What is it with these Fox News contributors who are incapable of repressing their fantasies of violence against Barack Obama? This morning on the Live Desk, a discussion on Obama’s emerging cabinet led to another disturbing and repulsive threat directed at the President-elect.
Eric Metaxas, an author of (get this) children’s books, was making the argument that naming Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would be inviting trouble for Obama. Metaxas asserted that Clinton would seek to grab all of the attention and that her omnipotent power would overcome Obama. That analysis fails to give Obama credit for defeating her in the primary, which might suggest that he would not be so easily dominated. Metaxas, however, thinks Clinton is untrustworthy and having her in the cabinet would be like “dancing with a snake.” He likened it to President Lyndon Johnson during the Kennedy administration. I was unaware that Johnson overshadowed Kennedy. So was Bob Beckel, who then initiated the following exchange:
Beckel: Who got more attention – Kennedy or LBJ?
Metaxas: Who got shot?
Without sharpening my mind-reading skills, it’s difficult to know precisely what Metaxas meant by that. But I can’t come up with any justification for how that could be used in this context, other than that Metaxas believes that LBJ had something to with Kennedy’s assassination, and that Clinton will play the same role in the Obama saga.
There are plenty of Kennedy conspiracy theorists out there, and some finger LBJ as a participant. But Clinton would have to knock off Biden, Pelosi, and Byrd too, before she would benefit from such a plot. Consequently, Metaxes’ comment makes no sense. It is just an unnecessary passage into a dark territory that is all the more troubling due to the increasingly threatening environment that surrounds the new president. The Secret Service reports receiving more threats against Obama than any previous president-elect (thanks to Sarah Palin).
Metaxas’ remarks follow up on those made by another Fox News contributor, Liz Trotta, who said last May:
“…and now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama …uh… Obama … well, both if we could.”
And then there was Bill O’Reilly’s lynching party for Michelle Obama:
“I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels.”
These are not random crackpots posting anonymously on some blog. These are paid commentators on a major news network. The cumulative effect of these repeated atrocities could plausibly lead to real crimes as mental suggestions are planted and a general numbness sets in.
The fact that Fox gets away with it is problematic not just because of the obvious disgust that it entails, but the very notion that they persist in this behavior with little notice or consequences makes my skin crawl.