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Political Breakfast Food
"The righties in my feed have a very different perspective. They have what they want: a soundbite they can rip from context and use as a cudgel to beat the administration and Secretary Clinton with. I'm not sure if they really expect their efforts to color mainstream coverage of this story, but it's clear that that's what they're hoping. They have a new "you didn't build that," a new "spread the wealth around," and they're going to wring everything they can out of it."
"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information."
"What difference does it make?"
But, of course, the ripped-from-context quote is "What difference, at this point, does it make?" It's already being seized on by National Review and Fox News and The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard and Glenn Beck's Blaze and Michelle Malkin's Twitchy and the Free Bacon and, of course, Breitbart. There's already a popular hashtag, #whatdifferencedoesitmake.
This is an Andrew Breitbart/James O'Keefe tactic, but its use is not limited to O'Keefe and the carriers of the Breitbart torch -- this is a mainstream GOP tactic. The entire party and all its coat-holders are on board.
Here's the soundbite in context. The attempt to distort what Clinton said may not be more than a minor irritant. But righties are going to work this for quite a while.
For all of hate-blogger Walter James Casper III's embarrassing, over-the-top bleating, he's in fact never shown that Brain Ross's premature speculation wasn't political.Again, the argument up to now hasn't been that the reporting wasn't political--and I find it quite interesting that Dr. Douglas is attempting to shift that goalpost. The argument has been, was Brian Ross' premature speculation the result of media bias, either on his part, or on the part of ABC.
In fact, that Ross sought to tie suspect James Holmes to the tea party was nothing but political, because his statement couldn't be farther from a routine mistake of fact. Ross "investigated" the suspect's name, found out there was a "James Holmes" in Colorado who belonged to tea party groups, and then went on the air with it. He didn't wrongly report the suspect's age or occupation, or some other descriptive non-political fact.So far, we're on the same page (especially seeing as how much easier it is to "prove" this fact that neither of us was arguing against--that what Brian Ross "reported" was political--rather than the "fact" that was actually in contention, which was whether or not Brian Ross did so because he is biased against the tea party.)
He instinctively went with the same well-worn blood libel smear against the allegedly "violent" tea party movement. He was comfortable smearing the tea party for mass murder because that's what network elites do. Simple as that.Simple as that, and no evidence necessary, obviously... It's true because Donald Douglas and others of his ilk say it is, and anyone who disagrees with them is a hate-addled internet predator.
And of course it was entirely wrong and Ross has been universally condemned for "politicizing" the reporting. Not "misreporting" the story, "politicizing" it in the most disgusting way imaginable.Actually, if you go back to the Reliable Sources video Dr. Douglas posted in support of his previous diatribe, the terms they use are "mistake," "get things wrong," "sensationalism and rushing from judgment" (I suspect that using "from judgement," rather than "to judgement" was intentional), and "getting thing right first before, you know, getting things, just getting things out there." AND... they never used the terms "politicize" or "bias."
Regina Thomson, President of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, repudiated Ross's smear as "shameless and reprehensible."She is correct. It WAS shameless and reprehensible...but more because it was shitty reporting than because it was a smear, which again, implies it was intentional, a "fact" nowhere in evidence.
This happens every time there's some kind of horrible massacre, for example last year in Tucson. Left-wing journalists, pundits, and bloggers jumped to exploit the bloodshed to destroy conservatives.I'll agree with that... Every time there is any kind of tragedy, (or for that matter, any slip of the tongue, any 20 year old incident, or any piece of news at all) there are partisans who try to use it to attack the folks they don't agree with and to further their own partisan agenda. In the case of Tucson, there was both the same unsubstantiated speculation masquerading as news, some of which was about political motives for the shooting of a Democratic officeholder--but as in the case of Brian Ross, WASN'T the result of political bias (just that need to say it first and/or fill up airtime and column inches) and partisan political operatives (pundits and bloggers, more than journalists) making accusations designed to hurt the other side...in that case, conservatives. But what Donald fails to mention, perhaps in an effort to paint everyone he hates (everyone he disagrees with) with that one big ol' brush, is that there were also Left of center journalists, pundits, and bloggers who spoke out against such attacks, and many more who did neither; no partisan attacks, and no condemnation of those who did attack, either. Partisan conservatives such as Dr. Douglas--acting far more like the people they're condemning than they'd ever admit--would have folks believe that if ANY liberal does something immoral, illegal, or eeeeevil, ALL liberals are responsible for that behavior.
