Washington Times and its columnist, Ted Nugent


As the pull-down menu suggests, Ted Nugent is a central component of the Washington Times’ stable of opinion writers. He’s a reliable spewer of trite views on President Obama (“Con men who sell snake oil are eventually exposed.”), trite views on crime and justice (“Keep rapists, pedophiles and assorted other violent punks in cages for the rest of their pathetic, animalistic lives.”) and trite views on other things (“By the way, best of luck with President Obama’s socialized medicine program and Fedzilla’s Wall Street reform”).

“Trite,” of course, is a flattering assessment of Nugent, in light of the his most recent set of offensive remarks, not to mention his lifetime oeuvre. At a National Rifle Association convention over the weekend, the guy went far enough with his violent fantasies toward his political opponents to draw the attention of the Secret Service. “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Obama is reelected, said Nugent, in what was just slightly the most offensive of his remarks.

In other choice bits, Nugent called top administration officials “criminals” and said this: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Nugent has endorsed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, whose spokeswoman issued this statement about the rocker’s more-than-foolishness: “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”

Romney has met the wrath of the punditry — of which he deserves every bit — for issuing a tepid statement that would be an appropriate response to something far more innocuous, like Republicans are good and Democrats are really bad.

But at least Romney said something. The Washington Times appears to be saying nothing.

E-mails, repeated phone calls, cell-phone messages: I have spent much of the day attempting to contact top officials at the Times about Nugent’s remarks. “He’s not available,” comes the response from an assistant for Brett Decker, who runs the editorial page operation at the paper. Same non-response from the Times’ executive suite. Nothing.

Perhaps the newspaper’s leaders don’t want to address whether they’re okay with a contributor who is drawing Secret Service scrutiny or who fantasizes in front of gun fans about chopping off the heads of the political opposition.

Another possibility, though, is that the Washington Times doesn’t view this episode as news — that there’s nothing here to respond to in the first place. After all, it began publishing Ted Nugent’s column after he called Hillary Clinton a “two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.” The Times began publishing Ted Nugent’s column after he famously requested that Barack Obama suck on his machine gun. The Times began publishing Ted Nugent’s column after he expressed his fealty to the Confederate flag.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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