Je Suis Charlie? Not On Fox News Where It’s Je Suis Connerie

This morning there was a gruesome terrorist attack in Paris that took the lives of twelve people at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. It was the sort of assault that generally stirs both outrage and an international commitment to unity in bringing the assailants to justice and preventing anything like it from occurring again.

For the most part that has been true. The governments of the world have expressed sympathy and solidarity for the victims and their families, the people of France, and journalists worldwide who are too often the targets of such violence.

Fox News Bullshit

President Obama issued a statement saying in part…

“I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time.”

But leave it to Fox News to take this tragedy and politicize it in the most nauseating way possible. Before the blood stains on the floor have even dried, Fox News set out to grab political advantage by laying blame on the usual targets of their wrath. And, of course, it begins with attacks on Obama. Fox contributor Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online spent several minutes castigating Obama for his depiction of the attack, saying that it was not enough to call it terrorism, but it must also be labeled Islamic – even before there is any investigation that establishes whether that’s true.

And Goldberg was not alone in shifting the dialog from the attack and its victims to rank politics. Fox’s K.T. McFarland took the same path saying that “This is radical Muslim extremists […] Let’s take the political correctness away and call it what it is.” The abhorrent Ralph Peters (who has advocated for the rampant slaughter of civilians as a tactic in the war on terror) also demanded that the President specifically use the term “Islamist terror.” That was after he took a swipe at Sen. Diane Feinstein and the Senate’s report condemning the use of torture. Peters said that “These terrorists who did this monstrous attack in Paris are the people Sen. Feinstein doesn’t even want to waterboard.” Peters not only condones torture, but he has specifically called for military attacks against the media, which makes him an especially vulgar choice to interview after a tragedy like this.

Monica Crowley took up the political correctness theme in a segment with Fox’s Gretchen Carlson. Afterward, Carlson devoted the whole of her “My Take” commentary to criticizing Obama for not calling the Paris attack terrorism – which of course, is precisely what he called it. She ended by asking whether the United States will be the next victim of a terrorist attack. She must have forgotten that the U.S. was already a victim back in 2001, and that we have been on alert ever since. But there’s nothing like a little fear mongering to brighten up the Fox News morning.

Then there were the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes of Fox & Friends, who turned their bony fingers toward New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio. Elisabeth Hasselbeck said that “As soon as police act they’re painted with a racist brush, even by, in fact, our own mayor here.” What that had to do with anything is a complete mystery. But perhaps the worst offender was Fox’s military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney. He was prompted by co-host Brian Kilmeade to address some unattributed Tweets that alleged that in France “most cops choose not even to carry a gun.” Kilmeade added “That, thankfully, is not the case in New York.” to which McInerney responded…

“This is a classical radical Islamist attack. […] With the current leadership in New York ā€” and Iā€™m referring to the mayor, the communist mayor you have up there ā€” that may change. […] The political correctness is killing us.”

For Chrissake! This imbecile is absolving the terrorists of responsibility for these attacks and assigning it to Mayor De Blasio and political correctness. What’s more, he holds the utterly delusional belief that De Blasio is planning to let NYPD officers choose whether or not to carry guns. Where does he get that idiot notion from? And finally, his incongruous and despicable insult that the mayor is a communist is the sort of stuff that is generally left to wingnut, conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.

The political correctness argument that Fox is so fond of is a thinly veiled desire for racist policies that accuse all Muslims of being terrorists. The insistence that acts of violent extremism be called, not just terrorism, but Islamic terrorism, is a demand that is rarely heard for any other act of violence. Why for instance, didn’t Fox News refer to the murder of Dr. George Tiller as Christian terrorism? And what about Eric Rudolph’s bombing of the Centennial Olympic Park? Or the bombings of Planned Parenthood offices? Or the murder of 77 children in Norway by radical Christian Anders Breivik? Or the Tea Party terrorists who murdered two police officers in Las Vegas? Or the entire history of the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity movements? [The SPLC has a more complete list here]

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These are all examples of what could be called Christian terrorism if the Fox News model of journalism were applied fairly. But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. For the radical partisans at Fox the only priority is how can this or any event be exploited to inflict political pain on their ideological enemies. They don’t care about the victims of terrorism or the safety of society or even justice. They only care about slandering the President and other Democrats in pursuit of their ultra right-wing agenda. And if that means twisting a tragedy into a partisan political screed, then that’s what they will do. It’s shameful and contrary to every code of ethics for journalism or common decency.

