Reading the headline, "The Campaign to Blame O'Reilly for Tiller's Death," I assumed Weekly Standard writer John McCormack was going to explain why it was completely unjustified to connect Fox News' Bill O'Reilly to the death of Dr. George Tiller, even though we all know O'Reilly's show ambushed the doctor on TV, called him a so-called baby killer, and waged a very public crusade against the private physician.
Now a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist, perhaps an O'Reilly viewer, put the Fox News' host's words into action and killed the man in a church, as right-wing domestic terrorists tend to do. And guess what, lots of bloggers pointed out O'Reilly's not-so-cameo role in the Tiller drama.
But Weekly Standard was going to explain it all away; it was going to tell us why, even though O'Reilly had attacked Tiller on-air more than two dozen times, the Fox News' hands were entirely clean in Sunday's tragedy.
Except the weird part was the Weekly Standard never even bothered to make that claim. Instead, the item noted bloggers were connecting O'Reilly to Tiller, but than floated the muddled idea that some of the same bloggers targeting O'Reilly have also been critical of Bush's torture policy and used harsh language to describe it:
Since it appears that the campaign to blame O'Reilly for inciting the murder of Tiller began with [Andrew] Sullivan's post, it's worth noting that The Atlantic blogger routinely compares those who support harsh interrogations of al Qaeda members to the Gestapo and the Khmer Rouge.
Honestly, it didn't make much sense to me, either. The gist seemed to be that critics of torture on the left are just like anti-abortion critics on the right (i.e. just like O'Reilly) because both felt compelled to speak out against something they thought was morally wrong. The coo-coo part is where McCormack suggests both groups use the same type of vigilante rhetoric to make their point. Except, of course, they do not, which is where the whole argument collapses.
But what was really telling I thought, was that when the Weekly Standard tried to come to O'Reilly defense in terms of his hateful Tiller rhetoric, the Weekly Standard realized it had no defense. It didn't deny O'Reilly's involvement, it simply tried to claim that everyone does it. Not true.
P.S. Note the disingenuousness when McCormack includes a link which the writer suggests proves that Sullivan had equated "those who support" torture with being members of the Gestapo. Instead, what the link does is showcase items that Sullivan had written in which he described torture techniques as being used by the Gestapo.
Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, suggest torture-backing Bush administration officials were akin to members of the Gestapo. Meaning, Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, wage a personal crusade targeting private citizens. He didn't ambush Bush officials in public and routinely call them Nazis, the way O'Reilly led a public crusade against a private citizen who's now dead, killed by a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist.
As Sullivan noted earlier this month:
It is, moreover, unfair to say I have compared the Bush administration with the Nazis. I haven't.
I have shown how the exact techniques deployed by the Gestapo were used by Cheney and called by the exact same name - verschaerfte Vernehmung; and how the exact techniques used by the Khmer Rouge were authorized by Bush. These are simply facts that people have to face. This does not mean that the American system of government is the same as that under Hitler in Germany, or that Bush was Hitler. It does mean that human acts are human acts. The act of torture is the same whoever perpetrates it. There is no moral way to torture someone. America is not by virtue of being America somehow immune from the same evil that has occurred throughout human history; and the human beings running the American government are no more and no less human than those who controlled ghastly regimes in the past.
Tell me again why MSNBC keeps Pat Buchanan on payroll?
Think Progress catches Buchanan smearing Sonia Sotomayor:
BUCHANAN: Well I, again in that Saturday piece, she went to Princeton. She graduated first in her class it said. But she herself said she read, basically classic children's books to read and learn the language and she read basic English grammars and she got help from tutors. I think that, I mean if you're, frankly if you're in college and you're working on Pinocchio or on the troll under the bridge, I don't think that's college work.
Buchanan was referring to this New York Times article:
Judge Sotomayor is not known to have identified herself as a beneficiary of affirmative action, but she has described her academic struggles as a new student at Princeton from a Roman Catholic school in the Bronx — one of about 20 Hispanics on a campus with more than 2,000 students.
She spent summers reading children's classics she had missed in a Spanish-speaking home and "re-teaching" herself to write "proper English" by reading elementary grammar books. Only with the outside help of a professor who served as her mentor did she catch up academically, ultimately graduating at the top of her class.
It's clear from the article that Sotomayor was not, as Buchanan claims, reading Pinocchio as her Princeton coursework, but rather in an effort to sharpen her English. As Think Progress notes, Buchanan has previously stressed the importance of learning English:
Buchanan has long claimed that Hispanic immigrants are resistant to learning English and has said that it would be easier for them to "assimilate" if they did so. When writing about Mexican immigrants in 2006, Buchanan said that in contrast to Italian immigrants, "millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico." Similarly, he has also said that "the road to culture is language" and "they want to keep their Spanish language."
