You know Glenn Beck right? The FOX News contributor and radio host who along with Rush Limbaugh, is the primary voice of conservative America? Who has previously labelled Barack Obama as racist against white people, and who likened Obama's encouragement of volunteer work to Maoist China?
Well Beck is on hiatus this week from his radio show, but fortunately he has fill-ins who are equally prepared to spew some f***ed up nonsense.
So, how to evaluate those statements? Should they be taken seriously, or deemed light-hearted satire?
Chris Baker's comment about Joe Biden looking like he's "turning Japanese" is some racist sh*t. Low-level racist sh*t perhaps - Baker's insult to Asian people is indirect one - but racist sh*t nonetheless. Guy's a douche.
Doc Thompson's comment about the tax on tanning salons being a form of racial oppression against light-skinned people is almost certainly satire. I'm sure he doesn't actually believe this.
Yet statements like this are actually serious business. Because while it may have been satirical to Thompson, I'll wager that at least 50% (and I'm estimating conservatively here, pardon the pun) of his listening audience would not see that is satirical. There is a significant demographic of angry white folks in the US who have been stoked by Beck and his ilk (Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly, Malkin) into believing Obama actually is a racist socialist with an agenda to oppress white people. These people will actually believe that Obama's government has introduced a tax on tanning salons not because they are dangerous to health, but because they are used predominantly by white people.
To reinforce the bigotry of the ignorant is surely the lowest form of both politics and journalism.