This has to be one of the more pitiful segments that I've had the unfortunate circumstance of watching for a while now. Anderson Cooper really should be ashamed of himself for allowing Mary Matalin and Ari Fleischer get away with this ridiculous defense of Rush Limbaugh where they decided to start attacking Arianna Huffington for a satirical piece posted at her web site, The Huffington Post.
Here's the offending piece that apparently had Fleischer and Matalin worked into a tizzy -- The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum.
And here's his response which was also posted there as well where he explains what he wrote and why he wrote it -- Dear Catholics: I Am Heartily Sorry, etc.:
Actually, I'm not sorry at all, but I suppose an explanation is in order.
Last week, I wrote a piece with the somewhat provocative title "The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum." The purpose was to take Santorum to task for his persistent and opportunistic attacks on the faith of others, in particular his dog whistle references to President Obama's "phony ideology" and his assertion that it is impossible to be a Christian and liberal. My criticism took the form of a ridiculously over-the-top broadside against Roman Catholicism, a demonstration of the type of vicious religious ignorance and intolerance I too often see coming from too many so-called Christians, especially Santorum. [...]
I won't say that Catholics need to lighten up or learn to take a joke, because the piece wasn't intended to be light-hearted or funny. It was satire, meaning... well, you can look that up. (It was probably a mistake to put it in the Comedy section; the editors wanted readers to know it was not to be taken literally.)
It's traditional at this point for me to half-apologize, to say that I'm sorry if anybody was offended, but I really don't mind if anybody was offended. I hope they will now think twice before they question the faith of progressive Christians, or Mormons or Muslims. I doubt they will.
Apparently that was completely lost on Matalin and Fleischer as well, or maybe not and they know full well the piece was satire and their only defense of Limbaugh is to distract, attack and lay it on thick with the false equivalencies. And note to Maria Cardona here, the correct answer for Fleischer when he ambushes you with a question about something you haven't read is to say you haven't seen it and won't comment on it until you do and you'd be happy to discuss it later after you look at what he's talking about instead of ceding ground to their attacks.
A writer that most people have not heard of at Huffington's site writing a piece of satire and his response after the fact explaining what he did and why is in no way the same as Rush Limbaugh's nasty, personal attacks on Sandra Fluke and Fleischer and Matalin know it.
And speaking of Ari Fleischer, why is anyone listening to anything this man has to say about women's reproductive rights or contraception after that sage advice he was paid to give the Komen foundation?
And one last note to Cooper and Cardona, someone needs to call Matalin out when she conflates contraception with abortion like her buddy Rove did a little while back.
Transcript below the fold.