Thursday, July 29, 2010
Defending the Undefendable! Firedoglake Bloggers Defend Spencer Ackerman
By: bmaz Tuesday July 20, 2010 10:44 am
About a month ago, the semi-irrelevant “FishbowlDC” and Tucker Carlson’s self indulgent sandbox “Daily Caller” impressed themselves by scalping Dave Weigel from his position at the Washington Post. Fresh off the closest thing to a victory these folks may ever achieve, they have attempted to replicate their recently past glory by pulling the same cheap stunt with more purloined emails from the now defunct “Journolist”, with the biggest dagger in the back aimed at Spencer Ackerman, noted national security reporter now with Wired’s Danger Room Blog and his own site Attackerman right here at Firedoglake.
It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.
Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”
In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”
Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”
That’s it?? So this is the Daily Caller’s claim to fame? Raison d’etre? This is the best and brightest they have to offer? Apparently so, and they are proud of it since they are going to the same putrid well of long dead private emails again so eagerly. What a bunch of cowardly limp dicks.
Spencer Ackerman and his friends on Journolist saw a wrong being committed in a craven political dirty play and discussed a way to right the wrong. If Daily Caller thinks that is controversial and worthy of a featured expose, they must be awfully hard up over there.
The subject attack by the right on Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 election, just as Ackerman and his fellow journalists discussed, was indeed a malicious and dishonest smear. The argument was made at the time perfectly by my and Spencer’s colleague John Chandley (aka “Scarecrow”):
Everyone should watch Bill Moyers’ Journal interview of Jeremiah Wright, including extended excerpts of the sermons whose out of context snippets have been played relentlessly on our televisions.
America’s media, and especially Fox News, MSNBC’s morning joes and others, have outrageously defamed a highly regarded theologian and righteous man. And by association, they’ve defamed an entire congregation — an “attack on the Black Church,” as Reverend Wright said this morning — and a respected branch of Christian theology, all because the Republican right wing wants to smear a Democratic candidate for President. It’s time for what’s left of the responsible media to condemn the smears and apologize for this journalistic travesty.
Some of the most controversial sound bites are snippets from Wright’s sermon on the Sunday after 9/11, when every religious leader in the country struggled to help their congregations deal with the evil that had just occurred. How could they make sense of such evil?
Reverend Wright chose his text from Psalms Chapter 137, a lament from the Old Testament written thousands of years ago by those who understood the meaning of suffering, of the horrors of war and the struggle for liberation from oppression and slavery.
Read the rest of the post, it is the gospel. Or take a gander at the words of another of our colleagues, Peterr, himself a man of the cloth:
Let me start with some disclosure: I know Jeremiah Wright. I’ve worshiped at Trinity United Church of Christ a time or two. I’ve heard Wright speak at clergy conferences. I’ve had a couple of one-on-one conversations with him.
With that said . . . Oh, that man can preach. But as any preacher will tell you, it helps if people would listen. As a preacher with some 20+ years of my own experience in the pulpit, I shudder to think what would happen if some of my sermons were snipped and sliced and diced in the same manner as those of Jeremiah Wright.
The most lamentable aspect of the way Wright has been swift-boated is the manner in which his critics snipped his quotes out of context.
The whole smear of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright was a standard play from the right wing noise machine at the outset, but was then aided and abetted by a gullible and manufactured controversy craven and crazy main media eager to stir controversy to drive election viewership and ratings. It was a shameful and dishonest display, as was the subsequent kowtowing to it by Barack Obama.
You do not have to like Reverend Wright, you do not have to listen to him or go to his church. But the sheer opportunistic and despicable smearing of him for expressing in his passions and ministry, and in his own words and style, in the language of his decades long flock, the same outrage and questions being expressed in homes and churches all across the United States, was above and beyond the pale.
The small minded cheap shot artists at Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller want to restart the race baiting and dishonest segregationist belligerence again in order to seek attention for themselves; trying to grab Spencer Ackerman’s scalp is just a bonus sideshow.
Nope. Not this time. Spencer may have been pointed when he made his comments on a private discussion forum long ago, but he was absolutely right. Moreover, and critically important to the discussion, Spencer said nothing different content wise in the private email forum Daily Caller and Breitbart seek to exploit than he has said publicly then or now, if perhaps in more formal words. Ackerman has maintained complete consistency on the subject, and does so to this day. The attackers of Reverend Jeremiah Wright were, and continue to be, race baiting disingenuous opportunists.
In the Weigel imbroglio, the Daily Caller rushed to defend Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, who proudly bellowed of Obama’s association with Wright:
It is clear that Senator Obama has disowned his white half, that he’s decided he’s got to go all in on the black side.
He is not transcendent on race. Obama is telling us that he is a black American first and an American second.
That is race baiting, but it is what silver spooned bow tie boy Tucker Carlson and his fellow journalists noise makers at the Daily Caller earnestly defend while dishonestly attacking the likes of Jeremiah Wright, Spencer Ackerman and the others at Journalist.
And then there is Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart was so giddy to shoot another man in the back with the ill begotten email bullets, he started giddily Tweeting and drooling, before the Daily Caller article even came out, that the big expose would cost Spencer Ackerman his job and livelyhood. Guess Breitbart needed a new diversion now that both a Congressional investigation and a criminal investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office exonerated ACORN and implicated O’Keefe and his co-conspirators (which of course include their leader Breitbart) in selective and false editing and presentation. Oh, not to mention that a third prosecutorial authority, the California Attorney General’s Office has vindicated ACORN; from the San Diego Union Tribune:
In the ensuing torrent of national publicity that included other secret tapings at ACORN offices, Vera lost his job. The national community organizing group, which led voter registration drives and worked to help low-income people with housing and other issues, has disbanded.
The tapes of Vera had been heavily edited by O’Keefe, according to an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office. Footage had been spliced in of O’Keefe and Giles dressed as a pimp and prostitute to make it appear that is how they were dressed when talking to Vera, when actually they were not.
The attorney general’s report concluded no wrongdoing by ACORN employees and said Vera had contacted his cousin, a National City police detective, with details of the conversation he had with O’Keefe and Giles. The report also strongly implied O’Keefe and Giles had violated state privacy laws, but they had been granted immunity in exchange for providing the unedited tapes.
So, while no less than three significant investigations and prosecutorial authorities have vindicated ACORN and inculpated Breitbart’s employee and dirty trickster O’Keefe, Andrew Breitbart gets his jollies running around and tweeting that Spencer Ackerman should lose his job for being honest, consistent and standing up for what he believes in when he was confronted by un-American divisive race baiting. That is quite a double standard Breitbart carries.
But that is where we are today. Since Breitbart and the Daily Caller writers are so fond of discussing old private email discussions, I wonder if they would like to volunteer to produce all of their private discussions about the Reverend Jeremiah Wright they engaged in during the 2008 campaign. Of course, as their fraudulent splicing and editing of the ACORN tapes have demonstrated, you would not be able to trust their word as to accuracy. Perhaps a signed and sworn under oath and penalty of perjury affidavit would need to be appended; but what the heck boys, show us your work! Or shut up.