“How Not To Seem Like A Racist”: If You Throw A Rock Into A Bunch Of Dogs, The One It Hits Is Gonna Holler
Writing my piece on Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson, I missed a huge example of overlap between their two sham-empires: the reporter who broke the Caller’s now-disgraced “scoop” about Sen. Robert Menendez patronizing prostitutes, Matthew Boyle, now works for Breitbart.com. And on Monday he penned the ridiculous story revealing the location of Malia and Sasha’s spring break vacation (which is now at the top of the Drudge Report).
On Twitter Monday and Tuesday, Breitbart fans attacked my focus on their hero’s bizarre racially driven crusades. They continue to insist that they’re being unfairly tarred with the charge of racism, when they’re the real “post-racialists” who just don’t like Barack Obama because he’s a liberal. I have some advice for right-wingers who don’t want it to seem like their anti-Obama animus is racial: Try treating his daughters with respect.
You’ll remember back in December, the NRA went after Sasha and Malia with an ad insisting that the fact that they have armed protection, when the administration was supposedly blocking armed security at America’s schools (actually, it wasn’t), was the height of hypocrisy – ignoring the many threats to their safety faced by the children of presidents and the tradition of Secret Service protection, for all of them.
The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper went even crazier, with a piece alleging that the girls’ school, Sidwell Friends, a Quaker school, had armed guards, too. Anyone familiar with the Quaker tradition of nonviolence found that claim strange, and of course, like most claims about the Obama family that come from the right, it turned out not to be true.
Unfortunately for the untalented Mr. Boyle, journalists have a consensus about not revealing the location of the presidents’ children’s vacations. Reporters don’t write about minor first children except when they’re attending “official or semi-official events.” It’s considered a security risk. As the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi reported last year:
The ban on such coverage has existed through many administrations by informal agreement with the White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the interests of journalists who cover the president.
“There’s a general feeling among the press corps that it wants to be respectful” of the president’s children, said Caren Bohan, the White House reporter for Reuters who is president of the WHCA.
When Agence-France Presse wrote about Malia’s trip to Mexico last year, a few U.S. outlets picked it up, and the administration tried to get the details removed. Then an earthquake in Mexico made the first daughter’s vacation newsworthy, and other sites, justifiably, reported it.
A year later, along comes the brave Matthew Boyle, fresh off his Menendez humiliation, to tell Breitbart readers about the Obama girls’ vacation. The news hook seems to be that it’s a waste of money.
“It is unclear how long the first daughters will be staying in the Bahamas, or what the cost will be to taxpayers,” Boyle harrumphs. “Earlier this month, the White House canceled public tours as a result of the recent budget sequester, citing Secret Service staffing costs.”
What possible interest does this serve, except to titillate the dark and envious nether parts of Boyle’s 22 readers? (No link, because fk that pudgy little monster.) There is no possible news value to this. Sooner or later, the frolicks of what my pal [Eric] Boehlert calls the “rightwing entertainment complex” are going to get someone killed.
The theme of most right-wing stories on Sasha, Malia and Michelle Obama’s vacations and leisure-time activities seems to be that they’re entitled princesses, when they do exactly the same kinds of things other presidents’ families have done throughout history. There’s only one difference I can see.
Drudge is also hyping the president’s vacation with the blaring headline “A vacation a month.” That’s another racially tinged trope on the right, that our first black president seems to be a little, well, lazy, because he can’t stop taking vacations. Of course, Obama is on track to take about a fifth of the vacation days George W. Bush did over his two terms. Obama took 131 vacation days in his first term – which would amount to 262 if he kept that pace in his second term. Bush took a staggering 1,060 vacation days over eight years, by far the most vacation in history (he also took the longest single presidential vacation in the modern era, a full five weeks.) Can someone explain why Obama is supposedly the vacation-hog?
