Who knew? One of this country’s most divisive, dishonest, and unrepentant purveyors of hostility seems to still have some capacity for shame (if you can believe him). Glenn Beck appeared at rally in Washington, D.C. (where he never wants to go back to again) to oppose the Obama administration’s deal to constrain Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Also on the podium were arch right-wingers like Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin. Sometime between that event and the next morning, Beck had some sort of revelation with regard to his relationship with Palin.
On his radio program this morning (video below) Beck took aim at Palin for reasons he didn’t make clear. He mentions that he “doesn’t know who she is anymore,” and “doesn’t know what she stands for.” Apparently he’s upset (jealous?) that he saw her talking to Donald Trump, who Beck is not fond of, and asks “What the hell was that?” He also admits that they had a “falling out” because “”she was listening to people who were lying to her about me.” However, he doesn’t go into who those people were or what they were saying. But the most striking comment he had about his former BFF was that…
“I don’t care what Sarah Palin says any more. Sarah Palin has become a clown. I’m embarrassed that I was once for Sarah Palin. Honestly, I’m embarrassed.”
Well, now he knows how most of the rest of the country feels about having Palin presume to speak for us. But it’s still ironic that the man who describes himself as a “rodeo clown” is suddenly seeing Palin in similarly derogatory terms. It’s kind of like the overgrown troll Donald Trump calling Carly Fiorina ugly. But what changed that altered Beck’s opinion of Palin? Certainly Palin hasn’t changed. She is tossing the same word-salad incoherence that has defined her since John McCain unleashed her, making all of us suffer for his foolishness and desperation.
You have to wonder whether this epiphany by Beck will lead to similar insights. Already Bobby Jindal seems to have seen the light about Trump. At a speech at the National Press Club Jindal said that Trump is “a carnival act.” He also called him a shallow narcissistic egomaniac.
Of course, this isn’t news to anyone with a functioning brain. The problem is that there seem to be so many intellectual zombies on the right to whom cartoon characters like Palin and Trump make sense. So when someone like Beck confesses that his prior support for Palin embarrasses him, it is a promising development, even though it is probably inspired by some selfish motive. It offers hope that supporters of Trump will soon feel some shame themselves. We know that many people who voted for George W. Bush are denying it today, and the current crop of Republicans are ashamed to even say his name.
It is too much to expect that any of those who come to realize that it was a grievous mistake to support nut jobs like Palin and Trump (and Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain, and pundits like Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.), will ever come to accept a progressive agenda supported by history and facts. But for now perhaps we should be grateful that they can at least experience the cleansing quality of shame and let go of their delusions. It’s a small step forward, but it is a step. At least until they take two giant leaps backwards, which for them is always a possibility.
Today another tragedy occurred when a gunman took the lives of two innocent people in the course of doing their jobs. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot by a former colleague, Vester Lee Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams), as they were conducting an interview. And predictably the media has sprung into action with blanket coverage that is mostly comprised of repetition, speculation, and sensationalism.
The other predictable response comes from self-interested parties who seek to gain attention and support by exploiting the pain and grief of the victims. Already Breitbart News has published an article with a belligerent headline that baselessly declared the crime to be a “Race Murder In Virginia.” Rush Limbaugh used the story to advocate for arming all reporters as if there is a raging war on journalists. Never mind that all the evidence currently shows that this was a workplace dispute where the workers just happened to be in local television reporting. And Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, in the early hours of confusion following the murders, complained that they haven’t been designated a hate crime.
However, what appears to be the most perverse and far-fetched take on the matter so far came from Glenn Beck (video below). I know, try to contain your shock. Beck sees something far more consequential than the sad reality of lost lives due to a disturbed individual with access to a deadly weapon. For Beck this was a message direct from God to him:
“I think God is giving me one final warning. He’s telling us, ‘You got one more chance, this is it.’ I’m telling you this is it … This is God saying, ‘Last chance.'”
