Less than two weeks into his new gig anchoring the 3 p.m. Eastern hour at MSNBC, Martin Bashir has already called the Tea Party "disingenuous," hailed Obama's response to the crisis in Libya, and supported raising taxes on the rich.
This afternoon Bashir added another item to that liberal laundry list.
While President Barack Obama was delivering a speech on education reform in Boston, the former ABC "Nightline" anchor seized on the opportunity to advance the fallacious narrative that Republican governors across the country are trying to vilify public school teachers.
[Video embedded after the page break.]
"How did teachers become public enemy number one?" teased Bashir before interviewing liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on the other side of the commercial break.
"Why is it that not a day passes when a governor or somebody else attacks the value of teachers?" lamented Bashir, who provided scant evidence to support his claims.
Brown's response apparently failed to satisfy Bashir, who proceeded to rephrase his leading question with a more pointed rebuke of Govs. Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and John Kasich: "Teacher pensions, retirement funds, and other financial accounts were literally decimated by the banks in the financial meltdown of 2008, but today we're hearing Republican governors from Wisconsin to New Jersey to Ohio blaming teachers for their states' financial woes. That just doesn't add up, does it?"
Despite Bashir's liberal spin, Walker is not "blaming teachers" for anything. In fact, Walker stressed in his recent "fireside chat" to the people of Wisconsin that his budget repair bill is designed to strengthen the public education system and put the state on more solid fiscal footing.
"When our bill passes, these school districts can opt to switch into the state plan and save $68 million per year," declared Walker. "Those savings could be used to pay for more teachers and put more money into the classroom to help our kids."
In his February 22 address, Walker responded directly to critics like Bashir who baselessly accuse him of demonizing teachers: "You see, despite a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard over the past 11 days the bill I put forward isn’t aimed at state workers, and it certainly isn’t a battle with unions. If it was, we would have eliminated collective bargaining entirely or we would have gone after the private-sector unions."
For those keeping score, this is the second time in as many weeks that Bashir has shamelessly lobbed softballs at liberal politicians with whom he agrees to advance his political agenda.
A transcript of the relevant portions of the segment can be found below:
March 8, 2011
3:40 p.m. EST
MARTIN BASHIR: We'll come back in a moment and we'll ask: how did teachers become public enemy number one? We'll clear the air just ahead.
BASHIR: How central do you think education is to the future prosperity of this country? And why is it that not a day passes when a governor or somebody else attacks the value of teachers?
Sen. SHERROD BROWN (D-Ohio): Two very different questions obviously. I don't get this, attacking teachers. My mom was a teacher, everybody had a favorite teacher, I thought everybody knew that teachers were not doing it for the money, they're not getting rich. So by and large they're people who give so much to their students. I don't really get this kind of attack on teachers or for that matter an attack on police and fire. I do think that our government is never engaged enough on education. I like what the president is doing with technical education and STEM education. I was in Cleveland not too long ago, Cleveland City Schools, it's got a great name, it's called the MC^2 STEM school in the city of Cleveland. I mean I look at what they do for young lives and what's more important than that?
BASHIR: Teacher pensions, retirement funds, and other financial accounts were literally decimated by the banks in the financial meltdown of 2008, but today we're hearing Republican governors from Wisconsin to New Jersey to Ohio blaming teachers for their states' financial woes. That just doesn't add up, does it?
BROWN: To me it doesn't and I don't think the public's buying it.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.