Know Your Right Wingers
SOURCE: August Pollak
Now, it’s time for John Gibson’s word.
John Gibson is concerned about your children, and your children’s children. That is of course, unless your children, like half of all children under five years old, are minorities. In the midst of a heated national debate around immigration, the Fox News anchor was quick to point out the fact that America ’s Hispanic population has a higher birthrate than the white population and issue an urgent call to arms. To secure the future of the white majority, Gibson sees only one viable solution: “Make more babies.” And not in the sex, drugs and rock and roll way, but because, as Gibson explained on, “half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call ‘gabachos’ — white people — are having fewer.” God forbid we lose that white majority.
Gibson is the host of “The Big Story with John Gibson,” purportedly an hour of “in-depth coverage and analysis of the day’s top stories, ” but generally an opportunity to air right-wing talking points, especially everyone-who- disagrees- with-me- hates-America pabulum. Gibson, it turns out, is Bill O’Reilly writ small. He shares with O’Reilly the same common-sense- guy-sticking-it- to-those- Washington-fat-cats shtick, and is often tapped as a substitute host on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Born in 1946, Gibson began his career as a journalist in 1969 with TheHollywood Reporter, where he worked before moving into local television, eventually joining NBC news and becoming their West Coast correspondent in 1994. Soon he was shuttled to MSNBC, where he was the anchor of “News Chat” and later a show called “Internight.” But Gibson hit his stride when he moved to Fox in 2000 and began “The Big Story,” a slapdash mix of interviews and feature segments crowned with his usually incoherent editorial moment, “My Word.”
This winter he came to the fore of the media scrum as a leading adversary of "The War on Christmas"— coincidentally, the title of a book he wrote on the subject. The book is an exploration of how secular liberals are trying to remove the Christ from Christmas. In the book, he writes of a "revolution against Christianity"and how it can be stopped. Like most of the Christmas Warriors, he takes a few isolated cases and blows them up into a trend sweeping the nation. It’s probably not a coincidence that his book came out in October 2005 and he spent the next few months on his show promoting this fictional war — and his book — on Fox. Of course, this is the guy who told the New York Times that "lying, spin and salesmanship are the hallmarks of the people who want to be on television."
But John fears the “war on Christmas” more than you might think — mainly because he thinks non-Christian religions are wrong: “I would think if somebody is going to be — have to answer for following the wrong religion, they’re not going to have to answer to me. We know who they’re going to have to answer to.” Bill O’Reilly, right?
Unfortunately for Gibson, the main argument against his book is his book: As he demonstrates, in almost every case, there is public backlash when the Christmas tree becomes the friendship tree. Christmas usually ends up being celebrated, quite publicly. The real point of this book, as our own Ben Adler points out, is to encourage a divisive wedge issue that keeps the devastating failure of the conservative agenda under wraps — and besides that, sell more books.
But that’s not the end of Gibson’s literary output. Hating America: The New World Sport is a tome of cheerful self-victimization and disingenuous rhetoric. After 9/11, Gibson believed no other country in the world understood the importance of the terror attacks on Americans (perhaps he missed Le Monde’s famous editorial). Thus, he wrote a book ( called a "rancorous manifesto"by Publishers Weekly) attacking a variety of foreigners (often using individual citizens to represent entire countries) for the crime of hating America, and more specifically, not supporting the war in Iraq.
Though chock full of zingers, the book concludes that, "We should not be required to prove our case [in Iraq ] beyond a reasonable doubt, as if the defense of a nation were akin to the tawdry O.J. Simpson trial. When thousands, perhaps millions, of American lives are at stake, we must require not a higher standard of proof, but a much lowerthreshold — a subjective judgment."What were you saying about reality-based community? Gibson expected this reaction, anyway, telling the National Review, "Some people would argue that I’m being unreasonable, and I’d say, ‘Yeah, probably.’"
But besides books, Gibson’s day-to-day media output is just as full of amazing rhetoric. Like President Bush, his specialty is the straw man. In John Gibson’s world, foes don’t have names — they’re just "far lefties,"or "political leftists,"or "some people…the left-wing blogs that hate FOX, and hate me for speaking my mind,"or (our personal favorite) "you guys out there."These nefarious forces are united to oppose Gibson, whoever they are. They support terrorists, illegal immigrants, Hispanic people and steroids in baseball, respectively. The previously cited preserving America’s white majority quote drew quite a lot of ire from these forces, and Gibson had to defend himself in a series of "My Word"segments — "Clarification of Recent My Word"and (best headline ever?) "Some People Purposely Misinterpret What I Say to Mount Vicious Attacks."