Beck went on to remind his radio disciples that fifteen years ago he said that if…
“…you ever start to hear me reading right from the Scriptures, you know we’re at the end. I’m reading today right from the Scriptures … I’m telling you, as we watch things like a shooting on television and a shooting in the street, this is the beginning of sorrows. This is the beginning!”
Setting aside that Beck can’t seem to make up his mind as to whether this is the beginning or the end, he is plainly convinced that the shooting in Virginia was the work of God who did it to warn Beck of impending doom from the Heavens. The fact that a disgruntled ex-employee killed his former colleagues, something that unfortunately happens with a fair degree of frequency, is proof to Beck that the Lord is losing patience with the human race and is about to condemn us to eternal damnation. Of course, Beck has made predictions of The Perfect Storm that would herald the End Times in the past so often it is more like a running joke than a prophecy.
The depressing inevitability of opportunists taking advantage of tragedy is a sorry statement on the nature of our society. But it is a constant that can be predicted with near total accuracy. What is sometimes less predictable is just how low these callous vulgarians can sink.
If you’re looking for someplace new to live, or to pack up the kids for a family vacation, you won’t find a better list of potential destinations than the one that Glenn Beck is promoting. On his radio program this morning (video below) he ranked what he called “cities to avoid like the plague,” saying that “These are the cities that you do not want to live anywhere around as things get worse and worse.”
It is a perpetual oddity that people who profess to be patriots with a worshipful regard for America’s exceptionalism (aka American Supremacy) are so ready to condemn large swaths of the nation they pretend to love. The lucky locales that made this list are…
St. Petersburg, Florida
The criteria Beck used came from a study by the Public Religion Research Institute that ranked the top three “religious traditions” (which includes religiously unaffiliated) in major metropolitan areas. Naturally, Beck’s ranking consists of the cities with the highest percentage of unaffiliated residents. It is Beck’s opinion that these dens of iniquity will suffer disproportionately when God unleashes his wrath upon the sinners of the world, which is due any day now.
The lunacy of this outburst (setting aside the imminent terrorism of an angry God) is that many of those same cities are also bastions of devout religiosity. In most of them the believers far outnumber the alleged heathens. And Beck doesn’t take into account that the unaffiliated group is not comprised exclusively of atheists. It also includes believers who simply do not associate themselves with a particular flavor of faith.
What’s more, Beck limited his list to fifteen cities, ending with St. Louis whose percentage of unaffiliated is twenty-two. That also happens to be the percentage for the nation as a whole. So if St. Louis is doomed, so are the rest of us. And Beck conveniently left out that his own home in Dallas is 18% unaffiliated, only a few points lower than St. Louis. In fact, if Beck had not arbitrarily stopped with fifteen cities, Dallas would have shown up at #24, easily within the range of doom.
Also not on the list is the imaginary holy city Beck proposed to build, Independence, USA. From his description it sounds more like Jonestown than Valhalla. Nevertheless, he promised it would be a haven for the righteous devotees of God. Well, that is, his version of God. And we know that, in addition to warning people off of certain sinful cities, he has also warned people to steer clear of churches that don’t meet his standards of divinity. Specifically he told his listeners to “run as fast as you can“ from any church that uses the words “social or economic justice.”
The good news is that if Beck’s deranged travel guide serves any purpose it is that the cities in it will be blessedly free of apocalyptic evangelists frightening away visitors and residents. The fewer followers of Glenn Beck that are in any city, the better off that city will be. So hopefully his disciples will take heed of his warning and stay from the listed cities. And that will certainly be cause for those cities to celebrate. Here’s hoping your city is on the list.
The news has been thick with well deserved criticisms of misogynistic neanderthal Donald Trump whose attacks on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly sunk to new lows of indecency. But we should not forget that Kelly has never been a paragon of journalistic virtue. In fact, it can be argued that she surpasses the sensationalist right-wing biases of her former colleague, Glenn Beck. More to the point, Kelly has not been above blatantly marketing her own sexuality in a notorious cheesecake spread in GQ Magazine.
