Tag Archives: Media Matters

The Murder Of Brisenia Flores

Will Bunch at Media Matters:

All of America continues to mourn the unbelievably tragic loss of Christina Green, the 9-year-old granddaughter of former Phillies’ manager Dallas Green who was killed, along with five adults, by a murderous madman trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. The sight of Christina’s parents and brother in the gallery at the State of the Union address last night is more proof that the killing of such an innocent continues to resonate with the American people.

You’ve heard all about Christina Green, but do you know about Brisenia Flores? Like Christina, Brisenia was 9 years old, and she also lived in Pima County, Arizona, not far from Tucson. Like Christina, she was gunned down in cold blood by killers with strange ideas about society and politics.

But there are also important differences. While the seriously warped mind of Christina’s Tucson murderer, Jared Lee Loughner, is a muddled mess, the motives of one of Brisenia’s alleged killers– a woman named Shawna Forde — are pretty clear: She saw herself as the leader of an armed movement against undocumented immigrants, an idea that was energized by her exposure to the then-brand-new Tea Party Movement. But unlike the horrific spree that took Christina’s life, the political murder of Brisenia and her dad (while Brisenia’s mom survived only by pretending to be dead) has only received very sporadic coverage in the national media. That’s a shame, because it’s an important story that illustrates the potential for senseless violence when hateful rhetoric on the right — in this case about undocumented immigrants — falls on the ears of the unhinged.

This week, Forde is on trial on Tucson, and the details are horrific:

As her mother tells it, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores had begged the border vigilantes who had just broken into her house, “Please don’t shoot me.”

But they did — in the face at point-blank range, prosecutors allege, as Brisenia’s father sat dead on the couch and her mother lay on the floor, pretending that she too had been killed in the gunfire.

Why did Forde, said to be the “mastermind,” and the other alleged killer, Jason Bush, carry out this heinous crime? Prosecutors allege that Forde cooked up a scheme to rob and murder drug dealers, all to raise money for the fledgling, anti-immigrant border patrolling group called Minutemen American Defense, or MAD.

Terry Greene Sterling at Daily Beast:

The murders in Arivaca, a tiny community about 11 miles north of the Mexican border, were followed nearly a year later by the still unsolved killing of southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, which was widely blamed on a faceless Mexican narco in the country illegally. But whereas the Flores murders received brief press attention and then were largely forgotten, Krentz’s killing set off a national cry for beefed-up border security and fueled the passage of Arizona’s notorious immigration law, which makes it a state crime for unauthorized immigrants to set foot there and requires all Arizona cops to enforce immigration law, a task normally delegated to the feds.

Latinos are still waiting for similar outrage over the deaths of Brisenia Flores and her dad. “A prevalent impression by those in the Hispanic community concerned with the Shawna Forde case is that, despite the fact that an innocent child was murdered, public condemnation of this senseless act has not been forthcoming,” Salvador Ongaro, a Phoenix lawyer and member of Los Abogados, Arizona’s Hispanic bar association, said in an email to The Daily Beast.

Phoenix-based radio talk-show host Carlos Galindo says he has reminded his listeners of Brisenia Flores “on a regular basis at least two or three times a week” since the murders occurred. He criticizes Latino leaders for failing to voice sufficient outrage. “This was a horrible, tragic, and absolutely race-based coldblooded murder,” he says, “and we allowed the far right to muddy it up and say her dad was a drug dealer and Brisenia was collateral damage. When we don’t counter that, we allow continued violence against all Arizonans.”

Joe Coscarelli at The Village Voice:

For more details on the trial, read At the Courthouse. Meanwhile, a search of the New York Times website for “Brisenia Flores” yields zero results; CNN.com last covered the story in June of 2009.

Maya at Feministing:

Maybe it’s because the victims of this crime were Latino. Or because the story doesn’t square with the conservative narrative that Minutemen are just like a “neighborhood watch.” Or because right-wing rhetoric–in this case anti-immigration rhetoric–played such a clear and unequivocal role in this instance of violence.

PJ Tatler on Bunch:

This morning, Will Bunch cries at the senseless death of Brisenia Flores… since they found a way to spin her death as being something they could blame on the Tea Party as well.

It seems rather odd, but somehow, MMFA seems to have missed a much larger story of the arrest of Kermit Gosnell and his staff of ghouls. Gosnell, will be placed on trial for drug dealing and at least eight murders. He is thought to have taken the lives of hundreds of newborn babies, and will go down as one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

Perhaps they have a blind spot for mass murderers that share their politics.

Mao and Che would be proud.

E.D. Kain:

People like Forde and Bush are life-long losers, criminals, racists. Forde has an erratic past and was described as unstable. Bush has ties to the Aryan Nation. These are scummy people, and they’d be scummy people without Glenn Beck or the Tea Party. But having a cause based on fear and hatred and bigotry just fuels these sorts of bigots. It gives them a moral edifice, however bizarre, to justify their actions. Murder and theft aren’t crimes – they’re part of the revolution! Gunning down a nine-year-old girl is part of the resistance, it’s patriotic! And Beck and others, including members of the Arizona government, who are fomenting fear and paranoia over immigration are at least partly to blame.

Maybe this is what Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was talking about in the wake of the Giffords shootings. Maybe he was so quick to denounce heated rhetoric because he’d seen what it had already led to in his county, in his state and his country. It’s not just rhetoric, after all. It’s rallies and talk of revolution. It’s people up in arms, passing laws to get the Mexicans out, and when that fails, arming themselves and taking the vigilante route. And if Brisenia’s story doesn’t break your heart, nothing will.

Doug J.:

I hadn’t hear much about about the murder of Brisenia Flores and her father until ED’s and mistermix’s posts. That’s no accident, it hasn’t received a lot of media coverage. Neither is the news about the attempted bombing in Spokane.

Over the past few years, we’ve had one major dust-up over two black guys in Philadelphia dressing in “traditional Black Panther garb” and another about the fact Obama has a met a guy who used to be in the Weathermen. I guess the idea is that the political violence of the 60s, often associated with the left (rightly or wrongly) was so awful that we can never forget it, which is strange given that we are ignoring similar levels of political violence, generally associated with the right, today (see Digby).

I realize times have changed, that national media is more diffuse, that nothing as cinematic as the Patty Hearst kidnapping has taken place yet. But it’s still amazing that so many journalists (Joe Klein, for example) is looking for black panthers under his bed, while cheerfully shrugging off today’s political violence as isolated incidents.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Mainstream, Politics

The Fox News Option

Alex Eichler at The Atlantic with the round-up

Ben Dimiero at Media Matters:

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News’ controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network’s journalists not to use the phrase “public option.”

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox’s reporters should use “government option” and similar phrases — wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats’ reform efforts.

Journalists on the network’s flagship news program, Special Report with Bret Baier, appear to have followed Sammon’s directive in reporting on health care reform that evening.

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have told Media Matters that Sammon uses his position as managing editor to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right. Sammon’s “government option” email is the clearest evidence yet that Sammon is aggressively pushing Fox’s reporting to the right — in this case by issuing written orders to his staff.

As far back as March 2009, Fox personalities had sporadically referred to the “government option.”

Two months prior to Sammon’s 2009 memo, Republican pollster Frank Luntz appeared on Sean Hannity’s August 18 Fox News program. Luntz scolded Hannity for referring to the “public option” and encouraged Hannity to use “government option” instead.

Luntz argued that “if you call it a ‘public option,’ the American people are split,” but that “if you call it the ‘government option,’ the public is overwhelmingly against it.” Luntz explained that the program would be “sponsored by the government” and falsely claimed that it would also be “paid for by the government.”

“You know what,” Hannity replied, “it’s a great point, and from now on, I’m going to call it the government option.”

On October 26, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the inclusion of a public insurance option that states could opt out of in the Senate’s health care bill.

That night, Special Report used “public” and “government” interchangeably when describing the public option provision.

Anchor Bret Baier referred to “a so-called public option”; the “public option”; “government-provided insurance coverage”; “this government-run insurance option”; the “healthcare public option”; and “the government-run option, the public option.” Correspondent Shannon Bream referred to “a government-run public option”; “a public option”; “a government-run option”; and “the public option.”

The next morning, October 27, Sammon sent an email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters and producers at the network. The subject line read: “friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the ‘public option.’ ”

Sammon instructed staff to refer on air to “government-run health insurance,” the “government option,” “the public option, which is the government-run plan,” or — when “necessary” — “the so-called public option”:

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the “public option”

1)      Please use the term “government-run health insurance” or, when brevity is a concern, “government option,” whenever possible.

2)      When it is necessary to use the term “public option” (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon), use the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.”

3)      Here’s another way to phrase it: “The public option, which is the government-run plan.”

4)      When newsmakers and sources use the term “public option” in our stories, there’s not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

Fox’s senior vice president for news, Michael Clemente, soon replied. He thanked Sammon for his email and said that he preferred Fox staffers use Sammon’s third phrasing: “The public option, which is the government-run plan.”

From: Clemente, Michael
To: Sammon, Bill; 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Sent: Tue Oct 27 08:45:29 2009
Subject: RE: friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the “public option”

Thank you Bill

#3 on your list is the preferred way to say it, write it, use it.

Michael Clemente



Sammon’s email appears to have had an impact. On the October 27 Special Report — unlike on the previous night’s broadcast — Fox journalists made no references to the “public option” without using versions of the pre-approved qualifiers outlined in Sammon’s and Clemente’s emails.

Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast:

Sammon said in an interview that the term “public option” “is a vague, bland, undescriptive phrase,” and that after all, “who would be against a public park?” The phrase “government-run plan,” he said, is “a more neutral term,” and was used just last week by a New York Times columnist.

“I have no idea what the Republicans were pushing or not. It’s simply an accurate, fair, objective term.”

Other news organizations periodically described the plan as government-run or used the terms interchangeably, but not as part of any edict. While news executives routinely offer guidance about proper wording in news stories, the semantics in this case were clearly favored by the Republicans.

Sammon’s message was received. On that night’s Special Report, the Washington newscast, anchor Bret Baier began by teasing “a look at the fight over government-run health insurance in the Senate reform bill.” Chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle referred to “a government insurance plan, the so-called public option.”

On the previous night’s program, Baier had repeatedly referred to the “public option,” as did conservative panelist Charles Krauthammer.

Anchor Neil Cavuto, a pro-business commentator, teed up an interview that day with House Republican Leader John Boehner by saying: “My next guest says name it what you want; it is still government-run.”

After hearing a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the provision the “consumer option,” Boehner said: “They are worried about it because whether you call it the government option; whether you call it the consumer option; whether you call it a co-op or an opt-out or an opt-in, these are all just terms about their big government takeover of our health-care system.”

Colby Hall at Mediaite:

Sammon is a former reporter for the right-of-center Washington Times and replaced the well respected Brit Hume as Managing Editor of Fox News’ Washington bureau. He’s fairly portrayed in Kurtz’ article as someone who has consistently espoused a conservative point-of-view, so the points in his memo should not surprise anyone that Sammon directed a more right of center bent.

The larger issue raised, however, is the question of whether Sammon’s direction of referencing the “public option” as the “government option” crossed the sometimes blurry line that separates the opinion programming with the news programming on Fox News. Kurtz lays out a number of examples when news personalities appear to a have changed their words, namely Bret Baier and Jim Angle, who are both based in Sammon’s Washington bureau.

Anyone who watched Fox News coverage of the health care debate at this time could see that most of the personalities on the channel were not fans of the White House efforts to pass the bill. At the time, I wrote a post titled “The REAL Health Care Debate: The Obama Administration Vs Fox News” that opened:

Watching a few hours of Fox News these days amounts to a non-stop infomercial opposing the Obama Administration’s effort to reform Health Care. While there is always room for a healthy debate on the issues, please don’t look to Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck for a measured discourse – they rarely, if ever, present a constructive solution to the current health care problems (though there is the occasional admission that there is need for reform.) No single entity seems more entrenched in the opposition to the health care reform than Fox News.

It is important to note that the examples set forth above are all right-of-center or “traditionalist” opinion media personalities who were opposed to what they now call “Obamacare.” In Kurtz’ piece Sammon defends his choice of words claiming that “government option” was more neutral, though that appears to be a simple game of semantics.

To paraphrase a well-worn cliche: semantics, the last vestige of a scoundrel.


Now everyone has known forever that Bill Sammon is a rightwing hack of epic proportions. But the Network has defended Sammon as a straight reporter and the Villagers have had fits if anyone suggested otherwise. So this just proves something that was already obvious. What’s interesting about it is that FOX employees have had enough and are leaking the secrets.

The Wikileaks issue is fascinating, for sure, especially the idea that they can use the internet to disseminate information beyond a chosen few who are allowed to see it. But this is about the failure of our leadership and institutions over a long period of time and the culture of secrecy and corruption that’s brought us to this point. The system itself is leaking because its been compromised so badly. They can shut off the flow at any point and it will just leak elsewhere.

Jack Shafer at Slate:

The call to refer to the program as the government option instead of the public option came from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Media Matters and Kurtz report. But this shouldn’t disqualify the new term from the Fox News stylebook. Government option is superior to public option in that it emphasizes that the government—and thus the taxpayers—will be footing the bill. As a modifier, public has many nongovernmental uses, as in public appearance, public figure, public display, public-key cryptography, public editor, public enemy, public storage, and public opinion.

But when government is used as an adjective, there is no such confusion. Does that make Fox News’ semantic solution superior? I’ve always thought that Social Security should be renamed Government Ponzi Scheme. I’d also like the Export-Import Bank to be renamed the Government Subsidy Depot—but that’s another column.

That Sammon issued a memo directing Fox News reporters to use a phrase he considers more accurate hardly constitutes “spin,” as the headline to Kurtz’s piece has it. If government option is spin, isn’t public option spin, too?

Usage cops walk the beat at every large news organization, commanding reporters to obey the ruling stylebook. For instance, some newspapers used pro-life and pro-choice in their abortion coverage until somebody pointed out that being anti-pro-life wasn’t the same thing as being pro-death—and that pro-choice was closer to meaning pro-abortion, although that gets slippery, too, since you can be against the pro-lifers and not want to have an abortion yourself.

Peter Suderman at Reason:

You can quit worrying already. Opinion doesn’t have anything to do with Sammon’s memo. Indeed, Media Matters doesn’t even make any attempt to prove that Sammon’s preferred label is inaccurate. Granted, that would be hard to do, because in fact the public option is a form of government-run insurance. But obviously we can’t let anyone in the media actually say this.

Allah Pundit

Jonathan Chait at TNR:

I suppose that might be a reasonable defense in a world where news organizations scrutinize every phrase for maximal accuracy. That, however, is not the practice at Fox News, or anywhere. Standard news practice is to simply keep using terms that have come into the public discourse and gained wide usage even if it is not the most technically accurate or neutral term. If you had a left-wing news network that decided it can no longer refer to military spending as “defense” because that presumes it is never used in an aggressive way, that would be an act of bias, regardless of the philosophical merits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mainstream

Quitting Is All The Rage These Days

Anahad O’Connor at NYT:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the conservative talk radio commentator under fire for repeatedly using a racial epithet, announced on Tuesday that she was ending her long-running radio show.

Dr. Schlessinger made the announcement on Tuesday night on “Larry King Live,” saying she made a decision not to renew her contract when it expires at the end of the year and suggesting that she did not want her opinions and language, however provocative, to be muzzled.

“I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” she said. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.”

But she stressed that she was not retiring, only ending her show, and would continue to write books and appear at speaking engagements.

“I’m not quitting,” she told Larry King. “I feel energized actually — stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.”

Michael Triplett at Mediaite:

King challenged Schlessinger on her contention that her First Amendment rights were really threatened just because people complained, but she fired back that there used to be a time where people who disagreed with you would argue the point, but now they plan boycotts and threaten advertisers and sponsors.

In the interview, Schlessinger singled out Media Matters and its work to get sponsors to drop the show. The progressive watchdog group succeeded in encouraging Motel 6 to quit advertising on the radio show and also lined up Advance Auto Parts, Netflix, and OnStar to distance themselves from Schlessinger’s remarks.

KING: Who is the special interest group?
SCHLESSINGER: Well, like “Media Matters” and some of the other groups that have lined up to decide that I should be silenced because they disagree with my points of view. I never called anybody a bad word. I was trying to bring — and obviously, it has become a national discussion now — I was trying to make a philosophical point and I made it wrong.

Media Matters:

Today, Media Matters for America President Eric Burns issued the following statement in response to Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s announcement that she would be ending her radio show when her contract expires in January due to the controversy surrounding her racially charged rant:

“Dr. Laura’s radio career ended in disgrace tonight because of the bigoted, ugly and hateful remarks made on her show. Americans have had enough.  Listeners are now holding hosts, affiliates, and sponsors accountable for the offensive and inexcusable content on the airwaves.”

Michelle Malkin:

She’s a broadcast and publishing legend. She’s battled political correctness for years. Tonight, the incomparable Dr. Laura announced that she’s ending her daily radio talk show — in order to allow her to speak her mind more freely.

More power to her.

Sheryl Huggins Salomon at The Root:

Uh, last time we checked, people are not violating your First Amendment rights simply by being angry at you or offended by what you say, and expressing that they are offended. They are not even violating your rights when they decide to boycott your advertisers. They are simply exercising their own right to free speech and to choose what they listen to.

(As a side note, did anyone watching Larry King’s show tonight notice how he coined the phrase “non-n person” to describe someone who shouldn’t be saying the n-word because he or she is not … uh … an n-person?)

Steve Benen:

Postscript: Funniest line I’ve seen so far: “Dr. Laura announces retirement to spend more time with the N-Word.”

James Joyner:

Quitting a talk show so you can say what’s on your mind is akin to resigning a governorship to have more impact on public policy.  But, hey, it’s all the rage these days.

Even back in the days when I was listening to conservative talk radio for hours on end, I was never a Schlessinger fan.  She always struck me as bitter, mean, callous, and particularly out of touch with the human condition.   She routinely dispensed advice that was plainly idiotic and hurtful.

It didn’t help that she billed herself as “Dr. Laura” for a show built around personal counseling, even though her doctorate is in physiology instead of psychology, psychiatry, or something else that gave her the slightest bit of expertise in the field.   Then again, real counseling experts don’t offer diagnoses based on three-minute telephone conversations.

John Avalon at Daily Beast:

Sarah Palin’s post-VP nominee career has so far benefitted from bomb-throwing. The process follows a tight script—a crude, semi-calculated comment is shot into the middle of a political debate via Facebook or Twitter. It gains national attention. Liberals are outraged. Conservatives rush to her defense. Sarah Palin dominates a news cycle and becomes more beloved by her base.

But by unnecessarily rushing to the defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger—after she dropped the N-bomb 11 times and told the caller “don’t marry outside of your race”—Sarah Palin might finally have gone too far and picked a fight she cannot win.

This is the sound of Sarah Palin jumping the shark in two tweets:

• Dr.Laura:don’t retreat … reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)
• Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!

The few black conservative candidates, columnists, and media figures—who represent the GOP’s only hope for reclaiming the legacy of Lincoln and, with it, long-term demographic relevance—are not amused. They’re now saying what many in the GOP increasingly believe: Sarah Palin is not fit to be a serious leader of the Republican Party.

I spoke to Michel Faulkner, the former NFL player and Harlem preacher challenging Charlie Rangel for a House seat, and he was unsparing in his criticism: “Why Sarah Palin feels she needs to join in to Dr. Laura’s personal meltdown is beyond me. She’s sounding like she just likes to hear her own voice—and the voice that she has is no longer credible. It says that a leading voice among conservatives has joined the ranks of the entertainers—trying to shock us each day with more and more outlandish commentary. And at that moment that person is no longer fit to lead.”

“The constitutional stuff she’s saying doesn’t even make any sense,” Faulkner said. “She doesn’t know what real shackles are… But ‘don’t retreat, reload?’ Lady, are you kidding me? That is scary language in anyone’s terminology. Sarah Palin scares me.”

Nationally syndicated conservative columnist Deroy Murdock took an even stronger line. “Sarah Palin’s tweets resemble something scribbled by a ninth-grade cheerleader. Is it asking too much for a reputed American political leader to communicate in complete sentences? Palin’s gravitas gap is growing into the Gravitas Canyon,” said the media fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. “Even worse, she deploys her vacuity to defend an acerbic talk-show host who just detonated herself by tossing around the word ‘nigger’ on the air 11 times, as if it were a volleyball. The American right can do better than this. And it must.”

David Weigel:

On Facebook, Palin rolls her eyes. Let’s ignore the throat-clearing about shackles and reloading and battlefields and focus on this:Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel (sic) called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, “f***ing retards.” When this presidential spokesman uttered this term I commented that the President would be better off not including Emmanuel in his circle of advisers, and my opinion was based not just on the crude and disrespectful term Emmanuel (sic) used to label people, but because he too often gives the President very poor advice. I was called intolerant and narrow-minded by many on the Left for commenting on that issue. Many of these same Leftists are now spinning the Dr. Laura issue into something it is not. As usual, their hypocrisy and double standard applications are glaring.

Straw man? Check. No one called Palin “intolerant and narrow-minded” for being offending by Emanuel, because that’s stupid and makes no sense. Opportunity to learn the right lesson? Check, although Palin misses it. She wants to be able to cry havoc and demand apologies or resignations when someone uses a word she doesn’t like. She doesn’t want other people to be able to do the same when a public figure uses a word they don’t like. Whether someone uses the word against someone is immaterial, especially in this case, because Schlessinger’s harangue included her complaining that black groups (specifically the NAACP) go after white people unfairly, and ended with her telling her (black) caller that if she was easily offended she shouldn’t marry a white man. That’s actually more personal than Emanuel’s insult. But let’s forget all that. The one thing we know about these media freak-outs is that context doesn’t matter. The word matters. That’s all it takes to start a controversy.

So another way to react to a story like this — a backlash against your defense of the use of a racial slur —  is to realize that, hey, perhaps these gotcha, apologize-now controversies over stupid words people use are not very constructive. Maybe it would be worth gritting your teeth when someone uses a word that offends you if the upshot is that you and your friends don’t have to apologize for using words that offend other people. Maybe that’s the lesson here. Or, you know, maybe it’s that the left has problems with hypocrisy and double standards.

Dan Riehl:

I see a lot of mixed and even negative reaction on the Right to Sarah Palin’s statement regarding Dr. Laura. I’ve never been much of a fan of the latter, but never listened to her show, much, if at all, either.

Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist? Anyone, I mean, who isn’t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, etc., etc., etc. of being racists?

Hot Air sees it as a matter of people and politics – no surprise there. They even quote some blacks on the Right, I assume to bolster their response‘s street cred. However, if you strip away the personalities and the politics, what you are left with is principle.

… her point is that Schlessinger’s being attacked even though she didn’t use the N-bomb with any intent to demean — but her decision to get involved at all. Particularly considering that Dr. Laura was notably critical of Palin when McCain tapped her for VP.

Gosh, we can’t have people on the Right boldly speaking up purely on principle, now can we? The media might think it impolite, or, you know, just crazy, or dumb. But they mostly want to marginalize, or tame the Right, anyway. It reminds me of yesterday when Sharron Angle came out strongly as an unapologetic conservative. What’s genuinely fascinating, and perhaps also disappointing, to me in all this, is how many more women we have on the Right today who have a set of ballz, as compared to many of the men. I don’t know, maybe it’s a beta thang. Heh!

UPDATE: Laura Kipnis at Slate


Filed under Mainstream, Political Figures

Not Every Explosive Tape Contains Mel Gibson Melting Down

Andrew Breitbart at Big Government:

We are in possession of a video from in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.

Ed Morrissey:

Actually, if Sherrod had a different ending for this story, it could have been a good tale of redemption. She almost grasps this by initially noting that poverty is the real issue, which should be the moral of the anecdote. Instead of having acted on this realization — and perhaps mindful of the audience — Sherrod then backtracks and says that it’s really an issue of race after all. It certainly was for Sherrod, who admits that “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do.” Notice that the audience doesn’t exactly rise as one to scold Sherrod for her racism, but instead murmurs approvingly of using race to determine outcomes for government programs, which is of course the point that Andrew wanted to make.

Andrew has a second video, which is more relevant to the out-of-control expansion of the federal government than race. Sherrod in the same speech beseeches her audience to get work in the USDA and the federal government in general, because “when was the last time you heard about layoffs” for government workers? If Sherrod is any example, it’s been too long.

Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s:

We interrupt this “Tea Partiers are so incredibly racially biased” broadcast for the following update:

Days after the NAACP clashed with Tea Party members over allegations of racism, a video has surfaced showing an Agriculture Department official regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy — video that now has forced the official to resign.

The video posted at BigGovernment that started it all is here if you haven’t seen/heard it yet.

Breitbart claims more video is on the way.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled “Tea Partiers are so incredibly racially biased” broadcast.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

As it’s being presented, the clip is utterly indefensible, and the NAACP was quick to denounce Sherrod:

We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.

Her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story that she ultimately realized her mistake, as well as the common predicament of working people of all races, she gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man.

The clip that’s being promoted is obviously cut from a larger context, and while this is often the dishonest refuge of radio shock jocks, in this case, it makes a real difference. Here’s what Sherrod told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife.

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

Sherrod said the farmer, Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga., has since died.

It doesn’t seem that Ben Jealous or Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are aware that Sherrod wasn’t working at USDA when this occurred, or that she did, in fact, help the farmer in question. That changes everything about this story, including the reaction of the crowd. The entire point of the story is that her actions were indefensible.

If what Sherrod says is true, this is not a story about grudgingly admitting that even white folks need help, but rather, a powerful, redemptive cautionary tale against discrimination of any kind. Both the AJC and Mediaite are working to locate a full video or transcript of the event.

This incident is being posed as the right’s answer to the NAACP resolution against “racist elements” in the Tea Party. This story also comes at a time when the New Black Panther Party has been thrust into the spotlight by Fox News (with predictable results), and debate rages over an Arizona immigration law that many say encourages racial profiling.

This is precisely the danger of ideologically-driven “journalism.” It is one thing to have a point of view that informs your analysis of facts, but quite abother when that point of view causes you to alter them.

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo:

The 82-year-old wife of the white Georgia farmer who was supposedly discriminated against some quarter century ago by the black USDA official forced to resign this week — if the video released by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and re-run by Fox is to be believed — is now confirming that in fact Shirley Sherrod saved her and her husband’s farm from bankruptcy and is a “friend for life.”

CNN also spoke with the farmer’s wife and with Sherrod. Rachel Slajda has more.

Kevin Drum:

In a second video, BigGovernment.com says “Ms. Sherrod confirms every Tea Partier’s worst nightmare.” Although this is ostensibly a reference to a joke she made about no one ever getting fired from a government job, that’s not really every tea partier’s worst nightmare, is it? On the other hand, a vindictive black government bureaucrat deciding to screw you over because you’re white? Yeah, I’d say that qualifies.

This is just appallingly ugly, and the White House’s cowardly response is pretty ugly too. This is shaping up to be a long, gruesome summer, boys and girls.


One of the under reported stories of the 90s was just how much Starr’s merry band of lawyers totally fucked over relatively lowly White House staffers in the Great Clinton Cock Hunt. That was largely through subpoenas and lawyer bills, but lacking subpoena power the Right has now turned to a credulous news media and the power of selectively edited video to go after random government officials.

Apparently Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart rule Tom Vilsack’s world. Heckuva job.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:

Andrew Breitbart: the heir to Joseph McCarthy, destroying people’s reputations and jobs based on deliberately distorted allegations, while the rest of the right wing blogs cheer. Disgusting. This is what has become of the right wing blogosphere — it’s now a debased tool that serves only to circulate partisan conspiracy theories and hit pieces.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 8:33:55 am:

Note that LGF reader “teh mantis” posted a comment last night at around 6:00 pm that made exactly these points about Breitbart’s deceptive video, in this post.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 9:00:01 am:

It’s disturbing that the USDA immediately caved in to cover their asses, and got Sherrod to resign without even hearing her side of the story; but also expected. That’s what government bureaucrats do. And they didn’t want the USDA to become the next ACORN.

But it’s even more disturbing that the NAACP also immediately caved in and denounced this woman, in a misguided attempt to be “fair.” The NAACP is supposed to defend people like this. They were played by a con man, and an innocent person paid the price.

UPDATE: Rachel Slajda at TPM

The Anchoress at First Things

Caleb Howe at Redstate


Tom Blumer at The Washington Examiner

David Frum at The Week

Erick Erickson at Redstate

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect

UPDATE #2: Dan Riehl at Human Events

Noah Millman at The American Scene

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Victorino Manus at The Weekly Standard

Andy Barr at Politico

UPDATE #3: More Johnson at Powerline

Jonathan Chait at TNR

Bill Scher and Conor Friedersdorf at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #4: Eric Alterman at The Nation

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Legal Insurrection

Ed Morrissey

UPDATE #5: Ben Dimiero and Eric Hananoki at Media Matters

UPDATE #6: Bridget Johnson at The Hill

UPDATE #7: Kate Pickert at Swampland at Time


Filed under Political Figures, Politics, Race

Kipling And Teasing The Panther

Heather Horn at The Atlantic:

The Atlantic Wire likes to keep tabs on its beloved Atlantic 50. On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly picked up the video trailer for an upcoming book, a thriller written by Glenn Beck (number seven on the list). Keith Stastkiewicz says the book, which will be released June 15, “is about twenty-something named Noah Gardner who finds himself in the midst of a massive fight to protect the country he loves from nefarious forces that threaten to corrupt it.” Points if you can get that from the video

Meredith Jessup at Townhall:

“The Overton Window” is set to be released June 15.  Meanwhile, the Left is already bashing it, despite rave reviews from authors such as Vince Flynn (love him!), Brad Meltzer and Nelson DeMille.

PS–the poem featured in Beck’s trailer is this one by Rudyard Kipling, despite folks on the Left claiming that each “over-the-top-line” was written by Beck himself.

Richard Lawson at Gawker:

Crazy conspiracy-cruller Glenn Beck has a new novel, The Overton Window, coming out very soon. And now, because I guess this is what we do these days, there is a trailer. For a book. It’s just one long, scary quote.

The quote is from “The Gods of the Copybook Headings,” a wacky poem by Rudyard Kipling. It speaks of terrible things that happen after “social progress,” which Glenn “Walking Knish” Beck really hates. Mostly, though, it is about dog vomit. Yayyyy, dog vomit.

E.D. Kain at The League:

The odd poetry in the trailer is from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Gods of the Copybook Headings – a rather odd choice for Beck, but what do I know? Either way, pasting the last two stanzas a Kipling poem into a book trailer is certainly a bold move. I hope they make it into a film so that we can get the entire poem in there.

Ben Dimiero and Simon Maloy at Media Matters:

The opening lines of Glenn Beck’s yet-to-be-released novel, The Overton Window, read as follows: “Most people think about age and experience in terms of years, but it’s really only moments that define us.”

In a quirk of convenience, this line also describes the best way to deconstruct The Overton Window, a copy of which Media Matters obtained and read — nay, devoured — with great relish. As we slogged through its many plot holes, ridiculous narrative devices, and long-winded limited-government sermonizing passed off as dialogue, we singled out ten moments that define The Overton Window as the truly and remarkably awful novel that it is.

First, a quick summation of the plot, such as it is. The protagonist, Noah Gardner, works for an impossibly powerful public relations firm in Manhattan that has been the driving force behind pretty much every political and cultural movement of the 20th century. Their latest and grandest scheme is the culmination of a lengthy plot to change the United States into some sort of ill-defined progressive plutocracy, and the catalyst for this change is a nuclear explosion that will occur outside the home-state office of “the current U.S. Senate majority leader,” which happens to be at the same address as Harry Reid’s Las Vegas offices. The nuclear attack is to be blamed on the Founders Keepers, a Tea Party-like group — led by Noah’s love interest, Molly Ross — that is working to foil the plot.

1. Rule number one is: “Don’t tease the panther”

Noah and Molly find themselves in bed together early in the book after a harrowing experience at a Founders’ Keepers rally. They agree to sleep in bed together because Molly is too scared to sleep at home, but Molly insists that nothing sexual will take place. Noah agrees, on the condition that she “not do anything sexy.” She presses her cold feet against his legs, and Noah responds:

“Suit yourself, lady. I’m telling you right now, you made the rules, but you’re playing with fire here. I’ve got some rules, too, and rule number one is, don’t tease the panther.

Oliver Willis

Dennis DiClaudio at Indecision Forever

It appears as though Glenn Beck is making the leap from bestselling author of paranoid political opinion to bestselling author of paranoid political fiction. That’s right, he’s about to release a new book Kevin Grisham-esque thriller called The Overton Window, after a political theory popular amongst libertarians about the shifting range of what is considered acceptable political policy. (You know how Glenn Beck likes to read big piles of prop books, right?)Obviously, this is hilarious news. And there is a 112 percent chance that I will be “reading” the audiobook version of this book for the same reason that I am “reading” the audiobook version of the Left Behind series. Because life is too short to not subject oneself to third-grade-reading-level unintentional self-satire. I am not made of stone, people.

However, a lot of people are justifiably making fun of this book for unjustifiable reasons. The just-released trailer for this book (Yep! A trailer for the book!) features the excerpt from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Gods of the Copybook Headings“…

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

These verses — which, I’m assuming people think was written by Beck — are supposed proof of how crazy and, um, poemy the book is gonna be. As if there’s any fucking chance in the world that Glenn Beck is capable of writing anything even approaching the level of quality. Has anybody ever seen this person talk? If that poem is reprinted in the book, I guaran-fucking-tee it will be the stand-out section by about six orders of magnitude.

UPDATE: Steve Krakauer and Glynnis MacNicol at Mediaite

John J. Miller at The Corner

Jim Newell at Gawker


Filed under Books, Mainstream, Political Figures

Float Like A Butterfly, Scented Candle Like A Bee

Janet Maslin at NYT:

In July 2008 The New York Times Magazine published Zev Chafets’s appreciative profile of a surprisingly candid Rush Limbaugh. There was spontaneity to the piece, perhaps because it had come about only by accident, after Mr. Chafets’s original assignment to write about John McCain (and interview Mr. Limbaugh in the process) fell through. And there was an overriding idea that still holds true: The only way to form a fair opinion about Mr. Limbaugh is to listen to him directly. His pronouncements are distorted and yanked out of context by acolytes and enemies alike.

