Right-Wing Media Smear McDermott; Claim He Called The Constitution “Silly”

The right-wing media have seized on an eight-second video clip of Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) to claim he called the Constitution “silly.” In fact, McDermott was criticizing Republicans for not focusing on “job creation” in favor of doing “silly” things like reading the Constitution on the House floor.

Right-Wing Media Declare McDermott Is “Tired Of Reading That Silly Old Constitution”

Fox & Friends Attack McDermott, Claims He “Call[ed] Constitution 'Silly.'” During the April 1 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy misrepresented McDermott's criticism of House Republicans, suggesting that McDermott called the Constitution “silly.” During the segment, on-screen text read, “Dem Calls Constitution 'Silly,'” and Doocy criticized McDermott by stating, “That silly old Constitution. Why read it?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/1/11]

Carlson: “Here is Congressman Jim McDermott Saying” “Who Remembers [The Constitution], Anyway?” From the April 1 broadcast of Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Let's talk about the issues here in America. Well, maybe except for a congressman who doesn't believe that we should go all the way back to the Constitution, because who remembers that thing, anyway? Well, here's Congressman Jim McDermott saying just that.

McDERMOTT [video clip]: I am tired of reading the Constitution and all the silly things we have done for the last 13 weeks.

DOOCY: He's tired of reading that silly old Constitution. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/1/11]

Examiner.com: “McDermott 'Tired Of Reading The Constitution.'” A March 31 post to Examiner.com reported:

Washington Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott had sharp words for the GOP Thursday, when he said:

“I'm tired of reading the Constitution and all the silly things we've done for the last 13 weeks.”

McDermott - known for outrageous and highly partisan remarks - lamented time he felt was wasted and asked, “when are we going to see anything having to do with job creation,” according to a post at Real Clear Politics. Perhaps McDermott hasn't heard about the effort by the GOP to cut wasteful spending from the budget or the attempt to repeal the massive health care law. [Examiner.com, 3/31/11]

HotAir Admits Video Is “A Little Unfair,” Yet Criticizes Him Anyway. In a March 31 HotAir post, Ed Morrissey wrote that the video clip was "[a] little unfair" because “McDermott is objecting to the time spent on reading the Constitution at the beginning of the 112th Session of Congress, not the Constitution itself.” However, Morrissey added:

But hey, McDermott's 7th CD keeps sending him back to Congress despite his pork-barrel politics, so who knows? Maybe this is a winning message for McDermott in the next election after all. Do voters in WA-07 find the Constitution annoying, too? [HotAir, 3/31/11]

National Review: “Be Proud, Washington's 7th District” Of McDermott's “Exasperation Of 'Silly Stuff' Like 'Reading The Constitution.'” In a March 31 National Review Online post, Jim Geraghty stated: “Be proud, Washington's 7th District, as your congressman, Jim McDermott, expresses his exasperation of 'silly stuff' like 'reading the Constitution.'” The post failed to mention the original context of the remarks. [National Review Online, 3/31/11]

In Fact, McDermott Criticized GOP For Focusing On “Silly Things” Instead Of “Helping This Economy”

McDermott Criticized GOP For Focusing On “Silly Things” Like “Reading The Constitution,” Instead Of Jobs. On March 30, McDermott made remarks on the House floor in which he criticized the Republican-led Congress' focus on “silly things,” like requiring the entire Constitution to be read aloud, instead of focusing on the economy. From his remarks:

McDERMOTT. Madam Speaker, the Republican follies go on. The Republicans have done nothing in their 13 weeks in charge of this House to help Americans get jobs, nothing to open markets for businesses to expand, nothing to open up markets overseas for American workers and businesses to compete more fairly. While they hold the economy hostage to their cultural war agenda, maybe we could do something to help the American people.

I rise today in support of the effort to defeat the previous question so that we can take a first step toward addressing the egregious imbalance between China's currency and our own.


After years of an unlevel playing field, it is time to act; and this motion to defeat it and bring it to the floor is the right kind of measured first step we can take now. I hope the Republicans will join us in helping this economy. I am tired of reading the Constitution and all the silly things we have done for the last 13 weeks. When are we going to see anything having to do with job creation? [Congressional Record, 3/30/11, emphasis added]

McDermott Made Similar Comments On MSNBC. During the March 30 broadcast of MSNBC Live with Cenk Uygur, McDermott discussed the possibility of an upcoming government shutdown. During the broadcast, McDermott stated: “Mr. Cantor has been running the Republican follies in the House now for 13 weeks. You know, we read the Constitution and we've done -- we passed all kinds of silly bills that had no impact. We haven't passed a single bill related to a job.” [MSNBC Live, 3/30/11, accessed via Nexis]