As reported here at News Corpse five years ago, Kelly allowed herself to be objectified in order to boost ratings for reasons that have nothing to do with her job. Journalists are not rock stars or tabloid queens. They are professionals who should be judged by their qualifications and experience. It is wholly inappropriate for Fox News to degrade and disrespect their news staff in this manner. And they don’t do it with Bret Baier. What does that tell you?
From November 19, 2010:
Much has been made about the curious “coincidence” that almost every female Fox News anchor is a young, attractive blond. I’m sure there is an innocent explanation for it. But anyone at Fox who complains about them being characterized as eye candy hired to exploit their sexuality had better first take a look at Megyn Kelly’s new spread for GQ Magazine. It’s not exactly a play for journalistic integrity.
Setting aside the cheesecake, Kelly is hardly a journalist. She makes headlines out of trivialities and seeks to sensationalize items that would be cut from the National Enquirer. Her stories about the New Black Panther Party never put into context that they were a tiny band of gadflies that no one took seriously. Her reports on the financing of the non-mosque that was not at ground zero were embarrassingly devoid of any evidence of the allegations she made. If you’re wondering why she hasn’t reported on that lately, it may be because her correspondent for the story, Charles Leaf, is in jail awaiting trial for sexually assaulting a four year old girl.
The feature in GQ includes an interview wherein Kelly reveals how seriously she takes her job as a journalist:
GQ: You sit behind a glass table that shows off your legs. Kelly: Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.
That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses. In another example of her commitment to news, she was asked…
GQ: Do you think the act of deciding what to cover and what not to is in itself a political act? Kelly: It’s not political. Television is a service but it’s also a business. And in choosing what you’re going to put on your program, you have to figure out what’s going to appeal to your audience and what’s going to rate.
That explains the incessant bashing of liberals as well as the glass table. But how pathetic that she anchors a so-called news show and thinks that ratings should be the measure of what constitutes news. She goes on to boast about Fox being the number one cable news channel. But somehow she is not familiar with her colleagues on the network. She asserts that “I really don’t know much about the Glenn Beck empire.” However, she supports his right to free speech. To this GQ asked…
GQ: There’s the First Amendment and then there’s spreading obvious misinformation. Kelly: That happens at a lot of channels. I think some of those allegations against Beck may have foundation and that some are blown up by detractors. GQ: Which allegations have foundation? Kelly: I’m not going to get into specifics.
That’s swell. Kelly just declared that at least some of the allegations about Beck spreading misinformation are true. Let that sink in for a minute. One news network anchor is accusing her colleague of saying things on the air that are obviously false. Can you imagine the uproar if Anderson Cooper were to have said that about Wolf Blitzer? But my guess is that no one will even notice this. After all, everybody expects to be misinformed if they’re watching Fox News. It hardly matters if it’s Beck or Kelly or Hannity or Cavuto or O’Reilly. In fact, Kelly can hardly complain because she is just as guilty as Beck of misinforming her audience.
I suppose that if you believe that misinforming viewers is no big deal, and that ratings should decide news content, and that partisan, sensationalism is a reasonable substitute for honest reporting, then it shouldn’t surprise anyone when you pose for risque centerfolds for men’s magazines. Just please don’t ask to be taken seriously as a journalist.
The Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage must be recognized as legal in all fifty states has set off a right-wing, evangelical hysteria complete with warnings of civil war, natural disasters, and a general descent into the End Times. Anti-gay extremists have declared what amounts to a Teabagger Apocalypse.
Republican presidential candidates are vowing to ignore the Court’s ruling. They insist that it is unconstitutional, proving that they have no idea what “constitutional” means. They continue to press their religious argument that the United States should adhere to the principles of faith that they hold, rather than honoring America’s religious freedom. They are convinced that this decision will result in their arrest and incarceration, which the decision explicitly forbids.
