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Martha MacCallum Helps Whitewash Allen West’s Attack On Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Reported by Ellen - July 22, 2011 -

On Wednesday, “objective host” Martha MacCallum inserted herself into a debate and spun on behalf of Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) vicious attacks on Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Yesterday, in a softball interview with West, MacCallum helped spin again, this time by exaggerating an "attack" by Wasserman Schultz, underplaying West’s and pretending the two were commensurate. MacCallum also provided a friendly platform for West to further attack Wasserman Schultz.

MacCallum played remarks made by Wasserman Schultz on the House floor. They were certainly critical of West, though he went unnamed.

". . .President Obama has vowed to veto this bill which ends the Medicare guarantee and, incredulously, the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable from a member from South Florida."

But in support of West, MacCallum claimed that Wasserman Schultz “attacked fellow Floridian lawmaker Allen West.”

Most sane, independent thinkers would come to the conclusion that West went overboard with his response, an email to Wasserman Schultz, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Subject - Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz.

Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!"

MacCallum excerpted said email with only the following quote: “If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up.” The same quote appeared on a graphic on the screen under the banner, “REACTION TO COMMENTS ON FLOOR.”

MacCallum began the actual interview by suggesting West’s reaction was on a par with Wasserman Schultz’ “provocation.” MacCallum asked West, “What can you share with us about what led to her calling you, basically, names on the House floor and then to you calling her names in this email that’s gotten a whole lot of attention?”

What name did Wasserman Schultz call West? I didn't see it in the clip. Somehow MacCallum failed to say.

West not only refused to apologize, he used the occasion to further attack Wasserman Schultz, which didn’t seem to bother MacCallum an itsy bitsy. He catalogued some earlier grievances against Wassserman Schultz. MacCallum didn’t seem to think those accusations needed any further perspective beyond West’s. “Nothing was said about that, no one apologized,” he complained as if justifying his own refusal to apologize. There was “not a chance” he’d take back anything. “I stand by what I said,” he assured MacCallum.

West maintained his comments were some kind of necessary self defense. “I have to protect my personal honor as well as the honor of this nation and that’s why I’m up here to do that. But it comes to a point when I have to stand and I have to defend myself and I can be very direct in my language but so be it.”

MacCallum didn’t challenge any of those wild statements, though she did suggest she thought some of West’s email was over the top. Still, that didn’t stop her from maintaining a sympathetic attitude. “I know that you said you would not apologize. Is there anything that you want to clarify or any part of your statement that you want to take back here today? …Saying that she’s not a lady and telling her to shut the heck up, you’d still be OK with that language if you said it again tomorrow?”

MacCallum was fine, of course, with West’s refusal to take anything back and with his follow-up “justification” by way of more complaints about Wasserman Schultz. In fact, MacCallum gave him an opening to fan the flames a little further by noting that Wasserman Schultz had said she wasn’t surprised that West “cracked.” “Any response to that?” MacCallum urged asked.

After watching MacCallum and West's spin, check out Stephen Colbert's hilarious takedown of any notion that West's response was commensurate with Wasserman Schultz's "attack."

The Colbert Report
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