Time's Joe Klein: ObamaCare Protests a 'Celebration of Ignorance'

Patricia Murphy, PoliticsDaily.com; Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor; & Joe Klein, Time magazine | NewsBusters.orgTime magazine’s Joe Klein complained about the legal appearance of openly-carried weapons at protests against President Obama during a segment on CNN’s Newsroom on Monday, and labeled the protests against ObamaCare as a “celebration of ignorance and misinformation.” Anchor Rick Sanchez and his other guest also falsely characterized one of the guns carried at a recent protest.

Sanchez first asked Klein about the appearance of guns at several recent protests against President Obama outside his health care town hall events or speeches: “Joe, I don’t remember people protesting against President Bush showing up with weapons. Do you?” The Time columnist answered, “No. I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now, and I’ve never seen anything like this. There should be like a Second Amendment equivalent of the First Amendment- shouting fire in a crowded theater.”

The CNN anchor expressed his agreement with this analogy, and the columnist continued with his point, and included his label of the anti-ObamaCare protesters: “I mean...there is a right to bear arms....But there’s also a right to protect the president and a right to sanity, and this is clearly getting quite out of hand. You know, what we’ve seen this month is pretty frightening in general. We’ve seen- you know, the celebration of ignorance and misinformation in this health care battle, and- you know, this, more than almost any other issue I can think of, is one where we need to be clear-headed and- you know, lay out the facts and let people decide the facts.”

Sanchez followed up by commenting that the Secret Service has “their hands full, don’t they?” Klein replied, “Yeah, I was just out with the president over the weekend in Montana and Colorado, and there are an awful lot of- the Secret Service does an amazing job....But there are an awful lot of angry people out there, and most of them, I got to say, are misinformed.”

Klein earlier expressed his disgust with the anti-ObamaCare demonstrators in an August 12 post on Time’s Swampland blog: “The cruelty inherent in scaring the elderly to score political points is beyond reprehensible.... [T]he sort of scurrilous campaign they are conducting--the seditious fear-mongering that is the main staple of their public diet--is a matter of profound disrespect and incivility toward the individuals whose rights they claim to cherish.”

Earlier in the hour, Sanchez asked White House correspondent Ed Henry about the young black gentleman who appeared at a protest with an AR-15 outside the VFW convention in Phoenix where President Obama was giving a speech. He characterized the weapons as an “assault rifle.” He used the same label in his first question to Patricia Murphy of PoliticsDaily.com, his other guest during the segment with Klein: “What do you think of these people showing up at the Obama events with these weapons?...I mean, this guy is- that’s a heck of a piece there, man. That’s an AR-15. That’s an assault rifle.”

Murphy, a former staffer for Democratic Senators Sam Nunn and Max Cleland, expressed her horror at this development:

MURPHY: Yeah. I mean- to me, that’s really quite terrifying, and I’ve talked to a lot of people in politics- out of politics, who said this entire debate is starting- it’s inching closer and closer to a place that everybody is afraid to even think about, that something- anger will turn to violence. And I think having an automatic weapon at one of these events is exactly how something like that happens. It may be legal, but it’s a terrible idea. It’s absolutely terrifying to me.

The civilian AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, not an “automatic weapon” as Murphy put it. It also cannot be accurately described as an “assault rifle,” as Sanchez labeled it, because an assault rifle, by definition, is a selective-fire weapon, with either fully-automatic or semi-automatic capability. Leave it to three liberals to get it wrong on guns.

Guns Health Care Labeling Liberals & Democrats Conservatives & Republicans CNN Time CNN Newsroom Patricia Murphy Rick Sanchez
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