Christianist activists go even further to assert that America has now gone past the point of no return. They say that God will smite our nation and its people for permitting the freedom to love one another in the way that nature made them. They believe that Christians will be subject to a horror worse than the Holocaust.
The question that none of them can answer is: Why is God so upset about marriage equality when he seems to have let other atrocities go by unpunished? If God were going to destroy America why didn’t he do it when we enslaved, brutalized, and murdered thousands of his children shipped over from Africa? Why didn’t he smite our young nation as it marched westward slaughtering the native inhabitants along the way? Why didn’t God get mad when we murdered hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians with nuclear bombs? Even from the Christianist perspective, how could God let America survive after legalizing abortion, which they believe is child murder? Apparently their God is tolerant of dead babies, but the thought of two consenting adults committing themselves to one another for life is deserving of total annihilation. (Or maybe God just has a more rational view with regard to when life begins).
In addition, God has also given immunity to Germany, which continues to thrive despite their abhorrent past; and Russia, the nation led by Stalin whose regime killed millions; and Mao’s China. And today he lets ISIS march through the Middle East leaving untold corpses and misery it its path. If God is judging us humans, and punishing us when we do wrong, what the hell is he waiting for?
The Christian extremists can’t answer that question. They can’t explain why God is itching to turn America to dust, but doesn’t seem to care much about Syria. They just continue to spew their foreboding messages of doom based on nothing but their imaginary fears and whatever they believe will fill the collection plate. That’s why they are now settling on marriage equality as history’s greatest abomination when there is no logic or reason to support such a claim.
In the conservative media there is a rush to idiocy, as Fox News wonders whether people will now be allowed to marry in groups, or to marry their pets, or to engage in pedophilia or incest. Glenn Beck is worried that this decision will result in him being thrown off of radio by Feds who he thinks can now regulate speech. Others vow to defy the law and, if necessary, resort to revolution.
Reminder: We’re talking about the legal status of a state of cohabitation, not killing babies, gassing Jews, or owning human beings. What kind of God do these people believe in who regards the definition of marriage as worthy of eternal damnation, but not those other atrocities? And what are they so worried about anyway? Isn’t Armageddon the final stage of man’s tribulations on Earth, after which the righteous rise to Heaven to sit at God’s side in paradise for eternity? Don’t they want that to happen, the sooner the better?
Given the absurdity of their thought processes, you have to wonder why anyone is taking them seriously. They can’t justify their outrage. They can’t even make sense of their own beliefs. If there is a judgmental God who values intelligence and reason, then the human race may actually have something to worry about.
[Addendum:] Much of the discourse that has developed in comments is focused on the question of whether the Bible or Jesus condemns, or even mentions homosexuality. That’s an interesting question, but it is not the one posed in this article. Near the beginning of the article the question is asked: “Why is God so upset about marriage equality when he seems to have let other atrocities go by unpunished?” And none of those posting their interpretations of scripture regarding the Bible’s stance on being gay answers that. Even if we were to accept the position that being gay is a sin, it still doesn’t explain why God would destroy America and its 360 million residents because a law honoring religious freedom (which is a founding principle of the country) is upheld by the high court to protect a minority of the population, when far worse atrocities went unpunished. Clearly the ultra-pious among us are feverishly struggling to find an argument that makes them feel comfortable holding a position that is patently irrational, even if it’s an argument that has nothing to do with topic at hand.
The ratings troubles on MSNBC have been the subject of much hand-wringing by executives at the cable network and their corporate bosses at Comcast/NBCUniversal. In an attempt to reverse the downtrend MSNBC canceled Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid, moving anchor Thomas Roberts into those time slots. That left an opening in Roberts’ old program, “Way Too Early,” that precedes “Morning Joe.” It appears that Joe Scarborough has now assumed control of his lead-in which is leaning more toward his conservative brand of politics. And that is evident by the person currently anchoring the early show.
That’s right – Amy Holmes has been at the helm of Way Too early all this week. For those unfamiliar with her, she is host of a program called “The Hot List” that is part of Glenn Beck’s Internet media venture TheBlaze. Prior to that she was a speechwriter for Bill Frist, a former senator from Tennessee and Republican majority leader.
