Friday, June 22, 2012


On Wednesday night, there was an extraordinary story on Rachel Maddow's show about the right-wing theory that the Fast and Furious "gun-walking" effort was a secret Obama administration plot to generate gun violence, so it could then push for stricter gun laws. As Maddow reported, the idea was first promoted by Mike Vanderboegh, a right-wing blogger and militia member, who'd previously urged readers to break windows at local Democratic Party headquarters -- a call to action that was followed by quite a few such incidents, including one at the office of then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Vanderboegh is now regularly invited on Fox News to discuss Fast and Furious. (Oh, and as Betty Cracker has noted, Vanderboegh is also the author of a popular Turner Diaries-style novel that has actually inspired would-be terrorists.)

Last night, Maddow did a follow-up report asking whether mainstream reporters are really going to take the Fast and Furious story seriously. She compared it to the Shirley Sherrod story, which also bubbled up from the wingnut fever swamps and was ultimately revealed to have been based on a lie.

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Here's what Maddow said in the conclusion to her follow-up story:
This is a test. This is a test. We have been here before. We know how this ends. News media of America, you are getting baited to cover this story that Fox and the right have cooked up in their own special cockamamie marinade for more than a year now. Are you gonna swallow this one, too?
My take on this is slightly different. Shirley Sherrod did nothing wrong; there simply was no "scandal" in anything Sherrod did. Something was screwed up in Fast and Furious, and it would be swell if we could get to the bottom of that, in an atmosphere of good faith rather than naked partisanship.

I don't want the press not to cover these stories. I want the press to cover the story of the way these stories are generated. I want right-wing media to be the story. In the case of Fast and Furious, I want the story to be the acceptance of a lunatic right-wing conspiracy theory by prominent, powerful members of Congress -- and remember that this is a theory that is exactly as crazy as birtherism.

In the clip above, Darrell Issa says he thinks Fast and Furious was a plot to advance gun control. Other members of Congress say the same thing. So does Rush Limbaugh. And it matters that Fox News -- which is America's top-rated cable news channel and is considered a serious enough news organization to get a front-row seat in the White House briefing room -- advances this theory.

Dear mainstream media: when major players in our political life are crazy, it's a major story. And you refuse to report it.

President Obama was going to press for stricter gun control after F&F led to deaths? Really? The same President Obama who didn't press for stricter gun control after Gabby Giffords was shot, or after a neo-Nazi shot up the Holocaust Museum?

This is the story: one entire political wing in this country has taken leave of its senses. I know you won't, but I'm begging you: report this story, dammit.


Victor said...

I'd be satisfied if the MSM just covered that the same feckin' peckerhead and idjit R's on Issa's committee, including Issa himself, voter FOR F&F in the first feckin' place!!!

When the hyper-incompetent "Baby Doc" Bush was President, and his "Band of Well-renowned Clowns" in his mis-administration. thought this was brilliant!

What say they to that?

They seemed to think it was a great idea at the time, no?

Now that a black President and a black AG are in office, they see the errors of their ways.

What do you with people like these feckin' idjits?

You can't kill them.

Hell, you can't even institutionalize them!

Unknown said...

"Turner Diaries-style"?


That was the most blood-curdling piece of hate literature I ever read, and the most horrific piece of racist literature.

He wrote something like that and they invite him on the air, now and again, to consult him re F&F?

Unknown said...

As I understand it - what little I do understand - this is basically some sort of international undercover police sting operation designed to help police against Mexican drug cartels.

Exposing details to a congressional investigation makes as much sense as exposing details of an ongoing CIA op in Iran, complete with the naming of names.

And would probably have an equally adverse impact on the operation and maybe get some people killed for helping out.

A very small price to pay to embarrass the Democrats, big time, as we head into summer of a presidential election year.

Steve M. said...

Re Vanderboegh's novel, here it is. Judge for yourself.

Chris Andersen said...

You compare this to Birtherism, which it certainly is comparable to. But an even more apt comparison is to the Truthers, the fever-dream conspiracy of the left that George Bush deliberately planned (or at least consciouslly allowed) the 9/11 attacks in order to get us into a war.

Truthers are rightly disparaged in the mainstream and among all non-tinfoil hat wearers. The F&F crap should be treated as equally stupid.

Steve M. said...

I'll agree with that. Responsible liberals/lefties rejected trutherism, and certainly didn't promote it cynically because it stirred up anger at Bush (even though we wanted people angry at Bush). The right doesn't play by those rules.

Peter Janovsky said...

Even Jon Stewart is going after the administration on this, without any mention of the wild conspiracy theory behind it.

(Colbert on the other hand went directly after the conspiracy.)

Victor said...

And nowhere did Stewart in the last episode I saw, mention that this program started under Bush.

Stewart's still really, really funny, and good on most issues - or, at least his writers are (most of the time).
But ever since his show with Colbert, I think he's starting to try to take on the role of the Centrist Media Critic - the 'both side do it ' variety.

He'd better be careful, or he'll end up like Howie Kurtz with a few yucks.

steeve said...

"report this story, dammit"

It might be reported like Katrina -- refuse to declare that Bush screwed up, then eventually casually say that everyone knows Bush screwed up.

We'd better not accept it. Nobody should pay any respect to a (typical) media figure for the next hundred years, just like nobody should vote for a republican (even if atypical) for the next hundred years, even if it looks like they've turned a corner.