"The political rhetoric of Sarah Palin's scope sights and "blueboy's" post at Daily Kos are both sadly over the top.Yes, there were liberals who said some really stupid and disgusting things after Gabby Giffords was shot. Other liberals called them out for doing so. Blaming every liberal for what any liberal says is hacktacular partisan attackery...and obviously, stupidly wrong, besides.
Are either of 'em responsible for this particular violence (or any violence, at all)? Almost certainly not. The coarsening of the culture, including violent or hateful political rhetoric like these examples are surely not good for any society, and yes, nutbags like this guy can perhaps be influenced by them. (To be clear, I'm not saying that there's any evidence that this guy WAS, only that it's possible that nutbags, including this guy, CAN BE.) But even without being a direct or indirect factor in violent acts, such rhetoric does divide us and set the stage for more (more quantity, and more over the top nasty) rhetoric. And that's just sad.
From what we know at present anyway, anyone trying to tie this guy or this massacre to any political party or point of view is talking out of their ass. Nuts are just nuts. (And I don't think that anyone can watch/read his three YouTube "manifestos" and not come away thinking that this guy was fully in control of his faculties.) Blaming "the left" because he listed "The Communist Manifesto" as one of his favorite books (or blaming "the right" because he had a thing about gold-backed currency) is like blaming English teachers because he seemed to be obsessed with grammar. (Perhaps even moreso... He actually discussed grammar in his videos.)
The guy's nuts, so whether he says he did it because he's opposed to one political party or point of view or another, or because the butter dish on his breakfast table told him to, one would have to be a pretty desperate partisan to take the guy seriously and believe that he represents or proves anything about any political point of view.
That's not to say that there haven't been folks who've killed in the name of some sociopolitical cause or another, left and right, but this ain't one of 'em. (And really, ANYONE who kills in the name of a sociopolitical cause is pretty much on the fringe of American society, and not representative of or "proof of the inherent eeeeevil of") Republicans, Democrats, liberals or conservatives, and anyone who says different is again, pretty desperate to promote their own way of thinkin' and/or discredit everyone else's.)"
"And that Repsac3 is now so blindingly enraged..."Enraged?
"...to be called out on his dishonesty--- when even far-left "Wonkette" called Ross's smear a reprehensible move --- is just, well, pathetic."Jim Newell at Wonkette neither called Brian Ross' asstastic reporting "a smear," or said it was "reprehensible." And more importantly, nowhere in the post does Newell attribute what Ross did to bias against Republicans, conservatives, or the tea party, either. (Newell says it's "pure laziness," and not "bother[ing to] try to confirm anything." And Newell calls it "an egregious, early error that will color the impressions of people no matter how frequently or aggressively it’s retracted.")
"As I've reported throughout, the condemnation has been virtually universal, left and right, attacking Ross's initial report as disgustingly political."Pay careful attention to the individuals and blogs Dr. Douglas cites, as proof of this "universal condemnation" of Ross' "disgustingly political" report.
Here's IBD's editorial from Friday, for example....
And this is the same basic point that Michelle [Malkin] made in her post on Friday...SNIP
And here's John Kass, at far-left Chicago Tribune..."Universal condemnation, left and right" from Investor's Business Daily, Michelle Malkin, a rightwing activist named Jennifer Stefano, on FoxNews (my personal favorite), and John Kass, who, for all of Donald's suggestion to the contrary, doesn't seem to have all that many liberal views, is considered by at least one fan to be Chicago's conservative media rock star @John_Kass speaks:) (and says himself that he's a conservative), and pretty regularly attacks the media as being biased against conservatives...just like he (and all of the conservatives Donald listed here) did this time. That's Donald's idea of "universal condemnation."
