Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Trash-Talking Bigots Are Bad -- But Some Trash-Talking Bigots Are More Bad Than Others

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The right-wing character assassination machine is at full strength, doing what it does so well, steamrolling over any strong liberal or Democrat who gets into a position where she or he can actually change the Republican policies of hatred and fear. The machine's latest would-be victims are Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen. Amanda, formerly the blogger at Pandagon, was selected by John Edwards to be his official campaign blogger; Melissa is the creator of Shakespeare's Sister, a popular feminist and liberal political blog -- Edwards hired her to be his netroots coordinator.

The machine's goal: to pressure John Edwards into firing the two bloggers:

Two bloggers hired by John Edwards to reach out to liberals in the online world have landed his presidential campaign in hot water for doing what bloggers do — expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language.

The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.

Mr. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, is among the leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said in a statement on Tuesday, “John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots.”

Mr. Edwards’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.

Misty, a contributor at Shakespeare's Sister, pushes back hard, pointing to the plentiful examples of hate speech by Bill Donohue (the president of Catholic League, the organization pushing for Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwen's dismissal). Here is what a "trash-talking bigot" sounds like:

After all, 15-year-olds, they go to abortionists. They get their babies killed without parental consent. The new Puritans [those criticizing The Passion of the Christ] don't seem to worry about that. They like gay sex. They like [the film] The Dreamers, a brother and sister who bathe together and stuff like that. The same people in The New York Times who say this movie, I don't think it's not really right for kids, they have no problems when it comes to sodomy. It's smoking they don't like and Catholicism. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 2/25/04]

Name for me a book publishing company in this country, particularly in New York, which would allow you to publish a book which would tell the truth about the gay death style. There are certain things that the left won't tolerate. They are censorial at heart. Indeed, the signature appetite of the left has always been power. Now, they are running up against the American people. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 2/27/04]

Well, first they said it [The Passion of the Christ] was anti-Semitic. That didn't work. Then they said it was too violent. That didn't work. Then they said it was S & M. That didn't work. Then they said it was pornography. That didn't work. Now they're saying it's fascistic queer-bashing. That kind of language would ordinarily get somebody taken away in a straitjacket and -- put you in the asylum. I don't know what about -- the queer-bashing is all about. I'm pretty good about picking out who queers are and I didn't see any in the movie. I'm usually pretty good at that. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 3/12/04]

There's nobody in the United States Senate who has a more radical voting record on abortion than John Kerry. He's never found an abortion that he couldn't justify. ... Well, first of all, the guy [Kerry] is an idiot. He doesn't even know there never was a [Pope] Pius XXIII in the first place. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 4/12/04]

Well, no. I'm saying if a Catholic votes for Kerry because they support him on abortion rights that is to cooperate in evil. [MSNBC, Hardball, 10/21/04]

We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 12/8/04]

This same guy [Dean Hamer] came up with this idea of the gay gene. I remember when that conversation was going on. Gays were all of a sudden worrying if people would start aborting kids when they found out the DNA suggested the kid might be gay or God forbid, we'd run out of little gay kids, so all of a sudden, they became pro-life. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 12/14/04]

If Amanda's remarks about Catholicism constitute hate speech, then what would you call this:

"When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped. The Ten Commandments and 'In God We Trust' are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, 'As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office."

Terry Moran's blog post at ABC News is worth checking out, not for his mealy-mouthed questions, but for the answers he gets from his readers:

User Comments

I didn't realize it was hate speech when it was about Christians, conservatives, etc. I have to give Terry Moran credit for this article. If we are going to oppose hate speech, we need to oppose even that with which we agree.
Posted by: Ricky Sims Feb 6, 2007 5:59:32 PM

This isn't hate speech. It's called free speech. We all have a right to our opinions and are free to express them. Although strong, she states her views. Nothing wrong with that or John Edwards 'associating' with a person who does.
Posted by: Antonia Feb 6, 2007 6:20:41 PM

Pretty mild comapred to the extreme hate stuff you hear on Fox News, Limbaugh etc. Kudos to the person who pointed out that in the past this was called free speech.
Has Terry Moran and his straw men gone to work for the swift-boaters?
A: Marcotte was speaking her opinions and the truth as she sees it.
2: There is plenty of documentation she could site to back up her opinions.
III: Free speech is free speech- opionions, profanity and all. Everyone should have it, everyone should use it.

To characterize her work as hate speech is ridiculous, especially when you read the rhetoric to which she is reacting. And what does this really have to do with John Edward's candidacy, anyway?
Posted by: Neil Feb 6, 2007 7:24:52 PM
If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react?

