MSNBC's Roberts Cheers Illinois Dem for Getting Arrested for 'Great Cause' of Amnesty
Shortly before the conclusion of the October 9 edition of his MSNBC Live program, anchor Thomas Roberts treated Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to a softball interview regarding the pro-amnesty Camino Americano rally held Tuesday on the National Mall, which she attended. Roberts failed to pose any tough policy-oriented questions to Schakowsky on the matter of immigration reform, nor did he bring on another guest who disagreed with the Democrat-favored approach to the policy.
But what takes the cake is how, at the end of his brief chat with the liberal congresswoman, Roberts cheered Schakowsky for getting arrested Tuesday subsequent to the rally, gushing that "it's good that your rap sheet is getting longer for a great cause." Schakowsky was arrested for blocking a public street near the Capitol, not for expressing her views on immigration reform legislation [MP3 audio available here; watch the video below the page break].
To his credit, Roberts did ask Schakowsky about the criticism from conservatives that it was improper for the National Park Service to allow a political demonstration on the National Mall, which was supposedly closed to the public, when it's keeping Americans from enjoying open-air war memorials in the District of Columbia:
What do you say about the critics that charge that the Obama Administration allowed the immigration rally to take place on the National Mall, that's a national park, just a week after veterans have been impacted, not being able to go and visit their national memorials.
Schakowsky answered that the city government of the District of Columbia was picking up the tab for National Mall cleanup, which is true, but she also evaded answering the underlying charge of hypocrisy and political favoritism.
[As CNN reported, the National Park Service insists that the U.S. Park Police were "working at full capacity... to protect life and property." If that's the case, then surely the Park Police are out in sufficient force to protect tourists at the various memorials on national park land in the nation's capital and there's no good reason to close off open-air monuments in Washington.]
Roberts, for his part, failed to press the matter further, electing instead to close with a lighthearted treatment of her arrest by U.S. Capitol Police -- the law enforcement agency charged with protecting the U.S. Capitol complex:
THOMAS ROBERTS, anchor: Explain to all of us the process of a congressperson getting arrested. Do you have bail money in your shoe?
Rep. SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I had it in my pocket. You do have to have your $50 ready to go. But you know, I joined people for whom this was a serious commitment. Out of the maybe 20,000 people, as you said, over 150 were arrested, showing a willingness to commit civil disobedience in order to draw attention to the need for a vote. It's really that simple. Call the vote, let the Congress have its will. Let the republican leader call the vote just like we want for the shutdown, for immigration reform. We think both would pass.
ROBERTS: Well, it's good that your rap sheet is getting longer for a great cause. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Thanks so much for being here today, and I'd like to know the secrets to know about where you're keeping your bail money. You know, I would keep it in my shoe.
SCHAKOWSKY: Right in your pocket.
ROBERTS: Right in your pocket, that's a good place just as well. Thanks so much, I do appreciate your time.
Moments later, passing the baton on to lunchtime anchor Alex Wagner, Roberts kept prattling about how he'd keep bail money in his shoe in case of arrest at a left-wing protest:
ROBERTS: Now with Alex Wagner is coming up next. So Alex, I would definitely go bail money in the shoe. I have a tendency to lose things out of my pocket.
ALEX WAGNER: At this point, I'm ready to hide my money under my mattress, [given] where we're headed on October 20 [with the debt ceiling deadline].