From a September 30 post on former Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Black's MinnPost blog:
My friend and former colleague Katherine Kersten connected a few non-existing dots in a Sunday Strib column to imply that the demonic ACORN may have stolen the 2008 MN Sen. election for Al Franken. She offers precisely zero particles of evidence that any improper act by ACORN resulted a single improper vote for Franken being counted, or even rejected. Of course, she didn't say that such a thing occurs, she merely puts together facts from other states, the current ACORN embarrassments in other states, notes that ACORN was active in voter registration in Minnesota, that ACORN supported both Franken and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and concludes with a question:
"Did ACORN folks pull some fast ones to help get their favorite son Franken elected - a win that handed Democrats the 60-vote, veto-proof majority that they needed to enact their liberal agenda?"
She does not note, as basic fairness might have required, that despite the enormous scrutiny given to the Minnesota election, neither Norm Coleman nor any of his attorneys ever alleged that such a thing had occurred and in fact specified to the Supreme Court that it was making no allegation of fraud in the election.
As I've written before, the lack of any evidence of fraud, or even attempted fraud, in this excruciatingly close, highly scrutinized election is something of which Minnesota should be proud.
From conservative web publisher Andrew Breitbart's Twitter account:
From the September 30 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
More than 60 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 September 30 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
* Correction: Media Matters incorrectly identified this advertiser as GFI. We regret the error.
As the Daily Howler notes today, too bad Friedman didn't make that blindingly obvious conclusion, y'know, during the 1990's. Instead, at the time Friedman stuck to the preferred NYT script and treated the phony Whitewater story as a big deal.
Here's the passage in question for Friedman's column today [emphasis added]:
Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president "41," will be remembered as our last "legitimate" president. The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater "scandal." George W. Bush was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it.
Writes the Howler:
Friedman has been a columnist at the Times roughly since the invention of noise. According to the Nexis records, his first reference to "Bill Clinton" occurred in March 1992. But his first reference to "Whitewater" didn't occur for five years after that! And how weird! This is what he wrote at that time, about this bogus non-scandal:
FRIEDMAN (5/19/97): Does Ken Starr do diplomacy?
I ask because it's now clear that NATO expansion is the Whitewater of the Clinton foreign policy. Like Whitewater, NATO expansion began with a poorly financed, poorly conceived real estate deal, sold to Bill Clinton by fast-talking policy hucksters...Like Whitewater, the cover-up is worse than the original deal, and the ultimate costs far greater than if he had just walked away.
Today, Friedman dismisses Whitewater as as a "bogus" "scandal." But during the Clinton years, when press elites hyped the pointless saga, Friedman played along.
It's a must-read post by Rick Moran at his conservative site, Right Wing Nut House.
"'SILENCE EQUALS ASSENT:' WHY POINTING OUT CONSERVATIVE LUNACY MUST BE DONE
Moran does not hold back as he eviscerates the unhinged hate rhetoric that now powers large portions of the conservative movement. But he also goes after those who remain silent within GOP circles about the "lunacy" that's unfolding.
Trying to argue rationally with someone who believes Obama is a Nazi, or a Communist is akin to arguing with a stone wall. And at least the wall is smart enough not to keep opening its mouth and further proving how irrational it is...The emotional state of conservatism now coupled with the hyper partisan atmosphere in the country (and the already excessive ideological nature of the opposition to Obama) is a combination that afflicts the reason centers of the mind and is proving to be a block to thinking logically. What is there to "fear" about Obama and the Democrats? They are proposing the same liberal crap that the left has been promoting for more than 30 years. We have fought them before using reason and logic. What is so different now?
I don't know how to say it any other way; those conservatives who don't see a problem with this, or don't think it "representative" of a significant portion of the conservative movement, or who don't believe this sort of thing should be taken out, examined, and criticized as forcefully as possible are fooling themselves into believing this kind of thinking doesn't matter. It is poison coursing through the body of conservatism and we either use reason and logic as an antidote or it will end up killing us.
Wonder what Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg have to say.
Yesterday, Anne Applebaum was one of two -- two! -- Washington Post columnists who argued for leniency for child rapist Roman Polanski. Applebaum's argued that Polanski shouldn't be imprisoned because he has suffered enough -- he's had to pay lawyers' fees, and was unable to pick up an Oscar he won for fear he'd be taken for jail. No, really -- that was Applebaum's argument:
He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar.
That's just dumb. People who commit crimes do not pay their debts to society when they write checks to their lawyers. And saying that someone has paid for the crime of child rape by being unable to receive an Oscar may be the single most clueless thing ever written by a Washington Post columnist.
Anyway, Applebaum's defense of Polanski drew some well-deserved ridicule, here and elsewhere.
Well, today, Applebaum responded. And, as Paul Campos points out at Lawyers, Guns and Money, she responds by saying, basically, that the Polanski case isn't "straightforward and simple" because Polanski's victim -- a 13-year-old child -- had asked her mother for permission to be photographed in a jacuzzi.
Applebaum doesn't bother to explain why a 13-year-old child asking her mother for permission to be photographed in a jacuzzi in any way gets a grown man off the hook for subsequently drugging and raping the child. She just assumes we'll understand. But, in any case, Campos points out that Applebaum got it wrong; the victim didn't ask her mother if she could be photographed in a jacuzzi. So Applebaum's defense of Polanski is not only strange and bizarre, it is factually inaccurate as well.
