October 9, 2007

When Republicans attack--updated

Actually, this should be "right wingers" attacking, but the first example is Republican Mike Huckabee. A man, btw, who I would never vote for but have respected. But here (and Colbert had a good bit on him last night) we see that Huckabee responded completely differently to Rush Limbaugh denouncing "phony soldiers" and then calling a wounded vet who did an ad for VoteVets.org a "a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said, then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into." You know, like a suicide bomber.

Anyway, Huckabee said that free speech applied to Limbaugh and it wasn't the government's job to tell him what to say. And I agreed completely. As big of a jackass as Limbaugh is, he has the right to be that jackass on the air. (I think Wesley Clark is well within his rights to try to get Limbaugh off Armed Services Radio, but not sure it accomplishes anything).

But wait, let's see how Huckabee responded to the MoveOn.org controversy. He lambasted Hillary Clinton for not supporting a Senate amendment that condemned that MoveOn.org ad. So, while the government rightly should not be involved in telling a jackass talkshow host what or what not to say, they SHOULD tell a group of American citizens what to say in an ad? Come on, Mike.

But then again, Conservatives feel free to challenge the patriotism of the left. See this Chris Wallace interview of Nancy Pelosi
Wallace: You said the other day that you pray for President Bush to change his mind about vetoing SCHIP…Ahhh, do you pray for our soldiers to win in Iraq?

Pelosi: Of, course I do.

Wallace: To win?

Pelosi: Of, course. What a question….
Exactly. What a question.

But that is mild compared to what the right wingers have evidently done in response to a Democrat radio response given by a 12 year old boy who talked about how SCHIP allowed him to get health insurance after a car accident. Right wing bloggers followed by Michelle Malkin went after the kid and his family, saying they were frauds who owned too nice of a house (that they have owned for years and has gone up in value), or went to too nice of a school (on scholarship) or the father owned his own company (which is supposed to make him filthy rich, right?) .

Anonymous Liberal explains why:
"Implicit in the attacks on the Frosts and Michael J. Fox and certain anti-war veterans (and countless other examples) is the notion that if you can someone manage to discredit a spokesperson for a particular policy, then somehow the policy itself will be discredited. That's a really bizarre way of viewing the world, if you think about it. I mean, if Michael J. Fox had been exaggerating his Parkinson's symptoms, as Rush Limbaugh suggested, would that have had any bearing whatsoever on the empirical data suggesting that stem cell research can help lead to treatments for Parkinson's disease? And if it turned out that the Frosts were indeed capable of paying for private health insurance, would that change the undisputed fact that there are thousands of families out there who could not afford health care without S-CHIP? Of course not."

We can credit Bush for at least recognizing that compassion is a good thing, even though he obviously was unable to sustain something approaching "compassionate conservatism." But the veneer of compassion is gone now, replaced by almost open hostility for anyone who isn't conservative enough.


steve s said...

I am not a fan of Rush L, by any means, but after the last stink about his "phony soldier" comments, I am skeptical. I went back and found the transcript of that show and spent over an hour reading through it and felt that his comments were taken out of context and they were not being totally honest. I know there is no such thing as unbiased news or commentary, but I don't know if I can trust media matters.

That senate amendment in re: to Moveon was totally a waste of time. Seriously, I think that if the Senate is going to waste time on this garbage, then they shouldn't get paid.

I know the MJ Fox thing is old news, but there is a guy that posts on a blog that I also contribute to that had a big write up on stem cell research. It was eye opening. Unfortunately, it has turned into a topic where there is so much non-scientific components to the debate, that I have a hard time sorting out what is true (much like with global warming). It doesn't help that I haven't had a hard science class since high school.

Streak said...

So you are suggesting that he was not referring to those who opposed the war? Or what he said about the soldier who did the ad for VoteVets was not that he was the equivalent of a suicide bomber?

As for the stem cell stuff, of course this is complicated stuff. I know people who are left of center who have concerns about stem cell research--I don't doubt that. But nothing justifies Rush mocking MJ Fox, nor does it, or this attack on vets against the war, address the issues behind it.

Streak said...

By that last sentence, I mean their attacks on people doesn't actually address the underlying issues. That was AL's point and is still a good one. Attacking a kid on SCHIP doesn't address the reality that the program has absolutely helped kids.

steve s said...

Limbaugh has since said on his show that he was referring only to one soldier: disgraced, convicted former Army soldier-turned-antiwar-activist Jesse Macbeth. Macbeth falsely claimed to have participated in war crimes in Iraq and received a Purple Heart, but in reality, he was discharged after only 44 days of service, never placing a foot in Iraq.

Phony, or criminal, seems an apt description.

SCHIP seems to be a decent program, though I will admit that I haven't looked at it all that closely.

Streak said...

Ok, as long as Rush said so. But how does that explain him calling an injured vet who spoke out for VoteVets.org the equivalent of a suicide bomber?

Steve, regardless of what Media Matters says, you don't really mean to suggest that Rush Limbaugh is respectful of the many servicemen who oppose this war, do you?

Seriously, how does this man have any credibility at all? He mocked someone with Parkinsons. Good god, he has mocked the homeless and made jokes about Abu Ghraib. He is the male equivalent of Ann Coulter. hell, he admitted to lying to protect the Republicans when they were in control, but now we are supposed to take his word that he meant only that soldier?

Sorry, Steve, I don't buy it. He was talking about soldiers who oppose the war. I think Media Matters has been right more times than Limbaugh. After all, they mostly post the actual words these people use.

ubub said...

Rush is being smeared! Media Matters is a slanderous organization. They should not expose Limbaugh and other public figures to ridicule by posting their words for public evaluation by those outside the speakers own private bubble. It's disgraceful.

Media Matters is the equivalent of a cadre of highly trained terrorists. Phony journalists.

steve s said...

This is my last post on this subject. I am not a fan of Rush, nor am I a fan of media matters. Before anyone gets excited, I am not suggesting they are the same, just that both are essentially suggesting to people how they think.

On this narrow topic (phony soldier), I think that MM intentionally took Rush out of context. I don't know enough about the other incidents, except for MJ Fox, and he was clearly wrong when he made those comments. I read the entire transcript and listened to a recording of part of the broadcast. The explanation that Rush gives makes sense in the context of what he said.

ubub, you are incorrect. MM, is a non-partisan watchdog group that should sue Fox News for using "fair and balanced," as they are the only ones that are fair and balanced. Oh wait, actually, they are a "progressive" group that gets most of their funding from liberal sources. There is nothing wrong with this, but let's not pretend they are not biased.

Most of the people I know in the military seem to think that Rush supports them. Granted, this is only a few dozen people, but I'd be surprised if polling data didn't show the same thing.

ubub said...

I agree that Media Matters is a progressive watchdog organization. Their approach to folks like Rush seems to be to hang 'em with their own rope. Put the transcripts out there - the whole transcripts - include commentary, and let readers conclude what they will.

I have also read the transcript and conclude that the totality of Limbaugh's message is that those soldiers who disagree with the Iraq War are, in his words, 'phony soliders.' The follow up discussions about the wounded vet who took him on lend credence to that reading. I respect the fact that you also read this material and came to a different conclusion. There is ambiguity there so reasonable people can disagree.

I am not sure my tongue in cheek attack on Media Matters is at all wrong. It seems a fair and balanced representation of what I have been reading in various newspapers, blogs, and other online sources. We can go after who they are or evaluate the substance of the message. Many commentators seem to have chosen the former.

Streak said...

Yeah, Steve, I imagine that many in the military still think that George Bush supports them as well. Perhaps that is the cultural pressure to be conservative in the military these days. The facts seem pretty contrary on both issues. Military service is no reassurance that Rush or other conservative hacks won't attack you mercilessly, including questioning your patriotism.

Ubub, I agree completely, and that really was the point of this post. Conservatives have decided to attack the messenger, and have since they have bleated nonstop about the "liberal media." So Media Matters is funded from liberal sources? Who cares? The real question is do they get it right? Fox's funding is not the real issue, or would be a non-issue if they weren't such Bush lapdogs. They get it wrong more than anyone I know. Does Pelosi pray for our troops to lose? Are you f-ing kidding me?

steve s said...

I would hope that the funding source matters, because in some cases, there may be a conflict of interest. I don't think that it means they have no credibility, but I hope that people will always consider the source when they are evaluating any information.

On a completely different subject, I recently got into a lengthy debate on another forum on the effects of second hand smoke. I presented credible information on how SHS was harmful from a variety of international sources. I was countered by a few studies that were funded by several tobacco companies. Does that mean those studies are worthless? No, but there is definitely a conflict of interest which needs to be considered.

Do they (MM) get it right? That is a valid question, but the goal of MM is to promote a progressive or liberal agenda, not to be non-partisan. There is nothing wrong with this, but if they make a claim, I am going to want more sources.

The National Review had an article on MM. Yes, I know that the National Review is conservative, though it it doesn't matter. Did they get it right?

Streak said...

I misspoke in saying that the source of funding does not matter, but the broader point of getting it right still matters. And the problem with the right's current attack on Media Matters is their suggestion that the source of the funding automatically means they are wrong.

If Fox gets it right (and I am still waiting) then it doesn't matter that Murdock is back there eating live chickens. Likewise, if the National Journal gets it right, the conservative bias is less important, right?

Having just skimmed it, I don't think he got it right, nor do I think he presented the issue fairly. Is MM a partisan group? I don't doubt that. Given the plethora of conservative institutions dedicated to propping up Bush's policies, I am still looking for York's point.

steve s said...

Yes, I agree that getting it right does matter. That article is from 2004 and highlights the background of MM. I don't see where it is wrong, in that regard.

I know that there are many conservative groups that do the same thing as MM. You aren't suggesting that 'everyone does it'? ;)

Streak said...

Nope, not using the "everyone does it" excuse, simply noting that York seems to act oblivious to the right wing machines that MM and the others he listed formed in response to.

In that he lists the formation of the group, he gets it right. He also uses the time to undermine the credibility with the shots at Brock. Subtle, but again, misses the point of whether or not the MM site does a decent job.