Oh, and the comments on Boyle’s Breitbart.com story are pretty awesome, too. Here’s a good one:
They will indeed grow up to be monsters. Very, very, angry and vengeful monsters. Just like momma…
Especially after they are forced to visit their obamination of a father in a federal penitentiary following his impeachment and conviction for Treason…
Although I’d far prefer they visit his plot occasionally following his hanging for treason.
Boyle is perfect for his new employer (although he was a pretty good fit for the Daily Caller, too). In a post explaining why he jumped ship (which didn’t mention the higher salary he got), he bragged about “enlisting in Andrew Breitbart’s army … I’m shipping out today. It’s time to go to war.”
A war on the president’s daughters? Boyle ought to talk to some veterans of actual war. What a putz.
Paul Farhi’s story on the media’s traditional treatment of first children quoted Democratic pollster Celinda Lake on the political appeal of Obama’s family: “The value of the family is enormous. The more you know this family and the more you think of Barack Obama in these terms, the harder it is to vilify him.”
That’s true for the vast majority of Americans. But not the haters and racists who belong to Breitbart’s “army.”
By: Joan Walsh, Editor at Large, Salon, March 26, 2013
“Genuinely Crazy Or Brain Dead”: Republican Congressman Steve Stockman Invites Ted Nugent To State Of The Union
Ted Nugent, the unhinged former rock star who’s now best known for his repeated threats against President Obama, will be in attendance at the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Nugent’s invitation comes from genuinely crazy congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX), whom Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy has aptly described as “the closest his state ever came to electing a gun.” Stockman — who is supported by every major “gun rights” organization, has sponsored legislation banning all background checks, waiting periods, and registration of firearms, and threatened to impeach the president over his gun safety executive orders — presumably invited Nugent as a counterweight to the more than 20 gun violence survivors who will be in attendance.
“I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” Representative Stockman said in a statement Monday. “After the address, I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”
Nugent has had plenty to say leading up to the address. An NRA board member, Nugent has repeatedly threatened Obama over the president’s support for gun safety measures. In January Nugent referred to Obama as “an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom” and warned “if you want another Concord Bridge, I got some buddies.” In April, 2012, Nugent’s claim that he “will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if Obama won re-election drew Secret Service attention.
Stockman’s decision to invite Nugent is almost certain to backfire on the Republican Party politically, given the contrast it creates with Republican leaders such as Eric Cantor’s attempts to moderate the GOP’s tone. If Republicans really want to stop being the “stupid party,” then step one should be staying far, far away from the likes of Nugent.
By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, February 11, 2013
Abusing a president is fair game. It is practically an American pastime.
Abusing his spouse is usually tasteless, but spouses have become political surrogates, and they have to expect a little rough-and-tumble now and again.
But abusing a president’s children? Practically daring the harmful, the hateful and the hideous in our society to make them targets? How shameless do you have to be to do that?
Ask the National Rifle Association.
That organization has been running a Web video verbally targeting the president’s two daughters. I do not suggest the NRA actually desires them to come to harm. I am (reasonably) sure nobody in the upper reaches of the NRA is that morally depraved.
But the NRA is using its members’ dues not to protect the rights of hunters, which is what the group used to do, but to run a video twisting the Secret Service protection of the president’s children to aid those who make a fortune by manufacturing and selling guns.
The ad says that armed guards protect the president’s children but that because the president thinks armed guards in every school might not be a sensible idea, he is an “elitist hypocrite.”
In point of fact, the president has never said he absolutely opposes armed guards in every school.
What he said on “Meet the Press” recently was: “I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools.”
He is skeptical. I am skeptical. Columbine High had an armed guard, and 12 students and one teacher were still murdered.
What I am not skeptical about is that the family of our president needs Secret Service protection.
What I am not skeptical about is that raising the question of the safety of the president’s daughters was not just repulsive, but dangerous. Yes, the president’s daughters live in a mansion called the White House, and they have servants and their own bowling alley and get to go around in (armored) limousines.
But come on. They are kids. They are 14 and 11. Do you think they really like the protective bubble they have to live in?
