Patterico's Pontifications

4/9/2010

This Week’s Smearing of Conservatives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am



I’ve been busy at work and didn’t get a chance to flag this week’s major example of how the left-wing media and the White House smear conservatives as violent: the brouhaha over Erick Erickson’s remarks in which he supposedly threatened census workers with a shotgun. For example, a HuffPo headline read Erick Erickson Threatens To ‘Pull Out Shotgun’ At Census Worker:

CNN’s new contributor Erick Erickson claims to be toning down his incendiary rhetoric now that he’s more in the spotlight. But on the radio last week, Erickson said he would “pull out [his] wife’s shotgun” if a census worker came to try to jail him for not filling out his census form.

That’s a combination of a lie and a fatal omission of context.

The lie: Erickson wasn’t talking about the constitutionally mandated census form. In fact, he actually mocked people who declined to fill out their census form. (“It’s in the frickin’ Constitution!”)

The missing context: Erickson was talking about the harassment that a Weekly Standard writer had received after filling out a separate, more intrusive, non-Constitutionally required form and sending it in. Government workers failed to look for this form, and start showing up at the writer’s home unannounced — insisting on coming inside and asking intrusive questions that the writer had already answered. He refused, whereupon they began leaving threatening notes suggesting that they were going to toss him in jail if he did not admit the government worker in his home to answer these questions — which, again, were not the constitutionally required census questions, and which he had already answered.

Erickson responded to this with the above-mentioned remarks — not about killing government workers, but about scaring them off his property if they illegally came to arrest him. These are remarks that I wouldn’t have made — but which sound a lot different when placed in the above context.

Next thing you know, Bill Press is misrepresenting the remarks to Robert Gibbs, who begins talking about how the remarks “should concern CNN” (the remarks were made on a local radio show in Georgia) and should also concern Erickson’s wife (so now the White House is bringing his wife into it).

Amazing.

I can do no better than to point you to the work of Larry O’Connor at Big Journalism, who showed how Erickson’s remarks were distorted by Bill Press and Robert Gibbs.

But to get the full flavor of how the White House and the leftist media lied about Erickson’s comments, you need to listen to O’Connor’s Stage Right Show from Tuesday. O’Connor uses several audio clips to systematically pull apart the lies told about Erickson.

O’Connor’s Stage Right Show on Blog Talk Radio has become a regular stop for me. In busy times where I don’t have time to read the blogs, it’s an entertaining way to keep up with the major stories of the day, with a style that emphasizes the facts that Big Media won’t tell you.

35 Responses to “This Week’s Smearing of Conservatives”

  1. Erickson is the elevation of empty Internet tough-guy threats to the Mainstream. No surprise that wouldn’t go smooth.

    imdw (842182)

  2. I called out Press for his completely dishonest statements a couple days ago at NewsBusters. He responded yesterday at the Puffington Host. As only a liberal smear artist could, he claimed he hadn’t quoted Erickson out of context, and proceeded to … quote him out of context AGAIN!

    Press claimed that Erickson said “I’m not filling out that form” in reference to the Census when he CLEARLY said that in reference to the ACS. Press apparently does not listen to the audio that he himself links to and on which he bases his entire argument.

    Press takes issue with my claim that Gibbs should have treated him as a Democrat (he’s the Party’s former chair in California) and not as a journalist. But if he is hell-bent on quoting his political opponents out of context in order to smear them and score political points, what does he expect? He’s acting like a total partisan shill, not a reporter.

    Lachlan Markay (ecc09b)

  3. “Press claimed that Erickson said “I’m not filling out that form” in reference to the Census when he CLEARLY said that in reference to the ACS. ”

    Does this really matter when it comes to making threatening people with a shotgun ok?

    imdw (017d51)

  4. Bill Press knows what he is doing, this kind of dishonesty has been his pattern for decades.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. Of course not, but nowhere did I defend Erickson’s comment. We can go on all day about whether he was justified in saying it, whether he should be charged with a crime, and all the other semantics regarding the Census, ACS, etc.

    But what is objectively true is that Press deliberately misquoted Erickson (and then, in the HuffPo piece I linked, quoted him out of context) in an effort to make him look like a conspiracy theorist loon who thinks every attempt by the federal government to elicit information from the citizenry has some nefarious motive behind it.

