This afternoon, Rush Limbaugh was mocking Bob Shieffer, of all people, for calling out White House lackey Dan Pfeiffer for his various attempts to deflect the Obama scandal barrage. During the appearance of Pfeiffer as a White House spokesman on “Face the Nation,” Shieffer said,
“You know, I don’t want to compare this in any way to Watergate. I do not think this is Watergate by any stretch. But you weren’t born then I would guess, but I have to tell you that is exactly the approach that the Nixon administration took. They said, “These are all second-rate things. We don’t have time for this. We have to devote our time to the people’s business.” You’re taking exactly the same line they did….and I don’t mean to be argumentative here, but the President is in charge of the executive branch of the government. It’s my, I’ll just make this as an assertion: when the executive branch does things right, there doesn’t seem to be any hesitancy of the White House to take credit for that. When Osama bin Laden was killed, the President didn’t waste any time getting out there and telling people about it. But with all of these things, when these things happen, you seem to send out officials many times who don’t even seem to know what has happened. And I use as an example of that Susan Rice who had no connection whatsoever to the events that took place in Benghazi, and yet she was sent out, appeared on this broadcast, and other Sunday broadcasts, five days after it happens, and I’m not here to get in an argument with you about who changed which word in the talking points and all that. The bottom line is what she told the American people that day bore no resemblance to what had happened on the ground in an incident where four Americans were killed….But what I’m saying to you is that was just PR. That was just a PR plan to send out somebody who didn’t know anything about what had happened. Why did you do that? Why didn’t the Secretary of State come and tell us what they knew and if he knew nothing say, “We don’t know yet?” Why didn’t the White House Chief of Staff come out? I mean I would, and I mean this as no disrespect to you, why are you here today? Why isn’t the White House Chief of Staff here to tell us what happened?”
I’ve given Shieffer Ethics Hero status for this. Admittedly, in a competent, ethical journalistic environment, such a response to an obvious flack job like what Pfeiffer was peddling would be standard operating procedure, and with a Republican scandal-ridden White House, it might be. The news media’s pro-Obama bias is so strong, however, that Shieffer’s words are welcome, unusual and praiseworthy. So what were Rush’s objections?
- Sheiffer made a point of saying that this wasn’t Watergate (“…because that’s a Republican scandal, so that was much worse,” said Rush in his all-purpose biased media figure impression.). Well, it isn’t Watergate, much as conservatives would like it to be. Nixon obstructed justice and covered up criminal activity, was part of a discussion of bribes, and hid evidence from Congress. Calling a Washington scandal like Watergate is cheap, and the equivalent of comparing a leader to Hitler. Shieffer should have made that distinction. He also pointed out, correctly, that Obama’s White House was using the same deflection tactics as Nixon’s, and suggesting that this is ominous.
- Rush objected to Shieffer’s tone,which he characterized as deferential and apologetic for daring to be critical. Nonsense. Shieffer was polite, as he usually is. Being civil is not a valid basis for criticism.
- “Why not get in an argument with him about the talking points?” Rush asked. What’s Rush complaining about? What Shieffer said was much stronger, essentially conceding that the White House was still in denial mode, but asserting that from his vantage point, Susan Rice, what “told the American people that day” on Shieffer’s program “bore no resemblance to what had happened on the ground in an incident where four Americans were killed.” He knows the White House has been ducking and weaving on that issue and said, essentially, that he doesn’t want to hear it. Good for him.
- “Finally, Bob is forced to acknowledge what I’ve been saying all along: there is no such thing as responsibility in Washington,” said Rush. Really? I think he was asking the White House why there was no responsibility or transparency there
You know, Rush, if you slam the people you don’t like when they do the wrong thing, then slam them when they do the right thing too, it becomes clear that you don’t really care about right and wrong as much as you care about slamming the people you don’t like. Don’t you see that this is exactly the same ethical flaw as always praising and defending a President one likes, no matter what he actually does?