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Media Storm: Gosnell, Harpootlian, Mike Huckabee and Benghazi

IT’S happening everywhere in the media, anywhere you choose to read lately. Gosnell, Harpootlian, Mike Huckabee and Benghazi, all leading to the second term curse that’s lapping at the White House lawn. The media digging down to find an alternative narrative to balance just how whacky those right wing Republicans have gotten since Sarah Palin led the Tea Party to their 2010 midterm victory. Suddenly, to balance the whack factor, Democrats have become the target.

Have you read Kirsten Powers lately? Here’s the headline and a snippet of her story.

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We live in a country where if a six-months-pregnant woman started downing shots of vodka in a bar or lit up a cigarette, people might want her arrested. But that same woman could walk into an abortion clinic, no questions asked, and be injected with a drug that would stop her baby’s heart.

I’ll put my cards on the table: I think life begins at conception and would love to live in a world where no women ever felt she needed to get an abortion. However, I know enough people who are pro-abortion rights–indeed, I was one of them for most of my life–to know that reasonable and sincere people can disagree about when meaningful life begins. They also can disagree about how to weigh that moral uncertainty against a woman’s right to control her body–and her own life. I have only ever voted for Democrats, so overturning Roe v. Wade is not one of my priorities. I never want to return to the days of gruesome back-alley abortions.

But medical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

This is the mother of straw dog arguments, because at six months a baby can live on its own, without needing the mother’s womb. That makes it a person. Who is Kirsten Powers arguing with, because it certainly isn’t me or most of my readers? The answer is, she’s not arguing anything that is real, but instead is acting as a tool for a discussion that doesn’t exist.

Then there’s Peter Beinert.

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If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”–South Carolina’s Indian-American governor–“back to wherever the hell she came from.”

South Carolinian Democrat Dick Harpootlian is an embarrassment. He in no way makes the headline statement “Yes, Democrats Can Be Racist” applicable. It is the mother of all false charges based on one person who has a habit of talking in a manner that’s outrageous and continually embarrasses himself.

You’ve got to give it to Tina Brown and the Daily Beast crew. After the Howard Kurtz firing, she’s grabbed the attention and made the most of it, both Powers and Beinert writing for her site.

Then there is Mike Huckabee, making the mother of all disgraceful accusations, comparing the Obama White House reaction to the Benghazi terrorist attack to Watergate. From Politico:

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“I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. I know that puts me on a limb,” the former Arkansas governor said on “The Mike Huckabee Show.” “But this is not minor. It wasn’t minor when Richard Nixon lied to the American people and worked with those in his administration to cover-up what really happened in Watergate. But, I remind you – as bad as Watergate was, because it broke the trust between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious because four Americans did in fact die.”

Republicans have been in trouble for quite some time now, beginning with the election of Barack Obama in 2008. It’s getting to be an old story. With Obama’s win in 2012, the demographics making Republicans look weak and marginal, people are now seeking to balance a scale that doesn’t deserve the effort.

The reality for the right and Republicans is that they have a very small tent, which is filled with mostly white males, few African Americans for good reasons, with women rounding out the edges, used mostly as spokespersons for the NRA or the anti-women’s rights coalition, who think freedom is just for men. These same women, to whom Kirsten Powers is pandering shamelessly, are also concocting an argument that babies who can live outside the womb are a target for illegal abortions by butchers, when I and most of my readers would join them to stop unnecessary late-term abortions from happening. What I won’t do is pretend they’re the majority of abortions, which is a lie.

Democrats have suddenly become the target with outlandish charges being levied to make false equivalencies that don’t apply. Republicans are the underdog, Democrats the victors, so we are now in the throes of bringing the winners down to loser status. Leveling the playing field even if it’s undeserved, because Republicans are in real trouble and can’t get out of it without media help.

Kermit Gosnell, in my opinion, is a murderer, with the entire Pennsylvania community who knew what was going on complicit. Saying this indicts anyone beyond Gosnell, specifically, but also anyone who stood silent or turned their head, is hyperbolic opportunism and an act of journalistic contortions.

Dick Harpootlian is a disgraceful person who happens to be a Democrat. But the last time I looked it was the Democratic party standing up for civil rights, women’s right of self-determination that has nothing to do with illegal murder of mothers or babies, and human rights against torture.

Benghazi was a tragedy of epic proportions, with the White House explanation in the middle of chaos a disaster, but to compare it to Richard M. Nixon’s illegal activities and obstruction of justice reveals ignorance of the facts of Watergate, which includes men in the top legal posts of this country quitting, because Nixon wanted them to hide the facts and the truth of his crimes. Republicans like Senator Barry Goldwater forced Nixon to resign, which is a lot different than so-called whistle-blowers hiring partisan lawyers who helped stoke media stories against Bill Clinton in the 1990s, in an attempt to ensnare former Secretary Hillary Clinton in Benghazi as a preemptive strike for 2016.

From Powerline:

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Was Hillary Clinton directly involved in this cover-up? It’s difficult to see how she could not have been.

Democrats sure aren’t my idea of perfection, but I’m a liberal. I didn’t even vote for president in 2012, so Obama’s fate isn’t a partisan issue for me, except as an American political writer who is intent on being fair. I could care less about balance, because the truth is what the truth is.

