Thursday, 13 May 2010

Media Bias: Demonizing the Right

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media biasOn February 12, Dr. Amy Bishop, an associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, pulled out a pistol during a staff meeting and opened fire on her fellow faculty members, killing three and wounding three others. Chances are you heard or read about the case. And you may have read or heard in some of the follow-up reporting about other bizarre incidents earlier in her life, such as her 1986 “accidental” shooting of her brother (after which the shotgun-wielding Bishop took hostages) and her being a suspect in the 1993 case of a pipe bomb that had been mailed to a Harvard professor with whom she had had a dispute. But, most likely, you didn’t read or hear that the 44-year-old, Harvard-educated Bishop was a fanatical “Obama Girl.”

According to the Boston Herald: “A family source said Bishop … was a far-left political extremist who was ‘obsessed’ with President Obama to the point of being off-putting.” Now, you can be fairly certain that if Professor Bishop had been a Ron Paul supporter, or a “right-winger” of any type, we would be hearing still about how the dangerous “ideology of hate” had driven her to her excesses. Dr. Paul would be hounded relentlessly by reporters demanding to know if he assumes any responsibility for the hate that caused these murders, and if he felt the need to alter his stand in favor of individual rights and the Second Amendment.

You also may be unaware that the district attorney who allowed Amy Bishop to walk away from the shooting death of her brother without any further investigation or follow-up (and without any prosecution for her hostage taking) was William Delahunt, now a Massachusetts Congressman — a left-wing Democrat and close buddy of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Again, it is not a stretch to suggest that if a conservative Republican member of Congress had been the DA who had set accused mass-murderer Amy Bishop free in the earlier shooting he would have been politically crucified by the media and the anti-gun lobby. Rep. Delahunt, however, has been given a pass; hardly a peep has been heard from him, or about him, concerning the matter.

The case of Joseph Stack is similarly instructive. On February 18, the computer software developer intentionally crashed his private airplane into an office complex in Austin, Texas, killing himself and an office manager for the Internal Revenue Service. Thirteen others were injured. Stack’s suicide note — a rambling rant against the IRS, corporations, and the supposed injustices he had endured — was immediately seized upon by politicos on the Left and their allies in the media to proclaim Stack a poster boy for the burgeoning Tea Party movement. The title for a February 23 op-ed by Robert Wright in the New York Times’ online “Opinionator” column was “The First Tea-Party Terrorist?” In that column, Wright says: “In the end, the core unifying theme of the Tea Partiers is populist rage, and this is the core theme in Stack’s ramblings.” Wright, moreover, claims that the psychological “ingredients” that propelled Stack on his suicide/murder mission — “a conspiratorial bent, a deep and personal sense of oppression, an attendant resentful rage — can be found in the movement, if mainly on its fringes. There are some excitable Tea Partiers out there.”

According to Lydia Khalil, a resident fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and one of the organization’s supposed terrorism experts, Stack’s suicide attack shows “it’s time to stop putting the serious and growing threat of homegrown right-wing extremism — and the acts of violence it sometimes provokes — on the relative back burner.” Khalil’s March 11 op-ed in the New York Daily News, entitled “Stop Minimizing the Right-wing Terror,” predictably quotes a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report, which ominously claims that “right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country.”

Jonathan Capehart, in a February 18 Washington Post op-ed, wrote that “after reading [Stack’s] 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we’re hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.”

New York Magazine’s Chris Rozvar wrote: “In fact, a lot of his rhetoric could have been taken directly from a handwritten sign at a tea party rally.” The Daily Kos, a blog popular with the left-leaning, warned that the Stack murder/suicide “should inject a bit of caution into the anti-government flame-throwers on the right.”

Much of the mainstream media news and commentary was only slightly less inflammatory than this April 18 headline from the left-wing blog, OuterPartyPress: “Right-Wing Terrorist Crashes Plane into IRS Building. Teabagger Hate Bears Fruit.”

