Brian Williams Hints at Trump Carried Out by Soldiers

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On Friday's Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, host Christiane Amanpour provided an unchallenged forum to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to complain about Rupert Murdoch's influence on issues like global warming, and to talk up an effort he is pushing to regulate Murdoch's right-leaning media in Australia.

She went on to further cue up the left-wing Australian politician to blame Murdoch and Fox News for the "monstrous" lack of action from the United States on fighting global warming.

Amanpour brought up the issue of Murdoch's media holdings as she posed:

You are trying to drum up a royal commission, what's known as that, in Australia, to investigate the media power and the, you know, the holdings of Rupert Murdoch. He's obviously Australian, but, as we all know, he has massive holdings all over the world, particularly in the United States. Fox News is his most powerful press tool. What game right now is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch playing in the United States politically?

In his response, Rudd blamed Murdoch for Donald Trump's election and also Brexit's passage in the United Kingdom. He also blamed Fox News for birther conspiracy theories against former President Barack Obama in spite of prominent anchors on the network defending Obama on the issue.

In one of her followups, Amanpour fretted over Murdoch's influence on environmental regulations:

Your counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, has talked about it on television about the Murdoch influence on climate denial. And we know that News Corp publications blame the recent Australian bush fires on arsonists. I just want to play this little bit of sound from Turnbull  on this panel on television recently.

After a clip of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull complaining about Murdoch's influence on "climate denial," Amanpour posed: "How much do you think this climate denial has affected this situation we're in globally?"

Rudd blamed Murdoch for opposition to carbon taxes in Australia, and then complained about Fox News undermining the environmental alarmist agenda in the U.S., fretting the "monstrous consequences," as he added;

But much bigger than Australia, of course, is the United States and the fact that the Republican party in the United States and some Democrats on the right have such a reactionary approach to climate change science has again been engendered by Fox in particular in the United States -- and, to some extent, the Wall Street Journal -- by lending credibility to these most obscure, so-called pseudo scientists who challenge the consensus conclusions... But this has had a huge effect in America -- and American being absent from the field on climate change action for the last four years has had monstrous consequences. Murdoch shares much of the blame for this.

This episode of Amanpour & Co. was sponsored by the Anderson Family Fund and the Straus Family Foundation. You can fight back by letting advertisers know how you feel about them sponsoring such content.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, November 20, Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So I want to shift attention and focus to this struggle that you're waging on a completely different issue. Well, maybe it's not -- maybe it's connected to democracy. You are trying to drum up a royal commission, what's known as that, in Australia, to investigate the media power and the, you know, the holdings of Rupert Murdoch. He's obviously Australian, but, as we all know, he has massive holdings all over the world, particularly in the United States. Fox News is his most powerful press tool. What game right now is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch playing in the United States politically?

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don't get regular e-mails from Rupert to tell me what he's up to, but I can hazard a few guesses based on my experience of him in Australian domestic politics in a period when I've been prime minister for the Australian Labor Party. I think, first and foremost, what Rupert Murdoch is seeking to do and has done for the last four years has been to do everything he can to legitimatize Trump's form of the Republican party. Now, if it was not for the echo chamber or Fox News in the United States, I doubt very much that we would have seen the comprehensive rise in the first place of the politics which enable the Trump phenomenon to succeed. 

Just as we've seen in the United Kingdom, I doubt very much whether Brexit would have occurred were it not for the campaigning newspapers which Murdoch owns there which had openly argued the case for Brexit for a long, long time. I think, secondly, what President Trump, as he seeks untidily, it seems, to exit office, is de-legitimizing the Biden presidency before it begins by casting doubts over the ballot. You may remember, Trump did the same, echoed in the Murdoch news media, about Obama's birther scandal -- that is, where he came from. So it's a de-legitimization agenda as well. And I think it's an abusive media power

(...)

AMANPOUR: Your counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, has talked about it on television about the Murdoch influence on climate denial. And we know that News Corp publications blame the recent Australian bush fires on arsonists. I just want to play this little bit of sound from Turnbull  on this panel on television recently.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Murdoch media has gone from being a news organization that in election times the tended to lean more to the right than the left, to become pure propaganda. I mean, the campaign on climate denial is just staggering, and it's done enormous damage to the world, to the, you know, to the global need to address global warming. I mean, it is so horrifically biased and such propaganda that one of his own sons, James, the son, can't stomach it.

