Earlier today I gently poked fun at Matthew Vadum for saying we should be scared of Hugo Chavez's secret espionage squads despite acknowledging that he has "no proof" that they exist. In doing so, I called him a "clown," which might not have been the most politic thing to do, but I thought the circumstances merited it.
Vadum has since taken to Twitter to demonstrate that he is not, in fact, a "clown," but rather a very serious person whose views and opinions should be taken very seriously.
He has failed.
BigJournalism contributor and all-around clown Matthew Vadum is very upset with Media Matters for posting a clip of Glenn Beck speculating on the presence of special Venezuelan sabotage teams in the United States helping to "nudge" the country towards "collapse." According to Vadum, we're not taking the threat seriously enough, and we treat national security as "one big joke."
And just how serious is the threat? So serious that Vadum himself is scared to death, even though he has no evidence it's actually happening:
While I have no proof Chavez has agents in the U.S., the notion isn't as farfetched as Media Matters would suggest. Beck didn't just conjure up the idea out of thin air.
The unintentional hilarity continues later in Vadum's entry:
Chavez already runs what political scientists call a "public diplomacy" campaign in the U.S. to help bolster American support for his regime.
The propaganda effort consists of funneling discounted home heating oil to former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy's (D-Mass.) nonprofit group, Citizens Energy Corp. The nonprofit then distributes the oil to poor people, and useful idiot Kennedy gets to pose as a humanitarian.
The CITGO program is not terrorism - technically - but it is a soft attempt at domestic subversion.
And supposedly we're the ones treating national security as a joke.
According to right-wing journalist Matthew Vadum, it's my fault -- along with my Media Matters colleagues, President Obama, and House Democrats -- that people are apparently vandalizing congressional offices over health care reform.
Yesterday, Vadum predicted "possibly violent civil unrest" as a result of health care reform -- and said we should "Blame Obama and the Ds" for such violence, rather than the people behaving violently. Later, Vadum wrote that "America is dying" and "Fascist House Democrats are preparing to euthanize America."
Today, the Associated Press and Arizona Daily Star have reported vandalism at Democratic congressional offices, including a brick thrown through a window in Rep. Louise Slaughter's Niagara Falls office on Friday and a front door "smashed out" at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson office last night -- in addition to a brick thrown through the glass doors of a county Democratic party headquarters in Rochester over the weekend.
In response to those acts of violence, Vadum wrote "You & MMFA are just as to blame as Obama is."
Me?!? I've never even been to Tucson.
Then Vadum finally got around to noting "This does not excuse the violent behavior," which is good of him, though he quickly added: "but let's not forget that Dem behavior set the stage for this."
I'm still waiting for Vadum to announce whether President Obama and I are more or less to blame for the bricks thrown through the windows than the people who threw the bricks. I've never seen a conservative so desperate to blame everyone except the criminal for the crime -- Vadum says he doesn't excuse the violent behavior, but he has not yet said that the people who have actually behaved violently are in any way responsible for their actions, or that they should stop.
And that's a problem. Vadum can say he doesn't "excuse the violent behavior," but he's busy rationalizing it, and suggesting that the people who commit the violence are not to blame -- that their actions are the understandable, even inevitable, consequences of health care reform. If there's a way to interpret that other than that Vadum is siding with those who commit acts of violence -- and, thus, encouraging violent actions -- I'd love to hear it. Not that Vadum is alone: As Ben Dimiero has pointed out, conservative blogger Connecticut Yankee "is openly calling for the torture and execution of Members of Congress."
Vadum's recent rantings:
Matthew Vadum, a self-described "Chronicler of the Left" who writes for, among others, Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, warns of "violent civil unrest" as a result of "Fascist health care":
UPDATE: More from Vadum:
In case you're wondering what got him so mad at Ezra Klein, it was this tweet: "So Paul Ryan says European systems unsustainable? And yet, if we had their spending, our deficit problem would disappear entirely."
Fox News host Bill Hemmer raised the tired specter of ACORN receiving federal funding to attack Department of Housing and Urban Development funding included in President Obama's 2011 budget proposal. Conservatives in the media have exhaustively cited the possibility of federal money going to ACORN to attack health care reform legislation, the financial bailout bill, and the economic recovery act.
