While CNN gave two tough interviews to Palin-bashing author Joe McGinniss, HLN's Joy Behar joked around with him on her Wednesday show. She referenced his newest tome on Sarah Palin and her family, full of nasty gossip and rumors, and jokingly asked "What, do you have a death wish, Joe?"
In the previous segment, Behar had made fun of Rush Limbaugh's past drug abuse in her interview with Levi Johnston. "Your mother was selling Oxycontin?" she asked Johnston. "What's she – what's up with that? Does she know Rush Limbaugh?"
Not finished with her fun, the HLN host had a laugh over McGinniss' creepy move into the house next door to the Palins. "Could you see Russia from that house?" Behar joked.
In the interview, McGinniss charged Palin as a "blatant racist and a "religious extremist," but Behar challenged only the latter accusation, remarking that Palin was barely a churchgoer – according to Levi Johnston, whom she used to fact-check McGinniss' book in the previous interview.
Behar did press McGinniss over his radical stories against Palin and her family – but while treating him as a respectable reporter, not the author of a book filled with gossip and rumors.
She also gave credence to the fringe conspiracy theory peddled by the Daily Beast, that prominent Republican figures are "Dominionists" and are pushing to end the separation of church and state in America. When McGinniss accused Palin of belonging to such a sect, Behar asked "how is she any different from, say, Rick Perry?"
The "Rogue" author absurdly claimed that the media gave Palin a pass in 2008, saying that "the mainstream media paid no attention to her background, nobody did any homework on her in 2008, running for vice president."
Behar made no attempt to challenge his assumption, instead attempting to explain it. "Well, the media likes sort of a star. She's kind of a star."
[Video below. Click here  for audio.]
A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 21 at 10:30 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
JOY BEHAR: In his best-sellers "Fatal Vision" and "Blind Faith" Joe McGinniss told the stories of a couple of notorious murderers. In his new book, he looks into the lives of Sarah Palin and her family. What do you have a death wish, Joe? Joining me now is the author of "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin," Joe McGinnis. Welcome to the show, Joe.
JOE MCGINNISS, author, "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin": Thank you, Joy.
BEHAR: Now, let's start with the moving in next door. I know everybody talks to you about this, but you moved into a house right next door to Sarah up in Wasilla. And here's my question. Could you see Russia from that house?
MCGINNISS: But, you know, the thing is, this is a woman who believes that she was anointed by God to have a career in politics, to make America into a Christian republic because the mainstream media paid no attention to her background, nobody did any homework on her in 2008, running for vice president, she got to within a few percentage points and one heart beat away from the presidency of the United States.
BEHAR: I know that.
MCGINNISS: Despite the fact that she's a religious extremist, a blatant racist and utterly unqualified to hold any office.
BEHAR: I didn't get that she was trying to turn the nation into a Christian nation or that she was that religious. In fact, I just interviewed Levi Johnston, her son-in-law and he says that she was not religious at all. She went to church twice a year.
MCGINNISS: She may not practice on a regular basis. But since before she ran for the Wasilla City Council, she's been governed by the theology of the Assembly of God, a Dominionist Christian sect that believes in the end – in ending the separation between church and state in America.
BEHAR: Well, how is she any different from, say, Rick Perry?
MCGINNISS: Does Rick Perry want to end the separation of church and state?
BEHAR: I don't think he wants to keep it the way it is so much.
MCGINNISS: Well, he may not. But Sarah is – Sarah`s spiritual adviser is a woman who believes in witchcraft. You know, this is going back into Christine O`Donnell country. You know, Sarah was anointed by that bishop from Kenya a few years ago to protect her from demons. These people are so far out on the fringe, that I don't think they have any business near a national office. And I think that the media – they were so bedazzled by Sarah's freshness, her sauciness, her charm, her personality, her – that they didn`t even look behind the mask. They didn't try to –
BEHAR: Well, the media likes sort of a star. She's kind of a star.
MCGINNISS: She's kind of a star.
BEHAR: And I think the media is drawn to that whether you like her or you don't like her. She's very attractive.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center