|Posted by Jennifer L Pozner|
September 15th, 2006
NOTE: I began writing this post Thursday afternoon (9/14) in response to my appearance on Scarborough Country the night before (9/13). Before I was able to post the transcript of the episode, I got a call inviting me back for a second appearance last night (9/14). The post below only pertains to that first night’s show. I’ll relate my impressions of the –much more balanced — follow-up segment, and post that transcript some time over the weekend .
As noted here, I appeared Wed. night on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, ostensibly to discuss a media controversy over Rosie O’Donnell’s comments about war, terrorism, radical Islam and radical Christianity on ABC’s The View — though I wasn’t given the opportunity to discuss any media-related points.
You can visit Scarborough Country’s website to see the “Cracked ‘View’” segment for yourself. Note that the segment description conveniently fails to ID me or WIMN, giving the impression that commentator Steve Adubato was the show’s only guest — most likely a simple oversight, but annoyingly typical of major media attempts to erase feminist perspectives from public debate. [NOTE: The blurb on day two repeats this erasure: both guests, a GOP strategist and a progressive woman from the Huffington Post, are ID’d by MSNBC, while I and WIMN are not. Two strikes…]
For those of you without video/high speed access, here’s how it went:
In a segment that spanned 9:57 minutes, host Joe Scarborough denounced Rosie O’Donnell and said she should be forced to apologize for stating her view, Steve Adubato denounced Rosie O’Donnell and said she should be forced to apologize for stating her view, then Joe expressed outrage about how offensive and insane Rosie’s comments were, Steve did the same, and they went on like that… for 3:48 minutes — never once allowing his other guest (that’d be me) to speak.
So, after nearly four minutes of extended mirror-image pontification with Adubato, did Scarborough finally welcome me to the debate?
Not so fast. Far more important to run a different clip from The View, lampooning Barbara Walters’ nutty banter about her dog supposedly barking “I love you.” By the time Joe and Steve were done trading yuks about journalism’s possibly-batty grande dame, 5:23 minutes had passed — only then did Scarborough get around to tossing me a question. I began my first comment at 5:34 into the segment. Then came a little less than three minutes of being interrupted and shouted over by both Scarborough and Adubato, after which Scarborough tossed more questions back to Adubato, then said his own final words (read them in the transcript below).
That’s what often counts as “balance” on cable news: within a ten minute news debate, two men get seven minutes to share conservative points of view wholly uninterrupted by the female guest, who is eventually brought in towards the end of the discussion and given fewer than three antagonistic, interruption-filled minutes in which she must try to say her piece while being shouted down. Fun for the whole family!
The following transcript from the Nexis news database contained some errors; where possible I’ve added corrections - noted in brackets; mispellings are simply corrected without note.
SHOW: SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY 10:00 PM EST
September 13, 2006 Wednesday
SECTION: NEWS; International
GUESTS: Steve Adubato, Jennifer Pozner
[SNIP earlier segments]
Speaking of lack of talent, coming up next: Rosie O`Donnell launches an attack on fundamentalist Christians, comparing them to Islamic fascists. And Barbara Walters — she may have finally lost control of her “View.” She says her dog is talking to her.
[SNIP unrelated promo, then unrelated segments.]
But first, “The View” got nasty on Tuesday when new co-host Rosie O`Donnell compared radical Islamic terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center to Christianity in America. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O`DONNELL, “THE VIEW”: We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries.
[ELISABETH HASSELBECK]: You understand that the belief funding those attacks, OK, that is widespread. If you take radical Islam and you want to talk about what is going on there you have to .
O`DONNELL: One second. Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We`re a democracy.
[HASSELBECK]: We are not bombing ourselves here in the country.
O`DONNELL: But they are bombing innocent people [in] other countries, true or false.
[JOY BEHAR]: But Christians are not threatening to kill us.
UNIDENTFIIED FEMALE: Well Iran hasn`t threatened to kill us. Iraq hadn`t. Iran is a danger. Iraq and Afghanistan never threatened to kill us. Ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With us again Dr. Steve Adubato.
I cannot believe what I just heard.
STEVE ADUBATO, AUTHOR “MAKE THE CONNECTION”: I`m sorry. I was thrown off.
