Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy stuck their foots in their mouths again on “Fox and Friends” Monday.
For those who missed it, here’s the rundown: Kilmeade, Doocy and Anna Kooiman were discussing the video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancee unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator when the conversation segued into the message sent by celebrity victims of domestic violence who stand by their men.
Click on this link for the video: http://www.sportsgrid.com/nfl/fox-friends-on-the-ray-rice-elevator-video-take-the-stairs/
So Kilmeade’s takeaway from all this? “I think the message is, take the stairs.”
And Doocy’s response: “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”
The comments are an embarrassment to the public discourse, even for a show like Fox and Friends, which exists on the border separating journalism and commentary from entertainment and mind-boggling stupidity. Kilmeade and Doocy crossed that border Monday.
There they were, making a serious point and raising a serious question (why do so many abused women stay with their abusers, and what message do they send?), then failing to explore the serious question they raised with an ounce of substance. Finally, they cap it off with two tasteless jokes, undermining the seriousness of any point or question that they raised.
I note with some amusement that professional journalism associations have not condemned the comments. I’m pleased with that, because to criticize the comments would be to confer journalistic legitimacy on Doocy and Kilmeade, and this exchange is Exhibit A for anyone who wants to make a case that these two are not journalists.
To hold Doocy and Kilmeade accountable to the standards of professional journalism is as foolhardy as it would be to hold the Ringling Brothers Clown College to those same standards. They are what they are — buffoons who should be ostracized by real journalists.
Kilmeade has made a number of gaffes that have required explanation and apology in the past. My only interaction with him, which was indirect and not private, was in 2009, when he somehow managed to equate interracial marriage with bestiality. As Dave Barry would say, I swear I’m not making this up. At the time, I was president of UNITY: Journalists of Color, and I called for two things from Fox: An apology, which we got, and a chance to begin a dialogue with Kilmeade and the show’s producers, which was ignored.
And that’s the shame of it, because a dialogue then might have helped. Well, it would have helped a journalist interested in getting better at his job.
But Brian Kilmeade is not a journalist, as he has demonstrated repeatedly. No sense holding him to a journalist’s standards.
Oh, yes, Kilmeade kind of sort of — okay, didn’t apologize for his Ray Rice comments on Tuesday. He said: “Comments that we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking the situation too lightly. We are not. We were not. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue to us, I can assure you.”
Mr. Kilmeade, you were taking the situation too lightly. And you are. Domestic violence is a very serious issue, but not to you. You have assured me of nothing other than your failure as a commentator and communicator.
But look on the bright side; it’s not like anyone expected any better from you.