Thursday, March 26, 2009

Terkel on being stalked

Amanda Terkel was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the other night to discuss being stalked and ambushed by Jesse Watters for Bill O'Reilly.

As troubling as I thought that event was, I believe that the first segment in that video covered by Olbermann is even more disturbing. It really is nearly impossible to describe how demented it is for O'Reilly to call someone like Arianna Huffington a Nazi because his staff was able to find rude, crude, or hateful comments on her website, and then write a nationally syndicated column which suggests that investigative journalist Seymour Hersh and everyone working at MSNBC would be obvious targets for assassination. And this is even after someone who found inspiration in O'Reilly and his frequent guest Bernie Goldberg went out and killed people.

This is the sort of "joke" that is only funny if you find the idea of Hersh and employees of MSNBC being murdered funny. It's the sort of "joke" that helps to normalize the notion or idea of violence directed against them. In other words, it's a "joke" predicated in the legitimacy of hate.

I also notice that Think Progress posted footage of another Watters stalker attack. In the clip, you'll see that when the individual attempts to enter his car and leave, Watters sticks his foot in the door and tries to prevent him from driving off. There seems to me something very wrong with that ... at a visceral level. Trying to physically prevent someone's escape after you stalk and ambush them is a violation of the person's personal space and is threatening behavior. The sort of behavior that might trigger the flight/fight response and escalate a situation to violence.

However, I reiterate: I do not believe that violence or revenge stalking or anything like that is an appropriate or justifiable response. Had I been confronted by Watters and he attempted to block my egress, I would have called the police on him, and I believe that Think Progress has the right idea by contacting O'Reilly's advertisers and informing them that they are subsidizing the stalking of persons O'Reilly considers enemies.

No comments: