April Fools

No matter how vile and mean and ignorant righties can seem to be, they can still surprise me and get even more vile and mean and ignorant.

Yesterday I mentioned in “Crabs in a Barrel” that “John Podhoretz of the National Review criticizes the just-released Jill Carroll for not being anti-Muslim enough.” Podhoretz was just the beginning, however.

Yesterday Liberal Oasis described the “insidious reaction among certain conservatives to the release of Jill Carroll.” As usual when someone becomes a rightie hate target, righties don’t stop at criticizing something she’s said or done that offended them. Instead they are dissecting her like a pickled frog looking for anything about her they can hate.

What set off the feeding frenzy was a video she made while still a hostage in which she criticized George Bush. Christian Science Monitor reporter Dan Murphy interviewed Ms. Carroll’s father, who said making the video had been the price of her release.

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life – what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak – were at her captors’ whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, “she had been taught to fear them,” he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

That video appeared Thursday on a jihadist website that carries videos of beheadings and attacks on American forces. In it, Carroll told her father she felt compelled to make statements strongly critical of President Bush and his policy in Iraq.

Even worse, in the eyes of righties, she was quoted as saying after her release that her captors hadn’t hit her and that she was “kept in a safe place and treated very well.”

“May as well just come right out and say she was a willing participant,” says rightie Orrin Judd. Meanwhile, rightie hate hag Debbie Schlussel accused Carroll of having “anti-American views” and strongly implied that both Carroll “and those who are ‘elated’ about her release” are collaborating with terrorists. And the ever-brainless Alexandra of All Things Hateful seconds Schlussel — “when you listen to the video, you know that parts of what she is saying, she actually believes, either that or she deserves an honorary Oscar for her convincing performance.”

Somehow, I suspect if Alexandra ever had a gun pointed to her head and was told to be convincing or die, she’d put out an Oscar-worthy performance, too. Right after she wet her pants.

But the lowest low probably came from Bernard McGuirk, who is Don Imus’s Executive Producer. You won’t believe this.

Murphy of the CSM continues,

“You’ll pretty much say anything to stay alive because you expect people will understand these aren’t your words,” says Micah Garen, a journalist and author who was held captive by a Shiite militia in southern Iraq for 10 days in August 2004. “Words that are coerced are not worth dying over.”

Most people understand that; clearly righties are not most people.

Shortly before her release, her captors – who refer to themselves as the Revenge Brigade – also told her they had infiltrated the US diplomatic compound in Baghdad, and she would be killed if she went there or cooperated with the American authorities. It was a threat she took seriously in her first few hours of freedom.

Carroll worked at the Wall Street Journal’s Washington office in early 2002 when that paper’s reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Pakistan. “Many of her colleagues knew him and it was very emotional in the office,” Jill told her father. “She had that memory in the back of her head while she was being threatened.”

In making their last video, Mr. Carroll says her captors “obviously wanted maximum propaganda value in the US. After listening to them for three months she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing.

Just how stupid and hateful do you have to be not to be able to understand that?

Oliver Willis
takes on Captain Ed, who decided that the explanation of Carroll’s behavior in Dan Murphy’s CSM story was “good enough” for him: “Can you believe the hubris of these chuckleheads?

Digby takes on Jonah Goldberg and gets to the heart of the matter: “He reminds of one of those guys who says a rape victim didn’t act traumatized enough for him, so she’s probably lying.” See also Jane Hamsher.

Credit where credit is due — a few rightie bloggers criticize their rightie brethren for being hateful idiots.

Be sure to read all of the Liberal Oasis post.

Carroll is the kind of war correspondent the Right claims to want.

Laura Ingraham was cheered by her fellow right-wingers last week when she returned from being escorted around Iraq to scold NBC’s David Gregory:

    Bring the Today show to Iraq … and then when you talk to those soldiers on the ground, when you go out with the Iraqi military, when you talk to the villagers, when you see the children, then I want NBC to report on only the IEDs, only the killings, only, only the reprisals…

    … to do a show from Iraq means to talk to the Iraqi military to go out with the Iraqi military, to actually have a conversation with the people instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off.