The article traced Mr. Limbaugh’s background, visited his lair in Palm Beach, Fla., described the impact of his weekday AM radio show on the 2008 presidential campaign and generally captured the heat of the moment. Asked whether any of his thunder had been stolen by Sean Hannity, his fellow talk-radio apoplectic, who was exceptionally aggressive in harping on Barack’s Obama’s connections with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Limbaugh at first loftily dismissed the idea that he had any competitors. “Things only take off when I mention them,” he told Mr. Chafets. “That is the point.” When Mr. Chafets continued to press the idea of a rivalry, Mr. Limbaugh lost patience. “Write what you want,” he snappishly replied.

A funny thing happened to Mr. Chafets’s reporting on its way to the bookshelf: It got declawed. The ticklish parts (like that touchiness about Mr. Hannity) vanished. It appears that the price of access to Mr. Limbaugh for “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One” has been the purging of any details that might pique him. Quotations are truncated in ways that make them softer, and the boosterism has been boosted. (How much of a cheerleader is Mr. Chafets? “Republican success in 2010 can be boiled down to two words: Rush Limbaugh,” he wrote in an Op-Ed article in the Times on Thursday.)

In his short, skimpy book Mr. Chafets seems also to have lost his enthusiasm for asking tough questions, digging for facts (his sales and listenership numbers for Mr. Limbaugh’s books and programs come from Cigar Aficionado magazine) and having opinions that fall short of gushing enthusiasm. Anyone wanting to ascribe these qualities to adroit editing should know that even the name of one of Mr. Limbaugh’s wives is misspelled here, as are Hugh Hefner’s and Phyllis Schlafly’s, and that Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” was not his “Contract for America,” as it is called here. As for Mr. Chafets’s willing playbacks of even the loopiest Limbaugh reasoning, Mr. Chafets speaks for both of them when he says, “Sometimes you don’t want to let logic stand in the way of a good line.”

David Frum at The Washington Post:

So what, if anything, is new and interesting in Chafets’s long-form treatment?

For one, Chafets exposes some disconnects between Limbaugh’s private life and public presence. Chafets has seen more of the pundit’s personal world than any other journalist, and reveals some distinctly grandiose tastes in this self-imagined tribune of Middle America.

“Largely decorated by Limbaugh himself, [his Palm Beach house] reflects the things and places he has seen and admired. A massive chandelier in the dining room, for example, is a replica of the one that hung in the lobby of New York’s Plaza Hotel. The vast salon is meant to suggest Versailles. The main guest suite, which I didn’t visit, is an exact replica of the Presidential Suite at the Hotel George V in Paris. There is a full suit of armor on display, as well as a life-size oil painting of El Rushbo. Fragrant candles burned throughout the house, a daily home-from-the-wars ritual.”

There is a great deal more in this vein, and not a syllable of it is meant mockingly. Yet Chafets also writes the following, with equal non-irony: “Rush wasn’t enthusiastic [about the reelection bid of George H.W. Bush]. Bush struck him as a preppy, country club moderate, an Ivy League snob.”

And this: “[Limbaugh’s] far enemy in 2010 would be the Democrats, but the near enemy was ‘blue-blood, country-club Rockefeller Republicans’ embarrassed by the party’s unsophisticated ‘Billy Bobs’ and consumed with the need to be popular in Washington and the northeast corridor.”

And finally this: “Limbaugh had, for many years, traveled in social reverse, haunted by his father’s admonition that a dropout would never have any real status.”

Chafets quotes Limbaugh telling Maureen Dowd in a 1993 interview, “You have no earthly idea how detested and hated I am. I’m not even a good circus act for the liberals in this town. . . . You can look at my calendar for the past two years and see all of the invitations. You’ll find two, both by Robert and Georgette Mosbacher.” (Robert Mosbacher was secretary of commerce under President George H.W. Bush.) Not two pages later, we hear of Limbaugh’s New York evenings with investment banker Lewis Lehrman, William F. Buckley and Henry Kissinger. And yet the aggrieved subject and biographer are fully sincere in both instances.

Limbaugh has skillfully conjured for his listeners a world in which they are disdained and despised by mysterious elites — a world in which Limbaugh’s $4,000 bottles of wine do not exclude him from the life of the common man.

Heather Horn at The Atlantic

Tim Graham at Newsbusters:

he Washington Post knows how to thrust two middle fingers in Rush Limbaugh’s face. They decided to put a book review of the new Zev Chavets book on Limbaugh on the front page of Tuesday’s Style section, reviewed by….David Frum, the Republican establishment’s leading Rush-hater.

This is a little like assigning a Bill Clinton book review to Jim Clyburn, so he can call him a racist again for 1,000 words. There’s more hate than light. Frum gnashes his teeth hardest late in the review, jealous that he, the wise and humble Frum, is not acknowledged by all as the country’s leading conservative intellectual


Frum cannot seem to distinguish between intellectual leaders and political leaders. Most people think of Ronald Reagan as a political leader, not as an intellectual leader, and the same is true of Limbaugh. Conservatives in the 1980s weren’t going to elect William F. Buckley or Irving Kristol, but that didn’t mean they weren’t intellectual leaders.

Limbaugh is a great popularizer of conservatism, a very accessible professor of “advanced conservative studies.” He mints new conservatives, and moralizes the troops, old warriors and new recrutis alike, when they get demoralized. Why can’t Frum appreciate him for what he is?

Instead, he relayed how Chafets reports without irony on Limbaugh’s ornate tastes in home decorating and mocks Rush as a faux populist.

Frum responds at FrumForum:

Some replies:

1) Hate, jealousy, etc. are strong words. They are visibly not substantiated by the extract Graham quotes, most of which in turn is quoted by Chafets. My advice to Tim: stick to the facts, omit the mind-reading.

2) It is not I who “cannot seem to distinguish between intellectual leaders and political leaders.” The claim that Limbaugh has displaced Reagan is made by Limbaugh’s enthusiastic biographer, by Zev Chafets, right up there in black and white.

3) Tim Graham describes Limbaugh as a “great popularizer” and asks why I “can’t appreciate him for what he is”? The answer to that question comes from Limbaugh himself, in words quoted in my review but not in Graham’s blogpost. Limbaugh no longer sees himself as a popularizer. He sees himself – in his own words!” as the “intellectual engine” of the conservative movement. Limbaugh sees himself as the successor and replacement to William Buckley and Irving Kristol. If Graham does not agree – and he indicates that he does not – then his problem is with Limbaugh, not me.

4) Why did my review focus on Limbaugh’s ornate tastes in home decoration? For this reason: because that’s what Chafets’ book focused on! The question any reviewer would ask of a newly published biography is: what does it tell us that we did not know before? In the case of An Army of One, it is precisely these personal details that are the news, really the only news. Limbaugh liked Chafets and gave him access to his house and life. Chafets described what he saw in awe-struck detail. At the same time, Chafets captured in multiple quotations Limbaugh’s intense resentments and his avidity for social status. These are not mind-readings, like Graham’s attempt to analyze me above. They are Limbaugh’s own words. And they make for a jarring juxtaposition – and the most arresting thing in a book that otherwise repackages very familiar material.

Legal Insurrection:

The disconnect is on Frum’s part, who apparently does not often listen to Limbaugh’s show. Limbaugh frequently boasts about his wealth, even calling his commecial breaks “obscene profit” breaks. There is no secret here. It’s one of the endearing qualities Limbaugh’s listeners love that unlike Barack Obama, Al Gore and Thomas Friedman, Limbaugh leads his wealthy life without demanding that others don’t aspire to the same thing.
If I didn’t know this was a book review about Limbaugh, there is someone else much more historic about whom this sentence from the review would have applied:

It might seem ominous for an intellectual movement to be led by a man who does not think creatively, who does not respect the other side of the argument and who frequently says things that are not intended as truth.

Scott Lemieux at Lawyers Guns and Money

Doug J.:

I’ve seen this sort of statement a lot and I think it’s weird:

Limbaugh is a great popularizer of conservatism, a very accessible professor of “advanced conservative studies.” He mints new conservatives, and moralizes the troops, old warriors and new recrutis alike, when they get demoralized.Warriors! Troops! Professor! How Rush do so many things at once? And don’t conservatives hate professors anyway?

I’ve tried very hard, but I just can’t wrap my head around the way that some conservatives think of Rush Limbaugh.

Joe Strupp at Media Matters:

I was supposed to interview the author of a new book on Rush Limbaugh. But he backed out, without explanation.

Zev Chafets, whose past writings on Limbaugh have been seen as, well, glowing at best, has a new book: “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One” (Sentinel 2010).

About two weeks ago, Chafets’ publicist sent me an e-mail offering his time for an interview about the book and saying he could even meet in person if needed.

“Though this isn’t an authorized biography, Limbaugh gave Chafets extensive interviews and access to his inner circle, including Limbaugh’s family and close friends,” the e-mail claimed. “The result is a uniquely personal look at what Limbaugh is really like when the microphone is turned off. Chafets also makes a compelling case for why Limbaugh is the most important and influential conservative in America.”

The most important and influential conservative in America? I had to hear this argument.

We set the interview for 2 p.m. last Thursday by phone.

I should have known early on that it would be a problem.

First, they did not want the interview published until the date the book was to come out, May 25. They also would not give me a copy of it until that day.

Okay, so I am supposed to interview this author about a book that I can’t even read? That’ll work.

They eventually agreed to send me an early copy, but only if I signed a non-disclosure agreement promising not to reveal anything until the publication date. I did not sign the agreement or receive a copy of the book, but Media Matters obtained one elsewhere.

Even so, we agreed and plans were in place for the one-on-one chat today. But last Monday, another e-mail arrived from the publicist.

“I just wanted to follow-up with you quickly to let you know that I need to cancel the phone interview slated for Thursday, May 20 @ 2PM EASTERN with Zev Chafets. Please remove the interview from your calendar and thanks!”

Surprise? Yes. When I e-mailed to ask for a rescheduled time or a reason, all I received was this response: “I wanted to let you know that I received the message to cancel from Sentinel without explanation.”

Sentinel is the publisher of the book, describing itself as the “dedicated conservative imprint” of Penguin Books.

Too bad they canceled because given Chafets’ past work on Limbaugh, this book will likely require some scrutiny.

Dave Zirin at Huffington Post:

This morning on National Public Radio, Rush Limbaugh’s authorized biographer Zev Chafets equated the object of his affection to boxing’s own Muhammad Ali. This is not a joke

As Chafets said, “In the book I compare him to Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali was, in public, a very bombastic guy. And in private people say he was very soft-spoken and that his public persona was just a ramping up of his real personality, and that he did the public persona to gather a crowd. And I think that’s very true of Limbaugh also.”

The historical and ethical problems with Chafets’s comparison abound. Yes, both Limbaugh and Ali belong in a Talkers Hall of Fame and both used a larger-than-life public persona to “gather a crowd.” But Limbaugh used this skill to become richer than Croesus by exploiting fears based upon race, religion, gender, and sexuality. He’s the great exemplar for all conservative media celebrity: revel in bigotry; become unbelievably wealthy; blame liberal media as your quotes are circulated; rinse, repeat.

Ali in contrast sacrificed. He sacrificed millions of dollars, national heroism, and in the end, his very motor functions, because he was a militant opponent of racism and the war in Vietnam. The only thing Ali and Limbaugh have in common is that they both did what they had to do to avoid military service in Nam. The slight difference of course, being that Ali risked five years in Leavenworth while Limbaugh claimed he couldn’t wear the uniform because “pilonidal cysts” (anal abscesses rfrom ingrown hairs”) prevented him from service. To say that they have a lot in common because they are both “big personalities’ is like saying I have a lot in common with Lebron James because we both play hoops.

Here are some other people with “outsized personalities” who Chafets could also have used to compare to Limbaugh; Hulk Hogan, Harvey Fierstein, Benito Mussolini… the choices are really endless. So why choose Ali? I fear that Chafets chose Ali for the same reason that Tom Horne, Superintendent of Arizona schools, said he was moved to abolish the Tucson ethnic studies program: because “Martin Luther King gave his famous speech in which he said we should be judged by the quality of our character, rather than the color of our skin.”

