Friday, March 16, 2012

CNN Provides a Platform for a Vile Voice of the Tea Party

This may be a slightly odd, somewhat confusing post, so just hang in there. I think that the pieces will tie together … eventually.

A few weeks ago I was in Atlanta for one of my daughter’s cheerleading competitions (she did very well, thanks for asking…). Coincidentally, to the events I’m going to discuss, we happened to be staying in the Omni CNN Center hotel and took a tour of CNN after the competition was over. Anyway, on Friday night before the competition really began, my son and I found ourselves killing time in a big holding room that my daughter’s gym had rented for the weekend. He was busy playing games on his iPod touch and I … well, I think I now know why Twitter was invented. I spent my evening reading and responding to all sorts of things on Twitter.

But one tweet that evening set off a whole interesting sequence of tweets that, in a roundabout way led to this post.

Things got going about 7:15 that evening. I’d read a tweet from Charles Johnson, owner of the Little Green Footballs website. Johnson, you may remember from my post Apparently I’m Not Eligible to Run for Office as a Republican; How About You? was a conservative blogger who (in)famously parted ways with the right (that discussion is at the bottom of the previous link); his reasoning is worth reviewing. Anyway, the tweet by Johnson led me to his blog post CNN’s Dana Loesch Equates Mandatory Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound to Having Sex in which he recounts how Dana Loesch equated Virginia’s proposed trans-vaginal ultrasound to the act of having sex in the first place.

Who is Dana Loesch, you may ask. She is a Tea Party leader from St. Louis. She has her own St. Louis-based radio show and she is also an editor of Andrew Breitbart’s “Big” sites. And Loesch is now a CNN contributor, hired by the network to provide the Tea Party viewpoint to CNN’s election coverage. Wikipedia has a brief biography. She has not shied away from controversial acts or positions, whether advertising a rally at which pictures of a Congressman were burned and a coffin was carried to his house, or commending US soldiers for desecrating the bodies of Aghans they’d killed, noting that she’d like to “drop trou” and urinate on the corpses too, notwithstanding that desecration of a body in that way is a war crime.

So, anyway, back to that Friday night tweet. Following Johnson’s post about Loesch’s comments, she expressed her anger toward Johnson on Twitter and called him a pervert. One of her far-right colleagues took up the call and tossed off a somewhat offensive tweet about Johnson. Loesch then followed with this:

I wouldn't be shocked if he has to live so many miles from schools as per the law.

In other words, Loesch was suggesting that Johnson was a sex offender and thus had to live away from schools. Her colleague then wrote:

I hear sirens going off if he so much as rides his bicycle 2 close. Did U know it has a cool horn. Beep Beep - Uncle Charlie's hre!

To which Loesch responded:

'Step inside my van for some candy!'

Now, as I mentioned, it was a Friday night and I was stuck in a room at a convention center … and I was bored. So I decided to toss of a tweet of my own (DLoesch is Loesch’s twitter handle; Lizardoid is Johnson’s twitter handle):

@DLoesch Just curious: Are you alleging that @Lizardoid is a child molester? Allegations like that have consequences.

Not surprisingly, Loesch didn’t respond. But within minutes her followers did. Over the next few days, I engaged in quite a running dialogue with these people, none of whom ever made any attempt to discuss substance; rather they simply spent their time making personal attacks against both me and Johnson (he and I exchanged a few laughs over the whole thing). The two most interesting/curious parts of these events were my discovery of a few people who actually created brand new Twitter accounts for the sole purpose of sending “nastygrams” my way and being called a homophobe. Why was I called a homophobe, you ask, especially knowing what I’ve written here about gay rights or that I was the chair of a prominent gay rights organization? Ah, well you see one of these Loesch supporters called me “penis breath” in a tweet. In response, I said:

Ooh. You're soooo smart. You called me a name with a term that implies I'm gay. Wow. I'm so impressed!

And later, after further attacks from the Loesch follower, I replied:

First, where have I ever insulted women? Second, what is the point of insulting me? Does it make you macho?

Ah, I fell into a well-laid trap. For apparently, in the world of the far-right loony bin, suggesting that the term “penis breath” might be an insult is evidence of homophobia. I’m not joking. When I tried to patiently explain that I was not a homophobe and gave, as evidence, my association with Indiana Equality, the charming Loesch supporter tweeted:

By the way, that's just like saying "I can't be racist because I have a black friend".

To which I responded (and after which that crazed tweeter decided to go away…):

More like "I can't be racist because I was head of local NAACP chapter and worked hard for equal rights".

Anyway, after giving me a few good laughs and something with which to occupy myself during the cheerleading competition (when not watching my daughter or hanging out with some friends…), the whole Twitter episode died down and went away (though I did pick up some new followers and make some new online friends). I’d meant to write about this series of events but never quite got around to it. I did send several tweets to @CNN asking them why they continue to employ someone like Dana Loesch. Not surprisingly, I never heard back from them.

So why am I bringing this up again now?

Remember yesterday’s post Just How Low Can the Attacks Go? in which I discussed how a right-wing blogger had transferred the criticism of Sandra Fluke (in particular, the criticism of things that she didn’t really say) to an anti-Semitic attack on her boyfriend? Right. Well guess what Dana Loesch had to say about that anti-Semitic attack:

I appreciate his fight --> @brooksbayne .

