Who you gonna believe, Bret Baier or the text next to him?
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spent his weekend ungraciously leaping from the path
of questions on the effects and intentions of the new Indiana law allowing public discrimination against gay Americans under the general banner of religious freedom
, but one of the few things he has been quite sure of is that this new law is no different from any of the 1990s-era laws, dubbed Religious Freedom Restoration Acts
, that other states passed back then. This has been the preferred defense of the new law, as the good folks of Fox News and the Republican Party (but I repeat myself) try to patiently explain this to everyone through a rigorous program of repeating it as many times as a conversation will allow.
And here's Fox News personality Bret Baier, who accidentally destroys that argument in very specific, very concrete terms when he forgets to self-edit his remarks for the Fox News audience.
ERIC SHAWN: You know, the law was intended to protect personal religious liberties against government overreach and intrusion. So what happened?
BAIER: Well, Indiana's law is written a little differently. It is more broad. It is different than the federal law that it's close to, but different than, and also different than 19 other states and how the law is written. In specific terms, Indiana's law deals with a person who can claim religious persecution but that includes corporations, for profit entities and it could also be used as a defense in a civil suit that does not involve the government. That is broader than the other laws. This is where it's a little different in Indiana's case. You saw governor Mike Pence try to defend the law and say it's just like the 1993 federal law where it's just like 19 other states, but as you look in the fine print, it's not really, and it may be something that Indiana deals with in specifics to line up with the others. [...]
I love the disconnect there between the Fox News softball 'n Jesus question and the awkwardly detailed Baier response. That ball was in the left field bleachers before Baier remembered that the Fox News mob had paid him good money to whiff the pitch. Or maybe nobody really gives a rat's ass about what he says, because the Fox News audience responds mostly to shapes and colors.
SHAWN: Obviously, it had good intentions. What do you think happened to make it kind of go off the rails this way?
BAIER: Well, how it was structured, Eric. And I think that, you know, there may be good intentions behind it but how it's being interpreted is being a little bit more forward leaning than any other Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books. What this does politically, obviously Mike Pence has been talked about as a governor thinking about a 2016 run. We don't know if he's going to do it or not. But that interview with Stephanopoulos over the weekend was obviously not a great back and forth in defense of this law that likely is going to have to be at least tweaked, if not changed.
His words, not ours. Now that's fascinating.
Most interesting, if you watch the tape: The entire segment (the spinning, bold text that viewers can read if they are in a place where they cannot hear the conversation, as well as the usual chyrons at the bottom of the screen, as well as the questions themselves) has been set up as a vigorous defense of the Mike Pence version of events. This is just one of 20 identical laws! Signed by Bill Clinton! The Supreme Court cited those other laws in previous opinions! What Bret Baier is saying is in direct opposition to all of that, but if you watched with the sound off or didn't actually pay attention to Baier's mouth-hole you would never, ever know it.