On Monday, country singer Hank Williams Jr. was a guest on Fox News’ morning show “Fox and Friends.” This is newsworthy is because Williams got in some trouble when he became the latest contestant in the let’s-compare-Obama-to-Hitler game. Monday was a bad day for Williams Jr. First he made the inflammatory comment on Fox News, and then ESPN immediately removed him from his position as the singer of the Monday Night Football theme song for the Colts/ Buccaneers game, only the last remaining thing that made Williams culturally relevant.
There are several things one could take away from this series of events. For instance, nobody has to hear that annoying “Are You Ready for Some Football?” song (which was based off of Williams’ own “All My Rowdy Friends”) for a while. But more importantly, it once again brings up the issue of comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler, which shouldn’t even be an issue in a civilized society in 2011. Anyone who tries to make the argument that Obama is somehow comparable to the genocidal dictator of Nazi Germany immediately loses any and all political credibility. It is not any different from when idiots tried comparing George Bush to Hitler. Unless Obama starts planning a conquest of Europe or massacres 12 million people in order to create a master race, there is really no reason for it.
In America, people are always told to respect the beliefs of others, but a line needs to be drawn. People have the right to believe that Obama is a Nazi tyrant hell bent on destroying the Constitution, but people delusional enough to hold these beliefs do not have a shred of credibility. Just because that kind of speech is protected by the First Amendment does not mean anyone has to like or acknowledge it. People like Williams Jr. just reinforce the stereotype the parts of the world have of this country; that we are just a bunch of ignorant hillbillies who are obsessed with how awesome we think America is. The people who make these statements are just trying to get attention, and political discourse in this country would be in a much better place if all of it was brushed aside.
The other party deserving of blame in this specific incident with Williams Jr. is Fox News itself. “Fox and Friends,” a show during which you can actually feel your brain cells die, knew exactly what they were doing when they invited Williams Jr. onto the show. Williams Jr. has had a history of making ignorant and inflammatory comments about Obama, and they knew there was a good chance he would do it again if given the opportunity. For a network that is an embarrassment to American society, Fox News is pretty shrewd when it comes to stuff like this. They know that people on the radical fringes of conservative politics watch the network, so they pander to them at every opportunity. Plus, everyone in the media the next day will be talking about it if a guest does say something stupid. It’s a win-win situation for them. Am I adding to the reactionary state of the media by writing this piece? Possibly. But at least I’m honest about it.
The focus of the media should have an emphasis on people who have intelligent, thought-out things to say about political issues. Irrational name-calling and deliberately creating controversy just for publicity doesn’t add anything except dead air.