Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Threats In The Blogosphere: How Credible Are Michelle Malkin's Claims?


Possibly more than any other writer on the Web, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin constantly refers to all the hate mail and threats she receives. In the eyes of her followers, this has enhanced her reputation and made her into a sort of right-wing hero for the truth, in her ongoing battle against liberals.

There's only one problem. Malkin isn't exactly the most reliable and trustworthy writer online. Frankly, I don't trust anything she writes.

The latest round of Malkin's claims of hate speech and threats began recently when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly compared the liberal Daily Kos to the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

O'Reilly based his tirade on a tiny, cherry-picked handful of anonymous comments left on Daily Kos (a site with millions of daily visitors, all of whom are free to post comments).

Blogger Glenn Greenwald, among others, responded to O'Reilly's lunacy, pointing out that if you go to the site of Malkin (a frequent guest host on O'Reilly's program) you'll encounter loads of vile hate speech in her comments section. In Malkin's case, however, this really shouldn't be surprising. After all, as Greenwald notes, Malkin once wrote a book "defending the ethnicity-based imprisonment of innocent American citizens in internment camps."

In response to Greenwald's charges, Malkin has fallen back on a tactic that she's used before: she trots out the claim that she herself has been the victim of all kinds of terrible, violent hate speech and threats.

As she wrote in a July 26 piece:

"If you're going to get into it, the qualitative difference between blog comments on liberal blogs and my blogs is Grand Canyon-wide."

I really don't believe anything that Malkin writes and frankly I have doubts about her claims of getting inundated with hate speech and threats.

Am I saying that Malkin and other right-wing bloggers basically make up anonymous comments to try to make liberals look bad?

Well, not necessarily. But I wouldn't put it past any right-wing site. And I simply don't believe that liberals are posting hate speech, or violent threats, on right-wing sites.

The fact is, we liberals don't do hate speech. We don't do racism. In fact, we're not big on threats or violence in general.

Hell, we're from the party of Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, for God's sake. It's hard to imagine George W. Bush ever winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

I know a lot of liberal Democrats. And I know a lot of conservative Republicans.

And frankly, in countless conversations I've had over the years, I've never heard a liberal make any kind of serious threat of violence against anyone, period. Violence is not our thing, after all.

I mean, we're not the ones who adore and cherish guns. We're not the ones who always throw a hissy fit when our paranoid little brains become convinced that the government is going to kick in our doors and take away our precious firearms. We're not the ones who demand the right to completely unrestricted access to guns (so that we can violently overthrow the U.S. government if we ever decide that we disagree with it).

Frankly, we're not big on guns, period. We'd rather solve our differences with reason and logic and rational debate.

I'm not sure where all these violent, hate-spewing bigots are coming from who supposedly post comments on Malkin's site. But if these are genuine comments, they're definitely not being posted by liberals.

By contrast, the right-wing hate-spewing comments that Greenwald references in his article sound EXACTLY like the sort of stuff I've been hearing FIRST-HAND from numerous self-described Republicans over the years. And in my conversations with fellow liberals over the years, I can tell I'm not alone.

I have heard, on numerous occasions, self-described Republicans advocating violence again Democratic politicians and liberals in general. I've heard them advocate violence against African-Americans. I've heard them say that America ought to "nuke the shit" out of the Middle East. And I heard them laugh during the Hurricane Katrina crisis, making comments like "Who cares? It was just a bunch of f*cking n*ggers who drowned."

And on and on and on.

These are comments from self-described, George W. Bush-supporting Republicans that I've heard first-hand over the years. And I'm not alone. I've heard other progressives describe similar accounts of hate speech and violence-tinged rhetoric that they're heard first-hand from Republicans.

We're not talking about anonymous comments on a Web site here. We're talking about people we've listened to in person, first-hand---be it someone we encountered in the line at the supermarket, or our crazy right-wing uncle who spewed his venom during Thanksgiving dinner.

Over the years, I've had many discussions with liberals on every topic under the sun. And I have to say: I don't believe I've ever heard a liberal seriously advocate violence against anybody.

I've known a lot of bigots over the years. I've known a lot of people who threatened to use violence. And I've known a lot of racists.

True, not all of them were Republicans. But many were. And NOT ONE of them was a liberal Democrat.


Ron Southern said...

It's good stuff, but it's too mucky for me. Glad you're handling it instead of me. I'd get too grossed out. (And if you come to my blog, it's shit-nasty!)

Anonymous said...

Criticizing the Chimp for lying America into war is NOT hate speech. Sometimes I wonder if right-wingers are capable of understanding this concept.

Anonymous said...

What simplistic moralizing. And what nonsense. I've read a lot more hateful stuff from liberals than I have than from conservatives on the net. But being a liberal, yourself, I'm sure you filter that stuff right out. And you probably filter out anonymous's post about the "chimp" (namecalling, which is almost a requirement) "lying America into war" (a lie in itself). I marvel at liberals' inability to express their point of view without resorting to nastiness. If the truth is on your side, why do you feel the need to blatantly exaggerate and to call those with whom you disagree the most vile names you can think of? I suppose it's just to vent. But it sure isn't taking the high road, as you seem to think liberals always do.

Marc McDonald said...

>>"lying America into war" (a lie
>>in itself).

Bush said America had to go to war because Iraq had WMDs and posed a threat to us.
That was a fucking lie.
And to call this a lie is not a particularly radical viewpoint---most Americans these days believe Bush lied our nation into war.
I always marvel at how the Kool-Aid drinking NeoCon base screamed and hollered for years about Clinton lying about a blow job---and yet lying a nation into war is no big deal for these deluded 25-percenters.