Grinning While Joking About Killing A Candidate
The incident happen in an exchange with the FOX News anchor. When asked her opinion of the recent scandal surrounding some comments made by Sen. Hillary Clinton, which Trotta described by saying that, "some are reading [it] as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama." Hemmer quickly corrected Trotta, having noticed that she had said "Osama" when she meant "Obama." At this point, Trotta said, "Obama. Well...both if we could!" Trotta then laughed gleefully.
(The full interview can be viewed here)
What prompted Trotta to joke about the assassination of Sen. Obama was her apparent inability to differentiate between Sen. Obama and the terrorist leader responsible for the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001.
Since Sen. Obama first declared his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for president, right-wing pundits on FOX News and a variety of other broadcast outlets have regularly called the Sen. Obama by the name "Osama" in a systematic propaganda campaign to convince the American public that a sitting member of their government has secret ties to terrorists.
As if she were providing a punchline to that long-running propaganda campaign, Trotta made known that the conclusions the public should draw were (1) that Sen. Obama and Osama bin Laden are equivalent, and (2) they both deserve to be assassinated.
Americans Everywhere Are Tired Of This!
There is no question that broadcast pundits "can" make jokes about assassinating a Senator and a Presidential candidate. The United States Constitution protects freedom of expression to the extreme. But that is the wrong question to ask in this situation. The issue is not "can" pundits make jokes about assassinating Sen. Obama, but "should" they?
It is astounding that Americans should even be forced to have such a conversation, let alone on Memorial Day Weekend when we remember with respect the sacrifices of fallen soldiers. But here we are.
I have to wonder how many people there actually are in the U.S. who think it is funny to make jokes about the assassination of Sen. Obama? What percentage of the American population consists of people who think that the assassination of Sen. Obama--or anyone for that matter--makes for a good punchline? Is it 50 people? 75, maybe?
Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I do not believe there are very many people in our country--or anywhere else for that matter--who laugh or find it remotely funny when broadcast pundits stoop to the level of making jokes about killing an elected leader. It does not feel funny. It feels like someone spitting in our faces.
I believe that the vast majority of Americans--people in every corner of the country and of all political stripes--all react with an equal level of disgust when we hear remarks of the sort that Liz Trotta made on FOX News.
When we hear such "jokes" about assassinating a member of the Senate--a member of our government--we do not laugh, but instead wonder. We wonder what has happened to broadcast media in our country. We wonder to ourselves, to our families, and to our friends: How have we arrived at this point? How has our broadcast media so utterly lost its moral compass?
That same optimism leads me to conclude that the vast, vast majority of Americans do not want this kind of vile, utterly disgusting, "assassination" humor to become a recurrent part of our national debate between now and the general election, nor at any other time.
We do not want it.
It ends right now.
What Americans want is a guarantee from the whole of the broadcast media industry that whenever we turn on our televisions and our radios we will never again be affronted with this brand of total, unadulterated disrespect in the form of a joke about assassinating our leaders.
And why do we demand this guarantee? It is not because we are sensitive. It is because the free press belongs to us--to the American people. It belongs to us and nobody has a right to debase it.
We do not care how many stations a single corporation owns, how many billions of dollars in revenue a media outlet produces--no corporation has the right to debase the free press in this country.
The reason for a free press--for our free press--is not to degrade our political institutions, undermine our elections, and threaten our politicians, but to strengthen and sustain our deliberative democracy.
If FOX News or any other broadcast media outlet cannot live up to that standard, then they should shut off their lights, sell their equipment, and choose another line of work.