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I’m hearing from lots of folks steamed at Rosie O’Donnell for her
confrontational interview of actor Tom Selleck on her Emmy-winning daytime
talk show last week.

But I’m not angry at O’Donnell. I’m mad at Selleck.

Don’t get me wrong. I think O’Donnell is an idiot and wouldn’t waste five
minutes watching her program if you forced me to do so at, er, gunpoint. But
at least O’Donnell stood up for what she believes in — even if she is wrong
as rain.

Selleck, however, wimped out.

“I didn’t come on your show to have a debate,” he said. “I came on your
show to plug a movie. That’s what I’m doing here. If you think it’s proper
to have a debate about the NRA, I’m trying to be fair with you. This is
absurd.”

If Selleck was surprised by the ambush, he must be dumber than O’Donnell.
Without even watching the show I know she’s been on an anti-gun crusade
since the shootings at Columbine High. A day doesn’t go by, so I hear, that
she doesn’t take some gratuitous, uninformed swipe at Americans’ unalienable
and constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.

Since Selleck is one of the celebrity poster boys of the National Rifle
Association, it stood to reason that the subject might come up. O’Donnell’s
staff says the actor was even told the host would challenge him.

But Selleck just sat there stunned by it all, insisting he came on the
show only to plug a movie and not to debate.

Selleck did say he believed gun control legislation wouldn’t have done
anything to prevent the tragedy, and that it was wrong to legislate against
guns during a period of national mourning. I guess some other time would be
better.

When O’Donnell complained about NRA opposition to efforts to ban assault
weapons, Selleck said he couldn’t speak for the organization. What about
speaking for himself? Doesn’t he have his own opinions? Or is he afraid he
will alienate his adoring fans?

Give it to Rosie — she doesn’t care. She stands up for what she thinks
– or, should I say, “feels.”

“You can’t say ‘I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA
represents’ if you’re doing an ad for the NRA. You can’t say that. Do you
think you can?” O’Donnell questioned.

Selleck said it was “an act of moral vanity” for O’Donnell to assume
that someone who disagrees with her cares any less about gun control. He
said he felt attacked.

Oh, poor baby. I’ll tell you what. It’s an act of moral vanity to play
the victim role. It’s an act of moral vanity to do spots for the NRA and not
be willing to take the heat for it. It’s an act of moral vanity to try to
separate your successful entertainment career from your views about the
burning issues of the day.

An exasperated Selleck looked out on the silent audience.

“It’s certainly entertaining,” he said. “Look at the audience, laughing
and having a great old time.”

Unfortunately, Tom, the threat to America’s constitutional rights and our
individual liberties posed by the popular culture and the political
establishment is no laughing matter.

“It’s a serious subject,” O’Donnell shot back. “I don’t think it’s
something to laugh about.” I agree, Rosie.

Conceding the debate hadn’t gone well, O’Donnell apologized to Selleck,
saying she wasn’t making a personal attack. Selleck, looking down at the
floor, didn’t accept it.

“It’s your show,” he said, “and you can talk about it after I leave.”

And you can be sure Rosie will do just that. While Tom Selleck and so
many other NRA poster boys are content just to plug their next movie.

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