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BOW Award Time!

According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition:  "Buffoon -- n  1:  A ludicrous figure; clown."

I offer the definition because for some weeks the BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award goes to someone (or someones) who is not so much a clown as a insensitive lout or a partisan hack.  And there are examples of this among this week's nominees. (I should note here that the list of nominees is thinner than usual this week.  Not sure why.)  Certainly I was tempted to give retroactive BOW Awards to George W. Bush and John McCain to commemorate the five year anniversary of Bush's speech given aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln beneath the now imfamous "MIssion Accomplished" banner, during which he announced that major combat activities in Iraq had ended and that the U.S. and its allies had prevailed.  Of course, the mission has yet to be accomplished and the U.S. has not prevailed, and our world is a more dangerous place because of this Administration's illegal, immoral, and ill-conceived war.  So why nominate McCain for this?  Because just a month after Bush's speech on the aircraft carrier, as it began to become clear to people that the mission had not been accomplished after all, McCain said that it had.  Here's the exchange, in which McCain is challenged on the point by Fox News host Neil Cavuto (I know, I couldn't believe it either):

NEIL CAVUTO: "Senator — after a conflict means after the conflict, and many argue the conflict isn’t over.

McCAIN: "Well, then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier? Look, the — I have said a long time that reconstruction of Iraq would be a long, long, difficult process, but the conflict — the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished, and it’s very appropriate."

Now, of course, McCain claims that he always thought that the banner had been inappropriate, yet another McCain flipflop which is almost cause enough to give him this week's award.  But there will be no award for Flippy McSame this week.

Back to that definition of "buffoon."  You want clowns?  I present to you the crew at "Fox and Friends", Fox's morning "news" program.  Remember earlier in the week when Hillary Clinton was challenging Barack Obama to a "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate?  This phrase -- "Lincoln-Douglas style" refers to a series of seven unmoderated, unscripted debates held between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during the 1858 Illinois Senate race, in which Lincoln, the Republican, lost to Douglas, the Democrat.  The debates are still viewed by historians as a high-point in American political discourse, an example of what might happen when two public servants possessing keen intellects and uncommon speaking talent presented their divergent views on crucial issues of the day, unfiltered.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Anyway, the idiots at Fox and Friends thought it would be funny to tell one of their interns to dig up video of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.  Of course there is no video, and the Fox and Friends anchors yukked it up on TV the other day, at the expense of the hapless intern who didn't know that the video he was searching for didn't exist.  (We can save for another day the discussion of what this story says about the way our schools teach history.)  But what happened next is truly remarkable.  The Fox and Friends folks put up a graphic with pictures of Lincoln and Douglas.  Except they didn't put up a picture of white politician Stephen Douglas.  They put up a picture of former-slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  Here they were making fun of their intern for not knowing that there wouldn't be video of a debate held in 1858, but they didn't know which Douglas(s) Lincoln debated.  Apparently it never occurred to them that there weren't any African-Americans, former slaves at that, running for the U.S. Senate two years before the Civil War.   Apparently it never occurred to them that even if a former slave had been running for the U.S. Senate in 1858, he wouldn't have been running as a Democrat, since at the time the Democratic Party was the pro-slavery party.  The Republicans, of which Lincoln was one, were the abolitionist party.

For managing to screw up so royally, I present this week's BOW Award to the people at Fox and Friends.  Take a BOW guys; you've earned it.  And then I'd suggest you take a quick look at your kids' sixth grade history textbooks....


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
A Caucasian Douglas, an African-American Douglass... why, anyone could make that mistake! :-) (Actually, I like to think that the intern who was being mocked deliberately put the wrong picture on the slide just to show them that they're just as clueless as he was. That would be nice payback.)
May. 4th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
I've actually wondered if Fox did it intentionally -- another subliminal way of playing the race card, or at least injecting race into the discussion.
May. 5th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Racism under the radar
I am not the least bit surprised Fox would do this. This sort of low-grade racism is their stock in trade. And, of course, there is no doubt who Frederick Douglas was supposed to represent: Another dangerous black man -- who just might be a Muslim, doesn't salute the flag and won't wear a lapel pin.

This isn't a mistake on their part, any more than showing a picture of some Republican arrested for sexual perversion and putting a "D" after his name or calling the Democratic Party the Democrat Party. It's all very deliberate, and the slack-jaws who watch this crap lap it up like mother's milk. Which also tells you something about them.
May. 5th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Racism under the radar
You may well be right, Mark. Fox's "mistakes" often appear to be quite deliberate, and this might well have been another example of this. Still deserving of recognition, though. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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David B. Coe

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