AMANPOUR: How much do you think this climate denial has affected this situation we're in globally?

RUDD: Well, in two countries, in particular, it's had a huge effect. My own country Australia, where Murdoch has used the monopoly he has over the print media here to drive anti-climate change action and anti-climate change science agenda for more than a decade. So, therefore, you are constantly rowing against the tide in this country if you're trying to advance a program to take action on carbon pricing to boost renewables and the other measures which are now standard fare in most countries in the world. The wall of media opposition which Murdoch has represented is formidable. I've fought it -- I've been in the trenches against it. I won and then I lost. In fact, he was instrumental in supporting the conservatives coming to power and their platform, which was to repeal our government's carbon price. 

But much bigger than Australia, of course, is the United States and the fact that the Republican party in the United States and some Democrats on the right have such a reactionary approach to climate change science has again been engendered by Fox in particular in the United States -- and, to some extent, the Wall Street Journal -- by lending credibility to these most obscure, so-called pseudo scientists who challenge the consensus conclusions of the international panel of climate change scientists made up of 4,000 humorless scientists in white coats who every five years get together to examine all the data and reach a consensus irrespective of their nationality. But this has had a huge effect in America -- and American being absent from the field on climate change action for the last four years has had monstrous consequences. Murdoch shares much of the blame for this.

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To the extent that you made, there are people who believe the actions of these people are illegal -- if you cross the border and you ask for asylum, there's nothing illegal about that. That's actually protected by international convention. If your asylum claim is not deemed to be valid -- which, by the way, the overwhelming majority of asylum claims are not deemed to be valid -- then people are given a deportation order, at which point their presence in America becomes illegal. But the concept that we demonize people walking across a desert at great peril to themselves -- often resulting in death before they get to America because they'd like to try and make $100 a day, as opposed to $10 a day they made where they came from and do this -- and you said it before and I said it here, the cruelty does seem to be the point.

JACOB SOBOROFF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And whether or not it is illegal, Ali -- I mean, I think that's a really great point, even if it is illegal, let's just put that aside -- are you going to support or not support the government of the United States of America torturing human beings, whether or not they crossed illegally between ports of entry or at a legal port of entry -- and I think it's important to point out that many people who were separated by the Trump administration crossed legally, so that's why, you know, with the incoming administration, there are so many issues that they have to reckon with. 

You mentioned some of them in the introduction -- you know, the cases of COVID inside these detention centers in Texas -- that echoes what we've seen in California, in Georgia, in Arizona, in Louisiana. What are they going to do about the parents and children who are still separated from one another. So what are they going to do about the 28 kids today inside ICE family detention centers who have deportation orders. You have Senator Booker amongst other Senators calling for the halting of those deportations. You know, the incoming administration is going to have a lot on their plate, and, so far, you know, granted we're in the middle of a transition, and the President is not supporting it, there are a lot more questions than answers about how they're going to deal with some of this stuff.

VELSHI: Yeah, and while a lot of reporters think the next few years might be different than the last few, for you they won't be because no administration in recent history has actually gotten this right on the southern border. The Democrats were no angels about this, either. They certainly didn't hold a candle to the cruelty of the Trump administration, but they didn't get this right the last time around under Barack Obama and Joe Biden. So the pressure on them to get that right now is greater and the pressure on us to hold them to account for finally handling immigration to this country and refugees properly has got to be priority number one. I know you're going to make it priority number one, and we'll make sure that you get lots of space on TV to do it.

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On Monday afternoon, MSNBC host Katy Tur and correspondent Geoff Bennett gushed over the prospect of President Barack Obama's "third term" taking form as the two lauded President-elect Joe Biden's picks for several national security offices.

Bennett also celebrated Biden's intent to treat climate change as "the national security imperative that it truly is" while Tur threw shade at President Donald Trump for having so many white men in his administration.

Just after 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Tur talked up Biden as returning to the "achievements' of the Obama administration: "The President-elect is formally announcing his pick for a number of top cabinet positions. Many of them are veterans of the Obama administration, signaling a return to experience, expertise, and the achievements of the last Democratic White House."

