Martin Bashir got a scolding on national television Thursday that everyone on MSNBC as well as within the parent companies Comcast and General Electric should receive.
During a contentious interview with the general counsel for Koch Industries, Inc., Bashir's guest said, "The way that your network has handled issues with us, the way that a lot in the far-left media have handled issues with us, attacking us even when there’s no basis like with the Trayvon Martin issues, that situation, that has led to death threats against our owners" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
After a setup as to who the Koch brothers are, Bashir introduced Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, Inc.
Following some tense pleasantries, the MSNBC anchor asked if the Koch brothers support Stand Your Ground laws.
Holden said the company he represents were “falsely associated” with those laws by MSNBC’s Karen Finney acting as a guest host for Bashir recently.
Not surprisingly, Bashir quibbled about Holden’s description of Finney as a paid Democratic strategist. “She has not been paid a cent since 2009.”
“Okay,” responded Holden, “then she’s an unpaid strategist who sends fundraising letters on behalf of the Democrats.
As KochFacts.com noted on April 18, “on March 26, Ms. Finney signed and sent a letter on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee soliciting political contributions.”
This seemed to stun Bashir a bit as facts always do.
Holden continued, “Ms. Finney said on your show in March that we were part of what she called ‘the Typhoid Mary’ that led to proliferation of these Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and elsewhere.”
“Koch is a member of ALEC [The American Legislative Exchange Council]. It’s been around for about 40 years,” said Holden. “ALEC has many other corporate members including MSNBC’s parents General Electric and Comcast. We weren’t involved in any way on the Stand Your Ground laws on any level. I’m assuming Comcast and GE weren’t either.”
Readers are advised that on May 5, Salon revealed a list of companies that contribute to ALEC. Comcast and General Electric were on it.
As such, how can MSNBC or any of its employees castigate the Koch brothers for contributing to an organization its parent companies do?
When Holden finished, Bashir countered by saying, “Karen Finney was using an analogy…She did not suggest that blood was on the Koch brothers’ hands. She did not suggest the Koch brothers were personally or directly involved in that. She didn’t.”
“I’m sorry,” interrupted Holden. "She called us the Typhoid Mary. She didn’t call us the Virgin Mary. She called us the Typhoid Mary.”
Indeed she did.
On the March 23 installment of the Martin Bashir show, Finney acting as substitute host began the program with a lengthy segment about the Trayvon Martin shooting and Stand Your Ground laws.
After playing a clip of then Florida governor Jeb Bush discussing the importance of this law, Finney said, “He and his fellow Republicans were ecstatic when the law passed, and as typical, they used fear and rhetoric about personal freedom without balancing second amendment rights with the safety of our communities.”
“So how do we go from one state to thirty,” Finney asked. “Who was the Typhoid Mary for this horrible outbreak? Try not to be surprised. It’s the usual suspects the Koch brothers, the NRA, the American Legislative Exchange Council.”
With a picture of the Koch brothers on the screen, Finney said, “These are the same people who stymied gun regulation at every point, who funded and ghost-write these laws and others that have become a core of the conservative agenda that’s being implemented across our country.”
Sound like a simple analogy to you, or that Finney quite clearly accused the Koch brothers of advancing Stand Your Ground laws that supposedly led to Martin’s shooting in Florida?
Yet Bashir wasn’t giving up on this line of questioning, for moments later, he asked his guest, “Do the Koch brothers support Stand Your Ground laws?”
Holden said he didn’t know for he’s never spoken to them about this issue.
“If they don’t,” continued Bashir, “then why have they not taken a step like Coca Cola, like Wendy’s and McDonald’s who have walked away following this terrible and tragic death? Why have they not taken an avowed public step to say, ‘Well, we haven’t disclosed that we support Stand Your Ground laws, but we’re making it absolutely clear to America we want nothing to do with this?’”
“Well, have Comcast and GE done that?” asked Holden.
“That’s not the question I’m asking you,” absurdly replied Bashir.
“Well, they’re your parent, you could ask the same question to your parent companies,” accurately noted Holden.
Not surprisingly, Bashir didn’t see his own hypocrisy. From what I’ve witnessed of him over the years, he wouldn’t notice it if it punched him in the face.
But the best was still to come when Holden later scolded his host.
“Mr. Bashir, the way that your network has handled issues with us, the way that a lot in the far-left media have handled issues with us, attacking us even when there’s no basis like with the Trayvon Martin issues, that situation, that has led to death threats against our owners. Charles and David Koch have received phone death threats, they’ve received email death threats, internet death threats. This is where this leads. It’s irresponsible.”
Yes it is. It’s irresponsible. And the folks at Comcast and General Electric should put a stop to it immediately.
Bravo, Mr. Holden. Bravo!