This is one of the right’s favorite strategies: defend the indefensible by cloaking arguments with the martyrs of the black freedom struggle. This might be effective rhetorically, but it requires debasing history for political expediency. I wouldn’t expect much more from Horne or the Texas School Board or any of the know-nothings who wear their ignorance like badges of honor in the culture wars. But I’d expect more from Chafets who wrote a terrific expose of the Baseball Hall of Fame last year called Cooperstown Confidential.

Andy Alexander, The WaPo ombudsman:

The Post wasn’t looking for someone neutral when it chose David Frum to review a new book on conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. And that has raised the question of whether Frum was too biased to be fair.

Frum, himself a well-known conservative commentator and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote a controversial Newsweek cover story last year arguing that Limbaugh’s strident rhetoric was hurting the Republican Party.

“Rush Limbaugh is a seriously unpopular figure among the voters that conservatives and Republicans need to reach,” Frum wrote. “From a political point of view, Limbaugh is kryptonite, weakening the GOP nationally.”

That assertion sparked a nasty quarrel among conservatives that pitted Limbaugh and his followers against Frum.


Post Book World Editor Rachel Shea said she was unaware that Frum had written last year’s critical Newsweek piece, which was headlined: “Why Rush is Wrong.” But she said she was aware of debate Frum had stirred over how the GOP could best position itself with voters. And she said The Post chose Frum precisely because “it’s no surprise where he was coming from.”

“There was no way we could find someone who didn’t have an opinion” about Limbaugh, she said. “In the absence of finding someone who is completely dispassionate, we decided to go with somebody who people know.”

But should Frum’s review have noted his past pointed criticism of Limbaugh, for those readers who were unaware? “I suppose we should have,” Shea said. “

I agree. Limbaugh is a fascinating figure to many readers, regardless of their ideological orientation. Not everyone is aware of the feuds within the conservative movement. In this case, transparency is important for those coming to the review without prior knowledge of the Frum-Limbaugh clash.

Frum’s Style section review said the book adds little to what already is known about Limbaugh. But while it is not an authorized biography, he noted that Chafets had been given extraordinary access to Limbaugh.

Max Fisher at The Atlantic:

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has become such a controversial figure that everything from his health to his investments to his favorite music can draw furious criticism. So it will be interesting to see if this surprising detail of Rush’s life inspires a similar firestorm: He loves scented candles. That detail is revealed in a new biography by New York Times Magazine writer Zev Chafets, as reproduced in David Frum’s Washington Post review of the book:

Largely decorated by Limbaugh himself, [his Palm Beach house] reflects the things and places he has seen and admired. A massive chandelier in the dining room, for example, is a replica of the one that hung in the lobby of New York’s Plaza Hotel. The vast salon is meant to suggest Versailles. The main guest suite, which I didn’t visit, is an exact replica of the Presidential Suite at the Hotel George V in Paris. There is a full suit of armor on display, as well as a life-size oil painting of El Rushbo. Fragrant candles burned throughout the house, a daily home-from-the-wars ritual.
Balloon Juice blogger DougJ, who pulled out the strange detail, quips, “Colbert is going to have a great time with this.”

Frumforum has Limbaugh’s response to Frum

UPDATE: Matt Lewis at Politics Daily


Filed under Books, Conservative Movement, Mainstream, Political Figures

Crank Up The Zombie David Brinkley

James Poniewozik at Time:

Going outside its current stable of reporters and anchors, ABC is hiring longtime CNN international reporter Christiane Amanpour to host the Sunday-morning This Week interview show vacated by George Stephanopoulos. TV Newser has the details; among them, that she’ll start in August, until which White House correspondent Jake Tapper (who’s been doing a strong job as sometime interim host and would have been a good pick as well) will fill in.

It’s definitely a change, since Amanpour comes from a world-news background, rather than the D.C.-centric training of the typical Sunday-show host. Whether it’s a good one or a bad one may depend on whether the program changes to fit Amanpour’s strengths, or whether she has to change to fit its demands.

I will be honest: I am not generally a fan of the Sunday morning shows. I can think of about a million things a sane person with human contacts could better spend a Sunday morning doing than watch hosts bring on one Democratic or Republican mouthpiece after another to recite talking points, talk strategy or engage in Tim Russert-esque “But didn’t you say the opposite in 1996…” moments. Some of that is fine, but as a wall-to-wall staple, it’s tedious, it’s uninformative, and its symptomatic of a Washington press corps that’s more concerned with politics than with policy—i.e., with power, rather than how that power is used to affect people’s lives.

We already have four or five (depending which shows you count) interview shows working that same circuit every Sunday morning. Do we need that many? With Amanpour, who’s more known for her work in the Balkans than in the Beltway, ABC has a chance to do a show that breaks from the Sunday shows’ myopic obsessions, that focuses on policies and ideas over partisan handicapping (and kneecapping). It could even—crazy talk, I know—build a show that focuses on world news rather than Washington news.

Daniel Drezner:

The Sunday morning talk shows started to blur together long ago in my eyes, so anything distinctive is welcome.  Anything distinctive and focusing on foreign affairs/international relations is even more welcome.  Amanpour might have the celebrity to attract the kind of viewers who long to watch as many ADM commercials as possible see a civil discussion of the connections between America and the world.  If everyone else does generic inside-the-Beltway stuff, This Week might find a nice sinecure for itself on the international front.

That said, I’m skeptical that it will work, for two reasons. First, most Americans just don’t care that much about foreign policy — particularly right now. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m just saying that it’s true.

Second, I’m not sure that the number of foreign policy wonks who ordinarily wouldn’t watch This Week but might tune in now will compensate for the drop in those uninterested in foreign affairs. Last year, This Week attracted 2.3 million viewers, while Fareed Zakarias’s GPS show attracted less than 200,000 viewers. There are numerous reasons for this, but one of them might be that world politics wonks don’t watch much television about world politics.  (full disclosure:  I haven’t watched This Week since having children David Brinkley left).

Still, I’ll be rooting for Amanpour to succeed, and will even offer one nugget of advice — put Laura Rozen on the roundtable the moment you take over the show. She’s a great bridge between the substance of foreign policy and the machinations of the foreign policy community.

Lisa de Moraes calls critics of the move “Negative Nancys”:

Amanpour, one of the country’s most respected international correspondents, will also appear on other ABC News programs and platforms to provide international analysis of the important issues of the day, ABC News said in Thursday’s announcement. She will anchor primetime documentaries on international subjects for ABC. She starts in August. “This Week” will continue to be broadcast from the Newseum in Washington.

Various Negative Nancys spent Thursday puzzling over what ABC News was thinking by hiring someone outside the box, with little knowledge of domestic politics, to anchor “This Week.” Amanpour, who grew up in Iran and Britain, the daughter of an Iranian father and a British mother, will be the first broadcast TV Sunday Beltway show anchor with a distinctly non-American accent, they said.

Nonsense.  Her accent has nothing to do with the criticism of hiring a reporter whose entire work has been focused on covering the foreign desk to a position that focuses on domestic politics.  The Sunday talk show audience usually watches to get a longer-view perspective on American politics, moderated by someone with credibility in that arena.  That’s why the late Tim Russert got the hosting duties for Meet the Press and Bob Schieffer handles it for CBS on Face the Nation.

Moreover, people like Russert and Schieffer built a reputation for fairness and even-handedness prior to assuming the duties of interviewer/moderator.  As this confrontation with Marc Thiessen on CNN in January showed, Amanpour has a well-earned reputation as a journalistic activist, not someone who works objectively.  In that same interview, she showed a remarkable lack of preparation and background on the subject which she was covering.

Instead of getting a seasoned political reporter who had built a reputation for objectivity, or at least fairness, for this role, ABC went outside of its house to snag someone who barely knows the main subject matter in which their audience is interested.  That doesn’t mean that Amanpour can’t grow into the role, of course; she may wind up doing very well indeed.  It does make her an odd choice for the job now, however, especially since most Americans put domestic issues like the economy and deficits high up on the agenda — the kind of issues Amanpour hasn’t covered.

Tom Shales in WaPo:

And even though Amanpour has often been touted for her expertise on foreign affairs, she has vocal and passionate critics in that arena as well. Supporters of Israel have more than once charged Amanpour with bias against that country and its policies. A Web site devoted to criticism of Amanpour is titled, with less than a modicum of subtlety, “Christiane Amanpour’s Outright Bias Against Israel Must Stop,” available via Facebook.

Amanpour grew up in Great Britain and Iran. Her family fled Tehran in 1979 at the start of the Islamic revolution, when she was college age. She has steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity, telling Leslie Stahl last year relative to her coverage of Iran: “I am not part of the current crop of opinion journalists or commentary journalists or feelings journalists. I strongly believe that I have to remain in the realm of fact.”

The conservative Media Research Center, on its NewsBuster blog, claims Amanpour has the “standard liberal outlook on the world,” but then there don’t seem to be many journalists that conservatives do not consider liberal.

The group called Westin’s selection of Amanpour to anchor “This Week” a “bizarre choice,” but had also knocked her predecessor in the job, George Stephanopoulos, who has since moved on to “Good Morning America” and who previously worked to elect Bill Clinton and served in his White House.

As if outside opposition to Amanpour weren’t enough, ABC News is practically in a state of internal revolt over her selection, according to such industry-watchers as TV Newser, which quotes ABC insiders as resenting Westin’s hiring of a highly paid celebrity interloper for a job that many thought would go to White House correspondent Jake Tapper or to “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran. Either would have made a better “This Week” anchor, and neither would put ABC News in the position of having to rationalize spending big bucks on an superstar while making brutal cutbacks in the division.


From many angles, it was a bad choice — one which could create so much consternation that Westin will be forced to withdraw Amanpour’s name and come up with another “nominee” for the job. That would hardly be a tragedy — considering how many others deserve it more than she does.

Michael Calderone at Politico:

When Amanpour’s name first publicly made the rounds, the reaction I heard from ABC staffers (and some TV insiders) was one of bafflement at the selection. The questions and concerns boiled down to this: Why would ABC hire CNN’s highly-accomplished foreign correspondent for a traditionally Beltway political job that could be filled by capable internal candidates like Jake Tapper and Terry Moran? (Not to mention, Amanpour comes to the network amidst major cutbacks to the news division).

Jim Romenesko:

ABC senior vice president Jeffrey Schneider e-mails Romenesko: “There has always been all kinds fretful ink spilled about decisions we’ve made that ultimately turn out quite well for ABC News. If we are being accused of hiring one of the most well respected journalists in the world we proudly plead guilty and cannot wait for Christiane to focus her considerable talents on the Sunday morning landscape.”

Glenn Greenwald:

But I want to focus on a far more pernicious and truly slimy aspect of Shales’ attack on Amanpour.  In arguing why she’s a “bad choice,” Shales writes that “[s]upporters of Israel have more than once charged Amanpour with bias against that country and its policies,” and adds:  “A Web site devoted to criticism of Amanpour is titled, with less than a modicum of subtlety, ‘Christiane Amanpour’s Outright Bias Against Israel Must Stop,’ available via Facebook.”  Are these “charges” valid?  Is this “Web site” credible?  Does she, in fact, exhibit anti-Israel bias?  Who knows?  Shales doesn’t bother to say.  In fact, he doesn’t even bother to cite a single specific accusation against her; apparently, the mere existence of these complaints, valid or not, should count against her.

