Media

The Most Outrageous Media Comments of 2008

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.

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:

CHRIS MATTHEWS

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)

MICHAEL SAVAGE

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)

Savage: "Why should a welfare recipient have the right to vote? They're only gonna vote themselves a raise": "Do you think a person on welfare has the right to vote? I don't. Why should a person who is on public assistance maintain the right to vote? Tell me why. Where is it written that they should have the right to vote? I support them, and they should have the same vote I do? That would be like saying an infant has the right to vote or an insane person has the right to vote. Why should a welfare recipient have the right to vote? They're only gonna vote themselves a raise." (October 22)

E.D. HILL

Fox News' E.D. Hill teased discussion of Obama dap: "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?": Teasing an upcoming segment on the Obamas' "fist bump or fist pound" Hill stated: "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently. We'll show you some interesting body communication and find out what it really says." (June 6)

BILL CUNNINGHAM

Cunningham invoked "[s]ix-six-six" and "the beast" in discussing "Barack Hussein Obama": Cunningham stated that 666,000 new voters were registered in Ohio prior to the presidential election, then stated, "Six, six, six. The mark of the beast. The great majority, of course, are registered by ACORN. Who conducted ACORN seminars to tell ACORN employees and others how to cheat the system? Barack Hussein Obama. I may declare him to be the beast. Six, six, six. It could be the end of all days." Cunningham repeated the attack in his October 13 broadcast. (October 10)

Cunningham on Obama Sr.: "That's what black fathers do. They simply leave": Cunningham stated of Sen. Barack Obama's childhood: "[I]magine at the age of 1 or 2 seeing your father for the last time. See, his father was a typical black father who, right after the birth, left the baby. That's what black fathers do. They simply leave." (October 28)

Cunningham: "[P]eople are poor in America because they lack values, morals, and ethics": "[U]nlike many countries in the world, Steve [Malanga, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and senior editor ofCity Journal, an urban policy journal], we have fat poor people. We don't have skinny poor people. Ours are fat and flatulent. You know, people are poor in America, Steve, not because they lack money; they're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics. And if government can't teach and instill that, we're wasting our time simply giving poor people money." (October 28)

Cunningham alleged that "Obama wants to gas the Jews": After claiming that American-born Middle East scholar Rashid Khalidi "wants to gas and fry Jews," Cunningham said, "Jews for [Sen. John] McCain because Obama wants to gas the Jews, like the PLO wants to gas the Jews, like the Nazis gassed the Jews." (October 30)

MARC RUDOV

Marc Rudov on "the downside" of a woman president: "You mean besides the PMS and the mood swings, right?": Responding to the question "What is the downside of having a woman become the president of the United States?" Rudov said: "You mean besides the PMS and the mood swings, right?" (March 10)

CHRIS KROK

Gibson's guest host Krok called Obama a "steamy hot pile of crap wedged between two pieces of bread": Referring to Obama, Krok said: "This whole thing, you know what it is? It is Christmas morning and you wake up and there is a beautiful present beneath the tree. And it looks so beautiful it is awesome. It's like you're so excited and you're so everything, you know, 'Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama.' You're cheering, you're cheering, you're cheering, 'Obama, Obama, Obama.' And then you open up the present and you go, 'Oooh, I can't wait.' Your mouth is salivating, and watering, and you're getting so -- 'Ooooh.' And you get the present, and you get your hands -- 'Oh yeah.' And you're going to rip it up. You open it up, and then what is inside is a sandwich. And you get excited, 'Oh, a sandwich.' And you take a big bite of that sandwich. But what is it? What's inside of that sandwich? It is a stinking -- stinky, hot, steamy crap sandwich. It is a stinky, hot -- it is a steaming, hot pile of crap wedged between two pieces of bread. That is what Barack Obama is. He is a steamy crap sandwich. He is a fraud." (August 7)

CHRIS BAKER

Minneapolis radio host Baker on Pelosi's response to Wall Street crisis: "Another reason why it's very rare to find a woman worthy of serving in political office": "And Nancy Pelosi, that -- get another facelift, lady. She runs -- yesterday, they ask her, 'Do Democrats have any responsibility here?' And what does she say? 'No.' Another reason why it's very rare to find a woman worthy of serving in political office." (September 17)

Minneapolis radio host Baker repeatedly called Obama "Nicolae Carpathia," the Antichrist character in the Left Behindseries: Baker described Obama as "the Nicolae Carpathia candidate," "the Nicolae Carpathia of this election," and "the Nicolae Carpathia political Jesus." Carpathia is the Antichrist character in the Left Behind series of novels dealing with the "end times," the biblical tribulation described in the Book of Revelation. (September 23)

Minneapolis radio host Baker: "I don't think homeless people should vote"; "I'm not that excited about women voting": "I don't think homeless people should vote. Frankly. In fact, I have to be very honest. I'm not that excited about women voting, to be honest. I'm not. OK? You know? But that's just me. I'm a pig, and that's fine. All right? And we'll see that, I'm sure, on a lame-ass website very soon. But I don't think hobos ought to vote at all. They're nuts. And I think that there needs to be a little more care in who votes." (October 2)

Minneapolis radio hosts Baker and Perry are "convinced" that Magic Johnson "faked AIDS": Baker and fellow KLTK-FM host Langdon Perry agreed that "Magic faked AIDS," referring to former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who announced in 1991 that he had tested HIV-positive:

PERRY: What about diseases that are eminently treatable and you can live with for a long, long time quite healthily if you just get some basic drugs?

