Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sharron Angle and David Vitter don the hooded masks with their fake 'scary immigrant' ads

-- by Dave

The other day National Review ran an open letter from Dennis Prager to Hispanics in which he assured them they would always be better off voting Republican, even though it might seem like right-wingers are hellbent on deporting 12 million Latinos these days. Among his soothing assurances:

Those who tell you it is racism or xenophobia are lying about their fellow Americans for political or ideological reasons. You know from your daily interactions with Americans that the vast majority of us treat you with the dignity that every fellow human being deserves. Your daily lives are the most eloquent refutation of the charge of racism and bigotry. The charge is a terrible lie. Please don’t believe it. You know it is not true.

Um, right. Does Prager really believe this?

Because if he actually, you know, knew any Hispanics he would know that they live in America under a constant cloud: Regularly treated as subhumans -- indeed, regularly labeled "illegal aliens," a classic dehumanizing trope -- and threatened constantly with being swept up in a Kafkaesque immigration system, even if they are here legally. Depicted with demeaning racial stereotypes, and treated by the Anglo public accordingly. Demonized as "criminals" simply for their presence here. And as a result, increasingly at risk of being the victim of a Latino-bashing hate crime.

And the people who make this kind of racist dehumanization a regular part of their daily business? The American Right, of course.

Exhibit A: The vicious political ads being run by Republicans Sharron Angle in Nevada and David Vitter in Louisiana, both using phony stock footage of "illegal aliens" sneaking in over our borders. The racist stereotyping in these ads is so clear and startling that Angle and Vitter might as well have just donned their Klan hoods.

Observes Adam Serwer:

Her campaign's latest ad, attacking Reid for his support of the DREAM Act, which Greg mentioned earlier in his roundup, is as despicable as it is desperate. In its naked appeal to racial animus against Latinos, it rivals the infamous 1988 "Willie Horton" ad deployed against Michael Dukakis.

The ad features a trio of "illegal immigrants" looking for a way to cross a chain link fence, as the word "illegal" flashes across the screen in bright red letters. After making previously debunked claims accusing Reid of pushing for "tax breaks" for "illegals," it goes after Reid's support of the DREAM Act, which would offer a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16 and who go to college or serve in the military. The ad says Reid wants to give "preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens," presumably referring to the fact that it would allow undocumented residents in a given state to qualify for in-state tuition.

Note that, despite the fact that the DREAM Act would specifically apply to undocumented immigrants who had no choice in being here and are diligent, patriotic and Americanized enough to attend college or commit to sacrificing their lives for their adopted country, Angle's campaign makes them out as smug, intimidating Latino migrants who came here deliberately in order to take advantage.

Andrea Nill reports:

The racial overtones of the ad are so offensive that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has called it blatantly “racist”and is demanding not only an apology but that the ad be pulled altogether. WDSU reports:

“We found the ad to be totally abhorrent and shocking, and I’m going to use the ‘R’ word and say racist,” said Darlene Kattan, of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana.

Kattan said her issue is not with the senator’s position on border security, but rather how he presents his message. “In this ad, he has these Hollywood stereotypes, caricature-types portraying Latino workers,” Kattan said. “First of all, he uses the word ‘illegal’ so many times.” [...]

“To Sen. David Vitter, we are saying you owe us an apology, we are offended, we expect an immediate apology and we expect this ad to be yanked from the airwaves immediately,” Kattan said.

And as Melissa Bell reports, some of the scary-looking "illegal aliens" pictured in the ads weren't actually illegal at the time -- they were photographed in Mexico!

Ah, nothing like that GOP outreach to Hispanics, eh? Just keep soothing them that this really isn't racism, when it's as plain as the nose on your face, Dennis Prager -- I'm sure that will really help win you some voters. For Democrats.
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Gee, I wonder if Fox will send out its ambush TV news crews after Charles Leaf

-- by Dave

Well, will ironies never cease:

A woman answered the door this afternoon at the Wyckoff home of Fox 5 news reporter Charles Leaf — where authorities say he sexually abused a 4-year-old girl — but the woman declined to speak to reporters.

A second woman arrived at the house later, going inside without speaking to reporters.

The award-winning Leaf, who is married with two children, was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. The house, a renovated Cape Cod with a three-car garage and dormers near the roof, is in a modest neighborhood in Wyckoff.

The child is an acquaintance, according to authorities. Leaf is being held in the Bergen County Jail on $250,000 bail and will be arraigned on Nov. 4 in Wyckoff Municipal Court.

Leaf, an ex-Marine, joined the station in 2006 and is the station’s investigative and general-assignment reporter who has covered national stories, including the Bernard Madoff scandal and the proposed development of a mosque near the World Trade Center site, according to his résumé on

A spokesperson for the station said Fox 5 was aware of the situation and was reviewing it.

The last time we saw Charles Leaf, he was busy chasing hapless accountants with a camera while ostensibly pursuing the financiers of the "Ground Zero mosque," all in the name of another Fox News just-coincidentally-Islamophobia-baiting "investigation".

As we observed at the time:

It's bad enough that they sicced their camera crews on a bunch of unsuspecting bankers, accountants and real-estate developers who are, unsurprisingly, not willing to have their lives destroyed by a scandal-mongering bunch of fake journalists on a witch hunt. But the pernicious part of this kind of reportage is the way that it implies guilt -- for some unnamed misdeed -- simply in the refusal to go on-camera.

We have long said that this style of pseudo-journalism is a violation of a whole raft of basic ethic standards for real journalists. The Fox crews disgracefully badger people outside their homes, and choose targets not merely for some official misdeed but, in some cases, merely for writing or saying something the reporter didn't like.

And this kind of reportage is even more clearly unethical, because it victimizes a bunch of ordinary citizens whose only misdeed is being associated in business dealings with an unpopular project. That's deeply disturbing.

Just remember: Whenever a Fox crew gets near you, simply repeat the magical words, "Andrea Mackris". They'll go away, as do all plagues eventually.

Somehow, I can't see Charles Leaf saying those words. Nor do I see him having to.

But then, Bill O'Reilly got all worked up the other night over his favorite new race-baiting bit -- "the New Black Panthers" case -- which he then connected to Meg Whitman's fired maid (don't ask me, you have to see the video to understand).

If the DOJ doesn't go after the nanny, O'Reilly asserted, it would be just like them ignoring the "New Black Panthers"!

So, Bill: If you don't go after Charles Leaf and harass him in his home -- for that matter, if you don't even bother to report on his arrest, particularly not on the shows where he appeared regularly (we're looking at you, Megyn Kelly) -- will that be proof positive that Fox News is nothing but a hack propaganda operation, a complete journalistic sham?

Well, yeah. But we already knew that.

[Crossposted at Crooks and Liars.]

Friday, October 08, 2010

Brent Bozell whines that librul media keeps painting Tea Partiers as nutcases. Actually, they do that by themselves

-- by Dave

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Brent Bozell of the right-wing "watchdog" Media Research Center was a guest on Hannity last night, whining about how the mean librul media keep painting those poor innocent wholesome upstanding realamerican Tea Partiers as extremists -- it's just so unfair!

Bozell, like Miss Anne Elk, has his theory:

Bozell: Yeah, let's understand what's going on here, Sean. If you were a Democrat running for re-election, and you wanted to run on your record, on the record of the Democrats, are you going to run on an agenda that calls for the nationalization of the banks, the socialization of health care, massive new tax increases, out-of-control deficit spending? If you want to look at an extreme agenda, it is the Democrats' agenda.

Um, excuse the brief interruption here, but, WTF? Who exactly is calling for nationalizing the banks or imposing massive new tax increases? And "socializing health care"? It's true that liberal Democrats called for a public option, but that is a plan that would preserve private health care as well. Bozell is just making crap up -- which, in fact, he has a long history of doing.

Bozell: They have only one option, which is to say, 'You may not like us, but those Republicans, they're even worse.' And that's what these attacks on the Tea Parties are all about.

Now, if Democrats want to do that, that's fine, it's politics. But what's reprehensible is that the liberal media are carrying their water for them every single night with these attacks on the Tea Parties.

This was followed by an amusing exchange with Hannity in which they whined about how poor Carl Paladino and his 10-year-old daughter have been treated unethically by the New York Post. Oh, is that that the liberal New York Post, fellas? Hahahahahahaha.

Bozell summed it all up with his theory, and what it is too:

Bozell: Sean, we watched this happen all year long, where the media will wade into a Tea Party even with hundreds of thousands of people, looking for that one brain-dead Lyndon LaRouche follower who isn't even a member of the Tea Party, who will say some crackjob, whacko thing, they'll put it all over the news.

Actually, you don't have to dive far into the Tea Parties to find them saying crackjob whacko things. After all, the "Birther" theory that President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim is believed by a majority of Tea Partiers. They continue to believe that Obama is going to institute "death panels," that he's going to take their guns, or any of the other top 10 provably untrue things Tea Partiers believe.

Which includes, by the way, the claim that Obama is raising their taxes (he actually passed the largest middle-class tax cut in history) or that he's going to nationalize the banks. Things that people like Brent Bozell and Sean Hannity glibly repeat as truth on national television.

But really, the media didn't have to wade into the crowds to find the nutcases spewing extremism at Tea Party events: They only needed to go listen to the events' official speakers.

After all, who can forget Joseph Farah of World Net Daily at the National Tea Party Convention, assuring everyone that that Birther theories were all perfectly true:

Farah: I have a dream. My dream is that IF Barack Obama even seeks re-election as president in 2012, he won’t be able to go to any city, any town, any hamlet in America without seeing signs that ask, “Where’s the birth certificate?

It’s a simple question and it has not been answered despite what Bill O’Reilly will tell you.

The rest of the media think it’s ridiculous, which makes me certain it’s one of the most important questions we can be asking. It really hits the target. Polls now show 33 percent of Californians either believe Obama was born outside the country or have doubts about his alleged Hawaiian birth. Nationwide it’s closer to 50 percent. Even significant numbers of Democrats have doubts.

But the media and the politicians keep pretending it’s all been settled.

I say if it’s been settled, show us the birth certificate.

And then there were the folks at the Fourth of July Tea Parties in 2009, before everyone had twigged to the reality that they needed to tone things down:

Usually, your designated speakers are not the nutcases who hang out on the fringe. But at all too many Tea Party events, there's no difference.

The "liberal media" don't have to twist anything to make the Tea Parties look extremist. The Tea Partiers manage to do that all on their own.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sarah Palin and Hannity whine about Obama and Dems' 'politics of destruction' -- then laud McMahon's nasty smear ad

-- by Dave

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Ah, the piteous whine of the crested Republican, heard everywhere whenever Democrats hit back: It's those mean liberals and their 'politics of personal destruction'!

Of which, of course, they are perfectly innocent.

Thus we had Sarah Palin last night, kvetching all over Sean Hannity's Fox News show, about how the recent poll numbers ginned up at Fox showing Republicans winning the entire planet, "because Sean, what this means is that the left will become even more and more desperate and adamant to destroy those who are running on a common-sense conservative agenda."

They whined especially loudly about Alan Grayson's "Taliban Dan" ad and other "smears":

Palin: Remember what they are doing -- this is coming from Obama's presidential campaign book, which goes back to Alinsky's campaign book, Rules For Radicals, which Obama and Michelle Obama have quoted from. And that is the politics of personal destruction, perhaps will be the only thing you have on your opponent, and so you make things up about them. You lie, you spin, you do whatever you can, and you use a complicit media to assist you in this, left-wing media to assist you in this. So these candidates just need to be prepared for those rules of radicals to be applied to them. They need to stay on message, they need to stay optimistic.

Yeah, we remember the 2008 campaign, when Palin was busy attacking Obama as a radical who "palled around with terrorists" and making stuff up about him. Come to think of it, she's still doing it here! But hey, that's not personal destruction. Nuh-uh.

A few minutes later, Hannity ran Linda McMahon's nasty ad accusing Richard Blumenthal of being a liar, calling it "hard hitting and truthful" -- when in fact it's actually just a willful distortion and a smear job of the lowest order. Indeed, everyone in Connecticut is aware that it's all just a McMahon hit job.

But Hannity loved it. So did Palin.


[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Megyn Kelly gives Joe Miller another shot at endorsing Palin's presidential bid. He declines

-- by Dave

Well, the popcorn is a popping: After the revelations in Mudflats that Todd and Sarah Palin were pissed about his lackluster, noncommittal answer as to whether he would support Sarah's candidacy for President, Joe Miller went on Megyn Kelly's show this morning on Fox and got another shot at it -- and declined.

