Fox News’ “The Five” host Bob Beckel shocked his fellow hosts by uttering a very ignorant and insulting comment about rape. During a discussion about gun control and concealed carry, Beckel, the token liberal on the show said, “When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?”
Co-hosts Eric Bolling and Kimberley Guilfoyle responded with shock and a hint of outrage at the suggestion that rape doesn’t happen on college campuses, with Bolling exclaiming, “What are you talking about? It’s rampant!”
Beckel compounded his initial comment by replying, “Rampant? Date rape, yeah, that’s one thing, but are you going to take a gun out and shoot your date?”
Rape on college campuses is indeed a serious problem, with the CDC saying that more than 19% of women in college report rape at some time during their college careers (CDC quick fact sheet). “Rape” does not have to be the violent, forcible attack in a back alley that people tend to envision; oftentimes rape is committed by someone who is known to the victim. Date rape is among the most common types of rape in college, but other types of attacks happen also.
It’s truly interesting that conservatives on Fox News would express outrage at such a comment, and say that it’s a serious problem, when arguing for concealed carry, but stand by the assertion that rape is to be expected in the military when discussing rape a lone.
In Feb. 2012, Fox’s Liz Trotta asked what people expect when men and women are in such close quarters for prolonged periods of time. In other words, men are animals that can’t control themselves and it’s up to women to stay away from situations where they might get raped.
According to Media Matters, Trotta and Fox News were blasted for that, with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) saying that it was not in the job description of a U.S. soldier to be a victim of sexual assault or rape, and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) saying that the comments were deplorable. Media Matters also included comments from Mother Jones’ Adam Weinstein, who reports on national security and is a Navy veteran. Weinstein was offended at the suggestion that men are nothing but monsters who can’t exercise even the most basic of self control, and shouldn’t be expected to, while women should expect to be raped if they serve. And that was the beginning; there were many more published comments and articles condemning Fox News and Trotta for her comments.
Unlike Liz Trotta, who tried to defend herself by saying that she felt she had been misunderstood, and basically stood firm in her opinion that women should expect to be raped if they serve in combat, Beckel attempted to apologize by saying:
“It’s a horrible, horrendous issue. Simply put, rape is rape. Whether it’s date rape or it’s somebody coming in off the campus trying to rape somebody else. I very strongly feel that way. I just want to straighten the record out on that. I simply was trying to make—there was not a distinction to make here. It simply was that date rape is rape, and that is, by any other definition, rape is rape.” (SOURCE)
One has to wonder, however, which is worse: standing by stupid and offensive comments about rape, or trying to backpedal this way without making a real apology for it.
Here’s the video of Beckel’s comment: