Fallout from Fox News?


FoxNews LogoThe 11 months I have spent going on FoxNews.com’s The Strategy Room have been so enjoyable, not to mention so rewarding and so educational, that I seriously debated whether to write this post for several days.

As you may know, last Thursday I wound up debating a trumped-up, ginned-up, intellectually fraudulent flag-and-healthcare fracas with a conservative, Armstrong Williams, on Fox News on TV.

Story continues below.

Here — forgive me, but it was pretty exciting for me — is the clip:

Why am I writing about this yet again? Because once I was done with the segment, I high-tailed back to the studio where The Strategy Room airs/streams, and while on the elevator I checked my Blackberry. Already the hate mail was pouring in. I mean, pouring. And so it has been sitting in my in-box and the question has been what to do with it — do I delete it? frame it? recite it in public? create a one-person play from it and submit it to the New York International Fringe Festival? — and whether any of it should be discussed at the Clyde Fitch Report.

I have concluded that without attaching the names of the people who emailed me their bile, their bile is as good an indicator as any of how the nation may be lurching, perhaps even inexorably, toward a kind of cold civil war.

And so, without further ado, here are a few selections — you’ll notice the hostility level increase with each one:

Email 1:

I’m not sure what immoral moron you had on Fox News this morning (October 29, 2009), but if this is who your hero is, I won’t bother with your webpage again. It’s people like you as to why this country is in the trouble it is.

Analysis: This is pretty tame, actually. It was the first one I received. You’ll notice the tonal change as I move through the rest of them.

Email 2:

Saw you attempt to argue your points just now on Fox news. Thanks for proving to the Nation that you are an idiot. Must have been breast feed by a Donkey!

Analysis: The writer obviously cannot discern between past tense (which would be “breast fed”) and present tense (“breast feed”), and my landlord, I must confess, wouldn’t cotton to an ass living on the property. Funny how the word “nation” is initial capped and the word “news” is lowercase.

Email 3:

I saw you this morning on Fox. You are a condescending, arrogant ass. Aside from that you are also not very attractive.

Analysis: Now, I have sent the YouTube link of the segment to about 20 people, and I accept a few criticisms about my performance, including the fact that I blinked too much (initially) and arguably — what a shocker — came off too smug. Some have agreed with that assessment. Some have argued that I wasn’t nearly as smug as Armstrong Williams. Um, all right, I may not be competing on America’s Next Top Model, but how would the emailer know what I look like from the head down?

Email 4:

Leonard….youre appearance on FOX News this morning was both disgusting and despicable. How dare you give any creedence to the DNC for allowing a video mocking the American Flag let alone think its free speech? It is NOT acceptable and although at this point and time, we do still have FREE speech, until Obama squelches that of course, that does NOT give anyone the right to degrade our country’s flag and symbol for freedom. Our men and women fight for freedom under and because of that flag – which allows you and your liberal wacko friends the right to bash this country at every opportunity – so just SHUT UP YOU IGNORAMOUS! We the people, that make up this great country do NOT agree with you…..and if you or anyone else wants to shit on our flag…..youre more than welcome to move to another country, live under their laws and SEE WHAT YOU GET IF YOU SMEAR AND DISRESPECT THEIR FLAG.


Analysis: First, I will give each of you a mythical $20 if you can successfully parse this and then defend it according to the rules of English grammar.

  • Jen

    To quote Larry the Cable Guy, there ain’t no cure for stupid.

  • Elizabeth Burke

    These are so funny!!! I think that a Fringe show is in order as these are clearly Fringy people. I was a bit sad to come to the end as I needed more funny things to read today. You should start posting your hate mail weekly after each airing! And I think you are plenty attractive.

  • Wasn’t it Forest Gump who said, “Stupid is as stupid does”?

  • Cat Parker

    I read somewhere that Google had a “test” that you had to fill out when sending emails in the “wee” hours, to help prevent PUIs (posting under influence). Perhaps they need to implement one to prevent PWS (posting while stupid.) If you can’t past the test, the email doesn’t get sent.

  • Yikes. The interview actually made me think of Groucho: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.” And I’ll bet you could do a nifty Groucho, Leonard.

    I agree with Elizabeth – a weekly hate mail column!

  • Jen

    “Teabaggin: The Musical”, anyone? We could write it in a day.

  • Tommy

    Leonard, it is a shame that you get these emails. While I do not agree with your points all the time, I enjoy when you are on the Strategy Room. Life would be boring if we all agreed, what fun would that be. Unfortunately it does seem though on many blogs and news stories I read online, that if your opinion isn’t accepted, then its time to start making fun of one’s mother in the comments section.

  • I am quite impressed by all that you do and am honored to know you…how’s that for a comeback to the donkey breastfeeding guy?

    And kudos to Tommy who may not agree, but is mature enough to recognize that a difference of opinion does not mean one should revert back to a 3rd grade mentality.

  • F.

    I wish that one of the hate mail responses had actually been about the issue as opposed to calling U dumb (really, YOU?), unattractive – and we know how looks figures into our political process (…ahem Mr. Obama…) and that U have NO right to say YOUR piece if it goes against OUR thoughts! said the conservatives. Just another example of how people get caught up in the symbols and not the intent of what America truly is about.

  • Leonard,
    I’m a second year student of art at Columbia College Chicago. I would like to thank you for your words on the artist Saber’s video for the DNC contest. I feel this video was successful and very provocative. As an Artist I believe Fox News is blowing this “Desecration of the Flag” out of proportion. And both the Fox News and Armstrong need to take a chill pill. This video’s overall message is a good one implying that a health care reform is needed in America.

  • Alaina

    Oh Leonard, I love you…even though you obviously hate America.

    Seriously though, this is ENRAGING, but all too typical. Illiterate dented cans get upset by metaphors they don’t understand. It happens. We just have to keep on keeping on.

    • Yeah, I loathe America. Loathe it so much that I keep on defending it!

  • Alaina

    I love America. I loathe amerikah.

  • Alaina

    Man, this really busts my buttons. I can’t stop thinking about this. You know, I just can’t believe how thick the wool is over some eyes. When Bush and his administration was destroying everything left and right, they would say, “Shut up and agree or you hate America” whenever confronted with reproach. Like you, I LOVE America. I think I’ve just heard that one too many times and something has snapped.

    People, focus your moral outrage on the Republican’s “Don’t get sick, but if you do, die quickly” healthcare policy, for that is what is REALLY defacing and dishonoring this country, not on the metaphor representing it. Uuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhhh. Stupid amerikahns.