On Wednesday night, as the Imus controversy swirled, Al Franken asked Larry King why Glenn Beck was still on CNN after he asked newly elected Rep. El
April 13, 2007

alfranken.jpg On Wednesday night, as the Imus controversy swirled, Al Franken asked Larry King why Glenn Beck was still on CNN after he asked newly elected Rep. Ellison if he was working for the enemy. I've asked the same question myself. One that CNN has never answered....04/11/07

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Transcript via CNN

FRANKEN: You know, it's -- it's their choice. I think -- I think NBC made the right decision. I think cable news is cable news. And he has that position.

I have heard a lot of talk radio -- now, I will give you an example. CNN has Glenn Beck on. Glenn Beck asked my congressman, Keith Ellison, who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, you know, I just want to ask you, how do I know that you're not working with the enemy?

And he said that -- I think he said it on CNN. But he certainly is -- he's on CNN. I don't know why that wasn't grounds for CNN thinking, well, maybe Glenn Beck shouldn't be on. I mean, how dare he say that to a congressman who has just been elected?

And I hear this kind of thing a lot of time. I monitored a lot of right-wing radio when I was doing my show and before it. And I've heard Rush Limbaugh say things that are worse than this. (full transcript below the fold)

And so, I don't know.

KING: Does that make thing then forgivable since others are doing it? You know, if you go, 40, 50 miles an hour, it's not an excuse if other people do it and they stop you. But should he be at least given some rope? FRANKEN: I don't know if I buy the analogy, but I'm not glad I'm making this decision. This is up to CBS' management. Let's put it that way.

KING: You wouldn't want to be in the position to have to make it?

FRANKEN: Well, if I were, I would make it, but that's not my decision, thank you. That's the answer.

KING: With a lot of it going on, are you calling for other dismissals?

FRANKEN: No, I'm not. Just Glenn Beck on your network.

KING: Just Glenn Beck.

KING: He's on "HEADLINE NEWS," right?

FRANKEN: Well, "HEADLINE NEWS" is part of CNN. And...

KING: Have you been on the Imus show?

FRANKEN: I have. I have been on a couple of times over the years. And, you know, after he did the White House -- or no, it wasn't White House correspondent -- it was the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner.

KING: Yes.

FRANKEN: I criticized him then, so we were on the outs. And, you know, one of the worst parts about this, I think, is that he used the defense it was a joke.

Now, Larry, I know that you loved Lenny Bruce. And Lenny Bruce offended people all the time. But there was always an actual point behind it, right?

KING: Correct. Correct.

FRANKEN: There was a joke. The joke meant something. It was about societal hypocrisy. Whatever it was about.

This was -- I don't get this joke. And I don't get the idea of having -- you k now, as someone who has had a radio show, of having a kind of racist sidekick. Which I guess is what it is.

I don't listen to Imus enough. But isn't it -- was that the concept of a show, I'm going to have a vaguely racist sidekick?

KING: I don't think that's the concept of the show. It covers everything.

FRANKEN: OK. KING: It has major political figures, as you know.

FRANKEN: Yes, I know. I know, and that's -- he's sort of trying to be a shock jock and be Tim Russert. And that's a needle you have to thread, and I think it's threadable. And I guess he just didn't do it.

Can you help us out?

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