The Most Outrageous Media Comments of 2008
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With attacks on autistic children, the poor, and HIV-positive basketball star Magic Johnson, talking heads showed that nobody was safe in 2008, no matter how unfounded and unseemly the smear. Progressive politicians, particularly Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and President-elect Barack Obama, were also targets. Obama was called everything from a "pussy" (Don Imus), to a "steamy crap sandwich" (Chris Krok). One commentator said Obama "fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside" (John McLaughlin), while others associated him with the Antichrist (Bill Cunningham, Chris Baker, Brian Sussman, others). Michelle Obama was also targeted, being described, among other things, as "Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing" (Mark Steyn). MSNBC's Chris Matthews said Clinton's success is attributable not to her merit, but to the fact that "her husband messed around."
The list of offenses to women, minorities, gays and lesbians, immigrants, and others in 2008 is a long one, but here are some of the standouts:
After vowing not to underestimate Clinton, Matthews asserted, "[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around": "Let's not forget -- and I'll be brutal -- the reason she's [Hillary Clinton] a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around. That's how she got to be senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn't win there on her merit. She won because everybody felt, 'My God, this woman stood up under humiliation,' right? That's what happened." ( January 9)
Savage claimed Lantos used the Holocaust as "a weapon the rest of his life": Following the death of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), a native Hungarian who escaped from a Nazi slave-labor camp during World War II, Savage said: "You're not supposed to talk badly about the dead. I generally wouldn't do it. But in the case of Tom Lantos, I'll make an exception. I think he was one of the most -- he was a scoundrel. And I'll tell you why I detested Tom Lantos. The man survived the Holocaust of World War II and used it as a weapon the rest of his life." ( February 11)
Savage: "The children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia": Responding to a caller who said, "I had to explain to my young son why these two men were holding hands the other day," Savage stated, "You've got to explain to the children why God told people this was wrong. You have to explain this to them in this time of mental rape that's going on. The children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that's my position. They're raping our children's minds." ( June 16)
Savage on autism: "A fraud, a racket. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out": "Now, you want me to tell you my opinion on autism, since I'm not talking about autism? A fraud, a racket. You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.' Autism -- everybody has an illness. If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, 'Don't behave like a fool.' The worst thing he said -- 'Don't behave like a fool. Don't be anybody's dummy. Don't sound like an idiot. Don't act like a girl. Don't cry.' That's what I was raised with. That's what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You're turning your son into a girl, and you're turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That's why we have the politicians we have." ( July 16)