As noted below, Michelle Malkin is demanding lots of retractions in the wake of the police finding that the federal census worker who was found dead in Kentucky two months ago actually hanged himself. Malkin wants everyone on the "Left," to apologize for ever suggesting right-wing activists, or the culture of anti-government hate they created, might have been responsible for the death.
But oops, the blame game runs both ways. And if Malkin's suddenly the new apology chief in town, than I anxiously await her demands that right-wing blogger Dan Riehl offer up his sincere apology in light of the fact that back in September, Riehl (with zero proof) floated the hateful claim that the maybe the Kentucky census worker was killed because he was a pedophile. (Stay classy Dan.)
Worse, get a load of Riehl's reaction to the latest police news from Kentucky about the suicide:
Update: Michelle Malkin recounts the smears that came our way from the "reality-based" lunatics on the Left- including randy Andy Sullivan!
Do you see the twisted genius of how the right-wing blogosphere functions? In September, a fact-free name-caller like Dan Riehl wrote up a post where he was simply "speculating" that the dead census worker was kinda/probably a "child predator." Alleged proof? Riehl stressed that the dead man "certainly did gravitate towards children." Whatever that means.
But now when local police announce the death was a suicide with possible insurance money implications, Riehl, who smeared the dead man far worse than anyone else, demands that "lunatics" on the left be held accountable for their "smears."
UPDATED: Uh-oh, more housecleaning for Malkin. Also back in September, at the right-wing online fever swamp WND, Roger Hedgecock claimed the dead census worker "was yet another victim of illegal drug operations on national forest land, and possibly also a victim of our still open border with Mexico."
Good luck getting Hedgecock to now cough up an I'm-sorry, Michelle.
A misleading Washington Times headline suggesting that the White House had "not invited" Republicans to its first state dinner now reads: "Top Republican lawmakers not attending State Dinner." From the Times:
Because it's not like Malkin has any kind of track record herself when it comes to owning up to the many, many fact-free (and often mean-spirited) conspiracies that she's pushed as fact. And she has even less experience apologizing for said dead-enders. So I must say it seems a bit odd that Malkin now rushes to the front of the line, waving her hands and yelling about how anybody on the left who speculated that right-wing activists had anything to do with the death the Kentucky census worker needs to set the record straight. (Police now say the death was a suicide, staged to look like a murder.)
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for holding people accountable, and the blogosphere only functions properly when bloggers have to answer for their work. But the sad truth is, over on the far-right side of the Internet, any notion of accountability seems to have been tossed out the window. It is utterly ignored. Like, as a rule.
For example, just last week I highlighted how popular right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit manufactured an Obama quote which the blogger then used to mock the president. After I, and scores of his commenters, politely pointed out that Gateway Pundit had, y'know, manufactured a quote, what was the blogger's response? Nothing. The post wasn't updated, the fake quote wasn't taken down, and of course no apology was offered up.
Accountability, at least within the right-wing blogosphere, is for suckers. So again, it's a bit odd for Malkin to come running out onto her porch and start demanding that any liberal bloggers who might have gotten the Kentucky story wrong, or even raised questions about the case, start writing up their corrections.
Hey I know, maybe as a sign of good will, and an indication that she really takes accountability seriously, Malkin will finally come clean about the bogus tale she eagerly spread in September about how a staggering 2 million anti-Obama protesters had gathered in Washington, D.C..
Because oops, she was only off by 1.9 million.
UPDATED: The Brad Blog, a target of Malkin's ticket-writing campaign, explains why he's not going to honor her request:
We're more than happy, even eager, to offer corrections and, as needed (and it's only been needed once) retractions to anything that we get wrong here. While we appreciate Malkin's desperation to find someone out there who screws up so spectacularly as she does on such a regular basis
such hilarious failures have damned near become her meat and potatoes at this point
this story hardly appears to be the one on which she should, pardon the tasteless pun, hang her hate hat.
Leave it to Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter to equate the denial of civil rights to the civil rights movement. There they were on The O'Reilly Factor last night, discussing the "call of Christian conscience" known as the Manhattan Declaration, which O'Reilly described as "a document that encourages religious Americans to fight back, and in some cases even break the law." Coulter explained:
COULTER: The civil disobedience parts of it are pretty narrow. It's for saying that we won't participate as doctors, nurses, hospitals, in euthanasia, in abortion. Churches won't participate in same-sex marriage or -- or in denouncing, condemning homosexuality in the practice of their faith.
And just like that, Coulter put organized efforts to deny civil rights to gays and lesbians on par with black civil rights pioneers who used civil disobedience to expand their rights. The "civil disobedience" of churches that "won't participate in same-sex marriage" becomes elevated to a perch next to activists who refused to adhere to Jim Crow's separate-but-equal charade. Of course the distinction here is that Jim Crow laws were very real, and very brutally enforced. Coulter offers no evidence of a single church that would be required to bless or in any way recognize a single gay marriage.
Think about it for a moment. Coulter and her enabler O'Reilly would have you believe that in a nation where 78 percent of the citizens are Christians, it is Christians who need to engage in acts of civil disobedience for protection from laws passed by overwhelmingly Christian lawmakers. At what point does the notion of civil disobedience get turned on its head?