Of course, it turns out that Joe Stack was no “right-winger” at all, and had no connection to any Tea Party group. From what can be pieced together from his rantings, he could be more accurately described as a left-winger, a textbook example of Marxist “alienation.” He rages against capitalism, banks, insurance companies, drug companies, Wall Street, President Bush, the Catholic Church … and yes, the IRS. Stack ends his long-winded suicide note with this apparent paean to Karl Marx, author of the Communist Manifesto (who, ironically, advocated the graduated income tax, from whence came the IRS):

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Amy Bishop and Joseph Stack are not isolated cases. The teleprompter readers and hack writers of the mainstream media seem terminally afflicted with a compulsion to issue daily baseless warnings on the dangers of “right-wing extremism” and to regurgitate every breathless announcement from the professional fundraisers and propagandists at the SPLC — yet they don’t have the time (or inclination) to cover the stories of left-wing violence. The following are but a few examples of many that fell through the cracks while the Big Media was stirring the hate pot against the Right:

• Norman Leboon of Philadelphia was arrested March 27 for issuing death threats against Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family. Leboon, who contributed $505 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, posted threatening videos on YouTube aimed at Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House and the only Republican Jewish member of Congress. Leboon’s profanity-laced video told Cantor: “You are a liar, you’re a pig ... you’re an abomination. You receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer’s abominations.”

• The previous week Rep. Cantor’s campaign office in Richmond, Virginia, was struck by a bullet. The same media that lavished huge coverage on alleged death threats against several Democratic Congressmen gave short shrift or no coverage to the Cantor stories.

• Several thugs wearing SEIU (Service Employees International Union) T-shirts attacked Kenneth Gladney, a black conservative, at an August 6, 2009 Town Hall meeting with Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.)in St. Louis. The SEIU goons were caught on tape as they brutally beat, punched, knocked down, and kicked Gladney, who had simply been peacefully handing out the historic “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. One of the attackers called Gladney a “son of a n****r.” Gladney, who sustained significant injuries in the unprovoked attack, is pursuing civil action against the three attackers who were arrested and are also being prosecuted on criminal battery charges. The attackers were part of a large SEIU pro-Carnahan contingent at the Town Hall, and the SEIU has been one of President Obama’s staunchest supporters. The SPLC, NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, NBC, and New York Times have not rushed to report Gladney’s case or to demand accountability from Carnahan, Obama, or the SEIU.

• Lloyd Marcus is a singer who has performed at 34 Tea Party rallies in 16 states, oftentimes singing the National Anthem. Lloyd Marcus happens to be black. But since his presence contradicts the mainstream media meme which holds that the Tea Parties are a racist, whites-only movement, he is often cropped out of “news” broadcasts and photographs. He has also experienced vicious racial verbal attacks, but not from the Tea Partiers. “The racial hate expressed against me all came from the left, people who support President Obama’s radical socialist agenda,” says Marcus on his blog. “Unfortunately, my deleted email box is littered with numerous messages expressing the following: ‘You are the dumbest self hating f****** n***** I have ever seen!’”

• Radio talk-show host and former CNN newsman Lou Dobbs was subjected to a nationwide hate campaign aimed at driving him off the air, primarily because of his outspoken opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens and his support for increased border security. He and his wife were also subjected to many death threats and in October 2009 were shot at, with a bullet striking their home. The hate campaign, which portrayed Dobbs as a racist and terrorist, was organized by, a coalition of left-wing groups that included the National Council of La Raza, Media Matters, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Voto Latino, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. “Lou Dobbs is a terrorist. He is encouraging the American people to hate Latinos,” said Fabian Arias, a pastor of the Sion Lutheran Church in East Harlem and an activist in the DropDobbs campaign.

To the above-cited incidents could be added literally hundreds of others in which leftist agitators from, Code Pink, A.N.S.W.E.R., ActUp, NARAL, LaRaza, Greenpeace, Earth First, SEIU, AFLCIO, and other groups have physically attacked and injured peaceful protesters or police officers, started riots, and endangered public safety. However, based on the coverage in the “mainstream” media it would seem that the only threat to civil discourse, and the only threat of hate and violence, emanates from the political Right.

