At last, someone calls the NRA what they are: trolls. Rachel Maddow is absolutely right. They're just playing the "how can I get a reaction" game while the rest of us are actually trying to have an adult discussion. This is characteristic of trolls: They intend to disrupt and disturb rational conversations in order to put the attention on themselves. In the case of the NRA, they're hoping their disruption will not only slow momentum building for reasonable gun safety laws, but also focus attention on them and their stupid fearmongering about losing their guns.
We all know how to treat trolls, right? Repeat after me: We don't feed the trolls. We don't pay attention to the trolls, we don't give them any attention whatsoever. We keep having our adult conversation, which even Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele are involved in, while ignoring the lunatics over there on the sidelines trolling for attention.
Talk show host Nancy Grace has delivered her warped sense of "justice" and claimed yet another victim. Toni Medrano, 29, of Minnesota, set herself afire and died just weeks after being ridiculed as "vodka mom" on national television for drunkenly rolling onto and asphyxiating her three-week-old son in November.
About a week after she was charged, flame-throwing CNN talk-show host Nancy Grace featured the case on her show. (See the video above.) Grace held up a fifth of cheap vodka and said she was going to see how many glasses she could get out of the bottle.
She poured at least nine as the words "vodka mom" appeared on the screen.
Grace said during the show that she had attempted to contact Medrano at her house. She then spoke to a reporter from her show and two officials unfamiliar with the case as she theorized that Medrano had been sleeping on her child for hours. "There was a long period of time that baby's life could have been saved," Grace said.
She said the baby was purple and one guest theorized that was from a "pooling of blood" because he had been dead for so long. "Why no murder one charges?" Grace asked, referring to the charge for premeditated murder.
Medrano's younger sister described Toni as being visibly shaken as she watched Grace's show discussing her case. Toni then told her sister that "life wasn't worth living," and that she "couldn't live with herself."
This should not be construed as an effort to excuse Medrano's actions leading to her child's death in any way. I simply despise Nancy Grace's efforts to sensationalize tragedies for entertainment and ratings purposes, and setting herself up in the role of television studio judge, prosecutor, and jury to do so. These are people's lives she is using to make a fast buck, consequences be damned.
Grace's previous victim, Melinda Duckett, the 21-year old mother of a missing two-year old son, Trenton, fatally shot herself after being battered by tough questions from the talk-show host in 2006.
Grace accused Duckett of hiding something, apparently because of her vague answers and unwillingness to take a lie-detector test. Police later named Duckett the prime suspect in the boy's disappearance.
Duckett committed suicide the day the taped interview was scheduled to air, Sept. 8, 2006. Soon after, her family filed a lawsuit charging Grace with the wrongful death of Duckett.
"Nancy Grace and the others, they just bashed her to the end," Duckett's grandfather, Bill Eubank, said following her death.
After Melinda Duckett's suicide, Grace told her viewers that "guilt" had driven the young woman to take her own life.
The lawsuit filed by Duckett's family against Grace and CNN was settled in 2010 for $200,000.
Probably needless to say, but calls and emails to Nancy Grace and her network went unanswered.
There are some moments on TV that should just be sent to the cutting room floor before they ever hit the screen. This is one of them.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck proves that she doesn't listen, she doesn't think, and she's as much of a troll as Breitbart when she wants to be.
This is a classic example of what I keep ranting about. There's no issue here, and anyone with half a brain knows it. But Hasselbeck concern trolls over the Hatch Act (inapplicable to the speech and group Sherrod was speaking to) as if it is the NEXT HORRIBLE RACIST THING.
HASSELBECK: There's another bit from your speech that's actually raising a second wave of controversy.
[from clip, SHERROD:]I haven't seen such a mean-spirited people as i've seen lately over this issue of health care. now we endured 8 years of the Bushes and we didn't do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black President.
HASSELBECK: So what about that epiphany, where is that epiphany where it's not about color and it's not about race. What do you then say?
