Maddow Calls Out Inhofe On Book Error,Ties To Uganda Kill The Gays Bill

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called out U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe recently for his alleged connection to the anti-gay movement in Uganda, making him seem foolish and not even aware of content in his new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

Inhofe, a Republican, has been on a tour promoting his so-called “victory” against climate change science and ended up on Maddow’s show Thursday.

At one point in their exchange, Maddow pointed out that she had been referenced incorrectly in the book. Inhofe’s book, according to Maddow, makes it seem like she criticized Inhofe on her show on Dec. 3, 2009 for his trip to protest climate change science at a conference in Copenhagen. In fact, and she played the clip to prove it, she was talking about a bill supported by certain Ugandan legislators that would have allowed the country to execute some gay people.

This is how Jack Mirkinson, writing in the Huffington Post, described the exchange, and, of course, you can watch it yourself in the above clip:

In the clip, Maddow detailed the ties the legislators had to Inhofe and to Doug Coe, the leader of religious Washington group The Family.

"Senator, when you talked about that show in your book you made it sound like I was going after you for Copenhagen, but that was the actual context," she said. "I'm wondering if you want to weigh in on that issue for the first time publicly."

"Are you saying, are you suggesting, Rachel — and I want to make sure that everyone understands this — that I am for executing gays, that I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is over there and what they're doing legislatively?" Inhofe responded. "I wish you knew Doug Coe. I've never known anyone in my life who just loves everyone ... I am sorry that you did that."

But, as one writer suggests, how can Inhofe claim to be a Senate expert on Africa and also claim to not know about the bill, dubbed “Kill The Gays," which has been reintroduced, and also not know about its main, current supporter, David Bahati?

Writing on The New Civil Rights Movement site, David Badash argues that’s impossible:

. . . If Senator Inhofe knows Africa well, then he knows David Bahati — and knows about the Uganda Kill The Gays bill — very well. Frankly, millions of Americans know about David Bahati and his Kill The Gays bill, so if Senator Inhofe doesn’t — after spending hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars on trips to Africa and Uganda, then something is desperately wrong and we should immediately stop paying for these excursions.

I’m struck by three things as an Oklahoman.

(1) What does Inhofe actually do for the state except embarrass it nationally and internationally on a consistent basis? How does his book help create jobs here or improve the quality of life here? Some might argue that his book serves as public relations fodder for the fossil fuel industry, which is, indeed, important in the state, but that seems highly unlikely. The fossil fuel industry here will have its ups and downs whether Inhofe pulls his political stunts or not. Meanwhile, all Oklahomans get lumped together as anti-science Neanderthals.

(2) Why is Inhofe so concerned with Africa and especially Uganda? How in the world does that help Oklahoma? I’m not arguing that Inhofe or any United States Senator should hold a provincial attitude, but I would argue that Inhofe, at this point in his career, has turned his office into a fiefdom to express conservative views that really have no impact on Oklahoma. We’re paying money for him to do it as well. It’s a waste of taxpayer money.

(3) As I’ve argued repeatedly, the local media, in particular The Oklahoman, does a terrible job covering Inhofe. The corporate media here, in fact, normalizes Inhofe for state residents by not fully and constantly covering how a vast majority of people in the industrialized world find him extremely controversial and just plain wrong. So does he have direct or indirect ties to the anti-gay movement in Uganda, one that actually pushes for the execution of gay people? What is the nature of those ties? Oklahomans deserve to know the truth.