Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | October 21, 2010

Wheels Now Bouncing Down Road Hitting Other Vehicles

I’ve never witnessed an implosion like what we’re seeing with the MSM and leftosphere in the last couple of weeks.  The wheels left the bus long ago – they’ve become a traffic hazard and the citizen 911 reports are flooding in.

There was the manic, reflexive pile-on when Sarah Palin said “1773.”  This one has actually been surreal.  The jokes could linger for years:  “Hey, what number should we have Sarahcuda say next?  Quick, what’s the dumbest thing we could get lefty bloggers and PBS news anchors to do?  Somebody pick a number!” Shouts from the crowd:  “1980!”  “1935!”  (Ooh, a subtle one.)  “1861!”  “1683!”  “732!”

That thread would probably go off track pretty quickly.  But it would have to go farther than that to be as irresponsible and devastating to credibility as the absolutely unthinking reaction of the left to Palin’s perfectly accurate Boston Tea Party reference.

Now comes word from multiple analysts that Christine O’Donnell’s First Amendment gaffe wasn’t a gaffe at all.  The episode was reported with inexplicable inaccuracy by Ben Evans for the Associated Press.  O’Donnell was clearly making the point that the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the First Amendment, which is correct.  In fact, it was her opponent Chris Coons who muffed his references to the wording and content of the First Amendment.  But as Aaron Worthing points out (he did the legwork comparing original and corrected Ben Evans stories), AP’s story correction – which is basically a complete rewrite with a different main implication – was done without withdrawal of the original story, at least as of Wednesday morning.  Worthing ran a Google search on each story and found the erroneous original still all over the web, beating the correction by 23K to 4K hits.

As Legal Insurrection puts it:

A literal reading of O’Donnell’s comments reflects that she was correct, but of course, the press and the blogosphere don’t want a literal reading, they want a living, breathing reading which comports with their preconceived notions.

Wanting that non-factual reading is one thing.  Manufacturing it for effect is another; but down the road they go, those bouncing wheels from the leftosphere’s bus, as they career crazily between the braking and veering cars.

Then there was the ineffably named Mr. Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch, who was well aware of two facts – first, that Joe Miller had misused borough computers in a previous job, and second, that Miller had admitted to doing so in a CNN interview in 2008 – when he pursued Miller into the bathroom at a townhall meeting and shoved a member of Miller’s security detail, all in the interest of shouting questions about the borough-computers incident to which (as is evident on the Alaska Dispatch website) he already knew the answers.  Technically, Hopfinger may not be a “leftist” – he is a supporter of Lisa Murkowski who probably styles himself an independent.  He seems to be something of a crank.  In any event, it’s transparently clear from the aggregated facts that his purpose in dogging Miller with his particular questions was to get Miller on video being embarrassed or saying embarrassing things.

It’s really cheap, if not useful at all to the pedestrian project of informing the public, to keep up this kind of media harassment.  It’s not so cheap to hire Gloria Allred to parade an illegal alien housemaid around before the media as Exhibit A in the case for employment profiling.  That’s not what Allred imagined herself to be doing, of course; she thought she was taking big pieces out of Meg Whitman’s hide.  But Californians hearing the clatter of wheels bouncing down the road past them knew exactly what was going on.  Someone – clearly not the illegal alien housemaid – paid Allred’s fee to have her point out in front of the cameras that her client had committed a crime by misrepresenting her immigration status to an employer.

It all seems so self-destructive.  Now we see that Rachel Maddow has resurrected a baseless charge against a Texas Congressman that she apparently knows to be false, but for some reason is putting out on the airwaves again.  Congressman Steve Stockman got a fax about the Oklahoma City bombing after the bomb was detonated, a sequence that has been established by law enforcement and multiple fact-checking organizations; but Maddow is retailing – again – the charge that he got it in advance of the detonation, in an obvious bid to smear him by implication with “militia” skullduggery.

Take about drive-by media.  Drive-by manufactured “implications of impropriety.”  Drive-by manufactured narratives.  My impression is that more and more people are catching on and refusing to go along with the charade any more.  There was a time when egregiously misrepresenting O’Donnell’s debate performance, or finding a way to associate Joe Miller’s name with the words “bathroom” and “altercation,” would have been a guaranteed method of sinking them with voters.  But the gambits are just too transparent, internally incoherent, and outright mendacious now.  They paint a picture American voters know, viscerally, to be false. They aren’t working any more.

For one more look at an outrageously manufactured lie retailed in the media as “news,” we can turn to something well outside the 2010 election in the United States.  The significance of this demonstrable lie is that it was reported, in the US and other Western media, much as desired by the liars who set it up – in spite of the ease with which it was almost immediately debunked.  It has a uniquely horrifying aspect too: some readers may already suspect that I’m referring to the Arab photographers who used rock-throwing children to waylay an Israeli driver southeast of Jerusalem’s Old City, thereby setting up the incident in which a young boy ran straight at the car, throwing a rock, and ended up bouncing off the front windshield as the driver braked to avoid him.

