Appearing on Martin Bashir's eponymous 3 p.m. program, conservative columnist S.E. Cupp took the MSNBC anchor to task for his and his network's most recent attacks on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) regarding her husband's views on homosexual orientation being a choice that one can change through therapy, not a deterministically-imposed genetic trait.
When Cupp agreed that it was "valid to call it junk science" that one's sexuality can be changed by counseling and therapy, Bashir seized on Cupp's statement to insist that Michele Bachmann was held captive by junk science, thus calling into question her judgment.
Cupp protested that Michele Bachmann herself may not share her husband's views and that the media's fixation on the matter is part and parcel of an attack on religious Americans:
S.E. CUPP: I think this makes for a really perfectly-timed story. When everyone else is talking about the economy and it's really hard to make her look dumb, let's make her look scary. So then the media starts to look for these kooky, quirky, religious social issues stories.
MARTIN BASHIR: No, no, no, no. S.E., that's not fair.
CUPP: Because they can't talk about her positions on the economy because they're better than Obama's would be.
Bashir might not think Cupp's diagnosis is fair, but Bashir's own evolving take on Bachmann is right in line with Cupp's analysis, given how Bashir praised Bachmann a month ago by snidely tagging her as "the thinking person's Sarah Palin." To Bashir, Bachmann is no dummy, but her views are wrong-headed or scary.
Bashir tried to get back to his agenda, namely opening a rift between religious Bachmann fans and the conservative but atheistic S.E. Cupp. The conservative columnist turned the tables by pointing out the absurdity of Bashir's line of attack (emphasis mine):
BASHIR: You said this is junk science.
CUPP: I think it's a valid argument to say that praying away the gay is junk science.
BASHIR: It's not just you saying that, it's the Association of American Psychologists who are saying this.
CUPP: I think it's a valid argument, that it's junk science. But I don't think you can implicate 80 percent of the population which is Christian, who believe that homosexuality is a sin as crazy and kooky and extreme.
BASHIR: I'm not going there. I'm not suggesting that at all. What I'm asking you is, does Michele Bachmann therefore embrace junk science.
CUPP: I can't tell you what motivates Michele Bachmann's belief that homosexuality is a sin. I have a feeling it's the Bible.
BASHIR: No, no. She says it's slavery. She says it's a bondage.
CUPP: These were metaphors, Martin, and you and I use metaphors all the time. To create a bigger story out of the idea that a conservative Christian candidate is against gay marriage, thinks homosexuality isn't a sin, really isn't all that controversial.
BASHIR: Is a potential Republican candidate for the presidency embracing junk science?
CUPP: If you don't believe that homosexuality is a sin, if you don't believe that you can pray away the gay, if you don't [sic] believe that gays should be married than you would disagree with Michele Bachmann and you would say that she is embracing junk science.
If you are a Christian who believes like she does, that homosexuality is a sin, creationism is the story of how we all got here, then I don't think you would call it junk science, I think you would call that, you know, Scripture, Christianity.
Of course, as an attendee of an evangelical church in Manhattan, Martin Bashir should understand Cupp's point. Unfortunately it seems he's been worshiping at the altar of MSNBC's left-wing message machine of late.
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