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Monday, May 26, 2008

Fox Get Slammed For Assassination Jokes, Huffington Post Doesn't : Double Standards and Hypocrisy

It all stated when Hillary Clinton made the comment, "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

Taken out of context, it sounded bad, put into context, Clinton was using the example of how the nomination process was still going strong in the month of June and she used her own husband as an example as well. (Video of her statement, in context, at the link above)

This started a firestorm of news stories, blog posts and comments from one end of the blogosphere to the other.

At first the Barack Obama campaign issued a statement saying, "Sen. Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."

The instant reaction forced Clinton to personally make a public statement explaining and apologizing if her comments were misconstrued and were found to be offensive.

Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That’s a historic fact. The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that, whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to, and I’m honored to hold Senator Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family.

The Barack Obama himself spoke on the matter saying, "I have learned that when you are campaigning for as many months as Sen. Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make. And I think that is what happened here. Sen. Clinton says that she did not intend any offense by it, and I would take her at her word on that."

All caught up? Good.

The media wasn't as quick to want put the incident behind and have continued to relentlessly play the clip and comment about it.

A Fox News contributor, which is someone that frequently gives opinions on events, but is not an anchor or host of any Fox News show, gets slammed for joking about the Obama assassination flap, yet liberal Huffington Post is given a pass for same humor.

Enter Fox News and Fox contributor Liz Trotta who, unfortunately decided that bad humor was in order in an appearance on "America’s Newsroom", where she said, “And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could."

Then she laughed.


Her comment has media and bloggers alike, up in arms.

First, let it be clear that a contributor is someone that frequently appears on an outlet and gives their opinion about any given event, they are not news anchors or hosts for any particular show...they are opinion givers.


Still, it is reasonable enough for people to be offended by Trotta's words and her poor attempt at humor as well as her thinking that was humorous at all, but, for the same people that are slamming her for saying it, to say even worse things, about the same topic, could be considered by many to be a double standard and very hypocritical.

For example, Huffington Post, which is a is a liberal online news website and aggregated weblog founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer, featuring hyperlinks to various news sources and columnists. The Huffington Post was launched on May 9, 2005 as a news and commentary outlet. Huffpo is also indexed by various news groups such as Google News where they are listed as a news source.

Huffington Post writer Jeffrey Feldman is incensed that Trotta would joke about "Killing A Candidate".

He goes on to rage:

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?

Many people would agree with him, but that isn't the point of this article, this article is about double standards and hypocrisy.

How better to make a point than to use another article, written by the very same "outlet", Huffington Post.

Writer Guy Saperstein, from Huffington Post, decides that it is alright to joke about the assassination of a candidate.

In what appears to be an obvious satirical piece, although is isn't labeled as such, the Huffington Post "contributor" says he is personal friends with Mark Penn and Harold Wolfson, both members of the Clinton campaign and that he has been permitted to see an ultra secret campaign memo co-authored by Hillary and Bill Clinton addressed to their demoralized campaign staff which lays out many possible paths to victory still remaining in the Democratic nomination process for Hillary..

Saperstein's "joke" is about what was in that obviously non-existent memo:

1. Assassination is still on the table, but it is only one possibility out of many. In light of the public furor in response to Hillary's assassination comments, for the time being this possibility will be de-emphasized.

2. Astrophysicists are predicting an increase of meteor showers between now and the Democratic Convention. It is possible that a small meteor could hit Barack Obama in the temple at any time.

3. The most common place where people suffer fatal injuries is in their bath tub and shower. Obama is rumored to bathe every day.

4. It has been reported that Obama likes tofu; it is a little-known fact but many people have died choking on tofu.

There is more, but I think this makes my point about double standards and hypocrisy.

A Fox News contributor made what many would call a very idiotic attempt at humor and has been getting slammed by commenters and blogs everywhere, yet even the same outlet that is slamming Fox News for an opinion given by a separate entity on one of their shows, is, in fact, capitalizing on that very same topic with the same type of humor and yet I see no one criticizing them for making jokes about the death of Barack Obama.

There is no doubt that in the majority of people's minds that Fox News should make it very clear to their "contributors" that the type of humor used by Trotta is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, but by the same token, and outlet like The Huffington Post, that specializes in news and commentary and is ranked, by Alexa, as the most visited news weblog, should probably do the same with their "contributors".

You decide... are double standards being used, is it hypocrisy or is bad humor by one group more acceptable than bad humor from another?

[Update] For those that 'claim" that conservatives deliberately mistake Obama's name with Osama Bin ladens name...what is the excuse for it happening with Ted Kennedy (via video) or when a reporter makes that very same mistake?

[Update] Trotta just issued an apology saying:

I am so sorry about what happened yesterday. In a lame attempt at humor I really just fell all over myself in making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm or any other candidate for that matter. I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I’ve offended. It’s a very colorful political season and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we hadn’t said.

Huffington Post still hasn't apologized for their tacky, offensive sense of humor.

Thanks to Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times Blog, for the link!!!