Fox News Resorts to Homophobic Bathroom Jokes in Retaliation For Media Matters' Report on Fox Haiti Coverage
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Suppose you're a late-night host on a seldom-seen Fox News Channel program, and a watchdog group has just released a rather unflattering report about your network's apparent indifference toward the fate of humanity in the wake of Haiti's cataclysmic earthquake. What would you do? Go to network executives and demand more and better coverage?
Nah. If you're Greg Gutfeld, host of "Red Eye," you make a crude cartoon on your computer with a sophomoric script, whose only joke is that the CEO of the watchdog group is gay.
On January 14, Media Matters for America released a report contrasting the amount of air time given to the Haiti disaster by the three top-rated shows of Fox News and MSNBC on the day after the earthquake. The three Fox programs—"The O'Reilly Factor," "Hannity" and "Glenn Beck"—featured a combined total of less than seven minutes of coverage. MSNBC's top ratings draws, on the other hand—"Hardball," "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show"—gave a combined total of more than two hours to the Haiti catastrophe. (Full disclosure: I served as a consultant to Media Matters for three months in 2008/2009.) Here's a graph detailing the January 13 Haiti coverage, divided by network:
Two nights later, Gutfeld, whose program airs at 3am in the East Coast market, aired a very badly made cartoon titled "Red Eye Robot Theater," depicting two men meant to represent Media Matters CEO David Brock and a public relations staffer. Here's my transcript of the video:
PUBLICIST: Hey, David, have you seen the numbers since the earthquake?
DAVID: I know; it's absolutely incredible.
PUBLICIST: I believe thousands are dead.
DAVID: Yeah, whatever. I was talking about the number of minutes Fox News devoted to the quake. I think this will make a great press release.
PUBLICIST: David, don't you think that's a little crass?
DAVID: How so?
PUBLICIST: Well, using tragedy to make an ideological point seems kind of gross to me.
DAVID: You know what's gross? Your pants. Take them off.
PUBLICIST: Right now?
DAVID: Yes. And bring me my lotion. It's five o' clock somewhere.
After the video concludes, Gutfeld goes on to call Media Matters president Eric Burns "scummy" and "creepy."
Wow. That's some witty repartee.
And that's not the first Red Eye Robot Theater episode devoted to slamming Brock for being gay. The first one aired on January 6, as a more general payback for Media Matters' ongoing coverage of the utterances of Fox News personalities. In that episode, Brock is shown with his publicist preparing to meet with liberal financier George Soros, who funds progressive efforts through his Open Society Institute. (Media Matters says it has never received funding from Soros, although it has received funding from the Democracy Alliance, of which Soros is a member.) From the Red Eye Robot Theater video:
DAVID: I love George Soros.
PUBLICIST: I want to have George Soros's baby.
DAVID: I want to be his baby. Then he could breastfeed me.
PUBLICIST: I want George Soros to be my da-da and my mom so he could spank me and breastfeed me.
DAVID: My goodness, if he's coming soon, I have to shave my back.
PUBLICIST: I will bring you the lotion.
Wow. Spanking. Male breast-feeding. Back-shaving. And, again, the lotion. (Somehow, I suspect these have more to do with Gutfeld's predelictions than anyone else's.)
The scene then switches to a sauna where the publicist and the Soros figure are seen sitting across from one another.
"Hello, Media Matters lackey," the Soros figure says. "What have you been doing besides sniffing your fingers?"
Man, that is deep. So deep, in fact, that it caught the attention of Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, whose obsession with Media Matters for America is legendary. O'Reilly aired a clip (stopping just short of the breastfeeding comment—after all, "The O'Reilly Factor" is a family show) and invited Gutfeld to vent on the Factor's Back of the Book segment, in which O'Reilly called the Robot Theater cartoon "very, very creative."