SCARBOROUGH: I seriously and so thrown off by that.
Any, Steve, of course, media analyst and he is author of the book “Make the Connection.”
And Jennifer Pozner, media analyst and founder of Women in Media and News.
Steve, I really do not know what to say. We have a lady who is comparing Christianity in America with Islamic fascists who want to kill as many Americans as they can.
Why does Barbara Walters allow this to go on on a very powerful, very important morning show?
ADUBATO: Joe, I`m going to get a couple things off my chest. First of all, I, like Rosie, I imagine, some other so-called liberals — sometimes I call myself a liberal, against the war in Iraq.
[But I gotta] tell you something. I do not understand when she compared Christian fundamentalists or Christian radicals to Islamic radicals. You have to have some evidence, some proof, even if it is anecdotal, Joe. She has to be pressed to demonstrate her point.
When you say something so unbelievably off the wall and irresponsible when almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, she says it the day after. I have to say, Joe, my problem with “The View” is this. Is a total entertainment? Is it a little bit newsy? Is there any standard? Does Rosie have to be accountable [for anything] or does she just say what she wants. Rosie, just apologize real quick.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, she needs to apologize really quickly. ABC needs to get her to apologize, but Steve, here`s the deal. If it were just some fluffy show in the morning, we would not be talking tonight about it but across the table from Rosie is a lady who is a true trailblazer in American news. A female — I mean the female trailblazer when it comes to journalism. How does she sit back and allow a lady to compare Christianity with the radicalized faith of Osama bin Laden?
And again, listen, I am not talking about this [as a] conservative or a liberal or Republican or a Democrat. This is offensive to 90 percent of Americans.
ADUBATO: Joe, she cannot be allowed to get away with saying that. She has every right to express her view, as she says, it`s the name of the show. but she has to be held accountable. Barbara has to say, look, we have some standards. I`m a journalist and I am a trailblazer. For [30, 40] years I`ve been doing this. Rosie, it is not your show. Barbra, step up and do it.
SCARBOROUGH: You can even talk about in Iraq right now [again]. And it is such a mess over there. But you look to the people who were blowing up Muslims now over the past two years it has been radical Muslims who want to kill radical — It is the biggest lie. And I am shocked that she got away with it. I want to show you another clip and we`re going to get to Jennifer in a second but I want to show you another clip about what happened on Tuesday where we had Barbara Walters talking about when she talks to the animals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, “THE VIEW”: I was going out the other night and I was standing at the elevator with my darling woman who has then running my home and life for 32 years. Ikadel Tomlinson (ph). Se were standing there and Chcha (ph) had a little dog face. Sometimes I sort of look .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say it, Barbara. Spit it out.
WALTERS: I said, I love you Chacha. I love you. And Chacha said to me, “I love you.” That is how she said. She really does. What did you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said she really did talk? I think that is cute. She said, I really do think she said something to me. I said, Barbara, you cannot go out there. I don`t know if you`re OK today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, what has happened to Barbara Walters? She really does think her dog is talking.
ADUBATO: Joe, you`re being ridiculous. Barbara was doing shtick. She was having fun. She wasn`t being serious. Obviously this is Barbara Walters we`re talking about.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. The Associated Press wrote an article asking the question whether Barbara Walters was losing it.
ADUBATO: She was joking around, Joe. I`m not going to buy it. I have too much respect for Barbara Walters. I come on the show all the time trashing this person in the media or that person. I am not doing it because I refuse to believe that Barbara Walters believes that her dog told her that he loved her. Maybe she wanted to. It could have happened in her mind, but Barbara, please say you were joking. Real fast. It is almost as bad as Rosie.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer, could this Rosie O`Donnell comment possibly be good for ratings? It seems to me that Star Jones [ain’t] looking too bad for ABC and “The View” right now.
JENNIFER POZNER, WOMEN IN MEDIA AND NEWS FOUNDER: Well, ratings aside I think the real issue is Rosie O`Donnell may have been insensitive in her comments but I think that there is a nuance that has been missing in this discussion so far. She did not say that radical Islam was comparative with Christianity in America. She compared [it] with radical Christianity in America.