    In fact, Erickson was adamant about the importance of the Census and Americans’ constitutional obligation to fill out their Census forms. He made that perfectly clear in the radio segment Press referred and linked to. So either Press was being completely dishonest, or he didn’t actually listen to the segment he was condemning.

    Press tried shift the focus from his comments to Erickson’s because it is plain as day that he committed some serious journalistic malpractice. It doesn’t matter what Erickson said; Press is in the wrong no matter your opinions regarding the “shotgun” comment.

    Lachlan Markay (ecc09b)

  6. “Erickson is the elevation of empty Internet tough-guy threats to the Mainstream.”

    Ed Schulz call your office.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  7. Erick Erickson was not found guilty of any crime and was not dressed as a pimp. This whole story is a hoax.

    Why is the Obama Administration stooping to criticize another private American citizen? Have they no shame?

    [In case anyone was fooled by this, you should know that this is not the real Brad Friedman, who spells his name differently. I don’t think anyone here was fooled, but Brad wrote me, concerned that people would think this was him. In the future, if you want to mock Brad in this way, I suggest “The Fake Brad Friedman” or something along those lines. — P]

    Brad Freedman (718861)

  8. “But what is objectively true is that Press deliberately misquoted Erickson (and then, in the HuffPo piece I linked, quoted him out of context) in an effort to make him look like a conspiracy theorist loon who thinks every attempt by the federal government to elicit information from the citizenry has some nefarious motive behind it. ”

    Additional context doesn’t really remove Erickson from the “loon” category.

    imdw (842182)

  9. Talking about “scaring someone off of your property with your shotgun” was well known to the likes of the “Andy Griffith Show” and the “Beverly Hillbillys”.

    People should find something serious to talk about, talk about things honestly, or even both.

    MD in Philly (ddde18)

  10. Additional context doesn’t really remove Erickson from the “loon” category.

    That is certainly arguable. But my post didn’t address Erickson specifically, only Press’s deliberate mis-characterization of what he said. I’ll leave it for you to decide whether what Erickson said is justifiable.

    Lachlan Markay (ecc09b)

  11. imdw just wants to avoid the subject of the post. SOP.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  12. Robert Gibbs has absolutely no class. Can you imagine Tony Snow, Ari Fleischer, or even Jody Powell talking this way? And this isn’t the first time that Gibbs has mocked a private citizen. He took off after CNBC’s Rick Santelli, who reports from the Chicago Board of Trade, casting aspersions on his financial knowledge. Santelli has probably forgotten more about financial markets than Gibbs will ever know in his lifetime.

    sam (1a8310)

  13. The last time Bill Press said something accurate was when the Doctor who delivered him slapped him on the ass to get him breathing…

    AD - RtR/OS! (df5c90)

  14. “about scaring them off his property”

    I liked that scene in Firestarter:

    “You men are trespassing. Show me a warrant or get off my land. ”
    ” We don’t need a warrant. ”
    ” You do unless I woke up in Russia this morning! ”

    So… how many warrants did the census workers have? Or don’t government representatives threatening people with jail need warrants anymore?

    tehag (63007f)

  15. I have always gotten the long form. Which, I think, is not a bad way for the government to maintain its statistics. I went from a single person in a Northwest Side neighborhood, to married without children in a Lake Shore highrise, to married with children in an Olmsted village.

    This last time (about three months ago), I was too busy commenting at Patterico’s and watching Have Gun, Will Travel on Netflix on Demand (199 episodes) to fill out the form. So a very nice lady called me on the phone. I apologized profusely and promised to have it in the mail before the end of the day. She said “Why don’t we just do it over the phone”. It took maybe fifteen minutes. She was polite, andfriendly, and humorous, and helpful, with a very charming Midwest twang.

    Your mileage may vary, but talking shotguns over this is something people I don’t want anything to do with talk.

    nk (db4a41)

  16. You know, it is interesting. Our own Pee-Wee Herman, imdw, continues to post snark. And as usual, he is reflexively negative toward all things “R.” What is funny is his complete unawareness of how he leaves himself open to mocking:

    “…empty Internet tough-guy…”

    That sure comes to mind, doesn’t it? Pee-Wee has been rude to DRJ, lies about issues right and left (well, more left), and then posts over and over again in a relentlessly empty headed partisan fashion. And this is nothing new: this is his history on this blog. Yow.

