Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Enemy of my Enemy of my Enemy is my... I don't even know.

Fox News produced some compelling television today, and not for the usual reasons. The players--Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter, Westboro Baptist Church (of "God Hates Fags" notoriety), and Megyn Kelly (host of Fox News' America Live and alternative spelling enthusiast)--were pretty much all villains, yet somehow what emerged became an epic battle of good vs. evil. Just don't ask me to decide which side is which.

First, the video:

Now, my reactions:

I can't remember the last time I found it so hard to figure out whose team I'm on. The most encouraging thing, I suppose, is that everyone involved agrees it was wrong for Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funeral of a deceased solider. When the thing started, I half expected O'Reilly, or at least Coulter, to take their side. Instead, those two seem firmly convinced that these guys deserve to go down for this, no matter the implications for the justice system.

Which brings me to Megyn Kelly's spirited defense and impressive understanding of the 4th Circuit's ruling. My favorite part is when she points out to Bill (who, as usual, clearly has no idea what the hell he is talking about aside from three or four talking points handed to him by a staffer) that drafters of majority opinions do not have to "dissent" from concurring opinions. Seriously, does that guy even get what Judges do?

Bill's response: "You got brain damage going to law school," is another classic bit of anti-intellectualism from the far Right, but considering that I no longer remember how my brain used to work, I'm not so sure he's wrong.

The most satisfying thing about this video, of course, is watching Bill O'Reilly get so completely taken to town by someone who is clearly smarter and better informed than he has ever been. And since she works for the network, he can't simply cut her mic. I'm not familiar with Megyn Kelly's reputation or politics outside of this video, but she deserves major credit for standing up to O'Reilly's bullying and coming out looking like a goddamned legal hero. The ACLU owes her a thank you, if she'd take their calls.

As for the IIED claim, I'm glad I'm not the Judge who has to rule on it. Westboro Baptist is probably the most abhorrent issue group currently active in our nation. They're so abysmally evil, in fact, that they make Frat Houses look like bastions of social justice. But do they have a right to free speech, even at a soldier's funeral? To answer that question, I must turn, yet again, to The West Wing:

Josh: I don't know, Toby, it's election night. What do you say about a government that goes out of its way to protect even citizens that try to destroy it?

Toby: God bless America.


Blogger Sean said...

I will save others the trouble of going to Wikipedia, since I was compelled to.

"She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Syracuse University and her J.D. from Albany Law School, where she was editor of the Albany Law Review. She was an associate in the Chicago office of Bickel & Brewer, during which time she co-wrote "The Conflicting Roles of Lawyer as Director."[8] She was also an attorney who practiced as a litigator with Jones Day, in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., before leaving to pursue a career in journalism. [9] She joined Fox News in 2004.[3]"

4/06/2010 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jones Day! Woohoo!

Who knew I would share such an intimate connection with such a hottie!

4/06/2010 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how people take O'Reilly seriously. He clearly doesn't know all that much. He was upset that the judges in the majority didn't dissent from the concurrence? He has no idea how the law works. He doesn't even try to understand how the law works. It is painful to watch him.

4/06/2010 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't tell me I'm miscategorizing!

4/06/2010 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Jon Stewart regularly rips into her, but she just gained points with me. She's got a head on her shoulders.

4/06/2010 9:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

@8:10, I forgot about that part! Also classic.

4/07/2010 1:08 AM  

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