* Connerie = Bullshit

The Fox Nation Is Suffering Full Blown Obama Derangement Syndrome

In my ongoing series “Fox Nation vs. Reality” I have endeavored to expose some of the more brazen departures from truthful reporting that so often make their way onto the pages of the Fox Nation web site. But today the Fox Nationalists have ventured beyond even their typical separation from the facts by posting as their headline story this sensationalistic declaration: White House ‘Panicked’ Over Gas Prices, President Becoming ‘Incoherent’

Fox Nation

The associated article said nothing about the White House being panicked. It said nothing about the President being incoherent. Despite those words being put in quotes in the headline, they were not referencing any citation by any person. In fact, they were not a part of the story in any respect – not directly, indirectly, insinuated, implied, hypothetical, allegorical, or…well you get the idea. The entire piece consisted of a video of a Fox News report on the presidential campaign, an excerpt of results from a Fox News poll, and one paragraph that briefly abstracted part of the content of the video.

Where the Fox Nation editors got the idea that the president was panicked and incoherent is a mystery. The only explanation is that they are so infected with Obama Derangement Syndrome that they were in the throes of a hallucinatory seizure. Either that or their determination to slander the President is so overpowering that they could not resist the urge to invent derogatory adjectives to attach to his name.

It’s bad enough when the Fox Nationalists post stories with pejorative quotes from the likes of Hannity or Limbaugh as if it were news, but when they don’t even have a source and they still put their insults in quotes, they have crossed a line that could only be acceptable to the most untrustworthy purveyors of schlock journalism – aka Fox News.

Update: The Fox Nationalists edited the article this morning. They swapped out the video for one that consists of a panel discussion with Jonah Goldberg, who made the following statement in response to a question from anchor Bret Baier:

Baier: The president is out almost every other day, it seems, talking about gas prices. Is it a sign that this White House is concerned about this issue? What does it tell us?

Goldberg: I think it tells us they’re in something of a panic over it. We’ve seen his poll numbers drop precipitously. And you can’t prove it, but most people think the gas thing is a major driver of it. And the problem is that he basically beyond doubling down, he’s tripling down on the same stuff he was saying three years ago, and it’s fundamentally incoherent.

So now they have the basis for their quotes – a highly partisan right-winger with an agenda to peddle. However, from the same segment they completely ignored the statements by panelist Kirsten Powers who called it hypocritical:

Powers: This is a real exercise in hypocrisy because when George Bush was being blamed for high prices by Democrats, Republicans were saying the president doesn’t have any control over that and now we have the exact reverse.

Obviously somebody at Fox Nation wasn’t paying attention when they first posted this item. But what’s worse is that the correction includes a clip of Fox’s chief news anchor, citing a Fox News poll, saying that “the majority said the president is to blame for gas prices.” Except that the majority in the Fox poll said exactly the opposite. The majority (52%) said the President is not to blame, and only 40% said that he is. So Fox News compounds their erroneous reporting even as they attempt to correct it.

Jonah Goldberg: In A Hurry To Prove He’s An Idiot

Conservative douchebags have been outdoing themselves since President Obama successfully executed the mission that put an end to Osama Bin Laden. They have speculated as to whether Bin Laden is really dead. They have griped over whether Bin Laden’s death photo should be released. They have struggled mightily to deny Obama any credit for the mission, while slathering admiration on George W. Bush and his phalanx of ineffectual torturers.

That they are jealous and cowed is unmistakable. Yet somehow there is always one miscreant that manages to stretch the boundaries of the lunatic fringe. Today it is Jonah Goldberg.

In an article published by the Los Angeles Times (to their eternal shame), Goldberg boldly accuses Obama of having made a tactical error by rushing to announce that Bin Laden was dead. The headline blared: “Why the hurry to gloat about Bin Laden?” And early in the piece Goldberg makes an obvious confession:

I’m no expert on such matters – though I’ve talked to several about this – but even a casual World War II buff can understand that the shelf life of actionable intelligence would be extended if we hadn’t told the whole world, and Al Qaeda in particular, that we had it.