Are you serious?
Posted by: Seth Feb 6, 2007 8:07:57 PM

This is hardly hate speech. It may be raw and not my style, but it doesn't fall within the parameters of hate speech. Perhaps you're thinking of Limbaugh, Colter and Savage? They are the real experts on hate speech in commercial blog/radio show America today.
Posted by: J.D. Feb 6, 2007 9:00:16 PM
The Republicans are no strangers to abusive, even insulting speeches from their biggest fans as well - for examples see Rush Limbaugh's radio show, any one of Ann Coulter's books or articles, or Matt Drudge's Radio Show, just for openers. The also spout hate speech whenever it suits them, but as Plato said "Though I may not agree with anything you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Also, I would like to point out that she is now in Edward's employ, and I'm sure will be tailoring her comments to fit his much less offensive views, not her own.
I often wonder what has happened to all that our fore-fathers fought for, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, etc. Yet we still don't give those freedoms freely. If voices are never to be heard, how can anyone make a difference; if MLK was unable to make his speeches, march his marches, where would we be today. What has changed is not our freedom, but the lines of those freedoms. If you are from a red state, more power to Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, etc; and to hell with anyone with different views. If you are part of the blue states, it's the same thing!

Barrack O'Bama said it plainly and purely, there is no red state, blue state, only the United States. When people start being told what they can write, what they read, who they can listen to and to whom they must live their lives like, then we might want to call ourselves, China, North Korea, Cuba. We are beginning to be more and more intolerant of each other and our government isn't helping in that matter, if nothing more, they are pushing us further apart.

We are one nation, one people of many different variations in color, thinking, etc. If we an unable to speak or write what we feel than this nation is going to explode at the seams, maybe our own little civil war.

There are also some one-sidedly right-wing comments, but the majority are like the above.

Glenn Greenwald mentions Moran's post, and points out that he is Rick Moran's brother -- Rick Moran is the blogger at Right-Wing Nuthouse. I didn't know that -- and brother Rick does a better job of highlighting what's wrong with the litany of questions Terry poses than I could (unintentionally, of course):

My brother Terry (who has a new blog that you should bookmark immediately) gets it exactly right:

Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he’s joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards’ association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder—among other things—whom he might appoint to high office if he’s elected? If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react? Is the mere raising of this issue a kind of underhanded censorship, a way of ruling out of bounds some kinds of opinion? Are we all just going to have to get used to a more rough-and-tumble, profane, and even hate-filled public arena in the age of the blogosphere?

Like any good journalist, he is asking the right questions – and the questions sort of answer themselves, don’t they?

Good journalists don't stop at "asking the right questions" -- they go out and find the answers, truthful answers. But of course Terry Moran has not done that, because the questions he asks are only foils to imply an answer rooted in a particular set of right-wing assumptions -- only he's not honest enough to state those assumptions outright or to back them up with hard facts, which is what real journalists do. Which is why brother Rick says, "The questions sort of answer themselves, don't they?" Of course they do -- brother Terry meant them to do so.

Hey, it's easier than going out and doing some real research and reporting, right?

Terry Moran of ABC News predictably chimes in on this topic -- echoing the sentiments of his brother, right-wing blogger Rick Moran of "Right Wing NutHouse" ("My brother Terry (who has a new blog that you should bookmark immediately) gets it exactly right") and Michelle Malkin (amazing how often the Liberal MSM does that) -- with an article entitled Does John Edwards Condone Hate Speech? Moran [basically] recites all of the lines coming from his brother and the other right-wing bloggers on this subject.

That's an excellent display of recitation skills, Terry. Why not engage in the actual function of a journalist -- research and investigation -- and find your own original material by looking at the writings of some other bloggers, such as Patrick Ruffini, Jon Henke, and Hynes? Moran asks: "If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react?" That is a good question. Moran should go find out.

There are unconfirmed reports at this hour that John Edwards has fired Marcotte and McEwen. The Edwards campaign is denying that they've made any decision yet. If it's true, I am crushingly disappointed in Edwards. He should know that allowing the far right to dictate who works for him and who doesn't is not only craven and cowardly, but will actually make it harder for him to win the nomination. He doesn't have a great chance of doing that anyway, but accepting the fascistic demands of people who don't have an ounce of integrity is a 100 percent sure-fire nonstarter.


Chief said...

Russ Feingold would be my first choice for POTUS. I like Obama and I like Edwards.

But, you know what? The candidate must be able to exibit a fair amount of chutzpah when it is called for. I can recall Durbin making an apology on the Senate floor for the reading of an investigative report that was critical of Gitmo. Ended my respect for him. Same w/ McCain when he rolled over in South Carolina in 2000.

I Suspect that people who use 4-letter words in public would be considered a big liability. Doesn't everybody realize that everyone uses these words all the time. From the Vice President to college graduates to HS dropouts.

If you don't like or respect Edwards, who do you campaign for?

Not Kucinich, he doesn't stand a chance.

Kathy said...

Russ Feingold would be my choice, too. I think Obama is too inexperienced to be president. You know what I think of Edwards now. I don't know at this point who I would campaign for, but I do know that I can't campaign for someone I don't respect.