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.
Should there be a "gatekeeper" regulating internet bloggers? In the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod incident, that's what CNN promoted on July 23.
Anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed the "mixed blessing of the internet," and agreed that there should be a crackdown on anonymous bloggers who disparage others on the internet.
"There are so many great things that the internet does and has to offer, but at the same time, Kyra, as you know, there is this dark side," Roberts said. "Imagine what would have happened if we hadn't taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said."
The more details emerge about the liberal media listserv JournoList, the more it resembles the cabal of leftist message-coordination many conservatives feared. Though perhaps not the "vast left-wing media conspiracy" Fred Barnes proclaims, evidence points to concerted efforts to coordinate talking points, and now, to direct links between the Obama White House and JournoList members.
Ironically, those are two elements of the listserv of which creator Ezra Klein explicity claimed JournoList was completely devoid. "Is it an ornate temple where liberals get together to work out "talking points?" Of course not," Klein stated last year. He added, "There are no government or campaign employees on the list."
Both of those assertions are provably false (whether or not they were at the time). The former has been contradicted by a number of instances of JournoList members doing just that: coordinating talking points. The second claim is upended by recent revelations that Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's chief economic adviser, and unpaid "surrogate" adviser to the Obama campaign, was a member of JournoList while advising then-candidate Obama on economic issues.
How could the White House have screwed up so badly in the case of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia USDA official who Wednesday received an apology from the Obama administration (through Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)?
Sherrod was the victim of a smear by the right-wing agent provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his fellow travelers at Fox News. (Yes, that side has adopted some Leninist tactics, as conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist has admitted over the years.) They took a two-and-a-half-minute clip from Sherrod's address to the NAACP and used it to depict her as a black racist who discriminated years ago against a white farmer. It turns out the farmer thought Sherrod had been a terrific help, and a full review of Sherrod's speech suggests that, far from being a racist, she had honestly (and successfully) worked through the complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads.
Later in his post, Alter added more spin and half-truths by noting that:
Hey, it's been a long day with all this Sherrod stuff. So let's kick back and enjoy some—unintentional—humor, courtesy Ed Schultz. On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed advised Dems not to go on Fox News because they'll "beat you up." Schultz then unleashed a torrent of venom on Andrew Breitbart, saying among—many—other things that Breitbart is a "nutjob" who "makes me sick."
But Schultz began the show by whining because—ready?—Breitbart wouldn't come on Ed's show.
In the "secret" underworld of Republican fundraising, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie use "cloaked" donor lists to "dig up dirt" on Democrats and funnel campaign contributions to Republican candidates. At least that's the impression left by Politico's Jim VandeHei.
On the July 21 "Morning Joe," Time magazine's Mark Halperin challenged VandeHei's characterization of American Crossroads GPS, a Republican political organization that finances issue ads designed to promote conservative positions on policy issues.
"With all due respect to Jim and the folks at Politico, you know, they make this these shadowy donors, this shadowy group, I mean, these are citizens who, under the law, are able to give anonymously to a group like this and to fund political activity to help them win races," complained Halperin.
A journalist with a political agenda is not necessarily a dishonest one, and a journalist who claims to be objective is not necessarily honest. These are useful facts to bear in mind as media liberals call for Andrew Breitbart's head.
Breitbart posted video of recently-fired USDA official Shirley Sherrod claiming she considered race in allocating federal agriculture funds. The apparent racism was debunked when the entire video surfaced, showing that Sherrod had actually discouraged such actions. "This is what happens" wrote Eric Deggans for the St. Petersburg "when ideologically-focused noise machines are treated like real news outlets."
Conspicuously absent in Deggans's screed is any mention of the recently-discovered attempt by liberal commentators to maliciously - and falsely, by their own admission - brand their ideological opponents as racists. Also absent: any mention of the litany of instances of dishonest and counter-factual reporting from the purportedly "objective" media.
If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, liberal Hollywood directors must be utterly certifiable. How else does one explain Hollywood's penchant for de-Americanizing thoroughly patriotic superhero and/or comic book icons?
Take Joe Johnston. The cinematic genius who gave the world "Jurassic Park 3" is directing a "Captain America" feature that will release in 2011, the 70th anniversary of the Marvel superhero's creation.
Liberal activists are so desperate to paint the Tea Party as racist that some, apparently, are willing to fabricate evidence and fallaciously draw unsupported conclusions to support their point.
Lee Fang, a writer for the far-left blog Think Progress, recently posted a video purporting to show racism at Tea Parties. But the video was a total fraud. It took statements out of context, claimed racism where there really was none, claimed liberal plants were authentic members of the movement, and even used video from 2006, three years before the movement existed!
Liberal writers at the Nation and the Huffington Post, as well as former Fox News cohost Alan Colmes all trumpeted the Think Progress video as evidence of Tea Party racism, despite the easily-verifiable evidence to the contrary.
In August 2009, much to the chagrin of leftist environmental activists, the generally liberal electorate of the city of Seattle rejected a 20-cent tax on plastic shopping bags.
In fact, 58 percent of voters voted to reject the proposal, although the Seattle Post-Intelligencer sought to portray the vote as the result of the plastic industry plunking down $1.4 million in advertising opposing the ban.
"Environmental interests, by comparison, only raised about $80,000," the P-I lamented.
Now nearly a year later, the P-I's Amy Rolph seems to think Seattle residents may be "jealous" that Portland, Oregon politicians are looking towards an outright ban of the dreaded plastic scourge!:
Mika Brzezinski wants to "cut the crap" when it comes to building speculation as to whether Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012. According to Mika, Palin's candidacy is a done deal, and the press is letting itself be sucked into a phony build-up.
Mika is so sure that Sarah is running that on today's Morning Joe she was willing to wager a dubious Jonathan Capehart $1,000. Brzezinski's comments came in response to Politico's report, highlighted by Mike Allen, that Palin has raised significant money and built a nascent campaign staff.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Are we going to go through like months and months of "will she or won't she, oh my gosh, might she?" Come on, can we please cut to the chase? Cut the crap . . . The bottom line is, let's just cut to the chase here: she is . . It's just silly. Are we really going to do this fake build-up like LeBron? . . . You guys have all been in TV too long and you're so used to the fake build-up you don't even know when you've been sucked into it.
Remember when media liberals were insisting (falsely, by the way) that RedState's Erick Erickson had advocated shooting a census taker? Well imagine that a journalist had approached, say, Dick Armey and the following exchange had ensued. Then try to imagine what the media's response would be.
JOURNO: Obviously you don't believe in killing census workers.
ARMEY: Umm, not in that context, no sir. No, no.
JOURNO: Okay, in what context?
ARMEY: Just for the sake of this interview, no context. I don't believe in that. There are too many other government forces out here that are much more powerful that I as a man would focus on. I wouldn't focus on the census workers, sir, I'd focus on the police.
Replace "census workers" with "babies" and "government" with "white," and you have the exact statement from Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party, made in an interview with Mediaite's Tommy Christopher (video below the fold).
Markos Moulitsas, founder of the far-left blog Daily Kos, announced today that he has been "blacklisted" by MSNBC for taunting "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough. "I just don't know how one could reasonably expect to be welcomed onto our network while publicly antagonizing one of our hosts at the same time," MSNBC president Phil Griffin told Moulitsas.
Griffin's ostracism marks the second instance in recent days that a prominent MSNBC personality has spurned Kos or his blog. A couple weeks ago, Keith Olbermann announced he would no longer be writing for the site. He returned a few days later.
Still, there seem to be some reservations even at liberal MSNBC about the often crude, pugilistic style employed by so many of the Kossacks. What set off the most recent tiff? A tweet exchange, recounted below the fold.
Covering the development, Time magazine's Adam Sorensen cast the appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick (pictured at right) as a blow to "hyperbolic" Republicans who hoped to make political hay out of the Harvard professor's confirmation hearings, yet Sorensen failed to carry any criticism of the Obama administration for the "unusual" maneuver or to examine how the move might bode poorly for Democrats given the public's concerns over the impact of ObamaCare on the health-care system.
It's a curious phenomenon to see what the minds at The Huffington Post deem funny, and at least this one wasn't filed under the category "HuffPo Religion," but a series of images depicting Jesus Christ making unhinged statements wins the HuffPo's "Comedy" classification.
In a June 30 post, Katla McGlynn wrote that mocking Tea Party protestors by "juxtaposing" "hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants" but at the same time mocking a religious figure many hold very is sacred isn't only funny but it is also instructive about what she described as "people who claim to be Christians."
"The concept behind the site Tea Party Jesus is simple: Put the words of conservative Christian social and political figures in the mouth of Christ," McGlynn wrote. "The juxtaposition of hateful, ignorant, or otherwise nonsensical rants with serene photos of JC himself isn't only funny, but says a lot about the people who claim to be Christians."
Andrew Breitbart has found a simple remedy to at least some of the problems that ail contemporary journalism: cold, hard cash. Yesterday he offered $100,000 to anyone who will supply him with the full archive of JournoList, the email listserve that brought down Dave Weigel.