And do you think they are not at special risk requiring special protection?
“To go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
I would call Carney’s statement downright restrained.
A few hours later, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced their own ambitious gun control plans. Some parts of it can be accomplished immediately by the president through executive action (though keep in mind, what one president does, a later president can undo).
And some can be accomplished only by Congress, a body so dysfunctional that it has become an elephants’ graveyard of hope.
But the president made one thing clear: What he wants to do about guns, he wants to do for America’s children.
“This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe,” he said. “This is how we will be judged.”
He said he believes the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. “I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen,” he said. “I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.”
There is nothing in the president’s proposals that would keep a hunter from hunting or a target shooter from shooting. Changing a gun magazine every 10 rounds is not a burdensome task.
Having a background check for people who buy guns at gun shows is not a unique abridgement of personal freedom. Their personal “freedom” is already abridged. And by gun shows, I know this because I have been checking the websites of gun shows, and a lot seem to have the same rule: no loaded guns allowed.
“No loaded firearms and no loaded magazines are permitted in any Crossroads gun show,” one site said. “Your personal safety is our No. 1 priority while you are at the show.”
Personal safety? I thought loaded guns created personal safety.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, said a week after the massacre at Newtown Elementary School in Connecticut.
So I don’t get it. What if a “bad guy” with a loaded gun, who had become deranged by playing a video game (which is one of the NRA’s greatest fears), barged into a gun show? Wouldn’t we want a whole bunch of “good guys” with loaded guns to stop him?
So why disarm people at gun shows?
Because “personal safety” is the No. 1 priority, that’s why.
And that’s why we have to reduce the easy availability of guns in our society and ban military-style assault weapons and large-capacity gun magazines.
As Obama said Wednesday: “If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors; if hunters and sportsmen; if responsible gun owners; if Americans of every background stand up and say, ‘Enough. We’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue,’ then change will come.”
For some, it will come too late. For some, it has already come too late.
But enough is enough.
By: Roger Simon, Politico, January 16, 2013
By any objective measurement of newsprint or bandwidth devoted to the topic, the dominant “news” story of this week is the scandal involving Secret Service agents hiring hookers while advancing a presidential trip to Colombia. It seemed at first that the preoccupation with this small, sordid drama was just another example of the tabloidization of the MSM, and would disappear from the national radar screen the minute some entertainment celebrity did something even dumber.
But lo and behold, it seems that the conservative media apparatus is huffing and puffing to blow this up into a meaningful moment in the presidential campaign. At the tip of the spear, naturally, is Sarah Palin, who has exploited the fact that one of the agents in the case was assigned to her protection in 2008 and has allowed as how he “checked her out.” Since she’s now part of “the story,” she has zero inhibitions about explaining to Americans why this is another talking point in the case for firing Barack Obama:
“Well, this agent who was kind of ridiculous there in posting pictures and comments about checking someone out,” Palin told Greta van Susteren on her FOX News program. “Well check this out, bodyguard — you’re fired. And I hope his wife sends him to the doghouse. As long as he’s not eating the dog, along with his former boss. Greta, you know, a lot of people will just, I guess say that this is boys being boys. And boys will be boys, but they shouldn’t be in positions of authority.
“It’s a symptom of government run amok, though, Greta,” Palin said on the Thursday broadcast of “On the Record” on FOX News. “Who is minding the store here? And when it comes to this particular issue of Secret Service, again, playing with the taxpayer’s dime and playing with prostitutes and checking out those whom they are guarding….”
“The president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government, has got to start cracking down on these agencies. He is the head of the administrative branch and all of these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments. The buck stops with the president. And he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. He has to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss,” she said.
