After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
Back in 1989, a classmate of mine from a Christian family convinced me to listen to a nationally-syndicated radio program entitled "Talk Back with Bob Larson." The host was an Arizona-based radio evangelist whose shtick was to warn teenagers about the dangers of rock music and to perform exorcisms on-air. (I assume Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was a fan.) Larson's show was entertaining from my twelve-year-old perspective; he had a theatrical voice and was a gifted storyteller. However, I eventually grew tired of his repetitive shtick, and stopped listening to his show by early-1991.
"Talk Back with Bob Larson" was broadcast from 4:00pm to 6:00pm Eastern on 1260 WEZE-AM, a Christian radio station based out of Marina Bay in Quincy, Massachusetts. The station was quite popular among Christians in the Bay State; the line-up featured right-wing radio evangelists Charles Swindoll and John MacArthur, as well as the "Focus on the Family" program hosted by future GOP powerbroker James Dobson. WEZE-AM, as you might imagine, was beloved by those who hated the Bay State's Democratic (if not exactly progressive) political culture.
In the late-1990s, Salem Media, the ultra-conservative corporate parent of WEZE-AM, sold the station for $5 million to Radio Disney. (The right-wing Christian shows were moved to a less powerful AM signal.) Now, sadly, it appears that everything old is new again, as right-wing propaganda from supposedly Christian hosts is expected to return to this station, in an apparent desperate effort to ensure that aging agitator Rush Limbaugh still has a presence on Boston's airwaves after being rejected by another notorious Boston-based GOP grievance generator, WRKO-AM...
So if ACORN itself is "guilty" for something or other, based on what some of their employees did, what does that make rightwing faux "journalist" and Matt Drudge poodle Andrew Breitbart, who has now admitted that accused felon James O'Keefe worked for him?
After Hewitt asked, "so he is an employee?" Breitbart impossibly demurred: "I'm not sure that's technically the thing, but yes, he's paid for his life rights."
Mmmm-kay. Having trouble seeing the distinction there. Nonetheless, what's clear is that Breitbart pays O'Keefe for his work, whatever the hell that "work" is.
But wait, this gets far more ridiculous as these two knuckleheads proceed to blow away years of their very own propaganda. In further comments, overlooked for the most part by others so far, made by Breitbart and Hewitt in that "interview," they succeed in moving this entire affair from the utterly ridiculous to the laughably absurd...
[Update 8/15/08 5:05pm PT: The offending death threats discussed below, though not all of them, have now been removed by Townhall.com, and the writer's Townhall blog has had all comments scrubbed as well. So O'Reilly should therefore know about it all now, and can report on it next time Townhall's Amanda Carpenter joins him to dishonestly bash "far-left" blogs. Our cached version of the webpage still shows the offending more-than-month-old comments, as does the graphic at the bottom of this article.]
On Wednesday night, Fox "News'" Bill O'Reilly continued his dishonest and deceptive attacks on websites, such as Huffington Post and Daily Kos, which he misleadingly describes as "hate sites" featuring "vicious far-left attacks" as based on selective reader comments he's discovered posted on those sites.
In the latest of his continuing segments with "Internet Cop" Amanda Carpenter, of the rightwing website Townhall.com, O'Reilly pointed to a number of objectionable comments at the two sites, from "far-left kooks," before tepidly lauding both HuffPo and Daily Kos for having removed some of them, presumably after they were brought to the attention of site moderators.
"Where is that rocket propelled grenade launcher when you need one," O'Reilly displayed on a chyron, and then "Let's hope the dissidents aim is good!" Both of the quotes are purported to be from a "Blog Posting" at HuffPo, according to the Fox "News" graphic, posted in regard to a group of Iraq War Veterans who support the war effort.
Failing to note any distinction between actual articles posted by contributors to the two sites versus comments from anonymous and pseudonymous users, O'Reilly accuses "bloggers" at the two sites of posting "despicable" material, even though it's unknown whether the commenters in question are actually rightwing posters, or even O'Reilly supporters, writing under a pseudonym. The entire segment is posted at left, as recorded yesterday by The BRAD BLOG's Alan Breslauer.
"These people are out of control and that's where they live," O'Reilly notes indignantly before tossing it to Townhall's Carpenter for comment.
"It's a good step that they are moderating the comments section more, and we've applauded that," Carpenter says in reply, before noting the "deeper issue...of posting blogs" critical of the Iraq vet group, which is reportedly going back to the war-zone to report on the country's status following George W. Bush's "troop surge."
But O'Reilly and Carpenter clearly have been protesting a bit too much, as it turns out Carpenter's own website is guilty of the same --- and even far worse --- "vicious" attacks, and potentially even illegal ones, including death threats issued against Barack Obama and "traitorous liberals."
Despite the mock outrage of the Fox rightwingers, The BRAD BLOG has been pointed, by a reader, to a number of out-and-out (and repeated) death threats issued by "bloggers" at Carpenter's own Townhall site.
The multiple threatening comments are posted on the Townhall blog of rightwing radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, and include death threats against the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama. They were posted on July 10th of this year at Townhall and, as of this posting on August 14th, still remain on the popular rightwing website which requires registration before commenters are allowed to post...
Some guy named Patrick Ruffini, at the right-wing Townhall blog of right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, is using the space to disinform readers as to the reasons for the current shutdown of the FEC. And he's dishonestly misrepresenting a BRAD BLOG article from last year (we're the "left-wing blogger" he links to in his comments below) in order to help fool his presumably gullible readers...
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt is a professional propagandist. Any remaining doubt that Hewitt was not a legitimate journalist was removed earlier this month by former White House counsel, Dan Bartlett, who had the following exchange with The Texas Monthly:
TM: Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?
Bartlett: That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.
TM: Well, they reach the president’s base.
Bartlett: That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
But pointing out the obvious fact that wingnut bloggers and talk-radio hosts are hardwired to do White House bidding is hardly newsworthy.
What makes Hewitt an interesting study today is that his overwhelming support for presidential candidate Mitt Romney has exposed his propagandist ways to even his "conservative" listeners, one of whom recently noted on air, before being cut off by Hewitt, the host's apparent "man crush" on the Presidential Candidate...
[2/25/08: Welcome to Hugh Hewitt's Townhall blog readers! You should know that you are being misled by Patrick Ruffini's disinformational blog item today. Please see our response to it here so that you get the full story on what is actually going on with the FEC nominations in the Senate, which are currently being blocked by the Republican leadership in that body.]
A Democrat does the right thing for a change! What are the odds these days? And will it hold?
Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama (D-IL), had recently (and correctly) called on Bush to send up an "acceptable" nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), instead of the anti-Democracy, anti-voter villain Hans von Spakovsky.
"His record of poor management, divisiveness, and inappropriate partisanship makes him an unacceptable nominee to the FEC," Obama had previously said. "I am particularly concerned with his efforts to undermine voting rights at the Civil Rights Division during his tenure at the Department of Justice."
And for a change, we have a Democrat who has decided to put his money where his mouth is! For now.
Roll Call (subscription req'd) is reporting that Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Leadership had shamefully "struck a deal" with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KS) to slide four FEC nominations, including the GOP "voter fraud" zealot, von Spakovsky, through the Senate on a voice vote, unless any Senators objected.
Obama did object today and succeeded in blocking the vote. Bravo! Don't back down, Senator!
We've requested a comment/explanation from Reid's office on what he must have been thinking. Will update this item if we get one.
UPDATE: Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined Obama in blocking the vote on vS. They've just issued this joint statement:
"While at the Department of Justice, Hans von Spakovsky was directly involved in efforts to politicize the Department and use the Voting Rights Section to disenfranchise voters, rather than enforce our nation's civil rights laws. As a recess appointee to the FEC he has been a committed, ideological opponent of the campaign finance laws he is supposed to enforce. Putting him at the head of the FEC is just another example of this administration putting the fox in charge of the hen house. We oppose his nomination, and any effort to tie his nomination to the other pending nominations to the FEC."
Still no word on what Reid must have been thinking.
UPDATE 10/5/07:Paul Kiel updates the story with the "game of chicken" now in play in the Senate, and the ramifications for 2008 if a stalemate continues.