MSNBC’s ‘Now with Alex’ Shows Herman Cain Video Out of Context; Panelists Bash Him for Point He Didn’t Make
Herman Cain's new "Cain TV" project, which he announced in a promo video on his Facebook page, will feature not only "critical commentary on issues of the day" but "pearls of wisdom from Herman himself," MSNBC's Alex Wagner snarked in a segment on today's Now with Alex entitled onscreen "This Just Happened."
But the "pearl of wisdom" Wagner showed was a clip of Cain's video taken out of context that sounded completely bizarre in and of itself. What's more, liberal members of Wagner's panel reacted to the out-of-context comment to denounce Cain as "scary."
"Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. Let's give a lamb a gun!" Cain is shown thundering in his rich baritone.
"Let's give a lamb a gun?" a bemused Wagner replied. "Yes, America, that just happened!"
Later in the segment, members of Wagner's panel used that isolated sound bite to attack Cain as though he were advocating an armed revolt.
"I think I heard, he's saying that liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote?!" Heather McGhee of the liberal think tank Demos repeated the out-of-context Cain sound bite, adding that it's "scary."
"So this is important.... It's a big right-wing meme now to, it's apparently armed people, or lambs, going to try to contest the vote and police, citizen-police polling stations," McGhee argued, "it's actually a big issue."
Apparently McGhee fears Cain wants to go New Black Panther Party on America and show up at polling places armed to the teeth to intimidate voters.
For her part, Wagner -- no 2nd Amendment fan she -- replied that Cain's "arm a lamb!" comment was a shout-out to a "splinter faction of the... conservative base... that believes that it's about, you know, bearing arms and going to the ballot box and making quote unquote your voice heard."
"They institutionalize [those] who this gives a voice to!" liberal comedy writer Lizz Winstead quipped.
But a look at Cain's actual promo video, in context, shows that the former GOP presidential candidate was reciting what he believed to be a Ben Franklin quote [it most likely isn't however]:
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Let's give a lamb a gun!
What's more, a simple Web search would have taken Wagner and her producers to a January 24 post at Cain's Solutions Revolution website entitled "Give a Lamb a Gun" that explained Cain's pro-gun rights views and had a Fast & Furious angle to it (emphasis mine):
Hello, I’m Herman Cain and they think we are STUPID!
I have eight guns and that’s not enough. That’s how my friend Joe the Plumber defines his 2nd amendment rights. It’s no secret that this administration is actively trying to strengthen gun control laws here in the United States, but they allow guns in the hands of drug smugglers which end up killing Americans. Even our Attorney General now admits there are more deaths tied to these guns in the future. But he never approved it… and knew nothing about it! That’s a pack of lies! And it needs to be stopped by right minded adults in this upcoming election. Did you ever think you would live to see the day when our government would purposely force the sell of guns to drug cartels in a foreign country. It sounds like the plot from a horror film but it’s not…it happened and it happened on Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s watch.
They say they were unaware of it. Do they think we are that stupid?? Did you vote for that in 2008? Did Barack Obama run for president on the promise of more guns for drug lords? There’s a reason for this despicable and outrageous scheme. You see, the Tea Party, myself, and other pro constitution Americans believe in the 2nd amendment and as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well- armed lamb contesting the vote.”
Let’s give a lamb a gun.
We are not stupid!
Some three hours before she took to the air to host her program, Wagner similarly took Cain out of context in a tweet:
Herman Cain: "Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. Let's give a lamb a gun." (Even the hashtags have no response.)— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) July 3, 2012
No one expects Wagner to agree with Cain's politics, or to recant her belief that Herman Cain is a political sideshow, someone who, if she didn't know better, was really "a conceptual art project dreamed up by the Far Left."
But it's an insult to her viewers and a demerit against whatever journalistic integrity she hopes to have for Wagner to take Cain out of context in order to mock him.
MSNBC host Alex Wagner has made no secret of her disdain for the Second Amendment, telling Bill Maher last November that if it were up to her, she'd repeal the amendment which enshrines the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, saying the right to own firearms is not "in the grand scheme" of things as important as the rights to speech and assembly. Back in February, Wagner seized on a tragic school shooting to complain about the lack of new gun control legislation.
So it's no surprise that, when turning again to the topic of gun control and gun rights today, Wagner would stack the deck in favor of the former and dismiss concerns about the latter. Regarding legislation in New York State that would require "microstamping" of firearms, Wagner brought on Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence president Dan Gross, who insisted the legislation in question was "a simple case of right versus wrong" that should face no legitimate criticism from gun rights advocates.
It's "just about catching the bad guys" and saving lives, Gross insisted, adding "I put the question back to the gun lobby or anybody who wants to represent them to say, how could this possibly be bad?"
At that point, Wagner sought conservative columnist and gun owner S.E. Cupp's rebuttal, which she readily gave. She was predictably met, of course, with strong disagreement by Gross and The Nation's Ari Melber.
"Any effort to in any way touch the issue of weaponry, guns in this country, is always met extreme resistance from the NRA," Wagner groused. It's hard to imagine a conservative saying such a comment about say the ACLU and its legislative and courtroom advocacy on First and Fourth Amendment rights and protections and for Wagner to let such a statement go unanswered.
Echoing Wagner, Heather McGhee of the liberal Demos think tank sought to make the bogeyman the NRA and other organizations that comprise the "gun lobby," complaining about their power as a lobbying organization.
"This is the problem with the professionalization of lobbying and advocacy in this country. There are thousands of people whose only job it is is to make hysteria about guns," McGhee groused, ironically oblivious to the fact that the Brady Campaign's pro-gun control fixation is part and parcel of that "professionalization of lobbying."
"They don't get paid unless there is something for them to go to Washington and state houses to go and yell at state legislators and congress people about," McGhee added, sitting just feet away from a professional lobbyist who yells at legislators to "do something" about the scourge of "gun violence."
"Well, I'm not a professional lobbyist and I don't get paid to raise hysteria. I'm a gun owner, and I deeply care about these issues and this is part of this slow creep into our rights as gun owners," Cupp retorted.
"You're representing the point of view of the gun industry," Gross huffed at Cupp, adding that it's an industry that "at all costs wants to protect its profits... at the cost of human lives," effectively charging Cupp as being a corporate shill with blood on her hands.
Wagner then chimed back in, complaining to Cupp that the gun rights lobby had their defenses on a "hair trigger" against even the smallest intrusions into gun rights:
For people who want to be reasonable about the Second Amendment, who want to be reasonable with gun rights, it seems like there is absolutely no room to debate, to make incremental changes to the law, to create, to, to, to strengthen public safety.
Of course, back when Wagner and the rest of her network was furiously flogging Republicans for their "war on women," MSNBC had absolutely no concerns that it was promoting the interests of narrow-minded, single-issue professional lobbyists who were incapable of compromising to reach a sensible middle ground.