Elisabeth Hasselbeck weighed in on the Sandra Bland arrest and incarceration controversy and her opinion has been found wanting, especially on social media. All in all, Hasselbeck has definitely proven she deserves to be on Fox News Channel and on their morning show, “Fox & Friends,” but she sealed it when she basically blamed the victim — in this case Sandra Bland — for her own arrest due to her non-compliance with the Texas police officer that eventually arrested her. In fact, Hasselbeck said that Bland — who would be found dead three days later in her jail cell, a death officially ruled a suicide — could have used her cigarette, which the officer ordered her to put out, as a weapon. (No, really, Hasselbeck actually did say that…)
The Wrap reported July 28 that social media “burned” Elisabeth Hasselbeck after she voiced her opinion of Sandra Bland’s arrest on Monday’s “Fox & Friends” show on Fox News Channel. Hasselbeck, showing the dash cam video of Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia ordering Bland to put out her cigarette and get out of her car, said, “I’m sure, someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer.” She followed the statement by elaborating, suggesting: “Maybe chucked it at him; pushed it at him. If he indeed felt it could be a potential threat, was that the wise thing to do on his part?”
People went after Hasselbeck on Twitter. Quay Morris wrote: “Is she trying to justify murder? | Elisabeth Hasselbeck Suggests Sandra Bland Could’ve Used Her Cigarette As Weapon”
Reg Hunt wanted to know if Hasselbeck would call the police if she saw someone smoking in front of her office building. And Mo Fein Shen posted a photo of a revolver handgun loaded with cigarettes, writing that it was what Sandra Bland “was armed with. Elisabeth, sweetie – you need therapy.”
But blaming the victim, especially female victims, is a tried-and-true storyline on Fox News Channel. MediaMatters.org has a list of incidents — posted in 2012 — where Fox News has blamed the victims. More recently, show hosts like Sean Hannity couldn’t wait to blame Freddie Gray, a young black man arrested after running from police, for breaking his own neck in a Baltimore police van.
Mic.com, though, wrote that Fox News Channel — via Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s vapid comments — had reached an absurd low in victim-blaming. By Hasselbeck’s logic, the report went, just about anything could become a potential weapon and “would grant law enforcement officials instant justification to escalate virtually any interaction between police and the public to the level of physical force.”
Since joining “Fox & Friends” as one-third of its trio of hosts in September 2013, Hasselbeck has struggled to be the voice of intelligence sandwiched between the dumb-and-dumber slices of Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. Doocy recently lamented the Oklahoma Supreme Court decision to take the Ten Commandments monument off government property as something unheard of since the Ten Commandments were what the Constitution of the United States was based upon . And Brian Kilmeade couldn’t understand, after world champion surfer Mick Fanning was attacked on live television by a shark, why event managers and officials weren’t “clearing the waters” of sharks prior to an event to make it safer for surfers.
Still, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has managed to sound just as dim-witted as her co-hosts on occasion. Her Sandra Bland cigarette-as-a-weapon suggestion notwithstanding, the 38-year-old former reality show celebrity once complained that the Obama administration giving the Affordable Care Act a catchy name like Obamacare was “the worst nickname given to anything in the history of this nation.” That, of course, is historical revisionism, because conservative opponents — people just like herself and those appearing on “Fox & Friends” — of the health care legislation were those who first derogatorily labeled it Obamacare.
But revisionism might just be Hasselbeck’s thing. After getting burned repeatedly on the internet for her Sandra Bland comments, Hasselbeck took to Twitter, posting, “I NEVER suggested Sandra Bland could have used a cigarette as a weapon. I asked whether it was wise to ask her to put it out. #StopTheLies”
Nobody lied, and suggest it she most certainly did when she said Bland could have “maybe chucked” or “pushed” her cigarette at the officer. And although Elisabeth Hasselbeck may be a proponent of the repeat-something-enough-it-will-make-it-true school, practicing it still doesn’t make what one says true if it is indeed a falsehood to begin with. Besides, what she said is captured on video. When will people like Hasselbeck realize that when there’s an audio or video record, stating that something else was uttered is not a valid version of the event in question? Much like her suggestion that a weaponized cigarette gave that Texas State Trooper reason to escalate a minor traffic violation involving a somewhat mouthy individual into a physical threat, takedown, and arrest.