Tuesday, August 10, 2004
David Neiwert of Orcinus links to a partial transcript of Saturday's Tim Russert show on CNBC, in which Bill O'Reilly upbraids Paul Krugman for citing David Brock's (excellent) website, Media Matters for America, in the course of an argument:
O'REILLY: You are about the most un-objective person on the face of the earth -- Media Matters! Why don't you just call Fidel? Call him up in Havana. He'll tell you what's going on?Not to belabor the obvious, but it's never wise to mouth off about hate groups, the Klan, etc., within earshot of David Neiwert, who happens to know a little about the subject:
KRUGMAN: Oh, wonderful. Now we've got the great (inaudible) Whatever it is, it ends up being a Communist plot, you know?
O'REILLY: Oh my God! That's like me calling up some Klan operation. Why don't I call the Ku Klux Klan up and --
KRUGMAN: Here we go, here we go, here we go.
O'Reilly refused to respond to the substance of Krugman's critique or even acknowledge the accuracy of the quotes in question. Instead, he called Media Matters a "liberal hate group" -- the conservative movement's latest Newspeak coinage. Considering that "hate group" as a term refers almost strictly to groups that malign, attack and otherwise engage in efforts to exclude and eliminate entire classes of their fellow citizens from the fruits of American citizenship, usually based on immutable characteristics, Media Matters doesn't even come close to fitting the description. (In contrast to, say, certain cable networks that employ hosts who write books comparing liberals to terrorists as one of the three great evils threatening America) . . . .Of course, there are certain pockets of this great nation where that message would not be altogether unwelcome. For example, here.
Not only does O'Reilly smear one of his political nemeses -- he soft-pedals what real hate groups stand for. When he compares Media Matters to the Klan, he's not only telling his audience that the former is full of hateful vitriol that poisons the public well, he tells them that the Klan is a reasonably legitimate organization that mostly is engaged in mere political partisanship.