"$100,000 is not a lot to spend on the Holy Grail of media bias when there is a country to save, " Breitbart wrote yesterday. Americans "deserve to know who was colluding against them," he added, "so that in the future they can better understand how the once-objective media has come to be so corrupted and despised."
And there's the rub: Breitbart is attempting to out liberal journalists as just that: liberal. His tactics and his objectives have been dubbed by some on the left as "digital McCarthyism," in the words of Michael Roston, "in which any of us could become the next Dave Weigel based not on the public output of our journalism, but based on our private sentiments."
Given that our tax dollars are subsidizing her salary, is it too much to expect PBS's Bonnie Erbe to have at least some intelligent command of the issues of the day?
On second thought, don't answer that.
In her latest blogging misadventure at USNews.com, the "To the Contrary" host portrayed yesterday's 5-4 ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicagoas a blow to "local rights":
The Supreme Court's decision, taking away important local rights to control gun ownership, marks another sad day in America's now seemingly endless political appetite for increasing the number of privately owned guns in this country.
"The last day of school shouldn't mean last call for lunch."
That's how CBS's Katie Couric melodramatically concluded her June 25 "Notebook" item on her CBSNews.com Couric & Co. blog.
The "Evening News" anchor pointed to a report by the liberal Center for American Progress -- without, of course, noting the group's leftward bent -- that found "that nearly 20 million children get free or reduced-price lunch at school. But only one in six of them will receive subsidized meals this summer."
Couric concluded from this that "[n]early one in four children is at risk for hunger" over the summer and called "essential" a bill before Congress to "improve access to summer meals."
Of course nowhere in her Notebook item did Couric weigh whether this might be a matter better left to state and local governments -- especially when the federal government is drowning in red ink -- or better yet, to parents themselves.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, the source of the lawsuit decided today by the Supreme Court, ten people were killed by guns after 54 people were shot over the weekend. The victims included a baby girl, who suffered a neck graze wound at a midnight barbecue, early Monday morning.
Something tells me Scherer's observation isn't that the Chicago gun ban has been a horrendous failure, especially given his attribution of violence in the brief blog post on the guns themselves -- "ten people were killed by guns" -- not the criminals who used them.
One emerging narrative from the tale of Dave Weigel's resignation is the extent to which the journalistic left is insulated from opposing views. The two institutions involved, JournoList and the Washington Post, are exemplars of liberal epistemic closure.
Ezra Klein's now-defunct email list provided a forum for journalists to collaborate, as long as they were, in his words, "nonpartisan to liberal, center to left." No conservatives allowed. The Washington Post, meanwhile, hired Weigel, perhaps two notches left of center, to cover the right, while relying on Klein, a full eight notches left, to cover the liberal movement.
The scarcity of conservative views both on JournoList and in the Post demonstrate the insularity of political conversation among legacy media players. They apply intense scrutiny to conservatives, and fail in the most basic measures of introspection.
UPDATE | Lachlan Markay - 6/25, 3:00 PM: A roundup of reactions from all over the blogosphere and twitterverse below the fold.
Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel resigned today after a host of offensive e-mails surfaced revealing his disdain for much of the right - the beat he was charged with covering. Fishbowl DC, which published a number of those emails yesterday, confirmed the resignation with the Post just after noon.
Yesterday I reported on leaked emails from Weigel to a listserve of liberal journalists bashing conservatives and conservatism - you know, the people Weigel is supposed to be covering. As bad as those email were, a plethora of messages from Weigel published in the Daily Caller take the conservative-bashing to a whole new level.
The new emails also demonstrated that yesterday's quasi-apology from Weigel was really not as sincere as he claimed. He said that he made some of his most offensive remarks at the end of a bad day. But these new emails show that there was really nothing unique about them, and that offensive remarks about conservatives really were nothing new or uncommon.
UPDATE - 6/25, 2:20 PM | Lachlan Markay :Weigel resigned Friday after the Daily Caller published a number of additional emails that put these to shame. Details here.
Many conservatives, including a number of NewsBusters contributors, have been skeptical of Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel since he was hired in March to cover the right. Time and again, those concerns have been vindicated as Weigel has ridiculed a number of conservatives and conservative positions.
It seems that the Washington Post has little interest in an objective blog-based approach to the news -- something this humble blogger has noted previously. Likewise, Weigel seems to have little interest in covering the right with an even hand; he has consistently shown his disdain for the movement and its members.
The website Fishbowl DC today published a number of excerpts of emails from Weigel to an email list created by fellow Post blogger Ezra Klein ridiculing various conservatives. He says he hopes Matt Drudge will "set himself on fire" and dubbed Tea Party protesters "Paultard[s]," a crude reference to Ron Paul.