One failure of logic is to generalize from the anecdotal to the whole. Conservatives, who know rules of logic -- we have Thomas Sowell after all (see what I did there?) -- understand this. So, when it comes to rhetorical arguments or situations where some weirdo commits some random badness, they tend to blame...well, the perpetrator. It's also just fundamental fairness.
The left, in contrast, has spent the last year and half trying to pin every act of terrorism and evil on the vast, white, racist, homophobic, bigoted Tea Party. They do it without shame. They impugn, malign and besmirch repeatedly. Best Tea Party sign? "You'll say I'm racist anyway."
Lefties generalize from anecdotes unless the crazy person is one of their own (and yes, that was just a generalization). Then, of course, the crazy is an "outlier". He's a depraved individual. And often, there are compelling reasons for the outburst. Those compelling reasons demand more examination. And upon examination, well, it turns out the context is complex and nuanced.
Enter the Discovery Building bomber-hostage taker-gun nut. The blogger Atrios was quick to point out that the guy with a clear eco-terrorist bent was just a "crazy individual".
In an August 28 online column, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter ripped into Fox News and conservative Republican leaders for painting Barack Obama as a closet Muslim and potentially a foreign-born person illegible to hold the office of the presidency.
But while he tarred the Left's usual bogeymen with the specious charges, Alter failed to produce documented evidence of any instance in which any mainstream conservative Republican leader or Fox News talent specifically charged that President Obama is either a Muslim or was not born in the United States.
Instead the Newsweek veteran resorted to an all-too-typical refuge: insisting that conservative opinion leaders speak in some sort of "coded language" which apparently their followers understand instinctively and only enlightened liberals like Alter can see through as a cleverly-deployed Jedi mind trick:
For centuries, theological seminaries minted trained and licensed ministers of their respective religious traditions. They took seriously their creedal and confessional commitments to their respective faiths and denominations. While comparative theology may have been taught, it was with a view to understand and critically evaluate them as rival truth claims, not equally valid truthful claims. But those dark, backwards days may be behind us if Claremont School of Theology successfully paves the way.
Dias's 10-paragraph-long August 22 article portrayed Claremont president Jerry Campbell as a "classic American" entrepreneur who took a novel approach to the school's "low enrollment and in-the-red" balance sheet: "end isolated clerical training" by "bring[ing] toegether Claremont, the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) and the Academy for Jewish Religion California."
Of course, religious training deals in matters of eternal verities, not marketplace commodities, so that sort of approach is unwise, religious conservatives would argue. Yet Dias excluded any dissent from her examination into the newly inclusive Methodist seminary.
It was inevitable that someone with enough time on their hands would compile a list of the best viral campaign video ads of 2010. There sure have been some doozies this year, so I can't fault Time magazine for including hits like "Demon Sheep" and the Dale Peterson ad in their top 20 list.
That said, of the 15 Republican ads in the list, most were panned by Time staffers. By contrast, two Democrats' ads -- Rep. Tom Perreillo (Va.) and Sen. Pat Leahy (Vt.) primary opponent Dan Freilich -- were panned, yet neither candidate's Democratic affiliation was mentioned in the blurbs about the ads.
Time magazine's Joe Klein yesterday did what he does best: take one paragraph from a neoconservative's column and blow it out of proportion and out of context in order to go on an extended screed bashing conservatives in general and neocons in particular.
Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein addressed Bill Kristol's editorial for the August 30 Weekly Standard print edition entitled, "He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive."
Klein started off with a backhanded compliment:
Well, it's good to learn that there are limits to Bill Kristol's tactical skeevery. He clearly states here that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. No winks, no nods, no gratuitous McConnellesque "If he says he's not, that's okay with me."
With that out of the way, Klein dove into his screed:
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.
Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.
Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.
But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):
In a Swampland blog post this morning entitled, "Something I Didn't Know," Time magazine's Joe Klein pointed to a New York Times article that noted the existence of two mosques "already within several blocks of the proposed [Islamic] center."
But while other folks might draw the conclusion that building an additional mosque just blocks from Ground Zero is a needless exercise in dividing New Yorkers over a highly sensitive matter, Klein ran in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that logical consistency would compel mosque opponent Newt Gingrich to want to "close those suckers down"?
"[T]his is further evidence of the true nature of this squabble: a particularly sleazy form of Nativist electoral politics," Klein insisted. [click here for a related post by Brent Baker]
How dense and forgetful does Newsweek think socially conservative voters are?
Apparently so much so that the magazine's Ben Adler predicts yesterday's stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling permitting same-sex marriages in California will blunt the hopes Republicans have of social conservatives coming out in force on Election Day to help push the GOP to victory in the midterms on Election Day.
Social conservatives were set to use the images of gay couples getting married in California as grist to motivate their base to turn out in the midterm elections. Republicans look certain to gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November, as opposition parties typically do during midterms. Whether they will pull the inside straight they need to take over either, or both, the House and Senate, will depend on any number of factors, but turnout is sure to be one of them.
Further, Adler maintained, because "the Democrats have not done much to invite images of an American Gomorrah" what with President Obama moving "very gingerly" and tentatively on issues like repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," social conservatives need the visual impact of gay and lesbian couples at the altar this fall to incense social conservatives and drive them like angry hornets to the ballot box.
Numerous conservative radio talk show hosts across the fruited plain are dedicated fans of NewsBusters and mention our site or otherwise direct their listeners to our content day after day.
Some of them have told us that our site is invaluable to their show prep, which is quite the honor for us as the blogosphere and talk radio are the primary media outlets conservatives have to challenge the liberal bias of the mainstream media.
So today we thought we'd share the kind words and warm wishes of three local conservative radio hosts: Fred Grandy and Chris Plante of Washington, D.C.'s WMAL, 630-AM and Rob Port, a blogger from North Dakota who hosts the early morning show on Fargo's WZFG 1100-AM.
You can listen to the testimonials by clicking on the logos for the respective stations.
Here's another item for Bill Press and his ridiculous conceit that left-wingers are so much more civil than the "toxic talk" being emitted on right-wing radio. The Daily Kos blog now features a vicious, profanity-polluted blog post by "Brainspank" attacking Rush Limbaugh with the less-than-charming title the "Human S---smear." He attacks Limbaugh for spreading an idiocy infection to "oxygen-starved brains" in the Tea Party:
If you listen to this guy and you believe a single word he says, you’re an idiot. A lost cause. I’m not talking to you and I’m not writing this for your benefit. You are proof of the 1/4 paradigm. Common sense and logic are lost on you. The 1/4 paradigm are those that still supported Nixon after he was forced to resign. The 25% percent who still believed in the idiot Dumbya when he left office and the rest of us in a s--tstorm. You people are incurably stupid. You still think Jesus Christ will be here to save you personally before you die. I’m not talking to you. As far as I’m concerned, you people are worthless human stains who’s only potential contribution to anything at all would be polluting the gene pool.
While Newsweek's David Graham is hard at work defending President Obama's summertime leisure -- "A Short History of Presidential Vacation Outrage" -- by insisting that the press corps always complains about any president's vacation habits, it's instructive that he failed to indict his own magazine.
"War on terrorism stalled, economy on precipice, time for a month on the Crawford ranch."
Accompanied by a disapproving down arrow, that's how the August 5, 2002 Newsweek feature "Conventional Wisdom" derided President Bush's working vacation a mere three months before midterm elections in his first term.
Elsewhere in Newsweek's coverage at the time, writers put the term working vacation into derisive quote marks, and otherwise presented President Bush's time away from Washington, including a quasi-campaign swing called the "Heartland Tour," as a nakedly political move to bolster his sagging approval numbers.
From Martha Brant's August 7 "Web exclusive" entitled "Look Who's Back":
Matt brings up two pieces of evidence: Matt Yglesias saying that lying is okay was one distressing example. Well, duh. Yglesias is a liberal and I have yet to read a liberal blogger who doesn't believe the ends justify the means. There is no true objective truth, after all. And, really, lying is fine, if a greater truth is served yada yada. This is not new. Nor is it shocking. Everything from science (Al Gore and global warming) to social science (single mothering is as good as dual-parent families) to religion (Christianists!) to media coverage is manipulated to serve the statist i.e. Democratic good. And to make the arguments, lying isn't just recommended, it's necessary.
It's bad enough that the Daily Kos posts outrageous claims like “the 9/11 attacks were horrific, but they were more about optics than actual harm.” When bizarre sentences like these are exposed, then the exposers are accused of being enemies of “meaningful dialogue.” What is meaningful in telling the families of the victims of 9/11 that their losses were more “optics” than “actual harm”? But that's how the blogger "Something the Dog Said" tried to defend himself against my post on NewsBusters:
Mr. Graham is using the quotes from my posts that are most likely to confirm his readers prejudice against the Left and Daily Kos. By doing so he makes sure there can be no meaningful dialog between the Right and Left.
While the Ground Zero Mosque controversy strikes the media as an opportunity for "healing" that's being denied by stubborn conservatives, the leftists at the Daily Kos see it as an opportunity for Holocaust Denial. The blogger known as "Something the Dog Said" dropped this jaw-dropping paragraph Thursday morning about fear of Muslims:
Given that they are such a small minority in this nation, it is odd that so many of our fellow citizens see them as such a threat. Yes, the 9/11 attacks were horrific, but they were more about optics than actual harm. The economy was already taking a hit before the Twin Towers fell. The reaction of the nation to seeing two major buildings in New York fall on T.V. has boosted the attack out of proportion. While the loss of even a single life is to be condemned and the devastation these deaths caused the families of those killed, more than this number of teens are killed every year in car crashes. These are also tragic losses but we do not make the kind of high profile issue of it that the 9/11 attacks are.
This blogger obviously can't tell the difference in political meaning between a collection of teen car accidents and an intentional, ideological mass murder. This is the same blogger who just wrote on July 30 that Republicans are much scarier than jihadists:
On MSNBC's August 9 broadcast of "Countdown," Yglesias did his best to psychoanalyze people that are upset a mosque is being built in the shadow of Ground Zero, where over 2,600 people died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. According to Yglesias, whose blog, ThinkProgress.org, is a function the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, opposition to the plan had nothing to do with sensitivities but instead economics. The anti-mosque sentiment, he believed, couldn't exist without masterminds like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich whipping conservatives against the mosque into a frenzy.
"Well, it seems to me that there is or at least there - it's much more visible than it used to be because we're seeing it stoked by sort of the leads in the conservative movement, by Sarah Palin, by Newt Gingrich, by others, in a way that we never had before 9/11," Yglesias said. "And I think what's happening is that when the economy goes down, people become anxious, you see, historically, a lot of increase in xenophobia, in fear and in sort of intolerance. And we've got the conservative movement leaders, very opportunistically trying to take advantage of that, try to play on people's anxieties, and build this kind of anti-Muslim hysteria in a way that President Bush never did in 2001 and 2002."
The Washington Post has an opinion blog entitled "All Opinions Are Local." Print edition editors regularly pick from the blog to excerpt a post to the editorial page under the heading "Local Opinions."
Today's entry, "Stop the torrent of hate after a deadly drunk-driving crash," was filed by one Simone Campbell of Washington, whom the Post noted "is executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice advocacy group." The online edition bears a much blander headline, "A proper tribute to Sister Denise," referring to Denise Mosier, the nun who was killed in a Sunday car crash by repeat DUI offender and illegal immigrant Carlos Martinelly-Montano.
In her 3-paragraph piece, Campbell essentially lumped xenophobes and racists in with conservative critics of law immigration enforcement, slamming "hate speech" on "The Post's online comments section" and insisting that Martinelly-Montano's immigration status did not cause "this tragedy." Campbell then promptly proceeded to politicize Mosier's death by arguing that "comprehensive immigration reform" would "be a proper tribute to Sister Denise's memory."
The Post did not note that Campbell's group Network supports a "Realistic path to earned legalization for people in the U.S. without status," in other words, amnesty to immigrants in the United States illegally.
Lefty blogs have been having a field day with a tweet that showed up on Glenn Beck's "favorites" list - a list of tweets bookmarked, in a sense, by the user - directing followers to a white supremacist message board. Keith Olbermann picked up on the line of attack last night, crediting a website called "Stop Beck," which he says noticed the tweet. Stop Beck came as close to stating that Beck was endorsing white supremacy as it possibly could, without actually saying it ("Why is Glenn Beck associating himself with white nationalists and white supremacists?"). Since Olbermann is endorsing the notion that a Twitter "favorite" denotes a positive association, we at NewsBusters must thank him for extending that courtesy to our publisher, MRC President Brent Bozell. This tweet, from @themick1962, showed up at the top of @KeithOlbermann's favorites (click the preview at top right for a larger image): "Brent Bozell's Open Letter to WaPo Ed. Re: JournoList http://bit.ly/cnWvL0 Mandatory reading for ALL media types @KeithOlbermann #p2 #tcot" (h/t Tommy Christopher).
On Sunday morning in northern Virginia, a drunk illegal immigrant -- who had previously been convicted twice on DUI charges -- allegedly crashed head-on into a car full of nuns, killing one, Sister Denise Mosier, and injuring the rest.
The Benedictine Sisters have since come out to say they are "dismayed and saddened" that the crime "has been politicized and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda."
USA Today religion writer Cathy Lynn Grossman picked up on that angle of the story yesterday, asking readers if they could forgive a drunk driver who killed a loved one of theirs, a perfectly legitimate query for a blog called "Faith & Reason." But Grossman then gratuitously threw in a loaded question that confuses anger over lax federal enforcement of immigration laws with xenophobia, asking:
Today I am thinking about all the reasons William K. Black detests me. Last Tuesday, I reported how MSNBC promoted the findings of June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, co-authors of Red Families v. Blue Families, without acknowledging their affiliation with the Roosevelt Institute, a left-wing think tank. On Friday, Black, associate professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, devoted almost 1,500 words, in an article cross-posted to the Huffington Post, to assaulting my character, dismissing me as a "divider," positing that I "have unresolved difficulties with gays," and claiming I have "sex fantasies" about the book.
Black, pictured from an April 30 appearance on PBS's Bill Moyers Journal, is also Carbone's husband.
When the defining event of your life is shooting at U.S. Congressman from a House visitors gallery, you'd think the Washington Post obituary, if any, for such a person would have enough sense to treat that event with the appropriate condemnation.
But in Emma Brown's August 2 treatment of 90-year old Lolita Lebron -- "A fervor for Puerto Rico's freedom led her to violent act at U.S. Capitol"* -- the Post obit writer went beyond the usual faux-balance that many journalists try to evince and sounded downright sympathetic to the late Lebron's political cause (emphasis mine):
Lolita Lebron, a Puerto Rican nationalist known to some as a terrorist and to others as a near-mythic freedom fighter for her violent attack on the U.S. Capitol more than a half-century ago, died Aug. 1 at a hospital in San Juan of complications from respiratory disease. She was 90.
Ms. Lebron was called both fanatical and fearless for her efforts to draw attention to the cause of independence for her home island, claimed by the United States as spoils after the Spanish-American War and made an American commonwealth in 1952.
The woman shot at unarmed U.S. congressmen! That act was without a question an incident of terrorism. Yet Brown couldn't help but comment on a famous photograph of Lebron in police custody following the attack (emphasis mine):
Time magazine's Joe Klein has a penchant for self-righteous bluster in his writing, particularly, it seems, when he's smacking around adherents of his Jewish faith who happen to disagree with him politically. Klein can't seem to let his wrath take a respite, as witnessed by a sabbath-day posting on Time's Swampland blog.
Klein lit into Abraham Foxman of the ADL in a Saturday morning blog post for his opposition to a planned Islamic center just blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan (emphases mine):
Imagine that it's 2006, and an elderly, long-serving conservative U.S. congressman from a deep-red congressional district is facing congressional hearings regarding charges of corruption and tax evasion. Also imagine that this congressman was caught on camera being exceedingly condescending and dismissive when asked about these charges by a young reporter.
The media drumbeat of indignation would be predictably nonstop and longtime liberal veterans of the print press corps would inveigh against the Republican legislator, calling for his resignation and warning that Republicans were headed for electoral defeat if they failed to clean house. This congressman would certainly not be depicted as a heroic but flawed figure who possesses redeeming qualities and tragically deviated from his high ideals.
UPDATE: HuffPo's Jason Linkins offers explanation (see bottom)
Maybe this is the way former Hearst Newspapers columnist and so-called dean of the White House Press Corps Helen Thomas would have wanted it.
Although Thomas' old seat in the White House press briefing room hasn't officially been designated for a particular outlet, and this might be wishful thinking on the part of the Huffington Post's Sam Stein, the White House correspondent for website, took the seat for the July 27 briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Stein's questions from the front row dealt with the possibility of President Barack Obama making recess appointment, in dealing with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and what he deemed the "lethargic pace" of judicial confirmations. Stein then followed up with four additional questions for his piece posted on the Huffington Post later that afternoon.
Shirley Sherrod's now-infamous March speech before an NAACP audience is recognizable to practicing Christians as a "testimony." That's the spin that Syracuse journalism professor and former Washington Post staff writer R. Gustav Niebuhr brought to Newsweek/Washington Post's On Faith feature in a July 26 Under God blog post:
As she said to members of the Georgia NAACP back on that March day, she spoke as the daughter of a murdered black farmer, victim of a racial crime whose author was never convicted. That allowed her to talk about how, through her experiences with the financially hard-pressed white farmer in 1986, she came to believe a divine agency was at work in her life, teaching her.
"God helped me to see that it's not just about black people--it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know."
That's the key statement in her speech. In traditional Christian terminology, it's called a testimony.
For all the daily talk on the Daily Kos that conservatives are dictatorial, their cast of bloggers isn't without grand designs for social control. Take this post: "Time to begin working for the death of religion (a rant)." The diarist "BlueMoon" expressed no attempt to disrupt free speech, but the "end of organized religion" must be attempted:
However, the time has come to begin work to actively disrupt official organized religion of all stripes. Yes, I know there are many good christians. But when I hear of another moral pronouncement coming out of the Roman Catholic church, I am ready to splutter.
The church of pedophiles that brought you Cardnal Law and the current head, Ratzinger dares open its filthy mouth again? To preach about morality?
The Reverend Phelps dares picket servicemen's funerals? And tell us all that "Heath [is] in Hell?" And call Lady Gaga a "proud whore"?
A variety of crazy wackos calling themselves the "Tea party" peddle vicious racism masquerading as christian faith.
NewsBusters posts Friday afternoon provided readers with a list of 65 known participants in the now-infamous Journolist (via Melissa Clouthier) and the special case of Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's Economic Adviser (via Lachian Markey).
(Aside: Does the fact that Biden has his own econ adviser explain why what the Vice President says in public about the economy is so often of sync with the rest of the President's peeps?)
Here's another very special name that could (emphasis: could) be added to the (Journo)List: the soon-departing White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.