MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Hypes Pro-gay Rights Lady Gaga as the 'Joan Baez of Her Time'
MSNBC News Live host Thomas Roberts on Monday pleaded with his Twitter followers to help get Lady Gaga on his program, at one point hyping the pro-gay rights singer as the "Joan Baez of her time." [MP3 audio here.]
In the 11am hour, Roberts, who is openly gay and hosted The Advocate On-Air, explained that he had Tweeted Lady Gaga to come on the air and talk about her appearance in Maine to rally support for overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell. He lobbied, "And I want Gaga to join me. So, I want you to help me. I've sent her a message at Twitter.com/LadyGaga and you should too."
He later begged, "So, keep it up out there, Gaga little monsters. Write to @LadyGaga. Try and convince her to come on the show at two o'clock. We'll even do a phoner with her." (Little monsters is the nickname for Gaga fans.)
Roberts enthused over the singer, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Talking to radio host Michael Smerconish, he speculated, "So, will Lady Gaga become the Joan Baez of her time?"
Roberts later compared, "And in your opinion, is this like Oprah supporting Obama?"
MSNBC's daytime anchors, supposedly delivering objective news, have a history of arguing, on-air, for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Contessa Brewer, a colleague of Roberts, is another example.
Partial transcripts for the September 20 segments can be found below:
THOMAS ROBERTS: Lady Gaga is using her star power today to fight the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on gay service members. A proposal to repeal the measure attached to a defense spending bill that is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow. Lady Gaga is attending a rally in Maine today. Maine's senators could cast the deciding votes in favor of the bill. And I'm going to be hosting the 2pm hour right here on MSNBC. And I want Gaga to join me. So, I want you to help me. I've sent her a message at Twitter.com/LadyGaga and you should too. See, that's what it says: "Help me get @ Lady Gaga on my 2:00 p.m. hour." Help me. Little monsters out there. I think that's- Right? I think that's what they're called? I'm asking Courtney Hazlett. She's right here. But, anyway, little monsters, help me get Lady Gaga on at two o'clock so we can talk about what she's got planned in Portland, Maine.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to MSNBC. And I'm asking you to help me today in my Twitter campaign to get Lady Gaga on my 2:00 show here on MSNBC. This is the tweet that I sent to Lady Gaga earlier today, and everyone out there: "Help me get @LadyGaga on my 2pm hour on MSNBC. Want to talk to her about the Maine rally on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the repeal." So, it's coming up today at 4pm in Portland, Maine. She's trying to get Senator Collins and Senator Snowe's attention there in that state. But, I've been getting people tweeting me back really nice stuff. JJLucasH saying, "Hey, Lady Gaga, we need you to contact Thomas Roberts for this important 2pm show." Also, I like this one from UNCJohnny: "Make an anchor boy happy." That would be me. Help me get @LadyGaga on my 2pm hour on @MSNBC. So, keep it up out there, Gaga little monsters. Write to @LadyGaga. Try and convince her to come on the show at two o'clock. We'll even do a phoner with her. We want to hear why she's doing this at 4pm in Portland, Maine.
ROBERTS: I want to tell you about Lady Gaga moonlighting as a Washington lobbyist. The pop superstar isn't giving up her singing gig, but she's holding a rally in Maine today, making her case to Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to end the military's policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And here's the pitch she has out there on YouTube.
LADY GAGA: Ultimately, the law is being enforced using gay profiling. And gay soldiers have become targets. In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it's not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government.
ROBERTS: So this comes a week after the MTV Music Awards when she was escorted by members of the military who were being kicked out for admitting they are gay. I started a Twitter campaign to get Gaga on the show. Unfortunately, we were told she's not doing press before this.
ROBERTS: So, will Lady Gaga become the Joan Baez of her time? Michael Smerconish is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and a MSNBC contributor. All right, Michael. Give me your take. What do you think?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: My take- Thomas, I get nervous when entertainment figures weigh in on matters of politics. But, Long ago I had to cross the bridge and say if I pick my entertainers by politics, I would have nobody to listen to and no movies to watch. She has a constituency. And we are such a segmented society. When you think of all the different media outlets, the different internet web sites and so forth that are out there- And I'm sure she has a constituency that Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins may not hear from on this issue or any other. So, for that matter, yeah. I take it seriously. I think that there's a group of people will come out and be energized like they haven't because of Lady Gaga.
ROBERTS: Well, she has over six million Twitter followers. I think she's the number one followed person. And isn't Don't Ask, Don't Tell just a matter of time? So, going after a youth culture, maybe as she is, is the right way to go?
SMERCONISH: Well, I think you raise a great point. My view is that the heavy lifting halready been done on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I do believe it's a matter of time. On a whole host of issues having to do with same-sex relationships. So, so, perhaps, you know, she smells victory on this and wants to be, in part, credited. I guess that's a cynical take. But I do think it's going to happen. And I do believe this will have some impact in energizing people who up until now haven't been heard from on it.
ROBERTS: And in your opinion, is this like Oprah supporting Obama?
SMERCONISH: Uh, I don't- You know, dare I say it, I've got more respect for Oprah than Lady Gaga. [laughs] I don't know, man. I- You'll have to make that judgment.
ROBERTS: But still you understand the power that she has. And when she wields it, and she does so in an effective way, it can make a difference.
SMERCONISH: There's no doubt about it. The entertainment world generally, I think, is comprised of individuals who if they use it in the right way have tremendous political power.