Along the way, he managed to raise the question: Is Joe Miller a Birther?

Check it out:

KELLY: So let me just ask you, let me just put it out there then -- are you willing to say now whether you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president?

MILLER: You know, I'll tell you the exact same thing that I just said this last week, while I was in D.C. And that is, she, if she puts her name in the hat, and that's totally up to her, there are a number of others that are there as well, any one of which would make a far better presidential candidate than what we've got right now in the Oval Office. But her decision to run is hers and hers alone, it's not our decision as to whether or not she runs. It certainly is a sideline to what's going on now in Alaska. And we aren't going to fall into the trap, again, that the media's trying to plant, create as some sort of a struggle between the Murkowskis and the Palins, because that is not what this race is about --

KELLY: I hear you, honestly, I'm not trying to ,lay any trap. I'm just wondering, you know -- she endorsed you, she and Todd Palin were clearly upset you wouldn't say whether she was qualified. And I wanted to give you the chance to say yes or no. It sounds like you're not really going to say yes or no.

MILLER: Well, no -- let me make this unequivocal. She's done phenomenal things for this country, there's no question about that. She's elevated the debate critical to our race, and let me tell you also, we know what qualified means, don't we? We know that we have a constitutional requirement for somebody that's gonna run for President. Of course she's qualified.

Well, Todd issued a statement saying he had just misunderstood Miller, but really, there's no misunderstanding this: Joe Miller refuses to endorse Palin as a presidential candidate.

Can't imagine he'll be pleased with a mere endorsement of her bare constitutional qualifications, since everyone running meets them -- everyone, it seems, but certain Kenyan-born Muslims.

Because that seems to be what Miller is referencing by emphasizing "we have a constitutional requirement for somebody that's gonna run for President". Earlier, Miller was emphatic that the current occupant of the Oval Office is unqualified.

It sure sounds like Miller is a believer in the Birther theories. It's about time someone asked Miller about this. If, that is, he'll let them.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Fox guest Lars Larson thinks 'racist' blacks should be 'ashamed' of their support for President Obama

-- by Dave

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It's getting pathetic really, how eager conservatives are to accuse black people of racism these days -- a la Andrew Breitbart and his various Shirley-Sherrod-like smear jobs. Aren't these the same folks who squeal piteously that "racist is the worst thing you can call anybody" whenever it's a right-winger who indulges it?

For instance, that recent Gallup poll finding support for President Obama still strong among blacks but down to only 36 percent among whites was evidence of "racism" among blacks, according to wingnut talk-show host Lars Larson yesterday on Fox's America Live with Megyn Kelly:

Larson: Well, it tells you that black Americans, for whatever reason, have decided to support this president, and it's hard not to read the race bias in that. To suggest that the president has failed, his policies have failed, he doesn't appear to be listening to the American public, and the American public has figured that out. And the only ones who are still solidly supporting him by 91 percent, are people who happen to share his skin color. So it's hard not to see that that support is because of his skin color.

And I would think that if this was reversed, if this was white voters supporting a white candidate in the face of overwhelming failure, then people would say they're supporting him because they're being racist. I think black Americans should be ashamed of those numbers.

Yeah, OK, I wound up with coffee all over my keyboard when I heard that one too.

See, Lars, it may be hard for a white guy from Portland to get this, but here's how this racism thing works:

Racism, once again, is all about believing one's race to be superior to all others, and concomitantly that all other races are inferior -- and it always emphasizes dehumanizing attacks, demonization, and character slurs in the process of establishing that inferiority.

So it is in fact racist to be ready to jump the gun and condemn someone of another race as being a failure -- with only the slimmest of evidence, and plenty of counterevidence.

It's not racist to refuse to join in that condemnation, particularly if you're a member of that race -- and particularly if that race has a history of being prematurely condemned as failures. Quite the contrary: this is known as standing up to racism.

So you know, when you're busy throwing President Obama under the bus and accusing black people of "racism," you're actually just raising real issues about just why so many white people are eager to do so -- issues that you and Megyn Kelly prefer to bury under groundless charges of racism.

