the Media Matters website.
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Feb. 6, 2012 “PoliticsNation” — Sharpton attacking Steve Doocy, co-host of “Fox & Friends” and Rush Limbaugh on unemployment data:
“The right wing in this country has a new conspiracy theory to try to explain away the latest impressive jobs numbers,” Sharpton said. “We reported Friday on how the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent — the lowest level since February 2009. So how do they react to the great news for the country? They pretend it’s not true.”
Sharpton played two examples: A clip from “Fox & Friends” Feb. 6 program and one from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Sharpton’s “Fox & Friends” example was a dialogue between “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Steve Doocy, Eric Bolling and Gretchen Carlson:
BOLLING: Are they playing around with the numbers? Look, it’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s supposed to be nonpartisan but that’s the Department of Labor, and Hilda Solis heads the Department of Labor. Hilda Solis works directly for Obama. I’m, you know —
DOOCY: Are you saying they are cooking the books?
BOLLING: Well, I’m saying there’s room for error.
The “Fox & Friends” clip was posted on Media Matters’ site before Sharpton’s show and immediately following the “Fox & Friends” broadcast.
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Jan. 27, 2012 “The ED Show” — Schultz’s ‘Psycho Talk’ segment on Obama’s use of Air Force One:
“In ‘Psycho Talk’ tonight: Fox News blowhard Eric Bolling,” Schultz said. “Now, this guy is complaining about President Obama using Air Force One to talk to the American people.”
Schultz was referring to Bolling’s complaint that the president was using Air Force One as a political tool to promote his State of the Union address in five swing states.
“He delivered his State of the Union and immediately flies off and goes and hits five states now. He picked five swing states,” Bolling said on “Fox & Friends” on Jan. 26. “Air Force One, guys — $181,700 per hour to operate. So, I just did a little math — I followed the money a little bit. I did the flight times between the cities — eight hours and 48 minutes — and that comes to about $1.6 million just to fly that airplane around the country. Forget security and things associated with it. But it’s costing the taxpayer a lot for Mr. Obama to show up in these places.”
That clip showed up on the Media Matters website on Jan. 26, on the MMTV section of the site. Schultz used it to make the argument that President George W. Bush made similar use of Air Force One during his presidency.
“But now President Obama is doing the same thing, and Eric Bolling and Fox News, they just can’t handle it?” Schultz said. “Eric, now since you’re the expert when it comes to presidential planes and vice presidential travel, maybe you can explain to me why Dick Cheney always seemed to take Air Force Two to South Dakota to go pheasant hunting. Did he pay for the gas on that, Eric? For Bolling to complain about President Obama using Air Force One is high-flying psycho talk.”
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Jan. 25 “PoliticsNation” — Al Sharpton and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders react to the statements from Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy, and radio host Dave Ramsey, over Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Well, let me show you. Today, to probably no one’s surprise, at least not to your surprise, let me show you what the personalities at Fox News had to say after an inspiring speech and appeal to fairness,” Sharpton said. “Here’s what they had to say.”
HANNITY: I didn’t get any sense at all of any grand vision that he has for the country, short of igniting these embers of class warfare.
DOOCY: The president using Warren Buffett’s secretary to kick off his class warfare campaign in last night’s State of the Union address.
RAMSEY: Last night our president declared war on success. In the name of this class warfare politics and this envy.
Sharpton conveyed the same message as the MMfA post, which was that “right-wing media” are making the “class warfare” argument.
“Class warfare seems to be their talking point,” Sharpton said. “And, you know, someone tweeted me today, senator, something that’s very interesting. When they attack working class people and the poor, when they attack people that need assistance, when they attack people that need help, when they attack people who want the right to collective bargaining, when they attack people that want better schools, it’s called responsibility. But when those people question why they pay less percentage of tax, why they have loopholes, it’s called class warfare. So if the rich attack, it’s not warfare. If the poor raise a question, it’s warfare. There’s something funny to me about that scenario.”
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Alex Myers contributed to this story