Friday, 02 December 2011

BASHIR AND WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: MSNBC'S IDEA OF A BALANCED DISCUSSION

Ken Berwitz

What do you get when you put an angry, nasty, far-left ideologue in a room with another angry, nasty, far left ideologue?

No need to think about this, folks.  MSNBC is happy to answer the question for you.  (Heck, it pretty much exists to answer this question).

Yesterday, Martin Bashir, the angry, nasty, far-left ideologue (and, based on his own comments and the comments he has allowed to go unchallenged, the viciously racist hater of Herman Cain) did a segment on Voter IDs.  The premise of the segment was that Voter IDs are unnecessary, unfair, and meant to suppress the Democrat vote - especially the Black vote. 

Now at this point you may be wondering what the problem would be in having people demonstrate they are who they say they are before they vote.  You may be wondering how that would prevent any legal voter, Black or non-Black, from voting. 

If so, you have already debunked the entire segment without having to read or hear a word of it.  Lucky you.

But, for people who think that legal Democrat voters are somehow more affected by having to show Voter ID than Republican voters, we have Martin Bashir.

And who does he choose to discuss this "issue" (if you can call it that) with?  Democrat congressperson, and head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, along with an equally high profile Republican to give the other side of the story  oops, sorry, I forgot this was MSNBC.  Only Bashir and Wasserman Schultz.

So what did they have to say to each other?  Let me show you a few excerpts from Ken Shepherd's blog at newsbusters.org (which, if you've got the stomach for it, also has a video of the entire segment).  My comments are in blue.

"The 15th Amendment says, 'The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged,' so, why does the Democratic National Committee feel the need to launch a new effort to protect this most sacred right?" Bashir asked in his introductory monologue prior to interviewing Wasserman Schultz.

"Republicans have introduced laws in at least 40 states that would make voting more difficult," Bashir ominously warned, voicing over an on-screen graphic showing those states shaded in yellow and entitled [emphasis mine] "Voter Restriction Laws Proposed or Passed."

What's more, Bashir complained, "today they're voting on a bill that would decimate the Election Assistance Commission, the last line of defense against electoral fraud." With that preface out of the way, Bashir introduced the DNC chairwoman and tossed out the first softball:

 "What is the EAC and what happens to it if this Republican-backed bill were to pass?" Bashir asked.

"Well, the EAC, like you said, is the last line of defense for making sure that voter fraud is investigated and that there are consequences for engaging in that," Schultz answered, charging the GOP for hypocrisy in "attempt[ing] to abolish the commission" even as the GOP has complained about voter fraud and responded with "voter suppression laws."

"These voter suppression laws that have passed around the country, Martin, have just been unbelievable," Wasserman Schultz groused. At no point did Bashir challenge her specious rhetoric or pose challenges to her reasoning.

For example, Wasserman Schultz said that while "for a student in Texas, even a state university-issued ID is not acceptable as a photo ID" but that a "gun license" is.

As I've demonstrated in a previous NewsBusters post, college IDs in Texas don't list addresses or dates of birth, while concealed carry permits do. What's more, to OBTAIN a student ID at the University of Texas, Austin, for example, one needs to prove who s/he is by showing up at the registrar's office with, you guessed it, a government-issued photo ID.

"It's very transparent who they're trying to block from the polls and who they're trying to block from the polls and who they want to smooth the path for," the DNC chief insisted.

What a delightful pair.

Let's start by debunking Bashir's reading of the 15th amendment (section 1, actually).  It is a one sentence section, and - for reasons you can feel free to speculate on - he read only the first part.  Here is the full sentence, with the part he left out in italics:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

In other words, the constitution says a) only citizens (not illegals) can vote, and b) they cannot be stopped from voting based on race, color or previous condition of servitude - but, implicitly, can be stopped from voting for other reasons (e.g. many states deny the vote to convicted felons).

Does Mr. Bashir or Ms. Wasserman Schultz present any evidence of any kind whatsoever that any Voter ID legislation in any state singles out people of any race or color? 

Nope. 

Of course they don't.  Because they can't.  It isn't there.  And, in this day and age, would never be put there.  So what in the world is Bashir even mentioning this amendment for - other than to create an illusion he hopes will resonate among his more gullible viewers (which, based on the quality of his show, probably takes in a lot of territory).

Bashir then shows a map indicating Republicans have introduced laws to restrict voting.  Evidently this is supposed to build on his edited reading of the 15th amendment.  And, in this case, he is right.  Voter ID laws are intended to restrict voting to people who have a legal right to vote.  

Mr. Bashir seems to have a problem with that.  Do you?

Regarding elimination the the Election Assistance Commission (EAC):  while I agree that there is a very valid argument for keeping it in place (personally, I would like to see it stay), Bashir and Wasserman Schultz somehow manage to leave out the reason behind this legislation (pure oversight I'm sure).  Here, excerpted from Jennifer Bendery's article in the solidly leftward huffingtonpost.com, is what they did not tell the viewers:

The agency's "time has come and gone," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), because it currently spends more than half of its budget on administrative needs versus direct assistance to states. Both parties have conceded the commission has its problems.

"This commission has outlived its usefulness, mismanaged its resources, costing the taxpayer millions of dollars a year," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.). "Let's eliminate this commission."

In other words, the EAC has become a boondoggle; a cash cow for the people mismanaging it.  Maybe, just maybe, this has a little to do with why Republicans want to shut it down.

Regarding the Texas student ID issue, Mr. Shepherd blows that one away perfectly.  If  all State University students in Texas student with a valid college ID must also have a valid Voter ID, none of them would at all be affected by this legislation.  Do Bashir and Wasserman Schultz argue that this makes state universities in Texas racist?  It seems to me they have to.

This, friends, is what passes for intelligent discussion of an issue on Martin Bashir's show.  And, lamely enough, it is pretty much the same thing you get on other MSNBC shows as well. 

Maybe someday one of them - maybe Bashir or Ed Schultz (who, in my opinion, is even worse than Bashir), can explain how ranting about "the Republicans" as some homogeneous group with an unvarying set of bad values (i. e. "you've seen one, you've seen 'em all") is different from making negative, stereotypical comments about all Black people, or all Jews, or all Muslims, or all Irish people, or all people who live in low income areas, or....well, you get the idea.

Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

Zeke ..... SOME students at Texas Universities are NOT citizens. ....... ............ ..... But at least, the Dems continue to preserve the Voting Rights of EVERY resident of Chicago Cemetaries. ..... ... .... Vote Early - Vote Often. ..... Election Fraud is merely 'the way we do things'. (12/02/11)


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