Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Gotcha Morning | Michele Bachmann is the New Joseph McCarthy
Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom all of sudden seems far more prescient than anyone could have expected. In the third episode, which aired two weeks ago, Sam Waterston's Charlie Skinner asks Jane Fonda's Leona Lansing if she would have told Edward R. Murrow to lay off McCarthy the way she's asking anchor Will McAvoy to take it easy on the Tea Party members of Congress, such as Michele Bachmann. Lansing responds, "Michele Bachmann is a hairdo. I'm not worried about Michele Bachmann." The Newsroom is set in 2010, and Michele Bachmann's influence has grown significantly since the midterm elections that year. She recently opened up a full-scale witch hunt against members of the U.S. government who she believes have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. With "Muslim" being the scary, foreign label that "Communist" was back in the 1950's, her accusations have career damaging potential for the specific people she and her Congressional minions are targeting, including the State Department's Huma Abedin, wife of previously shamed Congressman Anthony Weiner. In this clip from Anderson Cooper 360 last night, Cooper and his guests Alex Seitz-Wald from Salon and the Arab American Institute's James Zogby try to break down what Bachmann's motivations could possibly be for making a public outcry about something that (if it were a real threat) should and would be handled covertly. They effectively make the point that since the majority of Americans (and particularly Republicans) still think President Obama is a closet Muslim, anything Bachmann and her cohorts do in this election year to promote the fear of secret Muslim infiltration in Washington can only hurt the President. As Aaron Sorkin reminds us, we should heed those lessons of McCarthyism and call out this disgusting behavior for what it is. We may not have an Edward R. Murrow or Will McAvoy reporting the news right now, but at least we have Anderson Cooper.