Just when you think that Fox & Friends has reached the outer limits of insanity, think again. This morning, while MSNBC's "Morning Joe" had a reasonable discussion about the most recent 'Rolling Stone' cover, that featured a glam selfie of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Peter Johnson Jr. was going ballistic about it. The MJ panel differed in their opinion, with some supporting it and some not; but their presentation was rational - unlike Johnson who sputtered in rage. It's funny, Maltese Knight Johnson, as a paid litigator for Cardinal Dolan, was all "freedom of religion" when it came to the Church's objection to the HHS birth control mandate. But he doesn't seem to have the same respect for freedom of the press - or at least for Rolling Stone's freedom to determine what goes on their cover and in their articles. Why the anger? Oh, right, Johnson is also Roger Ailes consigliore and Rolling Stone did a lengthy piece on Ailes which wasn't too flattering. Hmmmm.....
While conservative Republican Joe Scarborough understood the anger over the cover, he also discussed how it serves as a visual reminder that there are terrorists among us who, in this case, look and act like typical American youth. He described how the article analyzed the various factors which influenced the radicalization of this young man. Regarding retail decisions to not sell the magazine, one of the panel, again, understood the anger but didn't feel that it's up to stores to censor what their customers read. But rather than approach this like rational, intelligent adults, Peter Johnson and his sidekick, Brian Kilmeade, went straight for the reptilian brain.
After the visual of an American flag with a "Prescription for America" superimposed on it, accompanied by triumphant music, Kilmeade informed the audience that Rolling Stone has "glamorized" an accused terrorist. He added that this has "created a national firestorm" which has "you aggravated and it's got me aggravated." (Actually, some aren't aggravated but they're probably not watching Fox & Friends, the aggravating show that promotes aggravation) The chyron had "Prescription for Justice" next to the "Rolling Stoned" chyron. He asked if this is just the "latest example of terror worship in popular culture and what we can do about it."
To a visual backdrop of a photo of the cover beside "terrorist chic," Johnson said that this "is the sickest example we've seen in American culture in a long, long time." (ROFLMAO, he's saying this on Fox News which is so not real journalism, "fair & balanced") Spouting requisite right wing talking points, he spoke of how we "lionize, make heroes out of terrorists" like Angela Davis, Kathy Boudin, Che Guevara and - wait for it - Bill Ayers. In case you can't read, he described this as the "new terrorist chic." More agitprop with Johnson's comment about "the typical liberal meme in the media that says he really was an A student who went wrong because his family failed him." The chyron worked in more anti-Rolling Stone messaging: "Propping a Terrorist, Same Mag That Disgraced Gen. McChrystal." (Who disgraced himself and didn't deny it).
Pete bloviated about the "bad message" that this sends to young Americans that a violent action is "acceptable as part of some post adolescent confusion" which, of course, is nothing of the sort. He shouted "this is sick" and accused the magazine of poor journalism and remonstrated "if this is advocacy journalism, what are they advocating."
Kilmeade cited the names of some media outlets that defend Rolling Stone. (He didn't mention the Boston Globe). Johnson accused them of "not understanding journalistic principles." While reality based pundits, some of whom had a problem with the photo, praised the article, Johnson totally trashed it by claiming that it made excuses for Tsarnaev's actions. He shouted about how "there are some things we need to stand up for in this country, this is not journalism, this is terror chic."
As noted by various reality based pundits, the story is another iteration of "the banality of evil" (great Hannah Arendt book, BTW). So I guess it's not surprising that Fox News would totally miss the point. These are the same jokers who claim terrorists hate us for our freedoms. Yet, they want to deny Rolling Stone its freedom to publish what it deems relevant. If we start censoring books and magazines, based on what Fox News deems proper journalistic standards, methinks the terrorists have won!!!
And re sending a "bad message" - On a daily basis, Fox & Friends sends the message that you can be a total idiot and still be quite successful. Ain't it America, for you and me....
Looks to me like he forgot some terrorists that we (or a good number of Americans) lionize: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, George Custer, J Edgar Hoover, Oliver North. Well, I could go on and on. But why do these men get “acceptable” lionizing and praise?
(As for including Guevara, he might want to remember that Guevara NEVER fought against the US nor did he ever “terrorize” Americans. OTOH, Americans WERE directly responsible for Guevara’s death—or should that be assassination/murder?)
As that Black-Eyed Peas song “Where Is the Love” points out, “Overseas yeah, we try to stop terrorism but we still got terrorists in the USA, the big CIA, the Bloods and the Crips and the KKK.” Maybe Mr Johnson would do well to remember that.