Palin is apparently alluding, as many other hostile commentators have done in connection with the Secret Service brouhaha, to the other Lite Scandal in the news recently, the GSA conference in Las Vegas that involved clowns, fortune tellers, a rap video and other wasteful expenditures. As it happens, of course, heads did roll at GSA, whose top three officials were fired or quit very soon after the Vegas extravaganza came to light. Heads appear to be rolling at the Secret Service as well; indeed, the dude who “checked out” Sarah Palin is no longer employed, and it’s certain some of his superiors will soon be cleaning out their desks as well.
What Palin and others like her have in mind is something very different: “cracking down” on “government run amok” in the form of the Affordable Care Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Medicaid program, the food stamp program, and all sorts of public policies, services and investments that have zero to do with GSA, the Secret Service, or with clowns and hookers. It’s a “story-line” run amok, and even Sarah Palin knows enough about government to understand that.
By: Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly Political Animal, April 20, 2012
“They Do It Because We Don’t Stop Them”: Disrespect For The President And The Office Of The Presidency
My favorite song is “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. And many will tell you, respect is earned. But in some cases, it’s a given. Example? The office of the president of the United States of America. You might not like or respect the man, but you’ve got to respect the office. This is a concept many Americans agree on, even if they disagree ideologically.
Although I’m not that old a broad yet, I am seeing a growing number of Americans disrespect not only the man in the Oval Office, but the office of the president. It seems the older I get, the less respect Americans have for our commander in chief. And I wonder why that is.
One possibility is we as a nation do not hold persons who are disrespectful toward a president accountable for their actions.
This week alone we have seen two examples of great disrespect for our president and the office he holds. And where is the outrage?
1. Secret Service agents allegedly being “serviced’ by prostitutes: On a flight from New York to Los Angeles, I recently read a story by a former Secret Service agent for the late President John F. Kennedy. He never forgave himself for being close to the president, yet not close enough to stop the shooting of the president (to take a bullet for him) when JFK was shot in Dallas. Still, to this day, it haunts him. He respected both the president and the first lady. He took his job seriously, and his job was to protect the president. He not only respected the man and the office, he respected his own position, his duty, and his country. The recent reported behavior by the 11 Secret Service agents makes me wonder, if they could be so disrespectful to those women, to another country, and to our own country and the positions they hold, how could they protect our president? And what disrespect to that man, the office, and our country. How times have changed.
2. Ted Nugent and his violent rhetoric: At a recent National Rifle Association convention, these words were uttered by Ted Nugent: “I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” And: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?” And further, Nugent warned listeners that if they did not “get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.” He added: “If the coyote’s in your living room, pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him.” He also denounced the administration as “criminals” and said a Democratic victory in November would mean “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year”—an apparent reference to President Obama’s boyhood time there.
Now the Secret Service is speaking to him about “what he meant” when he said he would be dead or in jail; I’m more concerned with what he meant when he said he wanted the National Rifle Association members to “chop their heads off in November.”
Some will say this is just Nugent being a loudmouth, he isn’t really threatening the president. Perhaps that is true, but what about the idiot who will follow Nugent’s words and make a true threat or attempt to carry out such violent rhetoric? Have we learned nothing from the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords?! When will the use of such language stop?! And the disrespect!
Why is it OK to speak so disrespectfully about a Democratic president, but if the same were said about a Republican, it would be consider unpatriotic or perhaps even treason?
Although I might anger many of you with what I’m about to write, I truly, truly believe it in my heart. I feel that the Secret Service and Ted Nugent, consciously or otherwise, feel it is OK to disrespect the president because of his skin color.
No other president’s birth right has been questioned. No other president has been portrayed as a monkey on a porch, mimicking a terrible, terrible racial slur. No other president has been portrayed physically on a billboard as Hitler—more than once. Shall I go on?
The bottom line? Threatening anyone’s life is wrong, whether Democrat or Republican, and especially our commander in chief. Respect the office. Hold those accountable who use such violent rhetoric; they do it because we don’t’ stop them. And if you disagree with someone, don’t threaten to shoot them. I disagree with my husband all the time, and he is very, very much alive.
By: Leslie Marshall, U. S. News and World Report, April 18, 2012