Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Right Wing Cage Rattles as Dean Becomes DNC Shoo-In

Right Wing Cage Rattles as Dean Becomes DNC Shoo-In

Howard Dean has no opposition for DNC chair now. There will be no stopping the grassroots now.

The Right cries out, with newfound concern for those poor loser-Democrats: 'Dear Heavens! How could this happen?'

David Brooks blames the most evil force in America - intelligence. I'm not kidding you. If you aren't Ralph Kramden, you're Satan.

Richard Bond, the former head of the RNC, has told the press, "[Dean's] a very capable guy; he's got high energy, but he will reinforce all of their worst instincts. His style and message is one that will narrow his party's options rather than expand them." (And we'll trust him because he, like most Republican leaders, are on our side, right?)

"All I can say is, the Democratic Party is clearly endorsing doctor-assisted suicide!" cackled Kate O'Beirne on Capital Gang.

On the same show, Bob Novak, the douchebag who 'couldn't stop himself' from outing a CIA agent said: "This is suicidal and lunatic by the Democratic Party, and that is an opinion shared by a lot of Democrats that I talk to. This man can't control what he says."

On Beltway Boys, the always-pleasant see-through ideologue Fred Barnes said, "Howard Dean couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag."

We're no longer fooled by these bags of wind.

Dean has them in a tizzy because he's succeeding. With the force of the Democratic party behind him, there will be no stopping the grassroots (who are not nearly as liberal or radical as the perfidious pundits would have you believe).

National Review: They Figure I 'Just Had A Bad Day'

National Review: They Figure I 'Just Had A Bad Day'

Truth is...I had a great day!

At NRO, Jim Geraghty asks:
Is TimK really the face of the “right wing bloggers”? Or was he the most convenient example Camwell could find of a person on the right who used four-letter words and who is promising Jordan “a world of [excrement]”? Is it conceivable that TimK’s comment fits a bit of a stereotype of a knuckle-dragging, inarticulate bully of the right? It’s easy to portray that comment as “blog-thuggery.” Fortunately, its tone and tenor is worlds apart from what you find on most blogs.

Look, if Eason Jordan has his facts right, then the guys who committed the crimes he described ought to face the fullest consequences of the law. And Jordan – at least in his initial comment – apparently described outright premeditiated murder. Of course journalists ought to be concerned about that. Everyone should be.

But if it’s not true, and a network’s top newsman is irresponsibly spreading rumors… then journalists ought to be concerned about that, too.
Convenient? Well, the only thing I will say is that it wasn't very hard to find such a statement.

It seems that Jim would like to keep the discussion of the issue dispassionate, as well he should as a respectable writer. He doesn't believe Eason Jordan acted respectably at Davos. I understand. Eason seems to have either made a dreadful accusation - or it could be that he spoke, with conviction, from a terribly passionate place.

Jim didn't seem to appreciate my use of 'TimK' as an example of what the impetus for the right's push-push of this story just might be.

Jim may be a big voice among powerful voices, but mine is ringing loud and clear.
I think there's an agenda here.
The agenda seems to involve pumping out the narrative of the 'evil' Eason Jordan, who is an 'unprofessional' and perhaps even an 'unAmerican' member of the organization they frame as "the old media".
The frame of "old" connotates something no longer useful. Past its prime. No longer trustworthy. Ready for the dustbin of history. It perpetuates the 'liberal media' myth.

I believe Jim is missing the boat here, given his doubt about the reasons for passion from the Right on this issue.

The absence of passion is the farthest thing from which the Eason Jordan story has come to be about. As a matter of fact, it is about nothing but passion. We have passion for defending our soldiers against what many see as unfair, factually-unsupported attacks. We have passion for fellow journalists who are killed carelessly and with barely a nod of respect to the Geneva Conventions, it seems. We have passion for the ideas forwarded by the "new media". We have passion in our insistence that the mainstream media is not now, and has never been "liberal".

We argue passionately if we care.

I've had an ongoing discussion with a lot of people today. They're people with whom I don't generally chat. I find that there are quite a few people, such as the passionate Tim K, who aren't bad sorts simply because they use the "s" word. One theme I see clearly emerging from the right, on a people-to-people basis, is the belief that journalists who aren't embedded with military (or who are not American) may well be enemies. When I stated: "JOURNALISTS ARE NOT THE ENEMY", a commenter named Steve asked:
How do you define it when a group of people regularly show only the side of the story that makes America look bad? What do you call it when ‘journalists’ just happen to be on hand, cameras rolling, as terrorists execute Iraqi election workers in broad day light in the middle of the street? What do you call it when ‘journalists’ are right there to film a staged suicide bombing? What do you call it when journalists are so eager to get one more kidnapping on the wire they are duped by pictures of a child’s action toy? Are all journalists the enemy? Of course not. Are there people calling themselves journalists who are clearly against the American effort? Obviously.
I'm not saying Steve is right or wrong. I'm saying that we need to have this discussion. If we agree, as a civil society, to make our support conditional for the protection of journalists at war-time, I believe we are neglecting a value that is crucial to our traditional defense and promotion of free speech, regardless of where the journalists are from. If we promote democracy, we must show Iraqi journalists (for example) of all ideological stripes that they are free to speak their mind. Otherwise, our support for democracy in other countries is all a sick joke and the world will easily see it.

