It would be difficult to sum up all the things that are wrong, silly, and ridiculous with former half-term governor Sarah Palin's terrorism policy paper/Facebook status update, so we'll just break it down, piece by piece.
We are at war with radical Islamic extremists and treating this threat as a law enforcement issue is dangerous for our nation's security. That's what happened in the 1990s and we saw the result on September 11, 2001.
Funny, I heard the exact same thing on The O'Reilly Factor last night from Dick Morris. Equally funny is how Sarah Palin found the one way to make herself even less credible on national security matters -- copping material from Dick Morris. Moving on:
It simply makes no sense to treat an al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring hundreds of people as a common criminal.
What an odd thing to write, particularly when you consider that earlier today we learned that Zacarias Moussaoui -- the Al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring thousands of people on 9-11 who was tried by the Bush administration as a common criminal -- had his conviction upheld in court after a federal appeals court denied his appeal. Slogging forward:
Reports indicate that Abdulmutallab stated there were many more like him in Yemen but that he stopped talking once he was read his Miranda rights.
I certainly haven't seen any "reports" to that effect. In fact, CNN reported today that they spoke to law enforcement officials and they "would not say whether [Abdulmutallab is] cooperating or if he was read his Miranda rights." Continuing:
Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.
You know, I've heard this one before too -- and it's already been debunked. Federal courts don't do televised trials, thus making a "public grandstand" pretty close to impossible. And lastly:
President Obama was right to change his policy and decide to send no more detainees to Yemen where they can be free to rejoin their war on America. Now he must back off his reckless plan to close Guantanamo, begin treating terrorists as wartime enemies not suspects alleged to have committed crimes, and recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor.
Gotta love the false choice between tough ("commander-in-chief") and smart ("constitutional law professor").
I always suspected Palin had an ulterior motive for quitting as governor, and now I know what it is -- she wanted to spend more time absorbing warmed-over right-wing talking points and copying-and-pasting them onto Facebook as her very own. Mission accomplished.
No wonder Breitbart's Big Government site never really bothers with posting corrections. They're so messy, what with all those facts and things!
That's what the "conservative journalist" is discovering after belatedly posting an "update" yesterday in which Breitbart kinda/sorta conceded Big Government's claim that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis had visited the Obama White House was not accurate. This, after a WH spokesman went on the record to deny the claim, insisting the "Bertha Lewis" who showed up on WH visitor logs was not the same as the ACORN CEO.
Here's how Breitbart danced around the issue yesterday:
Since we have no information on how to hunt down the "other" Bertha Lewis — Ms. Psaki wouldn't reveal who she is, citing "privacy concerns" — Big Government will err on the side of prudence and grant the White House its side of the story.
But then during a subsequent round of his signature, late-night, incoherent tweets, Breitbart seemed to backtrack and claim what while he couldn't prove it was ACORN's Lewis at the WH, Media Matters couldn't claim it wasn't her. Or something.
Well, now Esquire quotes Lewis directly and she confirms she was not at the White House this year [emphasis added]:
Still, Lewis seemed almost shell-shocked: "We can't understand this obsession, and the vehemence. They just make up something and keep repeating it over and over — yesterday, I'm cleaning my house and I get a call, someone from my office saying 'This guy from Breitbart is going crazy saying you were in the White House!' Apparently some woman named Bertha Lewis visited the White House in September, so automatically they assumed — but it wasn't me."
So, the WH has flatly denied the story and Lewis herself has flatly denied the story. Does anybody at Big Government have even the slightest evidence to back up its concocted story about the ACORN chief visiting the WH? Anybody?
I didn't think so because remember, Big Government is a rising star of "conservative journalism," where facts are optional.
UPDATED: And where does all this leave Fox News, which predictably, and foolishly, followed Breitbart's lead on this bogus story. Remember, Fox News execs recently claimed they had instituted a "zero tolerance" policy for on-air mistakes. So now that this latest Breitbart misadventure has been thoroughly debunked (doesn't 2010 feel an awful lot like 2009?), when will Fox News admit that it peddled a phony story?
Here are the nut graphs [emphasis added]:
The White House on Sunday urged senators to quickly hold a vote on its nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, but the battle showed little signs of easing as a Republican reiterated his concerns about the pick.
The White House's appointment of Erroll Southers, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, has been held up by Sen. Jim DeMint, who has raised questions about Mr. Southers's position on worker unionization. The South Carolina Republican wants Mr. Southers to promise that he would oppose granting collective-bargaining rights to the TSA's tens of thousands of employees.
This is a rather extraordinary situation, and, I dare say, if the players were reversed and it were a lone Democrat who stood in the way of filling a key national security post in a GOP administration (and stood in the way for partisan reasons that had nothing to do with security), the press coverage would not be quite so ho-hum in the way the Journal article is.
