Friday, April 25, 2008

Olbermann's answer to WWTSBQ

Anglachel doesn't mince words. And neither do I in agreeing with her. Keith Olbermann's solution to WWTSBQ is to kill Hillary and it's unmitigated hate speech:

Other blog posters have stepped around the obvious intent behind Keith Olbermann's recent verbal assault on Hillary Clinton. I know why. It's a hell of a step to take. I've spoken extensively about the irrational and boundless fury at this woman who has done nothing to deserve the outrages inflicted upon her. I've blogged before on the level of violence in the reaction to Hillary Clinton. I've blogged on how the shame of the Left when confronted by her - shamed by how she has been trashed, shamed by how badly she beats their darlings - underlies the demands that she be eradicated from politics, a symbolic honor killing....

...What Keith Olbermann said yesterday is not symbolic. He flatly said a (male) Democratic super delegate should take Hillary Clinton into a room, and only the man should emerge.

Keith Olbermann is openly advocating the murder of Hillary Clinton.

We need to say this. It does not preclude talking about the other elements that may be subsumed under that final act, that she would also be battered and raped, but the clear message sent out by Keith Olbermann is he wants someone to murder this woman.

Over the months, I have read various bits of bullshit talking about how "people" are "worried" that Obama might be an assassination target. This is such an obvious line of sensationalistic crap from his campaign to try to create a false aura of danger (Quick! Flock to Barry's defense! Those terrible white racists are gunning for him!) when there has been nothing in the public realm to back it up. Let me be perfectly clear. I think it is probable that there is some nutcase out there who would like to try to assassinate Obama, and I think this because there is always some nutcase out there who thinks killing a public figure is a peachy idea. Or just some nutcase who wants attention - remember the would-be suicide bomber at Hillary's New Hampshire office? However, certainly within the liberal blogosphere and the MSM (I do not venture into the wingnut fever swamps), there is no drumbeat for violence against Obama.

This is not the case with Hillary. I have myself read comments advocating rape and murder. I have read main posts saying she was inciting violent acts against her, or saying they could "understand" the position of those who wished violent harm to befall her, her husband and her daughter. The descriptions of what Obama should do to Hillary verge on the pornographic. Not a day goes by that some prominent voice on the left or in the MSM does not demand her submission, subordination and public humiliation.

Anglachel is right to point out these attacks on Hillary for they speak to the evil--yes, it is evil--of the pervasive battering of females and the resentment of women's autonomy and authority. Violence against women in America borders on epidemic, part of the war on women worldwide. At least one in three women experience abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

For Keith Olbermann to trivialize this harsh reality with a veiled threat against Hillary isn't funny. It's dark, criminally-negligent speech implying that violence against women is OK. His words promote immoral behavior forged by old patriarchal attitudes: women who won't do what men want can be controlled through physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. In his attack on Hillary, Olbermann suggests if a female co-worker competes for a man's job, intimidate her, and if necessary, take her out. In Keith's dog-eat-dog world, the dog reserves the right to beat the b***h. Olbermann needs to go as well as the other NBC/MSNBC misogynists of Jack Welch's Lost Boys Club.

These unrepentant news men perpetrate immeasurable harm when they approvingly disseminate gender-based bashing. What kind of role models are they for anyone to see and hear and most especially for our youth to witness? I rarely watch NBC and I refuse to subscribe to programming that would bring MSNBC into my livingroom. I don't want to subject myself, my partner, or any young person to the sexist crap that flows off the chauvinistic tongues of Matthews, Scarborough, or Olbermann.

Anglachel also articulated a double standard in the SCLB: "Any blogger who fails to condemn Olberman for this blunt and unequivocal statement has no business writing a critical word about Bush and Cheney's torture policies, because you would be just cool with it being done to this individual simply to be rid of a political rival." Just as hypocritical is denouncing racism while enabling misogyny to flourish in their own commentary or discussion threads. I don't recognize the Obamasphere as being liberal anymore due to its sexist bent with the exception of a few bright spots, e.g., Digby (a woman).

The perverse idea that anything goes in politics--including an unforgivable jest that physical harm to one's opponent is an option--is never acceptable or justifiable, shouldn't be condoned or ignored. Keith demonstrated by his hate speech against Clinton that he's shameless and a sham as a "journalist."

We can collectively stop watching NBC, its local TV affiliate, and its cable TV extension MSNBC to send the message that we won't tolerate hate speech. Don't lift a finger to enrich their ratings unless it's to tune in long enough to make a list of advertisers to boycott.

If you want to change the sexist, misogynistic speech on the air waves, stop buying the advertised products or services on the offending media outlet. And tell the advertisers why you aren't purchasing. At the very least, complain to the advertiser about the media channel. The Religious Right and its minions have used this technique to attack LGBT-friendly activities such as Gay Day at Disney. Unlike them, our cause is just--not to inject discrimination--but to decry sexism and verbal violence in the news media, to ultimately foster a healthy, safe environment.

Before anyone gets up on the high horse of the First Amendment, criticizing a tactic to inform advertisers of dissatisfaction with their choice of media, a reminder: boycotting and dissent is also free speech. Shall we use the First Amendment to lift us all up or to oppress? Which would you reward? It's a choice we all have the right to exercise.

Pull the plug on Keith. We all can pull the plug on NBC/MSNBC. Let's do it.

UPDATE: A lame apology from Olbermann, "It is a metaphor. I apologize: the generic 'he' gender could imply something untoward." I'm not buying it. The generic would have been superdelegate or someone. Explaining he as the generic gender reinforces the old patriarchal attitudes that empowered Olbermann to suggest taking Hillary out in the first place. Go Cheney yourself, Keith. How's that for a metaphor?