Worse still is that, immediately after noting these charges of”anti-Israel” bias, Shales writes this:

Amanpour grew up in Great Britain and Iran. Her family fled Tehran in 1979 at the start of the Islamic revolution, when she was college age. She has steadfastly rejected claims about her objectivity, telling Leslie Stahl last year relative to her coverage of Iran: “I am not part of the current crop of opinion journalists or commentary journalists or feelings journalists. I strongly believe that I have to remain in the realm of fact.”

Without having the courage to do so explicitly, Shales links (and even bolsters) charges of her “anti-Israel” bias to the fact that her father is Iranian and she grew up in Iran.  He sandwiches that biographical information about Iran in between describing accusations against her of bias against Israel and her defensive insistence that she’s capable of objectivity when reporting on the region.

So here we finally have a prominent journalist with a half-Persian background — in an extremely homogenized media culture which steadfastly excludes from Middle Eastern coverage voices from that region — and her national origin is immediately cited as a means of questioning her journalistic objectivity and even opposing her as a choice to host This Week (can someone from Iran with an Iranian father possibly be objective???).  Could the double standard here be any more obvious or unpleasant?

Wolf Blitzer is Jewish, a former AIPAC official, and — to use Shales’ smear-campaign formulation — has frequently “been accused” of pro-Israel bias; should CNN bar him from covering those issues?  David Gregory is Jewish, “studies Jewish texts with a top Jewish educator in Washington,” and has conducted extremely sycophantic interviews with Israel officials. Should his background be cited as evidence of his pro-Israel bias?  The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg is routinely cited as one of America’s most authoritative sources on the Middle East, notwithstanding numerous accusations of pro-Israel bias and, even more so, his choice to go enlist in the IDF and work in an Israeli prison where Palestinians are encaged; do those actions (far beyond his mere ethnicity) call into question his objectivity as a journalist such that The Atlantic should bar him from writing about that region?  Jake Tapper — who Shales suggests as an alternative to Amanpour and who I also previously praised as a choice — is Jewish; does that raise questions about his objectivity where Israel is concerned?

Kevin Drum:

There’s not much meat here. Insiders are always unhappy when an outsider gets a plum job. There are ideologues with an axe to grind against everyone. And perhaps This Week could do with a little more substance and a little less “inside-the-Beltway palaver”?

(And not to put this too finely, but it’s not really as hard as Shales might think to bone up on domestic politics. It’s not that complicated.)

Anyway, strange stuff. I don’t know if I would have picked Amanpour either, but if I were arguing against it I’d at least try to come up with some colorable criticisms. This is just junior high school stuff.

Paul Krugman:

Shales complains that

“This Week” deals mainly in domestic politics and inside-the-Beltway palaver, an area where Amanpour is widely considered to deficient.

Um, maybe the idea is to do a bit less “inside-the-Beltway palaver”? You know, we’ve got a global economic crisis, a budding confrontation with China, a major row with Israel; maybe someone who’s knowledgeable about the world rather than the DC party circuit might be just the right choice?

It’s true that Amanpour is not, to my knowledge, an expert on health policy or financial reform. But which TV host is?

I don’t really understand what’s going on here. But it says more about how DC insiders think than it does about Amanpour or “This Week”.

Andrew Sullivan:

What a load of hooey. I think Amanpour is a brilliant idea for hosting This Week, calm, authoritative, not caught up in Beltway process, able to say what she thinks – on torture and Israel, for example – while remaining careful to include other views. Genius. A vast improvement on the charisma-free insider, Stephanopoulos.

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect:

Just in case you were wondering if I was too hard on Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales yesterday for his shallow and pernicious critique of Christiane Amanpour as ABC’s choice to replace George Stephanopoulos on This Week, this is what he had to say about her during his live chat with readers :

Well you’re talking about reworking the whole show — so not discuss domestic politics? It’s George Will’s specialty though of course he can discuss international affairs as well. But it was conceived (for David Brinkley) as a discussion show about Washington DC, capital city……. I wonder if ABC is really going to revise the show or if they aren’t going to try to turn Amanpour into Little ms Politics.Amanpour has spent decades reporting from some of the most dangerous parts of the world since the first Gulf War. She’s interviewed people like Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad, Syrian President Bashar el Assad, and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. You’d think, that with a career like that, she might avoid being patronized because of her gender by another journalist.

A reader points out that Shales’ colleague at the Post, Lisa de Moraes, thinks Amanpour is a smart choice.

Lisa said Christiane is a smart choice? I didn’t know we were having a feud about it. I think Christiane is one of the most over-rated and hyped personalities of our day. There’s a reason that 60 Minutes didn’t pick up her contract; she disappointed them. Anyway c’est la vie.Can’t speak to why 60 Minutes didn’t pick up Amanpour’s contract, but she won two Emmys and a Peabody when she was there. On the other hand, she has lady parts and lived in Iran as a child. Tough call.

UPDATE: Tom Shales at WaPo

Eric Boehlert at Media Matter

Matthew Yglesias

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary

James Joyner

1 Comment

Filed under Mainstream, New Media

Dan Riehl And The Post Heard ‘Round The Sphere

Dan Riehl:

I’m not sure I quite understand this, given that cost is so important as a burden to taxpayers when it comes to health care. If Democrats want so badly to abort babies because of it, why are we bothering with someone who has a broken neck and back at 69? It sounds to me like she’s pretty well used up and has probably been living off the taxpayers for plenty of years to begin with. Aren’t we at least going to get a vote on it?

Sen. Reid’s daughter Lana Reid Barringer, 48, who was driving the mini-van, and his wife, Landra G. Reid, 69, a passenger, were both injured. Landra suffered a broken back and a broken neck in the crash; Barringer suffered minor injuries, Sen. Reid’s office said Thursday.

I realize her crook of a husband and his pals in Congress have excluded themselves from the mess they’re going to compel everyone else to join, but we’re still paying the bills, are we not? I don’t see that she’s worth it at this point, frankly. I can’t recall her ever doing anything for me.

Media Matters links to him

Riehl responds to Media Matters:

Well, that didn’t take long for Media Mutters to link. I wish I knew those babies way back when. I’d have taken a coat hanger to them! I guess that’s more their style. Still, they front for the bastards that will allow our loved ones to die at 69, or 70 because it costs too much to save, or care for them.

These people have no principles. They have no right to take exception to my post. You can not advocate killing children to save money while allowing severely injured 69 year-old people to live. The actuarial argument actually benefits the young. Unless, of course, they figure it will be mostly poor black and hispanics, so what the hell!!

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Read the whole thing on an empty stomach, if you must. What takes the cake, though, is that when Media Matters gives him the attention he so desperately wants, he has the stones to feign outrage. Just say “Thank you.”

Before any of you even start, please spare me the “satire” excuse. This isn’t about the logical merits of Riehle’s metaphor, although even by that standard, his post is a miserable failure. It is about gratuitous cruelty, in service to the almighty hitcount. His title entreaty veers dangerously close to incitement, as well. We’ll all cross our fingers that none of that hospital’s staff reads Riehle’s blog.

In fact, I hate to even give the guy traffic, but I do hope that if you decide to check it out, you let him know what you think. I also hope that the bookers at news organizations keep this in mind next time they’re mulling a Riehle guest spot.

The point here is not to vilify conservatives. In all of these situations, the vast majority of people on each side react with decency. Obviously, though, there is some reward for those who exploit tragedy to score snarky points, or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Riehle, for example, wears Media Matters’ denunciation like a badge of honor. The message that humanity doesn’t stop at the imaginary border between left and right needs to be delivered to these people by someone they care about.

Alan Colmes

Dan Riehl responds to Colmes linking to him:

Alan Colmes doesn’t say too much in linking me, that’s usually a good idea in his case. The more he says, or writes, the dumber he always looks. But then, who but a moron would play Left-wing knock down, stand-up doll on Fox with Hannity for years. Did I look stupid enough for you tonight, Sean? Tell me, huh? Did I? Did I, huh? I’ll do my special stupid act for the Chirstmas show if you want! feh

He even writes it out without the slightest clue as to how offensive it is to many Americans, political, or not. The poor, the under-privileged in America struggle along, often de-motivated by whatever crumbs Colmes and his Progressive brethern might toss them as scraps. And now, they want to stalk their wombs with well written, seemingly compassionate hand-out literature to encourage and convince them to let Colmes and his crew rip the babies out of their wombs in the name of the deficit – and I’m the vile one?

Cheer up, Alan, you won’t have to indulge me forever. When you die, you’ll get to rot in Hell listening to the souls of a millionbabies cry and your only accomplishment will have been to drive government spending down in that area, so you can squander it somewhere else. You should feel proud, chump!

Colmes responds:

I apparently have gotten under Dan Riehl’s skin.  Amazingly, I’ve done it, according to Riehl, without saying too much.  But if all I did is basically link him without saying much, as he claims, to quote Robert Young in those old Sanka commercials, “Why so tense?”


If I am such an ineffectual moron, why would someone of such intellectual and satiric heft as Mr. Riehl even bother with me?

The Republican Heretic:

So for those on the far left, who are surely as outraged over this as they were that Rush Limbaugh didn’t die in that Hawaii hospital, I’ll explain what Mr. Reihl is getting at.

Riehl, you see, is pro-life (That’s “anti-choice oppressor of women” in Newspeak). He does not want the government to use his taxpayer money to pay for abortions, which Obamacare will do. Democrats want Obamacare to pay for abortions because paying for an abortion is cheaper than paying for the health care for a live birth and the continuing life of the new person after. You see, it saves money.

Riehl is making the point like this: if abortion is good because it saves health care dollars, then why are we paying for back and neck surgery on a 69-year-old woman, who will have to go through years of physical therapy? Because since Harry Ried is a Senator, his health care is covered by taxpayer money also. You follow?

Does Dan Riehl really want Harry Reid’s wife to be euthanized? I surely hope not, and I doubt it. But the shock of the statement makes a point of the absurdity of the Democratic position. It also reminds us that in places like the UK, that have socialized medicine, the elderly are often denied health care because they aren’t worth the cost to the system.

Tabitha Hale:

Clearly, this is satire. Dan’s a snarky bastard, and he is ruthless about the truth – both qualities I sincerely appreciate. The language of the post is meant to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the left, and highlight the callousness of Democratic leadership in light of Stupak’s statements. The attitude that life is an obstacle for their proposed health care program is nauseating at best, and rightly pissed a lot of people off this week.

The thing is, this isn’t a new attitude. This has been Democratic attitude for a long time – it’s become life vs. their health care takeover. Pregnancies and new people are an inconvenience when you’ve decided it’s your duty to control all of them. Remember last year when Pelosi said that birth control was the best economic stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Dan pointed out the hypocrisy of their stance, and the nasty motivation behind it… so effectively that he’s being torched by anyone and everyone. Apparently the “vile” nature of the post hit home for some…

Well done, Dan.

Matt Sussman at Technorati:

The liberal blogahedron has revolted against Riehl’s Friday afternoon post suggesting they euthanize Harry Reid’s injured wife. In response, Media Matters, Alan Colmes, and others have hounded Riehl. Others have taken to his defense. Some of his commenters accept it as brilliant satire, while the liberal riposte notes how satire should be funny and/or poignant. Fight, fight, fight!

If I squint carefully, I can see how in a macabre way how right-wing readers might enjoy this type of writing, especially if they believe that the current health care proposals will lead to euthanasia of senior citizens. And I’m all for creative elucidations, but when the tastelessness outweighs the substance, it’s generally a wise idea to pass on the post. Having said that, I’m very surprised at how much attention this teeny tiny little post has received. C’mon, it’s the weekend. Spread the good vibrations, man!

More Colmes:

Okay, Matt, but let me first point out the pattern of despicable statements made by conservatives who suddenly decide they’re Lenny Bruce the minute they get pushback from more sensible citizens. When Riehl asked if Dan Sparkman, the census worker who committed suicide, was a child predator, was that satire too?  Or is only sometimes that Riehl is a hilarious humorist?Maybe it’s the Palin standard. When Rush Limbaugh uses the word “retard” it’s “satire“, but when Rahm Emanuel does it, he deserves to be fired. When Russell Wiseman, the mayor of Arlington, TX, was found emailing that President Obama purposely scheduled a speech to conflict with a Charlie Brown Christmas special, the mayor claimed it was “a poor attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor amongst friends,” before he was forced to apologize. And let’s not forget Luciane Goldberg’s “satire” of Barack Obama’s “2009 inaugural ball as imagined by Clinton staffers”, a photo of black African’s carrying spears.  And just today, we posted about North Carolina State Representative Bill Current’s excuse that he couldn’t attend a women’s history celebration because “I have promised to be at the organizational meeting of the ‘White male’ history society.” Current said he was just trying to be funny.

It’s time that conservatives who are not otherwise known for brilliant comedic observations stop making pathetic attempts to be something they’re not, and do what they do best: trying to stop every progressive advance their political adversaries are promoting to rescue this country from the deplorable shape they left it in when they were in power.

James Joyner:

Now, aside from it being poor form to try to score cheap political points off the suffering of politicians’ families — Lara Reid isn’t the Senate Majority leader — the argument doesn’t even make sense on its face.  While I oppose the current health care reform plan, Reid and company are trying to extend care, not limit it.   For that matter, while I’m passionately against abortion in all but the most extreme cases, who’s arguing that it should be performed more often so that we can save money?  Certainly, not any Democrats I know.

Ah:  Dan links to another post, titled “Stupak: Dem Leadership Wants More Children Aborted To Cut Costs.” The substance:

What are Democratic leaders saying?“If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,”Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

I don’t know Bart Stupak well enough to dismiss this as a damnable lie.  So, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe someone who is technically a “Democratic leader” said something remotely like that.  Or that he honestly misunderstood someone as saying that.  Regardless, it’s a ridiculous distraction from the real debate: It’s not a significant reason why Democrats support either health care reform or abortion.

In an update, Dan links to a post by Rob Port titled, “Rep. Stupak: Pro-Choice Democrats Say Abortion Funding Needed To Keep Too Many Kids From Being Born” which in turn links to an older post titled “Pelosi: Free Condoms And Food Stamps Better For Economy Than Tax Cuts.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family-planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family-planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those—one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Condoms reduce births and so do abortions.  So, since Pelosi supports giving out free condoms to reduce births, she obviously wants to encourage more abortions!  To save money!  QED.

Surely, we can argue against the Democrats based on their actual policy goals and/or the implications of their actual policy proposals?

Dan Riehl responds to Joyner:

Best take your shoes off before wondering over to James Joyner’s blog to read him weighing in on my should we euthanize Reid’s wife post – wouldn’t want to chance any mud on the white carpet over there. It’s not a straw man argument as Joyner would allege, not if one has been paying attention throughout the entire health care reform debate. But HCR is the real slippery slope, a fact James conveniently ignores. His response is classic milquetoast, which about sums James up on most issues of the day. Don’t check yourhealth care at the door, he may try and bore you to death. The irony is reading straw man coming from someone made of paper mache.

Charles Johnson at LGF:

The excuse will be that it’s “satire,” of course, and I suppose you could argue that it is. Rotten, mean-spirited “satire” that lays bare Riehl’s shriveled soul. What a disgusting creep.


And of course, he’s getting a lot of “atta boy!” comments from the other basement-dwelling throwbacks at his site.

Anyone still wondering why I want nothing to do with the right wing blogosphere any more?

Riehl responds:

He’s full of crap. The liberal Chuckie always was finally got over his irrational fear of brown people, aka Muslims in his case, hiding underneath his bed to go back to being what he always was – a liberal/progressive. What a weak, weak mind, now with an even weaker home blog. Poor lil’ Chuckie, now just the lizard man, plucked out of obscurity from time to time for amusement, more than anything.

How sad.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Media

Suffer The Little Children And The Billionaire Golfers

Steve Benen:

As regular readers know, I’ve made no mention of Tiger Woods on this blog. I don’t care about golf; I don’t care about golfers’ private lives; I don’t care about any aspect of this “story” at any level.

But I was taken aback when I saw that Fox News’ Brit Hume, reflecting on Woods’ career on the air this morning, talked about whether the golfer may return to his chosen profession.

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” Hume said. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Hume was not, as the video shows, kidding.

It’s hard to even know where to start with something like this. How many high-profile Christians have had damaging sex scandals of late? Why is Buddhism deemed inadequate for those with family problems? Why is a senior political analyst for a so-called “news” network proselytizing, on the air, during one of the network’s “news” programs?

John Cole:

Apparently Fox News is no longer content being the voice of the GOP, and has decided to become the voice of Christianity, as well

Jamison Foser at Media Matters:

If this wasn’t Fox News, I’d take “Tomorrow, 2 pm” in the when-will-Hume-apologize pool.  But it is Fox, so “the Fifth of Never” seems like a safer choice.

Robert Farley:

I wonder; are there any examples of prominent Christians engaging in adultery? Any at all?

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

On its face, Hume’s remarks do seem to suggest that Christianity is superior to Buddhism, and the idea that someone should abandon their own faith for yours does reek of arrogance. Those who are offended by Hume’s remarks aren’t out in left field somewhere. As I asked Adam Baldwin, whose Twitter feed first alerted me to the clip, “Would you applaud if someone advised John Ensign or Mark Sanford to ditch Christianity?”

I don’t know Baldwin well enough to know how he would respond, but I’d lay good money that even casual Christians would be offended by such a proposition. It’s one thing to extoll the virtues of your own faith, but quite another to denigrate someone else’s.

If you look at the context of Hume’s remarks, it seems that he views religion as a menu comparison. Sure, Buddhism’s great for achieving inner peace, but Christianity’s got that redemption thing to fall back on. Hume’s advice doesn’t hinge on the relative truth of either religion, but rather the services it can offer a horndog golfer.

What I find comical about Hume’s entreaty is the notion that Buddhism is the problem, and not Tiger’s flawed humanity. If Tiger had been practicing Buddhism, he wouldn’t have wanted all that sex in the first place.

UPDATE: Ta-Nehisi Coates

UPDATE #2: Peter Wehner at NRO

Ramesh Ponnuru at Washington Post

Jonathan Chait at TNR

1 Comment

Filed under Mainstream, New Media, Religion, Sports

Liz Lemon In ’12!


Matthew Continetti at The Weekly Standard:

If Sarah Palin visits Nashville on her book tour, she really ought to stop by the Hermitage. Andrew Jackson’s plantation is a lot more than a beautifully restored example of Greek Revival architecture and design. It’s also a monument to the seventh president’s democratic legacy–of rule by the people, of competitive commercial markets, of entrepreneurial individuals lighting out to the territories. It’s a legacy to which Palin is heiress. And one she ought to embrace.


The upshot is a creative and unregulated political marketplace. The most compelling figures and ideas prosper. No one has a dominant position. But it’s also clear that what Michael Barone has called the “balance of enthusiasm” in politics is now squarely on the right. And yet, like all markets, the political trading post is prone to bubbles, excesses, rumors, and even the occasional conspiracy theory.

All of which creates a gigantic opening for a politician to display imagination and leadership. An opportunity for a figure who will separate the good populism (championing free-enterprising individuals) from the bad (concocting loony theories and vilifying “enemies of the people”). Someone who will give voice to the millions who don’t want government aggrandizing the powerful; who don’t want government risking dangerous fiscal imbalances; who do want public policies that create the conditions for a general prosperity. Someone, in other words, who can play the same role in contemporary politics that Jackson, Bryan, and Reagan did in the past.

She lives in Alaska.

The similarities between Jackson, Bryan, Reagan, and Sarah Palin are striking. This is not to say that they are alike in every respect. Nor is it to say that Palin’s achievements to date rank with the others’. And, of course, American populism is a deep and complex tradition. But it’s nonetheless true that a couple of traits span the centuries and unify these four political figures. The first is the reaction they provoke among the elites of their age–what one might call the “Coonskin Cap Critique.” The second is their advocacy of dispersed power, open markets, and American individualism.

Elites regard challenges to their authority with condescension and contempt. They routinely underestimate the capacities of populist leaders. They mock their enemies as uneducated provincials who lack expert knowledge and therefore have no place interfering in politics. They contemptuously refer to the supporters of populist politicians as an ill-kempt and dangerous mob.

Daniel Libit at Politco:

The Weekly Standard magazine will toast associate editor’s Matthew Continetti’s new book, “The Persecution of Sarah Palin,” Tuesday at a private party. But the book — and, naturally, the party as well — comes about three months before originally planned.

Continetti’s book had to rush to print after the former Republican vice presidential candidate announced that her autobiography would be released in fall 2009, instead of spring 2010.

Even with the sped-up publishing date, Continetti will have the defending-Palin market cornered for a scant week. Palin’s own book, “Going Rogue,” comes out Nov. 17. The date change turned out to be the second time Palin thwarted Continetti’s plans. He was already well into in the writing process when she announced her resignation from the Alaska governorship on July 3. “I was surprised when she decided to do that,” Continetti says, adding that the decision didn’t complicate his defense.

He wrote a cover story for The Weekly Standard the week of her announcement, in which he had his one and only opportunity to speak with the former governor. Palin, he says, has a standing policy of not participating in book projects about her, but Continetti was able to weave some of his notes from the magazine article into his book.

Continetti had been sold on Palin early on.

“I thought it was a game-changing thing,” he told POLITICO of Sen. John McCain’s decision to tap her for the ticket last year. Continetti’s Weekly Standard colleague, editor Fred Barnes, had published one of the first national magazine profiles about the former governor in July 2007.

Shawn Macomber interviews Continetti at The American Spectator:

Victory for Palin’s enemies would come if they succeeded in their attempts to drive her out of public life.  sThat hasn’t happened. If anything, she has become more powerful, more influential, over time. She did more to change the shape of the health care debate in one Facebook post than any other major Republican politician. She led the way in national Republican support for Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. Alaska was holding her down. So she broke free. And now she can speak out as often as she wants.

Palin has a habit of making bold decisions that may seem odd at the time. When she entered the Alaska Republican gubernatorial primary in October 2005, she was making an extremely risky decision. When she made her surprise announcement that she would resign from office on July 26, 2009, nobody knew what to think. In retrospect, both decisions make eminent sense. She won the 2006 primary in a landslide and won the general election to become governor. Her resignation has allowed her to return to the national stage as a leader of the conservative populist revival. We’ll see what the future holds. But whatever happens, it will be quite a ride.

The two Daniel Larison posts. Here:

In reality, Jackson’s legacy is the antithesis of much of what the Whigs and Republicans have stood for in domestic politics since 1824, and Palin has no claim on such a legacy. The financial sector bailout last year was the sort of close collusion between government and banks that infuriated Jackson and his followers. The so-called heiress of Jackson endorsed the bailout. There is a Jackson-like anti-Fed populism out there, but Continetti and his colleagues have no interest in encouraging Palin to embrace their arguments. So Continetti creates a safe, generic Jacksonian “legacy” that sounds as if it had come from the late Jack Kemp. Everything that made Jackson and Bryan’s populism interesting gives most Republican and movement conservative leaders hives, because these men married cultural and economic populism together. As the GOP’s Palinolatry itself shows, cultural pseudo-populism is at least tolerated as a gimmick or electoral maneuver, but even a whiff of real economic populism has always been toxic for Republican leaders and activists. There is a reason why Palin’s own Alaska record of hiking windfall profit taxes on oil companies has been carefully and consistently eliminated from all conservative discussions of her time as governor. That is her claim to some measure of populist leadership, and it is the one thing about her economic conservatives and national GOP leaders would like to forget. Indeed, as she has become a national figure she has run as far away from the substance of what she did in Alaska as possible, because raising any taxes on major corporations for any reason is exactly the one thing that will never fly with Republicans on a national level.


