WHERES THE OUTRAGE! Parents howled about New Yorks schoolsbut high, lofty liberals dont care: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010
Helpmates of Hannity/Limbaugh: Maureen Dowd is so dumb she squeaks. She also sits at the very top of your nations Potemkin press corps.
In yesterdays column, Dowd was puzzling over a strange spike in the number of people who think Obama is Muslim. We were struck by Dowds peculiar logic. Given the prelude to her pronouncement, why would she find this spike strange?
As she continued, Dowd defined the size of this strange spike. In previous Pew surveys (in 2008 and 2009), 11 or 12 percent thought Obama was Muslim. In the new Pew survey, the number is 18 percent.
Only Dowd could write such a passage. First, she quotes the countrys leading radio demagogue referring to Imam Obama as Muslim. Then, she seems to say that she finds it strange when there is a spike in the number of people who think Obama is Muslim! But this has been par for the course for Dowd. Earlier last week, she told us that everyone knows that Imam Rauf is a moderate. She failed to mention the gruesome deceptions being broadcast nightly on Fox, in which millions of people are being told precisely the opposite.
Lets give Dowd a bit of credit. In this column, she at least noted what Limbaugh has been saying; most of her fellow Potemkins have avoided any such conduct. Consider the classic gutless performance by a range of famous, big-name pundits on yesterday mornings This Week.
Midway through her first round-table segment (click here), Christiane Amanpour raised a related issue, which she called the Ground Zero, Islamic center debate. First question: What do so many Americans seem to have an unfavorable view of Muslims, as recorded in a recent Time poll?
Robert Reich, a high-minded liberal, spoke right after George Will. Reich managed to name one of the famous people who has been whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment. But Reich would turn out to be the only panelist who named any such names in this whole discussion. And look at his point of emphasis:
So bold! Reichs reference to Gingrich would end up representing the only time this panel of pundits named any of the famous people who are whipping up current sentiments. (Limbaugh went unmentioned.) But please note Reichs point of emphasis. For him, the problem begins with the intolerance which seems to be widespread among Americans. Why, because of this widespread intolerance, someone like Gingrich will be believed when he says that Muslims are like Nazis!
In this manner, Reich displays a standard pseudo-liberal instinct. He blames the average American first, without making any attempt to note the fact that most Americans are not displaying this intolerance (a fact Reich may not even believe). He makes a sweeping, indiscriminate indictmentwhile saying he hates to do so! But Reich was the bravest pundit this day! Following Reich, the ever-gutless Judy Woodruff took a turn, saying as little as possible. Then her gutless husband, Al Hunt, cleared his throat and spoke.
Hunt was had been asked about the idea that the proposed Muslim community center might perhaps move to a different site. Complaining about sophomoric arguments, Hunt delivered several arguments which didnt quite rise to that level. And very typically, he took a total dive on naming the big-name malefactors who have been driving the hate. This whole thing has been demagogued, he grandly proclaimedwithout ever saying by whom:
If Hunt were more gutless, he might disappear. This whole thing has been demagogued, he saidafter which, he forgot to name the people he meant! Instead of naming the powerful people who have been driving this episode, he named a lofty, high-profile friend, who had offered the most hackneyed thought found anywhere in this whole debate. (We should stop using Nazi analogies!) Presumably, this too was a reference to Gingrich, but Hunt never mentioned the gentlemans name, and it had been a while since Reich did so, in passing. Meanwhile, Hunt finally got around to making a grand pronouncement: Generously, he said he thinks that some opponents of the project are very sincere people. But he never explained how these people have been disinformed by the nasty, big-name demagogues who have been driving this debacle.
Predictably, Hunt never named Limbaugh. He never named Hannity either.
Well-heeled people like Reich/Woodruff/Hunt have behaved this way forever. Reich took two more bites of the apple before this segment was done; Woodruff took a second turn too. But none of the demagogues ever got named, except for that one fleeting reference to Gingrich. In this way, Reich/Woodruff/Hunt took the same approach adopted by Howard Dean in the Shirley Sherrod matter. At that time, Dean insinuated that the public is full of racists, even as he specifically said that Newt Gingrich isnt a racist; that Chris Wallace certainly isnt a racist; and that neither President Bush was a racistthe first one certainly not. Simple story: When you see this kind of conduct, youre looking at gut-bucket upper-class cowards. They refuse to challenge the major players with whom they share their powerful world. But theyre always happy to aim indiscriminate statements and insinuations at the mass of the general public.
Regular people get slimed. The demagagues get handed a pass, especially if theyre powerful.
Who did these gut-bucket cowards fail to name? As noted, Limbaugh was never mentioned in this discussion. Neither was Franklin Grahamand neither was Sean Hannity! Question: Why night some very sincere people be disturbed by the thought of this Ground Zero mosque? In part, because of the inexcusable things Hannity has been saying each night. On three separate nights in just the past week, he has aired a long focus group discussion he conducted with the help of Frank Luntz. Repeat: The tape of this lengthy focus group was aired on three nightsWednesday, Friday and Sunday. Early on, Hannity takes over from the less-demagogic Luntz and starts to slander Imam Rauf:
Hannity was cherry-picking wildly, as he does every night on his program. But his bowl of cherries gave an instant result. A woman who likely believed what he said offered this instant reaction:
Moments later, Hannity expanded his filth, responding to a dissenter in the focus groupa young Muslim man from New York who had fallen for the crap about Rauf. What follows is a disgrace:
Few words can describe such conduct. As he does every night on his program, Hannity directly implied that Imam Rauf wants to bring the stoning of women to this country, along with other repulsive practices. He says America should be sharia compliant, Hannity said. Don't you think we need to know what he means by that? But in fact, we do know what Imam Rauf means by thathe described his views in great detail in his 2004 book, in which he says the United States already is sharia compliant because of its devotion to justice, the essence of true sharia. But once again, Hannitys spewing brought instant results. In response to this statement, the young Muslim man quickly offered a Ku Klux Klan analogy, suggesting that Imam Rauf has basic rights the same way a Klan member does.
Simple story, as old as the human race: We human beings are easily misled by skillful, determined demagogues. Most likely, that young Muslim man had no idea that he had just been disinformed about his fellow New Yorker. Meanwhile, Hannity has been playing these hate cards every night on his program, speaking to roughly three million people each night. (These people then speak to three million friends.) As noted, this long focus group aired on Wednesday night, then re-aired on Friday and Sunday. And sure enough: As people like Hannity have spread their hate, liberal and mainstream pundits have worked very hard not to notice or say so. Cowardly hustlers like Hunt/Woodruff/Reich refuse to mention his name.
They also forgot to name Limbaughs name as they puzzled about the intolerance found among the American people. Dont be fooledthese pundits are horrible people. They enable Rush Limbaughs career.
For the record, Reich, Hunt and Woodruff have played the game this way for a very long time, dating back to the history-changing wars against Clinton and Gore. (All three played grisly, inexcusable roles in the war against Gore. On Hardball, Reich enabled Alan Simpson, then his business partner. Simpson made endless disgraceful claims about Gore as Reich sat by, gruesomely silent. Chris Matthews bellowed and railed.) These are very, very bad peoplebut theyre rich and they live sweet lives, and they plan to keep it that way.
More on this topic tomorrow, but this story is as old as time. People like Hannity win the day when Potemkins like these rule the air.
PART 1WHERES THE OUTRAGE (permalink): Uh-oh! Last Monday evening, August 16, angry citizens in New York City attended a public meeting with high-ranking city officials.
On August 17, in the New York Times, Karen Zraick reported what transpired.
Forty-five minutes into the hearing, as a crowd of about 100 people jeered and chanted slogans, the [city officials] left the stage, Zraick reported. They did not return, choosing to reschedule the meeting, as [citizens] marched the aisles of the auditorium and took turns expressing their outrage over a bullhorn.
