Marc Ambinder seems to think the tea-bagger effort to shut down Democratic town hall meetings is just working from the Dems 2005 anti-Social Security privatization playbook.
I watched those events unfold pretty closely. And what the Dems did in 2005 consisted almost entirely of protest outside town halls and anti-privatization activists trying to get into the meetings to ask questions to pin members of Congress down on their position. What made it so uncomfortable for Republican and some Democratic members of Congress is that they got questions they didn't want to answer.
Did some meetings get heated? Sure. But these weren't organized attempts to shut down the meetings themselves.
Does Marc remember what happened four years ago?
We're going to see more and more of this in the press. The idea that Obama' push for health care reform is just like Bush's push to privatize Social Security (see the AP for a perfect example), and that the opposition to Obama is just like the opposition to Bush.
Neither is accurate.
The New Yorker publishes an embarrassing puff piece about hate merchant Michael Savage (i.e. he's "engrossing" and "fun" didn't you know), while ABC News invites factually challenged blogger Michelle Malkin on its Sunday round table show. Because of course Malkin fit right in sitting across from Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker, right? I mean they're practically equals, those two.
This on-going media spectacle is among the most sad to witness. Because if you took a private Beltway poll of media elites, 97% would concede both Savage and Malkin are nothing more than low level carnival barkers who cannot be trusted for any accurate information (i.e. they just make shit up) and who continue to pollute the public dialog with relentlessly vile and personal attacks on their political opponents.
So why are outlets like The New Yorker and ABC News validating them? It's just pathetic. Either in love with the allure of shallow contrarianism (i.e. The New Yorker), or spooked by the right-wing, which unleashed a phony jihad against ABC News regarding its Obama health care special this summer (Malkin slammed ABC as "The All Barack Channel"), media outlets continue to kowtow to the radical right.
Think about it. How many glowing profiles of liberal radio hosts or commentators has The New York published recently? And has ABC News ever invited a far-left blogger onto its Sunday round table discussion? Members of the GOP Noise Machine make handsome livings attacking and undermining the so-called liberal media, condemning it as amoral and traitorous. So what does The New Yorker and ABC News do in return? They celebrate the attackers.
Why on earth would right-wing press haters ever stop when they get rewarded--when they get celebrated--for their outlandish behavior?
UPDATED: Savage this week wallows in birther mania. The New Yorker must be so proud.
From Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson's August 4 column on WorldNetDaily, headlined "Obama hates the white man":
Barack Obama hates white people -- especially white men. Sorry folks, but the truth will set you free!
Why else would Obama falsely accuse Sgt. James Crowley and other Cambridge Police officers of "racial profiling" and claim they "acted stupidly" -- creating a national racial controversy?
For months, I have said that Barack Obama was elected as a result of white fear (guilt) and black racism. Whites voted for him because of guilt and the fear of being called "racist." And the 96 percent of blacks who voted for the "Messiah" did so because of his race and his "spread the wealth" notions.
Barack Obama is Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus! He embodies the aspirations of every left-wing black group that wants to tear down this country and take power away from the "oppressive" white man. He's not an obvious race hustler like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but Obama is a smooth pathological liar -- with a wicked heart.
Both Obama and his friend Henry Louis Gates are racist. Keep in mind also that Gates' attorney, Charles Ogletree, was Barack Obama's law professor at Harvard. We're dealing with liberal-elite, cunning black intellectuals.
Sgt. James Crowley said after the "beer summit" that there were no apologies, but that he will meet with and listen to more about Gates' views. Listen to what? How to hamstring cops from doing their jobs? Are you kidding me?
I realize that Crowley was under a great deal of pressure to get along, but he should have had the courage to demand an apology and tell the president and Gates: 1) They were wrong, and 2) Their phony photo op and "beer summit" at the White House won't cleanse their racist hearts.
Just a note about Sunday's "Reliable Sources," and how Kurtz wondered again and again how somebody like Beck could go on Fox News and call the president a racist and not suffer any kind of negative consequences.
"So, my question is, how does he get away with this?" Kurtz asked his guests. "He doesn't seem to be paying any price." He also noted incredulously that, "There doesn't seem to be any great uproar about it."
Fact: In the pages of the Washington Post, media critic Kurtz himself spent the previous week remaining completely silent about Beck's "racist" attack. In fact, the entire WashPost staff played dumb--Beck's smear was never reported in the newspaper, let alone condemned.
But on Sunday, Kurtz went on CNN and acted confused about why Beck was able to call Obama a racist on national television and nobody (in the press) really did much of anything about it.
The following is a statement obtained by Media Matters for America from NAACP president and chief executive Benjamin Jealous:
"It is outrageous that while Americans of all races, genders and ethnicities throughout our country are focused on addressing the challenges our nation is besieged with, such as unemployment, healthcare reform, the home ownership crisis, education, and war
Mr.. Dobbs cannot get past his extremist fixation with President Obama's citizenship. We have all seen President Obama's birth certificate on the internet. He was born in Hawaii to his U.S. mother, a U.S. citizen born in Kansas. This makes him a citizen that, along with being over 35 years of age, makes him legally eligible to be elected the President of the United States. Any ethical journalist would not spread unfounded and clearly mendacious rumors that fan the flames of racial hatred and division. We urge Mr. Dobbs to adhere to journalistic standards and assure that the stories he perpetuates are based in fact. We ask Mr. Dobbs to focus on the crucial social and economic issues that affect so many Americans and are truly worthy of CNN's air time, rather than the tabloid journalism he seems to have embraced."
Last week, Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza filmed a "Mouthpiece Theater" video in which Milbank called Hillary Clinton a "mad bitch" and Cillizza called Rep. Chip Pickering's wife a "bitter woman from hell" (Her crime? She says her husband cheated on her. So, clearly, she is from hell.)
The Post pulled the video after hours of outrage, and Cillizza Tweeted about the controversy: "Folks, know a lot of you were upset about Mouthpiece,. We've apologized and the video has been pulled. Thanks for the feedback."
In fact, they hadn't apologized. A Post spokesperson said the video was "satire" that "went too far." But that isn't an apology -- not to Hillary Clinton, not to Chip Pickering's wife, and not to Washington Post readers. It's a "OK, we give, please stop hitting us."
And it hides behind the absurd notion that Milbank and Cillizza were simply engaging in satire that went a bit too far. Oh yeah? What were they satirizing when they called Clinton a "bitch" and Pickering a "bitter woman from hell"? That wasn't satire, that was simply two smug men calling women bitches and bitter women.
Yesterday, the Post's Howard Kurtz wrote in an online discussion "Chris apologized on his Twitter feed." No. Cillizza did not apologize in his Twitter feed. Saying "We've apologized" is not apologizing.
And today, Cillizza and Milbank made clear that they are not at all sorry. They posted a new "Mouthpiece Theater" in which they suggest they were "censored," pretend that Milbank's comment about Clinton was the only problem -- ignoring Cillizza's cruel attack on Chip Pickering's wife -- and generally treat the whole thing as a big joke.
Except, as usual, there's nothing funny about "Mouthpiece Theater."
This, by the way, is satire:
(Hat-tip to Americablog for the video, by Andy Cobb.)
UPDATE: CJR's Megan Garber on the new "Mouthpiece Theater":
[T]here's really very little to say about the video, because, as usual, there's really very little substance within it. Except that it's remarkable how, like one of those movie aliens that feeds off the life force of humans, the series's inflated sense of its own jocularity seems only to have expanded since Friday's debacle. As if "Mouthpiece Theater" feasts on widespread indignation itself.
From Burt Prelutsky's August 3 Townhall.com column:
When it comes to our national security, keeping the likes of Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank and John Kerry in the loop would be the height of insanity. The only loop appropriate for most of the ninnies in Congress is one hanging from the branch of a very tall tree.
So far as I can tell, the only real difference between members of Congress and cockroaches is that one of the two species has a few more legs than the other.
Lots of outlets are treating as news the mashup poster with the blaring "Socialist" banner printed under a white-faced Obama, which has been spotted at a single outdoor location Los Angeles. But as I read the dispatches I'm hard pressed to figure out why hateful propaganda is considered newsworthy.
I don't recall the news media dropping whatever they were doing in order to report whenever (anonymous) critics created anti-Bush posters. And if posters of Bush in blackface, or dressed up at Hitler, had sprouted up on a city street, would the press have treated that as breaking news?
This is as close as ABC News gets to justifying its coverage [emphasis added]
The Obama-Joker poster, with the word "socialism" in bold, dark letters printed under the image of his face, has caused a stir on the Web and was linked prominently on the Drudge Report.
Behold your liberal media.
If you're a media critic with unlimited space, and one of the biggest media stories for going on three weeks has been a cable news host promoting phony racial conspiracy theories about the president, and a media watchdog organization has released an ad it plans to run during that host's show criticizing his promotion of those conspiracy theories, doesn't it look pretty strange if you don't cover the ad?
Now how does it look if you've steadfastly refused to criticize that cable news channel's president despite his false and misleading support for that host's conspiracy theorizing?
Now, how does it look if you get a paycheck from that cable news channel?
It looks like you're ducking your responsibilities as the Washington Post's media critic for fear of offending your bosses at CNN, that's how it looks.
UPDATE: That ad Howard Kurtz is ignoring? Youtube viewers aren't ignoring it:
Chris Matthews spends much of each Hardball broadcast spouting off about things he doesn't understand, and making pronouncements about The Way Things Are that just don't make sense. Here he is talking about federal funding for abortion, for example:
The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, for the obvious reason: people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
No. No, that is obviously not the reason.
Plenty of people are opposed to the death penalty and wars of choice, and the Department of Agriculture, and studies about the mating habits of fruit flies and incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and membership in the UN -- and they don't want to have to pay for those things, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
And yet they do pay for them. There is no "Hyde Amendment" preventing the government from paying for any of those things.
The Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding of abortion does not exist -- cannot logically exist -- simply because people who oppose abortion don't want to pay for it. If that were the way things worked, we literally would not have a government.
No, the Hyde Amendment exists because the political and media establishment privilege opposition to abortion over countless other things that millions of Americans oppose. Like Chris Matthews just did, and like he has done in the past.
And yet Matthews sits there and insists that federal funding of abortion is not allowed simply because "people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it," apparently not grasping the obvious implications of the silly notion that the government doesn't fund things some people don't want to pay for.
If you think this is all just semantics, take a look at the following two passages:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, for the obvious reason: people who are opposed to abortion don't want to have to pay for it, directly or indirectly, as taxpayers.
BIZARRO CHRIS MATTHEWS: The Hyde Amendment, which we all know about, says no federal dollar can pay for anybody's abortion, even though it is a legal medical procedure, and even though collective funding for things individual taxpayers may oppose is inherent in the very concept of government.
Is there any doubt whatsoever that the second version would give people a clearer understanding of the situation? Is there any doubt at all that the first version is slanted in favor of the anti-abortion position?