Monday, January 23, 2006

Bush Looks An Awful Lot Like A Monkey
Bush Looks An Awful Lot Like A Monkey
Bob Cesca

The right-wing talking heads have been hitting this "Bin Laden sounds like [insert Democratic name here]" talking point around the clock since the audio recording was released last week. The point seems to be that Bin Laden hates America; Bin Laden sounds like [Democrat]; therefore [Democrat] hates America.

So in the interest of perpetuating the same line of reasoning, let's review an equally ridiculous equation.

I give you... the infamous "President Bush Looks Like A Monkey" montage (be kind to us, historians of the future).

Okay sure. He looks monkeyesque. But that doesn't mean he's literally a monkey. And when news of a monkey hits the mainstream media, has Chris Matthews wasted valuable spittle and airtime remarking, "You know that monkey looks an awful lot like George W. Bush (spit, spit, spit)."?

How fired would more progressive MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann or Ron Reagan be if they reported on the dwindling mountain gorilla population in Africa and followed it up with a comment like, "By the way, Bush kind of looks like a monkey and those apes in Africa are losing ground much like Bush's approval ratings. Get it? Bush is like a monkey."

Comparing Bin Laden to Democrats shouldn't be the milieu of pundits -- it's the milieu of right-wing comedians and satirists like, um... shoot. I can't think of any funny conservatives. Larry the Cable Guy? No wait. He's not funny. Never mind. The milieu of right-wing bloggers and commenters then. Maybe extremists like Michael Savage. Or Glenn Beck who's so extreme he'd never make it to cable news -- oh crap.

But it's grotesquely irresponsible for any semi-reputable member of the mainstream media to make this comparison considering how far removed they are from the context of satire. Either comparison: Bin Laden or Monkey. And as we all know, pundits say a lot of irresponsible things so it's really not much of a shocker to hear something like this from the mouths of Matthews, Hannity, and Scarborough. But there are very few if any human beings on this planet who could justifiably be compared to someone as evil as Osama Bin Laden.

The talking point -- wherever it originated -- was meant to paint Democrats and progressives as being in league with Bin Laden. It's an out-loud whisper campaign. The sort of thing designed to be heard by casual or uniformed viewers who might mix up the details in translation. If "Bin Laden sound like the Democrats" is repeated enough it'll eventually evolve into, "Did you hear? The Democrats are as evil as Bin Laden and they want to kill us all!" The same way John McCain's adopted children became an "illegitimate black child." The same way Max Cleland's opposition to the Bush administration in 2002 begat "Cleland is similar to Bin Laden and Saddam" which begat "Cleland is as evil as Bin Laden and Saddam!" which begat "Senator Saxby Chambliss."

So I don't expect any of the offending pundits to apologize to Michael Moore or Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi. What I do expect to hear sometime between 7PM and midnight Monday night on either Fox or MSNBC is, "Bush looks an awful lot like a monkey!" Fair and balanced, right?