But it turns out that if Hispanic immigrants* do make an effort to strengthen their English language skills, Buchanan will make fun of them and lie about their academic accomplishments. Kind of makes you wonder whether his comments about language have ever been sincere, or if they were merely a fig leaf meant to hide his real problem with Hispanics, doesn't it?
Pat Buchanan's track record is clear: He's a bigot. He doesn't think women or minorities are the equal of white men like Pat Buchanan and Richard Nixon. He has made that plain over the past 40 years. And yet he continues to be employed by MSNBC -- and you never hear a word of complaint or criticism about it from other journalists, because Pat Buchanan is a respected member of The Village.
* Sotomayor isn't an immigrant, but the situations are pretty directly analogous for these purposes.
From Buchanan's June 2 syndicated column:
Like Lani Guinier, the Clinton appointee rejected for reverse racism, Sonia Sotomayor is a quota queen. She believes in, preaches and practices race-based justice. Her burying the appeal of the white New Haven firefighters, who were denied promotions they had won in competitive exams, was a no-brainer for her.
In her world, equal justice takes a back seat to tribal justice.
Now, people often come out to vote for one of their own. Catholics for JFK, evangelicals for Mike Huckabee, women for Hillary Clinton, Mormons for Mitt Romney, Jews for Joe Lieberman and African-Americans for Barack Obama. That is political reality and an exercise of political freedom.
But tribal justice is un-American.
In the 1950s and 1960s, this country reached consensus that denying black men and women the equal opportunity to advance and succeed must come to an end. Discrimination based on race, color or ethnicity, we agreed, was wrong.
Sotomayor, however, has an exception to the no-discrimination rule. She believes in no discrimination, unless done to white males and to benefit people like her.
How can any Republican senator vote to elevate to the Supreme Court a judge who, all her life, has believed in, preached and practiced race discrimination against white males, without endorsing the Obama-Sotomayor view that diversity trumps equal justice, and race-based justice should have its own seat on the high court?
Down the path Sotomayor would take us lies an America where Hispanic justices rule for Hispanics, black judges rule for blacks and white judges rule for white folks.
But why should the white working and middle class stay with the GOP? Its presidents exported their jobs to Mexico, China and Asia, and threw open America's doors to tens of millions, legal and illegal, from the Third World, who have swamped their cities and towns. If the GOP will not end race-based affirmative action, which threatens the futures of their children, why vote for the GOP?
Why should white folks vote for anyone who says, "We are against race discrimination, unless it is discrimination against you"?
Obama would not have selected Sotomayor if he did not share her convictions. And there is nothing in his writings or career to hint at disagreement. Thus it comes down to the senators, especially the Republicans. A vote for Sonia Sotomayor is a vote to affirm that race-based justice deserves its own seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
But if that happens, it will not only be the race consciousness of Hispanics that will be on the rise in the good old U.S.A.
Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog writes of Sotomayor and race-related cases:
In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times. Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred. (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.) She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims. Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.
Newsbusters' Kyle Drennan complains that a CBS Early Show report on the assassination of Dr. George Tiller didn't describe Tiller as "controversial":
CBS 'Early Show' Sees No Controversy in Tiller's Work As 'Abortion Provider'
By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)
June 1, 2009 - 11:43 ET
Reporting on the murder of Kansas abortion doctor, George Tiller, on Monday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor touted the doctor's career, while not depicting it as controversial ...
The Early Show coverage made no mention of Tiller's controversial career, including a recent investigation into whether he conducted 19 illegal partial-birth abortions.
First of all, Tiller was acquitted of any wrongdoing related to the 19 late-term abortions. Drennan didn't mention that little detail, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about his honesty.
Now, let's look at the article Drennan links to in support of his description of Tiller as "controversial." It's a Kansas City Star "timeline of major events in George Tiller's career." The first entry is the 1986 bombing of Tiller's clinic. The second is the 1991 blockade of his clinic by anti-choice protesters, leading to more than 2,500 arrests. The third is the 1993 shooting in which Tiller was hit in both arms. His assailant was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the shooting, and 20 more for her involvement in arson attacks against clinics in three states. The fourth entry is a 1998 letter Tiller received threatening to contaminate his clinic with Anthrax. The fifth is another illegal protest outside Tiller's clinic. The sixth and seventh are proceedings that found no wrongdoing by Tiller. And that's it; that's the whole list.
