Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Those who love to hate

Air America host Randi Rhodes didn't show up for work today:
Fellow host Jon Elliott claimed on the liberal radio network that Rhodes had been mugged while walking her dog, Simon, on Sunday night. Elliot, who said Rhodes lost several teeth in the attack, waxed about a possible conspiracy.

"Is this an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own?" he asked on the air, according to Talking Radio, a blog. "Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that we’re winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?"

The problem with Elliott's story is that Ms. Rhodes was not mugged: she fell:
Rhodes' lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she's not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a "hate crime."
So what explains Mr. Elliott's outburst? He was not alone in his paranoid fantasies of persecution. Liberals across the internet had the same reaction.

One explanation is projection. Throwing pies at conservative speakers is a popular way for liberals to express themselves. Just last Thursday, Barnes and Noble reportedly had to call security because the intellectuals on New York's Upper West Side couldn't handle listening to a neo-conservative talk. It is natural for them to imagine (`project') that conservatives would express themselves the same way.

Having watched the faces of people who express such fantasies, an additional factor appears to me to be more important. When they imagine their opponents as pure evil, they feel better about themselves. It improves their self-esteem to believe that the other half of America is filled with hate.

PREVIOUSLY, we have discussed psychological projection in relation to Islamism, The New Republic, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), and Alec Baldwin. The comfort that liberals derive from imagining the worst in those who disagree with them was discussed previously here.

UPDATE: Reportedly, Randi Rhodes, initially uncertain about what happened, told Air America that she was mugged. Elliott still appears to be the author of the fantasy about the right-wing hate-machine attack. Ms. Rhodes statement is quite interesting, worth a listen.

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