Goldberg’s thesis is that the President should have waited a week or two to give the military and intelligence communities more time to exploit that information before Bin Laden’s associates knew what had happened.

What a dolt! First of all let’s set aside the obvious. If Obama had delayed the Bin Laden announcement every winger to the right of Reagan’s ghost would have been furious that he withheld such vital information from the American people. Goldberg would have been amongst the first to complain that Obama was running a clandestine regime that ruled by keeping people in the dark and lying about its actions.

More substantively, Goldberg seems to think that the Bin Laden mission was conducted quietly with stealthy commandos tiptoeing into the compound, smothering him with a pillow, and sneaking out again. Of course, that isn’t exactly how it went down. Multiple helicopters roared into the urban neighborhood (one of them crashed and was blown up), the Navy SEALS barged into the compound with guns blazing, and after a tumultuous racket Bin Laden was disposed of and the team departed on their helicopter caravan. And all of this happened in the middle of a densely populated city.

Does Goldberg think that this sort of mission could have been covered up? Does he think that all of the neighbors, many of whom were Pakistani military, slept though the conflagration? Does think that the Pakistanis, whom most people believe knew of Bin Laden’s residence, would have scratched their heads and wondered what all the commotion was about? Is he so stupid that he is unaware that Bin Laden’s associates nearby were probably already warning one another before the choppers had crossed back into Afghanistan?

Let’s face it…ten minutes didn’t go by after the the raid before everyone in the vicinity knew exactly what had happened and to whom. The only reason Goldberg raises this complaint is to try to use it to bash the President. His theory makes no sense whatsoever, so it’s only purpose is for it to be a hit piece.

Unfortunately for Goldberg, he swings and misses and just makes an imbecile of himself. Fortunately for Goldberg, he must be used to that by now.

The Idiotization Of The American Right

In May of 2008 I wrote a manifesto for aspiring politicians and those who would seek to be leaders in America. It isn’t as easy as it may seem. Amongst the not particularly obvious parcels of advice was this admonition on education:

Education is a key component in this new paradigm. It is absolutely critical that you not have too much of it. And never, ever use the word paradigm. Once the American people get the impression that you know more than they do about issues like economics or foreign policy, you’re disqualified from service. Achievement and expertise only spotlight how different you are from ordinary Americans.

An article today in the New Yorker highlighted a segment of this tendency toward doltishness. It’s an interesting read on the long-standing tenets of what is currently called the Tea Party, but which has its roots in extremist anti-communists and Birchers from the 1950’s and before:

“The political universe is, of course, very different today from what it was during the Cold War. Yet the Birchers’ politics and their view of American history – which focussed more on totalitarian threats at home than on those posed by the Soviet Union and Communist China – has proved remarkably persistent. The pressing historical question is how extremist ideas held at bay for decades inside the Republican Party have exploded anew – and why, this time, Party leaders have done virtually nothing to challenge those ideas, and a great deal to abet them.”

The reason party leaders are embracing these old-school red-baiters is because they see short term electoral gains by doing so. But they are ignoring the greater risk of encouraging people to reject traditional measures of leadership and the skills required for effective public administration.

Today it remains politically necessary to align yourself closely with an electorate that you regard as morons. If you have a degree from a reputable academic institution you might as well look for a vocation other than public service. When it comes to political office in America, Harvard and Yale graduates need not apply. This point was made movingly by Anne Applebaum, a conservative writer whose work has been featured in the National Review. She said in part…

“Despite pushing aside the old WASP establishment … these modern meritocrats are clearly not admired, or at least not for their upward mobility, by many Americans. On the contrary … they are resented as ‘elitist.’ Which is at some level strange: To study hard, to do well, to improve yourself — isn’t that the American dream?”

Apparently not. Especially to Dark Ageists like Jonah Goldberg who harbors an overt preference for stupidity, as evidenced in his books. Goldberg is also with the National Review, as well as a Fox News contributor. In his column at NRO he disputes Apllebaum’s proposition with a typically shallow argument that avoids the substance of her article. He attempts to defend the disparagement of “elitists” (i.e. smart people) by separating them into two classes: those he agrees with and those he contends are “bossing the country around.” He accuses Applebaum of spiraling off into a “wacky celebration of higher education.”

What a nutcase Applebaum must be for celebrating higher education. She is clearly out of touch with average Americans who don’t hold advanced degrees from Ivy League schools, as does Applebaum, a summa cum laude graduate of Yale (Golberg attended something called Goucher College). Goldberg goes on to complain that…

“…it’s only one subset of Ivy Leaguers that seems to bother anybody on the right: the lawyer-social engineers-journalist-activists they churn out by the boatload. No one begrudges kids who’ve made good from tough backgrounds. What bothers lots of Americans is when those kids then think they are entitled to cajole, nudge, command and denigrate the rest of America. To date, I’ve seen not one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing engineers, physicists, cardiologists, accountants, biologist, archeologists or a thousand other professions who’ve emerged from elite schools. Because those people aren’t bossing anybody around.”

First of all, we need to note that Goldberg’s allusion to cajoling, nudging, and bossing people around, would likely be regarded as leadership by coherent and thoughtful persons. I’m not sure how you could take charge of a situation, persuade skeptics, and implement solutions, without someone like Goldberg accusing you of being dictatorial. The brainiacs he knows must be wallflowers who keep their opinions to themselves.

However, the big lie in his comments is his enumeration of academic achievers whom he says that Tea Partiers have never denounced: Engineers, like those who develop green technologies and alternative fuels? Cardiologists and biologists, like those who advocate for stem cell research? Accountants, like those who recognize that building the middle class is a better path to prosperity than trickling-down? Physicists, like those who know that the universe is billions of years old and not 6,000? Biologists and archeologists, like those who regard evolution as science and creationism as religion?

It is startling that Goldberg can seriously assert that he has not seen “one instance of Tea Partiers denouncing” folks like these when they are frequently and fiercely castigated by Tea Partiers, Republicans, conservatives, and other adherents to the brand of Neo-Neanderthalism that he practices. The only way that someone could not have seen that is if he were willfully blind or acutely ignorant.

On second thought, Goldberg’s assertions aren’t that startling after all. But they are representative of a mindset that cherishes ignorance and devalues intelligence, insight, and achievement. He is the poster child for the New Idiocy that the American right has embraced. He is emblematic of the Tea Party syndrome wherein they holler at high decibels about the Constitutional rights they are certain they are losing, but can’t name a single one, or how it’s been lost. These are the same people who go batty over the President’s citizenship even after seeing his birth certificate. These are people who think that fascism and socialism are the same thing. These are people who believe whatever Glenn Beck tells them to believe. These are the people of whom H.L. Mencken spoke when he said:

“As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

That’s a milestone we already reached with the last administration. And now that we have an actual Harvard educated president, the Tea Baggers are pining for the days when they had leaders who were more like them (i.e. stupid people).

Jon Stewart: Scaring Conservatives With Comedy

The conservative thought model is dominated by confrontation. Rightists are obsessed with hostile imagery. Their loins tingle when one of their heroes utters threatening bromides from the safety of their TV studio. That’s why people like Bill O’Reilly are revered for being bullies. It’s why Bill Kristol and Norman Podhoretz get respect for their proposals to bomb Iraq or Iran or whatever imagined enemy is presently being demonized. It’s the reason that Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee are cheered in debates for alluding to Iranians encountering virgins at the gates of Hell.

Conservatives love their wars and they love to pretend that they would all perform like Rambos were they to meet some vile terrorist in a dark alley. What’s more, they love to bash liberals as weak and insufficiently dedicated to the cause of eradicating the vermin encroaching on our otherwise tranquil paradise.

After 9/11 the cry arose that anything you do that is contrary to the rightist stance on national security means that “the terrorists will win.” Now that catch-phrase has been adapted for the media. Today, anyone who doesn’t kow-tow to propagandists in the press are pansies who would shrink from their duty to defend their country. What we have now is the equivalent of the old schoolyard taunt that my patriotic daddy can beat up your Islamo-fascist daddy. Some recent examples follow:

“The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda.”
Roger Ailes, Chairman, Fox News.

“If The Times can’t take an argument with Kristol, how can it face down Al Qaeda?”
John Gibson, Fox News Host.

Notorious wankmeister Jonah Goldberg was a guest on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart a couple of days ago. The fearsome Stewart has apparently frightened some conservative warriors, because now they are complaining about the encounter and questioning whether any of their ilk should venture into Stewart’s lair considering the enormity of the risk. The National Review’s Mark R. Levin puts it this way:

“You have to make a calculation when you go on shows hosted by liberals like Jon Stewart. They are not going to allow you to actually discuss your book. Their audiences are prepped to laugh at whatever the host says and react negatively to whatever the author says. And when their writers aren’t striking, the host is armed with a bunch of jokes to mock the author. So, you have to weigh that against a couple of mentions of the book, and whether the entire enterprise is worth it.”

Oh my heavens! The audience is “prepped” to “laugh.” What dastardly evil could justify that kind of behavior during a comedy program? Levin’s colleague at the magazine, Kathryn Jean Lopez, is also afraid:

“Stewart generally winds up trying to make a joke out of you or your issues, or is just downright unfair. The best shows involve some sort of smart give and take. The Daily Show isn’t generally conducive to such a thing. You’re either in downright hostile territory, or you’re pretending to be something you aren’t – a comedian. It’s just not worth it.”

The bravado of the right seems to be showing some wear around the edges. What became of their zeal to cast Liberals into the pits of Hades? Where is that gung-ho bearing that inspired such feats of daring as shoving a candidate’s aide so that you can beg him to come on your TV show? It seems to me that the only real question here is:

“If you can’t face Jon Stewart, how could you possibly face Al Qaeda?”
News Corpse, Far-left Internet Smear Merchant

L. A. Times Promotes Tim Rutten

The Los Angeles Times is moving Tim Rutten from the Calendar section to the Op-Ed pages beginning in the new year. This is a promotion that is long overdue for one of the paper’s best columnists. While I’ve had a disagreement of two with Rutten, he is the most consistently honest and insightful writer the paper employs – particularly since they traded the brilliant Robert Scheer for the brain-dead Jonah Goldberg.

Rutten is unafraid of taking on the powerful, even if that means his own bosses. His last “Regarding Media” column for Calendar is a good example of this. While he has a much more optimistic view of the Times’ future under new owner Sam Zell than I do, he is also unambiguous in his contempt for corporate media:

“The era of corporate accumulation has been an unmitigated disaster for American journalism. Money has flowed like a fiscal Mississippi into the pockets of investors and fund managers, draining one newspaper and TV station after another of the resources necessary to serve their communities’ common good.”

There are a couple of unanswered questions surrounding Rutten’s promotion. Is some other progressive opinion columnist being let go to make room for Rutten’s op-eds? Will a less courageous writer, or a worse, a Big Media apologist, replace Rutten as author of “Regarding Media”? Time will tell. But all in all, I will be looking forward to Rutten’s work in the section of the paper where it really belongs. Two years ago I wrote an article praising Rutten’s criticism of a speech by Dick Cheney. I closed by noting the difference between Rutten’s substantive analysis and the relative intellectual vacancy of the Times’ Opinion writers:

“Perhaps I should turn first to the Calendar for insight into the news, then pick up the opinion pages for entertainment, where their newest columnist, Jonah Goldberg, is best known for his fiction.”

Beginning next year, it may be safe to read the Opinion section again.

Jonah Goldberg’s Stench Of Humor

In another classic example of the wanker’s prose, Jonah Goldberg has penned a column for the Los Angeles Times that proves he can’t tell reality from satire.

The column begins with a quotation from Saturday Night Live’s news spoof about the the recent news conference held by FEMA wherein they planted agency stooges who pretended to be reporters asking real questions. Any ethical journalist would be appalled at such a fraudulent tactic designed exclusively to deceive. But Goldberg, of course, is not an ethical journalist. He actually dismisses the deceit by saying that…

“There’s no such thing as fake questions, after all, only fake answers.”

What the HELL does that mean? If there are no fake questions then there are no fake answers either. There may be false answers or lies, misrepresentations, obfuscations, or diversions. But all of those are as real as 90% of the answers that come out of the present White House.

If anything, Goldberg has it bass ackwards. There are indeed fake questions. They come from people who are fake reporters or reporters who have surrendered their independence to powerful figures in government. For examples of fake questions see Armstrong Williams or Jeff Gannon.

