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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, December 31, 2004

All That Liberal Hate Speech

posted by Jazz at 12/31/2004 09:06:00 AM


It seems that Betsy Newmark has taken exception to my view that the majority of political hate speech is not coming from the liberals. The basis for her original post is this piece by Jeff Jacoby which purports to provide a laundry list of liberal media figures using hate fill speech to attack conservatives. Her specific complaint:
Blogger Jazz thinks I'm hypocritical for implying that only liberals use hate speech and cites as examples the hate-filled letters that people wrote Al Neuharth of USA Today for recommending that we leave Iraq. However, that is irrelevant to Jeff Jacoby's column. He's not writing about bloggers or hate-filled letter writers. His examples are mainstream Democratic politicians and liberal members of the media. Other than a few writers like Ann Coulter, I challenge you to name similarly prominent Republican politicians or conservative writers who refer to Democrats Nazis as Al Gore or Julian Bond do.
(Emphasis mine.) Right off the bat, and for the record, I did not at any time call Betsy a hypocrite or imply that she was hypocritical. For that to be true, I would have to believe that Betsy herself was in the habit of writing hate filled attacks on liberals, which I have never seen her do. She's one of the better conservative bloggers and quite polite. As I said in the previous post, I think she actually believes Jacoby's premise, which is somewhat frightening.

First, let's take a look at exactly what Jeff Jacoby wrote, keeping in mind that Betsy wishes to leave out bloggers and wing nut letter writers, preferring to focus on "mainstream Democratic politicians and liberal members of the media." She gives us Ann Coulter right off the bat, and we could certainly fill a book with Ann's hate filled venom, but fair enough... we'll pass on Ann. So who exactly is Jacoby referencing?

Right out of the gate he goes to the old well of's anti-Bush commercial contest. First of all, I would hardly call or their PAC legitimate "media" or politicians. I've long felt they were as big a bunch of loons as the Swiftboat guys. But even if you consider them "legitimate" you need to remember the context. That was a contest where private individuals sent in commercials they made with the winner having their commercial professionally produced and put on the air. (The winner, you may recall, was a commercial showing young children working in factory jobs to pay off the Bush deficit. Hardly hateful.) One person sent in an entry comparing Bush to Hitler. Along with hundreds of others it got pumped onto their web site for members to vote on. As soon as the content was pointed out to MoveOn, they pulled it from the site. It was never voted on and it never appeared on the TV.

Jacoby next has Al Gore referring to GOP activists as "brownshirts" and Hugh Pearson (a truly awful writer) likening the GOP convention to a Nazi rally. Fair enough. We'll give you those two.

Then, in order, on his list of on "mainstream Democratic politicians and liberal members of the media" Jacoby offers us... Linda Ronstadt? A little known local councilman from Boston named Chuck Turner? Cameron Diaz? How about this one:
Commentator Ralph Peters, writing in the New York Post, accused Democrat Howard Dean of using the tactics of Hitler and Goebbels to silence his competitors.
Fair enough, but that seems to be a conservative attacking Howard Dean.

He brings up Walter Cronkite saying that the October Osama bin Laden tape was "probably set up by Karl Rove." That might qualify for tin foil hat country, but hardly hateful. Nicholson Baker's novel "Checkpoint" is up next because its plot talks about assassinating the president. Ummm... Jeff? It's a novel.

He brings up Bill Moyers saying, "I think there'd be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly. . . . The right wing is not going to accept it." Again, this hardly sounds like a rational conclusion, but hate speech? I think not. Confused speech possibly.

Jacoby then veers off again and cites Chevy Chase, cartoonist Ted Rall, an anonymous flier from Tennessee and the St. Petersburg Democratic Club. That's it, folks. That's the entire litany of hateful speech from "mainstream Democratic politicians and liberal members of the media."

We could compile our own laundry list in return, but what would be the point? The charge hasn't really even been made yet to answer. Are a bunch of Hollywood figures (who are not accountable to any vote) shooting off their mouths? Sure they are. But if they are "the media" now, we're in serious trouble.

Let's just drop in a couple of items to get Betsy started on searching for balance in this story. How about a Vice President who tells a seated member of Congress to go fuck themselves on the Senate floor? How about Timothy Carney of National Review who made repeated references to the Democrats as Nazis and likened them to Neville Chamberlain? (Another link for Carney's antics.)

Tony Blankly calling George Soros "... a Jew who figured out a way to survive the holocaust."

Michael Savage: "When you hear 'human rights', think gays... think someone who wants to rape your son."

Bill O'Reilly telling the Jews they need to go back to Israel.

The list for Rush Limbaugh is too long to even begin. And Oh My God.... we can't forget Michelle Malkin. (Yes, she blogs, but she's also a columnist and Fox contributor.) Where in the hell could we even start with Michelle Malkin? That hate and venom that spews from that woman could sink a battleship.

No, my friends. I would have to say that Jeff Jacoby has made no case at all for this argument, but the examples of conservatives firing off hate filled attacks on liberals are pretty obvious. If we want to include bloggers and commentors, then I think Betsy already acknowledges that we can find enough mud to drown in on both sides. Hell, just spend one day reading Ace of Spades, Captains Quarters or Dean's World.