People were tweeting about this as it happened and I ignored it because I thought they were exaggerating. See for yourself. You can thank Charles Cooke for the video.
I never thought I’d say it, but I’m saying it — MSNBC’s really gone downhill since Olbermann left. Not because Olby was above this sort of thing; he trafficked in it endlessly, sometimes bringing on cartoon character Janeane Garofalo to fling it while he played straight man. What I mean is, he was never this witless about it. The whole segment is a giant non sequitur. GOP strategist Lee Atwater once described using certain hot-button issues like busing to play on racial divisions; the IRS scandal, which may or may not involve administration officials, is a hot-button issue about which Republicans are exercised; ergo, “IRS” is tantamount to using a racial slur against Obama. This feels to me like Bashir read a bunch of stories about Democrats trying to turn down the heat on the IRS story by bleating about “overreach” and Darrell Issa, and Bashir deciding that he needed to be a good soldier and join in. But all the obvious table-turning angles were covered. What’s a dullard with an afternoon soapbox, an audience full of restless liberals, and an idea in his head about oneupsmanship to do? He does this.
There’s a galaxy of lefty commentators out there willing to make this same cheap, stupid argument and who’d do it in a way less painfully self-parodic than this. Find one, MSNBC.