Friday, May 27, 2011

Talking Heads Behaving Badly.

I watch a lot of cable news opinion shows and listen to a lot of talk radio. Unlike traditional news programs, these programs rely almost entirely on sensationalism to keep viewers/listeners engaged at the expense of nuance and in-depth analysis. They're purely for entertainment purposes only, no person with a functional brain would actually gather real information about politricks from these shows. They're the political equivalent of TMZ: empty calorie junk food. And of course, flaws and all, I love them.

Two notable talking heads suddenly find themselves in a lot of hot water for some very silly comment each recently made regarding President Obama being in Europe while the US is being walloped by tornadoes.
Fox Business host Eric Bolling really stepped in it Monday when, in the middle of a rant about a lack of leadership, he said that President Obama was busy “chugging forties” in Ireland, instead of going to tornado-ravaged Missouri. “Forty” is slang for a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor (or beer), a mainstay of ghetto iconography. Bolling later tweeted defiantly, “For the liberals offended by my “forty” comment, please read this….,” linking to a slang dictionary. According to pool reports, the President drank most of a pint glass, which, in Ireland, is about 20 oz.

Earlier in Bolling’s rant, he also made a reference to the President “entertaining rappers” in the White House, a reference to the feigned outrage over rapper Common’s invitation to a poetry reading.
Here's Bolling, running off a the mouth. The money quote comes around the 0:40 mark.

Sorry for the awful quality of that video, I didn't upload it.

I'm sure Bolling would say he isn't racist because his occasional weed man is from Queens, and he loves Tiger Woods, but there's no other way to interpret this. It was a clearly race-driven comment that has no place on any semi-reputable news network. Of course, who would be stupid enough to consider Fox Business a semi-reputable news network?

Not to be outdone, MSNBC's resident blowhard Ed Schultz made some very sexist remarks about the equally deplorable Laura Ingraham of Fox News and talk radio fame.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, suspended by MSNBC Wednesday evening for calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut” on his nationally syndicated radio show, addressed his comments on the final Ed Show episode before beginning what was to be week-long suspension. In a remarkably fulsome and sincere apology, though, Schultz announced that he was taking himself off the air for an “indefinite” period.
Here's Schultz's comment.

I'd be the last one to defend Ingraham, a woman who doesn't have an original idea in her empty bleached blond head, and who's taken more than her fair share of racist/sexist jabs at both the President and First Lady. But if progressives are supposed to be the grownups in the room (something the bombastic Schultz is seldom confused with) then maybe they should lead by example and not wallow in typical Conservative tactics. That sorta defeats the whole "fly above" mantra espoused by the very President Schultz is supposedly defending.

To his credit, Schultz issued a heartfelt and genuine apology almost immediately. I can't say the same for Bolling, who is openly auditioning for that coveted 5pm Glenn Beck replacement slot by upping his douchebag bonafides. While MSNBC at least has the decency the censure (Schultz is suspended indefinitely without pay, the network's done the same to Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough), Fox Business made no such effort to reel in Bolling. Hell, the guy's doubled down on the comment. Now that's gangsta!

Question: Do left-wing commentators commit just as many racist/sexist flubs as those on the right? Was Bolling's comment racist or merely tongue in cheek? Was Schultz's comment sexist or just in very poor taste?

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