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Why Do I Care?

I suppose it bothers me that blogger-with-a-paycheck Sheila Lennon, representing the primary Rhode Island newspaper, the Providence Journal, would link with glowing approval to a foul-mouthed, uninformed racist of a mock reporter. Matt Taibbi covered the "peace" protests in Washington in the way that one would expect from a raving liberal.

First, he hit an earlier counter protest by Marines and Other Veterans Engaging Outrageous Un-American Traitors (MOVE-OUT). His major complaint was that he didn't get exclusive footage:

After all, one would be hard-pressed to think of any circumstance not involving a pro-government counter-demonstration in which 40 journalists from major news organizations would attend a 9 a.m. weekend rally involving 80 illiterate morons. To use the Russian expression, crayfish will whistle in the mountains before 80 environmentalists in a park on a Saturday morning draw so much as a college radio intern, much less 40 of the country's heaviest press hitters. The mere presence of so much press at MOVE-OUT was monstrous.

Why so much press? Getting an early start on a major protest day? Nah, no doubt all of those reporters went home before the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally. Funny that I, with my conservative leanings, received the most coverage of MOVE-OUT from a left winger complaining that it got too much coverage. Of course, I don't get most of my news from those government mouthpieces in the mainstream media.

Perhaps in the alternate reality in which one can cast the right wing, pro-government, pro-war bias of Reuters and the New York Times as self evident, it is perfectly fine to let slip the term "Oreo" in a non-cookie sense to describe a "traitorous black person representing the [pro-war] 'cause' (Kevin Martin, head of the 'African-American Republican Leadership Council')":

My hands were numb because I had kept them out of my pockets for long stretches in a frantic attempt to record for posterity the amazing rhetoric of the MOVE-OUT speakers. Some of the speeches were of a type not seen since Bluto rallied the troops in Animal House. Only this slapstick comedy, this was real. Martin, the corpulent Oreo, gave a typical speech:

"Our troops have always been there for us," he said, "from the time of World War I, when our soldiers beat back the fascists in France...."

I turned to Paul. "France?" I said. "Fascists? What the f*** is he talking about?"

Paul shrugged. "Forget it," he said. "He's on a roll."

Well, let's see what Encarta has to say about World War I in France, Mr. Oh-So-Superior Reporter:

Most of the decisive land campaigns of World War I occurred on the continent of Europe. The two chief centers of operations were the western front and the eastern front. On the western front, German armies confronted those of the British Empire, France, Belgium, and, later, the United States. Most of the fighting on this front took place in northeastern France. The trenches of the western front ran from the North Sea to the border of Switzerland.

Perhaps Mr. Martin misspoke and meant World War II (perhaps Taibbi misheard), or perhaps he was applying "fascists" in the generic sense to the predecessors of Fascists. Either way, Taibbi's reaction has the biting flavor of historical ignorance mixed with puerile arrogance. From this dubious beginning, Taibbi goes on to insult the veterans, antagonize the reporters, and join the "peace" rally, from the midst of which he reports:

If the snapshot the media got from Seattle was a gang of hippies standing in front of a row of broken store windows, the picture from this one should rightly have been seven lonely college Republicans cringing behind a "Hippies Go Home" banner high up on a balcony as tens of thousands of obvious non-hippies screamed for them to come down to the street level for an ass-whipping.

I guess he did want some coverage of the Republicans, after all. And how peaceful those threats of bodily harm. Oh, wait a sec, Taibbi hasn't used the word "peace" yet. In fact, he doesn't do so until he laments the arrival of actual peaceniks:

Thanks to the wires, the TV networks, and even small-time flunkies like Eric DuVall, they were made the official face of the anti-war movement. It's that easy to hide a few hundred thousand people in this country.

I'm not sure whom Mr. Taibbi would label as the "real" protestors. He's apparently aware of the coverage of the front of the rally involving A.N.S.W.E.R. However, his only mention of the group's politics involves the "peripheral" story about "the uncertain future of the protest leadership (the reported affiliation of A.N.S.W.E.R. with the Workers' World Party was an uncomfortable undercurrent that ran through the entire event)."

Put two and two together and what you get is the amazing realization that this crowd, perhaps the largest to gather in Washington in the last thirty years, has no political representation whatsoever in today's America. Almost certainly representing a vastly larger number of people in the general population, the anti-war crowd has simply been excluded from the process. The 80 nitwits at the MOVE-OUT event could reasonably claim one sympathetic U.S. Senator per demonstrator: the 200,000+ at the A.N.S.W.E.R. event couldn't claim even one between them. The only real clout it could claim was its own physical presence at that particular moment.

And what would a Senator who represents A.N.S.W.E.R. do, besides oppose war and support every foreign fascist on the planet? We don't know. Taibbi doesn't describe the thrust of the opinions on the ground. We can infer, however, that an A.N.S.W.E.R. politician certainly wouldn't sing "Give Peace a Chance" or associate with black people who are out of step with left wing dogma.

Sheila Lennon, who recently marked the birthday of that song's author with a wish that he were still among us (scroll down from link), says of Matt Taibbi: "The writing swoops from his brain to my screen without processing, no distance. Taibbi's experience is raw, fresh, and eye-opening." It sometimes seems as if respectable reporters direct attention to such polarizing writers because they say what more-established journalists wish they could.

Anything to say, Ms. Lennon, about "Oreos"?

Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:32 PM EST