Fox News' Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, and other right-wing media figures have targeted White House official Buffy Wicks in their ongoing witch hunt against President Obama's administration officials. Beck and BigGovernment.com have repeatedly attacked Wicks, and he and BigGovernment.com's Mike Flynn have made the baseless charge that Wicks was engaged in preventing prosecutions of those involved in the alleged beating of a tea party protester.
As I noted yesterday, thin-skinned Jamison Foser of Media Matters wrote Oct. 16 that "some conservative activists induced a statistically insignificant number of the organization's low-level employees to behave badly." [emphasis added]
So far ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Philadelphia have been shown on video behaving badly. On all the videos, ACORN personnel have been cooperative and helpful to the make-believe pimp and prostitute.
So far ACORN personnel in six offices have acted badly. That's six out of six, or 100%.
What are the chances of that happening?
This is -obviously- not statistically insignificant.
Actually, in statistics when a phenomenon keeps repeating itself over and over again and you're batting 1000, it's called a "trend."
Ok. First of all, it isn't "batting 1000," it's "batting 1.000." See, when you divide a number by itself, you don't get 1000 -- you get 1.
Now: I referred to "a statistically insignificant number of the organization's low-level employees" -- not "a statistically-insignificant number of the organization's offices." Vadum knows this; he quoted it. He even took the time to bold part of it. He just didn't take a moment to comprehend it.
So this whole business of "six out of six" is completely irrelevant to anything. If you have six offices, each of which contain 10,000 employees, and each of which employs one person who robs a bank, is it accurate to say a statistically-significant number of your employees robs banks? Of course not. It's utter nonsense.
Now, this next part is awesome:
With the release of the Philadelphia video Wednesday, let's add up the total number of ACORN employees behaving badly.
Unless I'm leaving somebody out:
Baltimore (2): Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson
Washington, D.C. (3): Sherona Boone, Lavernia Boone, unidentified woman
New York City (2): Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera
San Bernardino (1): Tresa Kaelke
San Diego (1): Juan Carlos Vera
Philadelphia (1): Katherine Conway Russell
That's a total of 10 ACORN employees. Of the 10 ACORN employees videotaped, all 10 have acted badly. That's 100% too.
Uh, Matt? Why would you assume that tapes have been released of every employee they talked to? That's utter nonsense. If I videotape 100 people who know Matt Vadum, and 10 of them say he's an idiot, and I release videotape of only those 10 people, then say "See? That's 10 of 10 people videotaped! 100%" ... Well, if I did that, I'd be a dishonest hack. And if you just assumed that I released videotape of everyone I talked to, you'd be a sucker.
Eventually, Vadum seems to realize he's going to have to actually address the total number of ACORN employees:
ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis told "Democracy Now!" Sept. 17 that ACORN has 700 employees.
Assuming Lewis is telling the truth (which is a very risky assumption to make given her proven mendacity) then 1.4% of ACORN's workforce has been shown on video behaving badly.
Of course 1.4% is not as impressive a sample as 8.4% but it is certainly not small.
He's asking people to believe that the 100% of the 10 ACORN employees (representing 1.4% of ACORN's total workforce) shown in videos behaving badly is a statistically insignificant fluke.
Oooh, ooh! Let me try ... OK, I'll take a sample of the Senate Republican caucus ... Let's go with David Vitter. White guy, from the South, conservative -- he's pretty representative. And he constitutes a whopping 2.5% of the caucus. Oh, wow -- I just realized that 100% of the Senate Republicans chosen (representing 2.5% of all Senate Republicans) has been caught using the services of a prostitute! Surely this cannot be a statistically insignificant fluke!
Isn't it fun to do math the Matthew Vadum way?
Fun -- and utterly stupid.
Over at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, Matthew Vadum takes issue -- and liberties -- with my description of MSNBC's Chris Matthews:
Foser is so far to the left that he thinks "Hardball" host Chris Matthews is a rabid right-winger . He refers to the TV talk show host as the "Clinton-hating, liberal-bashing misogynist Chris Matthews."
Note that Vadum just made up the "rabid right-winger" part. Sure, he included a footnote and link to make it look like it's something I actually wrote, but ... It's made-up. I've never described Chris Matthews as a "rabid right-winger."
I have described Matthews as a "Clinton-hating, liberal bashing misogynist." Here's why.
Put simply, Matthews behaves as though he is obsessed with Hillary Clinton. And not "obsessed" in a charming, mostly harmless, Lloyd-Dobler-with-a-boom-box kind of way. "Obsessed" in a this-person-needs-help kind of way.
