When Accused of Arousing Murderers, Do You Take It Lying Down?
Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010
Has the “Tea Party” movement been tainted by the growth of “extremism?” Kenneth P. Vogel over at Politico would like to sort of insinuate that it is, and may continue to be. Someday soon we’ll all have to worry about the “Taxed Enough Already” gang going gaga and shooting up public places and people and crashing planes and blowing things up. Or at least we will if we believe this sort of tripe.
When John Patrick Bedell, killed this week in a shoot-out with police at the Pentagon, was revealed to have left behind a rambling trail of anti-government screeds, conservative commentators reacted with another collective cringe – just as they did after the discovery of the writings of IRS suicide pilot Joe Stack.
“Don’t Believe the MSM: John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon Shooter, was no Right-Winger,” blared the headline of a piece leading the conservative media watchdog website Big Journalism Friday afternoon.
“Tragedy Occurs. Media Rush to Blame Right-Wing,”echoed one at the heavily trafficked righty blog Townhall.com.
Gee, Ken. There’s something about being portrayed as fomenting murder that most people don’t like. The tone in the piece quoted above almost suggests puzzlement at that. So if I were writing for a website viewed by tens of thousands of people every month, and perhaps millions every year, and I wrote that the writings of Kenneth P. Vogel incited some nut to shoot up a public place, do you think he might disagree?
The media driven “debate” about whether or not John Patrick Bedell, the nutbag who started shooting at the Pentagon last week, was a “right-winger” is so #%^&ing stupid that it causes me physical pain. Actual, serious physical pain. My head hurts when I read this sort of thing.
It would seem that any time we see lunatics of any particular stripe painted as representative of political or social movements, any able minded commentator, pundit, or journalist would take the opportunity to slam the door shut on such absurd notions. But I guess not. After all, our American, unbiased, for-profit chattering class spent all of 2008 not even mentioning that Saul Alinsky was a member of the Weather Underground, a radical organization that did, in fact, plot and carry out acts of violence against our government.
See where this gets confusing? Alinsky is not news because he may or may not have hung out with Barack Obama. John Patrick Bedell was a registered Democrat and Joseph Stack was a communist, but they’re right wingers inspired by Glenn Beck.
I don’t watch or pay much mind to Glenn Beck, but if I did and he said to do something, I wouldn’t do it. The same goes for any other guy on TV who writes and sells books and talks about politics. That is because I am not crazy. If Glenn Beck angered me enough to fly an airplane into a building with IRS offices in it, then I am totally around the bend crazy.
If I write a funny sign on a piece of paper and peacefully carry it in the street because I think our government spends too much money, I am not crazy. If I take a couple of semi-autos to the Pentagon, then I am eat my own feces in a rubber room insane.
This concept should not be difficult.
Insinuating that people who are using a public voice to express displeasure at how the government spends their money are exciting “extremists” to commit murder is tacky, absurd, and borderline insane. It crosses the threshold of merely carrying water in opposition to the Tea Partiers to something much more malignant and dangerous.
I don’t care about the “rise of militias.” They’ve always been around. I don’t care about the “rhetoric” that people like Bedell or Joseph Stack use, because their “rhetoric” is unhinged, and being bug-eyed crazy is not a partisan gig. I also don’t care for clowns like John Avlon insinuating these sorts of things in the name of selling copies of his own book.
Conservatives are right to worry about being tainted by the growth of extremism, said John Avlon, the author of “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.”
“In the extreme edge of conspiracy theory politics, it is way beyond the simple left versus right – the two overlap,” said Avlon, a former speech writer for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, both in City Hall and during Giuliani’s campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. For example, Avlon pointed to Bedell’s belief in a cover-up about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which harkens back to an earlier strain of non-partisan conspiracy theory.
Shame on anyone — left, right, or in-between — who would engage in this nonsense other than expressly and completely condemning it.
Shame all around.