Of course, that’s exactly what Jill Carroll did: got out of her room and had a conversation with the people.

Except that she didn’t have a military PR person leading her by the nose or hovering over her conversations.

There’s no pleasing some people.

One other thing — this reaction from the Right may be part of another pattern. My observations here are purely subjective; I do not spend time performing analyses of what news stories the Right is blogging about. But seems to me that in recent weeks they’ve gotten themselves worked up over smaller and smaller issues. Today, for example, they’re swarming over the news that Rep. Cynthia McKinney had an altercation with capitol police.

(Note to the congresswoman: Everybody must go through security. No exceptions. There are reasons for this.)

I gave some other examples in the “Crabs” post yesterday. It seems to me that more and more often the righties are running away from big issues and instead are focusing on peripheral news items about awful things non-righties are doing and, of course, they’re still posting the usual knee-jerk excuses for whatever Bush is up to. As I said, this is purely subjective and maybe I’m wrong, but keep watch for it.

Update: Does this even make sense? See also David Ignatius.

25 thoughts on “April Fools

  1. If Ms. Carroll’s headless corpse had been found in an alley somewhere, would that have made the righties love her? These days their entire raison d’etre is death, anyway. The living are merely potential targets for slander.

  2. Jill Carroll is likely to remain hostage to one of the most cumbersome contrivances of American journalism: the pretense of impartiality. Assuming that she wants to continue in her career as a reporter, it’s unlikely that she’ll freely air her thoughts and feelings about the war in Iraq. To do so would, supposedly, prejudice her ability to be an objective, unbiased journalist. On the hallowed pages of the American newspaper, the free expression of opinion is the exclusive province of self-important columnists and anonymous editorialists. (more…)

  3. Censorship in the progressive blogosphere?

    Damn straight. Being a progressive doesn’t mean being a punching bag.

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  5. Words can’t describe how disgusted I am with these right wing haters. They are filth. I remember during the first Gulf War, two American fighters were shot down and taken prisoner. A video was soon released in which the pilots were repeating Hussein propaganda, such as “Pray for Peace”, ect. Where was the outcry by the Rightie Haters then? This is just gross. Three months in captivity and the Haters are just chewing her up. Disgusting.

  6. 20 % of the people-80% of the problems. This is what I think when I hear how low some people can sink, I try to find solace hoping this is the case with these hate/fear mongers.
    Of course what someone I once knew said when watching people do or say truly stupid things or have very personal revalations on tv. “The pay sure must be good.” also comes to mind…

  7. Ah, Maha, according to what I’ve recently read concerning Rep. McKinney’s apparently ongoing troubles with Capitol Hill police, members of Congress are NOT required (as a courtesy, I’m sure) to pass through the metal detector.

  8. It seems to me that more and more often the righties are running away from big issues and instead are focusing on peripheral news items about awful things non-righties are doing and, of course, they’re still posting the usual knee-jerk excuses for whatever Bush is up to. As I said, this is purely subjective and maybe I’m wrong, but keep watch for it.

    I’ve noticed an complementary effect among the leftie sites I frequent. They’re more confident these days, much less glum, and there are some sites I can now count on to get me rolling on the floor in laughter, almost daily, not so much over the content of the news, but in their attitude toward it, and in the confident way they skewer the nonsense going on in RightieWorld.

    Regarding the hate on the right, expect it to get worse as the saner people wake up from the Kool-Aid, and begin to wonder what it was all about. The ones still remaining will be the most hateful and vile, the dead-enders with nowhere to go. That’s how rats act when they’re cornered.

  9. Any chair-butted pundit who whines about Jill Carrolls’ video has a serious disconnect with reality. She is one VERY lucky lady, I’m elated to see her her safe and sound.

  10. The question I’ve heard a lot is, “Why did they let her go?”

    I think the right quickly engaged in preemptively Swift-Boating Jill Carroll. Tthis woman was on the inside and might tell things demonstrating that the Iraqi insurgents have humane qualities….we can’t allow that…..it doesn’t fit with Bush’s proclamations….these insurgents are evildoers, etc.