There is another passage in Continetti’s Palin article that tells us a lot about the mentality of Palinites and those who would pander to them:

Dismiss airy prophecies about “peak oil,” “green jobs,” and “limits to growth.” Pledge, instead, that Americans will have access to as much of the cheapest, cleanest energy they need to stimulate the economy. Palin is right. No limits.

In other words, the right-populism of which Palin can supposedly be the great leader is going to a movement of irresponsible consumption, limitless appetite and unfettered desire. This is so obviously at odds with both Christian stewardship and conservative temperament that it scarcely seems necessary to mention it, but here we find the moral vacuum at the heart of Palinism. It happens to be expressed here in connection with the use of natural resources, but it conveys hubris, arrogance and self-indulgence and indifference to the welfare of the commonwealth that will be inherited by those not yet born. “No limits” is the slogan either of the anarchist or the libertine. There is no sane populism that would embrace such an idea, and it certainly has nothing to do with anything recognizable as conservatism.

Conor Friedersdorf at The American Scene:

Mathew Continetti reinforces my belief that it is wise to limit one’s stay in Washington DC, lest you’re tempted to start writing nonsense like this, embarrassing yourself in the process. Populist leaders have held very modest views of government, Continetti writes, name-checking Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan and Ronald Reagan.


Mr. Continetti’s language might also lead readers to imagine that a natural gas pipeline has been built in Alaska, thanks in part to Sarah Palin, but actually construction on the project hasn’t even begun. My understanding is that she worked on issuing a contract for the project, not its construction. You’d think that competition in bidding would be termed “a basic responsibility of competent officials operating under any governing philosophy” as opposed to “populism.”

Overall, it’s just a terrible piece — check out what Mr. Continetti thinks a populist approach to health care entails — though I suppose it’s becoming fairer everyday to call Mr. Continetti “the intellectual force behind Palinism.” Talk about damning with faint praise. My least favorite emotion is embarrassment for others. It is particularly unpleasant when a guy with an agile mind and writerly talent finds himself lacking the intellectual integrity to do good work.

Napoleon Linardatos at Frum Forum:

It is very telling that her record as governor of Alaska gets only scant mention in Continetti’s essay and it’s the usual limited list of accomplishments, the ones we heard about when she was introduced to the nation. Since the defeat of the McCain ticket in 2008, Palin as governor failed to make any serious progress despite the fact that she had gained tremendous prominence and influence on the right and that she was at the helm of a conservative state. At the end she decided to resign, 18 months before the end of her term, admitting that she was no longer able to effectively govern the state. It should have been a “mugged by reality” moment for the Palinistas.  But for them her resignation was proof of the everlasting prosecution. Palin would leave governing, as the Washington Post reported, because it was “in the best interest of the state and will allow her to more effectively advocate for issues of importance to her, including energy independence and national security.” Those who can’t govern perpetually campaign.

Continetti argues that Palin is similar to three other political figures: Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan and Ronald Reagan. Making the association with the first two figures is politically questionable, and in the case of Ronald Reagan, Continetti can only establish one similarity only. It is true that Reagan was despised by the nation’s intellectual and political elites but the similarities between Reagan and Palin start and end there. From then on we have to deal with an increasing array of differences. Unlike Palin, the more the American public knew about Reagan the more they liked him. And if someone wanted to know how much Reagan was engaged with national issues and how well he mastered them, he could take a look at the Reagan and Robert F. Kennedy debate back in 1967, fourteen years before Reagan became president.

It would be interesting for Continetti to explain why Palin is more like Reagan and not more like Nixon. Again in the case of Nixon the similarities between him and Palin are limited. Nixon a very intelligent man (not wise though) with a deep knowledge and command of the national issues, was nevertheless loathed by Washington and he could appeal to his base only in proportion to the perceived animus of his detractors.

David Frum at The Frum Forum:

Matthew Continetti has a piece in this weekend’s Weekly Standard hailing Sarah Palin as the ideal leader of a new populist uprising. One obvious objection to his thesis: The populist Sarah is in fact one of the most unpopular figures in American life.

According to Gallup, 63% of Americans say they would never consider voting for her. By a margin of 62%-31% Americans rate Palin “unqualified” to serve as president – by far the worst score for any leading Republican.

In comparison, only 51% of Americans say they would never consider voting for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee – and a plurality of Americans rate the two as “qualified”: 50-36 say Huckabee is qualified, 49-39 say Romney is qualified.

Palin supporters have constructed an alternative reality in which their heroine is wildly cheered by the American yeomanry, and despised only by a small coterie of sherry-drinking snobs. No contrary evidence, no matter how overwhelming and uncontradicted, can alter this view: not the collapse in Palin’s support in just 5 weeks in 2008, not the statistical studies that show her as the only vice presidential nominee in history to have hurt her ticket, not her rampant unpopularity with American women, not her own flinching from a second encounter with the Alaskan electorate.

In this regard, Continentti’s comparison of Palin to William Jennings Bryan begins to look not only apt, but ominous.

Doctor Zero at Hot Air on Frum:

This is an important point, because poll numbers never change, especially for private citizens who haven’t declared any intention to run for office, three years before the elections. How often to polls have to shift, or produce completely inaccurate numbers, before people stop trying to use them to shape the reality they supposedly measure? A nation looking for confident, visionary leadership is not going to look down and notice David Frum waving a spreadsheet of poll numbers.

I doubt many of the respondents to that Gallup poll could specify exactly what the “qualifications” for the President are. It’s a singular position, with qualifications that change based on current events, and the mood of the electorate. I suspect the electorate of 2012 will be looking for someone who isn’t a “community organizer” with a shady past and zero governing experience, riding a wave of uncritical media adulation and touting an education at elite universities. Palin doesn’t have the only resume that fits the bill, but nobody else’s resume is selling millions of copies at the moment.

Given the difficulty in itemizing the exact “qualifications” for President, and the painfully thin portfolio of the current occupant of the White House, a poll pronouncing the former governor of Alaska “unqualified” is really measuring the effectiveness of crude media caricatures from 2008. Palin isn’t currently running for anything, so people who don’t follow politics closely are left with the afterimage of her savage treatment in the last campaign burned into their memories. That might change when people read her book, and follow her appearances on the book tour, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect much movement in her poll numbers unless she actually tosses her hat in the ring. Why would disengaged voters think of her as anything but a celebrity author until then?

Comparing Palin’s “qualification” ratings to Romney or Huckabee is a little silly, because neither of them took the kind of pounding she did. The Left’s supply of anti-Mormon bigotry remains locked in the toxic waste dump of its soul, where it will remain until Romney looks like he’s going to win the Republican nomination. Huckabee seems to be carefully laying the groundwork for a 2012 run, but right now he could interview live extraterrestrials on his Fox show without pulling a fraction of the sustained media attention Palin continues to receive. Much of this attention is negative, but any principled Republican who thinks he would draw positive media coverage is fantasizing more than the most ardent Palin supporter.


Meanwhile, on another point in the book, David Weigel at The Washington Independent:

Paul Bedard gets an early look at “The Persecution of Sarah Palin,” the second book by young Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti, which draws lessons about the media, feminism, and elitism from the former Alaska governor’s rapid rise and fall. In this excerpt, Continetti analyzes the meaning of Tina Fey’s iconic impersonation of Palin.

It was telling that Fey should be the actress who impersonated Palin. The two women may look like each other, but they could not be more dissimilar. Each exemplifies a different category of feminism. Palin comes from the I-can-do-it-all school. She is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family.

The “outward appearances” bit gives me pause, as I know that Continetti has made trips to Alaska to research the book. And the Palin family has been the target of lots of tabloid rumors — some of those rumors pushed by Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandson. Is the book going to tackle any of this? Moving on.

[W]hile Fey is also pretty, married, and has a daughter, the characters she portrays in films like Mean Girls and Baby Mama, and in television shows like 30 Rock, are hard-pressed eggheads who give up personal fulfillment—e.g., marriage and motherhood—in the pursuit of professional success. On 30 Rock, Fey, who is also the show’s chief writer and executive producer, plays Liz Lemon, a television comedy writer modeled on herself. Liz Lemon is smart, funny, and at the top of her field. But she fails elsewhere. None of her relationships with men works out. She wants desperately to raise a child but can find neither the time nor the means to marry or adopt. Lemon makes you laugh, for sure. But you also would be hard pressed to name a more unhappy person on American TV.

This is all subjective, but I’d say even the fictional Liz Lemon has fewer problems than the real-life former governor of Alaska, who quit her job under the pressure of frivolous ethics complaints and who seems to get into monthly feuds with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.

Eric Alterman at The Nation:

I had higher hopes for young Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti. His first book, on the corruption of the so-called Gingrich revolution, while lightly researched, was smart and well written. I even praised it in print, something rather rare for a Nation columnist reviewing a book by a Weekly Standard writer.

But with his new book, an even more lightly researched study of the alleged “persecution” by the “elite media” of Sarah Palin, I see that Continetti has decided to hell with all that and embraced the tactics of his ideological predecessors. For this he has been rewarded with blurbs by such journalistic luminaries as Karl Rove (“tough, revealing”), Brit Hume (“compelling”) and Michael Barone (“the truth”). It’s a sad commentary to note that these three are also considered respected members of the conservative media, because if they actually believe their own words, they would not recognize an honest work of journalism if it shot them in the face.

To be fair, Continetti is handicapped by his subject’s refusal to speak to him for the book as well as her snap decision to quit her job without a credible explanation. (And perhaps as a result, his readers are handicapped by his refusal to support anything he claims with source notes, an index or a bibliography.) He asserts hypocrisy on the part of the “elite media” bent on Palin’s “persecution,” an assertion he pretends to prove by quoting descriptions of the ex-governor, on the one hand, and dissimilar descriptions of her opponents, on the other. But never does Continetti demonstrate much interest in employing equivalent or even terribly similar examples. More risibly, his idea of the MSM apparently includes: Naomi Wolf, “MarkB,” Jamie Lee Curtis, “ArcXIX,” Roger Ebert, Gawker, Buzzfeed.com, Catherine Deveny of Australia’s The Age, Heather Mallic of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, comedian Bill Maher, ex-junkie/crackhead British comedian Russell Brand, Hustler Video and, I kid you not, “a Chinese language newspaper.”

His logic, moreover, is a wonder to behold. It was “telling,” he writes, that Tina Fey should impersonate Palin. Why? Palin “is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family.” And yet Fey, also (apparently) a happily married, professionally successful mother, nevertheless portrays characters in films and TV who “are hard-pressed eggheads who give up personal fulfillment–e.g., marriage and motherhood–in the pursuit of professional success.” Get it? The actress plays imperfect individuals in her (comedy) roles. That proves, um, well, I can’t tell you, and neither, alas, can Continetti.

Matt Gertz at Media Matters:

If you followed that, Continetti claims that Fey and Palin “could not be more dissimilar.” Why? Well, Palin “is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family.” On the other hand, Fey… well… is also apparently married with a daughter, but the CHARACTERS SHE PLAYS are not. In short, his evidence that Fey and Palin “could not be more dissimilar” is that Palin and LIZ LEMON are different. And that proves that Fey is the type of feminist purportedly out to get Palin because Fey is “rankled” that her own “path to glory” was more difficult.

In other news, Barack Obama and Will Smith could not be more dissimilar because Obama has yet to blow up an alien mothership.

UPDATE: Alex Massie

Reihan Salam at The American Scene

Daniel Larison on Salam

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Political Figures