May 27, 2013 6:28 AM

Today's Pretty Little Ball of Hate


(apologies to Keith Olbermann)

Andrea Tantaros

A host of the Fox News show The Five was so angry that the Justice Department had investigated one of the network’s reporters that she told her viewers on Thursday to find anyone who voted for President Barack Obama and “punch them in the face.”…. “Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list,” Fox News host Andrea Tantaros explained on the Thursday edition of her radio show. “And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we?”…. “This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union,” she continued. “He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him.”…. “And if you see any of those people today, do me a favor, punch them in the face.”

Today’s prime example of self-parody and overinflated self-importance comes to us courtesy of Andrea Tantaros, for whom the phrase “ivory tower Conservative,” if it doesn’t exist, should immediately be invented and added to our lexicon. I’ll happily take the credit (or the blame) for it. If anyone has ever served as the personification of why Fox News Channel is as much a “news” organization as I am an NBA point guard, Tantaros is it. Aggressively narrow-minded and intolerant, she’s managed to somehow hermetically seal herself off from reality. By no means is Tantaros ignorant. She’s one of the more intelligent Fox talking heads (how’s that for faint praise?), but she’s as aggressively mean-spirited and intolerant as anyone in Roger Ailes’ stable.

When an on-screen employee of a major media organization goes on the air and asks her listeners to punch those who voted for Barack Obama in the face, things have gone horribly off the rails. There’s certainly nothing wrong with voicing one’s opinion, but when that morphs into inciting violence (and that’s exactly what Tantaros was doing) against those you disagree with, that’s immoral and borderline criminal.

Of course, the flip side of this argument is that it just goes to show how poor Tantaros’ argument really is. When the facts aren’t on your side, when the truth is working against your pet agenda, inciting violence as you hold yourself above the law is about all you have left. It’s pitiful and pathetic, but that pretty much sums up Tantaros, who, instead of making a reasoned, rational argument as to why she’s correct, launches into an unhinged rant in which she calls on her listeners to physically attack those with the temerity to disagree. Stay classy. eh?

FNC reporters aren’t above the law. If James Rosen participated in the leaking of secrets, he can and should be investigated and even prosecuted. Carrying a press pass doesn’t confer immunity to culpability. I’d agree that the Department of Justice should tread carefully when investigating reporters. That shouldn’t be taken to mean I believe reporters, especially the Denizens of Bullshit Mountain (hat tip to Jon Stewart) are above the law. The Fifth Estate performs a vital function in our democracy, but it should never be considered beyond accountability.

All cheap Conservative fear-mongering and propaganda aside, America isn’t becoming Soviet Russia, nor is it “Obama’s America.” The fact that your ideological agenda isn’t carrying the day doesn’t represent ipso facto proof that we’re in the fast lane on the road to communism. If you think things should be different, tell us why. Use facts. Discuss your point of view rationally, without resorting to exhortations of violence against those who think differently. This is still a democracy, remember? The freedoms of speech, thought, and expression are part and parcel of the 1st Amendment you profess to revere.

I detest virtually everything Andrea Tantaros stands for. I will, however, fight to defend her right to spew her hatred and filth…which is more than can be said for her. She can’t win, so she loses her composure and begins to incite violence. That should tell you everything you need to know about Andrea Tantaros. Stay classy, indeed.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on May 27, 2013 6:28 AM.

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