    Either this character is a masochist or is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  17. “Additional context doesn’t really remove Erickson from the “loon” category.”

    Mr. Pot (I’m quite sure), meet Mr. Kettle.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  18. Aww little Gibbsy’s just blowing smoke because his boss embarrassed himself and couldn’t name any White Sox players in an interview on opening day. Look! a kitty!

    But as for Bill Press–yeah he’s a very nasty piece of work.

    elissa (42e91d)

  19. The missing context: Erickson was talking about the harassment that a Weekly Standard writer had received after filling out a separate, more intrusive, non-Constitutionally required form and sending it in. Government workers failed to look for this form, and start showing up at the writer’s home unannounced — insisting on coming inside and asking intrusive questions that the writer had already answered. He refused, they began leaving threatening notes suggesting that they were going to toss him in jail if he did not admit the government worker in his home to answer these questions

    So a very nice lady called me on the phone. I apologized profusely and promised to have it in the mail before the end of the day. She said “Why don’t we just do it over the phone”. It took maybe fifteen minutes. She was polite, andfriendly, and humorous, and helpful, with a very charming Midwest twang

    Perhaps if the person who called you was handling the other person’s case they would have said, “Thank you for returning the form, we’ll take the time to look it up”, in which case a problem would never have happened.

    The issue was not about filling out the census, nor was it even about filling out the long form, it was about intimidating a citizen with the threat of jail because the govt. workers were too lazy to look up the work the fellow had already done.

    And finally, as I said above, the idea of “telling someone to get off my land at the end of my shotgun” is a phrase of speech that hearkens to generations past when settlers had to defend their homestead. Anybody who ever saw “Bonanza” or “The Real McCoys” along with the shows I mentioned before would realize it does not refer to belligerance, but someone simply protecting themselves and their family. I would have thought “Have Gun, Will Travel” would have illustrated this.

    If someone said to you, “If you try to argue that point I’ll blow you out of the water”, they would not mean they are going to watch you until you get into a boat in Lake Michigan and then fire an RPG in your direction.

    In the cry for cultural-sensitivity, perhaps there needs to be affirmative action for the typical midwestern citizen who watched TV in the 1960’s.

    MD in Philly (59a3ad)

  20. “Erickson is the elevation of empty Internet tough-guy threats to the Mainstream.”

    Yes, so unlike our own President, who makes statements of real and direct threats of physical harm for his acolytes to carry out, or in his own words, “get in their faces.” Goodness, but your asshattery is really getting out of hand these days. You’re about one plate short of a combo platter, and gettingthisclose to dggcrpp in all – out inanity.

    Dmac (21311c)

  21. There’s little point in the left, centrists or moderates drawing fire by smearing, bashing or beating up on conservatives today. Conservatives are doing a stellar job of it on themselves to the sour amusement of independent and moderate voters. Jettisoning David Frum is just a recent example of whack-a-mole at work. It’s a leaderless movement, lost in the wilderness without a compass. Hostile, angry and vitriolic. Particularly in the cheerleading realm of entertainment driven talk TV and talk radio. And that’s understandable. Conservatism is desperate for a 21st century face with a unifying voice projecting a positive message. And that would be a stabilizing and welcomed change. Palin? Gingrich? Romney? Petraeus? Doubtful, but time will tell. What it does not need is a faux Reagan. Reagan was unique and had the great fortune of good timing. Agree with him or not, he cultivated his philosophy and convictions through many election cycles over several decades. And most importantly, Reagan was not an angry soul. Conservatives today across the spectrum clearly are. It would be good for the nation for that anger to fade.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  22. Hostile, angry and vitriolic…It would be good for the nation for that anger to fade.

    Comment by DCSCA — 4/9/2010 @ 5:44 pm

    It’s very true that people are upset. Partly because people with families are thinking of how their own children will be crippled with the debt of now, or how the health care of their children and their parents are going to suffer from government saying no to care (note the source of that link) . People do tend to get get emotional about how things are perceived to affect their own families.

    But even conceding that, I think they have a very, very long way to go to approach the level of something like this.

    no one you know (4186cd)

  23. “Bill Press knows what he is doing, this kind of dishonesty has been his pattern for decades.”

    That’s the liberal media’s stock in trade. Press is so bad, KGO radio’s audience in San Francisco doesn’t want him around.