More than six years ago, long before Hillary Clinton began running for president, the Philadelphia Inquirer magazine reported that, according to an MSNBC colleague, Matthews had said of Clinton: "I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for."
Even before that, Matthews told the January 20, 2000, Hardball audience, "Hillary Clinton bugs a lot of guys, I mean, really bugs people like maybe me on occasion. I'm not going to take a firm position here, because the election is not coming up yet. But let me just say this, she drives some of us absolutely nuts."
Not that there was much chance his feelings would go unnoticed by even the most casual Hardball viewer.
Matthews has referred to Clinton as "She devil." He has repeatedly likened Clinton to "Nurse Ratched," referring to the "scheming, manipulative" character in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest who "asserts arbitrary control simply because she can." He has called her "Madame Defarge." And he has described male politicians who have endorsed Clinton as "castratos in the eunuch chorus."
Matthews has compared Clinton to a "strip-teaser" and questioned whether she is "a convincing mom." He refers to Clinton's "cold eyes" and the "cold look" she supposedly gives people; he says she speaks in a "scolding manner" and is "going to tell us what to do."
Matthews frequently obsesses over Clinton's "clapping" -- which he describes as "Chinese." He describes Clinton's laugh as a "cackle" -- which led to the Politico's Mike Allen telling him, "Chris, first of all, 'cackle' is a very sexist term." (Worth remembering: When John McCain was asked by a GOP voter referring to Clinton, "How do we beat the bitch?" Allen reacted by wondering, "What voter in general hasn't thought that?" So Allen isn't exactly hypersensitive to people describing Clinton in sexist terms.)
Matthews repeatedly suggests Clinton is a "fraud" for claiming to be a Yankees fan, despite the fact that all available evidence indicates that Clinton has been a Yankees fan since childhood. In April of 2007, former Washington Post reporter John Harris, who has written a book about Bill Clinton, told Matthews to his face that the attacks on Clinton over her history of being a Yankees fan were false. Harris said: "Hillary Clinton got hazed over saying she was a New York Yankees fan. It turned out, actually, that was right. She had been a lifelong Yankees fan. But people were all over [her] for supposedly embroidering her past." But Matthews doesn't let a little thing like the truth get in the way of his efforts to take cheap shots at Clinton: At least twice since Harris set him straight, Matthews has attacked Clinton over the Yankees fan nonsense, once calling her a "fraud."
Matthews has described Clinton as "witchy" and -- in what appears to be a classic case of projection -- claimed that "some men" say Clinton's voice sounds like "fingernails on a blackboard." In what appears to be an even more classic case of projection, Matthews has speculated that there is "out there in the country ... some gigantic monster -- big, green, horny-headed, all kinds of horns coming out, big, aggressive monster of anti-Hillaryism that hasn't shown itself: it's based upon gender."
There's more, but I think you get the point.
In 2005, for example, Matthews said of Bush: "I like him. Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left -- I mean -- like him personally." At the time the "real whack-jobs" who disliked Bush constituted a majority of the American public.
If Bush could do little wrong in Matthews' book, it sometimes seemed Barack Obama could do little right, as Matthews frequently ridiculed the Democratic presidential candidate for a preposterous variety of purported shortcomings. (True, Matthews also effusively praised Obama at times, often contradicting his own previous -- and future -- criticisms. Matthews rarely appears burdened by a need to maintain consistent, coherent viewpoints.)
In April, Matthews ridiculed Obama for ordering orange juice in a diner. Let that sit in a moment: Barack Obama asked for a glass of orange juice in a diner, and Chris Matthews belittled him for it. That came shortly after Matthews announced that Obama's bowling form was insufficiently "macho" and said Obama's lack of bowling prowess "tells you something about the Democratic Party." A few weeks later, he suggested Obama was out of touch for playing pool: "Playing pool, not a bad start, but it's not what most people play. People with money play pool these days." Last year, Matthews seemed to suggest that Obama was a flawed candidate because he isn't "beefy" enough: "I don't see a big, beefy alternative to Hillary Clinton -- a big guy. You know what I mean? An ... every-way big guy. I don't see one out there. I see a lot of slight, skinny, second- and third-rate candidates."
But Matthews' questionable treatment of women extends beyond Hillary Clinton.