Orwell and Goldstein

Some time in high school or college most of us read Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s grim novel of a dystopian future under the iron-fisted rule of The Party and Big Brother. One of the most chilling features of existence in Orwell’s foreboding creation is the Two Minutes’ Hate, daily sessions in which Party members must demonstrate their loyalty by watching a film depicting The Party’s enemies, and whipping themselves into a frenzy of hatred against the enemies and love for Big Brother. The chief enemy in these daily brainwashing films is Emmanuel Goldstein, whose face morphs onto the screen after vicious enemy soldiers with hideous facial expressions charge the viewers with guns blazing. The fictional Goldstein serves The Party’s needs as the designated “enemy of the state,” providing an object against which citizens can rant and vent their ire, rather than directing their rage against the regime that is oppressing them.

In America today, it seems, the Two Minutes’ Hate sessions (which frequently are longer than two minutes and run 24/7, not just once a day) have found a number of stand-ins for Goldstein: Tea Party activists, global-warming “deniers,” Obama-Care opponents, constitutionalists, pro-life activists, opponents of homosexuality, Second Amendment advocates, states’ rights proponents, foes of amnesty for illegal aliens, home-schoolers, and Christians who adhere to orthodox biblical teaching and traditional values.

In short, anyone who resides even slightly to the right of the political-correctness fault line established by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and the avatars of Big Government/Big Media/Big Hollywood/Big Academia is liable to be targeted for the Goldstein treatment. What that means, in real terms, is that if one falls into any of the above-mentioned categories, or happens to be what is usually described as a political/economic/social “conservative,” you are likely to get smeared as being anti-government, anti-Semitic, racist, extremist, seditious, violent, paranoid — and of course, hateful.

In an April 9, 2010 online piece for Newsweek entitled “A Surge of Hate,” Evan Thomas and Eve Conant warn that “antigovernment extremists are on the rise — and on the march.” In the printed magazine version of the four-page article, which is dated April 19, the word “HATE” is emblazoned in huge letters covering half a page. The Newsweek duo then begin their article by targeting Stewart Rhodes and Oath Keepers:

Stewart Rhodes does not seem like an extremist. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former U.S. Army paratrooper and congressional staffer. He is not at all secretive.... Rhodes says he has 6,000 dues-paying members, active and retired police and military, who promise never to take orders to disarm U.S. citizens or herd them into concentration camps. Rhodes told a NEWSWEEK reporter, “We’re not a militia.” Oath Keepers do not run around the woods on the weekend shooting weapons or threatening the violent overthrow of the government. Their oath is to uphold the Constitution and defend the American people from dictatorship.

But by conjuring up the specter of revolution — or counterrevolution — is Rhodes adding to the threat of real violence? Oath Keepers are “a particularly worrisome example of the ‘patriot’ revival,” according to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate speech and extremist organizations.

Newsweek’s Thomas and Conant admit that Rhodes “does not seem like an extremist” — and they present no evidence to indicate that he is “an extremist,” whatever that may mean to them. Yet they proceed to indict him as such by implication and innuendo, solely on the basis of a claim by an SPLC spokesman that Oath Keepers are “particularly worrisome.” Why are they so “worrisome”? SPLC’s Potok cites no crimes committed, no threats, no violent or racist rhetoric, no advocacy of illegal or immoral acts. Perhaps someone will dig up some statement or action by Rhodes or one of his Oath Keeper members to justify concern — but unless and until they do (and we can be sure Newsweek and the SPLC have tried), is it not the height of indecency to attempt to conflate Oath Keepers with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, as Thomas and Conant try to do?

In similar fashion, the Newsweek authors smear the millions of peaceful, law-abiding Americans who are legitimately concerned over the complete breakdown of our border security, by likening them to Klansmen carrying out lynchings. They write: “Fear of ‘the other’ has long fueled hate crimes, from the torture and lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan beginning in the late 1800s, to the violence of the 1950s and ’60s, to the virulent anti-immigrant groups today.”

According to Newsweek, “The current surge of fear and loathing toward Obama” is based on race. It quotes Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley as saying, “There’s a big dose of race behind the real crazies.” And, he says, it is “scary.”

The Obama camp — those in the political sphere and in the media — have, of course, hurled the charge of racism to intimidate, silence, and marginalize all critics, going back to his presidential campaign and continuing to the present. Over the past few months the race card has been used with a vengeance in an attempt to beat down the Tea Party movement.

