The Contingency of 'Truth,' Redux
The rebellion against Mr. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates. They are the voters who have been unnerved over the last few years as the country has seemed to be galloping in a deeply unmoderate direction.
An “uprising” of “moderates”? Come now. Lamonts’ supporters are to moderates what Jeffrey Dahmer was to gourmands: just because they believe themselves to be the arbiters of political taste doesn’t make them anything more than simple partisan cannibals. And I doubt very much many of his supporters would even identify themselves as moderates—though if they believe adopting the label will help them regain power or take control of the Democratic party, they’ll almost certainly suck it up and wear it in the months and years to come. The ends justify the means, after all—and the New York Times has shown itself willing to equate the Kossacks with Bill Clinton Democrats. That is, they’ve signaled their willingness to help the netroots take control of the party (see the new Kossack directive for completing the purge here)—and the plan is to do so by massaging the narrative and finding labels for the players that strike just the right chords with Americans who don’t follow politics all too closely.
Still, it’s hard to get around the fact that during Lamont’s victory speech, standing behind him were such well-known “moderates” as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who joined a crowd of anti-war “moderates”—those who demand their party members speak in a “unified voice”—in chanting “bring them home.” Apparently, these “irate moderates” are under the illusion that 7% of Connecticut voters casting ballots in a blue state party primary provides them with a foreign policy mandate.
And I don’t think most Americans will see Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and immediately think “moderate.” Though I could be wrong. After all, for 8 or 9 years a goodly number of Americans saw “Full House” and thought “I think I’ll watch this. Because it’s so funny.”
Which, speaking of Jesse Jackson, what a thrill for him last night, eh? To get to watch a truly religious Senator who’d be right at home in Hymietown get the boot from his own party? And all Jackson had to do for the pleasure was put up with a little minstrelizing! Way to take one for the team, Jesse!
But I digress.
Getting back to legacy media gamesmanship, the pushback against the “rightwing” sites who helped unmask the propaganda game being played by Reuters and others for the benefit of Hizballah has begun—and it uses the same kinds of rhetorical devices that the Times used in shaping the Lamont victory story. Here’s the WaPo, applying carefully-crafted descriptors—and constructing the story in a point / counterpoint way—to mitigate the ostensible offense:
In [LGF’s Charles] Johnson’s view, the news media haven’t adequately sounded the alarm about threats to Western societies posed by radical Islamic groups — something he says he seeks to redress through his politically conservative blog.
“My main take is that political correctness has kept a lot of the hard truth from being spread by the mainstream media,” says Johnson, 53, a professional musician in Los Angeles who spends most of his time maintaining his blog.
“The vast, vast majority of Muslims want to get along and live a comfortable life just like everyone else,” he says. “But the mainstream media shies away from showing the public the real face of Islamic extremism. They don’t want to offend. And they are influenced by some strong advocacy groups that are funded by Middle Eastern countries, which are actively engaging with the mainstream media to promote a point of view.” ...
Not everyone, though, is a fan. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization often vilified on Johnson’s blog, calls Little Green Footballs “a vicious, anti-Muslim hate site . . . that has unfortunately become popular.”
The irony, Hooper says, is that if the same kind of “hatred” that appears on LGF appeared on Muslim sites, it soon would be used by LGF’s fans to justify their worldview.
Like many politically themed blogs, Little Green Footballs doesn’t always traffic in subtlety and nuance. Dissenting points of view often are dismissed as “idiotarian” or “LLL” (for “loony liberal left”), and Islam is mockingly referred to as “RoP,” meaning “religion of peace.”
Here, the WaPo manages several slights of hand: first, CAIR—who as Charles points out has had at least five employees and board members “arrested, convicted, deported, or otherwise linked to terrorism-related charges and activities”—is identified as a civil rights group, with no mention given of its ties to terrorism, while LGF is depicted as an unnuanced hate site that brooks no “dissent”—the subtext being that somehow one must agree with “dissenting points of view,” because “dismissing them” as ludicrous, or labeling them as belonging to a particular political ideology, is just another form of intolerance.
Similarly, the WaPo is content to let Hooper’s depiction of LGF as a “hate” site stand—making no effort to separate the comments from the posts, nor making mention that, for the most part, what Johnson does is cull stories from the Muslim and Jewish press and excerpt them. Can one really call a site a “hate” site from shining a light on the rhetoric coming out of the Muslim or Arab press? Isn’t that a bit like calling, say, the Anti-Defamation League’s website anti-semitic for highlighting anti-semitic slurs?
Either way—and regardless of what you think of LGF and its commentators—the question is, what does any of this have to do with the Reuters scandal? The fact is, the photos were retouched. The fact is, Charles and his commentators took note and began supplying evidence. And the fact is, Reuters has been forced to concede these first two facts, pull 900 photos, and—as we’re seeing happen now—will be under intense scrutiny for some time to come.
But the WaPo’s Paul Farhi felt the need to soften the blow against the establishment news service by trying to attack the credibility of the source of its embarrassment—even though he knew the source to be correct in this instance.
Which didn’t much matter, so long as the label was applied. Its all of a piece, in fact: begin the redefining of the right as extreme, and the hard left as moderate. Watchdogs are haters. And terrorist sympathizers are “civil rights” groups.
So. What did we learn today? LGF = extremists and haters for accurately reporting facts. While Lamont supporters—Jesse Jackson / Al Sharpton / Jane Hamsher / Astrologers / and the netroots, who preach a unified message and whose “leader” has named the New Republic as part of the vast right wing conspiracy = “moderate”.
Up is down. Black is white. Eddie is the Cruisers.
Cross-posted at Protein Wisdom.