[SCARBOROUGH: What is radical Christianity in America?] Are Christians running around blowing people up?
[POZNER] Actually, yes. And I`ll give you a good example. Since - between 1999 and 2001, eight dead and 33 gravely wounded, 10 arsons and attempted arsons — [I’m sorry] 20 arsons and attempted arsons and 10 bombings and attempted bombings all by fundamentalist Christian anti-abortionists against women`s health centers and abortion clinics and doctors and harassment of children [of doctors].
SCARBOROUGH: Listen. You are trying to compare some random acts by whackos
POZNER: [No, no, no] not random acts.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second.
[SCARBOROUGH]: You are comparing those scattered events [that I must tell you that] I`m not even aware of with what happened on September 11th.
POZNER: No, I’m not. Steve said that there should be some fundamental evidence about radical Christianity. I’m not saying at all - and I’m a New Yorker and I lived through 9/11 like all the other New Yorkers did. And it’is a very personal thing for me. [And so] I’m not saying that there is a comparison with 9/11. What I am saying is that there is danger in any fundamentalist religion.
SCARBOROUGH: Sure. I will be the first to agree. I am from Pensacola, Florida where they had abortion clinic bombings [back] in the `80s. I understand that.
[POZNER: For the last thirty years –]
SCARBOROUGH: But she compared — hold on a second.
POZNER: You asked me a question.
SCARBOROUGH: There is no more relevancy.
POZNER: You asked me a question and I would like to answer it.
SCARBOROUGH: You are trying to say that, that, hold on a second.
POZNER: I`m [giving you evidence, I’m giving you evidence] about bombings, arson and murder.
SCARBOROUGH: This is my question to you, OK? [That’s fine.] This is my question [to you], then. If you want to put it out there, let`s put it on a [balance] scale. You say you’re a New Yorker. As a New Yorker do you fear for your life from these so- called radical Christians or [from] radical Muslim extremists working for al Qaeda?
POZNER: Here’s how I`m going to answer that. I actually fear for my life — I have feared for my life significantly over the last two decades off and on volunteering for women`s health clinics because, for example, Clayton Lee Wagner, who is on the FBI`s most wanted terrorist list and escaped from a custody –
[NOTE: Throughout the following section both host and guest shouted over me and interrupted me constantly; as a result, the information and quotes I offered were at times barely audible]
SCARBOROUGH: [Wait, wait, wait, ] What`s your answer?
POZNER: I`m answering your question. Clayton Lee Wagner was a member of the Army of God and said as he escaped from the FBI most wanted list posted on the Army of God Web site —
[STEVE ADUBATO: Joe. Oy vey, Joe. That’s not gonna fly.]
POZNER: He said “I`m a terrorist. God free me from jail to make war on his enemy, ”
SCARBOROUGH: Here`s the problem. The problem [Jennifer, Jennifer]
POZNER: “It doesn`t matter if you`re a woman or nurse or a receptionist [or a bookkeeper or a janitor, if you work for the abortionists,” he said, “I will kill you.”
SCARBOROUGH: [the problem with that ] Jennifer, there is no sense of proportion in your argument. There is no sense of proportion [in] Rosie O`Donnell`s argument. You`re looking silly .
POZNER: My argument is not the same. OK. Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: . right now by suggesting that there is a comparison. Steve?
ADUBATO: Let me just say this. I appreciate what is being said because I have been critical of some of those bombings of abortion clinics, but I have to say this. There is absolutely no moral equivalent. Rosie couldn`t back it up. And you didn`t back it up tonight. It is reprehensible.
SCARBOROUGH: It is reprehensible. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Jennifer.
And I want to make a personal comment. Because I agree with Jennifer that extremists in any religion are dangerous. And I saw extremists up close and personal in Pensacola, Florida and it is frightening. Anybody that uses God as an excuse to kill other people who do not believe like they do either politically or religiously are dangerous.
But to try to put some sort of equality — some sort of balance between the threat that radical Islam causes to this country and radical Christianity is an absolute disgrace. ABC needs to apologize. Rosie O`Donnell needs to apologize.
And if she does not back off of her statement, she needs to be forced from “The View.” That is not free speech. That is lunacy. And it is dangerous and it spreads hatred.
We will be right back.