We all make mistakes. But this one smacks of political bias. And when you add political bias to the rush of breaking news, as seems to have happened here, things get stinky.Donald still hasn't offered any evidence of political bias. What he's doing, is speculating without nailing down anything in the way of facts...a lot like Brian Ross did...except that in Donald's case, there is some evidence that his motive is partisan, in the form of, well, his whole blog.
"It could have been an honest mistake, perhaps. It might have come across as a mistake if Stephanopoulos had interjected and said, "No, Brian, we don't have enough evidence to make that connection to the tea party." Instead, the former aide to Bill Clinton thanked Ross for his reporting."Did Dr. Douglas forget the video he so recently posted in support of his meme, where veteran reporters discussed how an anchor in the middle of a show, especially, has to trust that a veteran investigative reporter did his job, and cannot spend time second guessing what correspondents report.
"It's no wonder that virtually the entire political establishment reacted the way it did. ABC News was out there on a limb, as James Taranto reported at the Wall Street Journal..."James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal... More of that "universal condemnation, left and right" no doubt (Anyone think Taranto's a liberal?)
"...and for someone to come along and then essentially call all these people "liars" is simply beneath contempt. But that's Walter James Casper for you. He's been working the Internet for years, attempting to undermine and destroy conservatives."A whole lot of my "work" is here... I disagree with conservatives, and I discuss exactly where and why, citing what they actually say whenever possible. (This post is an example, but feel free to check out anything else I've written, and judge me as you will.) I don't destroy anyone. I can see why Donald Douglas might not like that, but his hyperbolic attacks on me, personally, are pretty far over the top.
Walter James Casper is now back to stalking this blog and sending me unsolicited tweets."Stalking" = reading his blog.
"He's even kicked back up the old "American Nihilist" hate-site after I reported it to the Irvine Police Department previously."In light of the Brett Kimberlin lawfare intimidation scandal, I started questioning whether giving bullies what they want is a good thing. Maybe I will kickstart this blog back to a regular thing or maybe I won't, but I refuse to let Dr. Douglas make that decision for me.
"The left tries to shut folks down with stalking and intimidation, but you have to shine a light on the hate and defeat them."Irony Alert (Who's reporting who to the police, elected representatives, lawyers, ...?)
"He never went away after being reported to the police, despite announcing that I'd "won the Internet." He just shifted gears a bit, and is now back in the hunt for his next political kill.""His ranting is self-refuting..."
"As noted, Repsac3 is infected with incredibly deep hatred and bigotry, and this prevents him from even acknowledging progressive error, not to mention left-wing evil."As noted, Donald Douglas appears to be making things up as he goes along. While he alleges all this hatred and bigotry, he fails to offer any examples of it. Similarly, I have no idea what "progressive error" Dr. Douglas is on about...(Perhaps he believes Brian Ross is a progressive, in keeping with his "everyone who disagrees with me is my enemy" black vs white thinkin'?) While I don't believe Brian Ross should be fired for his shoddy reporting, I have in no way defended him or suggested his conduct was acceptable... ...which is obviously why, though Donald accuses me of doing so, he fails to actually show any evidence of my doing so. Donald is making it up.
"At the clip, Howard Kurtz briefly mentions that Breitbart's website claimed that the suspect was a Democrat, and then corrected the post. That's premature as well, and I think folks should report the facts about what is happening on the ground before trying to tear apart your enemies. Of course, that is not something the progressives like Walter James Casper believe, so there's literally no reason to expect him to call out folks on his side rather than defend them."Again, Donald Kent Douglas is lying. I discussed (or "called out") several cases where bloggers and other media outlets released speculative, unvetted information, and I judged them all by the exact same standards, saying that all but one of them were not the result of partisan bias, and explaining why I believed the remaining one might have been. I didn't defend anyone who engaged in this kind of behavior. My posts also say for themselves what I believe about how reporters ought to behave--especially during these fast-moving stories--so it's no surprise that Dr. Douglas "neglected" to quote or link to any of what I actually posted on the subject. It's so much easier to lie when you fail to show the facts...
