Media Analyst Defends Rosie O'Donnell's ‘Radical Christianity’ Comments
As most of you are sadly aware, new “View” commentator Rosie O’Donnell made some truly absurd statements Tuesday concerning what she perceived as “Radical Christianity” being just as bad as radical Islam as reported by NewsBusters. On Wednesday, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC addressed this issue with a pair of media analysts, with one actually defending Rosie’s preposterous position (video link and full transcript to follow).
As the discussion ensued, Jennifer Pozner of “Women in Media and News” used the tremendously infrequent and unfortunate attacks on abortion clinics as an example of “Radical Christianity” as well as a justification for Rosie’s comments:
Are Christians running around blowing people up? Actually, yes. And I`ll give you a good example. Since - between 1999 and 2001, eight dead and 33 gravely wounded, 10 arsons and attempted arson -- 20 arsons and attempted arsons and 10 bombings and attempted bombings all by fundamentalist Christian anti-abortionists against women`s health centers and abortion clinics and doctors and harassment of children.
Scarborough challenged this, and asked Pozner whether she feels more threatened by terrorists or Christians. Pozner amazingly responded:
Here is how I`m going to answer that. I actually fear for my life -- I have feared for my life significantly over the last two decades off and on volunteering for women`s health clinics because for example, Clayton Lee Wagner, who is on the FBI`s most wanted terrorist list and escaped from a custody .
What follows is a full transcript of this interaction – including the comments by media analyst Steve Adubato who fervently disagreed with Pozner’s view – and a video link.
SCARBOROUGH: But first, "The View" got nasty on Tuesday when new co-host Rosie O`Donnell compared radical Islamic terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center to Christianity in America. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O`DONNELL, "THE VIEW": We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You understand that the belief funding those attacks, OK, that is widespread. If you take radical Islam and you want to talk about what is going on there you have to .
O`DONNELL: One second. Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We`re a democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not bombing ourselves here in the country.
O`DONNELL: But they are bombing innocent people and other countries, true or false.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Christians are not threatening to kill us.
UNIDENTFIIED FEMALE: Well Iran hasn`t threatened to kill us. Iraq hadn`t. Iran is a danger. Iraq and Afghanistan never threatened to kill us. Ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With us again Dr. Steve Adubato.
I cannot believe what I just heard.
STEVE ADUBATO, AUTHOR "MAKE THE CONNECTION": I`m sorry. I was thrown off.
SCARBOROUGH: I seriously and so thrown off by that.
Any, Steve, of course, media analyst and he is author of the book "Make the Connection."
And Jennifer Posner, media analyst and founder of Women in the Media and News.
Steve, I really do not know what to say. We have a lady who is comparing Christianity in America with Islamic fascists who want to kill as many Americans as they can.
Why does Barbara Walters allow this to go on on a very powerful, very important morning show?
ADUBATO: Joe, I`m going to get a couple things off my chest. First of all, I, like Rosie, I imagine, some other so-called liberals -- sometimes I call myself a liberal, against the war in Iraq.
I have to tell you something. I do not understand when she compared Christian fundamentalists or Christian radicals to Islamic radicals. You have to have some evidence, some proof, even if it is anecdotal, Joe. She has to be pressed to demonstrate her point.
When you say something so unbelievably off the wall and irresponsible when almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, she says it the day after. I have to say, Joe, my problem with "The View" is this. Is a total entertainment? Is it a little bit newsy? Is there any standard? Does Rosie have to be accountable or does she just way what she wants. Rosie, just apologize real quick.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, she needs to apologize really quickly. ABC needs to get her to apologize, but Steve, here`s the deal. If it were just some fluffy show in the morning, we would not be talking tonight about it but across the table from Rosie is a lady who is a true trailblazer in America news. A female -- I mean the female trailblazer when it comes to journalism. How does she sit back and allow a lady to compare Christianity with the radicalized faith of Osama bin Laden?
And again, listen, I am not talking about the conservative or a liberal or Republican or a Democrat. This is offensive to 90 percent of Americans.
ADUBATO: Joe, she cannot be allowed to get away with saying that. She has every right to express her view, as she says, it`s the name of the show. but she has to be held accountable. Barbara has to say, look, we have some standards. I`m a journalist and I am a trailblazer. For 34 years I`ve been doing this. Rosie, it is not your show. Barbra, step up and do it.