Truth Be Told

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center reports that the major media first tried to kill the Tea Party movement by ignoring it, but when that didn’t work they turned to the familiar smear tactic. Bozell says his group “found only 19 news stories on the Tea Party movement for the entire year [of 2009] on ABC, CBS and NBC. The Obama family dog received more attention.” Bozell puts the coverage in context:

How anemic is this? Compare those 19 stories in all of 2009 with 41 stories the networks gave the “Million Mom March” against gun rights in 2000 — and all before the math-challenged protest even happened. Consider racist and anti-Semitic Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s “Million Man March.” On Oct. 16, 1995, ABC, CBS and NBC together aired 21 stories just on one night.

The difference in tone was just as dramatic. Amazingly, the Tea Parties were assumed to be racist, but Farrakhan’s event was not. ABC anchor Peter Jennings devoted all but 75 seconds of his newscast to promotional goo for the Nation of Islam.

Bozell then compares that to the Tea Party stories. “The victory of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts spurred heavier network TV attention, another 42 stories in 2010.” “But,” he notes, “now that they had to cover the Tea Party, the tone turned negative: Overall, 27 of 61 stories (44 percent) openly suggested the movement was fringy or extremist.” Bozell continues:

Contrast ABC’s Peter Jennings then with ABC’s Dan Harris now. Farrakhan was somehow a uniter, not a divider. But Harris warned Tea Party protesters “waved signs likening Obama to Hitler and the devil.... Some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black president.”

And with that, everyone associated with the Tea Party movement, and everyone in sympathy with the Tea Party movement, had just been neatly tarred with the racism brush. What dramatic selectivity of “news judgment”! At left-wing rallies, reporters consistently and easily ignored hateful and extremist podium speeches from protest organizers. They paid no attention to objectionable signs. “Bush Lied, Thousands Died!” Big deal!

But at a conservative event, they go searching high and low for the kookiest, fringiest protester in a crowd of tens of thousands, so they can smear the entire crowd as a racist gathering.

Following the ObamaCare vote on Saturday, March 20, tens of thousands of protesters gathered peacefully at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to register their opposition to the legislation. That is when several members of the Black Congressional Caucus staged a “race card” stunt to change the dynamics of the debate. Led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the Black Caucus contingent traipsed through the Tea Party throng and then claimed that they had been subjected to racial taunts by a group chanting the “N-word.” Immediately that became the big story and headlines about racism in the Tea Party movement and the racist opposition to ObamaCare were recirculated. House Minority Leader John Boehner decried the incident as “deplorable” and other Republican leaders also were forced to switch focus from debating the real issues of healthcare to denouncing the racial incident.

Now, if the event had happened as the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) claims, it would have been an unfortunate incident, but no fair-minded person would lambaste tens of thousands of otherwise innocent demonstrators for the actions of a few who clearly did not represent the whole. But there is good reason to suspect that the incident never even happened, and that the entire affair is a vicious lie concocted by the CBC to discredit Obama-Care opponents and the Tea Party movement. The best reason is that, so far, the CBC has not produced one independent witness or a single audio or video recording to substantiate their serious charge.

Andrew Breitbart, who was at the Tea Party gathering, writes on

The Congressional Black Caucus claimed the N-word was hurled 15 times. YouTube video shows that at least two of the men in the procession were carrying video cameras and holding them above the crowd. They have not come forth with evidence to show that even one person hurled the vile racist epithet. The video also shows no head movement one way or another. Wouldn’t the N-word provoke a head turn or two? Is it really possible that in 2010, in a crowd of 30 or 40 thousand people — at the center of a once-in-a-lifetime media circus — not one person’s flipphone, Blackberry, video recorder or a network feed caught a single incident? And if not, then at least someone could have found an honest tea partier to act as an eyewitness — or the Congressional Black Caucus would have confronted the culprit(s). If that had happened, there would be an investigation to see if the perpetrator was a left-wing plant.

Breitbart has offered a $100,000 reward for any eyewitness or video evidence of the alleged racial slur incident, but there have been no takers. Very likely that is because the entire incident was fictional. But don’t expect the leftist news hounds in the mainstream media to help expose the deception.

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