...one cannot start pushing back against stupid correlation/causation arguments soon enough. (especially ones built on speculative factors to start with–there is ZERO evidence that the shooter was either a Tea Party member or registered to vote as a Democrat–and that's apart from the fact that even if either were true, there is nothing indicating the shootings were political, anyway.)I also said...
The established media and bloggers would do well to keep their every speculation and thought that randomly enters their head to themselves, at least until they've confirmed that they are reporting facts that are, y'know, factual. After that, I guess there's no greater or less harm in reporting a shooter's political affiliations than in reporting his/her eye color or shoe size…though for my money, relevant facts are worth far more than irrelevant ones. While all facts are facts, some facts are obviously worth more to a given story than others.
Brian Ross's problem wasn't a hatred of the Tea party types, but unsubstantiated speculation masquerading as news. (Same goes for the asshole(s) at the Breitbart sites speculating that the shooter may've been registered to vote as a Democrat...as though one's voter registration is somehow relevant. And no, their childish pleas that "they--that is, Brian Ross--did it first" in no way absolves them. If it's wrong to speculate, it's wrong to speculate, no matter who's "side" your speculation helps or hurts.)One set of standards, for friend and foe alike...
"But despite the universal condemnation of the left's attempts to politicize the Aurora massacre, Walter James Casper III decided to take to Twitter to --- wait for it! --- slam conservative Michelle Malkin as a "whiney wingnut victim"While I disagree that there has been anything in the way of "universal condemnation" of anyone's attempts to "politicize" this story--much of the condemnation, including mine, and including the condemnation Donald Douglas finds in the Reliable Sources video he uses in a later post concerns the blog/print/tv media's rushes to judgement and poor vetting in their attempts to "publish" first and to fill airtime when they don't actually have established, vetted facts with which to do so--I do think that those who prattle on about media bias whenever someone makes an error or engages in piss-poor reporting like Brian Ross did--but seemingly only when it goes against their own political points of view--are whiners. (I don't hold Media Research Center--or any of their affiliated "echo chambers"--or Media Matters for America to this standard, though. Their whole purpose is to expose what they believe to be media attacks against their own political point of view or in favor of someone else's. While some of what these sites post is the same kind of whiny crap I reference above, some of it is legitimate.)
"And actually, Ross and ABC weren't out on a limb alone. Walter James Casper III jumped out on that limb too..."As usual, there is no quote of or cite to my alleging or speculating about tea party involvement in the crime. I never said any such thing. Donald Douglas is simply lying, again, in an effort to attack. Perhaps he was angry that I called him out (See "REPOST," below) about his lie alleging that Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog searched for a connection between the tea party and the shooter-- (In fact, Steve was one of many who GoogleBinged the name and the location, and discounted as "not the guy" every possible link he found and discussed, in a post entitled "I DON'T BELIEVE THE AURORA MASSACRE WAS POLITICAL." --or maybe he just cannot resist lashing out at me personally for whatever slights he imagines I committed against him, but either way, the facts do not fit the specious allegations he's making...so of course, he leaves them out of his attack. No surprise.
