The Pleasures and Perils of Chasing the Fox (News)
This past Monday was an interesting day. Not just because, if you don’t mind me tooting my horn a little bit, Crain’s New York Business came out with a profile of me and The Clyde Fitch Report, but because my colleague over at Fox News who oversees its version of the Huffington Post, called The Fox Forum, brought the charming words uttered by Miss California regarding same-sex marriage to my attention. Well, not just to my attention but to a rather wide swath of contributors to the Fox Forum, of whom I am one. And I was stunned and not stunned and stunned all over again by what Miss California said. Well, not stunned so much as saddened and then sort of over it — there’s nothing that I or anyone else can do to change her mind. I was stunned once more when I caught wind of Perez Hilton’s response to her response, courtesy of video on his site. And I was stunned a third time (or was it a fourth?) when Miss California, who really should be avoiding a bitch-fight with Hilton if she knows what’s good for her, went on the Today show try to cement herself as the darling, the icon, the she-bitch of the extreme far right:
Now, readers of this website know that I appear once or twice a week on FoxNews.com’s live-streaming news show The Strategy Room. Being as it’s a Fox program and being that I represent the left-of-center point of view, I typically am in the minority among the guests. That’s ok — I just appreciate the opportunity to be in the studio and to spar with people. And to learn, too. Very often, I might add — certainly more often than I’d have ever predicted — I even agree with the right-of-center commentators, pundits and strategists that appear. It isn’t just about the exposure for me or for The Clyde Fitch Report. On a personal, more fundamental level, my 25 or 30 appearances on the show have been a learning process for me. I’ve learned, for example, that the right isn’t always wrong — indeed, it’s very often right. I have also learned that I don’t have to agree with the Democratic viewpoint all the time. (However, if the Democratic National Committee would like to pay attention and hire me, I could always be persuaded to be more hard-headed.)
So I was kind of prepared when my essay on Miss California, called Dear Miss California: You’re Not a Bigot — You’re You, went up on my site. At that point, I alerted my Fox colleague at the Fox Forum, and soon the essay was one of the Forum’s top stories. And while I was glad that so many people clicked over to the CF Report as a result of being a pick for the Forum, and as much as I felt I was prepared for the avalanche of hateful comments that I knew would be coming my way, well, I guess I wasn’t prepared. In a way, it was kind of awful. I had people leaving comments with lectures on the Bible. I had people taunting me, teasing me, leaving every manner of epithet. And some of the worst — truly, the worst — spelling mistakes I have ever seen in my life. One person, whose email address contains the word “mudslinger,” posted the same comment seven times. Now, I maintain the ability on The Clyde Fitch Report to reject a comment if I feel it is hate speech or if it does not pertain to the post, or if it simply so out of bounds that I do not wish for it to appear. I know people may disagree with this, but frankly, it’s my site and I get to control the tenor. That does not mean I only publish those comments that agree with my position. Indeed, the top comment right now with regard to the Miss California post is this one:
i HAVE but one thing to say to you and that is i am going to pray for you. Iam going to pray that you find JESUS CHRIST so that you se just how wrong you are and how wrong it is for a man to marry aman or a woman marrying a woman is.Just look in a KING JAMES VERSION bible in LEVITICOUS ch.18 verse 22. GOD BLESS YOU miss california BECAUSE IT ALSO SAYS IN the bible those who are persecuted for my sake will be rewarded
So as glorious as these opportunities at Fox are, there are real downsides. I used to be a real hater of the right from the left and I don’t think I do that quite the way I used to. I just didn’t know very many Republicans, and now I do. I consider some my friends. I don’t think they’re all nuts. I think we have more in common than not in common. On a few issues, like same-sex marriage, we’re going to have agree to disagree — and yes, I really do believe that this is, in the end, going to be a matter of numbers. If there are more people who agree with Miss California, same-sex marriage will not be legal from coast to coast. If there are more people who agree with me, it will be. It may take five years, 15 years, 30 years, but eventually the matter, as noted in my post, will be one of stare decisis — a doctrine of precedent; decided law.
Until then, I plan to endure the hatred when it flows my way. I mean, I wrote a different post explaining why I, as a Democrat, planned to attend the tea parties on April 15, and one commenter (on the Fox Forum, which also picked up that post) wrote the equivalent of “We don’t want you.” That’s the kind of America that we must fight against. That’s not the America I grew up in. That’s not the America I know.