    GeneralMalaise (268cf5)

  24. Or ‘I am the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks’, he said to the bank execs

    ian cormac (22d531)

  25. DCSCA, your little rant is amusing but has little relation to reality.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. “It’s a leaderless movement, lost in the wilderness without a compass. Hostile, angry and vitriolic. Particularly in the cheerleading realm of entertainment driven talk TV and talk radio.”

    And yet it doesn’t come close to the hatred and vitriol this nation witnessed during the period 2001 through January 2009.

    Angry? Yes. Hostile? To a degree. But conservatives, independents and all those who ARE moderate are coming together. They recognize the damage that this soft tyranny that we are living under is doing and will continue to do until this Obamanation of an administration AND their drones are put out to pasture.

    GeneralMalaise (268cf5)

  27. What I think we really need is to take advise from a serial lying fabulist about how we should conduct ourself.

    IMP – I there anything, and I mean anything, that you will not lie about?

    JD (3f3e6c)

  28. “Conservatives are doing a stellar job of it on themselves to the sour amusement of independent and moderate voters.”

    DCSCA – Given that the latest polling showing record low approval for the Democrat party has 70% of independents leaning Republican, I’d say SPQR’s observation is spot on. Spin baby spin.

    daleyrocks (1feed5)

  29. Angry? Yes. Hostile? To a degree.

    Leftist go out on rants, rioting and looting.

    Conservatives don’t get mad, but they do get even.

    AD - RtR/OS! (4a3dc0)

  30. This post linked at Reaganite Republican… good stuff:

    http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2010/04/ascendant-new-media-right-speaks.html

    Reaganite Republican (6836b1)

  31. I’m still waiting for Palin’s apology for her “death squads” rhetoric. Health care passed, and I have yet to see gestapo goons hauling Grandma out to be shot. Are you saying her comments were “out of context”, too?
    For that matter, Rush Limbaugh promised to leave the country if health care passed. He’s still here. Ergo, he is an oathbreaking, lying sack of pus, by his own admission. If you admire him, admonish him to keep his promise, or be branded a liar forever.

    Robert Reppy (5b4155)

  32. Reppy, are you really that much of a moron that you can’t even get the issue about “death panels” right?

    Death squads? Completely clueless.

    By the way, the legislation that passed still contained the provision setting up such reviews.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. The New York Times explains the thinking behind Obamacare:

    The federal government is now starting to build the institutions that will try to reduce the soaring growth of health care costs. There will be a group to compare the effectiveness of different treatments, a so-called Medicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board that can set payment rates.

    But all these groups will face the same basic problem. Deep down, Americans tend to believe that more care is better care. We recoil from efforts to restrict care. …

    From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can’t sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare’s long-term budget deficit will grow.

    So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. “Being able to say no,” Dr. Alan Garber of Stanford says, “is the heart of the issue.” …

    None of these steps will allow us to avoid the wrenching debates that are an inevitable part of health policy. Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits.

    A reader comments:

    …So there WILL be rationing?….doctors controlled by a monopoly payer in all but name?….private medicine outlawed as in Canada?…

    So does this mean that Sarah Palin was actually right?….about the death panels…er, Medicare Practice Advisory Commission?

    When do the liars apologize to her?

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/04/026027.php

    GeneralMalaise (268cf5)

  34. He’s still here. Ergo, he is an oathbreaking, lying sack of pus, by his own admission.

    Trolly just lurves him some projection.

    Dmac (21311c)

  35. Rush Limbaugh promised to leave the country if health care passed. He’s still here. Ergo, he is an oathbreaking, lying sack of pus, by his own admission. If you admire him, admonish him to keep his promise, or be branded a liar forever. – Comment by Robert Reppy

    Had you been paying attention, Mr. Reppy, you might know a few things of import:

    1. “Passing the healthcare bill” means increased fees and taxes start soon to build up a little pile of money to make the book keeping look good for the first 10 years.
    2. The items of the healthcare bill that actually impact care will actually not kick in for several years (so much for an emergency that we need to fix “now”)
    3. Mr. Limbaugh has already been out of the country looking first-hand at the medical care available in other countries, in preparation for the time the care one can get here in the US declines goes down the tubes.

    You’re welcome.

    MD in Philly (59a3ad)


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