Editors' Note: Guest blogger Michael Jones is change.org's Gay Rights editor, and the Communications Director of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School. Prior to his life in media, Jones worked for the late Senator Paul Wellstone as a field organizer in Minnesota.
Say there's a political commentator out there who has called women's rights activists Nazis, called Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy wife," said that President Obama only won his Nobel Peace Prize because of "affirmative action," and called the U.S. Department of Education's Safe Schools Czar "profoundly sick and immoral" because of his sexual orientation. Should this guy be rewarded with a promotion?
Well, if you're CNN, the answer is yes. They've just hired Erick Erickson, an editor over at redstate.com, to be a political contributor on John King's new CNN show -- "John King, USA." Erickson is responsible for all of those comments above, and a whole host of other inflammatory comments that are bound to make John King's new show sound a lot more like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. Is this really what CNN wants?
Demand that CNN pull their offer to Erickson. Given the state of political cynicism these days, do we really need someone who has called former Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester" on one of the largest news channels in the world? The answer is, overwhelmingly, NO.
CNN should be bringing Republicans into the fold and getting their perspectives on the issues facing our country. There's no doubt about that. But Erickson is no better than the Glenn Becks or the Rush Limbaughs or the James Dobsons in terms of his frequent ability to stick his foot in his mouth by saying something outrageous. Erickson is nothing more than a shock jock who shouldn't be legitimized by one of America's more trusted names in news.
The list of Erickson's radical statements are lengthier than the phone book. If you weren't shocked by the David Souter "child molester" comment, or the feminists as Nazis remark, try a few of these on for size. Last week, in the wake of U.S. Rep. Eric Massa's resignation, Erick Erickson suggested that Democrats would kill Massa, much like Erickson believes the Bill and Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster in the 1990s.
And then there's Erickson's nice little remark that U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan are suicide bombers. "Instead of 72 virgins, they'll get ambassadorships," Erickson said, discussing Dorgan's and Dodd's support for Obama's health care reform plan.
And who can forget Erickson's comments advocating that Tea Party folks go down to their state legislator's office and beat their representatives and senators to a bloody pulp. Specifically, Erickson was referencing Washington state legislators. "At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"
Is this what CNN wants on their airwaves? They want someone who advocates violence against legislators? They want someone who compares U.S. Senators to suicide bombers? They want someone who attacks openly gay people in government?
CNN should have better standards. Demand that the cable network rescind their offer to Erickson, and instead find someone who can articulate Republican talking points without resorting to the type of rhetoric that takes our politics to pathetic levels. Political discourse is not helped by Erickson. He's not interested in debate, he's just interesting in fanning the flames of hyper-partisanship, and his words might just have violent, dangerous consequences.
Tell CNN to get with the program. Let the network know that if John King USA is going to move forward with Erickson as a commentator, you won't be watching the program. Again, Republican commentators deserve to have space on CNN. But Erickson's history of outrageous and inflammatory statements don't make him a good candidate at all to be rewarded with such a plum spot on CNN.
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