Morning In America

Tucker Carlson capped off a day of hate in America on his show "The Situation" on MSNBC. Carlson interviewed terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann about the release of Jill Carroll. Carlson delivered the same tactic used all day by right wing commentators since the news of Jill Carroll’s release hit the airwaves this morning: Praise, Pivot and Attack. Here’s how it works:

  1. Praise her release. Carlson begins the conversation with one obligatory sentence saying he is happy that she is free.
  2. Pivot. The word to watch out for here is "but". But the really clever ones use something like "I hope it’s not true that…."
  3. Attack. Carlson points out how she seems to be praising her captors. Perhaps she’s been brainwashed. Perhaps she is one of them. Perhaps. Perhaps.

Kohlmann tried a few times to bring balance to the discussion, but Carlson would not be moved off message. So, the day ended very much the way it began, with innuendo, accusations and, most of all, hate.

The hate was brimming over everywhere you looked on the right. To bring some order to the orgy of hate, I decided to take a sampling of some of the subtle, and not so subtle, attacks on Jill Carroll today. As you read these, keep an eye out for "Praise, Pivot and Attack".

I’ll begin at the beginning, with the National Review’s John Podhoretz (picked up by initially by Think Progress), Podhoretz writes in The Corner:

It’s wonderful that she’s free, but after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn’t beaten or killed — while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is — I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days. [Emphasis added by me]

Jonah Goldberg follows up his colleague at the end of the night (dispensing with the Praise and going straight to the Pivot):

But Jill Carroll is increasingly starting to bug me. The details are still murky and it’s hard to appreciate what she’s been through. And maybe JPod’s right about Stockholm syndrome. And maybe the media’s selectively choosing what to show of her statements. But it would be nice to hear her say something remotely critical of her captors, particularly about the fact that they murdered her translator in cold blood. I’m very glad she’s alive, but I’m getting a very bad vibe. More, no doubt, to come. [Emphasis added by me]

Michelle Malkin plays traffic cop for the right today and feigns (not too convincingly) some sympathy for Jill (and cleverly disguises the Praise, Pivot and Attack by turning it on its head):

In fairness to Carroll, a lot of people would say a lot of things they didn’t mean in those circumstances. Let’s see whether she defends it now. Assuming, that is, that anyone in the media bothers to ask her. [Emphasis added by me]

Little green footballs dispenses with the niceties and goes straight for the jugular:

Note that even after her release, Carroll maintained that she had been treated well by her captors—so it would appear that this journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made these anti-American comments voluntarily. [Emphasis added by me]

Debbie Schlussel puts the hate machine on overdrive. There was absolutely no need to pivot here since the title of her post was "So, Anti-American Jill was freed…". Here’s some of the bile from the first two paragraphs in the post (and it’s all downhill from here):

Why are so many people who claim to be patriotic Americans so overjoyed that Jill Carroll was freed, yet hardly a peep when American contractors and others were freed?

Here’s a clue for the obviously dimwitted. Why was Jill Carroll freed? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she HATES AMERICA and our Mid-East policy. And, oh yeah, she HATES ISRAEL, too.

 The above was a small sample of the hate that emanated from the right today. It was a shameful display of ignorance and prejudice. Today was not our finest day.

Why would the right make such a concerted effort to attack a woman who was just released from three months in captivity? What are they so afraid of that they could not help tripping over each other trying to insult, accuse, insinuate, and attack her?

Well, I think its quite simple. They are afraid of the truth. They are afraid of yet another voice that might tell America that the reality in Iraq is not the reality manufactured by the Administration. So, they are trying to inoculate themselves preemptively from what they fear Jill Carroll might say. Having lost the war in Iraq, they are fighting tooth and nail to maintain a toehold on their manufactured Iraqi fairy tale. And every reporter, be it Jill Carroll, Michael Ware, Lara Logan, Nic Robertson, Chris Allbritton or others on the ground in Iraq, who deliver what they see to the American public will be attacked mercilessly by these people. Their cause is a losing one and so they are getting more desperate in their attacks.

