Is there anyone left who still believes that Fox News practices "fair and balanced" anything? In my opinion this news outlet is the closest our mainstream media has ever come to Germany's "Der Sturmer" magazine, the Nazi propaganda tool whose primary purpose was to whip up hatred for Jews and other targeted groups. Every issue of "Der Sturmer" carried the paper's motto, "Die Juden sind unser Ungluck!" ("The Jews are our misfortune!"). Fox should just adopt that slogan and replace Jews with gays, liberals, or any of the other groups its on-air personalities despise and consistently demean.
I can rarely stomach listening to the TV or radio versions of this biased network, but I was sickened to hear the gleeful and mocking way Fox News host John Gibson reported the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger yesterday. He opened his radio show with funeral music, played the "I wish I knew how to quit you" clip from "Brokeback Mountain" and then laughingly stated "Well, he found out how to quit you." Throughout the show, he continued to make fun of Ledger's death, calling him a "weirdo" and repeatedly playing another "Brokeback Mountain" clip in which Ledger's character says "We're dead!" and then repeating "We're dead! We're dead!" in a mocking tone.
Ledger's death served as the running joke for Gibson and his guests throughout the broadcast. Did he off himself because of the state of the stock market? Did he want to die because he watched the Clinton-Obama debate the night before? It's apparently not the first time Gibson has used his airtime for such offensive remarks. He's joked about terrorists bombing Paris, he's made many disparaging comments about African-Americans and Hispanics, and he's stated on Fox News that non-Christians were "following the wrong religion" and that "they know who they're going to have to answer to." Compared to Gibson, Don Imus sounds like Mother Teresa. If you want to hear Gibson's Heath Ledger rant for yourself, you can check it out here.
After first claiming he'd done nothing wrong ("Why pass up a good joke?" he said about using the "Brokeback Mountain" clip), public outrage must have mounted to the point where the network forced his hand and he issued a wan apology on both his radio and TV shows. An apology that I don't buy for a second. I will never listen to this putz but I'm horrified that he has such a huge forum to spread his hate-filled invective about any group that he decides deviates from his so-called "Christian" values. Heath Ledger took the hit not because he was gay, which he wasn't, but because he portrayed a gay man in a film. Apparently to Gibson and his rabid minions that's all it takes to be branded a "weirdo" whose death at age 28 need not be mourned. Dehumanize, dehumanize, dehumanize, that's the Goebbels way. If gay people, or the people who play them in movies, or the people who support them in any way are less than human, we can certainly laugh at their deaths without any guilt, right?
And now today, members of Fred Phelps' disgusting Westboro Baptist Church plan to show up at Ledger's funeral in New York with their hateful signs and chants. As Phelps' daughter said on ABC news last night, the church believes Ledger "misused the giant megaphone given to him by God Almighty to speak the truth about fags." Charming. A press release on their web site about Heath Ledger is so repulsive that I can't even bring myself to quote from it on the day that this wonderful actor and father is being laid to rest.