During a televised shouting match over guns, Bob Beckel — the token liberal on Fox News' roundtable show The Five — expressed his own ignorance about rape by asking, "When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?" If we're to seriously entertain that question, the answer would be "constantly." According to some statistics, as many as one in four women are sexually assaulted in college and most know their assailant.
The topic came up during a loud conversation about the merits of allowing guns on college campuses. Beckel was arguing against his more conservative co-hosts, making the (fairly reasonable) point that letting drunken fraternity members pack heat might not be such a great idea. The other talking heads countered that concealed carry laws allow vigilantes to prevent violent acts on campuses, at which point Beckel mumbled the mind-boggling question:
Beckel continued digging his gaffe grave by saying, "Date rape, yeah, that's one thing, but are you going to take a gun out and shoot your date?" Who knows if Beckel is simply clueless about this widespread problem or if he's willfully ignoring the evidence. Either way, he got the social media backlash he deserved, this time from a largely conservative bunch:
VIDEO: Incredulous Bob Beckel: 'When was the last time you heard about a rape on [college] campus?' Seriously, Bob? - bit.ly/134YNup— National Review (@NRO) February 20, 2013
Cretinous Bob Beckel: What's a little mythical campus rape? Are you supposed to shoot your date? [video] bit.ly/W2qvpK— TwitchyTeam (@TwitchyTeam) February 20, 2013
Bob Beckel is seriously one of the most disgusting people in the media. Yet somehow, he keeps getting a paycheck. HOW?— Kevin Eder (@keder) February 20, 2013
It's absolutely incredible Bob Beckel is still allowed on television: twitchy.com/2013/02/19/cre…— AG (@AG_Conservative) February 20, 2013
Umm, not so much. Bob Beckel thinks rapes on college campuses are rare: soc.li/6bRdu5F— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) February 20, 2013
Bob Beckel hates women in the very manner that he and other Dems often accuse GOPers of hating women. It's called projection.— Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) February 20, 2013
Right wing commentators seem to be seizing the moment, especially after many prominent Republicans who said indefensible things about rape took a drubbing in the 2012 elections. Reaction to Beckel's remarks has been equally strong beyond punditry echo chamber. Peter Cahill, the CEO of personal safety app company LifeLine EDU, says Beckel's words were, "insulting to the thousands of survivors of sexual assault on college campuses and across the country."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.