"Today" show host Matt Lauer on Thursday inadvertently mixed up the names of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, an error similar to one made by Dick Cheney and used by MSNBC's David Shuster on Tuesday to attack the former Vice President in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch segment. Will Shuster now take on his NBC colleague? Talking with journalist Richard Wolffe, Lauer mentioned a new bin Laden audiotape and jumbled, "In it he mentions Osama, he mentions Barack Obama..." [Audio available here]
On June 1, giving a speech to the National Press Cub, Cheney said of bin Laden, "I don't think he can have much impact now in terms of managing the organization because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile." During a June 2 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment on "MSNBC News Live," Shuster played the clip and then erupted, "Obama, Osama. Good grief!" He sarcastically added, "Now, I'm sure, I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." (The cable anchor also attacked the ex-VP for other reasons in the piece.)
So, considering that it's unlikely Shuster will place Lauer in "Hypocrisy Watch" (a segment designed to seek out hypocritical public figures), will he now recognize that many politicians and journalists have made this verbal miscue?
A transcript of Lauer's question to Richard Wolffe and of Shuster's comments on Cheney can be found below:
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about this audiotape that surfaced in the last 24 to 48 hours apparently from Osama Bin Laden. In it he mentions Osama, he mentions Barack Obama and says that he has planted the seeds of hatred and vengeance among Muslims. Now if you ask me, he's done President Obama a big favor here. Doesn't he give him street cred by mentioning his name and taking him on at this particular moment?
"MSNBC News Live"
DAVID SHUSTER: By the way, listen to how Dick Cheney yesterday referred to Osama bin Laden.
CHENEY: I don't think he can have much impact now in terms of managing the organization because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile.
SHUSTER: Obama, Osama. Good grief! Now, I'm sure, I'm sure that was an innocent mistake. But, here's a fact, Dick. Your Iraq war inflamed the Muslim world, bred a new generation of terrorists who hate America and cost the lives of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers. When you of all people claim the Obama administration is making America less safe, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong.