From R. Emmett Tyrrell's March 12 The Washington Times column:
There has been yet another eruption of violence from what our liberal friends a year or so ago were wont to call "the angry left." However, if you read The Washington Post, you might think this recent outburst of violence came from talk radio.
The angry leftist behind the violence was John Patrick Bedell, 36, who, on the evening of March 4, walked up to an entrance of the Pentagon, pulled a gun on two Pentagon guards, Jeffrey Amos and Marvin Carraway, and was fatally shot. Both guards were wounded.
In the aftermath of this attack, it was reported that Bedell was a pot-smoking intellectualoid from California who had left word on the Internet that, according to his findings, a "coup regime" took over Washington at the time of President Kennedy's assassination and has governed the country "up to the present day." What is more, the "coup regime," according to Bedell, was complicit in Sept. 11, 2001. This judgment might strike you as extreme, but apparently it is not, at least not on the left. You will recall that President Obama's recently resigned environmental czar, Van Jones, had signed a petition to this effect before being invited into the administration.
In The Post's report on Bedell's assault - headlined "Pentagon Shooter's Erratic Journey" - a high school classmate recalled: "I remember [Bedell] being a sweet-natured, funny peacenik." Another acquaintance reported to The Post that Bedell was a heavy marijuana user, and elsewhere, one of Bedell's brothers reported that he was a perpetual student who, so far as the brother knew, never held a job while bouncing from campus to campus and developing his esoteric theories. All in all, this glassy-eyed ideologue surely was a man of the left, the infantile left to be sure, but the left.
Thus John Patrick Bedell, a life-long member of the angry left, gets himself killed while assaulting the Pentagon, and the pious journalists at The Washington Post lump the poor guy in with right-wing militias. It is shoddy journalism. Much worse, it is a shocking act of disrespect for the dead.
Boehlert: The Pentagon shooter, insurrectionism, and right-wing bloggers
From George F. Will's March 12 Washington Post column:
We could take one small step toward restoring institutional equilibrium by thinking as Jefferson did about State of the Union addresses. Justice Antonin Scalia has stopped going to them because justices "sit there like bumps on a log" in the midst of the partisan posturing -- the political pep rally that Roberts described. Sis boom bah humbug.
Next year, Roberts and the rest of the justices should stay away from the president's address. So should the uniformed military, who are out of place in a setting of competitive political grandstanding. For that matter, the 535 legislators should boycott these undignified events. They would, if there were that many congressional grown-ups averse to being props in the childishness of popping up from their seats to cheer, or remaining sullenly seated in semi-pouts, as the politics of the moment dictates.
In the unlikely event that Obama or any other loquacious modern president has any thoughts about the State of the Union that he does not pour forth in the torrential course of his relentless rhetoric, he can mail those thoughts to Congress. The Postal Service needs the business.
We've noted before how Fox News acts as a campaign arm for the Republican Party, campaigning for Republican candidates and repeatedly passing off GOP talking points as its own research (once without even deleting the typos the talking points contained). The Huffington Post has uncovered what appears to be another example of Fox News' favoritism for the GOP. HuffPo reports that Fox News has lodged a copyright claim, leading YouTube to take down a Democratic National Committee ad that uses footage from Fox News, while a Republican National Committee ad that uses Fox News footage is still up on YouTube.
HuffPo reports: "Fox News Channel has forced YouTube to take down a Democratic National Committee Web ad that mocks Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio for spending $130 on a haircut saying that the spot illegally uses network footage." HuffPo later adds:
A Democratic source, arguing that this could constitute evidence that Fox News is in the tank for Rubio, points out that the YouTube page where the DNC ad used to be currently contains the following disclaimer: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Fox News Network, LLC."
By contrast, HuffPo notes that an RNC web video that consists of a clip of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) appearing on Fox News remains on YouTube. The RNC video was put on YouTube on February 24.
From the Fox Nation (accessed on March 11):
The Reuters article to which Fox Nation linked, however, was headlined: "Reid says will use 'reconciliation' on healthcare."
Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen just won't give up on his defense of the witch hunt against DOJ attorneys who represented terror suspects even in the face of overwhelming criticism from conservatives and progressives alike. In his latest piece for The Washington Post, Thiessen lashes out at the critics, writing: "Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate."
In essence, Thiessen is saying that he is correct, and almost everyone else is wrong, since people from across the political spectrum have agreed that the DOJ attorneys were working in the Adams' tradition.
Here are just a few of the people who, unlike Thiessen, have said that there are similarities between John Adams and the attorneys who represented detainees: former independent counsel Ken Starr; Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson; Larry Thompson, the former number two official at the Bush Justice Department; Peter Keisler, who served as acting attorney general under President Bush; senior Bush defense department officials Matthew Waxman, Charles "Cully" Stimson, and Daniel Dell'Orto; Bush associate White House counsel Bradley Berenson; former top advisers to Condoleezza Rice Philip Zelikow and John Bellinger III; Slate.com columnist Dahlia Lithwick; Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Bookman; Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the military commissions; Orrin Kerr, who served as special counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) during the confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. Former Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey has also criticized the attack. Previously, Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson also defended lawyers who represented detainees from attacks.
Looking at the substance of Thiessen's attempt to differentiate Adams from the DOJ lawyers under attack, it's no wonder that so many people disagree with Thiessen. Thiessen's first argument appears to be that Adams was merely acting as a loyal British subject, defending his "fellow countrymen." Thiessen writes:
For starters, Adams was a British subject at the time he took up their representation. The Declaration of Independence had not yet been signed, and there was no United States of America. The British soldiers were Adams' fellow countrymen -- not foreign enemies of the state at war with his country.
Thiessen then appears to abandon the argument that Adams was acting in the British tradition, claiming rather that Adams was acting according to the "American tradition later enshrined in the Sixth Amendment":
Second, the British soldiers were accused of a crime. The constitution was not yet in place, but as I pointed out in my column this week, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains that the great American tradition later enshrined in the Sixth Amendment "guarantees the accused -- that means somebody who has been indicted or otherwise charged with a crime -- a right to counsel. But that right only exists if you are accused, which means you are someone the government has brought into the civilian criminal justice system and lodged charges against."
Hmm. So, Adams was actually acting according to a "great American tradition" that wouldn't be enshrined until Congress passed the Bill of Rights two decades later.
One more inconvenient fact for Thiessen: The trial of the Boston Massacre took place in the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature, the forerunner to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a Massachusetts state court. The U.S. Supreme Court did apply the Sixth Amendment to criminal trials in state courts until 1932, when it held in Powell v. Alabama that the right to counsel applied to the states in capital cases. Furthermore, the Supreme Court did not extend the right to counsel to state courts in all felony cases until the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision in 1963, nearly 200 years after the Boston Massacre trial in which Adams participated.
Thiessen then goes on to reiterate his attacks against the DOJ attorneys:
In the 234 years since Adams and his compatriots fought for our independence, the United States has held millions of enemy combatants -- and not one had ever filed a successful habeas corpus petition until the habeas campaign on behalf of Guantanamo detainees began.
The habeas lawyers are not doing what John Adams did -- representing accused criminals already in the judicial system. Rather, they have reached outside the judicial system and dragged the terrorists in.
Importantly, Gideon -- a habeas corpus case -- explicitly overruled a prior Supreme Court case, Betts v. Brady, which held that, absent a capital trial or other extraordinary circumstances, states did not have to provide counsel to defendants. Gideon actually filed the habeas corpus petition himself, but once the Supreme Court accepted the case, numerous lawyers filed briefs supporting his case. One could say: "In the  years since Adams and his compatriots fought for our independence, [the states tried countless American citizens] -- and not one had ever filed a successful habeas corpus petition [fully extending the Sixth Amendment to the states] until the habeas campaign on behalf of [Gideon] began."
So, by Thiessen's logic, we should be excoriating the Gideon attorneys. Behold the Gideon 32:
Abe Fortas, by appointment of the Court, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief were Abe Krash and Ralph Temple.
J. Lee Rankin, by special leave of Court, argued the cause for the American Civil Liberties Union et al., as amici curiae, urging reversal. With him on the brief were Norman Dorsen, John Dwight Evans, Jr., Melvin L. Wulf, Richard J. Medalie, Howard W. Dixon and Richard Yale Feder.
A brief for the state governments of twenty-two States and Commonwealths, as amici curiae, urging reversal, was filed by Edward J. McCormack, Jr., Attorney General of Massachusetts, Walter F. Mondale, Attorney General of Minnesota, Duke W. Dunbar, Attorney General of Colorado, Albert L. Coles, Attorney General of Connecticut, Eugene Cook, Attorney General of Georgia, Shiro Kashiwa, Attorney General of Hawaii, Frank Benson, Attorney General of Idaho, William G. Clark, Attorney General of Illinois, Evan L. Hultman, Attorney General of Iowa, John B. Breckinridge, Attorney General of Kentucky, Frank E. Hancock, Attorney General of Maine, Frank J. Kelley, Attorney General of Michigan, Thomas F. Eagleton, Attorney General of Missouri, Charles E. Springer, Attorney General of Nevada, Mark McElroy, Attorney General of Ohio, Leslie R. Burgum, Attorney General of North Dakota, Robert Y. Thornton, Attorney General of Oregon, J. Joseph Nugent, Attorney General of Rhode Island, A. C. Miller, Attorney General of South Dakota, John J. O'Connell, Attorney General of Washington, C. Donald Robertson, Attorney General of West Virginia, and George N. Hayes, Attorney General of Alaska.
In a column titled, "Why don't honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?" to be published in Sunday's Washington Post, but available online, former New York Times editor Howell Raines writes:
One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?
Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals. This is not a liberal-versus-conservative issue. It is a matter of Fox turning reality on its head with, among other tactics, its endless repetition of its uber-lie: "The American people do not want health-care reform."
Fox repeats this as gospel. But as a matter of historical context, usually in short supply on Fox News, this assertion ranks somewhere between debatable and untrue.
Raines later wrote:
For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party. And let no one be misled by occasional spurts of criticism of the GOP on Fox. In a bygone era of fact-based commentary typified, left to right, by my late colleagues Scotty Reston and Bill Safire, these deceptions would have been given their proper label: disinformation.
Under the pretense of correcting a Democratic bias in news reporting, Fox has accomplished something that seemed impossible before [Roger] Ailes imported to the news studio the tricks he learned in Richard Nixon's campaign think tank: He and his video ferrets have intimidated center-right and center-left journalists into suppressing conclusions -- whether on health-care reform or other issues -- they once would have stated as demonstrably proven by their reporting. I try not to believe that this kid-gloves handling amounts to self-censorship, but it's hard to ignore the evidence. News Corp., with 64,000 employees worldwide, receives the tender treatment accorded a future employer.
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his March 11 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
In an effort to critically analyze another piece of pop music, Glenn Beck and his sidekicks reached the conclusion that Bruce Springsteen's 1984 hit "Born in the U.S.A." is critical of America and, therefore, unpatriotic. In fact, the song was deemed so unpatriotic by the former shock jock's crew that co-host Pat Gray declared it to be "anti-American." This simplistic version of patriotism appears to leave little room for any criticism of America, its policy, or the behavior of its people.
After Gray revisited Beck's earlier deconstruction of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," the gang turned its collective attention to Springsteen, with Gray getting the ball rolling by noting that Fourth of July fireworks displays often include "Born in the U.S.A." in the musical medley. Beck then broke into a spoken word version of the song:
Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
'Til you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the U.S.A.
I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go kill the yellow man
Born in the U.S.A.
Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said, son if it were up to me
I go down to see the VA man
He said, son you don't understand
This went on for some time, until Beck concluded, "Where are the fireworks?"
Now, in a 2008 interview with CBS' Scott Pelley, Springsteen actually addressed the notion that his music and its message are somehow unpatriotic because they challenge America and its citizens to live up to their ideals, stating, "It's unpatriotic at any given moment to sit back and let things pass that are damaging to some place that you love so dearly." Springsteen added, "There's a part of the singer going way back in American history that is of course the canary in the coalmine. When it gets dark, you're supposed to be singing."
Just don't sing an anti-American tune.
The Washington Post gushes over the House GOP's announcement that they won't seek any earmarks this year:
Touting a largely symbolic move as a "key step in demonstrating fiscal restraint" is, in fact, a key step in delaying actual fiscal restraint.