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Greta Van Susteren Doesn’t Challenge Newt Gingrich’s Extremist, “Radical” Allegations Against President Obama

Reported by Ellen - April 13, 2010 -

What would it take for Greta Van Susteren to challenge extremist rhetoric from a Republican? God only knows. In a discussion with Newt Gingrich last night (4/12/10), Fox News “Democrat” Van Susteren sat acquiescent as he lobbed one extreme, inflammatory accusation after another about President Obama and Democrats. With video.

The interview began with a re-airing of Gingrich’s recent remarks that President Obama is “the most radical president in American history” who has “now thrown down the gauntlet to the American people. He has said, ‘I run a machine. I own Washington and there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

“Mr. Speaker, ‘the most radical president in American history’” Van Susteren began, in a tone designed more to elicit further comment, rather than challenge.

“I think that’s clearly true,” Gingrich said, citing the "takeover" of GM and Chrysler, “ramming through the trillion dollar health bill,” the “unconstitutional” Pay Czar, etc. “You’ve never seen this left wing, this interventionist, this big government and in foreign policy, this misleading an administration.”

Van Susteren did not argue any of his assertions, nor did she seem to have a problem with that inflammatory rhetoric. Instead, she added fuel to the fire by saying, “It’s sort of interesting… When (Obama) was in the United States Senate and Justice Alito was up to be confirmed by the United States Senate, he said that he thought that Alito was intellectually smart enough for the job but… he thought that the president had assumed too much power, he didn’t like the unchecked power of the president.”

Gingrich went on to accuse Obama of being “willing to cheerfully give up virtually any campaign promise he ever made.” Well, not according to PolitiFact. Not that Van Susteren seemed to know that. Or else she didn't think it worth mentioning.

Gingrich allowed as how, “the fact that this is the most radical administration in history doesn’t mean that every single thing they do is radical.”

So did “Democrat” Van Susteren ask for examples of what things the Obama administration has done that are not radical? No. She joined in the criticism by saying, “The one thing that always struck me was that when Senator Scott Brown was elected, I heard from a number of Democrats who said, ‘Well, now we realize that people are unhappy when there have been all these town hall meetings and tea party movement. Why aren’t they responding? Is there a sense that they know better or is it because they truly aren’t listening or they think the American people will come around to that viewpoint?”

Gingrich answered, "It’s very clear that…. first of all, the Henry Waxman’s of the world have genuine contempt for the American people.” Gingrich’s “proof” was Waxman’s “reaction to AT&T unveiling how much the health bill will cost.” Gingrich compared Waxman to Hugo Chavez.

Finally, Van Susteren challenged – not the rhetoric, but the analysis. “Is it contempt or do they disagree… You could be contemptuous and think someone… that you don’t like them… give any credit to their thought or you can just... disagree and think, ‘Look, the American people sent me to Washington… to exercise my judgment.’”

Gingrich replied, “I think if you look at the language they use, if you look at the hostility they showed to the town hall meetings.” Then, speaking of language being used, Gingrich complained that at one meeting, a Democratic Congressman “asked somebody to prove they were a citizen in that district. Now this, from a party that normally doesn’t care whether you’re here legally or not. This is from a party that normally doesn’t care whether you registered to vote or not.” (Presumably, Gingrich meant that the Democrats don't care whether someone who voted was properly registered.)

Van Susteren had no problem with that statement, either, even though she was the only person “close to the Democratic Party” that Rupert Murdoch could name on Fox News. She changed the subject by asking whether the tea party movement are “disgruntled Republicans… or are they independents suddenly getting active or are they even Democrats?”

Contrast Van Susteren’s kid glove treatment of Gingrich with her antagonistic treatment of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee who, according to Van Susteren, dissed someone at a town hall by talking on the phone while the constituent was speaking.