    The insurgents simply did not play the role in the movie according to the good-vs-evil script written in the heads of the rightwingers. They were furious at this departure from their script. All the news of Jill, with her new freedom and continued life and smiling face, keeps reregistering that dissonance.

  11. I have to sympathize with congresswoman McKinney’s situation, and that is without having to contend with the racial thing. Most of my working life I could simply walk into my workspace with no hassle. Now I have to show a security guard at the door of my building a picture ID and then have to have an electronic cardkey to access the elevator and the door to my actual office area. And I don’t work for any top secret or sensitive business.

    I think we are in danger of going off the deep end with this silly security preoccupation. I personally do not want to live in a world where I have to show my ‘papers’ at every intersection and be patted down every time I try to enter a building. This whole thing sucks. And on top of that, if one is black or Hispanic or Arabic or just ‘different’ from whatever the gatekeepers think is ‘normal’ then there is another whole level of humiliation and tribulation required.

    I REALLY hate this shit. I am in my 60’s and for most of my life actually lived in a free society. No more. And it isn’t because of Osama bin Laden. Isn’t it time we started to push back? I’m really at a place where I think that we either fight – however we can – or face the likelihood of inhabiting those detention facilities Halliburton is building for unspecified emergency ‘programs.’

  12. I know how ya feel Doug.
    We’re told Bin Laden attacked on 9/11, so the U.S. invades and occupies Iraq.
    This is like getting bitten by a neighbors’ pit bull, then shooting the old rotweiller on the other side of town in retaliation.
    Someone is making BIG bucks off all this increased security.
    We now have to remove our shoes at the airport because Richard Reed had a bomb in his shoes…it’s a damned good thing he didn’t have a stick of dynamite up his ass, that would make for an interesting pre-boarding experience

  13. It sad that righties have to attack a woman that was in captivity for long period of time,but we must not give up and take them on when they prefer lies over fact. At the same time truth is not one of the righties strong suites so we tell the truth beat them over the head with it. By the way Bush and Co failed again in Mexico he got nothing Fox played W again.

  14. I think we are in danger of going off the deep end with this silly security preoccupation.

    I disagree, but then I spend time in New York City.

    I linked to a news story from about three years ago. The security guys outside New York City Hall had gotten into the habit of waving through people they knew and their guests so that they weren’t held up going through security. And then one day somebody they had waved through pulled a gun inside city hall and murdered a city councilman.

    The personnel in charge of security must not be put in the position of having to choose who to break rules for. That’s how security breaks down. I don’t care if the rule breaker is somebody who’s been in Congress since the surrender at Appommattox; everybody abides by the rules. If the rules say that people with proper security ID can bypass the metal detectors that’s fine, but that also means that if Mr. Big Shot left his badge at home he has to go through the detectors. No exceptions.

  15. I am greatly relieved that Ms. Carroll lived. There is a tiny spark of hope in this positive outcome which was a likely consequence of people in many countries of many religions (and none) publicly supporting this brave young woman.

    I followed the “credit is due” link, read some of the comments there, and scanned a few other rightie bashings. Unbelievable. Ms. Carroll is even criticized for covering her head and wearing modest Moslem apparel. Her clothing is taken as a sign of her “conversion”. Maybe those brave righties think she should have died for her right to wear spandex.

    Years ago, traveling in Europe, I remember many times wearing a modest skirt so that I could enter Cathedrals and Roman Catholic Churches without giving offence. I guess I am just lucky that my Lutheran relatives didn’t hear of it!

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  17. Ms. Carroll is even criticized for covering her head and wearing modest Moslem apparel. Her clothing is taken as a sign of her “conversion”. Maybe those brave righties think she should have died for her right to wear spandex.

    I remember that when U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War, women soldiers had to wear burkhas when they left the post.

  18. Without hate and fear, what would these righties live for? Hate and fear are the H2O and O2 of their existences.
    Sad hateful little lives. To bad they can’t live them quietly…

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