Two tragic events this week gave right wingers an opportunity to show some humanity and decency. As usual, wingnuts did not exactly cover themselves in glory. Instead of rising to the occasion, they sank to new lows.
Most Americans were sad to learn that beloved comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams took his own life earlier this week. Within minutes of the news, the web was full of tributes. Williams’ fans and colleagues alike remembered his talent and kindness — even as the world learned that Williams’ had struggled with severe depression of late.
Not everyone was so kind. It’s been considered socially inappropriate to speak ill of the dead sinceChilon of Sparta admonished “Demortuis nilnidi bonus” (“Of the dead say nothing but good”) around 600 BC. That didn’t stop wingnuts from chiming in less than 24 hours after Williams Death.
- Fox News host Shepard Smith called Williams’ “such a coward,” for committing suicide. Smith’s comments sparked such outrage that he later apologized in a statement to Mediaite.
- WorldNew Daily is already using Williams’ death to sell DVDs about celebrities using “demonic powers.” Columnist Joe Schimmel wrote that Williams used the help of “demonic powers” that “aided him onstage,” and eventually “drove him to suicide.”
- Minnesota GOP official Chris Fields took to Twitter to politicize Williams’ death. In response to Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party official Ellen Anderson’s tweet about her admiration of Williams, Fields tweeted back, “How very 80’s. Want an economy like we had in the 80’s under Reagan…Vote @Jeff4Gov tomorrow in the primary.”
- Rush Limbaugh used Williams’ death to attack what he called the “survivor’s guilt” of “political leftists,” and then lashed out at the media for misquoting and taking his remarks “out of context.”
If we tallied up who brought the most joy to the most people in his life — Rush Limbaugh or Robin Williams — it’s safe to say Williams would win hands down. As for Limbaugh? Well, comedian Lewis Black said it best.
The country was rocked midweek by the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a police office in Ferguson, Missouri — where the population is 67 percent black and the police force is 94 percent white. Brown’s death came less than a month after Eric Garner — another unarmed black man — was allegedly killed by an NYPD officer’s use of an illegal chokehold. Brown was the second unarmed black man killed by police this week, after Ezell Ford was allegedly shot by LAPD officers while he was lying on the ground.
Brown’s death set off angry protests in Ferguson, which police met with paramilitary force, and constitutionally questionable treatment of protestors and journalists. Naturally, that set wingnuts off.
- During an interview on Newsmax TV, Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) dismissed the possibility of racial profiling in Ferguson. “This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.” Of course, the “continental origin” of most protestors in Ferguson is North America.
- Laura Ingraham characterized the protesters in Ferguson as a “lynch mob.”
- Fox News host James Tarantos said the President Obama “inflamed” the situation in Missouri when he “stuck his nose” in a local issue.
- Meanwhile, Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association said that African-Americans must be outraged that President Obama “just doesn’t seem to care” about them, since he didn’t “stick his nose” into Ferguson’s “local issue” sooner.
- Fox News host Martha MacCallum tried to justify the militarization of Ferguson’s police force by drumming up fears that the New Black Panther party is stirring up racial unrest — based on a Facebook post. The Ferguson police force already proved they need no help in that department.
- Right-wing talking head Joe Scarborough suggested it was reporters’ own fault that they were arrested by “Ferguson’s finest,” for being on the ground broadcasting video and reporting what was going on in Ferguson — instead of commenting from the safety of a studio at 30 Rock.
Here’s the rest of the best of the worse in wingnuttery this week:
- Sarah Palin picked an imaginary fight with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and still lost, despite serving up her best “word salad” to date!
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Texas) warned radio host Tim Constantine that “undocumented Democrats” fleeing violence in Central America could be bringing diseases like Ebola into the US.
- Even Fox News was not amused by wingnut filmmaker James O’Keefe’s latest stunt — crossing the Rio Grande in an Osama Bin Laden mask.
- Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the GOP nominee for governor of Minnesota, said Wednesday that increasing the minimum wage isn’t necessary, and workers should find higher-paying jobs instead. (Because there are so many of those waiting to be filled.)
- As Detroit residents dealt with record rainfall and flooded freeways, Republican governor Rick Snyder’s attempt to “feel their pain” fell flat when he compared Detroit’s flooding to a leak at his lakehouse.
- Colorado Republican state senator Randy Baumgardner showed how much he learned from going to “a lot of fracking seminars,” when he delved into Native American history and confused the “burning waters” of natural hot springs with flaming, methane-laden, fracking-related water pollution.
- Fox News’ resident shrink Keith Ablow suggested that First Lady Michelle Obama “needs to drop a few” herself, instead of talking to Americans about nutrition. The right’s obsession with the First Lady’s body continues unabated.