Greta Van Susteren Cozies Up To Rush Limbaugh And Helps Him Attack Obama
Reported by Ellen - September 21, 2008 -
FOX News “liberal” Greta Van Susteren hosted conservative flame-thrower Rush Limbaugh Friday night (9/19/08) for three segments of hospitality filled with his trademark smears against liberals and Democrats. Limbaugh has a long record of racial divisiveness but his latest hissy fit is an accusation that the Obama campaign is “stoking racial antagonism” by using some of his quotes in a campaign ad trying to tie McCain to Limbaugh. Could there be a Democrat or liberal alive who doesn’t see some laughable hypocrisy there? Van Susteren didn’t, even though FOX News repeatedly touts her as “balance” against Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Instead, Van Susteren, in tacit solidarity with Limbaugh, prompted him to offer more examples where he differed with McCain. She was so chummy, I almost expected them to make plans for lunch and then invite Todd Palin along, too. With video.
As Jonathan Stein, of the Mother Jones blog, notes, the quotes Limbaugh complained had been taken out of context for the ad were just as damning when put in context. But Van Susteren didn’t seem to think it worth examining what the context was. She and, in all likelihood, the “fair and balanced” FOX News producers, were more intent on making sure Limbaugh had lots of unimpeded air time to promulgate his views.
In Part 1 of the interview, Limbaugh accused Obama of "stoking racism“ and deliberately trying "to create division." Moments later, Limbaugh did the same thing by saying, "The mask, the disguise is gone... (Obama's) just been reduced to what he always been, a street agitator, a typical liberal Democrat hack politician.
Van Susteren responded to this hypocrisy by asking for more. “Can you tell me specifically... where it is in this ad that he’s trafficking in prejudice?” she asked.
Limbaugh began by misquoting what the ad said (claiming that it said he called Mexicans “dumb and stupid” when the ad quotes Limbaugh as saying “stupid and unskilled”) but went on to complain that Obama is trying to make Hispanics “think I hate them... I have never said that. I have never in any way, shape, matter or form said illegal immigrants are dumb and stupid.” Maybe not but he did call them “invasive species” who are "criminally prone and unwilling to work.” I can just imagine how Limbaugh's complete record has truly endeared himself to Hispanics.
But Van Susteren either did not know or did not care. She remained silent as Limbaugh went on to accuse Obama of “pitting groups of people against each other left and right.”
Her only comment was to agree with Limbaugh that the Obama campaign was trying to align the McCain campaign with Limbaugh “and take your statements out of context to poison against Senator McCain.” Real balance there, eh?
Van Susteren next prodded Limbaugh into pointing out other areas where he and McCain differ. In fact, she spent the whole of Part 2 of the interview on the subject. Not surprisingly, much of Limbaugh’s criticisms of McCain were due to his being too kind to Democrats.
Limbaugh also repeated a right-wing talking point that Obama, during his recent visit to Iraq, sought to delay a troop withdrawal until after the election. Van Susteren, previously eager to clarify the record for Limbaugh on his behalf, did not note that the Obama campaign has denied this accusation nor that the respected Middle East expert Juan Cole has debunked it. She sat silent as Limbaugh went on to pronounce Obama guilty of violating federal election law and criticizing McCain for not getting on this “like white on rice” (or, you might say, like white on Limbaugh).
Near the end, Van Susteren asked Limbaugh what he thought of the attacks in this election which, she complained is “really dirty.” But she never spent a moment in any of the three segments considering what role Limbaugh might be playing in throwing the dirt. She offered no objection even as Limbaugh insisted he’s not really partisan, “just passionate.”
Van Susteren ended the interview by saying admiringly, “It’s always, always fascinating to talk to you.”