Monday, January 10, 2011


Via Steve Benen, I see that Fox News responded to the Tucson shooting with a puzzling false lead:

For the last 24 hours, the Web has been alive with speculation that the Arizona shooter has some sort of ties to a right-wing group called American Renaissance. The primary source for this claim is a Fox News report from yesterday saying that law enforcement had made this determination based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

But a DHS official tells me that the department has not established any such possibility, undercutting what appears to be the primary basis for this claim.

Fox News's report yesterday initially claimed that a DHS memo had outlined the possible connection....

But DHS has not officially provided any such information to any law enforcement officials, the DHS official says....

Why would Fox do this? I mean, wouldn't you expect that, if anything, Fox would engage in misdirection in order to try to persuade its fans that Jared Loughner was a lefty?

Well, see, in the wingnuttosphere, a racist, neo-Nazi group like American Renaissance is lefty, by definition. Also see the multiple declarations by bloggers and others on the right that Loughner's decision to list Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page is evidence that he's left-wing.

This crackpot notion derives, of course, from Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. It's now an article of faith on the right, and doesn't even have to be explained to true disciples of the movement.


OK, that's cleared up -- so what's the meaning of this, from Jonah's mom's Web site?

Well, that "ah...umm.. moment of prayer or moment of silent prayer" bit is, if I'm not mistaken, a reference to this end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it moment from September:

President Obama removed the reference to the "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence when he quoted a portion at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.

Obama said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

But the actual quotation is:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ...

And then -- gasp! -- he did it again a week or so later:

Just seven days after he sparked controversy by omitting the word "Creator" when he closely paraphrased the passage from the Declaration of Independence that says all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," President Barack Obama again omitted the Creator when speaking about the "inalienable rights" that "everybody is endowed with."

This time the president was speaking at a Sept. 22 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and his reference to "inalienable rights" was not as close a paraphrasing of the Declaration as it had been the week before.

"And what was sustaining us was that sense that, that North Star, that sense that, you know what, if we stay true to our values, if we believe that all people are created equal and everybody is endowed with certain inalienable rights and we're going to make those words live, and we're going to give everybody opportunity, everybody a ladder into the middle class, every child able to go as far as their dreams will take them--if we stay true to that, then we're going to be able to maintain the energy and the focus, the fight, the gumption to get stuff done," Obama said at the DCCC/DSCC event, according to the transcript posted by the White House....

What should we call this? Paraphrase-gate? Whatever we call it, it's another one wingnuts just know about, via the tribal drum of Fox and talk radio and Internet Obama-bashing sites. After a while, on some of these issues, these folks barely have to utter a word -- they're primed to hear many, many dog whistles.


UPDATE, TUESDAY: Erick Erickson demands that the president not call for "prayer or reflection." Prayer only! What do you think this is, a free country?

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