ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser decided it was appropriate to make a disgusting analogy when discussing the now-vetoed Arizona SB 1062 bill during his daily “Pardon The Interruption” program on Wednesday February 26.
During the segment, Kornheiser and co-host Michael Wilbon railed against the Arizona bill, with Kornheiser arguing that the bill mirrored how the Nazi’s treated Jewish individuals during World War II. The ESPN host disgustingly shrieked that “now if you have this with gay people. How are they supposed to be identified? Should they wear a yellow star because my people went through that at one point?” [See video below.]
After discussing the details of the bill, Kornheiser ranted that “Arizona has become in recent years the most recalcitrant backward-looking state in the country when it comes to social change. They were the last to ratify Martin Luther King Day as a holiday. They have this bill which enabled police to stop somebody and say because we think you’re an illegal alien.”
Michael WIlbon obnoxiously chimed in that “We can refuse you service, is this Greensboro in 1960? What are we talking about?” Do the folks at ESPN not think that comparing a bill in Arizona to the Holocaust is highly offensive and demeaning to the millions of Jews that were persecuted and murdered at the hands of the Nazis?
Unfortunately, Kornheiser, who himself is Jewish, is not the first member of the media to make an inappropriate comparison to Nazi’s. In the past, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has repeatedly compared conservatives to Nazis, a disgusting analogy that is unacceptable and should be condemned.
While there is certainly disagreement over the appropriateness of SB 1062, it is by no means acceptable to equate an issue of religious freedom vs. gay rights to the extermination of six million Jews. Members of the media should refrain from making such horrific and offensive parallels when discussing laws they disagree with rather than insulting the memories of those subjected to the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
See relevant transcript below.
Pardon the Interruption
February 26, 2014
5:30 p.m. Eastern
TONY KORNHEISER: But we begin today with the growing controversy over a bill in Arizona that would allow retailers to refuse to serve gay customers. The reason we are talking about this is the Super Bowl which is scheduled for Glendale, Arizona next February. Wilbon, if you’re Governor Dan Brewer, signs this bill into law, what should the NFL do?
MICHAEL WILBON: Bail. The NFL’s done this before. In 1990 giving a three year warning Paul Tagliabue said if you don’t have Martin Luther King as a holiday we’re out and they left and went to Pasadena, the NFL did. Now look Jan Brewer—
KORNHEISER: But they came back.
WILBON: They came back once the law was passed they came back in 1996, awarded Arizona a Super Bowl. There are a lot of people here Tony, the Arizona Super Bowl host committee has said to the governor privately veto this. The NFL, I’m sure lobbyists and maybe even a phone call from the commissioner’s office, veto this. The Arizona Cardinals, veto this. Various agencies in the state of Arizona have said we don’t need this.
KORNHEISER: The two elected senators—
WILBON: Elected senators including someone we’d like to call John McCain has said stop this nonsense. But this is a woman who also signed into law a bill that says immigrants have to carry around their identifying papers in Arizona less they be caught without them. So I don’t know how this is going to go because a lot of people out there are trying to influence her to do the other.
KORNHEISER: The NFL should leave in a heartbeat if this becomes a law for the very simple reason that the NFL is attempting to welcome Michael Sam into its league and every public utterance from the NFL has tried to make that a welcome environment. And now you would be in a state where Michael Sam could not buy a ticket possibly to the Super Bowl so you can’t have that. Arizona has become in recent years the most recalcitrant backward-looking state in the country when it comes to social change. They were the last to ratify Martin Luther King Day as a holiday. They have this bill which enabled police to stop somebody and say because we think you’re an illegal alien. And now if you have this with gay people. How are they supposed to be identified? Should they wear a yellow star because my people went through that at one point.
WILBON: We can refuse you service, is this Greensboro in 1960? What are we talking about?
KORNHEISER: And the NFL, if they have it, because the NFL has no jurisdiction as to whether or not the governor signs it—
WILBON: On their business, over their business.