Behar on Anti-Palin Family Guy Scene: ‘I Agree With Sarah on This One’

On Friday’s Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News, the normally anti-Palin Behar and most panel members – all left-leaning – sided with the former Alaska governor in the aftermath of Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane's controversial depiction of a character with Down's Syndrome on his Fox television show, intended as a swipe at Palin whose son has Down's Syndrome. Behar declared that "I agree with Sarah on this one," and, after showing a clip of Palin on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor denouncing MacFarlane, Behar concluded the segment: "Okay, that’s one for Sarah."

Panel member Mo Rocca of the Daily Show on Comedy Central was unusually straight as he praised Palin: "I’m with her. I mean, look, if there’s one thing to admire Sarah Palin for, it’s that she’s raising a special needs child, so, yeah, it’s a virtuous, irreproachable thing."

Comedian Jessica Kirson also labeled MacFarlane’s crack at Palin as offensive even as she admitted to also finding it amusing:

It is funny to me because it is funny, period, but it is offensive because they’re targeting one person, you know, instead of making fun of a group, which all comics do, and the show does, they make fun of every group of people. But they targeted her and her family. I mean, but, I don’t care about her, but I’m saying they targeted her child.

Amanda Sidman of the New York Daily News was alone in defending MacFarlane as she rationalized his actions and his refusal to apologize:

This show makes fun of people all the time, and they do make personal attacks, and whereas I personally don’t necessarily think that it was the right thing to do, I think that this has happened before, and Seth MacFarlane’s rep actually said we’re offensive to everybody, and they wouldn’t make a formal apology. They said this is what we do all the time.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, February 19, Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News:

JOY BEHAR: Sarah Palin blasted the Fox sitcom Family Guy this week after the show included a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to her and her family. Take a look.

CHARACTER WITH DOWN’S SYNDROME NAMED ELLEN: Are you going to be this rude all evening? You haven’t asked me anything about myself.

CHRIS GRIFFIN CHARACTER: Oh, um, sorry, um, what do your parents do?

ELLEN: That’s better. My dad’s an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.

GRIFFIN: Oh, that’s cool!

ELLEN: It’s real cool.

BEHAR: Okay, Jessica, did you think that was offensive or funny?

JESSICA KIRSON, COMEDIAN: I thought it was both, to be honest. I really did. It is funny to me because it is funny, period, but it is offensive because they’re targeting one person, you know, instead of making fun of a group, which all comics do, and the show does, they make fun of every group of people. But they targeted her and her family. I mean, but, I don’t care about her, but I’m saying they targeted her child.

BEHAR: Right. There are so many other things to attack Sarah Palin on.

KIRSON: Right.

BEHAR: Why go there? I mean, I’m sort of with her on this.

MO ROCCA: I’m with her. I mean, look, if there’s one thing to admire Sarah Palin for, it’s that she’s raising a special needs child, so, yeah, it’s a virtuous, irreproachable thing.

BEHAR: Amy, you agree with that?

AMANDA SIDMAN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: I do think that we need to note that this is what the show is about.

BEHAR: Amanda, I’m sorry.

SIDMAN: No, that’s okay. This show makes fun of people all the time, and they do make personal attacks, and whereas I personally don’t necessarily think that it was the right thing to do, I think that this has happened before, and Seth MacFarlane’s rep actually said we’re offensive to everybody, and they wouldn’t make a formal apology. They said this is what we do all the time.

BEHAR: You know, I think that, as comedians, we have a sort of an obligation to make fun of the guys up above, not the guys down below, people who are in trouble, people in pain. What’s the point of that? That’s an easy shot. So I agree with Sarah on this one. And she was also, she wasn’t laughing, and had to say this on The O’Reilly Factor. Can we play that for a second?

SARAH PALIN CLIP #1: This world is full of cruel, cold-hearted people who would do such a thing. Look, I look at Trig and I see perfection. I see a precious little child already toddling around. You can see that he has a heart of gold.

PALIN CLIP #2: When are we going to be willing to say, you know, some things just aren’t very funny?

BEHAR: Okay, that’s one for Sarah.