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Bob Beckel Betrays Democrats

Reported by Ellen - August 14, 2007 -

Once again, Sean Hannity smeared Markos Moulitsas and the DailyKos with a distortion. This was at least the third time Hannity has misrepresented a blog post by Moulitsas and then used that misrepresentation to attack him. Democrat Bob Beckel, substituting for Alan Colmes on last night’s (8/13/07) Hannity & Colmes, didn’t seem to know that Hannity had misrepresented Moulitsas’ sentiments. Instead of defending him, Beckel mounted his own attack against the influential Democratic blogger. He also did not rebut a taped statement by Karl Rove saying that the country is "center right." With video.

The discussion about DailyKos got stretched over two segments and may well have gotten more air time than any talk about Karl Rove’s resignation. About one minute into his four minutes (or so) that was supposed to be about Rove, Hannity reprised his disingenuous smear of Moulitsas, by Hanctimoniously denouncing a post in which Moulitsas had written “Screw them” about four dead contractors in Fallujah. Yet again, he was either ignorant of or deliberately ignoring the fact that Moulitsas quickly recanted that post. Beckel didn't seem to know or care about that, either.

In Part 1 (the one that was supposed to be about Rove), Hannity played a clip of Rove saying that our country is a center right country. However, a Media Matters report, based on years of public opinion data from nonpartisan sources, found that “media perceptions and past Republican electoral successes notwithstanding, Americans are progressive across a wide range of controversial issues, and they're growing more progressive all the time.”

Beckel either didn’t know or didn’t feel it worth mentioning that Rove's statement was, at the very least, disputable. This, despite the fact that Beckel made it clear he did not think highly of Rove.

It was a sly trick on Hannity’s part to show that clip because he surely knew that in Part 2, the discussion would focus on guest (for both segments) Harold Ford, Jr’s debate with Moulitsas on Meet The Press the day before. The topic of the debate had been the future of the Democratic Party. Host David Gregory and Ford tried to frame the issue as liberal vs. centrist. So rather than discuss the issue or the debate honestly, Hannity tried to "work the ref" of public opinion in advance -- in concert with a misrepresentation of Moulitsas.

But, as I wrote in my post about the debate, Moulitsas made it clear his mission is not to move the Democrats to the left (though he unabashedly leans in that direction), but to empower "strong, unapologetic, muscular Democrats," as he put it. His beef is with the kind of political "outreach" Ford previously engaged in on Hannity & Colmes where, when faced with accusations that Democrats under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have emboldened the enemy and undermined our troops, Ford replied, "I don't associate myself with Harry Reid." He also complained about Congress doing too many investigations.

Predictably, Hannity seized on the liberal vs. centrist framework and Ford, who argues on behalf of a more centrist agenda, didn’t disagree. But what was Beckel’s excuse? The video of the Meet The Press debate is available on the web. Did he miss Moulitsas saying that he has supported centrist candidates? By the way, Harold Ford, Jr. is one of those centrist candidates Moulitsas has supported, a fact that everyone on the panel neglected to mention.

In his previous appearances on Hannity & Colmes, Ford has taken a gratuitous swipe at Moulitsas as well as Senator Harry Reid (hardly a far lefty). But last night, Ford seemed to finally get with the program. “My fight is not with (Moulitsas),” Ford repeatedly said as both Hannity and Beckel tried to goad him into going after Moulitsas.

Beckel, on the other hand, was a disgrace. I have no problem with a Democrat criticizing DailyKos, Moulitsas, or any other Democrat but FOX News is hardly the place for it, much less when you’re sitting in the Democratic co-host chair on a debate show squaring off against the likes of Hannity. As Ford deflected crticism of Moulitsas, Beckel added to it with glee. “If that were me, I think I’d been across the table and whooped that boy… I have a problem with THESE PEOPLE.” He went on to complain about MoveOn.org saying they own the Democratic Party.

“My fight’s not with him,” Ford repeated. “I hope we can merge these factions.”

The other guest, Laura Ingraham, got it, at least to some degree. She refrained from attacking either Moulitsas or DailyKos and said that the problem with going after the center is that it’s always changing. The momentum for Democrats has shifted to the left, she said, while the momentum for Republicans has stayed in the same place.

Beckel didn’t comment.

“The mushy middle doesn’t sell,” Ingraham added. “It’s not a movement.”