Republicans have been the whipping boys for so long false equivalency is being concocted out of thin air to level the playing field.

We’re in a dangerous cyclone of stories that are churning up a narrative for 2014, which has only one intent and that is a Republican sweep, with President Obama left alone to serve out his second term cornered, hobbled, then neutered.

Anyone who plays along is a patsy.

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10 Responses to Media Storm: Gosnell, Harpootlian, Mike Huckabee and Benghazi

  1. Joyce Arnold May 7, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Only a tiny quibble, or maybe just a question: For consistency, given the GOP antics you’re highlighting, would it be more accurate to use “father of all” rather than “mother of all” phrasing?

    Of course, you’re pointing to a very serious concern, in part because it is so familiar. It’s still used because, at least to date, it’s a tactic that still works to an extent that makes it worth the efforts.

    • Taylor Marsh May 7, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Depends on how you look at it, which for me remains that the women on the right aren’t using their power to take the boys to task. That’s my particular beef, because I really do believe change, real substantive change, begins with us.

      • Joyce Arnold May 7, 2013 at 11:34 am #

        Yes, those women on the Right who play within the imposed patriarchal rules certainly contribute to the “mother of” framing. I’ve just always found it interesting when a “father of” kind of authority employs “mother of” language, but of course, women in general, and feminist theory and methodology in particular, have turned that into an empowering thing, too, the “Be the change you want to see” kind of focus. It’s similar to the “reclaiming” of, for easy examples, “Black” and “gay.”

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter May 7, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    The single reality based point in all this manufactured “outrage” is that every single one of these “stories” so breathlessly spewed on faux not news starts off with a whole cloth lie and then explodes like a bubble floating on top of the much in the cesspool into the noxious vapor cloud choking the airwaves today.

    “We live in a country where if a six-months-pregnant woman started downing shots of vodka in a bar or lit up a cigarette, people might want her arrested. But that same woman could walk into an abortion clinic, no questions asked, and be injected with a drug that would stop her baby’s heart.”
    That is a lie pure and simple. Were this true the horror show of the Gosnell trial wouldn’t be going on now.

    ““If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”–South Carolina’s Indian-American governor–“back to wherever the hell she came from.”

    And he was roundly condemned by Democrats and liberals for it too.

    ““Was Hillary Clinton directly involved in this cover-up? It’s difficult to see how she could not have been.”

    The coverup? Funny, they’ve already had many, many repugnantklan chaired meetings and hearings on this and come up with NOTHING…now they breathlessly say they have secret witnesses who have remained quiet out of fear…FEAR of the Obama administration and Hillary!!! I mean she murdered Vince Foster didn’t she?!!!

    • Taylor Marsh May 7, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Democrats have two choices: defense or offense. From the NY Times story on Obamacare it looks like right now 2014 will be defense.

      • Ramsgate May 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

        Very well written piece TM.

        Also, it should be noted that even when the Democrats are on offense, they are defensive about it.

  3. TPAZ May 7, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    If Democrats in 2014 would rather “switch than fight” (yeah, I’m really dating myself with that TV commercial reference. I’m moving to Jurrasic Park when I hit enter.), they will lose control of the Senate. Think Obama govern like a Republican now, watch him cave and sign into law legislation coming from a Republican controlled House and Senate. FDR will be remove from Texas textbooks and ATM machines will spit out the new $20 bill with the face of Ronny Reagan.

  4. fairmindedindependent May 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    What a great written article Taylor. Yes, usually when it comes to midterms, Democrats don’t fair well unlike the General election. It seems so called Democrats are helping the Republicans. Max Baucus of Montana saying that Obamacare is a train wreck when truth be told he was a major contributor that helped get the bill passed. If they listened to the base, they would have went to single-payer. The media can not have the Democrats winning everything, it goes against the drama of it all and hurts the ratings, so they have to help prop up the Republicans. They did during the General election, saying it was going to be a close race even some saying Romney was going to win think goodness they were wrong, but this time its the midterms and even some so-called dems are joining in the fray to help. On Benegazi, It seems other networks are actually following Fox News. Joe Scarborough was saying on his show this could hurt the Obama Administration, which I am sure he includes Hillary Clinton. I was watching The Young Turks yesterday and Cenk Uygur said that he agreed with the Republicans that there needs to be more answers when it comes to what happened in Benegazi. Harry Reid helps the Republicans every chance he gets. He would not go along with with filibuster reform, whats the point of having a majority if you don’t fix the problems in the Senate. This is the flipping twilight zone.

  5. DaGoat May 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    It’s too bad that partisan outlets like Fox and commentators like Huckabee are making so much noise about this, because there really are legitimate questions about Benghazi which are overshadowed by the craziness coming from the right. The best approach is probably to ignore the slanted reporting and spin, and focus on reliable news outlets as well as the actual testimony.

  6. ladywalker68 May 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Brilliant, Taylor. Especially this: “This is the mother of straw dog arguments, because at six months a baby can live on its own, without needing the mother’s womb. That makes it a person. Who is Kirsten Powers arguing with, because it certainly isn’t me or most of my readers? The answer is, she’s not arguing anything that is real, but instead is acting as a tool for a discussion that doesn’t exist.”

    Yep. You nailed it!

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong