Mendacity, Mitt and Mormonism

MSNBC host Martin Bashir has a show that the cable network pitches as "Martin Bashir takes viewers across America and the globe to uncover the hidden side to the day’s events, with thoughtful and provocative interviews with the people you’re talking about." It turns out it's even worse than it sounds.

A few weeks ago, we had a few readers send in links to Bashir bashing Rick Santorum for not giving as much of his tithe money to the church as Bashir thought he should. Readers felt that maybe Bashir should have mentioned the large out-of-pocket expenses the Santorums pay for the care of their disabled child.

But I never know how much we should care about what happens on cable news. The standards seem so low and it's hard to tell what's news and what's just showboating. But my husband sent me a link to a show Bashir had last week which was, at best, ridiculous.

You can watch it above or read the transcript at this link, but here's a sample.

Today, we wanted to focus on what Mormonism says about lying and the reason is quite simple – Mr. Romney seems to be having some trouble telling the truth. In fact, yesterday, Mitt the Mendacious offered a hat trick of falsehoods.

But his third lie, yesterday, appears to be his all-time favorite. This is his utterly false claim that the president promised to keep unemployment below a certain level.

Mitt the Mendacious knows full well that the president never, ever said such a thing. In fact, that figure of eight percent was a speculative projection, written by two analysts, with limited access to data, and well before the president was even inaugurated. But much more to the point – it is something that the president has never written nor said. But it doesn’t matter how many times he hears the truth, Mitt Romney prefers to tell lies.

Which brings us to the moral codes of Mormonism that Mr. Romney claims to live by. In section 63 and verse 17 of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Mormon Church we find this: "All liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

And from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:34, we find this: “Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.” Given what the Book of Mormon is clearly saying, Mr. Romney has but two choices – he can either keep lying and potentially win the White House but bring eternal damnation upon himself, or he can start telling the truth. The question for him, I guess, is: which is more important?

Now, the point is not to discuss the politics of this all. Whether you support Romney or don't, whether you think that Romney has lied about President Obama or whether Bashir is himself having trouble with the truth, that's really not a helpful avenue for us to pursue.

I only wanted to include a brief portion of the "mendacious" claim for context.

Bashir's hit was so over-the-top that it's received some media attention itself. I can only assume that's Bashir's intention. In fact, Bashir is known for his mawkish journalism or hostile and (many would say) unfair interviews.

But, on the other hand, Bashir is an MSNBC anchor, a Dateline contributor and, previously, a Nightline anchor. It's not like this is just some pundit on the airwaves.

If you're going to condemn a political adversary to eternal damnation on account of his lying, is it necessary or even helpful to pull out the Mormon scriptures? Why not simply mention the 10 Commandments themselves since Mormon's also hold them? Is there a journalistic defense of Bashir's attack?

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