Lefties let loose at Public Citizen tribute to Phil Donahue: Love him, hate (almost) everybody else
Get a bunch of lefties together, mix liberally with wine, and the bombs start exploding.
Public Citizen, the consumer group founded by Ralph Nader, gave its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Phil Donahue on Thursday night at the National Press Club. There were plenty of tributes for the talk show host, but it was impossible for the room full of pumped-up progressives to get through the evening without finding plenty of people to criticize -- including Barack Obama.
"We have a president that many of us, particularly here on the left, we really want to cheer," investigative journalist Seymour Hersh told the crowd. "But the reality is -- and it's a horrible reality -- we're probably in more dangerous times now than we even were under Bush and Cheney in terms of this insane war . . . nobody serious thinks we have a chance."
More baddies: MSNBC, which, according to Rep. John Conyers, bounced Donahue from the air for opposing the Iraq war: "He became dangerous to the establishment." Oil companies, big corporations, reporters ("The complicity and the passivity of the of the media today knows no boundaries," Nader said), the Bush administration and the Supreme Court. "This is the most activist court in history and every decision one-sided," Sen. Al Franken told the crowd. "They put not just their thumb on the scales of justice on behalf of corporations, but their fists, with brass knuckles."
But there was only love for Donahue. Before cable, Internet and Oprah, there was the white-haired talk-show host who loved to argue about social and political issues. His syndicated show lasted 26 years and won 20 Emmys. His favorite guest? Nader, who appeared on the show 36 times, more than any other person. The two men became close friends, and Donahue campaigned for Nader in his 2000 presidential bid.
Donahue, now 74 and still brimming with energy, stepped up to accept his award and went on for 40 minutes, without notes and barely taking a breath. "I can't think of any other single development in my own personal life . . . that is more consequential for me than to have met the people through Ralph who have introduced me to so many people of conscience -- to the people I admired and wanted to be," he said.
Do we smell comeback? Stay tuned.
The Reliable Source
July 19, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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