Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Stuart Varney agreed last night that Rep. Allen West (R-FL) was merely defending his “honor” when he personally attacked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) as “vile” and unladylike for criticizing his voting record. “I think he should have gone after Wasserman Schultz the way he wanted to,” O’Reilly said, adding that West shouldn’t apologize:
VARNEY: He is a man of honor, a blunt military guy. … Maybe he could have used softer language. Perhaps he should have.
O’REILLY: I don’t care about that. I think he should have gone after Wasserman Schultz the way he wanted to.
VERNEY: But I don’t think he should have apologized.
O’REILLY: I wouldn’t have apologized either. Look, he used words that were forceful because he felt, as you said, his honor was impugned — I have no problem with that.
But his machismo seems to be trumped by politics, as his siding with West belies a pretty glaring double standard. Following a remarkably similar incident last year, when former Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter accused Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) of being unladylike, O’Reilly took Bachmann’s side, excoriating and mocking Specter’s insensitivity. Watch his interview from late January, 2010 with Bachmann:
West and Specter were both in the wrong in the much the same way, but O’Reilly defended one and attacked the other.
But O’Reilly and Varney’s views are not unique, it appears, as Media Matters notes that other that Fox hosts have defended West’s harsh rhetoric as well while attacking Wasserman Schultz in obviously gendered terms. Host Monica Crowley took West’s side while calling Wasserman Schultz “she of the angry perm.” Fox contributor and right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin, meanwhile, said Wasserman Schultz is nothing more than former congressmen “Alan Grayson in heels” or “Anthony Weiner, only an octave higher.”