Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gibson's America

Bill O'Reilly has been back in the news lately for being a racially insensitive, self-absorbed, and combative idiot. So, what else is news. This round seems to have gained a little more traction outside the usual media-watching blog circles, but O'Reilly has survived too much for me to really think he'll go the way of Don Imus. I suspect we'll have Bill O'Reilly to kick around for a bit longer. Whether or not Bill goes, this might be a good time to remind ourselves that O'Reilly isn't the only racially insensitive, self-absorbed, and combative idiot at Fox News. We also have his well-coiffed colleague John Gibson to cringe over.

This week, while O'Reilly has been expressing astonishment that Negroes can sit down and quietly enjoy a meal, just like normal people, Gibson has been stressing over "black devils stalking [the] streets" of our cities. As with O'Reilly, no one is surprised that Gibson would say something this tone deaf; it's part of his normal act. And also like O'Reilly, Gibson is upset that someone might have the temerity to publish an accurate transcript of his foolishness. Insulting a whole demographic group and then crying that they are being persecuted, is a normal day at the office for Fox's stars.
GIBSON: I have been targeted, now, by the left. Media Matters for America, the George Soros-funded operation that feels it can criticize everybody in the media -- is that who attacked me?


GIBSON: They attacked me over this.


AUDIO CLIP: The War Against Gibson Continues!

GIBSON: They launch a war against me. Did I get called a racist again?


GIBSON: How many times in a given week am I called a racist these days?


GIBSON: More days than -- more times than there are days in the week, right?

It's hard to sort out how much of this is an act and how much they really are paranoid, crybaby loudmouths. What I find interesting this time, is how Gibson characterized Media Matters. It's not that he incorrectly called it "the George Soros-funded operation"; that lie is the party line at Fox. It's the next phrase that caught my attention: the operation "that feels it can criticize everybody in the media." Media Matters can criticize everybody in the media. So can you. So can I. It's called free speech.

Does Gibson feel that he should be exempt from criticism, that it is somehow presumptuous of a group to actually exercise their First Amendment rights by calling him a nitwit when they think he is being a nitwit? I suppose that in the America that the Fox crowd dream of they report the GOP talking points and we shut-up and listen. That's an ugly and scary dream. Fortunately, I'm still allowed to say that.

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