Giving Holmes this high profile spot as a “news” program anchor is a disturbing step toward the sort of wingnut media that even Fox News couldn’t handle when they fired Beck. Now Beck’s fringe media has a foothold on what has been regarded as the “liberal” cable news network. It’s a foreboding development and one that creates suspicion as to where the new management team at NBC plans on taking the cable net.
One thing that this should put an end to is the talk that MSNBC is the liberal answer to Fox News. That has never been true, mainly because, while MSNBC was generally more progressive, it remained fact-based as opposed to the blatant lying that is the hallmark of Fox. More to the point, Fox News would never give a three hour block of airtime to a liberal ex-congressman, but Scarborough not only has that, but is also featured on NBC’s Meet the Press. Just imagine if Fox & Friends was hosted by Anthony Weiner. [Note: Scarborough also left office amid controversy over the death of intern Lori Klausutis]
Putting Holmes in the anchor chair on MSNBC is the equivalent to replacing Sean Hannity with Rachel Maddow. Fox would never consider such a thing. Even though Fox pretends to be fair and balanced, their schedule is rife with right-wingers and former GOP operatives. There are even four candidates for the Republican primary for president who are former Fox News employees (Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson). And now Glenn Beck’s voice is being heard daily on MSNBC to balance that right-wing cable news bias with some crackpot, conservative, evangelist bias. If MSNBC thinks that this is going to help their ratings, they are sorely mistaken.
Remember Glenn Beck? Remember that guy who used to rant about caliphates and Agenda 21 conspiracies and presidents who hate white people? I know it has been a while (like maybe twenty or thirty minutes), but if you can reach back in your memories to that time that Glenn Beck was dispensing certifiably insane lectures on the end of civilization, you may be interested to know that he’s still doing it.
Yes, even though Beck has undergone revelations that such nonsense was destructive, he still persists. Even though he has apologized and claimed to have had epiphanies showing him the evil of his ways on at least two occassions:
June 7, 2013: For any role that I have played in dividing, I wish I can take them back. January 22, 2014: I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.
And even though he claimed that his “craziness” was the product of his diseased mind:
November 11, 2014: I had begun to have a string of health issues that, quite honestly, made me look crazy. And, quite honestly, I felt crazy because of them.
The lunacy continues in the bowels of his Texas studio where today he unleashed some of his most vicious rhetoric to date aimed at First Lady Michelle Obama.
The impetus for this flow of vitriol was Obama’s inspirational commencement speech at Tuskegee University in Alabama (video below). It was a well-received address that began with uplifting praise for “all of you will take your spot in the long line of men and women who have come here and distinguished themselves and this university.” She continued with heartfelt personal stories of how she and her family were subject to many of the same hardships that African-Americans, and other oppressed minorities, have suffered due to prejudices that were ingrained in the culture of a nation divided by race.
Despite these hardships, Obama assured the students that this country holds great promise for them and that they must never give in to bitterness or cynicism. She used the example of the famous squadron of Tuskegee Airmen who distinguished themselves in World War II:
“Now, those Airmen could easily have let that experience clip their wings. But as you all know, instead of being defined by the discrimination and the doubts of those around them, they became one of the most successful pursuit squadrons in our military. They went on to show the world that if black folks and white folks could fight together, and fly together, then surely — surely — they could eat at a lunch counter together. Surely their kids could go to school together.”
Obama also spoke movingly about some of the outright bigotry that welcomed her and the President into national politics:
“Back when my husband first started campaigning for President, folks had all sorts of questions of me: What kind of First Lady would I be? What kinds of issues would I take on? Would I be more like Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Reagan? And the truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse. That’s just the way the process works. But, as potentially the first African American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? (Applause.) Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?
“Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover — it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me.