I'd also suggest that if a Democrat were holding up a key national security post, the Journal would definitely let critics tee-off in print. But in today's increasingly GOP-friendly WSJ newsroom, readers only hear from DeMint. Not a single critic (let alone Democrat) is allowed to directly voice objections to the senator's hold.
Just had lunch at Starbucks, chipotle chicken and coffee, $72. News flash, it's FREEZING in NYC, I wonder if Al Gore is shivering somewhere
From a subsequent message by Doocy:
I was writing... I wonder if Al Gore is shivering somewhere... this global warming thing is really starting to kick in...
Apparently, Fox News has even less journalistic integrity than Andrew Breitbart.
Yesterday, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis had visited the White House in September. Carlson's claim was presumably based on Breitbart's report that a "Bertha E. Lewis" - who he claimed was the ACORN CEO - turned up in the White House visitor logs released in December. As I've pointed out, Politico's Ben Smith reported days ago that he had checked out Breitbart's claim, calling up the White House, who told him that the Bertha Lewis in the logs wasn't ACORN's, and ACORN, who told him their CEO's middle initial wasn't E.
After Carlson regurgitated this right-wing falsehood that had been debunked days earlier, Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters' Vice President for Communications and Research, wrote a letter to Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente asking how this error would be handled in light of the "zero tolerance" policy the network supposedly instituted in November.
We haven't heard back.
A funny thing happened in the last 24 hours, though. Breitbart issued a belated correction to his post, acknowledging that the White House says that the Bertha Lewis who visited wasn't the ACORN CEO, and that he has no evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, Fox & Friends went quiet, issuing no correction to their false reporting.
It's pretty sad day for a national news network when you make Andrew Breitbart look responsible.
From a January 5, 2010 Wall Street Journal column by Pete du Pont:
Al Gore said the other week that climate change is "a principle in physics. It's like gravity. It exists." Sarah Palin agreed that "climate change is like gravity," but added a better conclusion: Each is "a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it."
Over time climates do change. As author Howard Bloom wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, in the past two million years there have been 60 ice ages, and in the 120,000 years since the development of modern man, "we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings," and of course this was before--long before--"smokestacks and tail pipes."
In our earth's history there has been both global warming and global cooling. In Roman times, from 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, it was warm; from 600 to 900 came the cold Dark Ages; more warming from 900 to 1300; and another ice age from 1300 to 1850. Within the past century, the earth has warmed by 0.6 degree Celsius, but within this period we can see marked shifts: cooling (1900-10), warming (1910-40), cooling again (1940 to nearly 1980), and since then a little warming. The Hadley Climatic Research Unit global temperature record shows that from 1980 to 2009, the world warmed by 0.16 degree Celsius per decade.
Yesterday, I was honored to find one of my old blog postings highlighted by Glenn Beck. Beck decided to open 2010 on a defensive note, attempting to dismiss all criticisms of his broadcasts as baseless personal attacks. Wishing to rebut charges that he was racially insensitive, he quoted from a County Fair post I wrote last September titled, "Beck, Jones, and race." The piece ended with the following two lines, which he read on air:
It seems clear that to Glenn Beck, individuals like Barack Obama and Van Jones are African-American before they are anything else. And for him, that appears to be a major cause for concern.
Then he offered his response: "Nothing could be further from the truth."
The content of my posting, which Beck chose to ignore entirely, consisted of a list of recent statements from the host that led me to conclude that, as I wrote, "Beck is obsessed with race and seems deeply uncomfortable with minority Americans in general, especially those in positions of power." The examples mentioned included the following:
My September post also referred to an August 24, 2009, profile Beck put together on Van Jones, in which he went out of his way to portray Jones as a black militant. The piece came not long after an August 11 broadcast during which he said:
BECK: I want to talk to you about the green movement root. I couldn't figure out why the green movement -- here is Van Jones. This is a convicted felon, a guy who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating.
It was perhaps the single biggest lie Beck told about the former administration official. Jones was arrested in San Francisco (not Los Angeles) during a peaceful protest related to the 1992 Rodney King verdict, which had occurred several days after the riots ended. Jones was released after a few hours and was later awarded compensation as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the police alleging they had illegally arrested numerous individuals. The idea that Jones was a "convicted felon" who had spent months in prison was ludicrous -- and yet Beck didn't correct the accusation until December 4.
The August 24, 2009, Beck profile reviewed the episode as well, and the graphics Beck chose speak volumes. He first selected an unattributed and undated image of Jones talking to a police officer.
He then superimposed that image over video footage of flaming wreckage from the L.A. riots even though -- to reiterate -- Jones was not in LA and his arrest did not occur during a riot.
The intent, especially within the broader context of the piece, was obvious: to portray Jones as a dangerous and radical black militant.
And Beck's attitudes on race and ethnicity show no signs of changing. In December, he said that the Ganges River "sounds like a disease," and then, seeking to belittle Jamaica, claimed that he had never heard of current Olympic record holder and Jamaican national Usain Bolt. "I don't even know what flag that is," he said. "It's like a vacation country. Is that Jamaica? Does anybody know?"