Goldberg goes on to excuse FEMA’s deception by asserting that all of the media is guilty of the sort “foolishness” FEMA was caught committing. I can’t really argue with the notion that the media is rampantly foolish, but Goldberg supports his claim, not by citing instances of media failures, but by citing comedy shows that mock the media. He points to Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart as evidence that the media is fake. Somehow it has escaped him that Colbert and Stewart are comedians and not journalists. The fact that they are more informative, relevant, and honest than most news enterprises is just a coincidence that delivers a sad commentary on the state of the news media.

Ultimately, in a fit of classic dementia, Goldberg declares that Murphy Brown is to blame for the problem of parsing fact from fiction. That’s right, the same sitcom character that vexed Dan Quayle. Goldberg says the show is…

“…about a fictional TV newswoman who talked about real newsmakers as if they were characters on her sitcom. When Brown had a baby out of wedlock, Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the writers of the show. Liberals then reacted as though Quayle had insulted a real person.”

Not exactly, Jonah. It was Quayle who insulted a fictional character as if it was real. Liberals just laughed at him for doing so. (By the way, he was also insulting every real, unmarried woman who chose to carry a baby to term). And now we laugh at you for ascribing all the flaws of modern journalism to the same figment of a TV scripter’s imagination.

It is Goldberg, however, who is the joke. His attempt to compare the inexcusable dishonesty of the FEMA event with the antics of comedy programs would be hilarious if it weren’t so depressing. Whatever his opinion of political satirists, he ought to be able to tell the difference between them and government agencies whose mission is to protect real people from real disasters.

Media Gangs Up On John Edwards

In the past couple of weeks, the press has taken a decidedly negative turn on John Edwards. The ferocity of the attacks and the diversity of their origin is curious, to say the least. Their obsession with housing and haircuts and speaking fees has become all-consuming. This media phenomenon was apparent to media critic and author Jeff Cohen who wrote:

“The focus on these topics tells us two things about corporate media. One we’ve long known – that they elevate personal stuff above issues. The other is now becoming clear – that they have a special animosity toward Edwards.”

Edwards is receiving treatment that is generally reserved for front-runners like Clinton, Obama, or Giuliani. Here is a sampling of the assault:

Jonah Goldberg: “[Edwards] gives new meaning to the term “poverty pimp.”

USA Today: “Edwards, most prominently, has undermined his passionate advocacy for ordinary Americans by seeming to be anything but ordinary himself. Expensive haircuts reinforce the elitist image of a wealthy trial lawyer…”

Sean Hannity: “[Edwards isn’t] up to the task of understanding the nature in the battle in the war that’s being waged against us.”

Jim Cramer (on Hardball): “[Edwards is] public enemy #1.”

Bill O’Reilly: “The former vice presidential candidate has sold his soul to far left interests […] Edwards is running a preposterous campaign. He lives like a sultan in a 30,000 foot North Carolina house […] Talking Points tries to respect all of those who want to serve their country, but Edwards is an exception. I have no respect for him. He’s a phony and is in the tank for special interests to damage this country.”

As an added bonus, O’Reilly offers swag for sale at his web site about which he says, “remember, when you buy anything on, a good portion of what you spend goes to charities, send a lot of kids, poor kids to camp this summer.”

Is O’Reilly a hypocrite as well because he is a multi-millionaire advocating help for poor kids? I might have a little more sympathy for these arguments if any of Edwards’ critics placed even a fraction of the effort on behalf of America’s poor that Edwards does. Edwards himself posed this question in response to these criticisms:

“Would it have been better if I had done well and didn’t care?”

This whole line of attack seems preposterous to me. First of all it is implying that you cannot be wealthy and concerned about the poor at the same time. If that’s true, it exempts about 90% of Congress and every presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican, except for Dennis Kucinich. Secondly, it is a rejection of the American Dream that holds that everyone can share in this nation’s prosperity; everyone except John Edwards, who is to be pilloried for the audacity of being born poor but achieving great wealth through hard work and determination.

You have to wonder why Edwards is getting hit so hard from so many directions. Jeff Cohen believes it has something to do with Edwards’ criticism of corporate-driven trade policies. Certainly that position would anger the captains of industry that wield so much influence in American government. And remember, many of those captains are at the helm of media conglomerates. It was probably not lost on those folks that Edwards was the first Democrat to refuse to participate in the Fox debate.

But I think that just brushes the surface of their objections. I think it goes much deeper into the matter of the class distinctions raised by Edwards’ “Two Americas” campaign. They are ultimately afraid that the populist appeal of a movement that truly seeks to bring economic opportunity to every citizen, instead of just the elite, could catch on. That’s why it has to be strangled in the cradle of a candidate who is running third in national polls. The risk extends beyond Edwards himself. If voters responded positively to the issue, the other candidates would adopt it. So even if Edwards does not become a contender, the issue stays on the table. This fear has already been articulated by Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine to Brit Hume on Fox:

“Well, I think the most interesting thing about these speeches was the extent to which both candidates borrowed from the No. 2 candidate we saw there, John Edwards […] to me it’s like they’re all joined at the hip on domestic policy”

It isn’t Edwards that they are all afraid of. It is economic populism, fair trade, and, in the end, the American Dream. That’s what the media and their mouthpieces in politics and punditry are trying to kill.

National Review’s Cruise Spews Skewed News

In case you haven’t already booked your summer vacation, you might want to look into this event brought to you by the folks at The National Review:

National Review's Ghost Ship

That’s right…Now you and your family can enjoy a leisurely trip to the Last Frontier state with many of the same people that hope to destroy it’s native beauty by drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wilderness Area. Imagine the thrill of hobnobbing with your favorite neo-Icons, like…

  • Arthur Laffer, author of the widely rebuked “Laffer Curve.”
  • Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Politburo.
  • Dick Morris, renowned political turncoat and self-promoter.
  • Robert Bork, rejected Supreme Court nutjob nominee.
  • Kate O’Bierne, reliable right-wing propaganda hustler.
  • Jonah Goldberg, the gold medal model for editorial hackery.

And just added…

  • John Bolton, hot-headed former ambassador and diplomatic self-destruct mechanism.

This promises to be an adventure that the Poseidon’s passengers could not even have imagined. If you have the courage to board a vessel helmed by the same crew that has steered America’s ship of state into the sandbars of Iraq, a perfect storm of corruption, and the depths of economic deficits and gross inequality, then be sure to book your room soon. This will be a Titanic affair that you’ll remember long after the Global War on Terror has metastasized into a perennial nightmare that your children’s children will still be fighting.

When you return your friends will be consumed with envy and will hungrily interrogate you for details. But having endured the torture that this trip is certain to inflict, you will be able to resist and maintain a Dead Calm. So get ready to board because, if you pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity, the terrorists win.

A Declaration Of Independence From The Los Angeles Times

Human beings are creatures of habit. We find great comfort in familiar surroundings and established routines. That’s why, despite the abundance of persuasions, it is still difficult to break free from a decades long ritual of breakfast with the Los Angeles Times. Difficult, but not impossible.

The time has now come when the negatives outweigh the positives. There are many who would say that that time came long ago. So many, in fact that the Times has the distinction of having lost a larger percentage of subscribers than any other major American newspaper. And now as I join them, I shall, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence, “declare the causes which impel [me] to the separation.”

The past couple of years have been tumultuous for the Times and its parent, the Tribune Company. Along with rapidly declining circulation, they also have been undergoing close scrutiny by investors who have forced them to seek opportunities to sell the paper or the whole company. There was lukewarm reaction to their emergence on the market, but a few curious parties emerged. They included the Chandler family (the previous and historical owners of the Times); a management consortium (of current Tribune executives); the McCormick Foundation (which is also dominated by current Tribune executives); local L. A. billionaires (Ron Burkle, Eli Broad and David Geffen in separate deals); and Sam Zell (the Chicago billionaire real- estate developer).

In addition, the newsroom has been roiled by slashes in personnel – more than 20% since Tribune acquired the Times in 2000. They have also run through several publishers and editors. The latest executive heads to roll were publisher Jeffrey Johnson and editor Dean Baquet, who were both cut loose because they balked at firing even more news staffers. Before his dismissal, Johnson wisely cautioned that, “Newspapers can’t cut their way into the future.” Unfortunately for Johnson, Chicago responded by cutting him. More recently we’ve been forced to sit through the embarrassing departure of the editorial editor, Andres Martinez, amidst a newsroom soap opera that included a Hollywood producer and his publicist, whom Martinez was linked to romantically.
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