We can hope the US media won’t go to such lengths to shape the domestic political narrative.  But the difference at this point, for too many of them, is a matter of degree.  They – and indeed much of the left, including prominent public figures and Democratic campaign organizations – are prepared to shoot from the hip, fire off untruthful soundbites, and try to manufacture incidents from nothing, all in the hope that something will stick, no matter how big a misrepresentation it is.  I don’t think we’ve ever seen it this bad:  this naked and unapologetic.  It’s an epidemic, seemingly metastasizing of its own accord.  The clatter of bouncing wheels is becoming deafening.

J.E. Dyer blogs at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions” and as The Optimistic Conservative.  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.


  1. It’s not just the media–it’s the entire Left. It is not so easy to imagine what all this–the Tea Party, the coming electoral tsunami–means to them. The Left has never accepted the legitimacy of conservatism–Nixon, Reagan and Bush were not their Presidents, but something akin to a recurring fascist coup. They thought they had turned a corner in 2008–the political world had snapped back into the shape it was in circa 1964–complete democratic control of the government and a new liberal renaissance in the offing. (Remember the comments on the contentions blog and all the others from gloating leftists predicting a era of progressive governance?) Two years later, it’s all in ruins–all their policies hated and disastrous, the President around whom they wove a beguiling facade of fantasies composed of a century’s worth of leftist greatest hits (FDR, JFK, MLK and LBJ all rolling into one) exposed as a nasty, petty bungler. I find it hard to imagine myself what a catastrophe this must be for them, but I don’t need to–all I and we need to know is that they will go down kicking, screeching, snarling, biting and scratching until the very end. Let’s just see if we can make sure we get them down and keep them there.

  2. The drive-by media knows its audience. Because I’ve made my own decades’ long journey from statist to individualist and because I live in a bluer than blue region, many of my friends are still hardcore liberals.

    Watching them on facebook is pretty much akin to watch sharks feeding on chum. They are so excited every time the drive-by feeds them something new.

    Within minutes of one of those stories hitting the airways, all of my liberal facebook friends have posted them, along with condescending statements about Palin’s (or O’Donnell’s or the Republican de jour’s) stupidity. Gently bringing actual facts to their attention, rather than garnering an apology, results in fevered personal attacks, replete with lunatic references to alternative histories that would have surprised those who lived through those events.

    My hope, always, is that there are an increasing number of people who, like me, could no longer live with cognitive dissonance that is life on the left. As long as their are people comfortable with that insanity, though, the MSM will continue to have a rapt audience that ignores the broken wheels scattered about and insists, instead, that the Progressive bus is a gleaming and effective monument to the beauties of government transportation.

  3. The only thing that surprises is the lack, so far, of a genuinely potent October Surprise. There are, of course, almost two weeks left for Obama and his allies to manufacture one. Nothing is beyond them.

    • Maybe it’s not that easy to put something like that together, especially for the Democrats, especially now. For the Republicans, manufacturing a national security crisis would be the way to go (that’s how the phrase originated, right, with Democrats accusing Republicans of that sort of thing?). But what would help the Democrats, rather than highlighting their weaknesses? Can anyone imagine an event that would lead people to say, “Wow! We need to keep the Democrats in power to handle that!”

  4. Christine could have handled that part of the debate better, and she should have acknowledged that courts, like her opponent, prefer to apply Jefferson’s letter to some Baptists, rather than the actual words of the First Amendment. But I have heard her speak and argue, and she is not the dumb blonde that the brain-dead media decided to portray.

    The actual history of the 1A would be news to most reporters. Remember that it is only Congress that may make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The states were not impacted by this amendment until the nation inadvertently incorporated some, but not all, the guarantees of teh bill of rights in the 14A’s due process clause. (Due Process???? How’d it get in there? What about the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which was interpreted to provide almost no restrictions on actions by the states?)

    By the way, speaking of the media, did y’all see where National Pravda Radio sent Juan Williams to the gulag for saying that he gets nervous if there are men in traditional Muslim religious garb on the plane? All our liberties are in danger to the extent that the NPR types gain control of government.

    • The lefties who’ve coopted NPR
      Have fellow travelled a smidge too far,
      By tossing under the bus their Juan,
      They’ve finally gone and tipped the con.

  5. I think it was Mark Steyn who said that the Right wants to win the argument. The Left just wants to win.

    I try to keep an open mind about things and remember that I have conservative tendencies and that I may see things through something of a conservative lens. That being said, it’s hard not to think that the Left lowers itself to “above and beyond” disgraceful tactics to get themselves a political victory. Can you imagine a Republican Senator these days saying on the record that a potential Supreme Court judge wanted segregation and back-alley abortions? (Senator Kennedy on Robert Bork). This was a disgusting character assassination, but Kennedy had no problem doing it and the greater Left didn’t repudiate Kennedy.

    It seems as if political power in and of itself is *always* the goal and the ends always justify those means. For non-Leftists, political power is merely a means to a goal. And to assassinate someone’s character to achieve that political power is a tactic that is not often employed. And on those occasions that it is, others on the Right are much more likely to repudiate that person.

