Preaching to a very scary, well-armed choir, the NRA released a video yesterday showing conservative talk show host and commentator Dana Loesch cutting what was basically a wrestling promo, slamming that “old gray hag,” The New York Times. But while we’re basically accustomed at this point to hearing a gun rights organization tell members of the media that it wants to fire “a warning shot” across their bows—or even outright declare “we’re coming for you”—those aren’t the words from Loesch’s video that have caught people’s notice.
No, the moment in question comes about 28 seconds in, when Loesch declares she and her group are going to…something…The New York Times. On repeated listens (and with proper context), it’s pretty clear she’s saying “fisk,” a blogging term that refers to refuting an article’s statements, point by point. But for those for whom that’s a new term, it definitely sounds like she said she wants to “fist” the paper of record, setting off some very weird back-and-forths in the media Twitter sphere. (Presumably not helped by the fact that the NRATV tweet includes a hashtag with the word “fist” right there in it.)
Much of the ire centered on NYT reporter Adam Goldman, who was forced to delete an initial tweet claiming the video was, in fact, about fisting. Loesch fired back, and the ball started rolling from there, with both sides lobbing all sorts of insults and criticisms at each other. None of this was helped by the fact that Loesch is a woman existing on the internet; she’s been retweeting negative comments for the last hour or so, and they range from the reasonable—pointing out that “fisk” is a niche word, and maybe shouldn’t be used so glibly in mass communications—down to a lot of comments about her relationship with her husband, whether she should die or not, and all the other things people enjoy anonymously saying to women they don’t like.