Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hang on there, Horowitz: Sliming via distorted photos and innuendo
This may have flown under the radar of normal people who don't think that John Kerry Hearts Osama Bin Laden, but David Horowitz and his creepy cronies at Frontpage have created something called, which links people like the fanatical obscurantist terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with the eloquent liberal public servant Barack Obama. Like most of what Horowitz does, DTN is a tool designed for character assassination, carried out with out-of-context quotes, innuendo, and bad pictures, like the distorted picture above this post, of the renowned scholar of Islam, John Esposito, who is made to look like he is saluting the Fuhrer.

Dozens of people are smeared on this site, largely in the slime-and-run fashion patented by the right-wing attack machine. Consider the entry for that notorious enemy of the state, Roger Ebert:

Movie critic
Claims that George W. Bush stole the 2000 Presidential election "[W]e've had a concerted policy of taking money away from the poor and giving it to the rich wholesale, and at the same time, we have the runaway corporations and the greed."

In the August 2003 issue of The Progressive, Roger Ebert, perhaps the best-known movie critic in the world, spoke his mind about George W. Bush, Republicans, and the evils of American capitalism. Asserting that Bush stole the 2000 Presidential election, is simultaneously a religious zealot and disrespectful to the Pope, and is both devious and unintelligent, Ebert expressed disappointment and bewilderment over the fact that many Americans disagree with him.

"I think a lot of working-class people don't understand," said Ebert, "their money is being stolen. . . . [W]e've had a concerted policy of taking money away from the poor and giving it to the rich wholesale, and at the same time, we have the runaway corporations and the greed. I feel ordinary people really should be angry."

Ebert became politically outspoken in the fall of 2000 with his enthusiastic raves for "The Contender," writer-director Rod Lurie's story about a female senator (played by Joan Allen), nominated to replace a dead vice president, who nobly refuses to address Republican-spread rumors that she had been involved in college orgies. Lurie's labored attempt to equate the treatment of his heroine under fire with the treatment received by Bill Clinton after he was caught in the Monica Lewinsky scandal was widely panned - except by Ebert. In his print review in the Chicago
Sun-Times, Ebert called "The Contender" a four-star classic; he also devoted part of his review to criticizing Republicans and Clinton Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

Since then, Ebert has used his media platform numerous times to speak out on political matters:

-- His depiction (in a July 2001, Sun-Times general-news column) of presidential daughter Barbara Bush as an ignorant "yob" on the loose in London. Given her idiot father, Ebert reasoned, what could one expect?

-- His relentless championing of "Bowling for Columbine," the Michael Moore documentary.

-- His tirade about George W. Bush's alleged vicious insensitivity toward those on Texas' Death Row in his Spring 2003 print review of "The Life of David Gale," a melodrama about an anti-death-penalty crusader.-- His likening of the Bill the Butcher character in "Gangs of New York" - a cleaver-waving, mass-murdering thug - to Florida's former Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, whom Gore supporters condemned for what they perceived as her partisan role in the 2000 Presidential election controversy in Florida. Ebert's point, which he expressed on "Ebert & Roeper": Both Bill the Butcher and Harris used whatever means possible to take and keep power.

In keeping with Frontpage style, there are no citations in this "article," no links, no hint at the trajectory of Ebert's career or his broader beliefs, merely a handful of unreferenced quotes out of the thousands of reviews and thousands of hours of film available. The author does not provide a single reference to or even a quote from Ebert's "relentless cheerleading" of Bowling For Columbine. In fact, Ebert awarded the film only 3 1/2 stars out of 4, a very good review, but hardly "cheerleading." Even the link to the original Frontpage article from which this smear-and-run was taken does not illuminate anything -- there are no footnotes or links there either, and the "author," Chris Reed, has only written one thing for the magazine. No email address is provided. It is, more than anything else, sloppy and childish, two primary hallmarks of Frontpage discourse.

It seems that Ebert has earned his place alongside coldblooded killers like Zarqawi merely by reviewing positively a handful of films regarded as apostasy by right-wing zealots, including The Contender. It is not at all clear how Ebert, who seems to be a genuinely decent guy and one of the country's most insightful and eloquent film critics, is connected to the terrorists in the Middle East. But to David Horowitz, merely holding left-of-center views and liking movies that pissed off Newt Gingrich is enough to make you part of the same "network" as al-Qaeda. The site's administrators disingeniously claim that they have appropriately distinguished between Zarqawi and Ebert by placing them in different categories of "leftists," but the aim is clearly to obliterate the distinctions between them (as if there are any commonalities between Zarqawi and Ebert to begin with) and to associate mainstream Democratic politicians, pundits, and academics with lunatics and terrorists. The other is to label anyone who opposed the Iraq War as either a Marxist-Leninist or an "Islamofascist."

All of these tactics are described in detail in "The Art of Political War: How Republicans Can Fight to Win," Horowitz's pamphlet on crushing the Democrats by manipulating soundbites, reframing issues, and stoking fear. We should not be surprised when Horowitz actually employs the despicable tactics that he has publicly outlined. But we should return the fire.


At 12:50 AM, Blogger Jule said...

absolutely...thank you thank you for saying it.


Post a Comment

<< Home