Ebola, ISIS, immigrants, the Secret Service: So much of the news lately turns on fears of barriers being breached—viruses flying in from Africa, “illegals” sneaking across the border, terrorists invading the homeland and, in a microcosm of it all, intruders barging through the White House front door. And right-wing media, which live to draw red lines between “us” and “them,” are turning the panic volume up to 11.
Some of the panic is understandable. The images we carry around in our heads now are particularly gruesome—ranging from beheadings to uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea. But the right’s response, as usual, is to try to wall off the perceived threat—ban flights from West Africa (and eventually all of Africa?), define Muslims as irredeemably violent and, basically, build a higher dang fence and then Otherize the heck out of everything on the other side.
Which makes this a particularly ripe moment for Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros. Nobody does disgust for the Other quite like her. With her trademark sneer and outlandish claims, she has a knack for stigmatizing her foes by tying them to everything bad and scary.
We should fear travelers from West Africa, Tantaros says, because “someone could get off a flight and seek treatment from a witch doctor who practices Santeria.”
“Eric Holder is one of the biggest race baiters in this entire country,” she said after his visit to Ferguson, Missouri. “He runs that DOJ like the Black Panthers would.”
And what’s up with the president and terrorists? “I feel he’s allowing them to get this caliphate,” and he hasn’t “brought the killers in Benghazi to justice,” she says, because “when it comes to terrorism, he doesn’t act because he believes we have been oppressive.”
Of course, Tantaros isn’t the only winger to build walls out of spittle. Laura Ingraham, a contributor on Fox and (in what should shame ABC) on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, nearly went birther to explain why Obama hasn’t called for a ban on flights from West Africa. It’s because of his “familial connection with Africa” and his “core ties to the African continent,” she said on her radio show. “Come on, it doesn’t make any sense to not stop those flights from coming here.”