Absolute frame of reference
Posted by aogThursday, 29 July 2010 at 12:26 TrackBack Ping URL

One of the major reasons that the MAL resorts to claims of “racism” and “McCarthyism” is because they have other arguments that will stand up when explicitly stated. This is of a piece with the standard vagueness and insinuating style of MAList rhetoric, derived from the basic problem that MALists have to live a lie. It’s why Tea Party activists strongly recommended bringing cameras, while MALists attack people with cameras.

There’s also the fact that such attacks have become simply reflex, the same way the beliefs and ideology of the previous generations of MALists have degenerated in to slogan clusters. It’s just what they do, it’s always worked before.

But I think this article touches on something that might be just as important, which is the most MALists have a very difficult time understanding other frames of reference. To them, everyone is either part of the cultured elite (like them) or irrational barbarians. Since the publicly proclaimed goals and beliefs of the Tea Party don’t fit in to the MAList reference frame, they must be irrational, an artifact of uneducated bitter clinging. Definitely worth reading.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Thursday, 29 July 2010 at 18:22

Although I remember that time quite well, especially the vitriol spewing from the media, reading (on my Kindle PC of course) Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies by M. Stanton Evans, is a great refresher course on how McCarthy was borked even before Bork was and of course, there’s lots new material not available at the time confirming McCarthy’s charges.

As the campaign heats up, expect a lot more hysteria about McCarthyism. Lefties think just shrieking McCarthy will stop any argument cold, but he’s been vindicated whether they want to admit or not and Oliver Stone is about to rehabilitate Hitler, so whom will they use to smear conservatives? They’re nothing if not inventive, so I look forward to watching their work.

Harry Eagar Friday, 30 July 2010 at 13:00

Well, the evidence of Tea Party racism isn’t from just a few signs held by alleged provocateurs. When the organizers of big Tea Party events are Nazis, it’s hard to claim that this is a left COINTELPRO operation.

My view of the Tea Party is that it’s mostly smoke, a nonce tag for all the barbershop malcontents who have always been out there but only every now and then find some semicharismatic figure or theme to bring them together, but without uniting them for any effective political purpose.

Because they are unorganized, they are at the mercy of the racist bravos. You could see that coming.

Same with the birthers, gold bugs etc. that adhere to them.

The ultimate verdict of who is in the Tea Party will be at the ballot box. That count has already started to be taken, and with the success of people like Angle and Paul, the real question about the Tea Party is not whether it is racist but is it stark, raving mad?

To the extent that Breitbart, a pure McCarthyite, overlaps with the Tea Party (considerable, I’d say) then charges of Tea Party McCarthyism deserve to stick.

But what is the core position of a Tea Party without racists, McCarthyites, birthers, Obama-is-a-Muslimers etc. They don’t like taxes?

Bret Friday, 30 July 2010 at 14:32

Harry Eagar asks: “But what is the core position of a Tea Party …?

Less intrusion by government into our lives, whether in the form of taxation or regulation. Please note that “less” is a different word than “no”.

Harry Eagar Friday, 30 July 2010 at 21:27

How much less?

Remember John Anderson’s campaign, the one where he released his 300-page platform a couple days before the voting?

That’s what the TP reminds me of, just unfocused discontent without any suggestion of what precisely to do about it.

erp Friday, 30 July 2010 at 21:36

Get out of our faces, cut taxes and spending for starts.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 31 July 2010 at 01:50

Given that the Boomer retirements start in earnest this year, and that SS is already cash-flow-negative, and that the Federal budget deficit is roughly ONE THIRD of the budget - we’ll see some spending cuts in ‘11 but there’s no way on Earth that we’ll see any tax-cutting.

erp Saturday, 31 July 2010 at 06:16

Tax cuts = higher revenues. It’s a no brainer.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 01 August 2010 at 15:18

When the organizers of big Tea Party events are Nazis

Yawn. Surely you could come up with something that not’s so excessively hyperbolic that it’s too much even for the usual MAList suspects?

The ultimate verdict of who is in the Tea Party will be at the ballot box. That count has already started to be taken, and with the success of people like Angle and Paul, the real question about the Tea Party is not whether it is racist but is it stark, raving mad?

I wasn’t aware those elections had already occurred.

To the extent that Breitbart, a pure McCarthyite

You know, cranking up the rhetoric when people don’t believe is very much like talking louder and slower to foreigners when they don’t understand English.

I have to say, though, that you are are certainly providing an absolutely archetypical example of the original post. The political goals of the Tea Party have been explained to you repeatedly here and are available in reams of public statements and documents, yet you simply will not (or possibly can not) accept it. So all you can do is throw out baseless slurs at every increasing volume. Surely you have enough introspection to wonder at that.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 02 August 2010 at 03:03

Tax cuts = higher revenues. It’s a no brainer.

