Jonah Goldberg at National Review characterizes this clip as the dumbest 57 seconds ever.
These days, one hesitates to say that the clip would be hard to top for sheer stupidity. There’s every chance it will be topped 15 minutes from now.
At any rate, NewsBusters identifies the speaker in the video as Eric Bates:
The left-wing guest, who now works for Glenn Greenwald’s First Look Media project, outlined that Falwell “sued Hustler magazine for portraying him having – I believe it was drunken incest with his mother in an outhouse – again, in a visual form – and won a $150,000 court case against Hustler for that. It was overturned by the Supreme Court, I think, eight-to-zero.”
Alex Wagner’s other guest is Rick MacArthur of Harper‘s. To my eye, it looks like he’s a bit hesitant to give a full-on nod of endorsement to Bates’s inanity. But maybe I’m grasping at straws. MacArthur, responding to Wagner’s comment that we focus on the Islamic terrorists because they’re so “incendiary,” exhibits his own special kind of stupid:
Well, it happens to be right now because of a huge American troop presence in the Middle East, and an insertion of American power in the Middle East that never existed before. This is a political/foreign policy question that we could talk about. I mean, I want to keep the – the principle of freedom of expression separate. But there is a sense of grievance in the Muslim world today that didn’t exist twenty years ago – before the United States sent troops to Saudi Arabia.
So there you have it. Jerry Falwell, who sued a porn publication for personal defamation (i.e., his lawsuit had nothing to do with religion), was just like Islamic terrorists who slaughtered 10 people from a media site that lampooned Mohammed (killing two police officers in the attack as well). And the terrorists, French nationals, slaughtered the 12 French people, in Paris — thereby becoming “incendiary” — because of a Muslim grievance about American troops in the Middle East.
There’s not enough of an anti-LGBT discrimination vibe to get this one closer to a hat trick, and there are no vampires or zombies that I can see. But for the get-their-news-from-Stewart-and-Colbert crowd, the impressionist mix of buzz-memes will no doubt make for a satisfying mental moment. What this says about MSNBC, I think readers are already aware of.