But, in the end, the story on March 30, 2006 was that Jill Carroll was freed. And as I finish this post I look out my window and see that it is already morning in America.

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20 Responses to Morning In America

  1. ql in ny says:

    Oh my. And they keep talking about the “angy left.” Not our finest day, indeed.

  2. xoites says:

    I posted this on Crooks&Liars last night and later on the website i am associated with. I also sent it to the Christian Science Monitor.

    turned on my computer this evening to find that a woman reporter for the Christian Science Monitor who had been kidnapped months ago and released today was the subject of smear campaign the likes of which I have never witnessed. As you know, her name is Jill Carroll.

    Her crime it seems, was truthfully answering questions posed to her by interviewers on an Iraqi television station regarding her treatment during captivity and the circumstances of her release.

    She was not asked about the death of the man who was her translator. As far as anyone knows she was not even aware of it.

    Suddenly she has been called a traitor, an Islamist, a terrorist sympathizer and worse. Her credibility has been called into question because of the traditional Arabic hajib she was wearing (with no one commenting that she was still in the care and custody of Arabic men at the time of the interview)

    Some have gone so far as to suggest that she faked the whole thing and spent time in Syria only now to come out and disrupt America’s foreign policy by saying she was well treated.

    Those who believe in America’s foreign policy are more nervous than I suspected.

    During Joseph McCarthy’s Senate hearings into allegations (mostly his) that there were Communist sympathizers in the television Industry, Hollywood and indeed in the Pentagon itself much unfounded hearsay was used to smear and terrify people in this nation. He did a lot of damage to people. He cost people their jobs, ruined their reputations and some of them even committed suicide.

    But he did do one thing that today’s chorus of charlatans who have impugned the reputation of this young woman without a shred of evidence or any regard have not done.

    He stood in front of the camera and he said, “I am Joseph McCarthy and I stand by what I have said.”

    Today, the cowards who have shredded any sense of decency I thought they may have had, did it anonymously.

    Shame on all of them. Shame on all of us.

    Michael Meehan

  3. Mr. Bill says:

    It’s clear enough to me that Carlson, Malkin, Goldberg, et. al, would prefer a dead Jill Carroll to one who undercuts their talking points. I hope she gets a chance to take on the bastards and reply.

  4. Mash says:

    So far everytime the propagandists have taken on the reporters directly, they have been utterly humiliated. For example:

    • Michael Ware vs. Hugh Hewitt
    • Lara Logan vs. Laura Ingraham

    The case of Jill Carroll will prove to be no different. The endless spin is running into reality and losing badly.

    And, xoites, this is McCarthyism in the Internet era. And like the first incarnation, it is leading to shame for its practitioners.

  5. Debbie Schutstaffel says:

    SHUT UP!@!!! SHUT UP!!!!! BIAS! Biiiiiiiaaaassss! Liberalliberalliberal scuuuuuuummmmmmm!!!!!!!

  6. R Cauthen says:

    I agree with your analysis, but not your conclusion that the “commenters” involved arrived at their smears independently and based upon their own psychological needs.

    Seems clear to me this is an orchestrated attack.

  7. Mash says:

    I did not mean to imply that this was not an orchestrated attack. On the contrary, the swiftness of the attack and the similarities in argument and tactic all clearly demonstrate that it was an orchestrated attack.

    In fact, I would expect more of the same going forward. As the situation in Iraq gets worse, the attacks will grow more shrill as they circle the wagons tighter and tighter. Instead of doing what is right for the country, these hacks are putting party before country to the detriment of the country, and in fact, to the detriment of their very own party.

  8. I don’t know why this surprised you. I seem to recall a couple of discussions during her captivity where some of the ranting righties were all but claiming that she’d set the whole thing up herself.