These are but a few of the many instances during which Beck has appealed to the fears and prejudices of certain members of his white audience. His actions are as deliberate and premeditated as they are indefensible. Beck may wish to deny such a charge, but his record speaks for itself.
The Plum Line's Greg Sargent gets Politico editor John Harris to defend Politico's uncritical copying-and-pasting of Dick Cheney's attacks on the Obama administration. But Harris's defense doesn't hold water.
Harris writes "[I]t seemed to me that the people who found Cheney's comments most objectionable were the ones who found them most newsworthy." What does that even mean? That the people who found Cheney's comments objectionable objected to them, which means they were noteworthy? That's incredibly circular. Further, Harris is ducking: He ignores a key aspect of the criticism of Politico, which was not merely that Cheney's comments didn't deserve attention, but that Politico failed to place them in appropriate factual context.
Next, Harris suggests that it's ok that Politico uncritically passed along Cheney's attacks because other Politico articles filled in some of the gaps:
If you look at the other stories we ran at the same time as the Cheney quote there was a Josh Gerstein piece leading the site comparing Obama's response to Bush's after the 2001 shoe bomber and debunking the notion that Obama's response was more sluggish. We also had a piece looking at GOP politicization of national security.
If anyone should be aware of the need for individual articles to stand on their own, it should be a Politico editor. How many people sit down and read Politico cover-to-cover? Somewhere in the neighborhood of "none," I'm guessing. If it was ever adequate for a news organization to pass along unfiltered partisan attacks in one report, then add the necessary context in other reports, that time is long gone. It simply doesn't reflect the way people consume news.
Finally, Harris offers this:
Trying to get newsworthy people to say interesting things is part of what we do. Also in December we had a long Q and A with the other prominent former vice president Al Gore. That story might also have looked to some like providing an uncritical platform if you viewed it only isolation.
Another misleading dodge. The Cheney article that drew criticism wasn't the result of a "long Q and A." It was based on what Politico described as a Cheney "statement to Politico." A press release, in other words. Which Politico reporter Mike Allen dutifully copied-and-pasted in its entirety. It isn't a "Q and A" if the person providing the A doesn't face any Q.
You would think that, just a few weeks removed from getting caught red-handed spreading falsehoods about Kevin Jennings and being forced to issue an embarrassing retraction, Accuracy in Media would want to stay away from the subject of Jennings, lest it stray into further misleading smears. But AIM doesn't, and it does.
In a January 4 AIM column, Cliff Kincaid tries once again to falsely link Jennings to pedophila -- defying AIM's retraction statement that it has "no evidence" to support such a link -- by bringing up Jennings' praise for gay-rights pioneer Harry Hay, stating that Hay was a "supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association" and insisting that "The praise of Hay by Jennings has led to questions about Jennings's relationship with NAMBLA itself."
In fact, Jennings' praise of Hay has only "led to questions" among those determined to mischaracterize that praise. Jennings praised Hay's role in helping start "the first ongoing gay rights groups in America" in 1948, which has nothing to do with NAMBLA.
(Just as unacceptable to Kincaid, it appears, is that Hay was also "a prominent member of the Communist Party USA and 'Radical Faerie' who believed in the power of the occult.")
Kincaid also curiously embarks on a defense of a proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, asserting that any claim that it would result in the death penalty for homosexuality is "flat-out disinformation" and that the death penalty is for "aggravated homosexuality," which is, according to Kincaid, "pederasty, pedophilia, homosexual parent/child incest, homosexual abuse of a disabled ward, and knowingly spreading AIDS."
But CNN reports that the death penalty could also apply to those who "engage in homosexual sex more than once," as well as "people who test positive for HIV." The law would also apply even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal.
Kincaid's source for his claims about the Uganda law is anti-gay pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries -- which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups. The New York Times reports that Lively "has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss" the proposed law and was one of three evangelical activists who headlined a recent conference on the "gay agenda" in the country in which, according to the Times, they "discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.' "
Kincaid quotes Lively stating that the bill "does not emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and the punishment that it calls for is unacceptably harsh. However, if the offending sections were sufficiently modified, the proposed law would represent an encouraging step in the right direction." According to Kincaid, Lively defends the law as "a response to the history of the country, where Christians were persecuted and even killed for resisting the homosexuality of King Mwanga, a violent pedophile." Lively also cites "homosexual political activists from Europe and the United States [who] are working aggressively to re-homosexualize their nation" and claims that "Ugandan citizens report a growing number of foreign homosexual men coming to their country to turn desperately poor young men from the slums into their personal houseboys, and that some girls in public schools have been paid to recruit others into lesbianism."
Kincaid joins WorldNetDaily's Molotov Mitchell in defending the Ugandan bill.
Thanks to Kincaid's smear, AIM owes another apology to Jennings. They might want to quit while they're behind.