David Gregory paints this phony outrage as a firestorm, but Friedman has to correct him. Even Tom Brokaw was stunned at the ignorance and stupidity of the right wingers going ballistic over President Obama's speech to our school kids.
MR. GREGORY: We brought it up with David Axelrod. Well, this has created such a firestorm. Here's the New Canaan Public Schools, writing a parent letter, and in it they say this. "In developing their plans our principals have considered issues such as developmental appropriateness, curricular relevance, the time at which the speech is being broadcast and the importance of teachers assuming responsibility for the selection of instructional materials. In elementary schools the administration and faculty will view the speech, download it and after discussing it, make decisions regarding how it might be used in the future--including deciding its appropriateness for various grade levels. Parents will be notified, if and when, the decision to show the speech is made." Tom Brokaw, talk about tortured language. What's going on here?
MR. FRIEDMAN: Signs of the apocalypse. I mean, really.
MR. BROKAW: It's stunning to me. I come from a time and a place in America where it would be thrilling to have a president of the United States address your school about the importance of studying and staying in school. And this president, whatever else you think about his political philosophy, is a symbol of working hard, coming from difficult circumstances and getting to where he is in part because of education. I think it's so ripe for satire, it's unbelievable. The superintendent of the Gettysburg Public School System said today that they have devised a plan for students to be shielded from a President Abraham Lincoln who will be coming to make an address. Look, that is the most tortured thing I can possibly imagine, what we just read there. It sounds like East Germany trying to form some restrictions on people leaving the eastern sector to go into the western sector. I think it's perfectly appropriate for parents to say, "I don't want my child to hear that. I would rather keep them out or put them in a different school that day." But this is completely out of control, in my judgment. And it's not--it's not partisan. I mean, if--when I was a student or when my children were in school...
MR. GREGORY: Right.
MR. BROKAW: ...if it had been Dwight Eisenhower or John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan or George Bush, the idea of hearing a president of the United States saying we should study hard and that's how we advance and we all need to get in on, on this, I think is an appropriate message.
MR. GREGORY: Mayor Giuliani, you ran for president and one of the things that I've noticed in my experience covering a Republican president,George W. Bush, is the lack of respect for the institution of the presidency. Whether it's people saying during Bush's time, "Hey, he's not my president." Well, no, yes, he is. Does that trouble you?
MR. GIULIANI: Yes, it does, and Tom is right. But the difference is we looked at President Eisenhower or President Reagan, even up to about that point, even President Bush 41 differently. There's a lack of respect for the president, there's a lack of respect for politicians. And David Axelrod said, "Well, this isn't politics." Everything the president does nowadays is politics, for better or worse. And I think that's what you're seeing. You're seeing people distrust the president's motives or the administration's motives. It's not just about the speech, it's about the lesson plan. I think it's unfortunate and I think, you know, what's the--it almost seems a shame to say what's the harm in a president speaking to a group of children.
FMR. REP. FORD: I wish when I was in fourth...
MR. GIULIANI: I think, I think the president should be given the opportunity to do it.
MR. FRIEDMAN: But David, you know, you said, it's a firestorm. And we live in the age of firestorms. You know, today, or this week, it's the president speaking in school. What it needs is for people to stand up and say that's flat out stupid, OK? That's flat out stupid what you're talking about. The president of the United States, addressing schoolchildren in this country to study hard, work hard because that's the way you advance in today's global economy. And instead of that, we kind of dance around it, you know. It's flat out stupid.
Wow, Friedman said something I can get behind here. "Signs of the apocalypse." That's how their reaction is to everything done by the president. Why didn't Gregory call it stupid too? Rudy couldn't even defend their actions. That's saying a lot when the only thing he can come up with is that it's all politics now. How does that make it OK? When will the media start acting like the f*&king media? They can't even do it for something as absurd as this.