    Btw, Mash, you are a welcome breath of fresh air, Too many ‘anti-jihady Muslims’ like Egyptian Sandmonkey and Nadz seem to have swallowed the Conservative line.
    Okay, I’ll admit that the Liberals haven’t been at their best recently, and too many of them have taken the basically good idea of multi-culturalism to absurdly dangerous extremes — more in Europe than here.
    But too many people like SM — who is a must read despite his politics — are going to be surprised that, when the real test of freedom comes down — the sort of freedoms you so rightfully used as your first post — they are not going to find their supposed allies fighting on their side.

  9. Mash says:

    Thanks for your comments Jim. I guess I wasnt surprised, but still shocked. My favorite vacuous right winger these days is Debbie Schlussel. She has been after Jill Carroll for a while now.

    Its funny how our discourse has devolved to this level. I grew up reading people like George Will on the right and thinking I dont necessarily agree with him but he makes his points well and makes me reexamine my opinions. People like George Will, who I still respect a great deal, are few and far between on the right now – they are there but they are drowned out. Sean Hannity speaks for this crowd – so the Kool-Aid is probably pretty strong.

    As for the likes of SandMonkey, its funny, he sounds like every other rich brat I grew up with in Bangladesh. Its fashionable for the elite in the third world to trash their own country – it makes them feel like they are enlightened and above the mess. A lot of my friends think that it is a remnant of colonial angst. Whatever it is, their MO is the same. They ignore the vast majority of the people, who not unlike in the US, are in the middle of the political spectrum. Then they go after the radicals and assign the motives of the radicals to the country as a whole. Its naive and juvenile but it sells in the West.

    As far as Egypt is concerned, SandMonkey and the radical Islamists have one thing in common – they want to remove Mubarak from power. The irony makes me chuckle.

  10. I too have considerable respect for the George Wills. I even remember a time where there were decent ‘moderate Republicans’ like Hugh Scott, Clifford Case, Jacob Javits and the like.
    Sadly, the only really strong example of this type is Olympia Snowe and maybe Bill Cohen and Jim Stafford, if you can still call them Republicans.
    And the rhetoric of the Right Wing commentators reminds me more of the Agnews and Gingrichs.
    Sadly, their consistent repetition of the same phrases and arguments have scared off too many of the liberals — too many of them think that being called a ‘liberal’ will be the word of doom.
    Meanwhile, the liberal commentators seem to think that the only way they can be heard is by doing a mirror image and attacking personalit5ies — they have great targets in Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Robertson and the like — and avoiding arguing the issues.
    (I was shocked at how few liberals I could find arguing in favor of Abdul Rahman and the right to freely leave a religion. The sad thing is that this gives the ‘manly’ right a chance to argue how liberals are cowards who won’t stand up for freedom and democracy.)
    During the Rahman problem, the most common topic on liberal blogs was a rightwing commentator for the Wash. POST who was shown to be a plaguiarist. Meanwhile it was left to Michelle Malkin to lead the fight — as if she would have bothered to speak out if Rahman had become an atheist or a Buddhist. Her attacks were ‘against the persecutors of Christians’ not FOR freedom of and from religion.

    More on another topic you raised in my next post.

  11. Mash says:

    Thanks again for your response. Here is my rapid fire take on all of this:

    If the liberals and/or the Democratic Party want to gain power and keep power, they (we) must begin to win the arguments on the merits, not win shouting matches. That means largely ignoring the likes of Hannity and Rush by just responding with one canned answer (“morons!”) and then taking on the serious and considered arguments of the convervative thinkers.

    Our message must have some fundamental underpining in order for it to carry the day. Otherwise, we are left to respond to attacks and make ad-hoc tactical decisions that dont serve any long term use. We need more policy and less politics.

    As I survey the potential Democratic candidates for 2008, I dont see much vision in most of them. We still have time to get that vision together. We cant rely on winning the election because the other guy is so horrible that a pet rock could have beaten him. We need to win, not expect the other guy to lose.