SCARBOROUGH: You can even talk about in Iraq right now. And it is such a mess over there. But you look to the people who were blowing up Moslems now over the past two years it has been radical Muslims who want to kill radical -- It is the biggest lie. And I am shocked that she got away with it. I want to show you another clip and we`re going to get to Jennifer in a second but I want to show you another clip about what happened on Tuesday where we had Barbara Walters talking about when she talks to the animals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": I was going out the other night and I was standing at the elevator with my darling woman who has then running my home and life for 32 years. Ikadel Tomlinson (ph). Se were standing there and Chcha (ph) had a little dog face. Sometimes I sort of look .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say it, Barbara. Spit it out.
WALTERS: I said, I love you Chacha. I love you. And Chacha said to me, "I love you." That is how she said. She really does. What did you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said she really did talk? I think that is cute. She said, I really do think she said something to me. I said, Barbara, you cannot go out there. I don`t know if you`re OK today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, what has happened to Barbara Walters? She really does think her dog is talking.
ADUBATO: Joe, you`re being ridiculous. Barbara was doing shtick. She was having fun. She wasn`t being serious. Obviously this is Barbara Walters we`re talking about.
SCARBOROUGH: I know. The Associated Press wrote an article asking the question whether Barbara Walters was losing it.
ADUBATO: She was joking around, Joe. I`m not going to buy it. I have too much respect for Barbara Walters. I come on the show all the time trashing this person in the media or that person. I am not doing it because I refuse to believe that Barbara Walters believes that her dog told her that he loved her. Maybe she wanted to. It could have happened in her mind, but Barbara, please say you were joking. Real fast. It is almost as bad as Rosie.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer, could this Rosie O`Donnell comment possibly be good for ratings? It seems tom me that Star Jones is not looking too bad for ABC and "The View" right now.
JENNIFER POZNER, WOMEN IN MEDIA AND NEWS FOUNDER: Well, ratings aside I think the real issue is Rosie O`Donnell may have been insensitive in her comments but I think that there is a nuance that has been missing in this discussion so far. She did not say that radical Islam was comparative with Christianity in America. She compared with radical Christianity in America. Are Christians running around blowing people up?
Actually, yes. And I`ll give you a good example. Since - between 1999 and 2001, eight dead and 33 gravely wounded, 10 arsons and attempted arson -- 20 arsons and attempted arsons and 10 bombings and attempted bombings all by fundamentalist Christian anti-abortionists against women`s health centers and abortion clinics and doctors and harassment of children.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen. You are trying to compare some random acts by whackos .
POZNER: Not random acts.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. You are comparing those scattered events. I`m not even aware of with what happened on September 11th.
POZNER: Know, I am not. Steve said that there should be some fundamental evidence about radical Christianity. I am not saying at all - and I am a New Yorker and I lived through 9/11 like all the other New Yorkers did. And it is a very personal thing for me. I am not saying that there is a comparison with 9/11. What I am saying is that there is danger in any fundamentalist religion.
SCARBOROUGH: Sure. I will be the first to agree that. I am from Pensacola, Florida where they had abortion clinic bombings in the `80s. I understand that. But she compared -- hold on a second.
POZNER: You asked me a question.
SCARBOROUGH: There is no more relevancy.
POZNER: You asked me a question and I would like to answer it.
SCARBOROUGH: You are trying to say that .
POZNER: I`m talking about bombings, arson and murder.
SCARBOROUGH: This is my question to you, OK? This is my question, then. If you want to put it out there, let`s put it on a scale. You say you are a New Yorker. And as a New Yorker do you fear for your life from these so- called radical Christians or radical Muslim extremists working for al Qaeda?
POZNER: Here is how I`m going to answer that. I actually fear for my life -- I have feared for my life significantly over the last two decades off and on volunteering for women`s health clinics because for example, Clayton Lee Wagner, who is on the FBI`s most wanted terrorist list and escaped from a custody .
SCARBOROUGH: What`s your answer?
POZNER: I`m answering my question. Clayton Lee Wagner was a member of the Army of God and said as he escaped from the FBI most wanted list posted on the Army of God Web site -- he said I`m a terrorist. God free me from jail to make war on his enemy.
SCARBOROUGH: Here`s the problem. The problem is .
POZNER: It doesn`t matter if you`re a woman or nurse or a receptionist (inaudible) he says, I will kill you.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer, there is no sense of proportion in your argument. There is no sense of proportion and Rosie O`Donnell`s argument.
You`re looking silly .
POZNER: My argument is not the same. OK. Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: . right now by suggesting that there is a comparison. Steve?
ADUBATO: Let me just say this. I appreciate what is being said because I have been critical of some of those bombings of abortion clinics, but I have to say this. There is absolutely no moral equivalent. Rosie couldn`t back it up. And you didn`t back it up tonight. It is reprehensible.
SCARBOROUGH: It is reprehensible. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Jennifer.