Dennis Miller picked up the Fox News ball of using the news that Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had received public assistance as a means to smear social welfare programs. Just as Sean Hannity later used the information to suggest that welfare recipients are, or should be known as, enemies of good Americans, Dennis Miller got more specific and suggested that the Lifeline telephone program, misnamed as “Obamaphones” by Fox Newsies, is likely to become a tool for terrorists.
Before he reached his crescendo of hate mongering, Miller started in on the Lifeline program:
One of these days someone’s going to trigger one of these homemade bombs with an ObamaPhone. Can we at least cut the welfare off now?
As we’ve previously pointed out, the so-called ObamaPhone was created before President Obama took office and is not funded by taxpayer money. It is designed to allow the poor to connect to jobs, family, and 911 services. But I’m willing to bet that the “ObamaPhone will be used to bomb us” meme will be repeated on Fox News many times in the days ahead.
Instead of correcting Miller, O’Reilly and he went on to what was undoubtedly the main goal of the segment, suggesting that President Obama was somehow responsible for the bombings because he doesn’t use the phrase “Islamic terror” or “Islamic jihad.”
Listen, Billy, I’ll be candid with you, it’s one of three things. He’s either stupid, or he’s creepy or he’s a genius like HAL 9000 (one of Miller’s usual references to pop culture from 40+ years ago) who’s thrown a wire and doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.
After Miller talked up various ways of murdering and torturing the still-living Tsarnaev suspect and suggesting that President Obama is going to bring on more attacks with his choice of semantics, O’Reilly said he was going to demand Fox’s White House GOP mouthpiece correspondent, Ed Henry “ask that question.”
O’Reilly actually started yelling: Very simple! Why won’t you say Islamic jihad is responsible for the Boston terror attacks. Why?
It’s hard to decide which discussion was more despicable, this one with aging hipster Miller, a supposed comedian, or the one in the next hour which suggested that Obama’s middle name (Hussein) is a “clue” to his refusal to use the phrase (and make us more vulnerable to terrorism). Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that neither segment actually discussed the substance of President Obama’s prosecutions of the so-called war on terror. Afraid of something, fellas?
I wuz thinkin’ just after 9/11 “This all happened under Dubya’s watch! Thousands killed, WTC knocked down, Pentagon hit and more killed on flight 93! This Man is a Total Career Failure!! He’s so me! I luv it!!!”
Kevin, appreciate the backstory on Miller. And I’m all for pop culture references. But maybe he could include some from this decade. Or century. His are always so 1960’s. Which speaks volumes about the kind of audience he must be talking to.
I too was proud of Pres. Bush when he stood at ground zero with his arm around a firefighter and said “…and those who knocked down these buildings will soon be hearing from all of us.”
But, I don’t remember Miller or O’Reilly criticizing Pres. Bush for not saying “those Islamic terrorists or Islamic Jihadists will soon be hearing from all of us.”
I was actually surprised by Miller’s tirade. I was expecting him to come on and tell Billdo that we all need to come together and support the President and our Country just as he did after 9/11 and he went just the opposite and completely vilified the President as if he was the bomb maker for the Tsarnaev’s.
I guess the Presidents middle name is more than Miller can take. IMHO
Somewhere around the 1992 campaign, a switch got thrown in his head. I still remember one of his stand-up appearances as shown on HBO in early 1993, during which he stood up for Admiral Stockdale (Ross Perot’s chosen running mate) and became openly furious about Stockdale’s injuries. Over the next few years, his HBO show continued to show signs of him drifting farther and farther to the right. He probably simply went the libertarian route at first – the familiar “Why am I paying so much taxes?” idea. After 9/11, he really went the rest of the way over the side and became pretty openly right wing.
Throughout his career, he’s been known for making pop culture references. Back in the late 80s, this was pretty funny stuff. It didn’t go so well on Monday Night Football. And it sounds especially strange coming out of him now.
Looking at him today, it can be hard to reconcile the angry, bitter man featured on O’Reilly with the angry young comic of the 1980s. You can see the line connecting the two people, but it’s just sad to see this as the result. (It’s a lot easier to understand how Victoria Jackson fell down the rabbit hole.) And it’s strange that O’Reilly seems to be relying on Miller to provide instant humor for his show (usually accompanied by the sounds of guys in his crew laughing at how funny they think Miller is each week).