MSNBC is picking up on the many inflammatory Rosie O’Donnell comments documented by Newsbusters. Upon informing the viewer that Rosie believes the September 11 attacks was perpetrated by the U.S. government, host Chris Jansing asked: "Has Rosie gone too far?"
On the March 23 edition of "MSNBC Live" guest Joe Scarborough, who covered the controversy on his show the previous night, felt O’Donnell’s conspiracy theories are too irresponsible for any respected show to allow on the air. Scarborough was more concerned that Barbara Walters, whom he implied is a journalism legend, ruined her reputation by allow Rosie to spew such extreme views. The transcript of the exchange is below.
CHRIS JANSING: Keeping you up to the minute, there's another firestorm surrounding Rosie O'Donnell today, following what are arguably her most controversial statements yet. Rosie suggested on her blog that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. The outspoken co-host of "The View" spares no one, not even her co-hosts.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: Elisabeth, you have to stop. You have to stop. You can ask a question but you can't just blather on your opinion.
JANSING: Has Rosie gone too far? Joe Scarborough is the host of "Scarborough Country," and Joe, you are fired up about this, aren't you?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, I'm not fired up about it so much as I am very discouraged that ABC and Barbara Walters would continue to allow Rosie O'Donnell to use their air time to continue spewing this type of hatred. You know, she suggested a few weeks back that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was an innocent man who had just been roughed up at Gitmo so much that he made up these stories about planning September 11 and all the other terror attacks and that was of course crazy and completely goes against what the 9/11 Commission determined. But then you have Rosie O'Donnell saying on national television that the United States government took down the World Trade Centers, killed 3,000 Americans and did it to cover up for Enron's misdeeds. And again, the real tragedy here is that Barbara Walters, a woman who's been a real pioneer in journalism, the reason why so many people decided to become journalists is sitting there allowing this to happen on her show for ratings. It's, it is a sad, sad demise for a once great journalistic figure who now seems to be a person who can only land interviews like Hugo Chavez, and ask questions like: "Are you the going to ever get married, or are you married to the revolution? Would you like a cup of coffee?"
JANSING: Alright, Let me play a little devil's advocate here Joe. I mean, "The View," first of all, is not a news show and it's the kind of show that frankly survives the way a lot of shows in our business on cable survive, and that is by creating controversy. We don't even always know whether the views expressed by the hosts are exactly their views or whether they're something to get people talking or to create controversy and go after ratings. Is this any different?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, the only reason it's different is because of Barbara Walters. We would not have done a segment last night on Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie O'Donnell doesn't matter. She can go out and shock as many people as she wants to shock. But when you have somebody again who should be chiseled, who could have been chiseled into the Mount Rushmore of journalists until this, you get somebody like Barbara Walters who has lent her credibility to a woman going on national television and saying that the United States government killed 3,000 people by planting the September 11 attacks, that it was an inside job, is very disappointing as I said to a couple of media analysts last night who also agreed with me that we're seeing the sad demise of Barbara Walters. If somebody were on my show and they were a co-host of mine and they suggested that the United States government had killed 3,000 Americans on September 11 to cover up for Enron's misdeeds, I would politely say to this person: "Thank you so much for your service, to 'Scarborough Country' and MSNBC, I'm not going to see you here tomorrow night." But Barbara Walters is allowing Rosie O'Donnell to say the most extraordinary things and sadly, it's just for ratings. It's just like the Academy Award fluff show. If that's what Barbara Walters wants to do to end her career, I just think it's very sad and it's very disappointing. And I think that's, that's the real story here: The demise of a once great journalist.