My column about right-wing vigilante violence, and how Fox News will likely have to face more uncomfortable questions about acts of domestic terror at the same time it continues to peddle its militia-style hate rhetoric, clearly touched a nerve at the American Spectator. Especially in the wake of yesterday's Holocaust Museum killing, after which the conservative movement seemed to suffer a collective nervous breakdown at the prospect of having to explain away another political assassination.
The ironies of the American Spectator screed about my column were many. The first was that it claimed that liberals would waste no time trying to score political points surrounding the killing. This, mind you, on a night when Bill O'Reilly was stilling shamelessly trying to milk political points out of a tragic killing of an Army recruiter in Arkansas last week.
Of course, the American Spectator didn't have a problem with that; it didn't think it was tasteless for O'Reilly to try to use the senseless murder as a way to shift the attention off his "baby killer" crusade. For the American Spectator, O'Reilly isn't out of bounds. Liberals, though, are hateful.
Or more specifically, I am. According to the American Spectator I'm the "left-wing hate purveyor" who had the audacity to write (yet again) about the uncomfortable connection that people can draw between Fox News' militia rhetoric and the rash of right-wing political violence.
Wrote an overexcited
By sheer coincidence, at the website of the journalistic equivalent of a roving, extremely well-funded death squad, left-wing hate purveyor Eric Boehlert put up a post last night called "O'Reilly and Fox News will have more right-wing vigilantism to explain."
Y'know what they say, denial aint just a river in Egypt. If folks at the American Spectator want to think it was all just a crazy coincidence, and if they want to pretend the conservative movement is not playing a dangerous game with the kind of unvarnished hate rhetoric that it's now dumping into the mainstream, then that's their decision. (Did you see anyone on the right denounce O'Reilly's "baby killer" rhetoric, even after a far-right fanatic allegedly assassinated Dr. George Tiller? Me neither.)
But the whole point, which Vadum blissfully missed, was that my column (and the questions it raised) appearing on the eve of the Holocaust Museum killing was pretty much the opposite of coincidental. Why? Because this is the hateful political landscape that conservatives have helped construct in 2009, and, sadly, I think the violence will continue. The killings are predictable. Media Matters is simply paying attention and asking the rather obvious questions.
There's nothing accidental about it.
UPDATE: Did we mention the Holocaust Museum killing has unleashed a new realm of looniness among right-wing pundits as they thrash around, desperately trying to explain away the latest episode of violence? (Hint: It's the Muslims' fault.)
You could almost see the moment yesterday afternoon when the Fox News team lost interest (or at least lost a lot of interest) in the breaking story about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. That moment seemed to be when it was revealed that the alleged shooter, James von Brunn, was a white supremacist who, according to a CNN report last night, had strong ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
For some reason, Fox News suddenly pulled back its coverage of the shocking shooting that had political overtones. In fact, the story virtually disappeared during Fox News' primetime block.
Nothing to see here people, just keep moving along.
According to TVeyes.com, Fox News trails far behind its cable news rivals in mentioning "Holocaust" and/or "von Brunn" in the last 21 hours. In fact, Fox News anchors and reporters have used those phrases approximately 40 percent fewer times than their CNN counterparts, and 30 percent fewer than reporters and anchors at MSNBC.
As of 10 a.m., the totals looked like this:
CNN: at least 168 mentions.
MSNBC: at least 121 mentions.
Fox News: at least 89 mentions.
Just imagine what those Fox News tallies would have looked like if the shooter had been a Muslim.
UPDATE: According to TVeyes.com, Fox News last night during primetime (8-11 p.m.) mentioned "Holocaust" and "von Brunn" a grand total of three times. For the entire night.
The Washington Times editorial board claims:
It was revealed Friday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor belongs to the Belizean Grove, a highly selective club for women only. Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont announced Tuesday that her confirmation hearings will begin on July 13. If this judge were a man, the nomination would never make it to the Senate for hearings....
