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Fox News Commentator Criticized for Remarks
Newswoman jokingly wishes for assassination of Barack Obama
Dominic Ambrose (Nicangelo)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2008-05-27 05:17 (KST)   
Liz Trotta, a commentator for the Fox News Channel in the United States has become the target of a firestorm of criticism for lumping together Osama Bin Laden and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in a comment on Sunday in which she talked about "knocking them off." "Well, both of them, if we could!"

The controversy comes just weeks before the 40th anniversary of the assassination of another presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Senator Hillary Clinton's reference to that assassination in an interview she gave last week caused her much trouble, since it was taken as an oblique reference to Barack Obama.

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While discussing the Clinton controversy, Trotta went far beyond the New York senator's innuendo and into the grey area approaching actual incitement. In a chummy live discussion with another Fox News commentator, Trotta mixed up the names Osama and Obama in a facetious way that has become familiar on this right-of-center news channel and laughingly talked about her wish that "we" could knock them both off.

The clip was soon on the Huffington Post Web site, YouTube and dozens of other political blogs. A petition for the sacking of Trotta was soon up on Thepetitionsite, and easily flew past its goal of gathering 2,000 signatures. The Fox News Channel is one of the most important assets in Rupert Murdoch's media empire. A list of its corporate sponsors was soon on screens across the Internet, and included the sponsors' telephone numbers.

Fox News has tried to contain the damage, downplaying its significance while at the same time airing a stagey offhand apology by Trotta. First thing Monday morning, they trotted her back out again to engage in yet another analysis of Senator Clinton's earlier gaffe. At the very end of the discussion, she was asked about her own far more explicitly inflammatory faux pas. After giving a little show of surprise at being asked about it, she recited the following carefully worded apology:

"I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor. I fell all over myself, making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm, or any other candidate, for that matter, and I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It is a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said."

However, with the ever-present eye of the Internet, it is impossible for her to erase the evidence. Her comment, which slipped out in an unguarded moment in the Sunday chat, has been slipping out repeatedly on screens around the world. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Dominic Ambrose

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