June 25, 2006

Bernie-Ward-smackdown.jpg UPDATED: This is hilarious. The topic was the NY Times and the financial transactions story. Bernie Ward asked right wing talk show host Chris Baker if he thought the government should determine what the media reports. As they debated, Baker got so upset that he hurled insults at him and then stormed off the set. One of the new techniques to these types of debates now is to call your opponent fat and then walk off.

As calitics notes: Bernie Ward Shows Us How It's Done: This is instructive not because Baker lost it, but because of the way that Bernie Ward refused to play his game...read on

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Baker: Don't put words in my mouth...

Ward: You don't have a mouth to put it in. You just said you want the government to determine what's national security...

Baker: I got one chin man, I mean Jesus (garbled) Christ man, what do you want? Why don't you just surrender. Just surrender.

Ward: It's simple. Do you want the government to tell news papers what to do or not?

(Kevin sent in the transcript)

Baker: You’re absolutely taking my words out of context….

Ward: Well, then you explain to me where I’m wrong.

Baker: …which is typical of (unintelligible) ya shut up for two seconds? I will.

Ward: Hey, Chris, did they…did you want them to tell the New York Times not to publish?

Reporter: Okay, Chris, go ahead. Answer him.

Baker: Uh, look, I’m trying to have a conversation of dialogue here. We’re supposed to all be Americans. Now, if you want to drag me in here for a mud fight, then put us in the same stinking room, okay? But for God’s sake…

Ward: Oh, Chris, I wouldn’t want to hurt you.

Baker: All right, you know, I’m done with this. Just cut me off. I’m done with this jackass.

Ward: Well I’m glad, because you know what, Chris? He’s done with it because…

Baker: Ah, shut up.

Ward: …he hasn’t answered the question, which is real simple. Who determines what a newspaper publishes, the First Amendment or the government? The bottom line is, we know more now about what the government is doing to us without a court, without a warrant, without a subpoena, than we’ve known because of Congress. And the American people ought to be very concerned about their Fourth Amendment rights, and whether they’re being protected. And Chris, and others like him would like the government to be the one that says, “Okay, you can publish this, but you can’t publish that.” Do I have to remind everybody about the Pentagon Papers?

Once again Calitics:

Baker: Time of War! New York Times Treasonous! Bush Haters!
Ward: Should the government control what a newspaper prints?
Baker: Time of War! New York Times Treasonous! Bush Haters!
Ward: Answer the question. Should the government control what a newspaper prints?
[Repeat until Baker loses his mind, calls Ward names, and storms off because his Rove-approved talking points aren't working.]

Ward changed the basic assumptions of the conversation, and then refused to be baited by Baker's Republican-party talking points or the host's attempts to drag him into a diversion about "the courts" (where you've already conceded that government censorship of the press is a legitimate question). See how effective that was?

If only our politicians could be that relentless.

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