NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer suggested that when Rush Limbaugh "said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease" in a recent campaign ad, Limbaugh was "just say[ing] what a lot of people were privately thinking." Also on Today, radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly claimed that just because people are "unhappy with the current situation" in Iraq "doesn't mean you redeploy as John Murtha says or John Kerry or most of the Democrats"; in fact, polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly favor withdrawing from Iraq.
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On the October 26 edition of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that when nationally syndicated radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh "said [that] perhaps [actor] Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease" in a recent campaign ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, Limbaugh was "just say[ing] what a lot of people were privately thinking." Lauer added that "if Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself in the fray, he has to expect to be taken to account." As Media Matters for America has documented, Fox is campaigning for candidates who support embryonic stem cell research, and in 2004, he appeared in a campaign ad for Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (PA).
Earlier in the segment, which included nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham and law professor and Fox News contributor Susan Estrich, Ingraham baselessly claimed that "most people now understand that one thing is for sure, is that if we leave Iraq, we lose Iraq" and that just because people are "unhappy with the current situation ... doesn't mean you redeploy as [Rep.] John Murtha [D-PA] says or [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] or most of the Democrats." While Ingraham correctly noted that Americans are "unhappy with the current situation" in Iraq, polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly favor withdrawing from Iraq. For example, as Media Matters noted, a Fox News poll conducted October 10-11 found that 73 percent of respondents believe "[t]he United States has sacrificed enough for the people of Iraq, and now it is time that they take on most of the burden of security in their country and let U.S. troops start to come home." A Reuters/Zogby poll conducted October 20-23 found that 51 percent of respondents thought the United States should withdraw either immediately or by the end of next year, while only 41 percent felt that U.S. troops "should stay in Iraq until the situation there is stable." The most recent Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll on the subject, conducted September 21 to October 4, found that 53 percent of Americans favor a timetable for withdrawal, compared with 39 percent who oppose setting a timetable.
From the October 26 edition of NBC's Today:
INGRAHAM: Well, I think that -- here's what's going on, is I think most people now understanding that one thing is for sure, is that if we leave Iraq, we lose Iraq. Because you're unhappy with the current situation, as the president said he is -- he's not satisfied -- doesn't mean you redeploy, as John Murtha says or John Kerry or most of the Democrats. It means that perhaps we need more troops in one part of Iraq, perhaps we need to change our strategy. And that's exactly what President Bush said he's going to do, and I think that's one of the reasons he went to the American people.
LAUER: And you brought up Michael J. Fox. Let me just ask you: You know, Rush Limbaugh started a lot of controversy when he said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease in that ad promoting stem cell research. Didn't Rush Limbaugh just say what a lot of people were privately thinking?
INGRAHAM: Well, Michael J. Fox himself, I think, had written that when he testified before Congress, he decided to go off his medication. But this is not about Limbaugh, it's not about Fox. It's about an amendment that claims to ban cloning, Matt, and instead it constitutionalizes the right to clone for the destruction of those embryos that are in the lab.
LAUER: And Sue --
INGRAHAM: That's the fact. It's not about Limbaugh, and the media loves to make it about Limbaugh and Fox. That's not what it's about.
LAUER: But also, Susan, last word. If Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself in the fray, he has to expect to be, you know, taken to account, correct?
ESTRICH: Correct. And he is being taken to account.