“Or you might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.” And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited “a little bit of uppity-ism.“ Another noted that I was one of my husband’s “cronies of color.” Cable news once charmingly referred to me as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”
“And of course, Barack has endured his fair share of insults and slights. Even today, there are still folks questioning his citizenship. “
However, the lesson from this that Obama conveyed to the students was expressed in her realization that “if I wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God’s plan for me. I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself — and the rest would work itself out.”
The overwhelming theme of the speech was victory over adversity, and the benefits of being true to oneself and committed to a path of harmony, service, and success, personally and professionally. But somehow Glenn Beck got a very different message. He castigated Obama for failing to solve all problems associated with race relations (video here if you have the stomach for it). He said that “they could have changed race relations forever. But they took us back to the 1960’s on grudge politics.” Of course, he never explained how the Obamas could change everything forever, or how they turned back the clock, but validating anything he says has never been a part of his shtick.
Beck was disturbed that Obama spoke about the very real tribulations faced by victims of prejudice. He surely would prefer that she had ignored such unpleasantness. But worse, he accused her of exacerbating racial strife and being ungrateful for the progress that has been made. He insisted that she had no right to lament the difficulties that she endured, and which many still endure, because her husband was elected President with votes from white people. In Beck’s world, progress means that all transgressions, past and present, are irrelevant. The only thing you should feel now is gratitude for the benevolence of all the white people who made your success possible.
According to Beck it is white, conservative, Christian men who are the victims of discrimination today. Somehow, in his severely warped brain, he believes that African-Americans who talk about the real strains of bigotry are self-absorbed whiners, but the beleaguered Caucasians of America have righteous grievances of social injustice. And if that weren’t delusional enough, he lashed out at Obama for fomenting violence and deigned to speak in her voice:
“The worst thing you can do is riot in the streets. She’s saying the opposite. ‘I know what you feel because I felt it, and even I’m the President’s wife and I still feel invisible. I feel like we’re not being heard. So I’m not only validating your feeling, I’m here to tell you it is happening.’
“And that’s why people are rioting in the streets. She is encouraging this kind of behavior.”
For Beck to pretend that he has any concept of what Obama has gone through in her life is repulsive in the extreme. But more importantly, his attack on her misses the whole point. She is speaking for millions of Americans who have suffered at the hands of bigots. And she is telling them to have faith in themselves and their ability to prevail through hardship. Beck played some clips of Obama’s speech, but never any of those where she told the students that their future was in their hands and that they can succeed with a positive outlook.
The fact that Beck came away from this with the notion that Obama was advocating violence and rioting is the best possible evidence of his overt animosity and inbred hatred. It affirms precisely what Obama was talking about. It affirms all of the worst that can be attributed to bigots like him. And it demonstrates that his prior testimonials that he has seen the light and doesn’t want to be a divisive figure anymore, doesn’t want to tear the country apart, were all lies. But then, we knew that already. He has never stopped being a hate mongering spokesman for the worst elements of our society, and it’s fair to assume that he never will.
Last year the world was gripped by fear over the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. There is no doubt that it was devastating for the victims and their families. However, for most of the rest of the world, and particularly the United States, it was a remote concern that required only some common sense preventative measures and compassionate commitment to those affected.
Today the World Health Organization declared the Ebola crisis in Liberia over. That determination was arrived at by the absence of any new infections for 42 days, twice the incubation time for the virus. The neighboring nations of Guinea and Sierra Leone are not officially out of danger, but both have recorded only nine new infections, the lowest number since the outbreak began.
This news cannot help but recall the lengths to which Fox News, and other media, went to foment fear of the virus and the foreigners who were carrying it. But even more repulsive was the determination of Fox to turn the crisis into something political. For instance…
The purpose-driven campaign by Fox to drench the nation in panic occurred, not coincidentally, in the weeks just prior to the 2014 election. Miraculously, the subject that was the source of so much manufactured terror virtually disappeared immediately after election day. The notion that the hysteria whipped up by Fox was political at its core simply cannot be avoided. A few weeks later, PolitiFact named “Exaggerations about Ebola” their “Lie of the Year” for 2014. [An interesting side note: PolitiFact’s readers’ poll for Lie of the Year was another Fox News fabrication that “Global warming is a hoax.”]
