Joe Scarborough on Monday bashed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for saying the building of the Ground Zero mosque would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.
Scarborough was responding to the following from Sunday's New York Times:
Mr. Gingrich said the proposed mosque would be a symbol of Muslim "triumphalism" and that building the mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks "would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum."
The next day on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Scarborough let Gingrich have it:
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: When I was in Congress in 1994, when I got elected in '94, I was considered to be one of the more conservative guys up there. I was a right-wing nut job and crazy this and crazy that. So far right and yet despite the fact 14 years later, 16 years later, I still have the same views on taxes. I still have the same views on small government. I still have the same views on military. I still have the same views everywhere. I am feeling further and further distant from the people who are running my party and never more distant than this morning when I wake up to read what Newt Gingrich, a guy who's leading in a lot of presidential preference polls across the country said this to say, had this to say about the First Amendment.
"There's nothing surprising in the President's continued pandering to radical Islam. What he said last night is untrue and accurate." And then he went on to say "this would be like putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum." Mark, I don't know where to begin. To suggest that someone trying to build a, a tolerance center for moderate Muslims in New York is the equivalent of killing six million Jews is stunning to me.
To begin with, where does Scarborough get off claiming this is a "tolerance center for moderate Muslims?"
The Imam behind the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is anything but moderate.
Beyond this, the Times piece included edited snippets from remarks made by Gingrich without letting readers know where and when the comments were made.
What came before and after this excerpted sentence that Scarborough found so offensive?
In a post-Shirley Sherrod world, shouldn't commentators be careful about expressing an opinion about excerpted comments? Isn't this especially true for a so-called conservative reading excerpts printed in the New York Times?
For instance, Gingrich said the following on "Fox & Friends" this Monday morning providing a little more context to these twelve words:
GINGRICH: This happens all the time in America. Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.
Much less offensive in that context, correct?
After all, Gingrich's point Monday - and what the majority of Americans are expressing in polls about this subject - is that Ground Zero represents hallowed ground where thousands of our citizens were killed by radical Islamists.
As such, allowing a radical Islamic Imam to build a mosque near Ground Zero in Gingrich's view would be akin to us allowing the Japanese to put up a site near Pearl Harbor or Nazis putting up a sign near the Holocaust Museum.
In that context, what Gingrich said is by no means as offensive as what Scarborough claimed, and he should know better than to assume the twelve words cited by the Times stood by themselves without anything before or after that could result in them being far less caustic.
When so-called conservatives begin bashing members of their own Party because of something written in the New York Times, their judgment is going to be questioned - and with good reason.