White House 'Web Police' to Do Battle in 2012?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It is a move that seems to signify that team Obama is preparing to do battle in 2012. The administration has created a new post devoted to combating Internet smears against "The Anointed One."
Yes, the White House now has his very own minister of Internet propaganda. So, I wonder how they overlooked Robert Gibbs for this job.
But, anyway, an internal White House memo that was obtained by The Huffington Post reads, quote, "This week, Jesse Lee will move from the New Media Department into a role in the Communications Department as director of Progressive Media & Online Response."
Now, it turns out, Jesse Lee has an interesting background in quote, "progressive media." He's married to Nita Chaudhary, a high level MoveOn.org staffer who played a very key role in creating this ad, dubbing general David Petraeus as "General Betray Us," remember that ad back in 2007? The ad accused the general of cooking the books for the White House with regard to the surge in Iraq. Ms. Chaudhary had no shame about her role in circulating that ad.
Now shortly after its release, she spoke to C-SPAN in a telephone interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM DEC. 10, 2007)
NITA CHAUDHARY, MOVEON.ORG (on the phone): MoveOn took out the ad in New York Times today because it is unconscionable that our troops are dying in an unwinnable civil war in Iraq. And today's testimony of General Petraeus before Congress was you know, widely anticipated. Where he would be presenting cherry-picked facts and misleading data to sell Congress on the idea that the surge was working, when the reality is, that it is not. Today, he again told Congress that there was progress in Iraq. And there hasn't been progress. There has been no political progress. And as I just said, violence is getting worse and not better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: So, one has to wonder what General Petraeus who slated to become President Obama's CIA director in the fall, what does the president think of this most recent move?
Joining me now with reaction is the author of "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World," the one and only Andrew Breitbart is here, and Democratic media consultant Steve Murphy.
You know, what can you say?
ANDREW BREITBART, AUTHOR, "RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION": Like oh my God, she was so against the war before she got into this position of power and then she married this guy who was against the war. And this Jesse Lee character actually was behind this attempt to create a mean called "dickenbush" (ph). "Dickenbush," pretty funny stuff, right? Oh my God. I get it, do you get it?
HANNITY: Yes, you know, look, these certain things, you can disagree with the policy about the surge, about Iraq. Legitimate arguments could be made, and you were actually on this program making them. When you go after a general, who is risking his life for his country and following orders. You know, it is pretty despicable. And one has to wonder, General Petraeus is now coming onboard with the administration.
STEVE MURPHY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let me make two points about this, Sean. First, the attack on General Petraeus by MoveOn.org was despicable. At the time, we were approached by a group, not MoveOn.org, but another group about doing some advertising that would be supportive of this campaign. And we first of all, we told them it is going to backfire. It is very stupid. And then secondly, we said we wouldn't do it.
So, with that said, and I don't think that somebody that was a big part of that effort would make a good choice for the administration to do anything. But, this is the guy's wife. A wife isn't a separate individual. Now, I know a lot of cultural conservatives think a wife is attached to the husband and it is all one entity, but it is not. The woman has her own life.
BREITBART: Jesse Lee was at the forefront of the anti-war blogging movement, a point in time in which the same media that is out there, you know, saying that you can't criticize the president, Barack Obama were out there saying dissent is patriotic. And so, Jesse was protected by the media. Now, he wants to go after Fox News, a.m. talk radio, Andrew Breitbart. And what he's doing is adding an extra protective layer to George Soros, all the media that he's buying out and Media Matters, which is a --
MURPHY: This is the "Hannity" show, not Beck. Just stay away from Soros.
BREITBART: $15 million a year operation to try and shut up dissent, this is exactly what they do in totalitarian leftist nations like Venezuela. They try to shut people up.
MURPHY: That is ridiculous! That is ludicrous! It is a press operative. You are always saying, you know, the mainstream media is all screwed up. Maybe they think that they want to reach out a little bit to the new media too. There is nothing wrong with that at all. And there's nothing wrong with being against the war.
BREITBART: He is a hit artist.
MURPHY: So are you!
BREITBART: Well, I'm out there telling the truths that the mainstream media won't do. We are the minority out there.
MURPHY: And they are going to do the same thing.
BREITBART On the taxpayer dollar right now, they're actually...
MURPHY: You know, the truth is not an objective reality on political issues. People have different opinions.
