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MSNBC’s O’Donnell Calls FRC A “Complete Joke,” But His Network Doesn’t Get It

November 09, 2011 3:24 pm ET by Carlos Maza

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell ripped into the Family Research Council (FRC) during his show last night, calling the group a “complete joke” after it chose to honor Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) for his “unwavering support of the family” despite his ex-wife’s allegation that Walsh has failed to pay more than $100,000 in child support to his own family:

O’DONNELL: If you suspect that the Family Research Council really is a big joke – I mean a joke that they’re in on, a joke that [FRC president] Tony Perkins and [FRC Senior Fellow] Peter Sprigg and everyone else working at the Family Research Council gets in the same way that you do – they have now, in effect, publicly announced that, yes, this whole Family Research Council thing is a complete joke.

O’Donnell is right for pointing out that FRC shouldn’t be taken seriously. Even before it began praising Walsh, FRC was producing some of the most outrageous and damaging anti-LGBT propaganda in American politics. The group’s extremism even got it labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its “wholesale defamation attack on gays and lesbians.” FRC has long-deserved to be treated as the irrelevant, far-right fringe group that it is.

It’s too bad that O’Donnell’s network, MSNBC, doesn’t seem to agree.

MSNBC has helped prop up FRC’s credibility by inviting the group to appear on national television as a legitimate conservative organization over the past several years. The network has turned to FRC spokesmen for commentary on a number of issues – ranging from repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to student binge drinking – routinely failing to identify FRC as an SPLC-designated hate group.

The network has even prodded FRC’s Perkins to determine which GOP candidate his group will endorse, reinforcing the idea that FRC is an important and respected player in the GOP primary. And, as is the case with most major news networks, MSNBC’s reliance on FRC for commentary has continued as the 2012 presidential race has intensified.

FRC’s website contains over a dozen clips of Perkins and Sprigg appearing on MSNBC since 2008. Even the clip that O’Donnell uses to demonstrate Sprigg’s obsession with “gay soldier sex” is taken from a 2010 appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball.

For what it’s worth, FRC is thankful for MSNBC’s willingness to give airtime to a hate group. The organization routinely asks its supporters to thank MSNBC for putting its head bigots on television.

Not-so-thankful: the millions of LGBT Americans who are forced to watch as a supposedly responsible news network rubs shoulders with some of the country’s most aggressive anti-LGBT hate mongers.

As satisfying as it is to laugh along with O’Donnell as he laughs at FRC, maybe it’s time he let his employers in on the joke.


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