Jewish World Review Oct. 16, 2003 /20 Tishrei, 5764

Joe Scarborough

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Not the same as slander | The coarsening of American politics continues unabated on talk radio, cable news shows and on nasty Internet Web sites. Time was when all the anger and rage seemed to be coming from the right.

But as best-selling "Bias" author Bernie Goldberg writes in an upcoming op-ed, that position is now, ironically, held by liberal commentators, who have become closed-minded, nasty and fringe.

Goldberg cites "The Nation's" media critic, Eric Alterman, who was quoted recently by saying that he hoped Rush Limbaugh would have gone deaf and that he refuses to invite anybody into his home who does not agree with his views on abortion, gun control, or campaign finance reform. So much for being an open-minded liberal.

And Al Franken flies the flag of American liberalism these days by calling people like Goldberg, the president, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter "liars." Instead of debating the issues, Franken seems to tag anyone who disagrees with him the label liar.

I was taken to task by hosts on this very network for daring to challenge some of Janeane Garofalo's intolerant statements. The news hosts asked how conservatives on TV could attack Ms. Garofalo when all she was doing was voicing her opinion, just like TV commentators like me who took her to task.

Well, Janeane said this "The Republican Party, their message and their politics of exclusion appeals to the dumb and the mean. There is no shortage of dumb and mean people in this culture. The dumb and the mean find nice a place in the GOP." And the party is run by "closet racists, misogynists and homophobes identifying themselves as conservative."

I'll tell you what. That does not sound like political discourse to me. That sounds like slander.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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