BAKER: Like Magic Johnson.

PERRY: Like Magic with his faked AIDS. Magic faked AIDS.

BAKER: You think Magic faked AIDS for sympathy?

PERRY: I'm convinced that Magic faked AIDS.

BAKER: Yeah, me too.

PERRY: It falls apart --

BAKER: Which is horrible.

PERRY: -- when you get into motivation. I'm not sure why, but I'm pretty sure he faked AIDS.

BAKER: I've got a great email here from --

PERRY: 'Cause he's the only cured AIDS guy ever.

(October 8)

MARK STEYN

OnBeck, Mark Steyn described Michelle Obama as "Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing": "The right to be uninvolved, the right to be left alone is one of the most precious rights in a constitutional republic. And if she wants me to shed my cynicism, she's going to have to prize it from my cold, dead, cynical fingers. This is not -- this is [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing." (April 10)

RUSH LIMBAUGH

Limbaugh: "If Barack Obama were Caucasian, they would have taken this guy out on the basis of pure ignorance long ago": "I am just telling you, if this guy were Dan Quayle -- if he -- can I channel Geraldine Ferraro? If Barack Obama were Caucasian, they would have taken this guy out on the basis of pure ignorance long ago." (May 14)

BILL O'REILLY

O'Reilly: "It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan": Responding to MoveOn.org's "Petition Against Fox's Racist & Hate-Filled Smears," O'Reilly said: "Obama must condemn organizations like MoveOn and the Daily Kos if he truly wants to run without a race component. These are the people that are dividing Americans along racial lines. It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan." (July 23)

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

McLaughlin echoes smear of Michelle Obama: "You don't think she's a black militant?": McLaughlin asked Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page: "Do you think Michelle -- do you think she leaves the impression -- not mine, but I've heard this -- that she has a chip on her shoulder? You don't think she's a black militant?" (February 24)

McLaughlin: Obama "fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside": "Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside -- that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?" (July 11-13)

LEE RODGERS

KSFO's Rodgers: "[F]emale leadership of the Democratic Party" consists of "ugly skanks" who "hate" that "Sarah Palin's good-looking": "Look at these ugly skanks, who make up the female leadership of the Democratic Party. I mean, my God -- you know, guys sitting around, talking, perhaps in a bar someplace -- they have a way of scoring them. I know, it's sexist. It's sexist. It's unfair, and all of that, but they will look over a female who comes in and just make an announcement: How many drinks it would take before you'd jump her bones, you know. You look at most of the headline women of the Democratic Party, you're thinking, 'It's gotta be closing time and five drinks, and maybe not even then.' And that's what they're really PO'd about. [Gov.] Sarah Palin's good-looking and they hate that." (September 17)

DON IMUS

Imus: Obama is "almost a bigger pussy than" Clinton: While discussing the April 16 Democratic debate, Imus said, "I thought Senator Obama was on the defensive most of the night. But they're both sissy boys or sissy girls, or whatever. Because they talk big when they're out on the campaign trail, wolfing on each other. And then when they show up at the debate, they fold up like a couple of cheap lawn chairs. I mean, I don't understand that. And he's almost a bigger pussy than she [Hillary Clinton] is." (April 17)

JIM QUINN

Quinn called NOW the "National Organization for Whores," said columnist Fatimah Ali should "get an American name": "Yesterday, I said, I wonder how long it's going to be before one of these Alinskyites -- formerly known as Democrats -- one of these Alinskyites out there suggests that Sarah Palin is not really a woman. Remember [Sen.] Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-TX] was a female impersonator, according to the National Organization for Whores?" Later in the program, Quinn aired a clip of Fox News host and Washington managing editor Brit Hume discussing a Philadelphia Daily Newscolumn by Fatimah Ali. Following the clip, Quinn said: "[Y]ou know, Fatimah, what's your real name? Come on, seriously. I mean, get an American name, will you, if you want to be an American. You don't suppose she's a liberal black Muslim, do you?" (September 3)

Quinn's solution to "Palestine issue": "[L]evel it and then salt the earth so that nothing grows for a thousand years": "There's only one way to settle the Palestine -- the Palestine issue," and that "is to level it and then salt the earth so that nothing grows for a thousand years, because that's how the Muslims would have treated each other, and did." (October 29)

NEWT GINGRICH

Gingrich: "[T]here is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us": "I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion." (November 14)

G. GORDON LIDDY

Liddy: Obama concentration camp will serve "ham hocks and turnip greens": G. Gordon Liddy spoke to a caller who stated: "I'm ready to go to the concentration camp, that [Sen. Barack] Obama's police force -- he will round me up. Because I -- I'm a white American." Liddy then said, "Well, listen to this," and aired an edited clip of Obama saying in a July 2 speech in Colorado Springs: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." Liddy then stated: "Shades of the Gestapo. The Geheime Staatspolizei," to which the caller replied: "How's the cooking going to be? What will -- what will they serve, at the camp?" Liddy responded: "Well, I think, probably, there'll be ham hocks and turnip greens." (November 4)

BRIAN SUSSMAN

Question for KSFO's Sussman: Did Reagan's self-description as a "citizen of the world" make him the Antichrist, too?: Guest-hosting on The Lee Rodgers Show, Brian Sussman said of Obama's July 24 speech in Berlin, Germany, "As I was watching that speech, I could have sworn he was running for Antichrist." (July 28)

Julie Millican is a Senior Researcher at Media Matters for America.
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