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“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, January 30, 2015

Today in Comeuppance (Updated)

You may have heard that Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis and spokesman for the American Family Association, and host of a daily radio show on American Family Radio, has been "fired." Sort of. He's no longer holding any official position with the AFA, although he still has the radio show -- paid for by AFA -- and still writes for AFA's blog.

Now of course, this has nothing to do with a junket to Israel for members of the RNC, hosted and funded by AFA. Except that the Israeli press got hold of it. From Haaretz:

Some 60 members of the Republican National Committee, including its chairman, are heading to Israel at the end of the month on a trip fully paid for by an organization described as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Rachel Maddow broke the story -- at least in this incarnation -- and provides some good background on the participants:

(Note that David Lane's organization is an arm of the AFA.)

Considering that among Fischer's inflammatory statements are more than a few that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic (and I don't mean he hates Arabs, although he does that, too), there's been a bit of criticism. (As to why members of the Republican National Committee would accept an all-expenses-paid trip from a right-wing hate group -- well, you don't even really have to use your imagination for that one.)

So, the AFA fires Fischer as a face-saving measure. Except that no one believed them.

From what we have been able to gather, Fischer has not actually been dismissed by AFA but has rather merely been stripped of his title as director of issues analysis and his role as spokesman for the organization. Fischer will reportedly continue to produce his daily radio program for the AFA's radio arm, American Family Radio.

If this is indeed the case, then the AFA has literally accomplished nothing with this stunt and has completely failed to distance itself from Fischer's utterly despicable views. The primary venues though which Fischer has managed to spread his bigotry for the last six years have always been owned, operated, and funded by the American Family Association and that relationship appears to remain intact.

Stripping Fischer of his title as AFA spokesman in no way alleviates the AFA of its responsibility for Fischer's toxic views given that the only reason Fischer even has a platform from which to spread those views is because AFA is providing it to him and paying him to spread them!

A big part of the reaction can be summed up as "Yeah, right." So AFA responded to the SPLC, listing in detail the comments by Fischer that they reject.

And again, yeah, right. The SPLC responded appropriately:

In response, Cohen wrote, “The fact that the AFA is continuing to allow Mr. Fischer to host a daily radio show and blog on its website also makes us question the AFA’s sincerity. Sponsoring Mr. Fischer’s racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of the Muslim and the LGBT communities in the name of ‘diversity’ says as much about the AFA as it does about Mr. Fischer.

“Is there nothing beyond the pale in the AFA’s view? Does the AFA believe that statements such as these have a place on its airwaves? Is this what the AFA considers ‘diversity’?”

Cohen noted that other AFA officials, including its president, Tim Wildmon, and founder, Don Wildmon, also have made statements “that reflect narrow-minded bigotry” and that AFA printed materials have demonized the LGBT community.

“Without ending Mr. Fischer’s talk show, without apologizing for the bigoted statements that he, Mr. Wildmon, and others associated with the AFA have made, and without making it crystal clear that the AFA will not tolerate any such statements in the future, the AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric,” Cohen wrote. “It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.”

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see someone responding to AFA as they deserve.

Interestingly enough, so far as I can see at this point, the RNC has remained mum.

So maybe the DNC should take it and run? Nah -- that wouldn't be nice.

Update: Maddow is on it -- her follow-up:

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