    …off my soap box now…

  12. You talk about the ‘moderate majority’ in Islamic countries, as do many people. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see evidence of this (outside the US, I think it may describe Muslims here). I’d like to suggest a somewhat different set of groupings that, from my observation — not direct, I don’t travel — fit the populations.
    Liberal Democrats: just take us as examples, though I am far from being a Muslim. People who believe in the Bill of Rights freedoms, the separation of the religious and the secular (whether believers such as yourself or atheists such as me) etc.

    Apolitical secularists: this is what i think you misperceive as a ‘moderate majority.’ In fact these are people who get on with their lives and have no concern with politics — and not infrequently, if they become active politically it is through a religious appeal and they shift several degrees rightwards.

    The non-democratic secularist/nationalists: The classic example is Ataturk, perhaps the best of the breed (and he did eventually move towards Democracy). These are people more involved with the country itself and trying to govern it than with either democracy or Islam. Current or recent examples would include Mubarrak, Musharraf, Arafat, and also Saddam, the Shah, and Hafiz Assad, and the Central Asian rulers. They have the best chance of standing up to the Islamic right, but they have many weaknesses. They are frequently corrupt, nepotistic, and cruel, they often have to make compromises with non-Islamic forces (such as the ISI in Pakistan) to give them weight against the Islamic forces, and they are always vulnerable if an Islamic force can either join with democratic forces or wear a democratic disguise (Khomeini is the prime example). I am afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is playing just this sort of game, hopefully unsuccessfully.

    Democratic secularists: examples are the Bhuttos and Nawaz, and the two ladies who keep on tossing the government of your native country back and forth. These I actually see, in practice, as further to the right, simply because they are forced to make many more concessions to the Islamicizers because they ARE in a democratic government and these forces are numerically quite large. They are also often both corrupt and inefficient. Occasionally, as in Turkey, this sort of goivernment can last, and can even draw the religious parties in their direction, but I don’t know of other examples. (Bosnia? Albania?)

    Shariaists: These are, to my eyes, the mass of politically active Muslims — as contrasted to the inactive secularists above. They tend to be more of a lower class movement, and they see the relative failures of their countries contrasted to the West. But rather than seeing their religion — in its political manifestations — as a major part of the problem, they are vulnerable to the claim that the reason why things aren’t working out the way they are ‘supposed to’ with the Triumphal Allah-led Progress of the Faith is because people aren’t being Muslim ENOUGH. (While they may dislike — and envy — the West as a value-less secular society and be vulnerable to the idea that the West is inherently anti-Muslim or ‘Jew-controlled’ in times of crisis, their main emphasis is on themselves and ‘reforming’ their societies, or proclaiming their Islam credentials. I see many of the ‘cartoon rioters’ as this sort, and many of the clerics that are put forth as ‘moderates’ such as Ali Gooma of Egypt in the same category as well. Probably you could put the CAIR-types here as well.)

    The jihadys, Caliphists, and the like. These are the real crazies, the Osamas, the Indonesian beheaders, etc. (I think Hamas is on the far right of the previous group rather than here.) These are people who are far more convinced that ‘the unbelievers hate and are constantly scheming to destroy Islam,’ who see an Armageddon/last days scenario unfolding, or who are attempting to reestablish the Caliphate. (Ironically, while most Muslims who take the last days scenario are convinced that the ‘final battle’ will be between Muslims and Christians, most Christians who share the same scenario totally ignore Islam as a side issue and see the battle in different terms.

    I think that, while I might have some corrections of this is discussed, the spectrum I’ve described is generall accurate for both Muslim countries and Muslim communities in Europe.

    More later, but this is a start. I want to bring up some problems with islam in general, some of which you have seen on my own blog — I see while I’ve been posting here, you’ve been there.

  13. A quick reply to your reply. Agreed with much of what you say, almost all, in fact. I do see a couple of possible candidates out there, Russ Feingold, Wesley Clark. (Of course the worst thing the Democrats could do would be to nominate Hilary. She’d be the only candidate who could lose the advantages the Democrats have going in. She’d be WORSE than a pet rock.)

