In the next in a series of events that suggest 2013 is going to be a combination of exceedingly dispiriting and highly entertaining for me, Dr. Keith Ablow, the Fox News contributor who regularly comes on the network’s shows to put his psychiatrist training to absolutely ludicrous use, is considering running for the Massachusetts Senate seat that John Kerry will vacate if he is confirmed as the next Secretary of State.
It’s easy to get enraged about the causes in which Ablow enlists his medical credentials. This is a man, after all, who wished that Newtown teachers had been armed, who thinks working mothers are self-hating, thinks some adopted children are power-mad, gets viscerally disgusted at mentions of transgender people, thinks letting men veto abortions would solve a so-called absentee father crisis, and keeps alive the worst remnants of his profession, endorsing thoroughly debunked science about changing gay people’s sexual orientations. And that’s not even to mention his views, of particular interest to this blog, on the impact of violent media on children. These views are vile and in some cases actively damaging, and it’s shameful that Ablow would lend his psychiatric expertise to validating them.
But there’s an element of brilliant performance art to Ablow’s work, as upsetting as it may be. His role on the network is in keeping with Fox’s tendency to bait its opponents by hiring extreme figures like Mark Fuhrman, the former Los Angeles detective who plead no contest to charges he perjured himself during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, to comment on criminal justice issues. There’s a double audacity to those assignments. It’s not just what people like Ablow and Fuhrman say. It’s that Fox treats them as credible experts at all, credentialing them through contracts and frequent airtime. And that’s exactly why I’d love to see Ablow run for Senate, and primary former Senator Scott Brown, who’s started his third attempt at getting or holding on to a Massachusetts Senate seat by calling into question Democratic contender Rep. Ed Markey’s residency eligibility to compete for the seat.