We don't care if nominees belong to all-male or all-female clubs, but a double standard is in play. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s supposed membership in an all-male eating club while an undergraduate at Princeton became an issue during his 2006 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
Where to start? How about with what the paper calls Alito's "supposed membership"? In fact, it was his actual membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton that was briefly an issue. Alito bragged about his membership in job applications; I think we can drop the pretense that maybe he wasn't actually a member.
Next: "all-male eating club" doesn't begin to describe Concerned Alumni of Princeton. The group wanted to cap the number of women and minorities allowed to attend Princeton, arguing: "a student population of approximately 40 percent women and minorities will largely vitiate the alumni body of the future."
Finally, Alito's membership in this group that wanted to limit the number of women and minorities allowed at Princeton only "became an issue" during his confirmation hearing in the sense that the media relentlessly and inaccurately attacked Democrats for bringing it up, saying it was "over the line" and "vicious."
The Times did, however, spell Alito's name correctly. So they have that going for them.
When the DHS talked about right-wingers, I think this is what they had in mind.
Of course that's what the DHS report was about. How did I, and every other rational person, know that's what the report was about when it was released? Because that's what the DHS warning reported. Meaning, that's what the words on the page meant.
But for some strange reason the GOP Noise Machine, led by Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and the entire Fox News crew, decided that even though the DHS never once used the word "conservative," and even though the DHS report was quite clearly about "domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups," "terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks," and "white supremacists," despite all that, the Noise Machine went bonkers claiming the DHS report was about them. (Which begged the rather uncomfortable question of why conservative bloggers and pundits immediately saw themselves in a report about skinheads and right-wing terrorists. Yikes.)
But now, after a deadly lone wolf attack at the Holocaust Museum by an alleged white supremacist, the Jawa Report figures out that, oh yeah, that's what the DHS was talking about.
Meanwhile, Malkin maintains her silence regarding the "piece of crap" attack she launched against the now-prescient DHS report.
BTW, the DHS report also warned about anti-Semitic acts of violence. Any comment Michelle?
Hours after the Holocaust Museum shooting, Newsmax.com published a column by Rabbi Dr. Morton H. Pomerantz headlined, "Obama Breeds Climate of Hate Against Jews." From the June 10 column:
Our new president did not tell a virulent anti-Semite to travel to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington to kill Jews, but he is most certainly creating a climate of hate against us.
It is no coincidence that we are witnessing this level of hatred toward Jews as President Barack Obama positions America against the Jewish state.
While Obama acknowledged that "six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today" - his discussion about the Holocaust was followed by this statement: "On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland."
"On the other hand . . . "?
Obama's clever construct comparing the mass genocide of six million Jews to the Palestinian struggle will not be lost on the estimated 100 million Muslims who tuned into to hear him.
Perhaps it was not lost on James W. von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist identified as the alleged attacker Wednesday at the Holocaust Museum. He apparently felt that he could easily take retribution against the Jews for the atrocities Obama implies they are guilty of.
The column is promoted at the top of Newsmax:
Today, Neil Cavuto hosted Bob Newman -- a Colorado radio host who Cavuto presented as a "terror expert" -- to discuss the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. During the segment, Newman raised questions about whether President Obama's recent visit to a concentration camp or his statement about Israeli settlements were factors in the shooting:
CAVUTO: But Bob, normally when you're in tough economic times, it does bring out the sort of -- the home-grown loonies. And I wonder whether that's what we have to worry about, or we should be not forgetting. What do you think?
NEWMAN: That is oftentimes one of what is called the lead-up catalyst -- what led to this particular act that was mentioned just a few moments ago? What was the president of the United States doing last week? He was visiting a Holocaust site in Germany with Chancellor Merkel. And a day or two before that, he was mentioning some things about the Jews in regards to the settlements in the West Bank. Were those factors here? Well, we don't know. That's what the investigation is for. Remember, simply because something might seem obvious upfront -- this has to be it -- not necessarily. And that's where the FBI will come in. They'll get to the bottom of it.
