On Sunday's "Meet the Press," a bit of a squabble happened when panelists Dick Armey and Rachel Maddow bickered over whether or not MoveOn.org once ran an ad equating former President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.
Regardless of who was right, someone should instruct Maddow as to the difference between being a guest and a host, for her continual interruptions when Armey was speaking, though quite commonplace for an MSNBC anchor, were downright rude.
Just watch what happened when host David Gregory asked the very first question directed at Armey (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 3:25):
DAVID GREGORY: Congressman Armey, FreedomWorks, your organization, advocacy organization getting together a lot of folks, coordinating a lot of the efforts to get people out for the protests. Do you bear some responsibility for the tone of the debate?
FMR. REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX): Not, not whatsoever. Not when you see the kind of extreme thing you just saw, the-you know, I had my differences with President Bush, George W. Bush, there's no doubt about it. They were well aware of that. But when moveon.org ran those ads that compared President Bush with, with Adolf Hitler, I thought it was despicable.
MS. RACHEL MADDOW: They never did that.
REP. ARMEY: They did do it. I'll show you the ad.
MS. MADDOW: They didn't do that. They never ran an ad that compared...
REP. ARMEY: All right. Anyway. All right.
MS. MADDOW: MoveOn never ran an ad that compared Bush to Hitler.
REP. ARMEY: All right.
MR. GREGORY: Well, hold on, hold on. Finish your thought and then...
REP. ARMEY: What, what, what, you're going to get your chance to talk. Well, I, I, I just looked at the moveon.org ad again this morning, and it, it was a horrible thing. You know, it's horrible to see this.
I guess Maddow, working for MSNBC, doesn't understand that when a "Meet the Press" host asks a guest a question, the other guests are supposed to wait until that person finishes answering BEFORE they respond.
Regardless, what Armey was referring to was the following:
As FoxNews.com reported on January 6, 2004:
What MoveOn.org wanted was for people to submit 30-second ads that were critical of President Bush, but what the liberal-leaning organization got was a controversy over one entry that compared Bush to Adolf Hitler (search ).
The ad in question used a tape recording of the Nazi leader speaking while it showed images of Hitler and German military prowess during World War II. At the end of the ad, a photo of Bush raising his hand to take the oath of office is seen. [...]
MoveOn.org spokesman Trevor Fitzgibbon said, "we had no idea the Hitler thing even existed."
The group, which claims to have a network of about 2 million online activists, said that the ad comparing Bush to Hitler was one of the 1,512 submissions from the general public submitted as part of a campaign called Bushin30seconds.com.
MoveOn.org claims the ad was not submitted by an organization and was ultimately removed from the Web site. MoveOn.org noted that the "Hitler" comparison was not among the 15 finalists that are now viewable on the Web.
As such, this disgusting piece was indeed displayed at MoveOn's website for an undetermined period of time, but never ran on television.
Who's right: Maddow or Armey?
Regardless of the answer, if NBC chooses to have Maddow on again, it would be nice if she was told that Gregory is the host and moderator, and that it isn't appropriate for her to interrupt and question guests as if it was her show.
Frankly, the segment was practically unwatchable as a result of her rude behavior towards Armey.
If NBC wants "MTP" to be a tag-team, they should officially announce it so that those interested in a reasonable format don't have to waste anymore of their time.
As a post-facto aside, I do feel the way this discussion was framed by Gregory was totally inappropriate. Here was Gregory's first question to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.):
All right. But let's talk about the tone of the debate. There have been death threats against members of Congress, there are Nazi references to members of Congress and to the president. Here are some of the images. The president being called a Nazi, his reform effort being called Nazi-like, referring to Nazi Germany, members of Congress being called the same. And then there was this image this week outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a town hall event that the president had, this man with a gun strapped to his leg held that sign, "It is time to water the tree of liberty." It was a reference to that famous Thomas Jefferson quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." That has become a motto for violence against the government. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, had that very quote on his shirt the day of the bombing of the Murrah building when 168 people were killed.
Four references to Nazis, and one to Timothy McVeigh? Is that all Gregory and the producers see at these town hall meetings?
Nice way to deflect from the real meaning of what's happening at these gatherings, wouldn't you agree?