Wednesday, March 09, 2011


The James O'Keefe thing has now cost the job of NPR's CEO, who adds her resignation to that of the fund-raiser who was depicted in the video. I guess the biggest surprise to me is that O'Keefe had a second success -- I thought he'd be a one-hit wonder, with ACORN being the only notch on his belt -- but I see I underestimated the potency of O'Keefe-style punking.

Which is unfortunate, because our side doesn't even seem to have anyone doing this on a regular basis. Yeah, one of our guys -- Michael Moore -- pretty much invented the technique, but Moore hasn't been doing it much, and in the YouTube era the top lefty act of punkery would seem to be the fake Koch call to Scott Walker. And that call was made by the editor of a weekly that doesn't really have a national readership, not to mention the fact that the call almost failed to make a political point -- when Ian Murphy, the fake Koch who made the call on behalf of Buffalo's Beast, was brainstorming, he initially planned to call Walker and say he was Hosni Mubarak.

If people on our side mastered the talking points and shibboleths, and seriously set out to do some O'Keefe-style reporting, couldn't they get some corporate titans to admit they aren't really holding back on job creation because of "economic uncertainty," but because they're doing just swell borrowing money at low rates and watching that money make money? Couldn't they get GOP members of Congress and congressional staffers who publicly bash liberal "elitists" to make contemptuous remarks about tea party yokels and hicks?

Or what about this? (Hat tip: Rumproast):

A staff sergeant erred when he banished dozens of soldiers to their barracks and ordered them to clean up after they refused to attend a Christian concert on a Virginia Army base last year, an investigation concluded.

When the Army learned the soldiers were punished, the company commander apologized to them the next day, according to the investigation's findings....

Two soldiers who were punished told the AP they felt pressured to attend a performance by the Christian rock group BarlowGirl, as part of what was billed as the "Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts."

The soldiers said the staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain confined there. They were told to not use their cell phones or personal computers and to clean up their living area....

The U.S.military is now rife with God-botherers who think evangelical Christianity is, or should be, the state religion, or at least the official religion of the military. Would it be possible to get some of the officers behind efforts like this to express their beliefs that Jews and Catholics as well as (heaven knows) Muslims and atheists are lesser human beings? And given the fact that religious fanaticism is practically wingnut belief that truly tarnished the right in the eyes of the general public in the past few decades, wouldn't loose talk like that harm all the Bible-thumpers?

(Then again, we see what happens when embarrassing revelations come to light on the left and the right: An NPR underling criticizes conservatives and it results in a loss of job not only for him but for his boss; the story becomes a nationwide scandal. By contrast, top military officers start up a blatantly unconstitutional concert series and the story barely gets attention, and only an underling is disciplined, The damn concert series is called the Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts, right? What the hell happened to the commanding general? The general who started the series, Major General James E. Chambers, now runs them at a second Army post. So maybe the problem isn't inadequate O'Keefe-style pranking, it's our failure to work the stories a bit harder -- yup, even though we liberals control the media.)

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