SHERROD: You know, why is it that there's such opposition to something that's so important to poor people. Again, I'm coming at it from the angle of poor people. Poor people need health care!
HASSELBECK: And i hear you because I listened to your entire speech and I read the entire transcript but when someone listens to that they're thinking 'yeah, well all of a sudden it's back to black and white, why did we have to get there' .
And then is it also because being a civil servant are you not allowed to have such a partisan opinion? I thought --
-- I thought that was not okay.
SHERROD: Poor white people need health care too. You know, so I wasn't talking about health care for just black people. I'm talking about health care for poor people. I know what happens to folks who don't get a chance to go to doctors. I know what's happening to hospitals and their emergency rooms with all of the load of dealing with the person after it's too late.
WENTWORTH: It's too bad, and I know we're going to come back and talk with you again, but it's too bad everything has to immediately take the road of racism. It's poverty. Poverty.
GOLDBERG: Hang on a second -- this is going to be great. you won't forget it.
After the break and re-intro, Hasselbeck gets another chance at the well of the Concern Trolls:
HASSELBECK: You know, we had just shown a clip where the tail end of it you say "we endured 8 years of the Bushes and we didn't do the stuff the Republicans are doing because we have a black President." Second part of my question: Doesn't the Hatch Act prohibit civil servants from making partisan and political statements? SO isn't that reason enough to look into okay, is this something even legal going on?
Wow, isn't it really nice of Elisabeth Hasselbeck to be concerned that Shirley Sherrod might have violated the Hatch Act? And it certainly plays well to the Fox/Breitbart crowd out there who loves the "scary black person doing illegal and racist things" trope. Only, Elisabeth really didn't know what she was talking about, because the Hatch Act does not rob government employees of their First Amendment rights. It simply limits political activity while they are ON DUTY. Here's all you ever wanted to know about the Hatch Act from the Office of Special Counsel.
And once again, Shirley Sherrod puts Hasselbeck right back in her place:
SHERROD: You know, maybe the Hatch Act would have been meant only for me, because I don't know any government official who was gagged, especially during the Bush administration.
BEHAR: You know, I want to support what Shirley said before, which is that during the Bush administration you had tax cuts for the wealthiest and he did not -- that whole adminiistration did not give a damn about poor people and everybody knows it. That's why Obama was elected in the first place.
-- and even now, Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment insurance but they're okay with tax cuts to the wealthy --
Let me finish. So now you have Obama in office, and he does give a damn about black people
HASSELBECK: Black/white or rich/poor? Which is it?
BEHAR: A lot of people are poor because they were black --
HASSELBECK We're supposed to be postracial here --
GOLDBERG: There is no postracial yet. this was a media idea that sounded great, that sounded wonderful, but the truth is that these issues, these questions of race have never come up this way before because there has never been a black president before, so people are now trying to figure out how they feel, how they deal how they talk. this is a new world for us.
WENTWORTH: Obama has a very fine line to walk. I mean, can you imagine being the first black president having to deal with all these issues?
In a week filled with supremely wingnutty moments, this little exchange between Sean Hannity and Dick Morris -- the toesucking little troll for whom no unconfirmable anecdote smearing the Clintons is too low relate -- was perhaps the sleaziest.
That's right, here's Morris telling Hannity that Oklahoma City was actually Bill Clinton's fault, because he had botched things so badly at Waco that Janet Reno was able to blackmail him four years later after Clinton won a new term.
Of course, somewhat undermining this anecdote is that fact that Reno did not need to be reappointed attorney general after Clinton's re-election.
But hey, no lie is too sleazy for Dick Morris to tell. Schmuck.
