Chris Jansing: Pundit or Howard Beale?
This morning on Jansing & Co there something happened which I’d never seen before and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The subject was The New York Governor’s debate last night and Christine O’Donnell’s comments about the Constitution. MSNBC.com only has part of the segment up. Jansing has always been tough on both sides of the political spectrum when she conducts her interviews but she was wading into new territory this morning by stating an opinion…
I’m not finding any of this stuff funny anymore. It actually kind of made me feel sick to my stomach. I feel like…somehow…we have got to find people who know a little more, who do a little more, something! This is such a serious time in our nation’s history…how did we get to this point?
Coming out of her mouth this was a real shock. I’ve never seen Jansing do this kind of commentary before. As I said, I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I don’t like anchors wading into the opinion world. That’s the job of pundits and analysts. But at the same time I’m on the same page as Jansing when things like last night’s New York debate happen and we have candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Alvin Greene, Carl Paladino, and Sharon Angle whose candidacies, speaking as a poli sci grad, make a mockery of our political process. So Jansing having a Howard Beale like, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” moment regarding some of the more ridiculous candidacies and elections in today’s screwed up political climate resonates with me. Of course if government was doing its job people like these wouldn’t be where they are now because the voters wouldn’t be looking for something…anything…as a substitute.
Update: NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock does Establishment Clause 101…
After playing a clip of O’Donnell from last week’s debate, Jansing sputtered, “I thought she had to be kidding.” She then pulled out her “handy, dandy” pocket Constitution and quoted, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of or abridging the freedom of speech.’ Amendment, number one. I don’t even know where to go with that.”
What Jansing was thinking of is the Establishment Clause. O’Donnell’s point was that restricting the creation of the official religion isn’t the same thing as walling off faith from public life. Despite the indignant tone of Jansing, “separation of church and state” isn’t in the text.