In the grand narrative of American politics, at least as presented by right-wing news outlets such as Fox News, Democrat voters are snotty, wine-drinking elites who look down on the wholesome, salt-of-the-earth Republican voters for their wholesome, salt-of-the-earth Republican values, like eating at Olive Garden.
Anderson Cooper of CNN inadvertently played into these stereotypes on Wednesday night during his reporting on the riots at the Capitol when it appeared that rioters were going to be allowed to leave without getting arrested.
Cooper was outraged. “Each of these people should be shamed for what they did today. Look at them. They’re high-fiving each other for this deplorable display, this completely unpatriotic, completely against law and order, completely unconstitutional behavior. It’s stunning. And they’re going to go back, you know, to the Olive Garden and the Holiday Inn that they’re staying at, the Garden Marriott, they’re going to have some drinks and they’re going to talk about the great day they had in Washington and how they really did something.... They stood up for nothing other than mayhem.”
As a point of fact, many of the rioters were staying at more upscale chains, like the Grand Hyatt Washington.
Nonetheless, Fox News naturally could not stand by and let this insult to its core viewership (or what it perceives to be its core viewership) go unchecked. Not the part about how the rioters were thugs who were going to go home unpunished. No, the part about how Anderson Cooper appeared to consider accusing someone of dining at the Olive Garden an insult.
In an earlier time, there might have been a call for pistols at Weehawken at dawn, but instead, on Thursday night during prime time, Fox unleashed Sean Hannity, who delivered a heartfelt monologue about... how much he loves the Olive Garden.
“According to Anderson,” he began, “the real horror from yesterday’s chaos is that some of the pro-Trump protesters will go back and celebrate at an Olive Garden.... There’s nothin’ wrong with Olive Garden. Lemme just give a plug for Olive Garden. I like Olive Garden. I like their salad unlimited, unlimited garlic breadsticks that are phenomenal. Some nights you get unlimited pasta. They got these doughnut things that you put hot chocolate sauce or caramel on. It’s great! Really delicious.... And the fact that Anderson Cooper considers people loving Olive Garden or staying at a Holiday Inn an insult is probably the reason people hate CNN so much.”
Later Tucker Carlson interviewed Steve Krakauer, editor of the newsletter Fourth Watch, who claimed that if Cooper actually knew Trump voters, he wouldn’t be so quick to try to insult them with stupid cultural stereotypes. Carlson chimed in to add that his producer had bought the entire staff Olive Garden for lunch. “I can’t deal with the bread,” he added with a laugh. “There’s too much bread, I would eat it all.”
And there you have it: all that’s wrong with America could be fixed if only one group of people stopped ragging on other people who prefer to eat at the Olive Garden. Duly noted.