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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Lieberman defeat -- Media coverage of LGF

(updated below)

(1) I will have several posts, at least, over at Salon today on the extraodrinary defeat of Joe Lieberman, beginning:

- here, with a discussion of the craven behavior of Joe Lieberman and what an illustrative symbol he has become of the insular, arrogant, and fundamentally corrupt Washington establishment; and,

- here, by highlighting the message which the Lieberman defeat sends to national Democrats concerning their conduct between now and November.

(2) As readers of this blog know, I have been writing extensively about the glaring failure of national journalists to examine and report on the hate-mongering and extremism which fuels so much of the pro-Bush right-wing blogosphere (even as these same journalists spill endless oceans of ink on even the pettiest and most inconsequential gossip concerning the "liberal blogosphere").

The hysterically overblown Reuters "scandal" from this weekend has led many journalists (who are now the most frequent and hated targets of the Right's most deranged rhetoric) to shower the right wing blogosphere with praise over the last several days. Two articles this morning -- this one from the Christian Science Monitor (also published by USA Today) and this one from the Washington Post -- focus on Little Green Footballs, one of the most widely-read and radical of the right-wing blogs.

The CSM article is a virtual love letter to LGF's Charles Johnson, with one paragraph after the next like this:

How did this 50-something computer programmer and Web designer turn into an Internet celebrity, sought out by CNN and regularly roasted by liberal critics? The answer lies in expertise, diligence, and imagination.

Buried in the middle of the article is this:

Johnson's detractors keep up a steady stream of dissent; some even devote entire websites to dissecting his blog's faults.

"The readers on that blog are treated to stories selected by [Johnson] that are designed to depict Muslims as extremist or violent, and the comments that flow from that are the ones that you would expect," complains blogger Glenn Greenwald, who accuses Johnson of stifling opposing points of view and jumping to conclusions.

I spent a good amount of time with the CSM reporter who worked on this story documenting the extremism and violence-glorification that is the staple of LGF, and provided voluminous material documenting all of it. To put it mildly, the criticisms of LGF which I voiced go far beyond Johnson's "stifling opposing points of view" or his penchant for "jumping to conclusions," complaints which -- in the scheme of what LGF is and what it does -- are so minor and petty that they really do not accurately reflect anything I said. But the reporter was intent on praising and glorifying LGF, not exposing the vile, dangerous sentiments which it exists to stoke and inflame. As a result, the information I provided was just cursorily included solely to give the illusion of some sort of even-handedness.

The Post article, though, is more substantive and meaningful. I will likely write more about this later at Salon, but for now, Greg Sargent has an analysis of the more important parts of the Post story and Johnson's response to it.

The Reuters sideshow these past few days has led journalists -- who are demonized and attacked by these right-wing blogs on an almost daily basis -- to fall all over themselves praising these bloggers as guardians of truth and accuracy. But the real core and function of these blogs is too glaring, ugly and extreme to ignore forever. The media coverage will come, and I think its impact will be significant. The right-wing blogs provide a vehicle to vent and inflame -- and therefore a window to examine -- the real impulses and desires that fuel much of the Bush movement.

UPDATE:

(3) The first exit poll from last night is available, which I discuss here.

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