This is an argument the right-wing is desperate to make this week in the wake of the domestic terrorist who is accused of killing Dr. George Tiller, which was quickly followed by news that an American Muslim had killed an Army recruiter in Arkansas. The argument that GOP Noise Machine leaders like Malkin want very badly to make is pretend the circumstances surrounding both killings are exactly the same; if media conservatives are to blame in any way for Tiller's death, than media liberals are to blame for the killing of the recruiters because liberal pundits created a dangerous, anti-military atmosphere
Malkin is desperate the link the two shooting because right-wing pundits, like Bill O'Reilly, are under fire in the wake of Tiller's murder for the kind of vigilante rhetoric they used against the abortion provider over the years. They're under fire because people are asking the rather obvious question of, if the relentless hate language pinpointed at Tiller by the likes of O'Reilly and others in the conservative media helped foster a dangerous atmosphere where a right-wing terrorist would put those words into action and eliminate Tiller.
Not fair, cries Malkin, who clings to the Arkansas tragedy as proof that liberals are guilty of the exact same thing; that liberals in the media created a dangerous atmosphere with their anti-recruiter rhetoric, which then prompted a killer to put those words into action and eliminate one recruiter. (Glenn Beck made that very claim on his radio show yesterday.)
Slight problem. Neither Malkin nor anybody else on the right this week can find any hateful, violent anti-recruiter rhetoric used by any liberal media personalities. Why can't they find the rhetoric? Because nobody on the left with any sort of national platform has targeted Army recruiters in recent years. Period. (If they did, Malkin would have included the damning quotes in her column. Either that, or she needs to hire a new researcher.)
There are no gotcha, hateful get-the-recruiter quotes to hang around the necks of Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow--which Malkin and company are desperate to do--for the simple reason that high-profile media liberals haven't led dangerous crusades to target military recruiters the way O'Reilly led a dangerous crusade against Dr. Tiller.
As a rule, media liberals don't traffic in irresponsible, militia-style rhetoric. Conservatives like O'Reilly and Glenn Beck do though, and now conservatives can't make it go away.
Given Pat Buchanan's history of clear bigotry - most recently demonstrated in his reminder last night that he supported and continues to defend a white supremacist - there really isn't any good reason for MSNBC to continue putting him on the air. The man is a bigot, plain and simple. In light of the hot water MSNBC has gotten into in the past for bigoted comments by its employees, you would think they would want to distance themselves from the likes Buchanan.
But what's really extraordinary is that MSNBC brings Buchanan on air to talk about race issues. It gives Pat Buchanan a platform from which to call other people racists. Granted, if there's someone who knows racists better than Pat Buchanan does, I can't think of who it would be. But his is not the kind of expertise MSNBC should be inflicting upon its viewers.
Pat Buchanan's idea of a good Supreme Court justice was someone who said "I believe that segregation of the races is proper ... and the only practical and correct way of life in our states. I yield to no man in the firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy and I shall always be so governed." Pat Buchanan says calling that person a racist is a "smear."
Paying Pat Buchanan to opine about the Supreme Court, and to call other people racists, is nothing but a sick, twisted joke.
But that's just what MSNBC is doing. Here's a compilation of some of Buchanan's recent vile and hypocritical attacks on Sonia Sotomayor:
Fox News is doing its best to prop up this 'scandal.' But oh, is it painful to watch.
Note how the Chrysler dealership owner on Neil Cavuto's show won't sign off on the idea that he was shut down (by the Obama White House) as part of the company's radical restructuring because he gave money to Republicans. Note that Fox News' research simply confirms that, wow, car dealers across the board give way more money to Republicans than Democrats, which proves nothing about any kind of pattern behind which dealers are getting shuttered.
The next chapter: GM will soon announce hundreds of dealership being closed as part of its bankruptcy filing. Be sure to check with right-wing bloggers in coming weeks to find out of the Obama White House continues to "punish" GOP donors.
Michelle Malkin's column today:
When a right-wing Christian vigilante kills, millions of fingers pull the trigger. When a left-wing Muslim vigilante kills, he kills alone. These are the instantly ossifying narratives in the Sunday shooting death of late-term abortion provider George Tiller of Kansas versus the Monday shootings of two Arkansas military recruiters.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on a second. What evidence is there the Arkansas shooter is "left-wing"?
There isn't any in Malkin's column. And, so far as I know, there isn't any anywhere. (And I think it's safe to assume that there was any evidence, Malkin would have cited it.)
Still, I bet Howard Kurtz quotes Malkin by the end of the week.
The Morning Joe crew was on an anti-union tear this morning, claiming the union label on a company means "sell." Mika Brzezinski went so far as to say of unions: "They cripple the system that makes a company work." Collectively, the journalists on Morning Joe couldn't name a single "successful" unionized company.
This says more about their qualifications to discuss public policy and labor relations than it says about unions. To pick just one obvious example, UPS is unionized -- and the company made more than $3 billion last year. That's "billion" with a "b," and those are profits, not revenues.
Oh, what the heck, let's take one more example. GE is one of the world's largest companies; in 2006, its revenues were greater than the gross domestic products of 80 percent of UN nations. The company made more than $18 billion in 2008 -- again, billion with a b, and again, those are profits, not revenue. All that despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that 13 different unions represent GE workers.
Oh, and GE owns NBC-Universal, which owns MSNBC, which pays Joe Scarborough a handsome salary (and the unionized workers who help get his show on the air considerably less.)
Does Joe Scarborough think NBC and GE are not "successful" companies? Does Mika Brzezinski think the unionized workers she no doubt interacts with every day are crippling her ability to do her job, or her employer's ability to be successful?
