"MSNBC News Live" host David Shuster railed against conservative "hypocrite" Newt Gingrich on Monday, resurrecting a segment from his cancelled program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The cable anchor slammed the former House Speaker for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist on his Twitter page. Shuster noted that Gingrich supported Bush pick Sam Alito in 2006. He then played a clip of the then-nominee saying that when he has to rule on a discrimination case, Altio would think of people in his own family who have suffered bias.
Shuster derided, "Hey, Newt. When you embrace the empathy of a conservative judge, but call the empathy of a progressive judge racist, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong." Now, of course, the obvious difference is that Sotomayor didn't just acknowledge empathy, she asserted in a 2001 speech at the University of California, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
The stated concept of "Hypocrisy Watch" is to call out hypocritical politicians. On MSNBC, however, that usually means Republicans. An April 6, 2009 fax report by the MRC found that before Shuster's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" program was cancelled on April 2, the liberal anchor made conservatives/Republicans the target of "Hypocrisy Watch" 71 percent of the time. Liberals/Democrats accounted for only eight percent of those attacked. So, it's not particularly surprising that Shuster has returned to his old habits.
Shuster previously slammed Gingrich on March 24. The MSNBC host seemed perturbed that the former House Speaker had criticized Notre Dame for announcing that Obama would be the commencement speaker. Gingrich called the President's policies "anti-Catholic." Shuster could hardly contain himself on that day. Citing Gingrich's past marriages, he complained, "Mr. former Speaker, given the way you've led your life, when you lecture anybody about upholding Catholic values, that's hypocrisy, and it's wrong."
A transcript of both the June 1 "Hypocrisy Watch" and the March 24 edition follow:
DAVID SHUSTER: Tamron, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continues his harsh criticism of President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. And that takes us to today's "Hypocrisy Watch." First, the background. Gingrich and other conservatives are hammering Sonia Sotomayor for comments she made eight years ago about her Latina background and the empathy she says she brings to court rulings as a result of that background. Gingrich recently wrote on his Twitter page, quote, "Imagine a judicial nominee said, 'My experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.' New racism is no better than old racism. White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw." That's right. Gingrich says Sotomayor is a racist and should withdraw. But there have been other judges who have said they take their background and ethnic experiences into account when deciding cases. Remember Sam Alito?
SAM ALITO [during confirmation hearings, January 11, 2006]: When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender, and I do take that into account.
SHUSTER: That's right. Just as Sam Alito embraced empathy and acknowledged he would take his ethnic background into account. Did that cause outrage from Newt Gingrich? Did Gingrich accuse Alito of playing identity politics and demand that Alito withdraw? Of course not. Gingrich supported the nomination and even praised the right-leaning tilt of Alito and John Roberts.
NEWT GINGRICH: My guess is Alito along with Chief Justice Roberts will marginally move the court towards being more conservative and more cautious. But it will not, in fact, be a dramatic change because they're going to be interacting with seven other people who are already on the court.
SHUSTER: The bottom line is that Newt Gingrich and other conservatives praised Sam Alito's nomination but now they are hammering Sonia Sotomayor because she, like Alito, has acknowledged the impact of her background and ethnicity Hey, Newt. When you embrace the empathy of a conservative judge, but call the empathy of a progressive judge racist, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong.
DAVID SHUSTER: Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now criticizing President Obama's social policies. Gingrich calls them anti-Catholic. And that takes us to tonight's "Hypocrisy Watch." First, the background. Last Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama is planning to give three graduation speeches this spring.
ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary): In terms of commencements, excuse me, on May the 13th, the President will give the commencement address at Arizona State University. On May 17th, the President will give the commencement address at Notre Dame. And on May 22nd, he will speak to graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy.
SHUSTER: Early this morning, on his Twitter page, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich criticized President Obama's policies and said Notre Dame had made a mistake. Here's the Gingrich Twitter. Quote, "It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values." Anti-Catholic values? Well, that's interesting, because Newt Gingrich has been divorced twice. There was Jackie, his former high school math teacher. Gingrich divorced her as she was in a hospital recovering from surgery. Then there was Marianne. Gingrich married her soon after divorcing Jackie. Years later, while still married to Marianne, Gingrich had an affair with a third woman named Callista. Gingrich divorced Marianne and is now married to Callista, wife number three. We've learned today that Gingrich is converting to Catholicism in the weeks ahead. Amazing. He isn't even Catholic yet and he's already telling Notre Dame what to do. Mr. former Speaker, given the way you've led your life, when you lecture anybody about upholding Catholic values, that's hypocrisy, and it's wrong.