For Joy Behar, saying Muslims killed Americans on September 11, 2001 is "hate speech," but saying the American government did it is perfectly acceptable and well within the bounds of civil discourse.
That, at least, is the standard she set forth yesterday, first throwing a temper tantrum on "The View" when Bill O'Reilly noted the religious identities of the 9/11 terrorists, and then calmly sitting down to discuss the incident with 9/11 truther Jesse Ventura.
"I question 9/11, I got a conspiracy theory." Ventura made sure to note at the outset. "So who's to say [Muslims] actually did [perpetrate the attacks] or not."
Behar's response: "Well that's another thing, yeah" (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Allahpundit).
BEHAR: Today on "The View", Bill O'Reilly had a real pinhead moment. First he said a mosque should not be built close to ground zero here in New York, and then he said this.
[Clip from "The View"]
I was really angry. I got angry. I saw O'Reilly, I thought he was saying something that i construe as hate speech, frankly. I'm joined now by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.
It upsets me as you can see because I really think that to say Muslims killed us on 9/11 is like - you could say that about any group. To lump an entire group like that.
VENTURA: And,Joy, to say that to me, I question 9/11. I got a conspiracy theory. Sho who's to say they actually did or not?
BEHAR: Well that's another thing, yeah.
VENTURA: Let me say this about the mosque. Excuse me. The constitution says they can do it. It ends there. You cannot subject the constitution to a popularity poll. The constitution is there, joy, to protect unpopular speech. Popular things don't need protecting.
BEHAR: Do you think that is hate speech or is it free speech when somebody says something like the muslims killed u on 9/11?
VENTURA: Well, it's a fact.
BEHAR: Isn't it provocative?
VENTURA: Sure it is. But, you know, to me it - i don't really consider it hate speech. You know? If it's truly the truth and it's facts and facts are facts. And whether they make you uncomfortable or not, that's you as an individual.
BEHAR: Well he would say they were facts. That was his answer to us. And that they -
VENTURA: But the point is it doesn't matter because the Constitution says they can do it. Now we're going to change the Constitution according to Bill O'Reilly's opinion or 70 percent of the nation's opinion?
BEHAR: Is it 70 percent? He cited a poll.
VENTURA: So what?
BEHAR: But it's possible this type of speech is what's provoking people to say things like that.
VENTURA: Maybe. Even if it is, no matter, I'll repeat again, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are there to protect unpopular things, not popular.
BEHAR: So when he apologized, he did apologize for it, I don't know, did you see the apology? I thought it was grudging but he did it. What do you think about him?
VENTURA: He's a spineless puke.
So let's get this straight: correctly identifying not only the religion but in fact the motivating ideology of the 9/11 hijackers is "hate speech" (Behar's words), but suggesting that the U.S. government was complicit in the murder of thousands of its own citizens is, what, a legitimate point?
Viewers are left wondering whether Behar is in fact a truther herself, or simply so viciously hostile to conservatives that she will dub a center-right position "hate speech" while overlooking a repugnant, wackjob conspiracy theory simply because the person espousing it agrees that Bill O'Reilly is a "spineless puke."
In addition to giving her audience a glimpse of the true depths of her hypocrisy, Behar also demonstrated just how uninterested in rational conversation she really is. She apparently thinks stating uncomfortable facts should be proscribed. But calling an intellectual opponent a "spineless puke" is apparently unworthy of a dramatic, angry exit.