Applebaum also defends herself from criticism that she should have disclosed the fact that her husband, a Polish government official, is currently lobbying for Polanski's freedom. Applebaum writes that at the time she wrote the original blog post, she "had no idea that the Polish government would or could lobby for Polanski's release, as I am in Budapest and my husband is in Africa."
I actually find that reasonably compelling. Unfortunately, that isn't Applebaum's only defense of her lack of disclosure. Applebaum:
For the record, I will note that I mentioned my husband's job in a column as recently as last week, and that when he first entered the Polish government three years ago I wrote a column about that too. I have to assume that the bloggers who have leapt upon this as some kind of secret revelation are simply unfamiliar with my writing.
This is nonsense. If a conflict exists, it isn't sufficient to disclose it once. It must be disclosed every time it is relevant. Applebaum seems to assume that Washington Post readers make a mental catalogue of every Post reporter and columnist, their relationships, and their conflicts of interest. That anyone who ever reads anything she writes will take it upon themselves to keep a running tally of her conflicts, so she need disclose them only once. That, obviously, is not going to happen. And it displays a stunning arrogance -- she thinks everyone who reads her column cares enough about her to know where her husband works.
Finally, she's misstating the nature of what she mocks as the "secret revelation." The criticism wasn't that her husband is an employee of the Polish government. Nobody cares about that. It's that her husband is a Polish government official who is currently lobbying for the very thing Applebaum is arguing in favor of. Surely she understands the difference?
The implication, in any case, that I am a spokesman for my husband -- while not quite as offensive as the implication that my daughter should be raped -- is offensive nevertheless.
That's a pretty poor attempt to play the victim. Does Anne Applebaum expect us to believe that she doesn't think it would be newsworthy if, say, a United States Senator casts a vote that would benefit her spouse's business, without disclosing the interest?
There's a clear difference between saying someone is incapable of thinking independently and is merely a puppet of their spouse, and saying someone should disclose conflicts of interest that arise from their spouse's work. The former would, indeed, be offensive. The latter is what people were actually saying.
UPDATE: Applebaum also includes this priceless line:
Note that the only legitimate disagreements Applebaum can bring herself to refer to came from her Washington Post colleagues. Note also that she doesn't actually tell us what those disagreements were. Or which of their "points" she "takes." It's a secret. And, finally, note that neither Robinson nor Cohen actually mention her in any way, and that Cohen agrees with her that Polanski should not be jailed.
From conservative web publisher Andrew Breitbart's Twitter account:
Michael Calderone at Politico has been tracking this stunning case of conservative press-bashing, which seems to break new ground with its reckless execution.
The short version is that Americans for Limited Government has sent out three press releases claiming that a producer at NBC News, Jane Stone, after receiving an ALG email alert, returned the email to a ALG staffer with the anti-Semitic note, "Bite me Jew Boy!" NBC News chief Steve Capus immediately, and adamantly, denied the claim and announced that a complete IT email analysis by NBC proved the email the producer sent to ALG never included the hateful "Bite me Jew Boy!" phrase. (Instead, it simply read "Take me off this list!")
Since late last week, ALG has refused to produce any sort of hard evidence back up its vicious smear, such as the email headers that came attached to the supposed anti-Semitic message.
And today, Calderone notes:
Communications director Carter Clews told me that ALG does not plan to release email "headers"—as NewsBusters was told Saturday—or a taped phone conversation with Stone, where she allegedly first claimed to have not sent any email to the organization. Clews mentioned the taped phone call on New Majority. Also, ALG declined my request to visit the group's Fairfax office to look at their evidence firsthand.
Calderone correctly concludes, "NBC firmly stands behind Stone, and I feel the burden of proof is now on ALG to produce something that clearly ties her to this allegation."
And so far, it's crickets from ALG.
UPDATED: In his denunciation of ALG, NBC's Capus mentioned he was "shocked" by the group's irresponsible behavior. I guess my question is, Why? I suppose Capus was shocked because NBC was the unfortunate target this time. But honestly, the right-wing is addicted to this kind of hateful, anti-press garbage, and the sooner mainstream news outlets admit that and start reporting on it, the better off we'd all be.
NBC's Chuck Todd in an online Q&A today:
[Comment From Sabrina] Chuck, why is this administration treated with such kindness by the media and the previous administration was not? Isn't the media suppose to report the news and not give their opinions of the news?
Chuck Todd: Sabrina -- This criticism comes across to me as incredibly empty... apparently folks forget how the first three years of the Bush administration were covered... I think too many folks mistake opinion-driven commentators for journalists and it skews things. But the level of scrutiny given to Obama in this first year is the same as for Bush 43, same as Clinton 42, same as Bush 41... I've witnessed and been involved with all of it back to Clinton... We tend to have MUCH shorter memories on the issue of so-called media bias especially if it doesn't fit the sterotype point we are trying to make... It's frustrating to watch and, with all do respect, I don't accept the criticism as legitimate. [Ellipses in original]
It would have been great for Todd to explicitly point out that claims of "liberal media bias" ring hollow in light of the media's handling of Iraq, the 2000 election, and their relentless hyping of Clinton-era non-scandals.
But, at this point -- with journalists tripping all over themselves to agree with every media criticism from the Right, no matter how inane -- we'll take it. Good for Todd for clearly rejecting the attack.