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James Hoffa
James P. Hoffa (Teamsters)
As we all know, a lot of the language around elections and campaigns relies on a measure of metaphor. Mostly it's pretty standard stuff, like "horserace" or "targeted districts"; only every now and then someone goes a step too far with crosshairs and talk of "reloading." So it's pretty rich that Fox News, the televised home of Sarah "crosshairs" Palin, is trying to make an issue of lines from Teamsters' President James Hoffa's Labor Day speech. Hoffa said:
HOFFA: Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!

What's controversial about that? Well, if you start it at "let's take these son of a bitches out," as Fox News did, removing the context that the sons of bitches otherwise known as congressional Republicans should be taken out by voting, it sounds slightly less at the center-mainstream of polite electoral discussion. (Though probably not outside the box for Fox programming meetings.)

Media Matters details how Fox used the full clip at some moments, with Ed Henry specifying the electoral context, but at other times used the edited version to draw a picture of a "union thug" making physical threats. TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro followed up with Hoffa:

"How is that different than Mitch McConnell saying he wants to take out Barack Obama?" Hoffa said.

The answer, of course, is that the statement isn't different. The outrage machine dedicated to hyping it is.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 03:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group and Daily Kos.

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