In an April 23 Salon.com blog post, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich responded to Bill O'Reilly for labeling him a Communist who "secretly adores Karl Marx." Reich stated: "For the record, I'm not a Communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx."
Reich added that ad hominem attacks such as these are destructive to public discourse and are merely "the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument."
From Reich's post:
For the record, I'm not a communist and I don't secretly adore Karl Marx.
Ordinarily I don't bother repeating anything Bill O'Reilly says. But this particular whopper is significant because it represents what O'Reilly and Fox News, among others, are doing to the national dialogue.
They're burying it in doo-doo.
O'Reilly based his claim on an interview I did last week with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, in which I argued that because America's big corporations were now global we could no longer rely on them to make necessary investments in human capital or to lobby for public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D. So, logically, government has to step in.
Since when does an argument for public investment in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D make someone a communist or a secret adorer of Karl Marx?
But obviously, O'Reilly has no interest in arguing anything. Ad hominem attacks are always the last refuges of intellectual boors lacking any logic or argument.
This is what's happening to all debate all over America: It's disappearing. All we're left with is a nasty residue.
In Washington, Democrats and Republicans no longer even talk. They just vent charges and counter-charges.
Reich's whole piece is well worth a read.
With birther conspiracy theory claims about President Obama again being hyped by the right-wing media, Media Matters looks at the myths and falsehoods surrounding Obama's birth certificate.
Right-wing media have attacked the Obama administration over the civilian court trial of Ahmed Ghailani, suggesting that testimony by a "key witness" excluded by the civilian court would have been admissible in a military commission and resulted in further convictions against Ghailani. But numerous legal experts--including the federal judge presiding over Ghailani's case--have argued that a military commission would have also likely excluded this testimony.
On Sunday, I noted that several journalists have criticized the Washington Post for the failure of its "Top Secret America" articles to acknowledge prior reporting by other news organizations. Though the Post, including its ombudsman, has responded to conservative complaints about the series, it has not responded to this criticism, which has largely come from liberal journalists.
Now, Salon editor Joan Walsh points out that the Post's reporting on problems at Arlington National Cemetery has ignored prior reporting by Salon, and notes that the Post's failure to acknowledge Salon's reporting is not just rude, but deprives readers of valuable information.
In a July 25 Salon.com post, Joan Walsh noted that Fox News is hyping "one 'scary black people' and 'Obama's a racist' story after another" and wrote: "Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state 'Southern strategy,' the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon)."
Walsh further noted of Fox News' and Andrew Breitbart's role in smearing Shirley Sherrod: "They should be ashamed of themselves, but they're shameless."
From Walsh's post:
The most important point is this: Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state "Southern strategy," the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon). Now Fox is using the election of our first black president to scare (mainly older) white people in all 50 states that, again, the Democratic party is run by corrupt black people trying to give blacks advantages over whites (MSNBC's Rachel Maddow laid out this history last week).
Politico's Michael Calderone reports this morning that, Alexander Zaitchik who "wrote a multi-part series for Salon looking at the life of Glenn Beck, probably the most comprehensive take in terms of back story that I've seen on the conservative talk star" will be releasing a new biography on the right-wing conspiracy-theorist this spring titled, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance (Wiley & Sons, 2010).
If you've not yet read Zaitchik's amazing series on Beck for Salon, you can do so here.
Some prominent media conservatives have harshly criticized President Obama's speech in Cairo, while others offered praise for Obama's address.
A few weeks ago, Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald received an "Izzy" Award from the Park Center for Independent Media – congrats to him on the accomplishment. Well, as FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher notes, the award sparked an email to Greenwald from Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kinkaid:
Sent: Monday, May 4, 2009 9:10:55 AM GMT -02:00 Mid-Atlantic
Subject: Your "Izzy" Award
It has come to our attention that on March 31 you accepted an "Izzy" Award from the Park Center for Independent Media, named for I.F. "Izzy" Stone. You called Stone an "independent" journalist.
However, as you must know, I.F. Stone has been exposed as a Soviet agent. This identification is based on information in the Venona World War II-era Soviet spy cables that a Soviet intelligence officer named Vladimir Pravdin had recruited I.F. Stone but that Stone had to be paid. Now, the May issue of Commentary is reporting additional evidence. See http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/special-preview--i-f--stone--soviet-agent-case-closed-15120
I am preparing a story about Stone and would like your comments and about receiving an award named for a Soviet agent. Are you considering disavowing or giving back the award?
Thank you in advance.
Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media
Greenwald's response speaks for itself:
Sent: Monday, May 4, 2009 9:33:54 AM GMT -02:00 Mid-Atlantic
Subject: Re: Your "Izzy" Award
Two of the most extremist and discredited entities in the United States are Commentary Magazine and Accuracy in Media. Someone who is smeared by those two groups immediately has their credibility enhanced. Don't you have Barack Obama's birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton's sex life to sniff around in?
Izzy Stone was one of the only journalists in America to challenge the government's lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to oppose the Vietnam War from the start, and to relentlessly highlight the pernicious poison of the McCarthyite witch hunts, which are alive and well in the marginalized and irrelevant fringes of the Right, such as Commentary and AIM.
There is much dispute about what Stone thought in the 1940s and early 1950s, but what is not in dispute is that in one of his earliest newsletters, he wrote: "Whatever the consequences, I have to say what I really feel after seeing the Soviet Union and carefully studying the statements of its leading officials, this is not a good society and it is not led by honest men" and "nothing has happened in Russia to justify cooperation abroad between the independent left and the Communists." Those anti-Soviet statements resulted in the loss of numerous previous supporters, a courageous stance that dishonest propaganda rags like Commentary would never take.
A publication with some actual credibility, Columbia Journalism Review, conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence and thoroughly debunked these falsehoods.
The fact that Stone is being smeared by the likes of the consummately chicken-hawk, nepotistic, bloodthirsty Podhoretz family and the truly deranged, sex-obsessed, conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid will make me place my Izzy Award on an even more prominent shelf in my office.