Finally some people on cable news are telling the truth. Howard Dean was on MSNBC Live this morning, and host Stephanie Ruhle wanted to make this segment about Dean's tongue-in-cheek "accusations" of cocaine use during Trump's sniffly debate performance.
But Howard Dean knew that wasn't the story. Not on a day when Donald Trump is tweeting sex tape slut shaming at 4 in the morning. And it is long past time for someone to say to the media that you built this monster with your addiction to ratings.
The video above is so awesome. Here's the rough transcript if you can't watch at work, emphasis added:
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: Howard Dean has called Donald Trump a crazy person and a serial liar, but now, Governor Dean is on the receiving end of some criticism for suggesting Trump uses cocaine. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted, “This is nuts.” And the left-leaning website Vox said Dean disgraced himself with his remarks. I want to bring in Howard Dean right now, he's also a former MSNBC contributor and former DNC chairman and a surrogate for the Clinton campaign. Good morning, Governor Dean. I have to remind people, you did tweet this and doubled down earlier this week with Kate Snow. Take a look. [video clip]
HOWARD DEAN: Right. He sniffs during the presentation, which is something that users do. He also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem. Do I think at 70 years old he has a cocaine problem? Probably not. It's something would be interesting to ask him and see if he ever had a problem with that.
RUHLE: Do you stand by saying that?
DEAN: I'm smiling because you said right now, he's a contributor for MSNBC. Does that mean tomorrow I may not be?
RUHLE: Of course not. I'm saying your newest endeavor --
DEAN: Okay, so let's let me be serious about this. First of all, Donald Trump was up in the wee hours of the morning. I just saw Katy Tur's tweets. He was tweeting at 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning about sex tapes. This is a guy running for President of the United States.
RUHLE: We're going to talk about Donald Trump, and he gives you low-hanging fruit to go after every day like why is he tweeting at 3:00 a.m. But you're a member of the Democratic Party. Michelle Obama, who has had the line, when they go low, we go high, saying that Donald Trump was maybe coked up, come on, he has no history of that.
DEAN: If I could -- well, I don't know that we know that. If we -- if I could finish my sentence, what I was about to say was that people who stay up at 3:00 and 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning tweeting about sex tapes, these are not normal people. There is something the matter with him, and I don't know what it is. Let me say this. I would be very willing to apologize, not to Donald Trump, but I don't think using innuendo is a good thing, but the problem is much greater than that. I would like the media of this country to apologize. You have used -- not you personally, but we have used a double standard on Donald Trump and donated to Donald Trump, $2 billion of free time. Why? because his ratings are great. The Trump show, the Trump Chinese ties and the Trump meat, and the Trump stuff, all this stuff -- keeping Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders off the air on the night of the Florida primary, calling in to talk shows, including the most venerable talk shows in the country, the Sunday talk shows, you think Tim Russert or Bob Schieffer would have let a candidate call in to the talk shows in his pajamas? The media is giving them a free ride because he was great for the ratings. The real job of the media is to defend democracy.
RUHLE: And Donald Trump is the nominee for the Republican Party. He did win the primary.
DEAN: And why do you think that is? Having beat three or four, six people who were capable of being an adequate President of the United States. It's because the mainstream media gave him a pass. When his surrogates said Hillary Clinton had Parkinson's disease and would be dead in six months, did I hear pompous hand-wringing editorials on Bloomberg news? I didn't. I'm always --
RUHLE: When Rudy Giuliani was going after Hillary Clinton's health, we raised our hands. Our own Chris Matthews went after Rudy Giuliani himself. Donald Trump got the nomination. Can we say it's the media's fault? Is there not a large part of this country who has said we want change? Whether it's Donald or not, the media wanted change or the country wanted change?
DEAN: I think the media's job, above all, and yes, you have to make money and have ratings, the media's job above all is to protect American democracy by telling the truth. And for eight months of Donald Trump's campaign, you gave him free air time, let him call in, let him say anything he wanted. Again, this is not about you personally, and it's not about MSNBC. I'm proud to be a contributor of MSNBC, even if I may not be tomorrow, but I think this is a serious problem. I'm not unwilling to apologize for using innuendo. I don't think that's a reasonable thing to do. Donald Trump has used innuendo from the day he got into this campaign, and you media have not called him on it. You're calling him on it now. It's a little late after he knocked off very capable Republican people who could have given us a real race and had confidence that either one of these people could have been a good President. We don't have that confidence now. We have somebody running who is completely incompetent and you know shouldn't be President of the United States, and so do apparently all the editorial boards in the country, including those of the most conservative papers in the United States.
RUHLE: If pointing the finger at Donald Trump's behavior saying he shouldn't behave like that, but you want to behave like Donald is in terms of innuendo and a tweet like this. Why would you want to --
DEAN: Stephanie, I did that on purpose so I could say just exactly what I said. And so I apologize for using innuendo. I don't think it's a good thing to do. I don't think it's the right thing to do. This entire campaign has been debased by innuendo. Where was the mainstream media calling out innuendo 15 months ago when Donald Trump started running for President of the United States? That's what I want to know.
Do your job.