In his Sept. 7 WorldNetDaily column, Phil Elmore went on a rampage against Labor Day speech the Labor Day speech made by union official James Hoffa (whom he misidentifies as "Jimmy Hoffa Jr."), taking out of context the statement "Let's take these son of a bitches out," declaring: "He was saying, clearly and publicly, that his political opponents in the tea party must be intimidated, assaulted and killed. That is what it means to "take out" someone whom you characterize in such profane terms. There is no other plausible explanation." Elmore didn't mention that Hoffa had prefaced his statement by saying, "Everybody here's got to vote."
Readers called Elmore on the out-of-context stuff in the Facebook comment thread attached to his column, further wondering why he didn't take to task similar rhetoric by right-wing activists, citing Michele Bachmann's 2010 comment, "We need to have your help for candidates like me. We need you to take out some of these bad guys."
Elmore didn't appreciate that, apparently, so he used his Sept. 14 column to double down. He complained about the "small army of leftist trolls and self-proclaimed "independents'" who criticized his out-of-context plucking of Hoffa's remark, dismissing them as "simply persistent contrarians trolling WND's pages." Elmore asserted that "Neither the alleged perfidy of Fox News nor the casual inclusion of a reference to voting excuse, rationalize, justify, or even sufficiently modify Hoffa's comments," adding:
When Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a deranged assassin, libs were quick to blame Sarah Palin for again creating that bothersome tone, that viciously evil atmosphere. Between the OKC bombing and Giffords' shooting were countless other examples of liberal ghouls eager to pin random acts of violence on conservatives as a group. It doesn't matter that a conservative or libertarian never says, explicitly, what liberals claim he or she is implying. Democrats' political opponents are presumed to speak in a complicated code that only lib augurs can interpret correctly.
When Jimmy Hoffa speaks, by contrast, he must be taken at his literal word, because he is a Democrat who supports Democrats. If he does not say, "we must physically assault our opponents," he must, we are told, be given the benefit of any doubt the rest of his violent rhetoric generates. Why, he even went so far as to mention voting in the "full clip," which was so scurrilously edited by the ever-nefarious Fox News to "smear" poor, innocent James P. Hoffa. How dare Fox paint him as a firebrand exhorting his followers to perpetrate violence?
The problem with Hoffa's original speech, and with his follow-up comments, is that his words are laden with violent metaphor and pregnant with threats both implied and credible. When an aggressive man speaking before an organization with a history of aggressive protest aggressively invokes deliberately aggressive imagery, then says, "of course, not aggressively," I don't believe him. If Hoffa had said, in the middle of his original speech about "taking out" those "son of a bitches," something like, "… but of course through nonviolent means," a disclaimer so explicit would still be insufficient to soften the loaded rhetoric surrounding it.
Elmore remained silent about Bachmann's "take out some of these bad guys" comment, let alone opine on whether we should be taking her at her literal word or merely focusing on tone and atmosphere.