Boy, how they fuss and fume, these right wingers. They spew hate-filled invective for two or three years or more, and when someone calls them on it, after the shootings in Arizona which might or might not have been related, they have a righteous fit.
I made just a few harmless observations the other day about the right wing’s anti-liberal, anti-Democrat hate campaign, being careful not to say it caused the Arizona shooting, because how would I know? and right away they jumped on me, calling me a “liberal” and a “dem,” which are the worst insults they know from their studies at Fox University and the Rush Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Contumely.
“It is shameful that you are pawn enough to put common sense aside and push this liberal agenda,” one of them told me.
Nationally, the ever-feisty Sarah Palin said blaming right-wing rhetoric like her own for the shootings in Arizona was a “blood libel,” which I enjoyed very much, the conjuring of medieval anti-Semitism.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, if you thought there was a connection between the non-stop vilification of Democrats practiced by Sarah’s band of anti-intellectual zealots and the shooting of a particular Democrat you were on a par with ancient Jew-haters.
Roger Ailes, the old Nixon operative who more than anyone else is the godfather of the latter-day hate-and-anger campaign, in his capacity as president of Fox News, actually had a more diplomatic reaction.
“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually,” he said, referring to his on-air propagandists. But then he added, “I hope the other side does that.”
The other side? Have I been missing something? Has there been a day-and-night campaign of left-wing vituperation dominating television and radio that I have not noticed?
There have been the feeble attempts of MSNBC to be sort of a liberal version of Fox, but it’s frail and pathetic by comparison. And a couple of programs on NPR that nobody listens to.
But that’s the right-wing defense: It’s not just us, everybody does it. Everybody spews hate and glorifies guns. The other side too.
One reader sent me a list of violent-sounding quotes from President Obama, which I believe he got from Bill O’Reilly, and challenged me to report those too.
I checked them out, and they reminded me of the kind of quotes brandished by creationists to discredit the theory of evolution. Creationists comb through the writings of scientists to find the odd line that seems to cast doubt on evolution, then they pick it up and wave it like a flag. See? Even this famous evolutionist admits it’s a fraud!
During the last election campaign President Obama said, “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder, and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on Nov. 2.”
In the list of you-too quotes, that became simply, “Punish your enemies,” by Barack Obama.
An aide of Obama’s supposedly (there was no record) said to a group of senators, in response to the disruptive town hall meetings on health care: “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”
On the list that I received, it was Obama himself saying to “his mercenary army”: “Hit back twice as hard.”
And so on. I won’t go through the whole list. The methodology is the same.
They string together a dozen edited fragments, culled from campaign appearances or statements of aides, and make cool, understated Barack Obama appear to be a firebrand on the order of Newt Gingrich.
It’s the methodology of the propagandist.
As for Roger Ailes, the head of Fox, telling his mouthpieces to cool it a little, remember it was he who said of NPR executives after they fired a commentator, “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left-wing of Nazism.”
It’s one of the more florid assertions of the new right that liberals are Nazis. It’s one of Glenn Beck’s favorites — Glenn Beck, who works for Ailes and last year made $30 million with his conspiratorial blackboard fantasies.
Other side? Is there a left-wing equivalent to this national crackpottery that is not hiding in a cellar somewhere on the Lower East Side?
And getting back to Arizona, there is no evidence I’m aware of linking the shooter there to any of this feverish rhetoric, but consider the following:
As widely reported, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Republican opponent in the last election held a fundraiser in which one could fire a fully automatic M16 side-by-side with the candidate for a $50 contribution. The come-on was: “Get on target for victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.”
The main television station in Tucson is KGUN, pronounced kay-gun.
Closer to home, there was the town-hall meeting in Bethlehem a year and a half ago at which Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat, attempted to explain and defend Obama’s health-care plan. The first question from the Angry Ones present was, and I quote: “If the plan fails, will congressmen be willing to be executed?”
That’s how they talk, that’s how they think, coached and encouraged by the barkers of the carnival airwaves — the Limbaughs, the O’Reillys, the Hannitys, the Becks and their countless imitators at little stations down the line hoping someday to make the $30 million big time.
If you point it out, the only thing local followers can reply is, you’re a liberal, you’re a dem. It’s all they’ve got. Or they say the other side does the same, why don’t you report that?
It’s too bad it took the murder of six people and the wounding of 14 more to bring this to a head, since, as I say, that shooting may well be unrelated to anti-liberal fever and pro-gun zealotry. But that’s where we are, and you tell me if this nation is going bonkers or not. Pay 50 bucks to fire an M16 and help remove a congresswoman from office, indeed.