Michael Weinstein’s need to stroke his ego knows no limits. Glen Doherty was one of the four men killed in Libya when the consulate was overrun. Weinstein has been loudly touting the fact Doherty was a member of his advisory board. Fair enough.
But when invited to speak on cable news about Mr. Doherty, Weinstein did what he is often wont to do: He talked about himself. Interviewing Weinstein in a split screen, Judge Jeanine of “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on FoxNews started with a simple statement: “Tell us about him.” Weinstein’s response mentioned Doherty only once, in the first few words [edited to remove verbal fillers]:
You know, I realize I’m trying to keep everything apolitical, because Glen — I’m not going to talk about a political spectrum left or right thing — Glen was every bit a passionate American hero. He cared about his fellow Americans, he cared about his fellow world citizens, he was a Navy SEAL that came on our advisory board…
That’s a nice sentiment, actually, though there’s a foreshadowing when Weinstein momentarily digressed into his pre-recorded talking points on “not a political left or right thing” (a standard sentence in his speeches to various audiences about his foundation). Unfortunately, he’s unable to maintain his focus — and he launches into what he knows best: Talking about himself.
We’re a civil rights organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation…
Weinstein then launches into a long (and standard) speech talking about the MRFF (saying, essentially verbatim, the same things he always says about his “charity”). He notes, for example, they’re “fighting religious extremism” in the military in the form of “fundamentalist Christians,” and he never again mentions Doherty — until Judge Jeanine interrupts him to get to the point. He was on the air to talk about Glen Doherty, after all:
“Mikey, Mikey, Mikey — Let me get through that. What was Glen like?”
Again, a simple question focusing on the person on whom the segment is intended to be about:
Glen was a man that cared passionately about everybody. He cared about — He didn’t decide that you would judge or scale the value of an American citizen — or a world citizen — based on his religious faith or lack thereof. He wanted everyone to be treated the same way, and he was aware of the fact that religious extremism had absolutely no place, judge, in the profession of arms.
Well, at least the first sentence focused on the person, even if it was a repetition of what he’d already said. The rest is a modified recitation of Weinstein’s common talking points that promote his own cause, rather than honor a fallen American. Judge Jeanine continues:
“What would he want to have happen as the result of his death and the death of the other three Americans?”
The question is terribly awkward. Still, Weinstein’s response is just as irrelevant, and again digresses into his personal conspiracy theories rather than what Doherty may have wanted to happen as the result of his death — causing Judge Jeanine to interrupt Weinstein again:
Let me start the answer to that excellent question, Judge, by telling you what he would not want to have happen. He would not want anyone, any political party, any person, any politician, any American citizen, or world citizen, to paint one people — one culture, one ethnicity, with one brush based on extremists. He wouldn’t want all of the Arabian people, all of the Muslim faith and practitioners and that culture to be painted with the horrible brush of Salafi or Wahhabist al Qaeda Talibanism that aspect of the extreme part of the Muslim faith. He would not want us to do that because he knows — we talked about this all the time — that whenever you paint one people with one brush you end up –
Judge Jeanine again interrupted Weinstein with “we know that, and Muslims, not all Muslims are al Qaeda.” Weinstein continued with his talking point, making a reference to his conspiracy theory that Christians are trying to instigate a second Holocaust:
…you end up not with little creeks, rivers, or streams, Judge, but with oceans and oceans of blood.
Judge Jeanine tried to get back to Doherty:
But when he went there, did he ever think this is how it would end? Did he know that his life was on the line? Was he worried about it?
That’s kind of an asinine question to ask. Nonetheless, Weinstein chooses to ignore it and steer the conversation back to himself:
The last time I spoke to him was several weeks before he went there. We had talked about several things that happened recently, including a new Air Force provision that was criminalizing proselytizing in our military…
That’s cold — and it is a clear indicator Weinstein is really on TV for his own self-promotion. Weinstein is using inflammatory (and ultimately false) language to mischaracterize an “Air Force provision” to draw attention to himself, hoping someone will latch on to that during his few minutes of TV time and want to follow up. It’s little more than bait, as the incendiary language is unrelated to the interview or even reality. It’s just Weinstein dropping a little more “shock” into his speech, which does nothing for the memory of his fallen friend.
Weinstein finally starts to come close to providing an intelligent, rational response — right as the show ends:
And he knew that the Arab Spring was going to — had two goals, door number one was allowing civil rights in an area where we’d never had them before, door number two it would provide an opportunity for the extremists to get in.
In the three minute segment, Weinstein spoke for approximately 2 1/2 minutes. He talked about his friend, Glen Doherty, who was murdered in Libya, for about 37 seconds. The rest of the time, he talked about himself.
To top it off, he posted a copy of the interview on the internet, right above a paragraph that began this way:
The grassroots campaign to ensure that religious freedoms are upheld in the United States Armed Forces will take considerable financing. Funding is required…
Promoting yourself and fundraising off the death of your friend. Stay classy, Weinstein.