(I even saw one ass blaming Steve (the "No More Mister Nice Blog" blogger)for his quote of the Breitbart piece above and blaming Steve, not the Breitbart author or Brian Ross, for the speculation about Tea Party involvement. Even after the facts were pointed out to him, the same blogger repeats the lie a second time. UPDATE: Same blogger goes for the threepeat of that same lie. Steve M. searched the guy's name--just like Brian Ross, and just like John Hawkins at Right Wing News. Steve did not restrict his search to Tea Party members, nor did he report that the shooter was a tea party member--though he did quote a Breitbart blog post, which in turn quoted the Brian Ross piece, when THEY discussed the Tea Party angle. Donald Douglas is lying--and at this point, there is no doubt that he is aware of it, which calls his credibility--if not his sanity--into question.)and
The Dishonest Donald Douglas Steve M. posts, and related material:
#1) "And Steve at No More Mr. Nice Guy was out of the gate looking for a tea party perp..."
Twitterer @kathykattenburg tries to steer Dr. Douglas toward honesty: "@AmPowerBlog And I think u should read Steve's piece again because he does not "search for a tea party perp." That is a complete misreading."
Needless to say, the facts had no effect:
#2) "Recall that Steve M. also searched James Holmes' name to find tea party ties, only to find out he was too young to be the "James Holmes" he'd found at the boards."
#3) "The decent, human thing to do would to be to gather facts, and especially not go looking around the Internet to see "what party is this insane person in?", or what tea party organization, as did No More Mr. Nice Blog did. That is, the decent, human thing would not be going all gonzo trying to score partisan points to destroy your enemies." (Talk about irony...)
And the title of the blog post about which Dishonest Don complains?:
I DON'T BELIEVE THE AURORA MASSACRE WAS POLITICAL
A few weeks ago I got an email saying I was nominated for a “Top 25 Political Mom Bloggers” award. After deciding it wasn’t actually spam, I admit I got a little giddy. I’m none too savvy as far as these blogging awards go, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what it really all means (a pretty little .gif to attach to my site? meh. More traffic = more folks reading about gender, feminism, reproductive rights, etc? Yes please!).
And, I’m pretty sure there isn’t even an actual prize.
So why has it turned so ugly?
I’ll be honest to say that I’m more than flattered that somebody thought to nominate me for top political blogger. I also think it’s pretty rad that there are enough moms out there interested and invested in politics to even have such a category. That in and of itself speaks volumes to me, and energizes the little activist in me. Regardless of where these women stand, they’re still engaged enough to want to discuss the political climate in our country today.
But somehow, it’s become less about the actual politics and issues and more about “sticking it to the other side.” When I saw some blogs rapidly spike through the polling list, I became curious and visited some of them. Instead of just asking for votes, there were posts that demeaned and ridiculed other bloggers whose views didn’t mesh with their own. Attack the politics, sure. But the bloggers? Why stoop to that level. Over an internet poll?
I just don’t get it.
I’ll debate the issues all you want, but when you start slinging out insults like “commie mommies?” What’s the point? What happened to winning on your own platform? Why do we need to malign others to build ourselves up? Seems like a hollow victory in the end to me.
Turning this into a popularity contest just adds more weight to the whole Mommy Wars game, and frankly I don’t want to play if those are the rules. I’m not going to badmouth anyone, or try to instill fear that the end of the world is near if the other side comes out victorious (again, we’re talking about a random internet voting poll. This ain’t the Hunger Games folks).
Yet, here I am, humbly asking for you to click this link and shoot a vote my way. You don’t need to sign up for anything, and actually – you can even vote for more than one blogger at a time!
For instance, you could also vote for Blue Milk, Mamapundit, MomsRising, PunditMom, The Radical Housewife, Hello Ladies, Femamom, The Feminist Breeder , Viva La Feminista and any others on the main site that tickle your political fancy.
Please – share this post and encourage your friends to vote as well. You can vote once every 24 hours. If anything, think of this as practice for the real, actually important impending national election.
I started this blog for two reasons: 1) I was afraid being a stay-at-home mom was making a certain part of my brain mushy and 2) I was realizing that life as a mom “outside the Beltway” was like a slap in the face – there were so many things I thought I understood before, but clearly had no idea. Literally, my water broke, O popped out, and in an instant I went from insider to outsider, and started getting the education that came with it. I thought it would be fun to capture my thoughts and share them with my friends.
