04t: Lindsay Lohan / Coldplay
Chris Matthews.....Darrell Hammond
Michael Isikoff.....Chris Parnell
Condoleeza Rice.....Maya Rudolph
Zell Miller.....Will Forte
Chris Matthews: Welcome back to "Hardball", I'm Chris Matthews! [ audience erupts into applause ] The war in Iraq gets stickier by the minute. The filibuster's about to disappear faster than a box of donuts in Star Jones' dressing room. Meanwhile, the only big-league political issue Americans seem to care about is which "American Idol" contestant is boning Paula Abdul! Lukily, there's a whole new controversy brewing - this time, the news is the news. Monday, Newsweek magaine was forced to back off a story which asserted that U.S. forces dsecrated the Quran. Then, just yesterday, this photo is released: [ holds up front page of New York Post: "Butcher of Baghdad - Exclusive - Inside Saddam's Prison Cell" headline with photo of Saddam Hussein in only his underwear ] No, that's not the Arab Abercrombie & Finch catalog. It's Saddam Hussein in his tightie-whities. Who's controlling our foreign policy - the Bush administration, or the media? Here to talk about this controversy, is one of the journalists at the center of all this hullabaloo, Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff.
Michael Isikoff: Glad to be here, Chris.
Chris Matthews: You might want to check your sources on that. Also with us, fresh off her trip to Iraw, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
Condoleeze Rice: Thank you, Chris. As always, the adminsitration welcomes the chance --
Chris Matthews: [ sternly ] And.. no! Mr. Isikoff, we're gonna start with you. You're a veteran reporter, you helped break the Abu Ghraib story, the Lewinsky scandal, Iran-Contra! What happened with the Quran story? Did you get your source out of Dan Rather's rolodex? Are you just gonna print anyone tells you, or what?
Michael Isikoff: Chris, before we go to press, each story is put through a rigorous process of fact-checking to make ure it holds up. First, we ask the surce if he or she is lying. If the answer is "Yes," we will not use that source. If the answer is "No," we then ask them, "Are you sure?" If the answer to that question is "Yes," we follow up with a very stern, "Promise?" Then, "You swear you're not lying?" It's a pretty air-tight process, Chris.
Chris Matthews: Why do I get the feeling it's incredibly easy to prank call Newsweek magazine? Madame Secretary, the administration has chastized Newsweek for printing a story which relied on faulty information, now you claim you are investigating the Saddam cheesecake photos. I ask you, is the administration losing control faster than Billy Joel behind the wheel after a ten-martini linch?
Condoleeze Rice: Chris, I think everyone would agree that, up until the media got involved, things were going pretty great in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chris Matthews: Madame Secretary, that's the dumbest thing I ever heard. But I want to see where this is going.
Condoleeze Rice: [ continues ] The media needs to be held responsible for the stories it reports. If not, this admistration is prepared to take action.
Chris Matthews: Okay, like what?
Condoleeze Rice: Well, there are a lot of options on the table. Our government might invade Newsweek mmagazine. Or we might start our own administration, and have picutres of journalists, suhc as you, Chris Matthews, in your underwear. [ holds up doctored photo of Chris Matthews' head over Saddam Hussein'ssemi-nude body, with headline "Welcome To Lard Ball!" ] Lard Ball!
Chris Matthews: Good Lord. Joining us now to shout about God knows what, everyone's favoite looney tune - former senator and current Fox News contributor, Zell Miller! Zell, whattaya got for us?
Zell Miller: [ his face turns more red with each word ] I'm sick of hearing about Newsweek magaine!! Let me tell you what we used to do when some yellow-bellied desk jockey wrote something we didn't like!! We roundedup our boys, got ourselves some crow bars and shotguns and we'd head on down to the local pronting press to have ourseles a "ta-alk"! After we were done "talking", we'd throw a couple of kerosene lamps through the window, and the problem's solved!!
Chris Matthews: This is why I come into work every day, folks. Final thouhts, Michael Issikoff?
Michael Isikoff: [ covering the mouthpiece of the telephone he's speaking into ] I'm afraid I don't have the time, Chris. We just received an important lead. Apparently, Prince Albert is trapped in a can and must be let out. May God be with him.
Chris Matthews: [ holding a telephone to his ear ] You don't say? Ha! [ hangs up the telephone ] Condoleeza Rice?
Condoleeze Rice: Chris, the freedom of the press is something the Bush administration loves about this county. Don't make us take it away.
Chris Matthews: Zell Miller - go.
Zell Miller: Let me tell you, Matthews! This country's got a real problem with the media, and you're one of them! If you can't control that dirty liberal thing you call a mouth, then maybe I'll have to jump on my horse and come up north myself and put a sock in it!! Do you hear me, Chris Matthews?!! Do you hear me?!! [ now completely red in the face ]
Chris Matthews: When we return, Saddam in his speedo, Condi takes over Newsweek, Zell Miller explodes. But, until then, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!"