It’s a pity that the bond market, upon which modern America depends, doesn’t see it that way. Oh well.

erp Monday, 02 August 2010 at 08:06

If the dems stay in power, taxes will skyrocket and revenues will drop even further than they already have, but that doesn’t matter, because the bond market(upon which modern America depends), existing as it does in an alternate universe, will be happy.

Harry Eagar Monday, 02 August 2010 at 13:14

I can see that you don’t believe Breitbart is a McCarthyite. Heck, erp doesn’t even believe McCarthy was a McCarthyite.

The Republican Party, evidently being directed by some Democratic amalgam of Karl Rove/Grover Norquist, is beginning to get the message, though.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 02 August 2010 at 20:04

Breitbart publishes an actual video tape, which not one single person has claimed was inaccurate over its length, and was qualified at publication time as a partial tape, and because other people act irrationally based on that, it is Breitbart who is the McCarthyite? You have yet to provide a single thing, other than that, to support your claim. I don’t even believe that you’re serious about the claim, I consider it simply a rhetorical device or perhaps just a lazy regurgitation of a talking point you read elsehwere. Any one who could confuse Breitbart with McCarthy is simply demonstrating a complete regard for actual history.

erp Monday, 02 August 2010 at 20:16

More on David

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 03 August 2010 at 12:22

Au contraire

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 03 August 2010 at 21:35

Mr. Eagar;

I am guessing your “au contraire” was addressed to me, although it’s so off topic it’s hard to be sure. Looking at the link, you start by citing Charles Johnson, who has long since squandered any credibility he ever had (just look at his statements on global warming). One might also note that he, and you apparently, think it’s some terrible McCarthyite excess that Breitbart incorrectly correlated a name with a person. Although, making it even odder, you dismiss it as “not a significant story in any way”. May I indict any Old Media organization as pure McCarthyite the next time one misidentifies a person? Your view is that this the level of attack the people you consider the victims of McCarthy? Being mistakenly claimed to have visited the White House? I think we can summarily dismiss any “forgetting history” comments from you in the future.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 04 August 2010 at 12:33

Whatever credibility he had? Are we reviving the Bush story that he killed?

RtO (or possibly next Monday’s TMN) will have something fresh to say about this (I haven’t decided where to put it).

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 04 August 2010 at 16:12

Are we reviving the Bush story that he killed?

Once again, I have absolutely no idea to what you are referring. Since you’re just throwing out distractions, I will presume that you do think that McCarthy’s tactics are the moral equivalent of a newspaper misidentification. I’ll keep that on reference. I, however, do not consider them at all the same and so I stand by my original claim that you haven’t provided any other evidence on the subject of Breitbart’s “McCarthyism”.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 04 August 2010 at 22:03

with the success of people like Angle and Paul

Even though the elections haven’t occured yet, shall we look at some surely Fox News inspired polls?

Angle even with Reid

Paul maintains significant lead

Harry Eagar Thursday, 05 August 2010 at 13:59

You have no recollection of Johnson’s role in the Bush National Guard story? How quickly we forget.

Breitbart didn’t just make a mistake. He made a reckless allegation without investing 5 seconds in checking to see whether it had any merit. Suits my definition of McCarthyism. And then there is his OTHER history of doctoring videos.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 05 August 2010 at 18:32

No, I remember Little Green Footballs and the Bush National Guard story. I simply didn’t realize that was what you were referencing. You really ought to try quoting people based on what they actually write, rather than what you imagine they wrote. The usual use of the term “kill a story” is suppression, not debunking. Second, I read your comment as indicating that you thought Johnson had never had any credibility, but your response here seems to indicate that you think he did. I would ask you to clarify but it would probably just confuse the issue even more, and it’s just as irrelevant as Johnson and his “not a story of significance”.

Based on your definition of McCarthyism, that means you consider Dan Rather as a McCarthyite? After all, he rushed a story without bothering to make a cursory check of the documentary evidence. Or every news organization that writes about Bush’s plastic turkey is McCarthyite as well, as a quick netsearch shows it was a bogus story? What of your own habit of making unsubstantiated accusations in the comments on this weblog that are easily disproved by a netsearch? You’re a McCarthyite too? Well, if you say so, who am I to dispute your own self assessment?

Clearly, in the future, whenever you cite an Old Media source, I should find an example of them making an easily debunked accusation and then dismiss them as “pure McCarthyite”. That should certainly speed things up. No more New York Times or LA Times. Heck, just the palstic turkey list would knock out most of them.

P.S. I will also enjoy the fact that you think the Obama White House is such a den of iniquity that having someone claim you visited it is a “reckless accusation”. That’s harsh man — sure you haven’t been to too many Tea Party events?

