'Slate' Writer Confesses: I May Have Unleashed 'Hezbollah-Style Fist Jab' Meme

Slate’s Christopher Beam has something to get off his chest.

In a post last night, Mr. Beam, who writes the website’s ‘Trailhead’ blog, confessed that he may have accidentally set off the ridiculous Barack and Michelle Obama "terrorist fist-bump" meme that found its way into this week’s New Yorker‘s cover illustration by Observer contributor Barry Blitt. That cover has spawned more op-eds, blog posts, news segments, and articles than, frankly, Media Mob is willing to link to, making it the most talked about magazine moment in history since Miley Cyrus bared her back in Vanity Fair, lo, two months ago.

According to Mr. Beam, while attempting to summarize some of more bone-headed misinterpretations of the Obamas’ post-nomination lock fist-bump on June 4th, he accidentally misattributed a statement about the gesture being a "Hezbollah-style fist jab" made by an anonymous commenter the website Human Events with a post on the same site by Cal Thomas. Writes Beam:

Unfortunately, I failed to note that its provenance was not the magazine itself but a reader comment posted below an unrelated column by Cal Thomas. I linked the phrase to the column but didn’t explain that the words weren’t Thomas’.
Many ‘Trailhead’ readers clicked through to Thomas’ column and, not finding the phrase there, assumed that Thomas or his bosses had wiped it from his column. What really happened, it seems, is that Human Events removed the reader comment after many other readers posted comments taking offense and/or debunking it. These latter comments remained, while the comment that provoked the outrage vanished into thin air, creating further confusion about its origin.

Whoops! Add another footnote to the already too-long endnote about those pesky anonymous commenters and how they’re ruining everything. 'Slate' Writer Confesses: I May Have Unleashed 'Hezbollah-Style Fist Jab' Meme