QOTD: Frankly Scarlett edition

QOTD: Frankly Scarlett edition

by digby

This Week did some substantive and informative television on ISIS and Ebola this morning. And then they turned to the political panel.

God help us:

RADDATZ: Trending right now: our Facebook find of the week. What's burning up news feeds? A high stakes faceoff over the ISIS threat.

California Congressman Duncan Hunter alleging members of the terror group were apprehended trying to sneak across our southern border.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA: I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas.

RADDATZ: A stunning claim, but is it true? Not according to the Homeland Security Secretary

JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We have no credible, specific intelligence to that effect. Let's not unduly create fear and anxiety.

RADDATZ: But Hunter insists he's right. His spokesman firing back, "it makes sense that the left hand of the DHS doesn't know what the right hand is doing. It's been that way for a long time."

Did Congressman Hunter go too far with his new claims? Let's take on our Facebook find of the week.


RADDATZ: And the roundtable is here. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile. And ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd. Welcome everyone.

No one seems to have any evidence to back up Hunter's claims. Is he just seizing on people's fears? They are pretty high this morning.

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yeah, they're very high this morning. And I -- I don't want to conflate the two things with Ebola and this, but many times fear doesn't have to be real to be powerful. And in the context of it, we don't often have to have facts to back up our fears. We respond to our fears.

I think everybody has the right to say what they want to say, but they have the responsibility to say what may be they believe to be factually correct. The congressman says he believes it to be factually correct. But at a time like this with terrorism and, as you say, with the Ebola thing, we should counsel our fears and look for the fact sets

"Is it true?" There's no evidence that it is. But let's "ask the question" as if there's a possibility. Matthew Dowd certainly didn't disabuse anyone of it, did he?

According to him, Hunter says he believed this to be factually correct and that he has a right to say what he thinks he believes but he should only say it if he believes it to be true, which he does. But we should look for fact sets. (And by the way, Kristol immediately conflated ISIS with Ebola when they turned to him...)

They all know they are being irresponsible. But they just don't give a damn.

Update: Chuck Todd was much better on this on Meet the Press. Instead of talking about it as if it's a fun little twitter sidebar he took it seriously:


We've seen our borders routinely ignored. So if someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S., just get to Mexico and walk right in.


Ladies and gentlemen, we've got an Ebola outbreak. We have bad actors that can come across the border. We need to seal the border and secure it.


And that's one of the reasons why I have been so adamant about closing our border, because if people are coming in through normal channels, can you imagine what they can do through our porous border?


We know the saying, "It's all fair in politics." But as you just say, there are politicians aren't being shy about pushing the panic button as the midterms approach. Our panel is back to discuss. Sara Fagen, Robert Gibbs, you guys are campaign advisors. I understand the politics of fear can be good politics, but it can be irresponsible.


It can be irresponsible. And this Ebola outbreak is a serious national security issue that particularly political-elected leaders need to think very carefully before they make statements like that.


I was just going to say, you think that making statements about, "Oh my God, Ebola can come across the border through Mexico," is a little bit irresponsible?


I think it's irresponsible. I would take it a step further, which is to say it's also wrong. Sure, the United States government should take precautionary measures at our borders. But unless you're planning on eliminating all flights into the United States, you cannot contain the risk of the spread of Ebola. I mean, think about it. You're going to build a wall in Mexico but then people are going to fly all over the globe?


You build a wall and a bubble right now.




You know, Robert, one of the reasons where I think Republicans are going to this issue is they want to keep nationalizing the elections. The more nationalized they are, the better for Republicans. Do you buy that?


Well, I think so. And we see that the inconvenience of having an election during a public health emergency gives you the types of--


You call it an inconvenience. Is that--


Well, I'm being horribly sarcastic there. I think the notion, look, we've got to be careful. Everybody has to be careful about what we say to enter that into the political sphere is potentially a mess. And I think quite frankly, it has the real chance of turning off independent or voters that haven't made up their minds are going to look at these candidates and say, "That's just crazy." And I think that could help somebody else other than the Republican in that race.

CHUCK TODD:You know, Tom, one of the reasons why I think politicians have felt so comfortable playing the sphere card is the media's gone right in.


They have. I mean, and--


We say "they." You know, we can't be too dispassionate.

(And yes, Robert Gibbs is just as glib and shallow as he's always been. With friends like these ...)