Liz Trotta, a veteran journalist who helped pioneer a place for women at the front as war correspondents, was being interviewed on Fox News on Sunday by Eric Shawn, when she commented on Hillary’s Clinton’s reference to RFK’s assassination:
‘ “And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could.” She laughed. ‘
Here’s the video:
And Mr. Shawn did not stop her, did not say “Surely you do not mean that,” and just went on with the interview:
‘ “But do you really think that–she didn’t mean that she thinks that he going to get assassinated, and she apologized–
Trotta: “Well, that’s beside the point, whether she meant it or not.”
Shawn: “And she’s just using it in a historical context?”
Trotta: “She’s tone deaf, because it’s a radioactive word. And the whole question of the first black man becoming a candidate for presidency of the United States has all kinds of overtones and all kinds of caveats that really have to be considered in this thing. And his security has been a real issue. He’s had bodyguards earlier than anybody else. Surely this woman had to know that that was a third rail to say ‘assassination.’ And it’s hard to argue for her on this, because it isn’t the first time she’s made this step.” ‘
And Trotta thinks that Hillary Clinton is tone deaf!
Trotta appeared to have no remorse whatsoever for what she had said.
Is this what Rupert Murdoch’s petty, spiteful, poisonous media have brought us to in this country, jokes about killing our presidential candidates and pairing their names with those of mass murderers? Under the rules of the Federal Communications Commission as they existed before the Supreme Court gutted the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Fox would have been hugely fined or closed as a thinly disguised Republican Party House organ. (As for the argument that there are lots of news points of view to choose from now, I’m still waiting for the Socialist Party to have its cable station available in almost all US markets.)
Some are petitioning for Trotta to be banned from Fox, but it seems to me what is actually appropriate is an apology, from Rupert Murdoch himself, for all the false and vicious things he has purveyed to the American people through his phony bought and paid for “journalism.” And if he won’t apologize and reform, maybe it is time for a consumer boycott of Fox’s major advertisers. In our corrupt corporate media system, Shawn’s interview of Lotta was actually rented out to advertisers; so who paid for that piece of excrement to be on the air? Should we be buying that product?
If we analyze Trotta’s brief, murderous faux pas, the language issues come to the fore.
Americans need to be told that Usamah Bin Laden does not own the name Usamah, and there are lots of wonderful people named Usamah. It is just a classical Arabic word for “lion.” It is given by Christian as well as Muslim families, and some of the physicians who heal us of serious maladies are named Usamah. Moreover, there is no “o” in Arabic. It is not Osama but Usamah. It does not rhyme with Obama and is not related in any way to it. Obama is an African (presumably Dholua or other West Nilotic) word, not a Semitic one.
Then can we ban this euphemism, “take out”? In its tertiary sense, according to Merriam Webster,, it means to “eliminate, kill, destroy.” If that is what it means, then say it, damn it.
Bush used to always talk about “taking out” Saddam. Well, we now know that what he meant was “to have him lynched by the fanatical Shiite Mahdi Army.” A euphemism like “take out” seems less innocuous, perhaps, than just “kill.” But killing should not be made to seem innocuous. People should say what they mean. If you want to kill someone, be brave enough to admit it.
Journalists Shawn and Trotta have just brought the US presidential campaign to a new low of innuendo, viciousness, cavalier disregard for the sanctity of life, and peculiar lack of self-reflection. But in most ways, they are just continuing the Fox and Murdoch house traditions.
Tone deaf, indeed.
Update: Trotta apologized, sort of, on Monday morning. But Fox cleverly put the apology very deep into an interview on the same subject, suggesting that Trotta retained the ability to function as a dispassionate analyst on this subject! In her apology she talked about ‘falling all over herself’ to make it appear as though she wished Obama “or any other candidate” harm. To fall all over yourself to do something is not to behave awkwardly but rather to be eager to do something. Was this a Freudian slip? And, why bring up other candidates. It was only Obama she wanted offed.
This “apology” is completely unacceptable and people should keep the pressure on Fox. Shawn must apologize for not interrupting her and demanding she explain herself right there.
Or maybe it is all right electronically to lynch some people, with impunity.
Here is the site of the petition to Fox to have her sacked.