Sunday, May 25, 2008

Settle Down, Everyone

Hello everyone!

Have you ever heard of Liz Trotta? If you're reading this within a few minutes of me posting it, probably not. But I predict everyone will know who she is soon. Why? Only because of this:
Fox News Contributor Jokes About Bumping Off Obama

Fox News commentator supports assassinating Obama

Fox News contributor jokes about assassinating Obama

Fox commentator slams Clinton, jokes about killing Obama

Liz Trotta: …as a suggestion that someone knock off Osama, umm, Obama, well both if we could

FoxNews Jokes About Obama Being Assassinated
Wow. Joking about assassinating Obama? Aren't jokes supposed to be funny?

It was bad enough when Hillary Clinton brought up the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a young, charismatic presidential candidate who had locked up the Democratic Party nomination just before being shot--and whose similarly young and charismatic brother John was also shot a few years earlier after actually being elected president--oh, and whose other brother was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening ailment the same week she made the comment--not to mention Obama himself, who had secret service protection earlier than any other presidential candidate due to death threats beginning the day he announced his candidacy almost a year and a half ago.

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah, some Fox News host made a joke about assassinating Obama. That's messed up! What did she say? According to the Daily Kos:
"and now we have what ... uh...some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama [after being prompted by the FNC anchor]....well both if we could [laughing]"
Ha-ha! Somebody should "knock off" Osama and Obama! I mean, their names sound the same, am I right? But only "if we could!" Hardy-hardy-har-har-har!

Sheesh, that's messed up. Let's watch the video:

Hmm. Did I hear that right? I don't know about you, but it sounded like she said, "well both, which we could."

Well that doesn't matter--"if" and "which" mean the same thing, right? Well, "if" is a subordinating conjunction and "which" is a relative pronoun (Who says you can't learn anything from my blog?). But that's just a bunch of stupid grammar talk, isn't it? Really, Liz Trotta, an experienced journalist who was apparently one of the first women to cover the Vietnam War, just decided to go batshit on national TV and make a joke about the assassination of a US Presidential candidate.

At first, I was cynical enough to believe it, particularly since it was Fox News. Yes, this is how bad our government and news media has gotten--that it's completely believable that someone would go on national TV and joke about killing someone, especially a Democratic candidate who is inspiring record turnout.

But then there was the grammar tutor section of my brain that kept going back and forth:





And I couldn't stop going back to that quote and thinking, "Both, which we could."

Wait, does that mean they could assassinate both Obama and Osama? Who does this lady work for? Who the hell is "we"?

None of this made any sense.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are organizations that could assassinate both of them within a few hours notice if they wanted. But I doubt some has-been journalist working on Fox Cable News during Memorial Day weekend is part of any of those. And if she was, I'm sure she'd know well enough to shut up about it.

Let's look at the whole quote again, this time with "which" instead of "if":
"and now we have what ... uh...some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama ....well both, which we could."
"We could" what? Where else is there a "we" in that quote?
"we have what ... uh...some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama"

How about this. Perhaps she's suggesting that "we could have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off both." But I have no idea what that means. It's too convoluted.

What else is it that "we could" do?

Maybe we could read what Hillary said as "a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama"

Let me repeat that without the name screw up: We could read what Hillary said as "a suggestion that somebody knock off Obama."

Here's the quote one more time with "which":
"and now we have what ... uh...some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama ....well both, which we could."
Maybe she just felt like an idiot for confusing "Obama" with "Osama," and so she tried to cover but only made things worse. It would be nice if we had the full segment to get a bit of context. Hey, look:

What do you know, she's being very critical of Hillary, especially for her even bringing up RFK's assassination. In fact, besides the name screw-up, she didn't even mention Obama at all other than in the context of what Clinton said.

After the fact, the other guy, whatever his name is, says, "Talk about how you really feel." This could be because he thinks she wants Obama to be assassinated. Or perhaps, maybe he was simply referring to how critical of Clinton Trotta was. But we don't get to see that in the short clip, do we?

Look, I'm the last person to defend Fox News, but I think this thing is blown completely out of proportion. As of 1:19 am PST (wow, I need to get to sleep) there were 1337 comments on the original Daily Kos post about this. I didn't read them all, but there was no sign of anyone saying, "Settle down, everyone." So I'll say it here, "Settle down, everyone!"

After seeing both clips multiple times, I am convinced that this woman was not advocating, nor was she even joking about the assassination of Barack Obama. Yet I have not come across another single person on the Internet during the past six hours who is saying that. That scares the crap out of me. Is there something wrong with my hearing, or is everyone else hearing what they want to hear?

Our country has a nasty history of assassination, yet we bury our collective heads in the sand, saying, "It can't happen here." Think about this: there are piddly ass countries, such as ones in Africa, where there are no natural resources to speak of, where it's almost impossible to grow crops because each year it rains for three months straight and then doesn't rain again for nine months, where AIDS and starvation run rampant, but people are still willing to kill each other in order to take charge of that shithole. Yet somehow we think it's impossible that someone might entertain the notion of committing murder in order to take charge of the most powerful country on Earth? Hell, there are some neighborhoods where people are willing to kill you for the rims on your car. There are even areas will people will kill you because you're gay. So really, is it that much of a stretch to think someone would kill (or hire someone to kill) in order to become President of the United States?

It's natural to get emotionally charged whenever someone brings up assassination, particularly when it's directed toward someone we're rooting for. But when we start seeing things that aren't there and we get all wound up over it--well, that's dangerous. We become hysterical and reactionary.

Of course, that's the whole point, isn't it? That's when you get people posting this reporter's home phone number and address on the YouTube message boards, and well-meaning people suddenly look like crazed lunatics to those who don't share their beliefs. If you can blame a candidate for his pastor's words, surely you can blame a candidate for his supporters' actions.

I'm not offended by what Liz Trotta said--I'm offended that a news show dedicated a whole segment to discuss the implication of one presidential candidate insinuating that she should stay in the race in the event that the other candidate is assassinated. No, actually, I'm offended that one candidate even mentioned the word "assassinated" in the first place.

I don't blame Liz Trotta for this. I don't even blame Fox News for this. There's only one person I blame for starting this whole conversation. One person who needs to do a whole lot of repenting or she will never, ever get my vote for anything, ever:


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blame Fox and Tratta. Not to discount the rhetoric here, but Fox should lose their license. I perceive this whole strand of memes as a direct threat to Senator Obama. They should go away forever.

1:03 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Rob said...

Hello anon!

Fox should have lost their license long ago. Unfortunately, they'd only lose their broadcast license because cable TV is private. And any talk of regulating cable is just Commie talk!

Thanks for the comment.


4:12 PM, May 28, 2008  

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