Would I like to see the story of Eason Jordan buried? Definitely not. It brings about a discussion that I think we should be having, no matter how much it pains either side of the ideological fence.

Do I understand the reasons for passionate right-minded people to get maximum mileage out of the story? Yes.

Do I understand why Eason Jordan said what he said? I think we have to listen to Eason's clarification, give him every benefit of professional doubt, and have a mature discussion about it.

If we care about our country's strength, it has to come from us - with passion and with an honest attempt to reach a goal of understanding. We won't get respect from the world until we learn to respect one another. We need the passion that I suspect led Eason Jordan to speak, albeit clumsily - perhaps even inappropriately, at Davos. Since we have a bona fide mainstream story floating out there, why don't we Americans roll up our sleeves and dig in?

Talk to one another. It might seem painful, but it's the only way we will bring about a positive change within this nation.

A final point.
Jim Geraghty said: "..if Eason Jordan has his facts right, then the guys who committed the crimes he described ought to face the fullest consequences of the law."

Was this the most "convienient" way to neglect the easily-researchable fact that early today, Howie Kurtz reported that Eason Jordan said: "I have never once in my life thought anyone from the U.S. military tried to kill a journalist. Never meant to suggest that. Obviously I wasn’t as clear as I should have been on that panel.”

I don't see that Jim is very willing to give his fellow journalist the benefit of the doubt.

Is this just another case of 'old media' vs. 'new media'?

You decide.

*A shout of thanks goes out to Anonymoses and Jay Rosen for linking some of my comments.

UPDATE: Since NRO is in denial about Righties and their agenda, take a look at the latest fun activity among the right-set: Tell A Friend about Easongate
From the folks at Easongate
"Tell-A-Friend" Day at Easongate: Today is "Tell-A-Friend" Day. Your mission today is to call, email or otherwise contact at least two friends whom you don't believe are aware of the Easongate story!

Eason Tale Hits Mainstream Out on American Street

Eason Tale Hits Mainstream Out on American Street

Here is an excerpt from my latest American Street entry:

Howard Kurtz on Eason Jordan
"Howard Kurtz takes a dispassionate look at what occurred at Davos. Read it (at the bottom) and ask yourselves how a seasoned newsman's passion for the protection of the lives and safety of those who carry out their work in the most dangerous of situations (to show YOU the truth) is, by any standard, "unprofessional". I would have to say just the opposite. The values Eason Jordan appears to espouse involve a concern, caring, and a call for the utmost protection for those who serve in the field of journalism. We all know that war is a risky place for journalists.

The Iraq war is a public action carried out, in my name and yours, by our government. The lives of those who serve the journalism corps in the middle of a war zone deserve every bit as much care and respect as the soldiers (the ones with the guns, I'd like to remind you).

I don't think Jordan Eason should be professionally crucified for what we can liken to a motherly nature when discussing a delicate matter (out of the public eye, for the most part - the Jan. 27 Davos session was supposed to be off the record).

Those who are hot on Eason's trail are only those who wish to inflict some political damage on the few in the mainstream media who still possess the extreme courage of conviction. This is not a case of Dan Rather using fake documents. This seems to be more of a case where a professional journalist has called, in his own fumbling way, for better judgement and a higher degree of care and liability on on the part of U.S. military in choosing their targets.

After what we saw happen at the Palestine Hotel, I don't think that's an unreasonable plea..."

UPDATE: At Press Think yesterday (Feb 8), the BBC's Richard Sambrook commented:
"...as a News Executive on a panel discussing the safety of journalists in Iraq I fail to see why I should not discuss any of these incidents. Unless they are properly, fairly and openly discussed, as I said in my original note to Jay [Rosen], it will simply feed prejudice on all sides. Responsiblity for the safety of journalists in war zones rests with the news organisations. But unless we can have a full and open discussion with the military about how journalists have been killed we cannot understand what more we may be able to do to protect them. You are all entitled to your personal opinions about CNN, the BBC, me, Eason, the Iraq War and anything else. However this started with the question of journalists safety in war zones and the high number who have been killed. For those of us with friends and colleagues out there, we will continue to try to understand why the casualties among journalists are unusually high and what more we might do to protect them."