Wednesday, March 27, 2013

National Public Radio Repeatedly Offers the “Conservative” Viewpoints from a Man Known for Offensive Statements: My Open Letter

Dear National Public Radio and Mara Liasson:

File:Erick Erickson by Gage Skidmore.jpgI’m a fan. Really, I am. I listen to Morning Edition most every day and All Things Considered is my companion for the drive home. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately that I really think you need to address. And stop. In several stories in recent weeks (for example, “Republicans Face Off Over Strategy For Picking Candidates”, “RNC Election Report Calls For Minority Outreach, Primary Changes”, and “GOP Encouraged To Shift Immigration, Gay Marriage Positions”), Ms. Liasson has looked to Erick Erickson to offer the conservative view of the issues being discussed. Now, while I’m not a fan of ad hominem attacks, I do think that National Public Radio and Ms. Liasson owe it to their listeners to provide a bit of background about Mr. Erickson and his views.

For one thing, it’s probably appropriate that Ms. Liasson inform viewers that both she and Mr. Erickson are contributors to Fox News.

But that’s not my real problem with the reliance upon Mr. Erickson or the platform that Ms. Liasson’s reporting gives to him. Nope. My real problem with Mr. Erickson is what he says when he isn’t providing generic conservative sound bites for Ms. Liasson to use on NPR’s programs.

For example, just today, Mr. Erickson said on Twitter (with regard to the Supreme Court’s hearings on the same-sex marriage cases):

You're not really loving your neighbor when you're cool with him staying on the road to hell.

In other words, Mr. Erickson has no problem saying that homosexuals are going to hell. Would National Public Radio tolerate that statement from a contributor on its programs?

Or in the wake of allegations that Pope Frances had turned over certain “leftists” to Argentina’s military government, Mr. Erickson tweeted:

That lefties are accusing the new pope of handing over lefties to the right wing junta for execution makes me adore the new pope.

Right. He “adores” the new Pope because he helped the right wing junta execute people with whom Mr. Erickson disagrees.

Mr. Erickson has also echoed Glenn Back’s claim that President Obama is a racist:

A while back, Glenn Beck called Barack Obama a “racist.” Given all the terrorists, thugs, and racists Barack Obama has chosen as close personal friends (see e.g. Rev. Wright), it’s not a stretch to say it.

Mr. Erickson also once accused President Obama of “perverting God’s Word”. What was Mr. Erickson referring to?

The President this week chose to pervert God’s Word to make the case for a tax increase

(Emphasis added; the quote goes on to discuss abortion and birth control issues.)

During the debate over health care, Mr. Erickson suggested that protesters should “send Obama to a death panel” (he later changed the post…). He also tweeted that White House Health Care Communications Director Linda Douglass was “the Joseph Goebbels of the White House Health Care shop”.

In response to feminist criticisms, Mr. Erickson refers to them not only using Rush Limbaugh’s “feminazi” insult, but also said:

That’s what being too ugly to get a date does to your brain.

I don’t know if Ms. Liasson is a feminist, but I’d wonder how she reacted to Mr. Erickson’s suggestion that feminists were too ugly to get a date.

And following the use of the Democratic National Convention to highlight the Republican War on Women, Mr. Erickson tweeted:

First night of the Vagina Monologues in Charlotte going as expected.

But those are hardly the worst things Mr. Erickson has said. Here’s one of his “greatest hits” (which even he acknowledged wasn’t his “finest hour”):

The nation loses the only goat fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court in David Souter's retirement.

Ah, yes. Let’s refer to a retiring member of the Supreme Court as a “goat fucking child molester” because, you know, that’s how we should refer to those who hold political views different than our own. Would National Public Radio air that sort of comment from one of its contributors?

And perhaps, my favorite, was on Mr. Erickson’s RedState blog back in 2009 when he wrote in opposition to a Washington state law designed to reduce water pollution. Rather than just voice his objection to the law or criticize the legislators who passed it, Mr. Erickson wrote:

At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?

Were I in Washington State, I’d be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation.

So you see, National Public Radio and Ms. Liasson, this is the man to whom you’ve been regularly giving a platform to discuss the conservative viewpoint. Is this the best spokesperson that you can find to articulate these views? And don’t you think that you owe it to your listeners to be sure that they really know just how out of the mainstream Mr. Erickson’s views really are? There are plenty of voices out there to articulate the conservative view. National Public Radio and Ms. Liasson, by giving Mr. Erickson a platform from which to speak (and by identifying his personal blog), are in essence giving at least some degree of support to the hateful rhetoric that Mr. Erickson expresses elsewhere. It’s time to put Mr. Erickson and his views out to the proverbial pasture and allow more reasoned and less vitriolic speakers to express the views of American conservatives.

Unless of course Mr. Erickson and his rhetoric really do speak for American conservatives, in which case we have far, far bigger problems.

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