Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Breitbartian Idiocy of Epic Proportions

The story's been around for a few days.  Some rightwing blogs/internet outlets reported that former Senator Chuck Hagel, and now President Obama's Secretary of Defense nominee, contributed to an organization called "Friends of Hamas."

How many fools reported this?  And who are these easily duped ninnies?  Here's a partial list--we'll call it an "A" ["A" as in, well you can guess] list:

Biggest A:  Ben Shapiro of

From Newsworks:

"According to the three-paragraph story, "Senate sources" told Breitbart News "exclusively" that Hagel had received foreign funding from "a group purportedly called 'Friends of Hamas.'" Based on what his "sources" had told him, writer Ben Shapiro called a White House spokesman for comment. Shapiro wrote that the spokesman hung up on him. Shapiro apparently decided that being blown off by the White House was sufficient confirmation. He tweeted a link to his Twitter followers. And then, the deluge. The right-wing website Powerline copied and pasted Shapiro's dispatch, and topped it with the headline TIME TO STICK A FORK IN HAGEL. The National Review's Andrew McCarthy linked to the Powerline item, quoted Powerline quoting Shapiro, and topped his own post with the headline IS HAGEL TOAST? "

Lesser As:  Hugh Hewitt, Rand Paul, Lou Dobbs, and the cementheads over at RedState.

The rumor about Senator Hagel's connection with "Friends of Hamas" is entirely made up, but that didn't stop the wingnutters from jumping on the false information and spreading it throughout their outlets.  Because in their deranged eagerness to derail President Obama's nominee for SoD, they'd believe what anyone said, even if it came from a talking unicorn.  

Here's what actually happened, as reported by Dan Friedman of the New York Daily News--Friedman commented with a joke about possible organizations from which Hagel may have received speaking fees.  Without carefully reading the story and seeing the obvious nonsense in it, the nutters enthusiastically believed the joke with all their Obama-detesting hearts and eagerly spread it to all their mickey-mouse third-rate outlets. So soaked are these toadies in their hatred for anything attached to President Obama, that they report first and check for facts later--wait, obviously they didn't check anything, since the story spread, like effluvium from an overflowing septic tank, throughout wingnuttia.  

From Dan Friedman:

"Here’s what happened: When rumors swirled that Hagel received speaking fees from controversial organizations, I attempted to check them out. 

On Feb. 6, I called a Republican aide on Capitol Hill with a question: Did Hagel’s Senate critics know of controversial groups that he had addressed? Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. 

So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the “Junior League of Hezbollah, in France”? And: What about “Friends of Hamas”? 

The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically. 

No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them."

From the Reid Report:

" such group exists. But right wingers, and the McCarthyite Senators they’ve gone and elected, and their silly “news” cable channel, and their talk radio guys, and their blogs, just need, NEED, NEEEEED, to hate Barack Obama and everyone around him so desperately, they’ll believe damned near everything."

And so the nutters believed what the unicorn said.  These are the folks other rightwing bloggers turn to for facts and reporting:  Idiots of truly epic proportions who heard a rumor and never bothered to do the work of finding out if it were, y'know, TRUE!

More from The Reid Report:

"And therein lies the problem with the right. 

They start at the end, rather than the beginning — so filled with the desire to believe the worst, that they’ll just as easily believe the stupidest. 

They did it with election “projections” and “unskewed polls” that had them convinced that a) everybody, HATES Barack Obama and b) Mitt Romney would MOP THE FLOOR WITH HIM in last year’s presidential election. Oops. 

And now it’s happening with Hagel. And this, my friends, is the “new media” the right is relying on to get them back in the game."

More here:

Smearing Hagel: The conservative "media" in action

"Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist

How An Over-The-Top Joke Became A Republican Talking Point Against Chuck Hagel


Ducky's here said...

The original Huffingtonpost story also mentions "Junior League of Hezbollah"(think on that) as another group close to Hegel.

Will not change the fringe right's near worship of Breitbart's legacy one iota.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The Breitbart site and its followers have lost all credibility. What a clown-car bunch of idiots.

Rational Nation USA said...

Maybe the correct terminology would be... mentally challenged? As opposed to idiots.

LOL Anonymous said...

This is a comment from Ben Shapiro's blog post about Hagel

"Sounds like Hagel might have been fraternizing with the enemies of America, even taking money from them...

This qualifies him perfectly to occupy a cabinet level position in the Obama administration."

shapiro writes a piece that's entirely wrong, and his commenters run with attracts stupid...that sh0uld be the mott0 of the g0p...

Shaw Kenawe said...

The great Charlie Pierce on the Hagel fubar by the ninnies on the right. Pure gold:

"It looks like the long slog of Chuck Hagel toward the corner office of the Pentagon — well, toward one of the corner offices of the Pentagon — may be coming to a successful conclusion. However, this will not happen until Huckleberry Closetcase and his followers have their say about this whole sad episode...again.