But the discussion masks a more sinister element of the manifesto: its effort to smear gay couples, since "the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same-sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships."
At that point, can state-sanctioned marriage to goats and dolphins be far behind?
Eighty 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 of white people." Here are his November 24 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
It is truly amazing that Time allowed Mark Halperin to publish the following caption and image on his blog, The Page -- no matter how briefly (the site has since pulled it down):
Maybe Halperin thought it was really clever to echo a scene from a late-90s romantic comedy, but it isn't. The image and all that it suggests -- yes, her hair is supposed to be held up by semen -- isn't supported by any facts provided by Halperin in his post. The page to which he links doesn't have anything to do with semen, romantic comedies, or hair gel. In fact, it's a statement from Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) Communications Director "on motion to proceed timing" on the Senate's health care reform bill.
In other words, it's part of a broader, sexist right-wing narrative that the U.S. Senator from Louisiana is, as Glenn Beck put it yesterday, "a high-class prostitute" engaged in "hookin'" -- all because she lobbied Senate leadership for expanded Medicaid funding for Louisiana in the Senate health care bill in what was characterized by the media as an exchange for her "yea" vote to proceed with floor debate on the bill.
Not to be left out, Rush Limbaugh got in on the action yesterday too, declaring that Landrieu "may be the most expensive prostitute in the history of prostitution."
These types of backwards, sexist remarks are what we have come to expect from Beck or Limbaugh, but this is truly a new low for Halperin, and, by association, for Time. As my colleague Julie Millican pointed out last week, the other weekly news magazine -- Newsweek -- has a sexism problem that it needs to address concerning another female politician.
So let this serve as a word of warning to those media figures like Halperin who like to think of themselves as separate and apart from -- perhaps I should say above? -- right-wing bloviators and pot-stirrers like Beck and Limbaugh: When you engage in baseless, sexist smears of women politicians, you are no different than the side-show commentators. Maybe you're worse -- at least they don't purport to be journalists.
On Wednesday, President Obama will pardon Courage, a turkey raised on a family farm in North Carolina. In doing so he will carry on a long tradition dating back to the administration of George H.W. Bush. (Seriously -- it's not a long tradition.)
But the pardoning comes at a particularly vulnerable time for Obama. Following a week of coverage in which he was attacked by the conservative media (which was amplified by the mainstream media) for bowing to Japanese Emperor Akihito (which the majority of Americans approved of), Fox News senior correspondent Brit Hume claimed of the "bowing and scraping" overseas: "This president seems quite willing to embrace weakness as a position for the United States."
Combined with the right-wing media's outrage that by actually demonstrating that the U.S. actually practices the kind of justice it promotes around the world, the pardoning couldn't come at a worse time for Obama.
How will Fox News react to this latest sign of Obama's "weakness"?
One thing is for certain: If Sarah Palin were president, she would pardon Courage as well, but would ensure that the rest of the turkeys were slaughtered.
Sarah Palin's book tour was the third-biggest news story from November 16-22 -- and second-biggest on television and radio talk shows:
Given her status as a polarizing public figure, it's no surprise that Palin's book tour last week-which included her doing interviews with everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Oprah Winfrey-was a hot topic in the talk show world. Indeed more than one-fifth (21%) of the airtime studied on the 12 cable and radio talk shows in the NCI was devoted to the 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate, making it the No. 2 story there after health care. By a narrow margin, coverage of her book tour last week (8%) exceeded the attention devoted to her decision to resign as Alaska governor (7% from July 6-12, 2009).
That's an extraordinary amount of attention for an unpopular politician who holds no office.
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren aired the first part of her interview with Sarah Palin last night, during which she "hopped on the [book tour] bus with Governor Palin." But the people who were really taken for "a ride" were Van Susteren's viewers: throughout the nearly 40-minute long interview, which spanned questions of policy and political ambitions, Van Susteren failed to disclose that her husband, John Coale, reportedly advised Palin after her 2008 vice presidential run and reportedly stated that he conceived of and created Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC.
This lack of disclosure isn't terribly surprising given Van Susteren's track record. It's not like she bothered to mention that fact when she used her Fox perch to actively "campaign" to secure the interview and hype Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life.
And it's not terribly surprising given Fox's record of giving free rein to its evening commentators to seamlessly merge commentary and advocacy, most notably in the case of Glenn Beck. If Fox isn't concerned about its Beck problem, presumably Van Susteren's journalistic malpractice isn't even showing up on their radar screen.
Maybe Van Susteren will go rogue tonight when she airs the next installment of her Palin interview and, in a radical departure from Fox's status quo, disclose her conflict of interest. But somehow I doubt that she'll get off the bus and on the level with her viewers.
Interesting piece in Editor & Publisher, by college prof's Christopher Martin and Peter Dreier who argue that, thanks to lazy journalism, reporters often got the ACORN story wrong during the last year.
Write the duo:
How is it that after laboring in relative obscurity as a community organizer for almost 40 years, ACORN was so falsely framed in news stories that many Americans believed the absurd and alarming notion that it stole a presidential election? The answer is a tale of not only how the Republican Party and conservative news media framed ACORN, but also how most mainstream journalism organizations were negligent by repeating rather than fact-checking the spurious allegations.
And the Andrew Breitbart freak-out begins in 5...4...3...2...1!