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This Week's BOW Award

Another Saturday, another BOW Award.  For those of you tuning in for the first time, I give a BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award each Saturday to the politician or pundit who does or says the most outrageously stupid thing.  This is only my third week doing this -- past winners were Representative Steven King (R-Iowa) and former Representative and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Geraldine Ferraro.  For the record, neither Rep. King nor former Rep. Ferraro has contacted me to collect his or her award.  Probably a good thing, since I have no idea what I'd give them.  I suppose you could say that Buffoon Of the Week is more or less an honorary title....

Once again, we had no shortage of worthy nominees this week, including no less a luminary than Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain, who erroneously claimed not once, not twice, but three times that al Qaeda in Iraq was receiving direct assistance from Iran.  The problem with this?  Iran's ruling party is Shiite; al Qaeda is Sunni.  Of course McCain should know this, since he constantly tries to pass himself off as an expert on U.S. Foreign Policy, the Middle East, and everything else having to do with the Iraq War.  But apparently that little piece of information slipped his mind.

I also considered giving this week's award to the mainstream media in general, for failing to cover McCain's gaffe.  Just imagine if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had said the thing.  It would have been the lead story on every news broadcast for days.  Every pundit on CNN, MSNBC, and Faux ...er Fox News would have been questioning his or her fitness to be Commander In Chief.  But because it was McCain, they basically let it slide.

And in the wake of Barack Obama's brilliant speech on race, delivered this past Tuesday, there was no shortage of BOW Award-worthy statements coming from Fox Television and other conservative media outlets.  Yes, once again this has been a difficult choice to make.  But at last we do have a winner.

This week's BOW Award goes to (drum roll) Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan, for his ridiculous and unbelievably offensive assertion on March 20 that if Obama lost his nomination fight, or won the Democratic nomination but lost the general election, African-Americans would riot in the streets.  Here's the full quote:

Let me put it to you a different way. What if Barack Obama is not -- does not win the Democratic nomination, or he does win it, and loses in the presidential race against John McCain? Is black America going to throw their hands up and say, 'Man, you know, I thought we were getting somewhere in this country, but this is just a bunch of racial bigots in this country and they still hate blacks and, I mean, if Barack Obama can't get elected, then we're never gonna have anybody that's a black that's gonna be elected president.' And will there be riots in the streets? I think the answer to that is yes and yes. 

Sullivan, who last month compared Obama to Adolph Hitler because they have similar speaking styles, seems a natural for the BOW Award.  I won't be surprised if he becomes my first multiple award winner.

I should note here that all three of the awards I've now given have been to people who have said offensive things about Obama.  I didn't conceive of the award as an excuse to defend Obama, nor have I been searching for statements that are connected in some way to his campaign.  But he's the Democratic frontrunner, which means he's drawing fire from all sides, and when it comes to race, people often manage to say some pretty stupid things.  Obama himself got in trouble earlier this week for referring to his grandmother as "a typical white person."  It's a political and rhetorical minefield.  And this week Tom Sullivan really stepped in it.

So, Tom Sullivan of Fox News Radio, take a BOW!  You've earned it.

Today's music:  Bela Fleck


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
The ability of talk radio hosts of all stripes to say incredibly inane things is hard to fathom. Do they do this on purpose, believing no one is really listening? Do they do this accidentally and hope no one is listening? I would like to believe they have some idea about what they will say beforehand, but utterances like the above seem to belie that. And even if they get canned, there is another one in the wings who will do the same thing before long.
Mar. 23rd, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
I have to admit to being pretty cynical about this. I don't think Sullivan (or others like him) says stuff of this sort accidentally, and I think he's fully aware of exactly who is listening. I think he (and they) say these things to rile up their base, to play on fears of people who think along those lines. And I think he knows full well that Fox isn't about to fire him because this is precisely the stuff they pay him to say.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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