'While we respect Sen. Hagel's honorable military service, in the interest of national security, we respectfully request that you withdraw his nomination,' the senators wrote. 'It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position.'

All 15 of the signatories to this appeal to bipartisanship are Republicans. They include some of the dimmest lights in the entire chandelier. (Inhofe. Wisconsin Johnson, Tailgunner Ted Cruz, and reformed 'ho-monger Dave Vitter all signing the same letter? If there were a market for Empty Suit memorabilia, this would be the Mickey Mantle rookie card of the form.) Of course, the number of signatories jumps to 25 if you count all the phantoms hiding under Lindsey Graham's divan. Many of whom appear to speak to him in Farsi.

'More than once during the hearing, (Hagel) proclaimed the legitimacy of the current regime in Tehran, which has violently repressed its own citizens, rigged recent elections, provided material support for terrorism, and denied the Holocaust. Regarding U.S. policy on Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, Senator Hagel displayed a seeming ambivalence about whether containment or prevention is the best approach, which gives us great concern. Any sound strategy on Iran must be underpinned by the highly credible threat of U.S. military force, and there is broad bipartisan agreement on that point.'

Actually, there is only one government in Iran right now. And, while there might be a "broad bipartisan agreement" among the people with whom Dave Vitter spends his Saturday nights, or the people in Huckleberry's mirror, there is not an agreement, bipartisan or any other kind, out in the country for making the threat of US military force quite as credible as this bunch would like it to be. The other sign that the nomination may finally have found the glide path is that Jay Carney feels safe enough to bring the snark.

Might President Obama heed the call and withdraw his nomination of Hagel? Don't count on it, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. 'Absolutely not,' Carney told reporters at Thursday's daily briefing when asked whether there's any chance the Hagel nomination will be withdrawn. 'Any suggestion to the contrary might have been found in the minutes of the meetings of the Friends of Hamas.'

Leave Dead Andrew Breitbart alooooonnne!"

Beautiful. Just beautiful!

FreeThinke said...

How I wish we could learn to take exception to things without being rebarbative!

Having recognized the need I'm working on it, myself. I admit it ain't easy when passion runs high, but a cooler, more analytical approach is worth striving for, I think.

I do remember kinder, gentler times when we weren't quite so polarized. President Eisenhower always spoke respectfully to or about "The Loyal Opposition."

I was just a child when he was elected, but the "tenor of the times" was decidedly mellower and more tolerant than it has become in latter years.

I'm definitely a partisan, myself, but at least I admit it, and am willing to entertain the notion that I might be wrong some of the time.

Left and Right should not regard each other as "mortal enemies." It's not good for the country.

Be of good cheer, even though disaster may be near. ;-)

FreeThinke said...

I do feel compelled to add, though I hope not rudely, that I do not understand why anyone left, right or center would endorse former Senator Hagel with even the faintest degree of enthusiasm.

His performance at the hearing was decidedly sub par -- to put it kindly. Surely there are brighter, better informed, better groomed, more articulate candidates for such an exalted position than Mr. Hagel, so why all this vehement rhetoric in support of his nomination?

Why not do the sensible thing and switch gears, then choose someone better qualified?

It seems to me there's a good deal of disingenuousness on both sides of this argument.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...why all this vehement rhetoric in support of his nomination?"

Dear Mr. Free Thinke,

As I'm sure you know, the vehement rhetoric has entirely come from Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the execrable Ted Cruz.

This post, as you know, is about how elements on the right took hold of a false story about Mr. Hagel and spread it around the internet. I would call that vehement stupidity, but that would be unkind.

I believe former Senator Hagel, who was also a combat soldier in Viet Nam, would make a fine Secretary of Defense.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Speaking of vehemence, this is what the Teapublicans do to GOPers they don't like.

Dave Miller said...

Free... yes, we can all lament the loss of a "mellower time."

And yes, both sides can, and should accept some share of responsibility, both corporately and individually for their part in what has become a sad chapter for national discourse.

But as Shaw pointed out, in the case of Mr. Hagel, where has that come from? Perhaps one can claim, as some have that this is the chickens coming home to roost after the Bork affair of years gone by.

The vehemence against and linking of Hagel's nomination to completely unrelated events is solely in the camp of the GOP.

As for the blogosphere, I can only speak of places where you and I have in common, here and Geez...

Let me ask you, is the language here and the treatment of the loyal opposition met with the same level of disdain and derision as it is there?

On which site is the tone partisan, but more respectful of others personally, if not ther viewpoints?

You tell me...

Ducky's here said...

Freethinker, in the matter of Cruz

"The Times reported that Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, rebuked Cruz for insinuating, without evidence, that Hagel may have collected speaking fees from North Korea."

