Can anyone tell me what the hell a "verbal rape" is?
For some reason, that's what Bill O'Reilly thinks the media is doing to George W. Bush in the wake of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception. This is how BOR described it during his interview with McClellan:
MCCLELLAN: I'm trying to take my partisan hat off and look at the real problems we've got in this country and D.C. And how do we fix those? That's what I did. It's much larger than the president or Karl Rove or any one person. This is about something bigger. And that's the message that has been getting lost while people try to turn this book into a gotcha points. It's not about that. It's about sharing my experiences so we can learn from it.
O'REILLY: Then why didn't you lecture the far-left guys who did turn it into gotcha points? Why didn't you tell that to them?
MCCLELLAN: I think I did say that same message that people have been trying to turn this into gotcha points. And we need to focus on the larger message.
O'REILLY: You sat there while these people at NBC and some at CNN just raped the president verbally. Just killed him. And you sat there and you did not defend him. You didn't do it.
MCCLELLAN: I said he's a good man. I still have personal affection for him.
O'REILLY: You said that, but you allowed them to do that in your presence.
"Raped the president verbally"? Seriously, what the fuck does that mean?
How do you "verbally rape" someone? Does BOR actually think that discussing the lies, failures, and broken promises of the Bush administration as discussed in a book is somehow the equivalent of the media violently forcing Bush to have sex with them? What kind of perverted bizarro world is that? Exactly how was Bush violated? Did BOR defend Bill Clinton as the victim of verbal rape during the coverage of the Monica Lewinsky trial? If I receive a bad job evaluation because I am genuinely bad at my job, have I been verbally raped?
And just who are these "verbal rapists"? Is there such a thing as statutory verbal rape? Who else, in BOR's opinion, are victims of verbal rape? (I'll assume that BOR thinks only Republicans are the victims of this heinous crime -- the Democrats are probably asking for it.) Is there verbal date rape? And if discussing Bush's record amounts to verbal rape, what do you call BOR's pattern of calling people loons and pinheads, screaming at them, shutting off their mics, talking over them, and slandering them? When BOR repeatedly sexually harassed Andrea Mackris, a female co-worker, telling her about her role in a Caribbean shower fantasy and how he wants to rub her down with fried Middle Eastern food, does that qualify as verbal rape? It certainly qualifies as sexual harassment.
It may seem like I'm making light of this, but I'm not.
The use of violent language and imagery from the right is actually a very serious problem. The right constantly and casually uses hyperbolic, violent language to describe the left, which has the effect of justifying violent or unfair behavior on the right.
Because McClellan's book has renewed criticisms of the Bush administration, BOR compared him to a friend who stands by and watches as a friend is raped. Because a reader left a comment on the Huffington Post saying they hope something terrible happens to Nancy Reagan, BOR claims that Arianna Huffington is exactly the same as the Nazis or the KKK. When the media is critical of a Republican, BOR calls them murderers. Because Media Matters keeps a record of BOR's lies and outrageous statements, they're called "assassins" and BOR calls for them to be deported. Because DailyKos is critical of Republicans, Markos Moulitsas is equated with a KKK grand wizard. Hillary Clinton is called a murderer and baby killer. Barack Obama is repeatedly equated with Hitler. Even Bush compared Obama to a Nazi appeaser.
These are not statements dredged from the comments sections of blog posts. This is the accepted language of the right wing as spoken by its superstars and most popular, best-selling personalities: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, William Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan, Michael Savage, etc. etc., and even the fucking President of the US. If you want to claim that the "liberal media" or the left is "just as bad," tell me the last time Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Arianna Huffington, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, any Democratic politician, or anyone writing for the New York Times said anything even approaching this.
Calling your opponents Nazis, Hitler, murderers, and rapists drags our politics and our nation backwards. Really, how open-minded do you think BOR is if he thinks McClellan doing TV interviews is the equivalent of doing nothing while watching his friend get gang raped? Once you call someone a Nazi or a baby murderer, why would you ever try to cooperate with them or find a solution where both sides benefit? We've already seen how the right is willing to deny constitutional and human rights to people they consider to be "terrorists" -- do you think they'd extend better treatment to people they equate with Nazis and murderers?
I truly don't know how the right keeps getting away with this and why the left doesn't raise a stink whenever it happens. The right constantly feigns outrage at anything that could even remotely be distorted and misinterpreted as an attack on soldiers or the nobility of America, but the left sits silent as the right makes its living painting them as the worst villians and deviants in history.
But if you want to start hitting back, drop BOR an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him why it's outrageous to claim that criticizing the president and his administration (which is actually the press' most important function in a democracy) is the equivalent of rape. Tell him to retract his characterization. BOR has a thin skin and will most likely respond on air if the criticism gets loud enough. I'd love to hear him defend his "verbal rape" statement, especially to women.