The Republican war on human decency

Digby (click thru for links):

If Rush Limbaugh and his pals in the media still think that Michael J. Fox is acting, they should check out this video clip from ABC News from last July. The guy is so clearly trying to do something good here. It just kills me that these heartless bastards are attacking him and saying that it’s exploitive for him to be an activist for a disease that’s killing him.

Actors are vain people. It cannot be easy for him to expose himself in public knowing that when the public sees him in this condition they are uncomfortable and pitying. He is rich enough to live out his days in in comfortable privacy, getting the best of care and giving money for the cause. But he’s put together a very serious and productive foundation that has funded 70 million dollars in Parkinson’s research and he works constantly on the issue.

This transcends politics and it’s beyond petty partisanship. (After all, Fox did a very similar commercial for Arlen Specter in 2004.) Stem cell research has the support of the vast majority of this country of all political persuasions but it’s being held hostage by the same minority group of religious extremists who staged that sideshow over terry Schiavo. There you had a woman with no brain and no hope who the extremists were willing to go to the ends of the earth to “save.” Here we have a 45 year old man who is fully funtional intellectually but whose body is beginning to fail him because of a terrible disease and they are rudely dismissing him as a fake and saying that his life is no more important than a smear in a petrie dish.

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The portion of the interview they broadcast was quite decent. But you can see the whole interview here — and listen to Katie Couric push him over and over again on the burning question of whether he manipulated his medication and ask him whether he should have re-scheduled the shoot when his symptoms were manifested as they were. And she does it while she’s sitting directly across from him watching him shake like crazy. Her questions imply that it was in poor taste or manipulative as if he can magically conjure a film crew to catch him in on of the fleeting moments where he doesn’t appear too symptomatic. The press seems to truly believe that it is reasonable to be suspicious of him showing symptoms of a disease that has him so severely in its clutches that if he doesn’t take his medication his face becomes a frozen mask and he cannot even talk.

The depravity of conservatives, and the willingness of the media to indulge it, never ceases to amaze me. In a rational society, when a drug-addled gasbag radio host mocks an actor with a debilitating disease, the ensuing discussion would revolve around said drug-addled gasbag’s many, many faults as a human being, not least of which being his ready willingness to mock the handicapped. Rather than treating his uninformed speculation as beneath contempt, however, people are actually discussing whether Michael J. Fox’s symptoms are as bad as they look in these campaign commercials. I know that the media are amoral predators, constantly alert for any hint of blood in the water, but I guess I’m still naive enough to wish that occasionally Keith Olbermann wouldn’t be the only person in the entire industry willing to call bullshit when the odor is rank enough to make you gag.

But I’m also naive enough to imagine that this will backfire as spectacularly as the Terry Schiavo circus did. Seriously, Republicans — you want to rally around the drug-addled gasbag hatemonger in his war against the beloved actor with the debilitating disease — please, by all means, go for it.