MSNBC's Brian Williams came perilously close to applying actual press scrutiny to one of John McCain's most beloved supporters, evangelist minister John Hagee, when he asked McCain enthusiast Senator Sam Brownback if Hagee was the "albatross" around McCain's neck.
WILLIAMS: Democrats are still locked in a primary contest, of course. we've seen a lot of Reverend Wright out there on this network, on the internet, on other networks certainly. It's been theorized that reason Mr. Hagee is not getting that thorough an airing is that the Democrats are otherwise busy. Stay tuned for that. Is he the albatross around the neck of Senator McCain that Reverend Wright has proven to be with Senator Obama?
BROWNBACK: I don't think so. I've known Reverend Hagee, I've worked with him, I've talked with him since the comments that he had made. He regrets them. He's said that. He said, this is the context in which that was said. I said this about Catholics. I also said the same thing about Protestants in his own church. He was just pointing to a time in history. I don't think you're going to see near that from Reverend Hagee that you've seen from Reverend Wright. I myself was shocked about some of the things that Reverend Wright expounded upon at the National Press Club.
Hmmm. Okay. Let's just review some of the things that Hagee has previously expounded upon, that some say are a wee bit "shocking":
Catholicism, defined: "A Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years produced a harvest of hate."
They Had It Coming! (New Orleans, in re Hurricane Katrina): "All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing."
They Had It Coming! (The Jews, in re the Holocaust): "It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day... Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of antisemitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people."
Naturally, if Brownback and McCain want to continue praising and working with Hagee, that's their prerogative. More importantly - and for what it's worth - I think Brownback is absolutely right when he says that he doesn't "think you're going to see" nearly as much coverage of "Hagee that you've seen from Reverend Wright." Why? Well, consider Brian Williams' take on the matter:
It's been theorized that reason Mr. Hagee is not getting that thorough an airing is that the Democrats are otherwise busy.
Interesting! Well, BriWi, here's an alternative theory to chew on: Hagee is not getting as thorough an airing because the media has abdicated that responsibility! The New York Times and the Washington Post have offered the public twelve times the coverage of Jeremiah Wright as they have John Hagee. Last week, David Gregory's The Race For The White House dedicated two entire shows exclusively to Jeremiah Wright. No one has offered scrutiny of Hagee that matches even one-fourth of the intensity or ubiquity that the Wright coverage has.
This isn't to say that the Wright controversy doesn't warrant thorough coverage, of course, but this Hagee fellow is a real piece of work! He's defamed Catholics, and the disaster-stricken, and Jews. If you check out some of his other greatest hits, you'll see he's done the same to Muslims, gays, and women. Here, Brownback says he's done the same to Protestants. Is there anyone who has escaped the lash of Hagee's intemperate, ignorant tongue? It's a question worth asking, but here, Brian Williams just glides on by, so he can ask Brownback to offer his prediction for tonight's primaries:
BROWNBACK: Hillary wins Indiana and Obama pulls it out in North Carolina, although maybe not by much. I think John McCain wins in both places.
Woah! Way to nail down that exclusive, hero newsman!