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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Did you know that you can measure your patriotism by the number of times you’ve seen 13 Hours? It’s true. If you haven’t seen 13 Hours yet, it means you hate America. 

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Michael Pitts

Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for a database tracking American citizens who are Muslim is proving to be a popular notion. South Carolina lawmaker Michael Pitts perhaps took a cue from The Donald when he proposed his own nasty legislation this week that would require all journalists in his state to be entered into a “registry.”

The “South Carolina Responsible Journalism Registry Law” provides that the “Secretary of State’s Office shall create a registry for the registration of persons who qualify as a journalist,” meaning anyone “who in his professional capacity collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information for a media outlet.”

The Post and Courier writes that the bill has “virtually no chance of advancing but is meant to reflect a lawmaker’s personal political statement.”

Pitts told The Post and Courier his bill is not a reaction to any news story featuring him and that he is “not a press hater.” Rather, it’s to stimulate discussion over how he sees Second Amendment rights being treated by the printed press and television news. He added that the bill is modeled directly after the “concealed weapons permitting law.”

“It strikes me as ironic that the first question is constitutionality from a press that has no problem demonizing firearms,” Pitts said. “With this statement I’m talking primarily about printed press and TV. The TV stations, the six o’clock news and the printed press has no qualms demonizing gun owners and gun ownership.”

Pitts, you’ll recall, is the same Palmetto lawmaker who fought like hell last summer to frustrate the effort to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. He did so primarily by introducing a host of amendments, some patently frivolous, in order to obstruct the passage of the bill that would lower the flag. The Daily Caller reported that Pitts also “stymied the debate over the bill by steering the conversation toward the ‘Trail of Tears’ and complications in his marriage, presented by his use of hearing aids.” And The State noted that, as another of his amendments got tossed out, he compared himself to General Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union forces at Appomattox.

While we’re discussing his record, it may interest readers to review what I wrote back in July:

Unsurprisingly, Pitts’ voting record aligns with a constellation of far-right positions. He is opposed to all legal abortion even in the case of incest or rape; he has sponsored a bill that would prohibit any local municipalities in the state from enacting or enforcing their own gun control laws; he opposes marriage equality and the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in South Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws.

At least he’s consistent.

Next: Gary Cass