Cavuto didn't say anything else about Newman's background, so here are a couple highlights from his radio show, The Gunny Bob Show.
Newman called for all Muslim immigrants to the U.S. "to be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times":
NEWMAN: I want -- tell me if I'm wrong or tell me if I'm right. I want every Muslim immigrant to America who holds a green card, a visa, or who is a naturalized citizen to be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times. And the FBI and the NSA should monitor their phones and their emails, all communications -- electronic -- at all times, as well as bug their places of work and their residences. If they don't like the idea, or if they refuse, throw their asses out of this country. All mosques and community centers as well as Muslim organizations must be monitored. We know with the arrests today that the Muslim terrorists are absolutely, positively here -- and we invited them to our country! And I think maybe it's time that we should stop doing that. Call me kooky, but I think maybe it's time for a little moratorium on Muslim visas, period. Hey, I'm sorry, guys -- I know that a lot of you are great people. I know you just like to do business here or become a U.S. citizens and be a peaceful person. I know that. But you know what? You better get control of your own people. Once you get control of them, then come see us again and we'll think about -- however many decades down the road it is -- we'll think about maybe opening our doors to you again. But you are doing absolutely freaking nothing to help, to, to help this nation. And that's that. [5/8/07]
Newman said of "terrorist-hugging" Obama: "What are you gonna do, Obama, come to Denver and try ... to whip my white ass?"
NEWMAN: Barack Obama goes off on the patriotic right and says he's a tough guy, and if ya challenge his wife, you better be careful. Oh, really? Barack Obama is threatening those who challenge his vile wife. Saying that conservatives better, quote, "lay off my wife," close quote, or else. He says those who take his wife to task, quote, "should be careful," close quote, because his wife's comments, his wife's beliefs, and his wife's complaints about this country are off-limits to public debate and scrutiny if it comes from, apparently, white conservatives. What is this clown now, some sort of a bad ass? What are you gonna do, Obama, come to Denver and try, key word try, to whip my white ass? Son, you are not some sort of macho tough guy, trust me. You are just another blowhard, make-believe thug who wants to be the most powerful man on Earth. You're a far-left, terrorist-hugging politician, not the bad-boy gangsta you want people to believe you are. Listen, sonny, why don't you grow a spine, and at least one cojone, and accept one of the many invitations I have extended for you to appear on The Gunny Bob Show, heard in 38 states, many of which are rather important to your election plan? Oh, and if you ever do muster the courage to do so, we will definitely be talking about your wife and her myriad personal problems. [5/19/08]
Well, they sure will be busy.
Via the Associated Press:
News Corp. has agreed to form an external diversity council after meeting with civil rights groups about a New York Post cartoon that critics said likened President Barack Obama to a dead chimpanzee.
The company will form a "diversity community council" in New York City that will meet with senior company executives twice a year, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said Wednesday. It also will include a statement of commitment to diversity in its annual report.
So, this is a council for ALL of News Corp., and it will be meeting twice a year. Even if Fox News (owned by News Corp.) alone had daily meetings, I'm not sure it would result in much of an improvement.
After all, Rupert Murdoch launched the News Corp. green initiative two years ago, and Fox News personalities still have trouble accepting the reality of climate change science.
I'm happy the NAACP and other civil rights leaders have brought about some form of change at News Corp. It remains to be seen, though, if News Corp.'s commitment on the issue is anything more than another PR stunt.
From Politico's Michael Calderone (emphasis added):
While it's already been noted that CNN's prime-time audience has dropped sharply in recent months, less viewers are tuning in at 7 p.m., too. Compared with May 2008, The Observer reports that Lou Dobbs has dropped 29 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the key 25-54 demo.
I wonder if there is a helpless scapegoat that Dobbs can blame for this. Hmmm, I just can't put my finger on it.