And it's funny: the approval ratings for President Bush never broke the numbers down by race, so we can't be sure. But my recollection is that the tiny, sub-30-percent of Americans who still supported President Bush late in his tenure were almost 100 percent white.

And yes, they did so in the face of manifest and abject failure: Bush's presidency was the most catastrophic of any in our lifetimes.

But I sure didn't hear anyone accusing those bitter-enders of racism at the time. Particularly not from the likes of Lars Larson -- who was adamantly among them.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Beck points to pledge recitals to compare the Lincoln Memorial rallies. Here's footage he says he couldn't find from One Nation

-- by Dave

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Glenn Beck yesterday decided to compare his "Restoring Honor" rally to Saturday's One Nation rally by the usual Beckian means: contrasting his audience with the "radicals" -- "communists, revolutionaries, people who have called for the destruction of America." -- who showed up for the more recent rally.

How did he know they were radicals? Because they were "carrying giant signs bragging" about being socialists -- in contrast to to Beckapalaooza, where "there weren't any signs because the people who came weren't professional protestors or agitators." Of course, he didn't bother noting that he had also pleaded with his audience not to bring signs.

But my favorite moment in the comparison came when he decided to run the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance from 8/28 side by side with the one from One Nation -- well, sorta. See, he of course had footage from 8/28, which featured (as you can see on YouTube) just a single white Boy Scout leading the pledge. This was perfectly fitting, considering the unbearable whiteness of Beck's crowd -- another big difference Beck managed to overlook.

When it came time to show the One Nation side, though, he claimed he didn't have footage of people delivering the pledge: "We didn't have any footage because it was pre-show -- why, you know, make it part of the show". Instead, in order to show that people at One Nation weren't as respectful by placing their hands over their hearts, he could only run a single still photo.

This is more than just absurdly stacking the deck; it is just a flat-out lie. I recorded the Pledge while I was there, and the timestamp on my video shows it was shot at 12:19 p.m. -- well after the show had begun.

So I've run it here, and I think it's obvious why Team Beck mysteriously couldn't "find" the footage: Not only is it clear that people are engaged and respectful, but the Pledge was recited by a lovely gathering of schoolchildren of all ages, colors, and creeds, and not just a single white male.

In other words, it was perfectly emblematic of the REAL differences between the crowds: One looked like America -- the real America. The other looked like a conservative talk-show host's vision of America: Bizzarro Planet Beck.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

GOP's Dino Rossi gets Hannity job, touts campaign. Unmentioned: His foreclosure business.

-- by Dave

We're going to have to start calling it a "Hannity Job": If you're a Republican candidate, you can go on TV, get free airtime, and get stroked by Sean Hannity! All thanks to Fox News, the Republican propaganda network that puts it money where its mouths are.

Last night it was Dino Rossi's turn. Rossi is the Establishment Republican who actually managed to defeat the Tea Party candidate in Washington state, and he's giving Sen. Patty Murray -- a steady progressive vote from the Northwest, and a player on the Appropriations Committee -- a run for her money. A few things went unmentioned, as usual, including the fact that the state's Tea Party candidate, Clint Didier, refused to endorse Rossi. (Rossi declined when Didier demanded he pay obeisance to the Tea Party agenda.) And then there's Rossi's millions made from foreclosures after the housing bubble burst.

You see, there's a reason Dino Rossi wasn't a favorite of the Tea Party crowd: He ain't no populist.

As TPM reported last summer:

Rossi's day job entails very publicly helping rich people profit off the misfortune of those unlucky enough to have obtained a mortgage in the last four years or so. And that's leaving some in Washington a little confused about his priorities.

Rossi is a former gubernatorial nominee, and national Republicans are stoked about him now that he's decided to run for Senate against incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D). Sticking with the job he had before he announced his candidacy, Rossi has decided stay on as the headline speaker for a series of seminars advising real estate speculators on how to profit off the collapsed mortgage market. Today, his spokeperson told Salon that he plans do more before he's done.

The Democrats are reminding voters, too:

We'll be hosting Senator Murray here for a live chat Thursday the 7th from 5 to 6 p.m. Be sure to tune in. And be prepared to help out if you can. Her seat is one of the important ones.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]