MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday had a very heated discussion with Congressman Steve King (R-Ia.) about Barack Obama's religious upbringing.
At one point, the "Last Word" host actually asked his guest, "How do we know you are not a Muslim?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: Congressman, I just want to go back to the tape we just showed. I am not sure you had good enough audio to hear every word of it, but you lived it. You were in a constituents meeting, and one of your constituents said, you know, he doesn't have American experience. You said, he, this is what you said about the President of the United States. “He doesn't have an American experience. He does not have an American experience,” and the constituent then said to you, “He didn't grow up in America.”
Congressman, where did Barack Obama grow up?
REPRESENTATIVE STEVE KING (R-IOWA): Well, by his own reports, he spent a lot of his early formative years in Indonesia.
O’DONNELL: How many? Congressman, how many years?
KING: I would guest five or six years in Indonesia, perhaps longer.
O’DONNELL: Then where did he live?
KING: Pardon me?
O’DONNELL: Then where did he live?
KING: Then he moved to Hawaii, which is in America, which is going to be your next point.
O’DONNELL: Okay, so my question to you is you know more than your constituents about a lot of things, an awful lot of things, and you know more than your constituents about Barack Obama. Why didn't you say he grew up in Hawaii? Why couldn't you bring yourself to say that in Iowa?
KING: Well, it would have been a contradiction of the facts. He has, really, very formative years, from age about five on to nine or ten.
O’DONNELL: Did he grew up in Hawaii, Congressman? Are you denying that he grew up in Hawaii?
KING: Part of his upbringing was Hawaii, it certainly was. It certainly was. I don't think there's any question, part of his upbringing was in Hawaii.
O’DONNELL: Now, do you have any doubt whether he is a Christian?
KING: You know, I think that is up to the President, but I will tell you that I would not, I would not present him as anything other than that. It’s his religion. That's what he said. In fact, when he gave a speech in Cairo last year…
O’DONNELL: Do you believe he’s a Christian? Do you believe he’s a Christian, Congressman?
KING: …he said he was a Christian. I take him at his word.
O’DONNELL: Are you a Christian?
KING: Yes, sir.
O’DONNELL: Should I take you at your word or should I maybe suspect you're a Muslim? Do you have a Christian ID you can show me and prove to me you're a Christian?
KING: I think God’s going to ask you not to judge as I am not judging President Obama’s religion
O’DONNELL: Do you have a Christian ID?
KING: No one has a Christian ID.
O’DONNELL: Catholics get birth certificates, get baptismal certificates in fact. There are some religions that do issue certificates of certain kinds. Do you have any?
This should give readers an idea that O'Donnell wasn't even listening to King's answers, for if he had been, the discussion would have been over:
KING: I don't think I do. I’ve got a certificate of baptism, so that would be a start.
So, O'Donnell said, "Catholics get birth certificates, get baptismal certificates," and King replied, "I’ve got a certificate of baptism."
But that wasn't good enough for O'Donnell:
O’DONNELL: How do we know, how do we know you are not a Muslim?
Well, he just told the host he had a certificate of baptism which the host previously said was proof of one's religion.
As you can see, there was no answer King could have given that would have satisfied his interrogator.
Despite this, the folks at MSNBC must have been proud of O'Donnell's behavior for the video of this entire segment was posted at "The Last Word Blog" with the headline "Is Rep. Steve King a Muslim?"
I kid you not:
And this is what the folks at MSNBC consider journalism.
Here's the video of the entire segment if you can stand it: