Sunday, May 27, 2012


On Friday I wrote about the right blogosphere's group attack on Brett Kimberlin, an ex-con who's now a lefty activist and, the righties say, a dangerous serial harasser of his enemies. As I said on Friday, if their claims about him are accurate, he absolutely deserves the attention of authorities -- someone who's done what they say he's done ought to be locked up. But they're the only ones telling us this stuff, and (as I also said on Friday) they seem to be doing it primarily to attack liberals and Democrats, and only secondarily to protect their ideological soul mates.

The latest, from one of the self-proclaimed harassees, Robert Stacy McCain, is that Kimberlin is pursuing a "peace order" against another person who says Kimberlin harassed him. That may mean the story is more nuanced than the righties want you to believe it is -- or it may mean that Kimberlin is following the classic pattern of a spouse-beater who tells the authorities he's the one being abused. We just don't know.

And this gets me back to a subject that's come up in the lefty blogosphere in the past, notably during the James O'Keeffe ACORN brouhaha. Back then, Clark Hoyt, at the time the public editor of The New York Times, asserted that the non-right-wing press pursued the ACORN story too tardily, and therefore the Times "would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies." This was met with some outrage and disgust on the left -- but I've always believed that following the stories right-wingers are ranting and raving about is a good idea for the mainstream press, if it's done with the goal of getting the truth out rather than with the goal of appealing to the right-wing audience. In fact, I think it hurts our side -- and the country as a whole -- if the non-right-wing press ignores these right-wing stories. The Kimberlin story could be another example.

Let me explain.

You know the saying ascribed to Mark Twain: "A lie goes halfway around the world before the truth puts on its boots." That's pretty much what happens when the right pushes and distorts a story, while the mainstream press says nothing. That's what happened, for instance, with the "Ground Zero mosque." The right-wing media and blogosphere pushed the story for months before the rest of the media took notice of the right's distortions. The mainstream press eventually pointed out that the "Ground Zero mosque" was not a mosque and was not being built at Ground Zero, that it was being planned with the help of an adviser from Manhattan's Jewish Community Center, that there were already mosques near Ground Zero, and that there were prayer rooms for Muslims in the Twin Towers themselves. But it was too late once all that came out -- the right had successfully turned the Islamic cultural center into a political football.

That's what must be prevented in the case of Brett Kimberlin. In addition to convicting him in the media, the right is already trying to tie him to the Obama administration, and, by inference, to every liberal and Democrat in America. That's only going to continue.

Let wingnuts be the mainstream press's assignment editors? I say yes, but just in order to tell the truth. At worst, we learn that Kimberlin really was a nasty guy; the fact appears to be that liberals and Democrats who may have allied with him simply didn't know that. (Yeah, he's an ex-con, but so is Don King, who once killed a guy, which didn't stop the GOP from expressing delight as his endorsement of George W. Bush in 2004.) Or we may find out that behavior is being ascribed to Kimberlin and his friends that's someone else's doing, or that's being exaggerated and distorted, just to score political points. Either way, the right is prevented from owning the story for the next several months and presenting it in a way that exclusively helps the right. If these hissyfits are ignored, they don't go away.


Victor said...

Good point, Steve!

But how do we know how they'll cover it?

I have no faith in their being objective, if you look at the last 10-30+ years of what is called still called "journalism."

Will they invite a real Liberal on a talk show, or to write an Op-ed, or will they reach out to the usual Quislings?

I can already see Lanny Davis on a TV news show, or an Op-ed by Evan Bayh.
"I know, let's ask David Brooks what he thinks!"

Be careful what you wish for, Steve.
Our asses have a lot of bites already...

Jim Parrett said...

I just wish there was some equivalence between media coverage of the left and the right. Judging by Memeorandum in the aftermath of Breitbart's death, the right has gone around the bend. With Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch on CNN with no lefty blogger counterpoint, the right is monopolizing the media. Sure, let the right shoot itself in the foot. But it doesn't work that way. Righties advance the more they screw up. Not so for the left. With this latest kerfuffle, probably the wildest and most obscure I've ever encountered in the blogospher, how will we ever know the truth? The media is no longer diligent enough to wade through the bull. I have a feeling McCain is only telling a purple prose version of the events. He may not be the victim here but if the right keeps trumpeting his victim status, the lazy media is sure to do the same, despite the underlying facts.

repsac3 said...

Exactly right, Steve... I want the truth of the thing to come out, whatever it is... The ones involved/telling the story are politically biased, and--because they're involved--not objective or trustworthy on that front, either.

It just bothers me that a deputy district attorney for LA county (Patterico), a lawyer (Worthing), and a former news reporter (McCain) can't get much help or traction from law enforcement, the court system, or the media. (Both Frey and Worthing have specifically said the law isn't following their leads or taking their plights seriously.) Meanwhile, the rightwing blogs are hanging on their every utterances as though they're Gospel. If professional law enforcement is skeptical of their stories, I fail to see why I should believe them, either.

When I start to see movement from unbiased legal and media sources, I'll take their stories more seriously.

(That's not to say that what Kimbertlin did 30 years ago wasn't awful, or that he isn't a real dick today. The guy probably shouldn't be in a leadership position of a liberal org, just based on his history and on the perception it leaves... ...and I think that a guy who had the best interests of progressives and of the issues he cares about would recognize that, and either take smaller roles, or take a leadership role in something where his ex-con status could be an asset, like prison reform or helping other ex-cons reacclimatize to the real world after release, or something...)

By the same token, most of these rightwing bloggers would find some other reason to bitch about him and his orgs, even if he was a choirboy, straight A student, and family man... Too far too many on the right, we're all criminals and eeeeevil, just for not believing whatever they do... To ask them, we ALL have ties to communiSocialistCriminalNihilist-Devil-worshipping godlessness, no matter what we do... But that doesn't mean we should make it easy for 'em.

Ten Bears said...

With Kimbertlin today pleading a protective order against these cretins, it's not surprising the cops are a tad leery.

Anonymous said...

I had posted a similar comment under your Friday entry - posting here as well.

Something is not adding up with this whole story. Aaron Walker who blogs as Aaron Worthington, who is a lawyer like Paterico, failed to show up in court on the 19th - for his peace order court appearance with Brett Kimberlin in MD.

If this guy is everything they are saying he is and all of this is really happening to them, the swatting, the threats - all of it - why would an attorney leveling these charges - not show up to the hearing????

There is something that is not adding up with this whole bully-wingnut smear machine. They're not showing up in court and law enforcement is not taking any of it seriously, so what does this tell you?

And Malkin lives for the drama of any situation. She'll ramp it up because she cannot help herself.

It sounds like Bill Ayres all over again, only ramped up to the 100th power, ie let the vetting begin BS from Britefart.

Moreover, I think we know what is really happening here. In 2010 that Liberty Chick, one of Britefart's minions, was fishing around on the websites of Leftwing causes and found Brett Kimberlin's name and that's how it all started. He was already in Britefart's target for filing the lawsuit against that troll O'Keefe & Giles.

He has became a target to go after The Left for, plain & simple and they have been orchastrating it ever since.

They are also going after the other guy - Ron - who used to work for The Raw Story, accusing him of being paid by Kimberlin to be the actual swatteer.

It's a full out attack/war on The Left.

Unknown said...

i also wondered about the veracity of the accusations. i can't stomach wading thru the rw bs, so i was hoping some lefty blog (tbogg, sadly no!, some high user id blogger @ dkos hoping to make a name for him/herself) would read it all and translate it intothe truth. but so far, nothing.

and maybe i've watched too much law and order, but doesn't 411 know which phone is making the call? wouldn't the police make a call back to someone who just called and said theu killed their family and hing up? wouldn't someone at the police dept recognize patterico's name as an ada? srsly?

Steve M. said...

Latest is that Aaron Walker was reportedly arrested at a court hearing related to this. Apparently every law enforcement agency in America is now part of the vast Soros-funded liberal conspiracy. Who knew?