In response to criticism, CNN's Erick Erickson is claiming that liberals are "misconstruing" his remark about pulling out a shotgun if the government tries to arrest him for not filling out the American Community Survey. Erickson also lashed out at "people" who "linger on every word I say" by stating: "You people are nuts. Absolute nuts. Where do you get off misconstruing that I'm agitating for killing Census workers when you people are out there advocating for the killing of the unborn on a regular basis. You have no shame."
On April 1, Erickson said of the American Community Survey: "This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I'm not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They're not going on my property. They can't do that. They don't have the legal right, and yet they're trying."
That same day, Media Matters posted a seven-minute audio clip of Erickson's remarks, in context, along with transcript. The headline on Media Matters' post was, "CNN's Erickson: I'll '[p]ull out my wife's shotgun' if they try to arrest me for not filling out the American Community Survey."
On his radio show today, Erickson accused Media Matters of running "a story on their website saying I'm advocating shooting Census workers":
ERICKSON: I saw a report now -- it was an email and I've deleted the email, that now the word this year that everyone is using is narrative. The word narrative has been around for a long time but people are now paying attention to it in ways they didn't in the past. The media constructs the narrative of events. They do not set out to create it, but again, as I've discussed before, the world view -- the narrative is that conservatives are angry and are turning violent. And they have people in the New York Times and the Washington Post and even the Wall Street Journal and across the board throughout the traditional media building the narrative that conservatives are angry.
I mean, look, you've got headlines out there saying I've been advocating shooting Census workers, when I've done nothing of the sort. And people feed into these headlines and Media Matters runs a story on their website saying I'm advocating shooting Census workers, and the media falls into it and is willing to run the story. Not, mind you, that anyone ever called me to ask. And it's not just me, it's across the board.
Later on his program today, Erickson claimed that the "lefties are coming at me, hanging on every word I say, trying to misconstrue it; claim I'm advocating violence or what have you."
Erickson's defense echoes what he wrote on RedState.com on April 2, in which he claimed that liberals are out to "misconstrue" him.
Yesterday, I spent a good bit of time imploring people to fill out their census form, but then addressed this article in the Weekly Standard about the American Community Survey. ACS Surveyors are getting belligerent and have showed up on people's doorsteps to harass them and threaten jail. I said if some ACS person showed up on my doorstep to try to arrest me for not wanting to tell the government how often I flush my toilet I'd get out my wife's shotgun and get them off my property.
Naturally the left is out today saying I was on the air advocating killing census workers.
So tune in today and see what else they'll misconstrue. Oh, and we'll have special music for Good Friday.
On his April 2 radio show, Erickson spent more than fives minutes defending himself, adding that liberals "should be right there with us. They're the big privacy advocates." Erickson then addressed people who "linger on every word I say" by calling them "nuts":
ERICKSON: I want to start this morning, though, just -- I've been telling you guys that Media Matters and the left-wing kooks are out there listening now to every word I say. Yesterday, you will remember I talked about the American Community Survey. Now, this is not the census, although it's run through the Census office at the Department of Commerce. It is a survey that 200 some-odd thousand Americans get every year, and these little bureaucrats in the Census Department, they make you fill this out or threaten you with jail or fines if you don't. Now, this survey asks you when you leave for work, when you return, how long your drive is, who drives with you, how often you flush your toilet, how many people live in your house -- it's the census plus a bunch of garbage.
Now, as I said yesterday, repeatedly, you need to fill out your census form. You need to get it mailed in. The news is reporting it's about $1,700 per person comes in through census funding. Now, if you don't fill out your census form, these workers who have been hired causing the unemployment number to go down, they're going to come door to door anyway.
There is a constitutional obligation for you to fill out your census. A free society cannot operate -- a modern republic cannot operate without knowing precisely how many people there are in the country. And the Constitution requires a hand-counting, not a statistical sampling, but a hand-counting. Well, this American Community Survey, there's no statutory authorization for it. The just -- the Census Bureau ran with it. Congress gave them a little, and they took a lot. And so the story I was reading yesterday was about the ACS surveyor who showed up to the door of the writer, basically demanding that he either fill out a survey or off to jail with you. And I said that if someone were to show up on my doorstep and try to haul me off to jail for not telling the government how often I flush my toilet, well I'm going to get my wife's shotgun and chase them off the property.
So naturally, of course, the morons on the left immediately blew up yesterday by the time I got off the air, that I'm out there - or of course now that they refer to me as CNN's right-wing contributor Erick Erickson. Yeah. Is calling for killing Census workers.
Now, I don't know in what part of my statement encouraging you to fill out your census or they're going to come door to door and get it and they're required to get it and we have an obligation to help them get it, is where they can interpret that as me encouraging people to kill Census workers. But, you know, I forget who prayed the prayer, 'Lord give me smart enemies,' but we'll make that my prayer, I guess. Give me smart critics and smart enemies. Good Lord, people. I am not advocating the killing of Census workers.
I am saying, though, if somebody shows up at my house because I refuse to fill out this American Community Survey and they tell me I'm going to go to jail because I won't tell the government how often I flush my toilet, what size toilet it is, and when I go to work, and when I return home, and who rides with me, and the invasiveness of this survey is outrageous - well, I will chase those people off my property.
Here's the thing. The left that is out there attacking me for saying this stuff and misconstruing along the way what I've actually said, they should be right there with us. They're the big privacy advocates. It's the left that's decrying the Patriot Act, it's the left that views abortion as a privacy matter. It's the left that says it's the Republicans in your bedroom. No, it's not the Republicans in your bedroom. You know Ronald Reagan didn't write this American Community Survey. Wasn't around in 1980. And yet they're out there saying, "Oh, Erick Erickson. He's encouraging us to kill Census workers. He's so evil and mean. And he works for CNN." You know, I -- long ago I realized -- well, not that long ago, a year or so ago, that people linger on every word I say. Well, linger on these words, please: You people are nuts. Absolute nuts. Where do you get off misconstruing that I'm agitating for killing Census workers when you people are out there advocating for the killing of the unborn on a regular basis. You have no shame.