MSNBC's Martin Bashir Blames GOP for Cantaloupe Food Poisoning Deaths

In an outrageous rant during his 3 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC on Friday, host Martin Bashir actually attempted to blame budget cutting by Republican lawmakers for a deadly outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe: "John Boehner and his Republican majority decided to gut the food safety and inspection service....Cut, cut, cut. Now the results are in. 16 people have lost their lives."

Bashir went on to blame free market principles in general for the outbreak: "Republicans in Congress talk proudly of their commitment of laissez-faire economics, where government gets out of the way and everything works perfectly. You try telling that to those who ate melon with a side of listeria."

View video after the jump

At the same time, Bashir portrayed President Obama as the would-be hero of the story, foiled by the villainous GOP: "Earlier this year, he signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law....he actually tried to do something....But guess what actually happened? The proposal died on the vine."

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Here is a full transcript of the September 30 segment:

3:23PM ET

MARTIN BASHIR: Federal authorities now say that 16 people have died after eating cantaloupe infected with listeria. Among them, William Beach from Mustang, Oklahoma, seen here, who died at the age of 87. His wife found him collapsed on the living room floor struggling to breathe. At least 72 others have been sickened and authorities say those numbers, sadly, are expected to rise.

And while the source of the outbreak has been identified, that doesn't resolve the root cause of the problem. For far too many years the safety of food in this country has been the subject of conjecture and each outbreak of E-coli or salmonella is always followed by cries for tougher safety standards. And the President heard those cries. Earlier this year, he signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law, bringing about the largest change to this nation's food safety laws since the 1930s. Yes, he actually tried to do something about it. The President also called for an additional $120 million in funding in order to employ more inspectors so that cantaloupe for brunch would not mean admission to hospital by lunch.

But guess what actually happened? The proposal died on the vine. Worse still, John Boehner and his Republican majority decided to gut the FDA's food safety and inspection service. First, slashing $87 million from its budget and then another $35 million from the USDA for good measure. Cut, cut, cut. And now the results are in. 16 people have lost their lives. Close to 100 are sick.

Republicans in Congress talk proudly of their commitment of laissez-faire economics, where government gets out of the way and everything works perfectly. You try telling that to those who ate melon with a side of listeria.

Throughout the weekend, you can get the latest from the show on Twitter at Twitter.com/BashirLive and Facebook at Facebook.com/Martin Bashir. Don't bother reaching for the stars. When we come back, the other programs Republicans want to cut.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC