Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is Fox News going to say when someone (else) gets killed?

Yesterday morning I flipped on Fox and Friends - the most attrocious, mindless propaganda that has possibly ever existed in the history of US television, in my humble opinion - to catch the end of a segment described as town hall meeting turns violent. At least that's what I think it said, I can't find a transcript of the show or the clip.

Regardless, the clip showed footage of shouting and general chaos at a townhall event which I now realize was hosted by Howard Dean and Rep. John Moran, and that the disruptors were led by anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry. (In other words, they were not constituents of Moran, but Christian supremacists who showed up at the event with the express intention of shutting down a democratic forum.)

Then mayhem erupted. A clutch of opponents, led by Randall Terry, the anti-abortion activist and founder of Operation Rescue, chanted as Dr. Dean tried to speak, prompting Mr. Moran to try to have Mr. Terry and his followers ejected.

“They don’t belong here and I’m going to ask them to leave,” Mr. Moran said into the microphone, as the crowd started cross-chanting. Mr. Moran said he considered Mr. Terry to be “a bit of a radical” who came with the express purpose of disrupting the meeting. (Mr. Terry has actually been appearing at several town hall-style meetings lately, sometimes wearing a doctor’s outfit and stabbing a baby doll to show what would happen if a health bill were to pass.)

When Mr. Terry did not leave, Mr. Moran reversed himself and tried to negotiate with him. “Rather than being escorted out, you can have the option of having the first question and five minutes of saying whatever you want, then it would be restricted,” Mr. Moran said. “Otherwise you need to leave.”

Mr. Terry rejected the proposal as he and his band of supporters yelled, “Dean is a baby killer!” They were finally escorted out. One man remained, yelling, “We won’t pay for murder! Don’t let him speak!” Cameras surrounded him but as he continued to chant, they drifted away.
It gets worse but more on that in a second.

I didn't catch any of this info from the Fox and Friends segment. After the bit of chaos I viewed was shown, they went back to commentary from the Stepford hosts. At which point I heard an unidentified guest host - whom I think is one of the anchors from the Fox business channel - saying that Democrats don't get it. At which point I flipped the channel, realizing that Fox and the Stepford hosts were going to blame Democrats for not respecting the opinions and civic engagement of patriotic Americans and what not ... and if I didn't imagine the "town hall turns violent" graphic, I have to wonder if Fox was saying that it was violence directed against Terry or other protesters ... I wish I'd taped it or paid closer attention. Overall, it was the typical Fox propaganda narrative.

I see that News Hounds got generally the same impression.

The kids then showed a video of Member of Congress John Moran’s “wild” town hall, in Reston Va, when Moran, after being heckled, turned the mik over to Howard Dean who shot back with a good question (asked who wanted to give up Medicare). Kilmeade said that protestors shouldn’t be “marginalized” by politicians. Unidentified guy said that town halls aren’t about “the process” but rather people airing their grievances. It was a short piece but noteworthy in its exclusion of some key details.
Yes, some key details.

Last month, Randall Terry, founder of the right-wing extremist group Operation Rescue, warned that his supporters might engage in violent acts of terrorism unless Congress prohibits abortion services from being covered in the new health reform legislation ...

In Virginia last night, Terry was kicked out of a town hall held by Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean after he interrupted and accused Democrats of murdering babies. The Hill reports on Terry’s extreme protest last night:

The Moran town hall was the last stop on a 10-city tour for Randall Terry, the anti-abortion activist known for his extreme tactics.

Terry’s colleagues put on a skit with a man in an Obama mask pretending to whip a bloodied woman, who kept saying, “Massa, don’t hit me no more. I got the money to kill the babies.”

Terry himself dressed in a doctor’s lab coat and pretended to stab a woman in a gray wig.

“There’s no way to pay for this thing without killing granny,” Terry explained.
This is the same sort of defamation, demonization, and malicious hate-based lies that when directed for years at Dr. George Tiller ended up with him being murdered in cold blood while he was attending church. This is racist propaganda on a scale equivalent to Nazi demonization of Jews, KKK demonization of blacks. It is evil and the sort of Christian Nationalism that Chris Hedges wrote about in American Fascists. (You can watch an hour plus discussion of the book below.)*

What will it take for Fox News to denounce such abominable behavior as Terry's? Terry has threatened terrorist violence, yet Fox still tacitly encourages his extremism.

Dave Neiwert points out that the man who went to a town hall with a gun on his hip and an assault rifle on his shoulder, promising to "forcefully resist" if health care reform happens, is a member of an extremist pastor's church (Steve Anderson's) which preaches eliminationist hate.

Let me tell you something: Barack Obama has wrought lewdness in America. America has become lewd. What does lewd mean? L-E-W-D? [Pause] Obscene. Right? Dirty. Filthy. Homosexuality. Promiscuity. All of the -- everything that's on the billboard, the TV. Sensuality. Lewdness! We don't even know what lewdness means anymore! We're just surrounded by it, inundated with it!

... And yet you're going to tell me that I'm supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things -- you're gonna tell me I'm supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he's in Phoenix, Arizona.

Nope. I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that's what I'm going to pray. And you say, 'Are you just saying that?' No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.

You say, 'Why would you do that?' That our country could be saved.
This is the sort of hate and bigotry that fuels the prejudice that allows conservative supremacists to believe that Obama and Democrats are Nazis who are taking over health care to kill babies and old people.

Only one step removed from this fringe pastor's "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?" style rhetoric is Rush Limbaugh, the intellectual leader of the Republican party. Who on a daily basis demonizes Obama, Democrats, and "liberals" as totalitarian enemies of the United States who have stabbed the nation in the back.

[Limbaugh] added: "The Obama administration sees its job as protecting those who have and will wage war against American citizens. That's his view. That's the way this administration is acting -- protect those who have and will wage war against innocent American citizens."

After the break, Rush took a caller who was at last night's town hall with Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Howard Dean. The caller claimed that Dean was unable to speak because the caller and others booed and heckled him. Rush applauded this, and played a few audio bites of the shouting that took place.
That is the same sort of belief that motivated Jim Adkisson's murderous church shooting. And notice Limbaugh endorsing the efforts of Terry to prevent the democratic process from taking place.

*I do not agree with or support -at all - Hedges' call to criminalize "incitement to intolerance" (I think he means passing hate speech laws) but do agree with his analysis of Christian nationalism as being a proto-totalitarian movement.


Grung_e_Gene said...

This has long since moved past a crazy fringe Republican like Alan Keyes decrying Obama is an abomination and he wants to murder babies and has metastasized into the entire Republican party. Nightly Hannity shows wherein Hannity repeatedly states Obama is destroying the country get picked up and repeated by his followers. Bill Cunningham declares he will fight like a Scottish Warrior Poet, like Braveheart against Obama.

Glenn Beck, R. Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michele Malkin, FreeRepublic, RedState, Moonbattery, the list goes on quite extensively of those who are using coded speech and inciting words and appeals to base raw emotions.

They have loaded the weapon, pointed out the target, provided the moral rationalization and are continually easing the finger of the angry, unbalanced, I-want-my-country-back Birther-esque minions on the trigger...

Sheldon said...

Yes, I have to say that I am quite shocked at how the crazy mainstream Republican right is continually amping up their rhetoric which so far out of proportion to what the Obama administration is actually doing.

Interesting how they say they want to "take their country back" as if to imply anybody that the country only belongs to them.

And this is only the first year of the Obama administration. Is this going to pick up momentum, or peter out? Interesting to see but scary to contemplate.