    Like I said, maybe I’m just seeing things through a conservative lens here. I’m sure someone will set me straight if need be.

  6. Can you imagine a Republican Senator these days saying……

    I doubt that Kennedy is saying it these days….
    Bork was nominated in 1987, some 23 years before these days.

    And Bork was a brilliant man, but more of a radical than William Douglas.

    In 1971, (those days) he argued that constitutional protection of free speech applied only to that which was political in nature, excluding news, literature and opinion.
    Bork also argued that 14th Amendment “equal protection” did not apply to women, but only was applicable to debar racial discrimination.

    The man who said “Judges are overwhelmingly from a very narrow segment of society, and if they begin to read their own ideals into the law, then most of society isn’t represented.”
    didn’t represent most of American society and was not given the support of moderates of either party. His nomination was judged to be unadvisable 58-42.

  7. As opposed to those Justices who legitimated McCain/Feingold, Kagan actually thinks that books can be proscribed due to their political content, try again, Frog

    • Kagan actually thinks that books can be proscribed due to their political content

      I’m interested in seeing you produce some evidence for how you know Kagan to think that, narc.

      I’d appreciate it.

  8. At any rate, Kennedy’s slander of Bork was calculated and controlled (and successful); what I think Dyer is pointing to now is something much less so–the wild swings and shots of a ruling class and its hangers-on in desperate fear of losing everything. (That’s why there’s no October Surprise–you need some coordination for that, not random swipes.) It’s a cause for worry in individual cases, like the fraudulent rock-throwing incident in Jerusalem J.E. refers to–innocent people get hurt. On a broader, political level, it’s probably a good sign–our enemies are out of real ammunition, and they’re just throwing stones themselves.

    The real cause for worry might be the Republicans, given all the signs that they might be viewing their imminent victory as a burden rather than an opportunity. But that’s what the primaries are for.


    • Sorry, narc, but arguments advance by the Solicitor General’s office are professional opinions and not evidence of personal opinions.
      If you read the link that you offered you would notice that the guy attempting this slop had to admit as much.

      • Yes, we could under no circumstances draw any conclusions about her views from the arguments she made on behalf of the administration of the President who nominated her for the court.

        • You might want to check to see which administration was in office when the case originated.

          And you sure can’t draw much of an idea of Kagan’s personal thoughts on censorship of books from it, which is what narc attempted.

          It’s a stretch of a stretch of a stretch. The government was arguing on behalf of the FEC and the McCain-Feingold Act and if you look into the specifics of the case, Malcolm L Stewart was the attorney who made the argument about books. Stewart, (in the SGs office prior to the Obama admin), got yanked off the case after that and was replaced by Kagan.

          • Who cares if it was Bush who signed this wretched, unconstitutional law? Kagan was defending the Obama Administration’s position.

            We know, at the very least, which arguments she finds plausible; we also know, from the article narsisco linked to, that she backed off when she saw the questioning wasn’t going her way. Once she’s on the court, she won’t have to back off.

            When this or a similar case comes before her on the Court, and Kagan supports the most oppressive measures in it, fuster (or some other leftist) will be back here to argue that she was displaying great wisdom and deep understanding of our constitutional traditions–and that of course we should have realized she would do that all along.

  10. Game, set and match to narciso.

  11. “The real cause for worry might be the Republicans, given all the signs that they might be viewing their imminent victory as a burden rather than an opportunity.”

    Actually, the real cause for worry is that Republican gains in upcoming elections that repudiate the left will be seen as an endorsement of the GOP by the unorganized malcontents of the Tea Party movement. That would be a mistake that could send the Republicans to the same Dewey decimal system address as the Whigs. The Republicans have promoted the statist agenda and mercantilist crony-capitalism in only a slightly different form than the left and neither is acceptable to those that feel that overgrown and oppressive government at all levels is inimical to personal freedom. A two party system that divvies up the election spoils isn’t what the Tea Party advocates have in mind.

  12. Winning the arguement versus just winning sums up the difference between most of us versus most of them. We wonder how long an intelligent, fair minded person can tolerate the cognitive dissonance of pretending that so many things make sense when they don’t. The very idea of sacrificing truth and accuracy for the greater good is an alien idea for people who truly wish to persue a righteous path. Like Charles Krauthhamer, I wonder how they can live with this routine of mendacity and hatred.

    Vanity, aggorance and the lust for power vies inside each of us with our desire for liberty, truth and justive. I can understand the difficulties of walking back beyond what is normally a path of no return for those whose entire circle of relationships is built upon a foundation of quicksand.

  13. The Left can live with it because, for them, the lies they live with pale beside the larger, fundamental falseness of the real world, filled with inequality and irrationality, behind which they see the glimpses of a true, equal and rational world–but, they have long suspected that the true world can only be brought into being on the ruins of the really existing one, so the mendacity serves the greater goal of destroying that world. They are gnostics, you see. Only the collapse of their truer world in some personal/spiritual crisis can bring them back to ours.

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