Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On Dishing It Out And Taking It

The right is all atwitter about some unloving comments made after the big miss by the Taliban in Afganistan the other day. Some blog commenters wished for better aim. The right is mortified!! What cretins! How can they live with themselves, they rant! Anyone who has exposed themselves to wingnut world for any amount of time knows that this is accepted faire on the right. Anne Coulter wished for a bomber at the NY Times. Called some 9/11 widows "harpys" that were pushing their pain for ego driven attention. They defended these statements and include Anne as one of their chosen spokespeople. Quite different than some yokel in his living room typing something.
Yes, it was tacky for them to say these things. My hope is Cheney will be fully exposed and held responsible for his actions. That he live through the entire ordeal and punishment. The idea that the righties would get their panties in a wad over this after their proven ability to match the viciousness of the words and actions make their protestations vacuous.
Glenn Greenwald has some great points here.

.....There is a reason why those who seek to demonstrate the alleged extremism and hate-mongering in the anti-Bush blogosphere need to go digging for anonymous commenters. And the converse is also true: those who document the extremism and sociopathic mentality in the right-wing blogosphere do so by citing the twisted writings of leading right-wing pundits, not randomly chosen commenters with no connection to the content or theme of the blog. Perhaps there is a journalist somewhere who can figure out the meaning of that difference and write an article about it. .....
most of the largest right-wing blogs do not allow comments at all precisely because they know the monstrous sentiments that would spew forth. And the one large right-wing blog that does allow comments (LGF) provokes such vile and violence-advocating sentiments on such a regular basis that an entire website is devoted to tracking them.
As but one of literally countless examples, see
here, where multiple LGF commenters celebrated the allegedly accidental Israeli missile attack on a UN outpost in Lebanon and lamented that Kofi Annan was absent and therefore not among the dead. The proprietor of that site actively deletes comments he finds offensive, but left those standing. He is also, needless to say, one of the above-linked right-wing bloggers expressing such deep, deep offense at the anti-Cheney anonymous comments today.
Finally, it is undeniably true that there are people of every ideological stripe who express profane and reprehensible sentiments. The difference is that right-wing authors, talk radio hosts and bloggers -- read and listened to by millions of people -- traffic in such sentiments regularly (as several commenters noted, Dave Neiwert's superb series on the use of eliminationist rhetoric, starting
here, has documented this as well as any other resource). But to find such sentiments outside of right-wing circles, one must go where right-wing bloggers went today -- digging into anonymous blog comments (or e-mails allegedly received). That difference is so obvious -- and so meaningful -- that it all ought to go without saying. ....

.....It is hard to overstate how pervasive this lowly and manipulative weapon is wielded by right-wing demagogues to shape our political debates. LGF's simplistic trick, for instance, is to post individual stories every day of Muslims who engage in violent acts ("hey, look - I proved that Muslims are inferior and dangerous!"). Michelle Malkin repeatedly posts individual stories of supposed leftists engaging in illegal or violent acts ("hey, look -- I proved that liberals are unhinged"). Or the right finds a single obscure college professor nobody ever heard of who referred to 9/11 victims as "Little Eichmanns" ("hey, look - we proved that 'the Left' hates America and believes that the 9/11 victims deserved it!").
Those who rely on that cheap, tawdry tactic are really indistinguishable -- just in terms of the methods -- from, say, websites run by white supremacists who, every day, troll the news wires and post individual stories of crimes committed by African-Americans and then think that they've made a broader point. In that context, most people can see how transparently fallacious the tactic is, but in other contexts, they are blind to it.


This is an effect of what I have been talking about. The right with their repetition and large number of media spouters lead many to the conclusion that what they say is conventional wisdom. What others say is the shameful, reprehensible, unamerican, the list goes on.
As Glenn note in his column, one need not go to the comments to find the venom and hate on the right. Their talkers and spokespeople lead the way.
Glenns column is rather long but worth a read if you get the time.

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