Or is it possible that the anti-union rants from Morning Joe journalists has something to do with the fact that members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA union have protested NBC-Universal? Here's a May 19 press release:
Members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA will stage a protest tonight outside NBC Universal's Fall Preview Gala at the Town Hall Theater in Manhattan. More than 2,500 NBCU employees at the NBC Television Network and its owned TV stations in New York, Washington, D.C.; Chicago, and Burbank have been working without a contract for nearly two months. Union and company negotiators have been meeting sporadically since last September; little progress for a new agreement has been made.
NABET-CWA Locals have filed unfair labor charges and unit clarification petitions with the National Labor Relations Board and put NBC Universal on notice previously that workers will mobilize across the country to fight for a fair and equitable contract. The contract between NABET-CWA and NBC Universal expired at midnight on March 31, 2009. No new talks have been scheduled.
UPDATE: New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin started off the nonsense about successful unionized companies, saying, "Name a successful unionized company. Think. You're gonna go to break before you come up with one."
If Andrew Ross Sorkin's name sounds familiar, that's probably because he's the reporter who started the myth about the average GM worker being paid $70 an hour. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named him "Worst Person in the World" for that bit of blatantly false anti-union, anti-worker propaganda.
UPDATE 2: Over at TPM, Brian Beutler has a response from Teamsters president James Hoffa: "The Morning Joe team really should be embarrassed for showing their lack of knowledge on the subject." And Beutler says he has a call in to Sorkin, and is awaiting a response.
This was from over the weekend, but it's still worth taking a look because I think it helps illustrate the media's deliberate attempt to gin up phony controversy via purposefully dishonest coverage of the Sotomayor nomination.
Following the the round table discussion from ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, the segment was posted online with this headline:
The segment featured guests senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). Naturally, Stephanopoulos wanted to talk about the "Latina woman" quote, and naturally, Stephanopoulos refused to provide any context for the quote, which has become the Beltway Rule of Law for covering Sotomayor.
But notice the headline and how ABC News stressed the possibility of a filibuster. This was almost as bad as what CBS's Bob Schieffer did simultaneously on Fact the Nation Sunday morning, when he asked Cornyn if Sotomayor's nomination might be doomed. Keep in mind that on Sunday there was, I believe, exactly one Republican senator who was on the record opposing Sotomayor's nominations, but Schieffer wanted to know if the nomination might be sunk.
The same with ABC--how could a filibuster be in the offering by Republicans to squash Obama's pick if Republicans themselves did not oppose her? In fact, in the discussion between Schumer and Cornyn on ABC's This Week, the word "filibuster" was never even mentioned in connection to Sotomayor. The topic did not come up because virtually nobody who's paying attention, and who is being honest about the situation (which eliminates our press corps), thinks an anti-Sotomayor filibusters is remote possibility, as of today. Yet ABC did it's best to manufacture news by inserting the filibuster word into its Sotomayor headline.
Again, it's part of a pathetic, deliberate attempt to concoct news.
On Hardball tonight, Pat Buchanan noted that he supported Nixon Supreme Court nominee Harrold Carswell:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How well does she [Sonia Sotomayor] compare to Howard [sic] Carswell?
BUCHANAN: Harrold Carswell? I would think probably she's right in the same league, Chris.
MATTHEWS (laughing): Pat, that's an insult, and you know it. That -- Lawrence --
BUCHANAN (laughing): I supported Carswell!
Buchanan not only supported Carswell when Nixon nominated him in 1970, he continues to defend Carswell against charges of racism. In a 2005 column, Buchanan claimed "Liberals smeared Nixon nominees [Clement] Haynesworth and Carswell as racists."
Now, where ever would anyone have gotten the idea that Harrold Carswell was a racist? Maybe from a speech Carswell gave at an American Legion gathering in which he said: "I believe that segregation of the races is proper ... and the only practical and correct way of life in our states. I yield to no man in the firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy and I shall always be so governed."
Yeah, that's probably it.
When that speech was uncovered, Carswell did his best to pretend he didn't stand by it. But his judicial record cast doubt on those claims:
While he was a district judge, 60% of his 23 civil rights decisions were reversed by the Fifth Circuit Court. In 1963, he dismissed a complaint on behalf of blacks who were trying to attend a Tallahassee theater; the Circuit Court reversed his ruling with the biting comment, "These orders are clearly in error."
[I]n a suit to desegregate the faculty of a formerly all-black school near Pensacola, Carswell reasoned that the Supreme Court's desegregation decisions in 1954 and 1955 referred only to students, not to faculty.
After becoming a circuit-court judge, he joined in granting a desegregation delay to five Southern states. It was a decision tacitly endorsed by Nixon's Southern strategist, John Mitchell. In mid-January, as Carswell and Mitchell were dining and discussing the impending appointment, the Supreme Court reversed Carswell's decision and told the states to desegregate by Feb. 1.
And to this day, Pat Buchanan defends Carswell -- who supported segregation and boasted of his belief in "white supremacy" -- from charges of racism, and laughs about his support for Carswell.
Pat Buchanan is perhaps the best-known bigot in America. He called Martin Luther King Jr. "one of the most divisive men in contemporary history." He called Adolf Hitler "an individual of great courage" and wrote a column questioning whether World War II was "worth it" and wondered, "[W]hy destroy Hitler?" He defends a self-proclaimed white supremacist from charges of racism. Nearly every day, he demonstrates contempt for women and minorities.
MSNBC's continued employment of him says a lot about the cable channel.