That's right, FT. even Knuckles McCain is embarrassed by this guy Cruz. This is not the "loyal opposition".

Shaw Kenawe said...

"This is not the 'loyal opposition'."

No, it's more like the new McCarthyism.

Compliments of the old GOP.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Forgot the link to my last comment.


Always On Watch said...

Along the lines of FT's mention of rebarbative...

We have become a nation of screechers.

Right, Left, and Center.

It's no wonder that I'm thinking of becoming a hermit, is it?

Dave Miller said...

AOW... good to see you here... I was cheered when I saw your moniker...

Free... thoughts?

Shaw... did you see the reports on Cruz and his rantings on the Communists at Harvard, of course 100% rebuffed by the republicans teaching there at the time?

Shaw Kenawe said...

No need to become a hermit, AOW.

Maybe by example some of us bloggers can get the level of anger and rhetoric down a bit?

Even though Mr. FT and I both know we don't agree on much politically, he has the good manners not to encourage nastiness on his blog; and as far as I can determine, neither do you.

I'm on comment moderation because I've had nasty commenters come to my blog and say vile things about me AND about people who comment here.

I think making a good argument or being able to back up a refutation of a statement by someone who comments here is the way to go.

I agree with FT: Politicians, journalists, newspeople, etc., are fair game.

I don't like people calling other people vile names.

Sticking to that will, I think, tamp down the ugliness.


Shaw Kenawe said...

Yes, Dave, I read that article. I just don't understand how a man with Cruz's education and intellect can stoop to red-baiting as a political tactic.

Why is he doing this?

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw and Dave, if you will forgive my intrusion here. IMNHO Cruz merely sees it as a way to carve his notch with the right (the McCarthy mentality) and ultimately help him to galvanizing a power base if you will with the more extreme in his party.

FreeThinke said...

Oh dear! What Ms Shaw describes as an outrage in her first paragraph is in truth -- from what I've observed over the past five decades -- simply a pretty good description of The Way the Game is Played.

Frankly, after reading this presentation more carefully I can see no reason why we should believe Mr. Friedman's assertions anymore than we should believe Mr. Shapiro's.

If it's true that "The White House" hung up on Mr. Shapiro's attempt to make inquiries, what it says to me is that, perhaps, "The White House" ought to learn to mind it's manners and entertain, even the most impudent or imprudent inquiries with a little more tact and diplomacy -- at least a show of respect.

We all should know by now that "the pen is mightier than the sword," and that in the arena of Political Urinalism "perception is reality," everyone needs to learn to tread lightly and mind his, her or its p's and q's before treating any urinalist from any side rudely and dismissively.

The truth is that we don't know WHAT the TRUTH is, because the media's primary purpose is to keep it from us at all costs -- or so to seems to this Partisan of the Old School.

The tone of our discourse has become execrable. Why must everything we say be couched in terms of Accusation, Condescension, Dismissal and Condemnation? Wouldn't measured curiosity tend, perhaps, to serve us better?

BB-Idaho said...

"All 15 of the signatories to this appeal to bipartisanship are Republicans." ..Hagel isn't up to their high Rumsfeld?

Anonymous said...

McCarthy never thought he was a wacko either. He saw his actions as tying into the cold war fever of the time, and tried to catch that wave.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"The truth is that we don't know WHAT the TRUTH is, because the media's primary purpose is to keep it from us at all costs -- or so to seems to this Partisan of the Old School."

Not in this case, FT. The truth is simple. The rightwing media spread a lie about Mr. Hagel and didn't bother to check it out first.

Why can't you and others just acknowledge that internet sites such as made colossal fools of themselves? Because that is the truth.

There is no other side to this story. The plain fact is that a number of outlets, in their eagerness to slime Mr. Hagel, spread a blatant lie about him, a foolish lie, and then didn't acknowledge their stupidity.

There is no he said; she said; they said about this.

It's an example of the derangement that has taken hold of the GOP and how it makes epic fools of them.

I report this with great sorrow.

Always On Watch said...

I don't encourage nastiness at my blog.

But a recent dust-up there proves to me that people are itching to have fits and snits.

I gently suggested to a particular commenter -- nobody who visits here, BTW -- more understanding of and consideration for others' feelings, and off he went on a rant at his own blog -- where he insists on chewing out commenters and deleting most comments disagreeing with his position on any given matter. He can run his blog in any manner that he desires, of course. However, his rant at his own blog indicates that he think that he can run my blog too.

You can't make this stuff up!

The inconsistency is mind-boggling.

Apparently, every man is doing what's right in his own eyes (to paraphrase a passage in the Old Testament), and to hell with anybody and everybody else.

Is the human race losing its humanity?

dmarks said...

"Friends of Hamas" now has a web site. Not run by Hamas, but by some sort of troll group, and Muslims and Christians as well as being antisemitic.