Matthews has described House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "scary" and suggested she would "castrate" House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. And he has wondered how she could disagree with President Bush "without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?"
Just this week, Matthews claimed there isn't a plausible female presidential candidate "on the horizon" because there aren't any "big-state women governors" -- but Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius all run states with populations comparable to male governors who have recently run for president, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Bill Richardson. How large a state does a woman have to run before she qualifies as a plausible presidential candidate to Chris Matthews? One that is twice as large as Mitt Romney's Massachusetts? Three times as large?
Last October, Matthews mused aloud about a hypothetical couple trying to decide who to support for president. In Matthews' mind, the wife just wants to see "the first woman president." According to Matthews, the husband has to explain the math to his wife: "[T]he husband says, 'You know, dear, you know, this is going to kill our tax bracket. You know that tuition thing we pay every couple of years for the kids, every year, we can't do that if we get a higher tax bracket. We have to pay more money.' "
After the Des Moines Register endorsed Hillary Clinton earlier this year, Matthews suggested that the paper's "female editors and publisher" succumbed to "lobbying" by Bill Clinton.
In 2000, Matthews responded to linguist Deborah Tannen's explanation of then-presidential candidate George W. Bush's efforts to appeal to women voters by saying, "So is this like the political equivalent of Spanish fly? That these seductive number of words you just drop out there and women just swoon." That led another Hardball guest, Lynn Martin -- a Republican -- to point out, "You wouldn't suggest he's seducing men."
Chris Matthews has been treating female guests as sexual objects for years. He has been judging women -- senators, presidential candidates, the speaker of the House -- on their clothes and their voices and their appearance for years. He has been referring to women as "castrating" for years. He has been applying double standards to male and female candidates for years.
This is who Chris Matthews is. He is a man who thinks that men who support women politicians are "eunuchs."
So, that's why I described Chris Matthews as a "Clinton-hating, liberal bashing misogynist." Because he hates the Clintons, bashes liberals, and may have a longer track record of on-air misogyny than any other media figure in America.
Your turn, Vadum.
PS: Matthews is also the guy who said President Bush "glimmers" with "sunny nobility," compared Bush to Atticus Finch, said everybody likes Bush except "the real whack jobs" and repeatedly said John McCain "deserves" to be president.
BigGovernment.com is currently touting a post by Matthew Vadum -- who has a history of overheated attacks on Obama -- profiling the Right's latest target: Obama White House political affairs director Patrick Gaspard.
"Evidence shows that years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis's political director in New York," Vadum writes, working under then-state leader and current ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis. "Obama's statement that he's barely aware of ACORN's problems is nothing short of ridiculous, especially so because Patrick Gaspard was a political director for ACORN New York."
Curiously missing from Vadum's post are the exact dates that Gaspard was political director for ACORN New York -- he states only that it was "years before." That omission tells us that we can presume it was many years before.
Nevertheless, Vadum takes this opportunity to ramp up the crazy: "With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country." Manchurian candidate, anyone?
Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily is claiming that it has "unearthed!" Obama's "twisted ACORN roots." Actually, there's no new information in this article -- it's all compiled from previous reports. And some of those claims are false or misleading:
One almost has to admire Matthew Vadum, senior editor at the right-wing Capital Research Center, for the sheer audacity of admitting that he doesn't have the facts to support his smear of President Obama, yet going ahead with the smear anyway.
In an Aug. 13 Newsmax article suggesting that an advertiser boycott campaign of Glenn Beck's Fox News show spearheaded by the group Color for Change, co-founded by current Obama administration official Van Jones, is "being orchestrated with some high level help from the Obama White House," reporter David A. Patten quotes Vadum as saying, "I don't have proof that the White House asked Color of Change to help it fight back against Glenn Beck ... But I wouldn't be surprised to learn it had. Van Jones has the president's ear. It's a few hundred feet from his office at the Council on Environmental Quality to the Oval Office."
That's it. The relative proximity of Jones' and Obama's offices -- a mere football field length away from each other! -- plus Vadum's baseless speculation are all the evidence Patten offers of this purported scheme.
It's hard to tell who's more foolish here -- Vadum for making such a boldly empty claim or Patten for building an article around it.
Media conservatives have been fearmongering over health care reform, baselessly claiming that it will result in the denial of care, or, in the words of Laura Ingraham, "death camps" for the elderly.