  14. Enslaved says:

    The Republicans hate the truth and Jill will tell the truth. So, they hate Jill.

  15. Mash says:

    Enslaved, succinct and to the point. That really is the bottom line. Fear of the truth.

  16. Mash says:

    Jim, I’ll respond to your shorter comment first. The issue of Islam will take some time and I need to gather my thoughts.

    As for Feingold, I think the censure resolution put him on the map. I’ve always felt he had integrity, now I see that he also has the guts. The little voice inside my head says that the Dem establishment may not allow his nomination to go through (given how the primaries are set up, we the people will have very little to say about it).

    I liked Wesley Clark in 2004 when he joined. He’s a smart guy – but, in 2004 he was too rough around the edges for our sound bite era. I know he has been doing a lot of grass roots work since then and he is starting to be the Democratic voice on defense. Assuming his public speaking has become more polished by then, I think his nomination largely depends on whether we are looking inward or outward in 2008.

    Hillary’s a non-starter (as much as the Republicans would love her in the race). I would personally vote for a Hagel type republican before I vote for Hillary (but I think she wont get that far – the base hates her). Anyone who continues to pander and cant find a strong voice, one way or the other, on the Iraq war is not going to be much of a factor.

    The darkhorse I think is Al Gore. By not running in 2004, he has positioned himself well and put enough distance between him and 2000 to be a very viable candidate if he chooses to jump in. But, he’s got to jump in as Al the common man, not Al the suit. If he does, his chances are very good.

    This comment is almost as big as a post…so I’ll stop here.

  17. I don’t see Gore as a viable candidate/ I think there are too many people who remember his snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in 2000 — and that was before 9/11, too many people who see him as a bit of a clown. I never respected him (partially because of his wife’s strong pro-censorship stand, partially because I never though he was 1/3rd the man his father was, who i DID respect.)

    The Washington POST has been running a series of interviews with the possible candidates. I still support Feingold and Clark, but I don’t think I’d be disappointed if they turned to Evan Bayh (in his case he is as good as his father). A little more conservative than I would choose, but I think he’d make a good president. At lot will depend on who the candidate is facing. It might even be worth having a depth-less but charismatic one like Edwards (after all, that would have been the way people might have described JFK before his election). I haven’t read anything at all about Vilsack, but there’s an interview with him that will be on my list shortly.

    Anybody but Hilary or the worst possible choice, Lieberman.

  18. Mash says:

    No chance Joementum gets anywhere close to the nomination. Same for Hillary – the republicans have always disliked her; but, remarkably, she has even managed to piss of the Democratic base.

    I’m not sure about Bayh. There’s something about him that I’m not comfortable with, and I have not been able to put my finger on it yet. I need to learn a lot more about him and he has a lot more convincing to do. And since I think Virginia will be in play in ’08, Bayh will have to make some trips here to convince me.

    Like I said, I like General Clark. But, I think he is actually gunning for the VP slot. This might work for him and the party. A Feingold/Clark ticket would be strong on domestic and international issues – and that would be a formidable ticket (a la Clinton/Gore).
    As for Gore, I still think he might jump into the race. If nothing else, if Gore is in the primaries, it will generate buzz and engage the party early – and thats a good thing. I think Gore would have the benefit of bringing some disaffected voters in early, whether or not Gore gets the nomination.

    “I knew John Kennedy, and John Kennedy was a friend of mine”, and Edwards is no John Kennedy 🙂 His two Americas speech has gotten old. He needs to add meat to it. If he’s got a bold plan to cut my sky high insurance premiums, I’m all ears.

    For my vote, whoever is nominated has to have a clear position on the war. Anything less and I drag Ross Perot up by the ear.

  19. I just discovered another reason for getting a Feingold in ’08 Button. He’s now the fourth Senator (with Kennedy, Chafee, and Ron Wyden of Oregon) to support, unequivocally, gay marraige. The man has guts, and the courage of his convictions. Now I can only hope the Democrats do.

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