You know it's getting bad when Fox anchors start cracking up on the air.

I have to hand it to Smith, who apparently has a conscience, for his restraint. He does everything except stare into the camera and scream "What the fuck is wrong with you people?" Unfortunately for Shep, it's going to be hard to develop his line of argument without addressing the key role played by his employer and colleagues in stoking exactly the kind of paranoid, apocalyptic attitude which so horrifies him.

Does anyone doubt him when he says he gets thousands of those emails daily? I don't. But he takes an easy out in trying to explain why, blaming "the blogs" and implying that if only we all got our news from Professional Journalists this wouldn't happen. Is Smith capable of understanding, if not admitting, the role of his own network in promoting the grab-your-guns hysteria that seems to grip this nation every time someone to the left of Pinochet is in the White House? My friend David Niewert has a good write-up on the kind of lunatic fringe viewpoints Glenn Beck regularly promotes, from "states' rights" to "Obama is the anti-Christ" to running around like he's totally fucking bonkers and pouring fake gas on people. In fact David has catalogued many years' worth of violent it's-time-to-start-killing-liberals / Jews / Negroes / Enemies rhetoric on his blog and in a recent best-selling book (The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right) which discusses in detail the pivotal role of Fox personalities like Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly, Beck, and Malkin in actively promoting violence. Yet no matter how many violent incidents spring forth from the bubbling cauldron of far-right paranoia and insanity, these same people seem utterly incapable of understanding the role they play in these incidents. It's never about ideology or an endemic problem with violent rhetoric on the right – it's always "just some crazy person." Since December one might care to note that we've had one or two "just some crazy person"s each month.

I wrote two months ago, echoing a sentiment that many people in the reality-based community expressed when Obama won, that the fringe right – which is far bigger and more dangerous than their patron saints on Fox and Talk Radio will admit – is going to go absolutely apopleptic for the next eight years. Obama is just a red flag being waved in front of people too inarticulate, too insane, and too deluded to respond using anything but violence. He's black, has an A-rab soundin' name, and is godless communism incarnate. Whatever tenuous connection these mouthbreathers have to reality has been severed and their bat-shit insanity is on full display. Shepard Smith seems to understand that. Now if only he could figure out from where, other than "the blogs," these people get their insane ideas. In the meantime, we all get to live with the consequences.


  • That segment showcasing Beck pouring "gas" on that poor bastard was just fucking bizarre. How does this hack get his own show, albeit on fox news? Nothing more to say.

  • It really worries me when I see a rise in out right fanaticism in "normal people." I have friends who are republican and for the most part we were able to get along and have normal conversations about politics, but during the election they started going off the deep end. I've heard more than once that Obama is the "anti-Christ" and how he's "not an American" and it worries me. Have these people always felt this way about democrats? Is it just because he's black? Did the radicalization of politics over the past 8 years turn everyone into venom spewing hate mongers? I realize that the KKK and neo nazi types are going to come out of the wood work with a black President. They feel like it's the end of the world and they feel threatened, but it seems like there has to be more to it than that. Do they just hate the fact that the President is popular?

  • Kevin D, I'm convinced all this BS about birth certificates and messiah are just newspeak for nigger. But of course it's not polite to use the N-word, so they construct these convoluted stories about his place of birth, for example. It's well known that compartmentalization is a big problem in the right wing psyche. Your colleagues might be perfectly aggreable people but they just can't shake generations of racism.

  • Anyone who remembers the 1990s and Clinton's administration will recognize the pattern of Right wing domestic terrorism that has occurred since the elction cycle started getting ramped up back in July.
    Here is a partial list:
    12 July 2008: Luis Ramirez beaten unconcious by white men in Pennsylvania. He later dies of his wounds in 2009.
    27 July 2008: Jim Adkisson shoots up a Unitarian church in Knoxville, TN and kills Greg McKendry,60, and Linda Lee Kraeger, 61. He confessed to shooting at the congregation because they were " too liberal."
    In his home police found literature by Sean Hannity, Bill O' Reilly, and other neoconservative propagandists.
    26 February, 2009: Danny Ray Baker opens fire on a party of college students, killing Pablo Corp- Torres, 23 and Racine Balbotin- Aragandona, 22, both of whom were Chilean exchange students. Baker described himself as a nationalist, Christian revolutionary.

