As Glenn noted over the weekend, we are indeed receiving a bit of attention for something David Feherty wrote in the “print product.” Michael Hiestand has suggested in USA Today that David might lose his job over this thing. To recap, David contributed an essay to our April cover story about George W. Bush moving back to Dallas. In it, he wrote:
From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.
Yesterday David apologized for the remark, which I understand. I’m sure his CBS bosses told him that if he wanted to keep his job, he needed to say he was sorry. And no joke — no matter how funny — is worth losing a job over. But I’d bet that David is most definitely NOT sorry.
Now, David himself hasn’t told me that. I want to make that clear. Last I heard from him, on Saturday, he said only that he was keeping his mouth shut. Again, understandable.
But here’s why this whole thing is so ridiculous: first, this story was published in our April issue, which means it came out in late March. Why are we just now talking about this? Because on Friday, Mark Davis, filling in for Rush Limbaugh, read part of David’s essay on the air. I know Mark. He’s a smart guy (even if I don’t agree with his politics). Mark knew that David’s sentiment would appeal to Limbaugh’s audience. But he also knew that David was kidding.
Listen, in this same essay, David also wrote:
[W]hat a nightmare of a time that was to be president of the United States! [Bush’s] two terms must have felt like the rest of the world had inserted the Washington Monument into him and it was his job to heave it out.
Do you get a sense of the spirit in which the essay was written? No? Need more? Okay:
Even with their Secret Service entourage, the Bushes are going to be besieged by herds of North Dallas McMansion-dwellers, more brown-nosed and full of BS than any longhorn. Nouveaux riche and face-lifted old-monied fossils alike will descend upon them like ants to the honeypot every time they set foot outside their door. The area that encompasses the Park Cities and Preston Hollow is home to roaming packs of these social climbers. I’m talking to you, the guy with the champagne flute, the stupid grin, and the trophy wife who, if she has one more facelift, will be wearing a triangular beard. You’re just the type who will want to show that famous hospitality for which Texas is renowned, and your nasty little dog will try to hump poor Miss BeazleyÂ half to death.
I know that Mark Davis appreciates satire. The problem is, the folks at Media Matters for America don’t. This is what kills me. It’s just so much harder to stomach a humorless liberal than it is a humorless conservative. On Friday, the outfit that normally spends its time fact-checking conservative pundits demanded an apology from David. You know where it went from there. Hiestand in USA Today goes and compares what David wrote to Jimmy the Greek’s fatal 1988 comment. Insane.
So the first reason this brouhaha is ridiculous is because the outrage is manufactured. People aren’t writing letters to CBS complaining. A liberal organization is using David’s joke to raise its own profile.
The second reason is because David knows what he’s talking about. I tend to trust his elevator metaphor — again, METAPHOR. He’s spent a considerable amount of time with the troops, traveling to combat zones in Iraq to buoy their spirits. He does a lot of charity work for soldiers who’ve returned home without limbs. He organizes bicycle rides, golf outings, and hunting trips for them. He has been so touched by his experiences with our troops that the Irishman has applied for U.S. citizenship.
Point is, to my mind, David has earned the right to make that joke. He made a salient point. And it was funny.
It’s a damn shame that the humorless forces of political correctness were able to force an apology out of him. But D Magazine stands by his reporting.