Chuck Todd, NBC News' Chief White House Correspondent, decided to take off his journalist hat to play partisan politics during his appearance on Morning Joe on Wednesday February 26 to comment on in the words of co-host Mika Brzezinski Arizona’s “controversial religious bill.”
During the segment, the entire panel disregarded the religious freedom argument associated with SB 1062 and instead focused on shaming the entire state of Arizona. Rather than look objectively at the law, like an actual journalist should, Todd proclaimed that “Arizona has this horrendous reputation as sort of the state that is just the last to accept social change.” [See video below.]
After Brzezinski detailed the back-and-forth political debate surrounding Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) possibly vetoing the bill, Joe Scarborough began to rant against the bill and argued that:
For those who say, that well, somebody should be able to do that based on their religious beliefs, their devout religious beliefs, do you then give -- because if you're going to allow somebody to not serve a customer based on their sexual orientation because they see that as a sin, that then allows other restaurant owners in Arizona to decide that they're not going to serve someone who’s been divorced, like myself, or someone who has committed adultery.
Scarborough, like the rest of the liberal media have misinterpreted the intention of the law which is to protect private businesses from being forced to serve a gay wedding if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. No one is arguing that a private business, such as a restaurant, should be able to deny services to someone simply for being gay, which is completely different from a Christian bakery being forced to cater same-sex weddings.
Neither Scarborough nor Todd, who is a journalist and not a partisan commentator, seemed to understand that there is a religious freedom issue that actually exists in the Arizona debate. Instead, Todd chose to simply attack Arizona and contended that “Arizona has this horrendous reputation as sort of the state that is just the last to accept social change. Martin Luther King Day, immigration, now on gay rights. These people have been in the sun too long. Maybe it's frying in the head… Just cranky retirees and people on the witness protection program, that's whose left in Arizona?”
MSNBC could have had a serious discussion on the merits of this bill and whether or not SB 1062 needed to be clarified to ensure that businesses cannot simply deny services to individuals for being gay but still protect companies such as florists and bakeries from being forced to service a gay wedding. Unfortunately, no such discussion occurred on Morning Joe, as the liberal media has chosen to bully supporters of the bill to prevent actual discussion about religious freedom and gay rights from occurring.
See relevant transcript below.
February 26, 2014
7:03 a.m. Eastern
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Governor Jan Brewer is back in Arizona and feeling more pressure over the state’s controversial religious bill. The bill would allow business owners who deny service to gay and lesbian customers by asserting their religious beliefs. Both John McCain and Jeff Flake have encouraged Brewer to veto the bill. And three state senators who voted for the bill have now come forward saying they are uncomfortable with their yay votes. The bill could also end up costing the state millions of dollars. Arizona is slated to host the 2015 Super Bowl and while the NFL has not said it will move the game if the bill becomes a law. League officials have said "Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard. If the league did take action it wouldn’t be the first time Arizona lost a Super Bowl. In 1993 the NFL moved the big game to the Rose Bowl after the state refused to recognize Martin Luther King Junior Day. Governor Brewer has until Saturday to veto the bill. If she takes no action the bill automatically becomes law. However, just a few hours ago she tweeted "I assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona." And Joe, Jeremy Peters can chime in on this and Chuck Todd just walked in as well. So I throw it to you when you take it to the panel Joe.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: First of all, this was such a needless battle that Republicans in Arizona put on the front pages of papers nationwide. And I say it’s needless because I find it hard to believe with the way courts are deciding things right now that the Supreme Court would ever allow a law to be upheld that would let somebody that owns as restaurant deny service to somebody because of their sexual orientation. And for those who say, that well, somebody should be able to do that based on their religious beliefs, their devout religious beliefs, do you then give -- because if you're going to allow somebody to not serve a customer based on their sexual orientation because they see that as a sin, that then allows other restaurant owners in Arizona to decide that they're not going to serve someone who’s been divorced, like myself, or someone who has committed adultery, or if you want to really take it to its extremes, Jesus said even lusting after a woman is the committing of adultery in your heart and you could go on and on and on. This is -- you could have restaurant owners denying service to 100% of the population any time they wanted. I don't think there's any way the Supreme Court of the United States would ever uphold this law and it's just an unnecessary fight brought up by some people who should probably refocus their efforts on other issues. And Chuck Todd, Jan Brewer may be -- some may think Jan Brewer’s in a difficult position. I don't think she is. I think the tweet suggests that she's going to veto this bill, which now even state senators who supported the bill originally are saying she should veto.
CHUCK TODD: Well our own reporting, people close to her have told us that she's leaning toward vetoing it. But what is she doing? Why is she dragging this out? What was that tweet? Why create drama around this? It funny, Mika, I'm glad you brought up Arizona the Martin Luther King issue. Arizona has this horrendous reputation as sort of the state that is just the last to accept social change. Martin Luther King Day, immigration, now on gay rights. These people have been in the sun too long. Maybe it's frying in the head.
COKIE ROBERTS: Look what it does to the Republican Party. Let's drive away blacks, Hispanics, Asians and young people and gays.
TODD: Just cranky retirees and people on the witness protection program, that's whose left in Arizona?