The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis sparked a fiery debate on “Morning Joe” Friday over the suspension of a “Duck Dynasty” star for comments about gay sex, prompting furious pushback after he said “The message is simple: if you disagree with homosexuality — politically or from a religious standpoint — keep your mouth shut.”
Lewis appeared on MSNBC Friday to discuss his recent column on the cultural implications of Phil Robertson’s suspension for anti-homosexual remarks made to “GQ” magazine, but he clashed almost instantly with MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts over whether the suspension was appropriate. (RELATED: ‘Duck Dynasty’ vs. ‘Pajama Boy’: Two Americas?)
LEWIS: I worry about a situation — now, this guy, Phil Robertson, has no constitutional right to have a TV show — but I do worry about the chilling effect whereby if you express a politically incorrect viewpoint, you’re now being sort of shamed and you could be fired.
ROBERTS: Matt, did The Daily Caller come out for Martin Bashir? Did The Daily Caller come out to defend Martin Bashir’s right to free speech?
LEWIS: I would say that most conservatives thought that Martin Bashir should not be fired, should not be let go.
ROBERTS: We didn’t. He resigned.
LEWIS: I don’t know if anybody — look, but I would also say that that’s a false equivalency! I mean, talking about Sarah Palin —
ROBERTS: Free speech is free speech.
LEWIS: — that comment is vastly different than expressing a position, which — look, I think this is entirely defensible. It’s his opinion. And are we going to create a situation where expressing a politically incorrect opinion is fireable?
Lewis later added that, “The message is simple: if you disagree with homosexuality — politically or from a religious standpoint — keep your mouth shut.” That didn’t sit well with “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski:
BREZEZINSKI: You’re holding him up as some sort of thought leader. Did you hear what Thomas Roberts read? That was disgusting. Would you want that on The Daily Caller? Would you like to have that on The Daily Caller? Would you like to have someone speaking that way about homosexuality on The Daily Caller? No!
LEWIS: It’s not the way I would have presented it —
BREZEZINSKI: That’s correct.
LEWIS: — but I would defend his position, his right to say it. And I don’t think we should have this position where we wring our hands and punish people and essentially cast people out of polite society.
Brezezinski — who is clearly not a regular reader of The Daily Caller — then looked on angrily as Joe Scarborough promised to run through “all the shocking things that rock stars and movie stars have said from the left.”
“I’m going to read them on this air,” he continued. “Do we start demanding that they all be fired from their record labels? I mean, come on. The hypocrisy here is outrageous . . it’s a double standard.
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