As I’m sure you can guess, that is the Twitter handle of the author of the offensive, anti-Semitic blog post. It’s also worth noting how Brooks Bayne has taken to defending his post:

honestly, i'm glad we're having the discussion. please, read this book: it's only one book, but it'll get u started.

The book that Bayne links to is The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements by Kevin MacDonald. Who is Kevin MacDonald and why is Bayne linking to his book? Here’s what the Anti-Defamation League has to say about MacDonald:

Kevin MacDonald is an anti-Semitic tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at California State University, Long Beach, where he has worked since 1985. Couching his views as legitimate intellectual inquiry, MacDonald has asserted that anti-Semitism, including the anti-Jewish hatred exhibited by the Nazis and those who carried out the Spanish Inquisition, is a “rational” response to Judaism. MacDonald also regularly argues that Jews are a “hostile elite” in American society who undermine the country’s European heritage and traditions in an effort to "destroy Europeans."  According to MacDonald, Jews maintain their elite position by fostering non-white immigration into America to alter the country’s “racial hierarchy” and by creating intellectual movements that weaken ethnic European identity. His arguments mimic those of anti-Semites from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, he is a contributor to David Duke’s radio program and on the board of A3P (American Third Position), an avowed white supremacist group. Charming. And that’s the author who Brooks Bayne wants you to start with to understand his anti-Semitic argument against Sandra Fluke’s boyfriend. The anti-Semitic argument that Dana Loesch appreciates.

But it’s worth noting that anti-Semitism is apparently a hot topic in the Loesch household. The day before her “appreciation” of Bayne’s anti-Semitic attack, Loesch’s husband Chris accused CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien of being anti-Semitic:

She won't apologize because it's cool and edgy to be an anti-Semitic leftist right now.

What did O’Brien do to deserve that allegation? She disagreed with a Breitbart supporter in an on-air interview and argued with him over the definition of critical race theory. That Breitbart supporter, Joel Pollack, is Jewish. And what does Dana Loesch think of her husband calling one of Loesch’s fellow CNN employees anti-Semitic? Well, when Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America retweeted Chris Loesch’s tweet, Dana Loesch responded:

When will @Eric Boehlert go full Klan and hire Duke to write for MMfA? He uses his talking points.

You see, Boehlert and the folks at Media Matters for America are accused of being anti-Semitic because some people from Media Matters have been critical of Israel and of American Jewish support for Israel. I vehemently disagree with some of the things that have come from Media Matters on the subject of Israel and Jewish support for Israel, but comparing those actions, even if anti-Semitic, to the KKK and David Duke? Seriously? So you see, to Loesch only the left can really be anti-Semitic. Criticism of Jews from the right is apparently hunky dory and “appreciated”. If the left criticizes Jews for their support of Israel, that is anti-Semitic, but if the right criticizes Jews for … well … being Jewish or believing in social justice or being around other Jews … that is not anti-Semitic. At least not to people like Loesch.

So, why, one might ask, is Dana Loesh still on CNN?

And that is, I hope obviously, the purpose of this post.

Dana Loesch is entitled to have whatever loathsome points of view she wants. And I guess if a St. Louis radio station wants to continue to give her airtime, then that is their decision (though I think the exodus of advertisers from Rush Limbaugh may make for an interesting case study). But why has CNN continued to turn to Loesch for her opinion? Why is CNN providing a platform for a woman who accuses people of sex crimes, who supports (and would like to commit) war crimes, and who “appreciates” anti-Semitic arguments? CNN suspended Roland Martin for making some homophobic tweets, but Loesch is still with CNN. Why? Why does CNN feel that particular voice and viewpoint worthy of being given a televised platform from which she can call attention to her views?

Next time you hear Loesch on CNN, remember what some of her other opinions and beliefs are and factor that into what you hear her say. And remember, when you hear the Tea Party or an Andrew Breitbart supporter say that they aren’t about racism or offensive behavior, suggest that they look more carefully at one of their own national spokespeople.

One final, tangentially-related point. If the Tea Party and those opposed to President Obama really aren’t racist, then I suppose none of them will be purchasing this bumper sticker:

Crazy Talk: 'Don't Re-Nig' Bumper Sticker

Nope. No racism here. Move along.

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At Friday, March 16, 2012 8:10:00 PM , Anonymous Marco said...

Hi. Linked thru to your post from LGF and sadly not surprised Loath-esch's followers and fans went after you in the most juvenile, homophobic way possible. Before her latest appreciation of a racist's fight, I also emailed CNN (also to no response) wondering why they don't think Dana's punditry pisses on any standard of journalism they hold, even if that standard is less than lofty. When I heard they hosted the Tea Party debate, I thought my opinion of their channel could not sink any lower. How wrong was I? Dana, and her tool bag co-conspirator Erick Erickson, bring nothing but idiocy to our discourse and Santorum-like stains upon CNN's credibility. I guess we can all thank GWB and his somehow dimmer sister-in-guffaw Sarah Palin for lowering the bar of political intellectualism a mere hair-length above the ground. Ugh. But hey, you've got a new reader if nothing else. Thanks for your post and thanks for fighting the d-bags.

At Friday, March 16, 2012 11:45:00 PM , Blogger MSWallack said...

Welcome to the blog, Marco. Take your time, look around, tell me what you think.

At Saturday, March 17, 2012 1:04:00 AM , Blogger Aya Reiko said...

Skip CNN, target their advertizers. CNN will only listen when the ad men start pulling out.

At Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:08:00 AM , Anonymous Delhi Tours said...

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