Bizarre Record of Fox’s Rape-to-Be-Expected Pundit

Liz Trotta, a Fox News contributor and former Washington Times editor, drew attention this week (2/12/12) when she suggested that women serving in the U.S. military should expect to be sexually assaulted by their male counterparts:

But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists.

And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators…. So you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.

So feminists are hogging too many resources for military women who are allegedly raped too much. Trotta doesn’t say what would be an acceptable level of rape.

In the Fox News universe of cranky, right-wing pundits, it’s not easy to stand out for your extremism, but Trotta seems to manage. In addition to her unconventional views about rape in the military, Trotta has joked about assassinating Barack Obama “if we could” (Fox News, 3/23/08). She has also described Fox competitor MSNBC as “close to being a communist channel” and excoriated that cable network for suspending Pat Buchanan, whom she said was being victimized by the hard left and “mercilessly assailed by the homosexual lobby” and others (Fox News, 1/14/12). Trotta condemned MSNBC for suspending Buchanan over his book Suicide of a Superpower in which he argues, among other things, that the U.S. has become “a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.” Trotta offered an extended defense of what she called the “essence of the book” as mostly factual.

As FAIR founder Jeff Cohen recounted in his book Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in the Corporate Media, while appearing on an episode of Fox News Watch (1/5/02) with Trotta, she cheered the burning of Harry Potter books by a right-wing pastor in New Mexico: “We’re talking about the press getting hysterical over some, you know, two-bit book burning. Let them burn!”

In another episode on Fox News Watch, Cohen recalled when Trotta tried to link convicted “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski to the left. Though Kaczynski lived as a recluse in the wilds of Montana and wrote a rambling “manifesto” attacking technology, the left and environmentalists, Trotta attempted to link the Unabomber to environmentalists and the left: “Mainstream media attempted to divorce Kaczynski’s background and milieu from what he became.” Cohen’s on-air response to Trotta: “He lived as a hermit since the 1970s. For 25 years the guy lived in a shack, and you’re talking about his milieu?”

But Trotta is still at it. Last October (Fox News, 10/8/11), she attempted to link Occupy Wall Street protestors to Kaczynski, comparing the activists’ rhetoric to “the ravings of what sounds like the Unabomber.”

At least she didn’t try to link them to sexual assault counselors.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.