While there was plenty of crazy to go around, perhaps the most surreal accumulation of outright dementia seeped out of the mind of Fox News “Psycho” Analyst, Keith Ablow (whose name is an anagram for “K With Ebola”). Ablow pushed the usual Fox News fallacies that Ebola was a threat to the every American and was being spread by aliens and even pets. But he went even further to say that…
“I believe the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations.”
That is what passes for a medical diagnosis from this alleged doctor who has previously accused Obama himself of being a virus. It is also what passes for journalism from a network that exists to misinform its audience and exploit phony crises to drive them trembling into bunkers stocked with guns, gold, bibles, and freeze-dried pork. If Fox News were really interested in addressing an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year, they would report on the scourge of guns and the NRA, which kills more Americans in a single day than Ebola has killed ever.
The religiously inspired opponents of marriage equality have blamed society’s gradual acceptance of more expansive civil liberties as the trigger for innumerable catastrophes and natural disasters. The range of horrors that they claim are the result of granting more freedom to Americans to live their lives as they chose run from hurricanes to wars to epidemics. These are the lengths that crazy people obsessed with pseudo-religious fervor will go to demonize the objects of their hateful crusade.
So what about the people who are not crazy? On last night’s Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (video below), the host cited a report that claimed that same-sex marriage would produce 900,000 more abortions in the next thirty years. That must be because of all the unwanted pregnancies among gay couples. Wilmore explained that this inane theory was what happens when “people who don’t believe in science try to do math.” However, the important thing to note about this claim is that it was not made by the Westboro Baptist Church (aka the “God Hates Fags” tabernacle), but by a group of a hundred conservative attorneys and academics who filed their opinion in a brief to the Supreme Court. In addressing the absurdity of these claims, Wilmore entered into this exchange with former press secretary to George W. Bush and current Fox News host, Dana Perino:
Wilmore: These are things that people actually blamed the gay marriage on. These are true: Hurricane Sandy, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Northridge earthquake, mass animal deaths, and September 11th was also blamed on gay marriage. Perino: All the things you mentioned that people are absurdly saying that gay marriage has caused, people have also said that global warming is causing. They’re almost interchangeable at this point. Wilmore: Global warming caused 9/11? Perino: Oh yeah, there are people who say that. Because of the unrest in the Middle East. And then you have the drought. Yes, believe me.
Perino is no Glenn Beck (who said this week that gay marriage will also cause church attendance to decline by 50% in the next five years), but she has managed, in that brief exchange, to dismiss the gay bashing nut cases by suggesting that everybody does it, while simultaneously associating Climate Change with the same coterie of crackpots who think God is punishing America for its descent into sin. Note that the gay marriage doomsayers are faith-based purveyors of myth, but those warning of the harmful effects of Climate Change are scientists. In the contest of credibility, who would you trust: Rush Limbaugh or Prof. Neil deGrasse Tyson?
As the time nears for the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, the religious right is convinced that it also represents the nearing of the End Times. Conservative wingnut Alan Keyes called a decision upholding the right of all Americans to marry “a just cause for war.” Likewise, Rev. E.W. Jackson, a frequent guest on Fox News, declared that Christians “must enlist in this war” and be prepared to “give our lives.” But all of that may be unnecessary if Rick Wiles is right:
“America will be brought to its knees, there will be pain and suffering at a level we’ve never seen in this country. The word that I hear in my spirit is ‘fire.’ I do not know if it refers to riots or looting or war on American soil or a fireball from space.”
A fireball from space? Now THAT sounds like global warming.
Psychiatrists may have to come up with a name for the acute psychosis displayed by the lunatics at Fox News who compulsively struggle to turn every news item into an attack on liberals. It doesn’t matter how completely unrelated it is, Fox will spin it into a juvenile insult aimed at whatever lefty (or perceived lefty) they have handy.
