When Laura Ingraham filled in for Bill O'Reilly on Friday's night's O'Reilly Factor, she ran a segment on abortion that was ostensibly an "investigation" into Planned Parenthood. It featured a logo that placed a red set of crosshairs -- the kind you find on a rifle scope -- over PP's logo.
I'd just like to ask one question:
What the hell were these people thinking?
Now, presumably, Ingraham herself did not order up this graphic, or if she did, it at least went through the hands of the show's regular producers and overseers. These are the same people who just went through a well-deserved round of approbation for their role -- in the form of those 28 references to Dr. George Tiller as a "baby killer" -- in the murder of Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic.
And now they're running a graphic suggestive of what Ann Coulter calls "a procedure with a rifle" -- something, in fact, that Coulter has actually encouraged on The O'Reilly Factor.
Really, I'm serious. What are these people thinking?
Of course, we know all too well that O'Reilly and Co. did their best to disavow any culpability in the matter whatsoever -- somewhat less than convincingly. So maybe the continuing demonization of abortion providers on this program is part and parcel of that defiance.
And the same sort of anecdotal demonization that characterized O'Reilly's attacks on Tiller were similarly at play in this segment on Planned Parenthood. It essentially involved an ambush team using a youngish-seeming woman posing as a 14-year-old entering a variety of Planned Parenthood clinics and recording the responses -- most of which, as described by the fake teen here, actually fit the standard response of most properly run clinics in trying to make sure that younger patients feel at ease.
The overriding message, once again, is that these abortion providers are a pack of morally depraved sickos who deserve to be in the crosshairs. Lovely.
I can think of three possibilities here:
1. Someone just thought putting an organization in the crosshairs was the best way to represent that they were under investigation, and the other implications of such a graphic just didn't cross anybody's radar.
2. They thought about it, recognized that it might not be appropriate, but did it anyway, either out of defiance or simply not caring.
3. They did it with full intent, understanding full well that the suggestion of violence against Planned Parenthood was present, and in fact designing the graphic with that in mind.
Of the three, I think the second is the most plausible. But it's only slightly less appalling, for different reasons, than the other two.
Look, despite what the O'Reillys and Glenn Becks and Laura Ingrahams like to claim, no one is trying to "silence" them for expressing their opinions. This is about being responsible with that big media megaphone they hold. Promoting a violent mindset toward abortion providers, as we have already seen, is profoundly irresponsible. It's long past time that it stop.