Bennett soon came on board and gushed over Biden's selections:

It is a signal to both the world and the federal bureaucracy - to quote Joe Biden last week -- when he said that America is back. He's signaling that restoring America's standing on the world stage is a primary goal. And I have to say -- I wish this was an original thought, but I'm happy to credit my friend and colleague who said this could be -- if you look at those six faces -- could be really what a third Obama administration would have been if there ever could have been a third Obama administration.

He soon added: "But I'm also struck by John Kerry's new role -- he's a presidential envoy on climate. His position is being elevated to the National Security Council, which means a future Biden administration is going to confront climate change as a national security issue -- the national security imperative that it truly is."

Switching to the issue of racial diversity, Bennett repeated the positive spin that the Biden camp passed on to him about putting together a competent cabinet:

As it was put to me -- Joe Biden realizes that having a diverse range of perspectives -- a diverse range of lived experience reflected in his cabinet -- will make him a better President, and it also allows the American people to better invest in his presidency. And he has made clear that one of the things that he wants to do, as he puts it, is to help bring the country together and help the nation heal.

Tur then took a swipe at the Trump administration: "A marked difference from the majority white male cabinet that Donald Trump had in a number of his top leadership roles as well."

This episode of MSNBC Live with Katy Tur was sponsored in part by Progressive. Their contact information is linked.

Relevant transcript follows:

2:00 p.m. Eastern

KATY TUR: The President-elect is formally announcing his pick for a number of top cabinet positions. Many of them are veterans of the Obama administration, signaling a return to experience, expertise, and the achievements of the last Democratic White House. And in breaking news previously reported, Anthony Blinken is the nominee for Secretary of State, and fellow Obama alum and architect of the Iran nuclear deal, Jake Sullivan, as national security advisor. President-elect Biden said he wants to rejoin that deal after President Trump backed out of it, although doing so could prove difficult.

Biden has also tapped former Secretary of State John Kerry as special envoy on climate change. Kerry was key in implementing the Paris Climate Accord, another agreement that President Trump pulled out of that Biden had vowed to rejoin.

(...)

GEOFF BENNETT, NBC NEWS CORRESONDENT: I think it's particularly interesting and instructive, Katy, that Joe Biden is building  his cabinet by naming these picks first -- these key national security and foreign policy selections.

It is a signal to both the world and the federal bureaucracy - to quote Joe Biden last week -- when he said that America is back. He's signaling that restoring America's standing on the world stage is a primary goal. And I have to say -- I wish this was an original thought, but I'm happy to credit my friend and colleague who said this could be -- if you look at those six faces -- could be really what a third Obama administration would have been if there ever could have been a third Obama administration.

You've got Tony Blinken, who was a deputy secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas, who was a deputy Homeland Security secretary; and then you've got John Kerry back in the mix here. So I thought that was particularly interesting

But I'm also struck by John Kerry's new role -- he's a presidential envoy on climate. His position is being elevated to the National Security Council, which means a future Biden administration is going to confront climate change as a national security issue -- the national security imperative that it truly is. And John Kerry in a tweet today -- he referenced what he called the young climate activists on this issue -- that he looked forward to working with them. Here again, policy -- or, rather, personnel is policy, and you have at least, by many accounts, six competent, capable, noncontroversial folks Biden has tapped to start filling out his cabinet

(...)

1988   --   1,896

1989   --   1,905   --   record

1990   --   2,245

1991   --   2180 - 2225

1992   --   1,995

1993   --      1,960                 down slightly

1994   --   1,561

1996   --  

1997   --   30-year low

lowest since 1967

The other thing to pay attention to is the diversity reflected in this group of six and the diversity that we can have in the full cabinet. And this is not just some sort of optics thing or symbolism. It really has more to do with the fact that -- as it was put to me -- Joe Biden realizes that having a diverse range of perspectives -- a diverse range of lived experience reflected in his cabinet -- will make him a better President, and it also allows the American people to better invest in his presidency. And he has made clear that one of the things that he wants to do, as he puts it, is to help bring the country together and help the nation heal. Katy?

TUR: A marked difference from the majority white male cabinet that Donald Trump had in a number of his top leadership roles as well.

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