[For some reason Gilbert and Sullivan quotes are running through my feeble mind this morning. The title is from “Yeomen of the Guard,” which I have directed. It’s not the best of the operettas (though it’s a great show), but it may have the finest score, and I figured out just a couple of weeks ago how to handle its famous shock ending. I hope I get a chance to stage it some day.]
Michel Martin is the NPR host who in December of 2017 stabbed me in the back by permitting Professor Paul Butler’s on-the-air ambush in the middle of my (100% correct) explanation of how sexual harassment works, and then banned me from her show because I didn’t sufficiently bolster her anti-Trump agenda. It was my fault…
I foolishly thought providing last minute, authoritative and free ethics commentary for her show for five years meant I could trust her to treat me fairly and with a modicum of respect.
Here was a recent exchange with with Harmeet Dhillon, committeewoman for California’s Republican National Committee, as Martin asked about her reaction to the Mueller report:
MARTIN: What’s your reaction? I’m sure you have many, but what’s your top line reaction to today’s report?
DHILLON: Well, the president was completely vindicated and exonerated after two years of false allegations and really, what I consider to be a coup attempt against his presidency. But we are not cheering, most of us here on the Republican side, because it is atrocious and outrageous that the Department of Justice and the FBI and these other institutions were hijacked for a partisan end, and that for two years, our president was not allowed to fully carry out his agenda because of this cloud hanging over his presidency.
So contrary to your prior commentator, many Republicans believe that there needs to be a continuing investigation into the Obama administration who did the unmasking there, false representations made to the FISA court, a fraudulent report from Fusion GPS making its way into a government investigation and on and on.
And I will also say on the other side, the Democrats in Congress don’t appear to be willing to let this go either. So I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this entire situation by a long stretch.
MARTIN: Does the president now need to accept that Russia interfered in the 2016 election?
DHILLON: The president has actually said that many times, that the Russians attempted to interfere. The issue that is under investigation is whether the president interfered and colluded with the Russians. So I don’t think anybody questions that many foreign governments, including China, including Russia, have always, for many decades, been trying to interfere in our elections. And frankly, that is sort of the ground rules of what is expected, whether it’s a Democrat winning, whether it’s a Republican winning. I’m sure they’ve been doing it. And you’re aware as well that the president has said that.
MARTIN: Does the president owe Robert Mueller and his team an apology? I know that he’s not big on apologies. But he’s made disparaging comments about him in particular, about the people working for him for months now He’s disparaged their professionalism and objectivity. And now that their report has concluded what he has said all along, does he owe them an apology?
DHILLON: Absolutely not. That’s a totally false premise. The fact that they reached a correct conclusion does not mean that they did not waste two years of time, $25 million worth of money of the people. And they probably, given the volume of evidence, the interviews that they did, knew early on that there was nothing to this. And yet, they dragged out their investigation for two years.
MARTIN: Were they not asked to conduct this investigation?
DHILLON: Excuse me, don’t interrupt me, please…
MARTIN: Were they asked to conduct this investigation…
DHILLON: I’m a guest on your show.
MARTIN: I understand that.
DHILLON: I’m a guest. Let me finish. Let me finish my comment.
MARTIN: OK, OK.
DHILLON: My comment includes that people in this investigation were dragged through the mud unnecessarily using abusive prosecutorial tactics. A elderly man, Paul Manafort, was held in solitary and pressured to lie and to confess that the president had colluded with Russia. That is a fact.
DHILLON: It is a fact that other people like Michael Caputo and Hope Hicks and others in the White House have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves against now known to be false charges. So no, I am not a fan of this prosecution. And nobody is owing an apology to Robert Mueller.
MARTIN: All right.
I found myself wondering if I would have been able to get away with the the “Don’t interrupt me: I’m a guest” tactic when Professor Butler and Michel ganged up on me to cut me off because my explanation could be construed as defending Trump. My guess is that I wouldn’t, as a white male. I also think Dhillon’s push-back, while effective, was unethical. It’s Martin’s show, and she controls the interview. The guest is obligated yield to the host. I think Martin, who is a strong character, was surprised…just like I was, when she let her pal Butler mug me.