Terrance Heath

Wingnut Week in Review: 'No-Go Zone' on the Brain

Filed By Terrance Heath | January 26, 2015 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Fox, Fox News, GOP, Islamophobia, Joni Ernst, Muslims, Paris, Republican Party

From anti-choice bills in the House to threatened lawsuits over Muslim "no-go zones," last week showed that the wingnut brain is biggest "no-go zone" of them all.

But first, let's relive the "burn" heard 'round the world. When President Obama delivered the State of the Union Address, Republicans in Congress might have expected a humbled Obama to admit to another "shellacking," hand the keys to the new Republican majority, and shuffle away to ride out the rest of his term as the lamest of "lame ducks."

They certainly didn't expect to hear from a Barack Obama who, to quote late-night host Larry Willmore, "doesn't give a fuck." Nor did they expect him to tell them so.

Obama's "mic drop" moment launched a thousand Twitter memes and left no oxygen for Sen. Joni Ernst's Republican response. That's a shame, because it allowed the media to ignore the fact that Ernst's narrative of gritty Midwestern self-reliance left out one important detail: her family benefited from nearly half a million dollars in farm subsidies from the federal government.

Ernst can stick to her "pulled-up-by-my-own-bootstraps" narrative, but at least we know she had help getting those boots.

The 'No-Go Zone' That Is the Wingnut Brain

The other big surprise last week was an apology. Until now, being Fox News meant never having to say you're sorry. That all began to change when Fox's terrorism "expert" Steven Emerson declared Birmingham, England a "totally Muslim" "no-go zone."

The "no-go zones" myth bubbled up from the outer fringes of America's wingnut fever swamps about eight years ago. Thanks to Fox News, it has now seeped into the conservative mainstream.

Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson "an idiot." Emerson apologized. Host Jean Pirro apologized for not correcting Emerson. Fox distanced itself, saying that Emerson wasn't a Fox News employee, so it wasn't the network's problem.

Then Le Petit Journal -- the French version of The Daily Show -- found multiple instances of Fox News employees repeating the "no-go zones" claim, and had a lot of fun sending reporters to visit the neighborhoods Fox News identified as "no-go zones."

Things got even sillier when the hysteria spread beyond Fox News, and elected officials started babbling about "no-go zones." Details, after the break.

  • During a speech in London, Louisiana GOP governor Bobby Jindal told the Henry Jackson Society: "In the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home."
  • Jindal later told CNN correspondent Max Ford, "I've heard from folks here that there are neighborhoods where women don't feel comfortable going in without veils. That's wrong. We all know that there are neighborhoods where police are less likely to go into."
  • Jindal later doubled down, issuing a document claiming to "set the record straight" on "no-go zones," with a report from former United Nations ambassador and Fox News contributor John Bolton.
  • On Fox News's Your World With Neal Cavuto, Jindal unapologetically claimed that "there are neighborhoods in the U.K. and in France that have been documented, very well documented, by Ambassador Bolton and others." Jindal told Cavuto "we're gonna see a replica of what's happening in Europe in America," if we don't recognize that "What they're really trying to do is overturn our culture."
  • Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council hate group, said that France has "like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed," and claimed Dearborn, Michigan, and parts of Minneapolis are among many "no go zones" in the US.
  • Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) invited Perkins to tour Minneapolis's non-existent "no go zones."

Then it got real. The mayor of Paris threatened to sue Fox News for its false reporting on the city's mythical "no-go zones." That, finally, got a much broader apology out of Fox News.

Fox News says atrocious things all the time, and never apologizes for any of it. So why the apology now? Because, while Fox may get away with slander in the U.S., the law in France and other European countries takes slander and defamation very seriously.

The mayor of Paris might just have a case -- a criminal case, even. That could get ugly. (The thought of Fox News going on trial in France sounds entertaining, though.)

It all goes to show that the real "no-go zone" is between the ears of your average wingnut.

MLK All the Way

Finally, here's how some right-wingers celebrated Martin Luther King Day.

  • Ben Carson reminded a C-SPAN caller that President Obama is "half white." "People say there probably won't be another black president in our lifetime because of all the things that have happened under the first one," Carson said. "But my answer to that is, isn't he half white?"
  • During an appearance on Fox News, adulterer and convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza said that President Obama "hasn't actually had the African American experience" because he isn't "descended from slaves on either side of his family." It got bad enough that Megyn Kelly had to attempt to talk some sense in D'Souza.
  • D'Souza also compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. in a tweet that read, "AN INTERESTING PARALLEL: MLK was targeted by J. Edgar Hoover, an unsavory character; I was targeted by the equally unsavory B. Hussein Obama."
  • The Liberty Counsel issued a press release declaring that conservative Christians who practice discrimination by refusing to provide services to gay couples are the ones who are living out MLK's legacy.
  • Never mind slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow -- Fox News's Andrea Tantaros said that "race relations are worse than they ever have been." Ever. And it's all Obama's fault, of course.
  • At the South Carolina Tea Party convention, "Wild Bill" Finley announced that "the Tea Party is taking Martin Luther King away from the liberal left... until you renounce your shameful skin-color politics and start practicing the politics of character." So, a white guy celebrated MLK Day by claiming ownership of a black guy.

Here's the rest of the best of the worst in wingnuttery.

  • House Republicans cancelled a vote to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The embarrassing defeat came at the hands of the GOP's own caucus. Republican women, led by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R- North Carolina) revolted because the bill's narrow definition might make the GOP look bad.
  • House Republican leadership quickly circulated and passed another bill from their anti-choice arsenal, and even snuck in a tax increase.
  • The GOP caucus is still so haunted by the ghost of Todd Akin that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) had to plead with conservatives to find "way out of this definitional problem with rape." "We just need to find a way definitionally to not get us into a spot where we're debating what legitimate is," Lindsey said, singlehandedly reminding Americans that Republicans believe most women are lying about being raped.
  • A group of anti-choice Millennials stopped by Rep. Ellmer's office to vent their spleens at her for stopping the House abortion bill, and ask for directions to a bar.
  • GOP presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee continued his obsession with BeyoncĂ© and her scandalous lyrics -- on The Daily Show, of all places.
  • Huckabee also continued to give himself a pass for jamming with wingnut rocker Ted Nugent on "Cat Scratch Fever," Nugent's pean to his prowess with women. But that's to be expected from a guy who profited from selling out his fans and followers to quacks and fraudsters, and used his political action committee to pay his family members almost $400,000.
  • But Huckabee got smacked down on The View, by none other than Queen Bey's Destiny's Child bandmate Michelle Williams.
  • Huckabee also told evangelist James Robinson that if he were elected president he would have "God's blessing" to fight the alleged "secular theocracy," imposed by all-powerful atheists (of course.)
  • Bryan Fischer told his listeners that President Obama is not a Christian, because "nobody can support and promote and celebrate homosexual behavior who is a sincerely devoted follower of Christ."
  • Former House Majority Whip and Dancing With the Stars reject Tom DeLay said that President Obama's State of the Union Address proved him to be an "arrogant" leader with nothing but "disdain" and "contempt" for the American people.
  • California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said the minimum wage shouldn't be raised because the low wage was necessary for teenagers and minorities who weren't worth more than $7 an hour.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.