But what I hadn’t completely figured out was that leaving DC and becoming a mom in the ‘burbs of Illinois, where everything I knew and almost everyone I cared about was hundreds of miles away, had made me feel incredibly alone and sometimes really sad. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with O, but it’s been hard for me to redefine myself. Being a mom is amazing, but it’s also monotonous and isolating. It’s easy to feel like the whole world is passing you by.
This blog made me feel like I was a little bit “in the know” again. And people were sending me notes saying they liked a post or suggesting new ideas. I email with people I haven’t spoken to in ages. I even email with total strangers. It got me off my butt to start volunteering and getting involved with local issues. It was just what I needed.
I also realized there’s this whole community of moms who write about policy and politics. They are so much savvier than I am. And can clearly write faster in a baby nap than I can. I started thinking, wow, these people are taking the whole “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand the rules the world” thing and trying to change the way people think. About women, about our kids, about life. Rockin’. I want to do that.
So when some nice person nominated my blog for this Circle of Moms competition, I 1) didn’t want to be in last place (duh) and 2) thought, well, it’s not like I’m getting paid, at least I might get some positive feedback other than O not throwing the food I made him all over the floor. I also learned about some other awesome blogs. I even voted for two of the super conservative blogs because I thought they were well written. That was the point of the competition, right?
I’m such a dope. Somewhere between Capitol Hill and Mommyland, I got all mushy, moms-are-the-best, we-all-just-want-right-by-our-kids and totally forgot what a bunch of assholes are out there with blogs. Yeah, I know, I’m the real asshole. Here I was writing a blog from my own perspective, and despite being a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, trying to be occasionally really critical of the Administration when I thought they deserved it. I try to write as well as I can in the 45 minutes I have allotted. And then I was naive enough to think this competition wasn’t just about who could be the craziest person dangling by their pinkie finger from the edge of the political spectrum.
Last night I got on the Circle of Moms site to see that a bunch of the conservative blogs had put out a call to “stop the Commie Mommies.” At first I laughed about it with Tedd. Ha, ha, there go those crazies. And then, I got indignant. This is why people – especially people in power – think blogs are ridiculous hobbies by people with nothing better to do than spout drivel and propaganda to readers who already drank the Kool-aid. Some of these blogs are definitely not trying to make our kids’ lives better. They’re spewing hate on an Internet that already has enough crap on it.
Circle of Moms is a really great resource for parents and it’s clearly not their fault their nice competition got hijacked. If you are a mom in need of info, they have awesome stuff. And I bet I sound like a sore loser. I am honestly nowhere near as cool as the vast majority of political mom blogs and don’t expect to be. But this list – as least what it has become – isn’t what I’m about and I’m kind of sorry for asking everyone to spend so much time voting for me. Yes, at the beginning I had a longing to beat certain sites. But I realized now I’m just playing into the BS.
I’m sure in real life these people are probably decent and hopefully wouldn’t call me a Commie Mommy to my face. (Who am I kidding? – I’ve seen enough of their protests to know better.) And there are extremes on both sides that are equally as intolerant. But I only have a small amount of time in my day to try to do some good after the other 99% of me I pour into O. I’m going to focus on that.
Sigh. Motherhood is isolating enough. The world is hateful enough. And I already spend my day surrounded by poop. Enough already.
Peace, love & happy babies,
"Progressive bloggers: oh, cool, a fun little contest that will bring some new readers to my blog, thanks for the nomination. Oh, yeah, readers, go ahead and vote for me if you think of it.Oh, almost forgot...
Conservative bloggers: BATTLE OF GOOD VERSUS EVIL. TO THE DEATH. Vote for me every single day to control the minds of the public! Dig up grandma and get her vote! THIS MEANS WAR!
What is it about having fun that is so difficult for you people?"
Comment by MWS — April 2, 2012 @ 3:09 pm