Should MSNBC have fired Pat Buchanan?

MSNBC has apparently reached the end of the line with profligate pundit and one time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. This is a rather dramatic end to one segment of a long and controversial story surrounding the perennial talker, mover and shaker in American politics which many on both sides of the aisle are celebrating. But should we? The Telegraph comes to a qualified defense of Pat’s work and thinks the network has made a mistake.

It’s official: the conservative pundit and politician Pat Buchanan has been sacked from MSNBC. He got in trouble in November of last year for writing a book called Suicide of a Superpower – a vast, angry Jeremiad about the decline of America. A liberal pressure group called Color of Change decided that it was racist and started lobbying MSNBC to sack its best known Right-wing pundit. After a couple of months, the network caved and Buchanan was gone. Last night, he wrote a column giving his side of the story. He says that he’s been “blacklisted.” I think it’s simpler and sadder than that.

Read their full analysis. It’s worth a look. Pat was a regular on Morning Joe, which as most of you know I watch on a daily basis. I didn’t always agree with Pat and he clearly said and wrote some things which would rile up the masses, but he also provided a wealth of experience in American politics and government which few can manage. Joe Scarborough and his partner in crime Mika Brzezinski released the following rebuttal.

“Everyone at Morning Joe considers Pat Buchanan to be a friend and a member of the family. Even though we strongly disagree with the contents of Pat’s latest book, Mika and I believe those differences should have been debated in public. An open dialogue with Morning Joe regulars like Al Sharpton and Harold Ford, Jr. could have developed into an important debate on the future of race relations in America.

Pat himself released a statement at Human Events describing the long road which led to this confrontation. Give his own account a read for yourself. It says a lot.

For me it’s a much more difficult argument. You see, Pat reminds me, in many ways, of my father. Those who know me are aware that I’ve written of my dad many times in the past. He was a complicated fellow and frequently hard to love in the opinion of many.

My father was a skilled mechanical engineer with several patents to his credit. He was a family man and a good provider. He was also a war hero, serving on one of the “vulture squads” under General George Patton in World War 2. He received the Purple Heart and a squad commendation from the relief of Bastogne, when he was blown up by some tank shell fragments.

My dad was also an infamous…

I’m never sure what word to fill in there. My dad was a bigot by any modern standard, as was my grandfather. He hated black people. And Asians. And Jews and Mormons. (He would have hated Muslims if we’d had any around our farm country back in the day.) His opinions of women would enrage any modern feminist. In short, my Dad hated pretty much anybody who wasn’t… him. He was brought up that way. My grandfather never got over Pearl Harbor and, when I was a child, he once told me that Japanese people were the result of mad scientists’ experiments breeding Chinese people with Gorillas. Yes.. that’s the house I grew up in.

But my dad was still a smart man and had other opinions which he shared in his own community. That’s how things were in some places. The country has thankfully grown beyond that, but it doesn’t diminish the great things my father did, even for all his shortcomings.

I’m not saying Pat Buchanan is as far out on the limb as my father was. (Now dead these past twenty years and more.) But given my experience with eccentric relatives, I find myself having more than a little sympathy when he says inflammatory things and a willingness to listen when he speaks on other subjects where he has a vast pool of experience and much to offer. I don’t ask anyone to forgive Buchanan when he dives into areas which clearly seem to indicate some insensitivity, but silencing him entirely is a sin of another kind.

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