Of course, his defense is that he just likes babies. Oh, and that, in Europe, they let the Muslim population get out of hand. "50 years from now Europe will be brown and Muslim, and America will be brown and Christian. … I’d rather live with the Christians here than live…under Sharia law in Europe."We have our doubts about that, seeing as Gibson’s social politics have quite a bit in common with those of theocratic Muslim clerics, but whatever.
Besides his questionable ethnic views, Gibson has a habit of just getting the facts plain wrong — you might even say purposely misinterpreting what others say to mount vicious attacks. For instance, he paraphrased the Democratic Party’s National Security Plan, "Real Security,"(PDF) as follows: "[W]hen you boil it down, it makes three points. …It says: I’m a Democrat, elect me because I’ll capture Usama bin Laden. I’ll bring the troops home. And I’ll impeach Bush."The only problem? It doesn’t mention impeachment. In an attack on Neil Young’s recent anti-war album, he said "When I think of the war, I think of Flight 93. I wonder if Neil Young…[is] going to go see that."But in fact Young wrote a song in 2001 all about Flight 93, including the lyrics, "We got to get inside there/ Before they kill some more/ Time is runnin’ out… let’s roll."Apparently, it’s possible to want to stop terrorism and also be against the war in Iraq, although years of watching Gibson had convinced us it wasn’t.
And fighting terrorism happens to be a real specialty of Gibson’s. During the invasion of Iraq, he made his contribution to the struggle when interviewing embedded journalist Geraldo Rivera, who drew a map of U.S. troop positions and revealed the location of a planned U.S. attack. Gibson later took credit for U.S. bombings of Iraqi television stations, noting that his "criticism about allowing Saddam Hussein to talk to his citizens and lie to them has had an effect."Of course, the facts are still troubling. Responding to yet another unnamed critic claiming that the U.S. hadn’t killed Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi because the U.S. needs a terror connection to justify the war, Gibson claimed that, "I suggest to any Iraqi who knows where Zarqawi is, please, test the Americans on this point. … Tell the Americans where he is and see if they ignore the information and let him go on with his bombing and beheading, or whether the Americans take the information, go to the location and leave a smoking crater where Zarqawi was last seen standing."Gibson must not have read the Wall Street Journal report indicating that the Bush administration passed up several opportunities to kill Zarqawi before the Iraq war began. Maybe he thinks the Journal is too liberal.
Since reality will prevent Gibson from his mission of spreading conservative talking points ("Washington Post, New York Times on Zarqawi, Bin Laden’s Side?"), we’ll have to put up with a man the National Review calls a "courageous, spunky, resilient journalist who spends his time loving America."Wait, those words aren’t right!
Nuts: That’s John Gibson’s Word.
A few Gibson favorites:
On Gay Marriage: "Gays can’t have kids — other than going to the abandoned kids’ store and getting one or two, or borrowing sperm from someone with more sperm than brains — so by definition they’re out of the marriage game."
On Illegally Revealing the Identify of a Covert CIA Operative: “I say give Karl Rove a medal, even if Bush has to fire him. Why? Because Valerie Plame should have been outed by somebody. And if nobody else had the cojones to do it, I’m glad Rove did — if he did do it, and he still says he didn’t.”
On Terri Schiavo: "The temple of the law is so sacrosanct that an occasional chief executive cannot flaunt it once in a while, sort of drop his drawers on the courthouse steps and moon the judges, as a way to protest the complete disregard courts and judges have shown here, in this case, for facts outside the law…. Oh John, you’re not saying judges aren’t real people, are you? Well, judging by what happened here, I’d say yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying."
On Iranian President Ahmadinejad: "Christians not acting like Christians, says the Iranian president. Democrat talking point. WMD lies, says the Iranian president. Democrat talking point. Human-rights abuses in Gitmo. Another Democrat talking point. The gap between haves and have-nots. The Iranian president and the Dems in lockstep on that one, too. …The biggest difference? Ahmadinejad was actually nice about Jesus and Christians."
On Leisure Time: “With a partner I once wrote a novel — unpublished for good reason — about a mutant game of baseball where all cheating was allowed because the rules against cheating were just fiction anyway.”
Illustration: August J. Pollak