Why is Frank Gaffney on the TV?

WHY IS FRANK GAFFNEY ON THE TV?…. I care less about strange people believing strange things, and more about major news networks giving strange people a national platform to say strange things.

[Yesterday] on MSNBC, right-wing commentator Frank Gaffney joined in, boldly declaring, “I’m a member of Dick Cheney’s fan club,” alluding to the former vice president’s comments that Obama is making Americans less safe. Gaffney said that today, for example, Obama told our “Muslim enemies” that the United States is “willing to submit to them.”

When asked by MSNBC host David Shuster and Mother Jones’s David Corn for proof of this supposed submission, Gaffney pointed to a secret “code” Obama is using — which apparently only he, al Qaeda, the Saudis, and the Taliban understand.

With a straight face, Gaffney insisted that when the president uses the word “respect,” it’s “code for those who adhere to Sharia that we will submit to Sharia.” He added, “I’m telling you the code as they receive it in the Taliban headquarters and in al Qaeda’s cave and in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They perceive this as submission.”

Now, this is obviously ridiculous. But the concern here isn’t that Frank Gaffney says crazy things to national television audiences; it’s that Frank Gaffney was invited to says crazy things to a national television audience.

Gaffney was on MSNBC a couple of weeks ago, for example, arguing that “evidence” exists connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and the Oklahoma City bombing. In September, Gaffney argued that Sarah Palin has learned foreign policy through “osmosis,” by living in Alaska. He’s argued that U.S. forces really did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but the media covered it up. He’s used made-up quotes and recommended “hanging” Democratic officials critical of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. Steve M. reminds me that Gaffney also believes there’s “evidence” suggesting the president is not a natural born citizen of the United States, and once recommended a military strike on Al Jazeera headquarters.

Gaffney is certainly entitled to believe obvious nonsense, but I’ll ask the same question I posed the last time I saw Gaffney on MSNBC: is there nothing these guys can say that would force them from polite company? Just how crazy must a conservative be before he/she is no longer invited back onto national television to share ridiculous ideas?

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