One of these is the Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge And Sucks Your Toes, aka Dick Morris, who was on The O'Reilly Factor earlier this week with fill-in host Monica Crowley:
Morris: Look, Monica, it's one thing to load a big bill with pork. That's what the stimulus package was. But to load a health-care bill, where Americans are seriously worried that this is gonna destroy the health care their parents get, that this is gonna lead to government-imposed euthanasia, where they'll say, 'No, you can't have this annual mammogram, because I know it might save your life, but it costs too much.' 'No, you can't have this drug for colon cancer, because the drug we're going to let you take isn't as good as this one, but we can't afford it.' When we come to those kind of euthanasia-like decisions, to learn that the reason the Senate approved this was some little bitty payoff that went on to some insurance company that gave you a campaign contribution -- that kind of tawdry stuff for this kind of magnitude of deformity on the system is enough to drive people crazy -- me included.
I've always said that anyone who takes Dick Morris's advice deserves everything they get, because the man is such a font of misinformation. That includes a lot of intentional disinformation, promoting provably false "facts" that unhinge the people who absorb this crap. As we can see.
Tucker Carlson, appearing on Fox News today, drooled all over Newt Gingrich as the guy who's grabbed the Golden Ring of the leaderless Republican Party:
Carlson: Yeah, this is about who's going to lead the Republican Party, not simply who's going to be the chosen presidential candidate in '12. But who's gonna be the soul of the party?
And there are a bunch of different elements here. I think Sarah Palin's presence, as always, brings a lot of excitement, also a lot of drama. And so a lot of stories going into this were about whether she will arrive in the first place, or whether she'll show up, whether she'll talk. Probably not a good storyline for the GOP.
Newt Gingrich, looks to me, is emerging as, certainly the intellectual center of the Republican Party -- the smartest, most energetic guy, and I think last night, kind of, is -- part of the process is solidifying that. Newt Gingrich is, I believe, running for president, and he's certainly the guy people are looking to for ideas in the Republican Party.
The deisgnated Fox liberal, Peter Mirijanian, manages to sound a note of skepticism:
I have some issues with Gingrich. It's kind of like 'Back to the Future' with him. I don't know if he necessarily is the face they want to put forward.
Yeah, you could say that, since a large chunk of the country sees him as a lying, bomb-chucking little troll.
But the best part of the whole exchange comes when Martha MacCallum, the Fox host, compares Gingrich to Ronald Reagan:
MacCallum: You know, Tucker, you think back to Ronald Reagan, who sort of, you know, entertained the idea of running for president for some time, and then kind of, you know, made a comeback later on. Do you see Newt Gingrich having sort of a similar path? Do you think he wants to run?
Carlson: I think Gingrich does want to run. I think Reagan was a little bit differently positioned, perhaps, coming from having served as governor of California than Newt is.
Well, Reagan, never exactly made a "comeback" -- he just was forced to hold off on his presidential aspirations during Nixon's presidency, and immediately continued his ascension up GOP ranks thereafter.
But if you're talking about Republican political comebacks, why not mention the most famous of these: The Tricky One himself? After all, Gingrich's planned comeback from defeat and disgrace is much more reminiscent of that than anything Reagan achieved.
Hmmmm, maybe that isn't the image wants to be projecting.
I cannot make anyone stop responding to pointless or nuisance comments. You have to want to restrain yourself, because you understand that the only way to get rid of them is to fail to give them the attention they want. A "troll" is not just someone whose comments you disagree with, or even just a nasty or badly-worded comment. A troll is someone who does not, under any possible set of circumstances, care what you think about him or his comments.
He merely wants attention. Negative attention will do. The more you disagree with him, the more he is able to tell himself that he is persecuted and victimized or the only voice of reason or one of the elite few who has the God's-eye view of the world or whatever his current delusion is...and there's more.
Guest Bloggerage: Be sure to visit the Antonin Artuad Memorial Theatre of Crudités in The Mighty Corrente Building; tickets are free (except to The Cornerites; they need to settle up for the damage). From a recording made during the opening night's performance of the above song:
[Rimshot. Laughter] Thanks, you're a great audience. Say, I just crawled in from Guantanamo, and boy, are my shackles bloody...
A big thanks once again to our entire site team for helping the site run smoothly.
To give you an idea of what they deal with on a daily basis, let me show you the spam I got in my email inbox this morning. Heads up: as we get closer to the election, the troll you respond to may very well be a professional.