Harry Eagar Friday, 06 August 2010 at 14:06

Was Rather a McCarthyite? Possibly, but more like a gull. What he did was more in the nature of what you call technological surprise.

It wasn’t the visit to the White House that was at issue. It was the character assassination and guilt-by-association and recklessness.

Everybody makes mistakes. As Oscar Wilde said, losing one parent is a tragedy, but losing both begins to look like carelessness.

A series of gaffes by Breitbart that all have the same tendency begins to look less like incompetence and more like a plot.

Harry Eagar Friday, 06 August 2010 at 14:14

Did I just say something about tendentiousness? Heh. Breitbart sez:

Earlier this week, we read an on-line column which provided one of the most thorough and well-researched examinations of the many controversies surrounding former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod. We asked the author of the column for permission to reprint his article. Since publishing the articles, we have been made aware of other writings from this author which do not reflect the principles and values of this site. Because of this, we have removed the articles from Big Government. While we stand by the information contained in the articles we published, we do not wish to see the underlying issue confused or diminished by other work the author has done. We regret the error.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 07 August 2010 at 16:57

It wasn’t the visit to the White House that was at issue. It was the character assassination and guilt-by-association and recklessness.

The unmentioned, not described, and certainly not linked / cited character assassination and guilt by association? Clearly my mistake was presuming that your response was in any way relevant. I will try to not do that in the future. It continues to be amusing that you are doing the same thing you accuse Breitbart of, throwing around reckless character assassination. Not to mention that your cited source, Charles Johnson, is infamous for bizarre and extreme guilt by association attacks. That makes it very difficult to take you seriously on the subject. You do remind me of Orrin Judd, who gets twisted in to knots this same way by making excessive, absolute rhetorical claims he is unwilling to modify in the slightest way.

I am still waiting for your position with regard to McCarthyism on yourself and the “plastic turkey” people.

Did I just say something about tendentiousness?

No. Is your point that McCarthy was famous for correcting his rhetorical excesses, as Breitbart does in your cite? Another fascinating bit of history of which I was unaware.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 08 August 2010 at 13:18

Let me know next time somebody faces five years in prison and loss of his livelihood for repeating the turkey story.

We can be thankful that Breitbart doesn’t have a congressional committee to complete his dirty work.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 09 August 2010 at 20:59

Perhaps you could point out when that happened because of a false Breitbart story. As far as I know, no one has yet faced anything such thing because they visited the White House.

P.S. I resisted the urge to point out that Breitbart seems to have a hyper sensitive unthinking Presidential Administration to do it, which is good becaues Congress is busy pretending to investigate its own corruptocrats. But I’m sure that’s some sort of dog whistle thing too.

Harry Eagar Monday, 09 August 2010 at 22:28

Losing a job? Last month.

Five years in prison. That was back in the days of the original McCarthy. Andy can only hope to do as well.

Harry Eagar Monday, 09 August 2010 at 23:16

James Taranto rushes to the defense of Andrew Breitbart here.

Er, I think he’s defending him. If I get it right, Breitbart is absolved of shoddy, dishonest and unethical journalism because 1) he isn’t a journalist; and 2) although he is shoddy, dishonest and unethical, he never said he wasn’t. So there!

Glad ya cleared that up for us, Jim.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 06:21

Mr. Eagar;

You are the one who labeled Breitbart “pure McCarthyite”, thereby setting Breitbarts’ actions as the standard. To defend others against that standard by pointing out that it doesn’t rise to the original McCarthy’s actions shows that even you don’t believe your own accusation. And you further discredit it with a gratuitous smear on Breitbart based solely on your telepathic abilities.

Further, as I pointed out earlier, Sherrod’s job loss was based on a reasonably accurate report by Breitbart. You’ve done a bait and switch from the false report of a White House visit back to that. But apparently that’s OK when you’re not Andrew Breitbart.

P.S. I concur that Taranto’s “defense” is weak.

erp Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 07:56

aog, I stopped reading Taranto years ago when he became another lukewarm, apologetic “conservative” voice. Why should you be expected to defend anything he says.

I know it’s a lost cause to state the facts, but here it is again:

Breitbart didn’t edit anything. He put a video on his website that had been truncated, but not by him. He didn’t fire anybody either. Those who did the firing had the untruncated version, but decided that the Sherrod’s were bad news and getting her off the stage as quickly as possible was politically expedient.

Strangely enough, Harry has made my case again. I agree that it was McCarthyism because the charges that the Sherrod’s and the NAACP are racist are accurate and charges about irregularities in the Sherrod’s lucrative lawsuits and their treatment of their employees on their collective farm need to be investigated as do the billions in tax payer funds filtering through their hands, but that’ll need to wait until we have non-racist DoJ again.

The Sherrod’s are also major league lefties, maybe even commies and dredging up connections with Ayres and the bad old days of the militant black panthers of the 60’s is the last thing Obama needs right now — that’s why she was fired, but it backfired and caused even the msm to mention it, albeit giving the affair the best spin possible and putting on the back pages.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 12:23

Surprisingly for such an obscure and negligible person as myself, I have some direct knowledge about the Sherrod situation, related here

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 14:01

What is necessary is to raise the cost on [our opponents] of going after [us]. In other words, find [an opponets]’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let [our opponents] know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

And I think this threads the needle. If [our opponet] forces us all to either defend [controversial figure] or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — [well known person 1], [well known person 2], who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes them sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.


Is that “pure McCarthyite”, or does it depend on who “opponent” and “us” are?

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 14:52

Sounds like it, although I don’t think that exposing Katha Pollitt as a committed leftist is as much of a revelation as you seem to think.

Nor is the Nation part of the ‘main stream media,’ unless you are also going to put the New York Observer in there, too.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 15:43

Are you really that unable to actually respond to me based on what I write? I wrote nothing about Pollit, nor anything about exposing her, nor that such exposure would be a “revelation”, nor The Nation, nor any claim that The Nation is part of the “main stream media”. You clearly didn’t read the linked material for comprehension either, as the quote I cited was not made by Pollit nor anyone associated with The Nation. And yet you complain of Breitbart getting easily verified things wrong. To quote, “sheesh!”.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 01:59

Oh, so sorry. I went to the link, which appeared to be a discussion by Katha Pollitt, not in my opinion a journalist who pretends to be a reporter. The first 20 or so paragraphs were pretty much incomprehensible — like I had walked into a cocktail party and eavesdropped on 2 or 3 groups at once. Perhaps it did relate to orders from the Politburo at the Alinsky Central Committee, but I lost my Commie Decoder Ring and couldn’t unscramble the message.

I am not aware that the discussion group — whose membership comprised something less than 0.2% of all journalists — ever did any of the things that some of them (but apparently not all, so some sample smaller than 0.2% of all journalists and an even smaller fraction of MSM journalists) kicked around. Perhaps they did.

The MSM certainly underreported the Wright story, for a while, although it caught up eventually.

How this is equivalent to repeatedly faking videos in cahoots with criminals is unclear to me.

I suppose, by your reasoning, I am part of the great libertarian movement because I take part in discussions at Volokh. But I’m not. I’m a New Dealer.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 07:36

Because you found the text at the link confusing, you were unable to read my comment correctly? And then, knowing you didn’t understand the linked text, you decided to respond as if you did? One might wonder how often you do that in other circumstances.

I think it’s clear that much of what was discussed, including the quote I cited, was actually done. One might argue the direction of causality (that is, Journolist was the cause, or Journolist was an effect of the Old Media zeitgeist cause) but that’s not particularly significant compared to seeing that the slanted coverage is a deliberate thing.

P.S. Please cite an actual “faked video”, something equivalent to this.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 08:03

Journalist fired for discussing ties between BP and President Obama leads to firing — who’s the McCarthyite silencing critics by getting them fired in this case?

Harry Eagar Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 12:47

Well, except for the fact that the story says he wasn’t fired for discussing ties between BP and Obama, I guess you would have a point.

As for slanting the news, you cannot have it two ways. Either Journolist sends out coded messages telling editors what to put in their papers — I haven’t paid much attention to Journolist, but the little I have shows no editors involved; in real news production, it is editors, not reporters, who decide what runs — or there is this zeitgeist that somehow has all reporters moving the same direction, like a school of sardines — which is manifestly not the case — in which case Journolist is unnecessary or irrelevant.

We already know about two faked videos. If you will be patient, I am pretty sure Breitbart will fake another.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 14:22

There, I fixed the link text for you.

As for slanting the news, you cannot have it two ways.

I am not. I am saying it could be either, as in “one might argue the direction of causality […]”. My claim was it doesn’t much matter which one is the case. Again, try responding to what I actually write.

We already know about two faked videos.

“We” don’t. Please enlighten us.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 13 August 2010 at 09:20

Oh, look who is accusing Americans of possibly be a foreign interest without doing a 5 minute netsearch to check. What’s even more striking is how ad hominem the complaint is — the implied point is that you can’t judge an idea unless you know who said it. Classic MAList mental dysfunction.

erp Friday, 13 August 2010 at 11:58

It’s always useful to keep in mind that whenever lefties accuse us of some wrongdoing, you know that’s exactly what they themselves are doing, but in this case, complaining about foreign interests??? I can’t remember the details, but I do remember that Obama had to return some portion of the foreign money he got when the source was made public — no doubt there was plenty more that went unnoticed and unnoted upon.

I don’t think you need to know who said it to judge an idea, but I do think you can judge the truth/facts of statements by their source. That’s why most everything from the msm can be dismissed until confirmed by a trusted source.

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