Did anyone think that this wasn't going to happen? For the past two days, Rush Limbaugh has used the Note's smug blue-skying of future political coverage to prove that not only is there in fact a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy ("Now, I will admit to being naïve. I don't know what this Gang of 500 reference is to."), but they meet at Lauriol Plaza ("another place I never heard of"). At last, someone who takes the Note as seriously as it takes itself.
Transcript of today's monologue after the jump.
Press Follows Gang of 500 Plan (reg. req.) [RushLimbaugh.com]
RUSH: Let me just give you some highlights from yesterday's news summary from ABC's the Note, which is their website. And, you know, when I got halfway through this I said, "This has got to be a parody. I'm falling for a parody." I said, "Mark Halperin and these guys who put this together are trying to lure me into making a fool of myself because what I've always..." You know, people have called here and talked about media bias my whole career, and I've said, "There's no bias. That's just who they are. They don't meet every day and plan how they can distort and cover the news to get the results they want. They don't do that. They don't have to. They think the same things," and I read this thing yesterday; I said, "Maybe I've been wrong. Maybe I owe my audience an apology. Maybe the media does have a meeting every now and then to coordinate strategery, because that's what this note says."
It talks about Sunday's meeting of the Journalist Division of the Gang of 500. Now, I will admit to being naïve. I don't know what this Gang of 500 reference is to. You know, the only gang I've heard of is the Gang of Four which is Mao Tse-tung's wife who tried to overthrow him or overthrow his survivors after he was gone or dead. (program observer interruption) No, tried to overthrow him. Didn't Madam Mao try to overthrow him? Anyway, she headed up the Gang of Four. I don't know what this Gang of 500. I don't want to get sidetracked here. "The meeting held per usual on the top floor of the Lauriol Plaza," another place I never heard of, "did have a speakerphone set up so those in Martha's Vineyard and the Hamptons and Jackson Hole and Nantucket and Kennebunkport and aboard the Kerry train could participate." He goes on to say that Marybeth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager, got a dial-in number.
She was able to listen to what went on, and she would not have been surprised at all about what did go on. "First, the group concluded that Friday's job numbers pretty much give them license," this is the Journalist Division the Gang of 500, now, "The group concluded that Friday's job numbers pretty much give them license through the election to frame all stories about the economy to convey a 43 reliving 41 job creation failure. Along with a deficit the rising numbers of the uninsured and the lack of courage to raise taxes on the wealthy, the Journalist Division settled upon the story line: voters had judged the president a bungler at guiding the economy." All right, that's just the first thing that the Journalists Division of the Gang of 500 is. So I go now to the AP today. Tom Raum:
"Soaring fuel prices and slowing job growth are presenting President Bush with a difficult choice. He can concede that there are problems with his economic policies or insist the recovery is progressing and risk looking out of touch.... 'If George Bush doesn't drop this new campaign slogan, he's in danger of becoming the new P. T. Barnum of American politics,' says Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee chairman,'" in a conference call with reporters. "Bush remains on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to provide over a net loss of jobs." Well, there you have it! Exactly what this group decided was the way they're going to cover the economy is represented in today's AP story, except there's a whole bunch of errors. Bush is not going to preside over "a net loss of jobs" in his administration. If you go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, you will see that we are on pace to have a net increase of four million jobs in the last three years, and there was this thing called 9/11, and then there's this story from Reuters. Great news, but they can't wait to throw a wet blanket on it in the opening paragraph.
"The productivity of U.S. businesses rose at a swifter-than-expected pace in the second quarter, but labor costs still gained as their fastest rate in two years, the government said on Tuesday. Non-farm business productivity rose almost 3% annual rate, second quarter, well ahead of the 2% gain expected by Wall Street. Despite the solid efficiency gains, the cost of labor per unit of production increased at a 1.9% clip as hourly compensation climbed at a sharp 4.9% rate." (emphasis added) Oh, so people getting raises is even bad news. People getting raises is bad news in this story. So there are two stories that follow the, shall we say, blueprint that was offered, supposedly, at this Journalists Division of the Gang of 500. Then the Boston Globe lead editorial: "Sputtering Job Growth -- The latest figures on job growth represent a setback for President Bush who had been telling campaign crowds his tax cuts are responsible for economic recovery. People of modest means are also the ones most affected by the surge in oil prices."
Goes on to talk about how the tax cuts have not worked, the tax cuts have harmed people, and exactly what the blueprint from the journalist Gang of 500, Journalist Division Gang of 500 on Sunday set out as the blueprint, and another editorial in the Boston Globe: "Leaving More Homeless -- If President Bush wants to end homelessness..."
When did homelessness come back in the news? I know with Bush, but I mean we haven't had homelessness in the news. Last time I saw a homeless story get covered, there was a homeless story, it was yesterday or last week. How unfair it is that Bloomberg is going to sweep the homeless out of Madison Square. Do you remember that? It was yesterday. It was yesterday. We didn't get to it. Oh, yeah, after General Dinkins, back in 1992, didn't "sweep the area," he bussed the homeless down to Chelsea. It would take them three weeks to walk back if they could find their way. Bloomberg is doing something similar, only he's catching hell for it. So it looks to me like what was in the Note yesterday has come to pass in the media today.