    31 May 2009. Dr. Tiller murdered.
    9 June 2009. Longtime white supremacist James von Brunn opens fire at the National Holocaust Museum, killing a guard.
    Maybe alongside the Iraq Bodycount website we can get one called Rightwing Loony Incited by Hate Peddlers Bodycount.

  • karen marie says:

    the opening salvos of denial of responsibility have been made.

    the rightwing terrorists aren't inspired by what they hear on fox and other institutions of insanity, it's the obama effect.

    if democrats had the country's best interests in mind, they would be calling for the president's resignation.

    i'll bet actual cash money that by september that's what we're hearing from "the media."

  • The unfortunate fact is that this is nothing new. This happens every time the right loses any sort of power in modern America. The right-wing talking heads begin stirring up the simmering pot of fear and paranoia amongst their base, using ultra-nationalist rhetoric and symbols to rally people behind their country as the ultimate cause — this is the mark of all fascist regimes. The country is greater than the individual, and maintaining national identity/purity is above all other considerations.

    I think it was exemplified quite well by Hannity on his radio program… oh, either yesterday or the day before. Hannity was again interviewing that-one-Brit-that-agrees-with-us (notice of course that all Europeans are dirty socialists that should be ignored unless they agree with the right's world view), and said Brit said something about how certain people would balk at "say, the Hannity agenda", to which Hannity immediately proclaimed "You mean the FREEDOM agenda, the CAPITALISM AGENDA, the…" this went on for seven or eight different renames, each one using a tried-and-true jingoist/nationalist buzzword.

    It's frightening, really, when you think about it. If you replace the word "socialism/socialist" in today's right-wing rhetoric with "communism/communist", you come so close to McCarthyism the old man himself would be proud. For some reason, none of them seem to realize this. But at this point one has to wonder if it's really a lack of realization, or a willful disregard of known facts.

    After all, pro wrestling knows its audience. It caters to peoples' desires to see people beat the crap out of each other and throw around all kinds of foul insults. In the end, is right-wing rhetoric so different? Just catering to a bunch of people that *want* a reason to hate a large chunk of society for thinking differently than they do.

    In the end, it's a known phenomenon that right-wing propganda incites the already-unhinged to go out and commit violence. But they will never admit to it, for to do so would be to reduce profits.

  • Bugboy, my advisor in grad school is very well-known for doing research on how the race/civil rights arguments of the pre-1960 America continued under new names. For instance, the intense debate about "welfare" that developed in the late 1970s was little more than newspeak for Negroes. Ditto the "War on Drugs", "our cities", and countless other debates. So your comment is pretty damn plausible, at least in my mind.

  • If you look at the statistics compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center on various hate groups, it's been escalating steadily since Obama was elected. More incidents, more violence, more ramped up rhetoric. But you're right — Hannity et al will never own up to being part of the problem. . . and I noticed Glenn Beck is trying to paint the latest lunatic with a gun as a "leftist."

    Along the same lines as what Kevin and Bugboy said, I tend to believe that a lot of the anti-Obama sentiment truly is unconscious racism on the part of many of the people who can't bring themselves to come right out and be overtly racist. They know they're not supposed to be racists, they may actually be decent enough humans that they don't want to be, so they rationalize by finding other handles: the mythical "not born in the U.S.," for example, or "he's a secret Muslim" fantasy. It's no longer acceptable (at least in polite circles) to hate someone for being black, but if they can turn him into the Other in a different way, then suddenly ranting becomes okay.

    It's bizarre on multiple levels, because Obama is the epitome of the American mythos, the ultimate Horatio Alger story that proves anyone can grow up to be President. But, just like with Clinton (who was too poor white trash for the Eastern elites to tolerate), what people say they want (a meritocracy) conflicts with what they really want (white privilege), and things turn nasty.

  • Aslan Maskhadov says:

    I am starting to believe that Shepard Smith must have secured his contract by obtaining secret photos of Hannity blowing guys in a sauna somewhere. I can't think of any other way this guy could get away with what he does on Fox News. Others have been fired or cut off for doing much less.

  • I don't want to sound like I can read minds but the whole clip sounded like he wanted to say so much more. The way he looked right at the camera several times, like "yeah, I'm talking to YOU, America!" but trying to be overt like he wanted to keep his job.

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