So, basically, Drennen's evidence - he chose this list, not me - contains zero examples of Tiller doing anything illegal. It contains zero examples of Tiller doing anything "controversial," unless you count "getting shot" as "doing something controversial." It does, however, list right-wing nutcases shooting and threatening Tiller, and illegally blocking access to his clinic. But that doesn't demonstrate that Tiller was "controversial"; it simply demonstrates that criminals and thugs tried to stop him from legally doing his job.
Drennen's complaint that CBS didn't call Tiller "controversial" is just bizarre. In fact, many news reports have described Tiller that way, and I find it more than a little off-putting. Tiller didn't break any laws. He just showed up to work every day, despite threats of violence, intimidation tactics, and even a previous shooting. He showed up, risking his own life every day, and he performed legal procedures that saved patients' lives. That's what doctors are supposed to do.
Calling Tiller "controversial" just because because conservative anti-abortion terrorists tried to, and finally did, kill him is insulting, and suggests some justification for the assassination. Calling him "controversial" blames the victim. Drennen's complaints that CBS didn't offer such justification for Tiller's assassination is creepy, at best.
Readers have been curious to see if Times columnist Marueen Dowd would address the controversy that blossomed after she lifted a paragraph from Talking Points Memo and ran it in her column. She claimed the act was inadvertent and that a friend had emailed her the passage without telling her it was from TPM.
Readers are still wondering if Dowd will address the issue because her column hasn't run in the newspaper since May 20. Blogger Dan Kennedy wondered if there was a connection there and emailed the Times' spokeswoman for a response, which came back as this:
Maureen is on vacation. Since she didn't do anything wrong, there would be no reason for a suspension.
She didn't do anything wrong? As Kennedy notes, that's not the conclusion that the Times' own public editor came to when he looked into the facts. Clark Hoyt wrote:
Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, said journalists collaborate and take feeds from each other all the time. That is true with news articles, but readers have a right to expect that even if an opinion columnist like Dowd tosses around ideas with a friend, her column will be her own words. If the words are not hers, she must give credit.
In a speech less than two weeks ago, Dick Cheney blasted the New York Times for "publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn't serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people." Prior to that, Cheney's most famous comment about a journalist was probably agreeing with his (nominal) boss, George W. Bush, that Times reporter Adam Clymer was a "major league asshole." A "Big time" asshole, Cheney emphasized.
On the other hand, he never shot a reporter in the face, as far as we know.
That apparently makes Cheney the perfect choice to speak at a presentation of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Journalism Awards today.
Here's a description of the foundation's journalism awards:
In 1988, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation established the Journalism Prize Competition. With this annual award, President Ford wanted to recognize and encourage thoughtful, insightful, and enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense. The Foundation is proud to continue this tradition. Again this year, the Foundation will award two $5,000 prizes for distinguished reporting on the presidency or national defense during calendar year 2008. The awards will be presented in June 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Yeah, Cheney is the perfect choice to speak at an event honoring "enterprising work by journalists covering the presidency and national defense."
Anonymous: Over the past few years, Bill O'Reilly has made the following comments about Dr. Tiller:
- He "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000."
- He's guilty of "Nazi stuff,"
- a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida
- "This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union"
- "operating a death mill"
- "has blood on his hands"
- "executing babies about to be born
Tucker, I'm not saying Billo wanted some kook to kill him, but isn't this playing with fire? Is there some quote by Olberman or any other liberal commentator that even comes close? Who has the craziest of the liberal left murdered lately?
Tucker Carlson: Every one of those descriptions of Tiller is objectively true. I sincerely think it's appalling that he was murdered. But Tiller was a monster, no doubt.
Right out of the box, in the very first question he answered during today's Washington Post online discussion, Tucker Carlson lied about Sonia Sotomayor:
Alabama: Tucker, have you now watched or read the remarks of Alito since they were brought to your attention on Fox yesterday? If so, wanna explain the difference?
Tucker Carlson: Of all the talking points partisans are instructed to repeat during nomination fights, this is among the all-time lamest: Alito did it too. First of all, it's false. Alito never claimed that growing up Italian made him a better judge than, say, your average black woman. But even if he had some something that stupid (and I would have opposed seating him if he had) what's the point? That Obama has nominated someone every bit as mediocre as Bush did? Not much of a defense.
Sotomayor didn't say that growing up Puerto Rican made her a better judge than your average white man, as Carlson suggests. That isn't a reasonable paraphrase of what she said. It isn't close to what she said. And Carlson must know that, which makes it a lie. What makes it all the more audacious is that Carlson purports to correct the record about what Alito said, and in order to do so, he lies about what Sotomayor said.