Today’s example of this mental illness comes to us from Greg Gutfeld, who devoted his segment on The Five (video below) to an entirely imaginary scenario springing from an incident involving actor Robert Downey, Jr. During a round of promotional interviews for his upcoming movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Downey abruptly walked out after the interviewer repeatedly diverted from the topic of the film promotion to delve into the ancient history of Downey’s troubled past.
This episode of Pathological Liberalmania Disorder (PLD) produced a torrent of seizures in Gutfeld that resulted in an uncontrollable period of incoherent articulation. It lasted for several minutes on the air as Gutfeld blamed liberals for Downey’s perfectly rational behavior.
Gutfeld: The questioning veered toward an embarrassing scandal that could threaten Downey’s career. It turns out a few years ago Downey said he wasn’t a liberal. I know. Deep breaths everyone. See, in the world of entertainment saying that you’re not a liberal is like admitting that you molest goats or don’t own a Prius. The host saw what he thought was controversy and went to pick the scab.
The classic symptoms of PLD are present here with Gutfeld imagining that Downey’s career was at risk for something that never actually harmed him or any other actor. The conservative politics of Charlton Heston, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, and many others (see the Friends of Abe), never interfered with their work. But the severity of Gutfeld’s disease was even more apparent as he characterized the reasons for Downey’s reaction. First, here is what took place in the interview:
Interviewer: It was after your incarceration. You said that you can’t go from a $2,000 a night hotel suite to a penitentiary, and understand it, and come out a liberal. I just wonder what you meant by that.
Downey answered that question a bit hesitantly as he wondered what it had to do with the Avengers. But he gave a complete answer saying that he couldn’t really define “liberal” and that his views are always evolving. Then…
Interviewer: You’ve talked in other interviews again about your relationship with your father and the role of all of that. You know, the dark period you went through, taking drugs and drinking, all of that. And I just wondered whether you think you’re free of all of that?
That was when Downey calmly got up and made his way to the door. He was smiling the whole time and even made a little joke as he left the room. However, Gutfeld’s radically distorted perception of this event manifested in this hysterical rant:
Gutfeld: Now most of the reports make it sound like this was about a guy asking about drugs. But it wasn’t. Not at all. The reporter was nailing Downey for not being a total lib.
Gutfeld goes on much longer than that with what he seems to think are witty broadsides at hapless liberals. Clearly he has ventured far from reality. The small portion of the interviewer’s questions that involved Downey’s past comments about liberalism were hardly “nailing” him for anything. The question literally asked “what you meant by that?” That’s a pretty noodley nail. And, in any event, Downey responded to that question. But how Gutfeld can say that the interviewer wasn’t asking about drugs, “not at all,” is mind-boggling. That is specifically what he asked about, and it wasn’t until he did that Downey chose to leave.
This illustrates the disorder that many conservatives suffer from when trying to comprehend liberals, a difficult task for the limited right-wing brain. They have a desperate need to either blame them for things that are plainly unrelated, or to allege that they are attempting to distract from some other imaginary failure. It happened elsewhere this week when Rush Limbaugh suggested that President Obama revealed that a drone attack earlier this year killed an American and an Italian hostage in Pakistan. Limbaugh claimed that it was a ruse to divert the press from the recent book about Hillary Clinton (which was debunked before it was even released).
So what we have here is Gutfeld frantically trying to turn the affair into an attack on liberals, an interpretation that can only exist in a severely diseased mind. These symptoms were also seen in Glenn Beck, who made the very same delusional observations that Gutfeld made about the Downey interview. This suggests that the disease may be contagious, or at least subject to a form of mass hypnosis. The latter theory would be consistent with the Fox News pathology that uses hypnosis via cable TV to manipulate their notoriously dimwitted viewers. And unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for either one of these maladies yet, other than doses of factual information and injections of logic. Sadly, the supply of these treatments is dangerously low in the media world.