BREITBART: I'll quote you on that one.
HANNITY: Let me move on to another topic here which is, that of NBC host Ed Schultz. And these are the comments that he made on his radio show. And he's now since been suspended from NBC News, and this is the comments he made about talk show host Laura Ingraham.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP FROM "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW")
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: And what are the Republicans thinking about? They are not thinking about their next door neighbor. They are just thinking about how much this is going to cost. President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, but you know what they are talking about? Like this right-wing slut, what's her name, Laura Ingraham? Yes, she's a talk slut. You see, she was back in the day, praising President Ronald Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama is doing it, they're working him over.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. Since apologized, was suspended, apparently Laura Ingraham has accepted this guy's apology. If this were a conservative -- I want to get into this. I don't want anyone fired. I don't call for firings, I don't call for boycotts. There's a cottage industry out there, people in their underwear in a basement somewhere monitoring everything you say, I say, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Fox News says, for the very purpose that they can silence speech in this country. And they do it either by A, demanding conservatives be fired. They don't get a chance to apologize, they don't get to a chance to revise or extent their remarks. They go after their advertisers. Conservatives don't do that. I'm not calling for his firing. I don't think he should be fired. I don't think people -- I think people are allowed to make mistakes, his apology seems sincere to me. Why can't liberals do the same thing when a conservative misspeaks?
MURPHY: In what case are you talking about?
HANNITY: Every case.
MURPHY: I've done that on numerous occasions. I've never called for you to be fired or for Glenn Beck to be fired.
HANNITY: Well, but there's been a campaign to shutdown a lot of conservatives including going over their advertisers.
BREITBART: What about me?
HANNITY: Hang on a second. I went after, who?
MURPHY: You went after Michelle Obama in a very aggressive fashion. I considered that to be inappropriate.
HANNITY: What did I say -- she said America is a downright mean country for the first time in my life -- do you think America is a mean country?
MURPHY: I think bin Laden thinks we're a mean country now. He's shark food.
HANNITY: Do you think America is a mean country? She said, she thinks America is a downright mean country. I shouldn't criticize her for that?
MURPHY: No, you should have not taken her on in the way you did, absolutely no.
HANNITY: So, a future first lady can say America is a mean country?
MURPHY: You are taking it out of context.
BREITBART: How dare you quote the lady.
MURPHY: How dare.
BREITBART: Yes. Well, look Michelle Obama.
MURPHY: You quoted somebody too completely out of context.
BREITBART: Michelle Obama tried to get two people kicked off Stanley Kurtz (ph) and David Freddoso, kicked off of right wing talk radio, it is the instinct of the left to try and shut people up on the right. I defended Keith Olbermann when he was suspended.
HANNITY: I defended your buddy Bill Maher.
BREITBART: I know, you did as did Rush Limbaugh. We want more voices, not less.
HANNITY: All right. But here's the point, if it was a conservative, what would we be discussing today? And we're going to get into the bias aspect of this.
BREITBART: We need to kick them off the air.
HANNITY: But right now there would be a call -- if I said it, I'd be.
MURPHY: One hundred percent.
BREITBART: There would be a campaign.
MURPHY: Andrew, I'm not a liberal, but I am a Democrat, OK? I don't think Schultz should be fired for something like that.
HANNITY: I don't either.
MURPHY: I don't think a Republican should be fired for something like that.
HANNITY: But if it was me, would the left, would your fellow liberals --
HANNITY: Answer the question! Would the left be trying to get me fired?
MURPHY: No, not the mainstream.
BREITBART: Right now, MoveOn.org has me and Sean Hannity as their top tier of people that they want to shut up. And the Hollywood Reporter, once they got rid of Donald Trump out of the presidency, they said that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Andrew Breitbart are on the top tier of people that they want to silence.
MURPHY: Nobody is trying to shut any one of you up.
BREITBART: That's what they do.
HANNITY: That's what they do.
BREITBART: Of course that's what they want to do.
HANNITY: Shutting us up, shutting us down.
MURPHY: I want to make one other point about this, the irony is --
HANNITY: I've been consistent on free speech. I got to run.
MURPHY: -- it was a sexist comment that Schultz made just like, just like it's a sexist notion
HANNITY: Well good for Ingrahm for accepting the apology. Shows a lot of graciousness on her part.
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