Those who falsely smear the other side in an attempt to make an argument tend to do so because they have run out of real ones. It would appear that the New Haven Register's argument cupboard is completely barren of everything but poisonous rhetoric.
In an opinion piece which I can hardly believe is a house editorial, the Register characterizes Ann Coulter, Fox News, the Republican Party, anyone who thinks George Zimmerman really was innocent, Ted Nugent, and Toad's Place, the venue where Nugent is playing next week, as among those who have "embraced" the "same basic message that the KKK has promoted for 148 years." Tellingly, the paper turns on many of its readers, adding "a burgeoning array of fringe 'conservative' media and members of our own community commenting on stories on the New Haven Register’s website" to the KKK-sympathetic cadre. Brace yourself for what follows after the jump, and ask yourself why any person of genuine good will -- left, right, or middle -- would willingly support a publication such as this.
The background is that the United Klans of America, in a crass and brazen move, left fliers on the driveways and lawns of many residents of the Nutmeg State town of Milford about three weeks ago. The fliers read, "Neighborhood Watch: You can sleep well tonight knowing the UKA is awake." Given that the phone number at the bottom of the flyer is a VOIP line from Decatur, Alabama, which happens to be the same phone number as that found at the KKK's home page (not linked for obvious reasons), it's hard to see why anyone would be sleeping well at all.
Here's more from a story at WABC Eyewitness News:
Police are investigating and seeking witnesses who saw people distributing the fliers.
"It's a pathetic little attempt to get some press and some attention for his very, very weak group," said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and hate groups.
But Potok said it's good for political leaders to condemn such moves.
These reactions are perfectly appropriate, given the Klan's murderous record.
What isn't appropriate is the Register using this Klan stunt as a opportunity to tar and feather conservatism:
Everyone knows the disgusting history of that movement and how disgusting one’s mindset has to be to embrace the label today. And everyone should know what a “neighborhood patrol” by the KKK is all about.
Meanwhile, though, the same basic message that the KKK has promoted for 148 years is embraced by the likes of Ted Nugent, Fox News, Ann Coulter, a burgeoning array of fringe “conservative” media and members of our own community commenting on stories on the New Haven Register’s website.
Nugent will be in New Haven Aug. 6 with prominent billing for a concert at respected local music institution Toad’s Place. He has brought the KKK’s traditional message to the mainstream -- to the point of being embraced by the leaders of the Republican Party during the last presidential election campaign (against the re-election of a black president, it should be pointed out).
That message includes black people being an inferior race (note Nugent’s blanket statements that black people don’t work as hard as white people, are criminals, etc.), a fear of and opposition to immigration and expressions of disgust and hatred toward gay people.
The KKK has historically billed itself as a vigilante group, a concept that the gun-glorifying Nugent and supporters of George Zimmerman, “stand your ground” laws and the profiling of young black men in hoodies embrace as well.
So, "neighborhood watch" is the new "KKK," just because a few KKK nuts used the term.
Nugent and like-minded people aren’t openly aligning themselves with the Klan, but their message isn’t much less hateful.
With that in mind, we shouldn’t need a label as obvious as “KKK” to call out and condemn hatred and racism. Institutions who are helping “mainstream” this message -- even if that’s Fox News, the national Republican Party, or Toad’s Place -- deserve to be called out and, if ultimately necessary, marginalized and ostracized for enabling it.
This comes off as a despicable and desperate attempt by an arrogant elite which is utterly out of coherent arguments to shut down rational discussion and debate in their community.
I don't think I have to respond further to this slanderous nonsense when commenters, especially at NewsBusters, will collectively do a much better job.
But I can imagine that the Register's coverage of the Tea Party movement has been far less than stellar.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.