Citizens were expressing outrage, causing officials to walk off the stage! Was this a public protest about the Ground Zero mosque? Actually, nothis was a fight about the interests of New York Citys school children, most of whom are black or Hispanic. The highest-ranking official at this meeting was Joel Klein, the very high-ranking chancellor of New York Citys public schools. Those jeering, chanting citizens were described by Zraick as parents.
This contentious meeting involved the interests of New York Citys school kids. For that reason, you havent read a word about the issues at stake in your loftier liberal journals. Those issues havent been discussed at Salon, or by that journals bigot-naming editor, who often boasts about her own up-by-the-bootstraps life as a New York City (white) kid.
(See how easy it is to race-bait, heroic pseudo-lib style?)
The issues involved in that meeting havent been discussed by KeithO, by Big Eddie or by Rachel, last week or at any point in the past. Ask yourself this: On our One True Liberal Channel, have you ever seen a discussion about low-income schools? About the children within them?
The issues which drove in that contentious meeting had been discussed by the New York Times, in a voluminous front-page report which appeared on August 16the morning of the meeting. As usual, the Times largely bungled its discussionbut then, what else is new? For the record, the Times voluminous news report was accompanied by a large, and detailed, and bungled graphic, which ate up much of page A15. In a typical bit of technical fecklessness, the Times hasnt placed this large graphic on-line.
Why were New York City parents outraged at that meeting? On August 16, reporters Sharon Otterman and Robert Gebeloff discussed the issues which had them upset in this lengthy, front-page report. As they started, they described a deeply disappointing situation. A treasured tale had evaporated with the release of test results from a new set of New York State tests:
Ouch. For years, Bloomberg and Klein praised the way their policies were narrowing the shameful achievement gap. But in 2010, the state of New York threw its testing program under the busthe testing program which had produced that apparent narrowing of the gap. Acknowledging problems with those previous tests, the state introduced a new set of statewide tests. And when results from those tests were released, the achievement gap was back, with a vengeance. As they continued, Otterman and Gebeloff described the painful resultswhich, just by way of foreshadowing, arent really as bad as they might seem:
All through the Bloomberg years, New York City bragged that it was closing the achievement gap. In 2010, using more reliable tests, the gap in passing rates was back. It closely tracked the gap which existed when Bloomberg took over the schools.
To state the obvious, that gap in passing rates is highly undesirable. That said, just as a bit of foreshadowing, the Bloomberg legacy isnt as bad as one might think from what weve presented so far. But in their lengthy front-page report, Otterman and Gebeloff presented a rather limited account of the new test scores. That night, in that contentious meeting, parents were outraged with Klein.
''This is a call to all those in charge at the Department of Education,'' shouted one parent, Esperanza Vazquez. Do your work for our children. Zraick reported the rest of the turmoil:
The testing changes, which were designed to make them more rigorous, caused fewer students to pass and made gaps in achievement among racial and ethnic groups more pronounced, Zraick wrote. While similar results were seen statewide, it was a particular disappointment to city officials, who had cited the success in raising test scores since 2002.
Parents with names like Vazquez and Feliciano were quite upset by the news. But out in the world of more glorious swells, people with finer namesWalsh and Dean and Kinsley and suchcouldnt give the first flying frack about these proles or their kids. The outrage was found at that Gotham meetingnot in the land of the swells.
In fact, the New York Times did a limited job explaining those new test scores; people who care about low-income kids might want to know whats actually up. But youll never gain any such knowledge in the journals which name-call the nations bigots, as long as they arent in our tribe. You will have to come back to this site on the morrow, as we start to puzzle out where the facts stand at this point.
What kind of progress has occurred in New York City under Bloomberg and Klein? Where do New York Citys test scores actually stand at this point? How about the countrys minority kids as a whole? How about kids in other big cities? As the nations determined school children start to get ready to think about preparing themselves to go back to school, well try to define the lay of the land as we plow through these topics all week.
TomorrowPart 2: Why are some of these people still experts? And the gap is not the full story.