James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Posts Tagged ‘Floyd Brown’

Cain for GOP? Nein, nein, nein

Posted by James McPherson on December 2, 2011

First, let me say that I don’t particularly care whether Herman Cain cheated on his wife. I might care, for her sake, but since she seems to be a “Cain en-able-er” (go ahead, say it out loud and groan), I’m certainly not going to lose sleep over what goes on in their 43-year marriage. Apparently something works.

The same generally goes for serial adulterers Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump. If they can govern, that’s mostly what I care about. Still, when Republicans keep preaching about family values, it seems a bit more hypocritical (and perhaps more politically relevant because of that hypocrisy) when the cheater is a Republican such as those three, Mark Foley, Arnold Schwarzenegger,  Larry Craig, Mark Sanford and John Ensign, rather than a Democrat such as Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Jim McGreevey, Anthony Wiener or Eliot Spitzer.

I grant you that all of the guys named above with the possible exception of Cain are sleazeballs that I don’t want to hang out with. But if I thought one of them could get the country on track, he’d get my vote. And the fact is, Cain would be a lousy president. Most conservatives would agree, if they actually know anything about him. Cain just happened to fill the “anybody but Mitt” slot that Gingrich now occupies, probably also temporarily because he’s also a loser, for the GOP faithful.

I would remind the Cain supporters not to be too hasty in their arguments that Cain is being maligned. Usually the women who make these kinds of claims are ridiculed and disbelieved at first–and usually they turn out to be telling the truth. But one of those Cain supporters made me laugh out loud today.

Floyd Brown, the creator of the infamous “Willie Horton” ad used against Michael Dukakis posted on his own blog a piece titled–and I promise, I’m not making this up–“Video: Herman Cain, Man of Character, Destroyed By An Evil Media.” In his post, Brown unbelievably writes the following: “I consider the attacks on Cain to be the most reprehensible series of unjustified media allegations I have seen in my 50 years of life.” Really, Floyd? Remember, you’re the guy who takes pride in introducing most of us to Willie Horton through the ad that–in case you need a reminder–you can find at the bottom of this post.

Brown also states that “the relentless assault planned by the Obama White House … is abhorrent.” Now that’s just goofy, and Brown–or any regular watcher of “The West Wing” or “The Good Wife”–should know it. If Democrats were behind this, don’t you think they’d wait to unleash it until after Cain had the nomination? If the supposed “attacks” are political in nature, my guess on who is behind it would be Gingrich–the guy who is supposedly staying above it all.

And while I thought Brown’s showing of support was funny, I found another to be simply sad. A new website, titled “Women for Herman Cain,” includes words of support from women around the country professing their belief in Cain. Most include photos of themselves, many of the self-shot variety that too many girls and young women commonly post on Facebook. But many of these women aren’t young, and shouldn’t be naive. And because I find them mostly pitiful, I won’t include their names below.

“Dear Mr. Cain, I am a 66 year old female architect in the State of Texas, and want to simply say… as a REAL woman I do not believe for one second any of these ‘women’ that have crawled out from under a rock somewhere to defame you and bring pain to you and your family. They are pitiful creatures at the very least, and evil at the most. Isn’t it convenient that they have suddenly become offended by supposed advances by you now after all these years, my goodness, poor babies, how have they been able to bare up under the pain for all these oh so many years… LIARS, LIARS, LIARS…”

Even as we wonder about the ironic misspelling of bear/bare, one wonders how this “real woman” knows that others are liars. Here’s another, with the original spelling and grammar intact:

” Hello, Herman Cain, you need to focus about this America” and don’t even listen to all this women ,that they don’t have nothing good to say about you… they they are money hungry… and women like this, Don’t care or don’t have no “SHAME to go on TV…to use lies, for money…somebody has been paying this women. They make me sick to my stomach…..they need to start digging a hole on the ground n till they rich china”

And another, from a woman who apparently missed the fact that Cain blames unemployment on the jobless: “”Mr. Cain, I support you very much. I am currently unemployed. I haven’t been able to find a full time job since I graduated college in 2009. … I do not believe a single one of the ‘women’ who have accused you.” What is it about Cain’s female followers and their use of quotation marks while disparaging possible “women” victims?

One writes to Cain’s wife, who is heading up the website: “Mrs. Cain, I’m so very sorry for the pain you’ve had to suffer at the hands of these seriously troubled women and those behind them. Such an elegant lady as you should never have to deal with such scum.”

I agree that Gloria Cain shouldn’t have to deal with scum. But apparently she chooses to do so. And I do wonder how often her husband checks out the photos on her new website, looking for new women to “help.” God knows that some there seem to need it.

Next-day follow-up: Cain admits that his campaign is toast, as he is “suspending” his campaign. He’s make an endorsement soon, as he continues his run for vice president–I’m betting it’s for Gingrich, since the two men obviously have much in common.

Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Politics, Women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Hey birthers: Obama impeachment not an option

Posted by James McPherson on September 19, 2010

OK, so we have to accept the fact that nutty conspiracy theorists, like the Biblical poor, will always be with us. But do the wacky purveyors of those theories  have to keep suggesting to their poor deluded followers that if those followers get fired up enough, somehow Barack Obama will magically be impeached?

“Naturally Floyd Brown is the ringleader,” writes The New Republic about the whimsical impeachment effort. Yes, that Floyd Brown, of Willie Horton fame. The article is actually posted on one of Brown’s websites, as if writer Jonathan Chait weren’t making fun of the movement. At least three of Brown’s readers didn’t get it either, judging from the comments.

Brown’s site seems to offer some variation on the “impeach Obama” theme every week, without offering either a clear rationale for the impeachment (“’cause he may be a secret Muslim and won’t show us a ‘real’ birth certificate that we can accept—waaaah!”), or, perhaps even more importantly, the recognition that impeaching a president and removing him from office is nearly impossible.

How near impossible? Well, it’s never been done. Two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives, an action that takes a simple majority (which the GOP–but not birther loons–will likely have after the 2010 election).

But booting Obama from his seat would then require a vote by two-thirds of the Senate. And Floyd, you know–even if you keep pretending otherwise to stir up your fans and further line your own pockets–that just ain’t gonna happen.

Republicans may gain a majority in the Senate (though let me go on record today as predicting that Dems will maintain at least the 50 seats they need–with Joe Biden as the tie-breaker–to hold the Senate). But for the sake of my GOP friends, lets assume a Democratic apocalypse. Let’s even go so far as to assume they win every single one of the 37 seats up for election this year (they won’t come close, but play along for a moment).

Guess what: Democrats now hold only 17 of the open seats, while Republicans have 20. So the worst that could happen–and again, nothing close to that will–for Democrats is that they go from a 59-41 majority to a 42-58 minority. In other words, under the worst possible scenario, Democrats will end up almost as bad off as the Republicans in the Senate ARE RIGHT NOW.

Thanks to distorted filibuster rules, those minority Republicans have stopped the Democrats from achieving much of their agenda during the past two years. You think the Dems will suddenly be jumping up and down to help Republicans oust a Democratic president–even if every Republican suddenly turned into a birther?

Even Floyd Brown can’t believe that. For a look at a more realistic view of how the Senate will look, check out Real Clear Politics. And then if you’re an Obama hater maybe you should start thinking about something remotely plausible, like the defeat of Obama in a real, legal election–just like the one he won in 2008.

Posted in History, Legal issues, Politics, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Birthers, civil war, damnation and lynching

Posted by James McPherson on August 23, 2010

In recent weeks I’ve discussed the craziness of “journalists” such as WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, Floyd Brown and Michael Webster, and have previously talked about the sign-carrying racists and blogging “electronic Klansmen” cowards who make up some (not all) of their followers.

I’ve also discussed the hazards of commenting on other blogs, which often brings a flurry of profane slurs. Usually I don’t mind, figuring the more those nuts post, the more they weaken the arguments of those who agree with them on other issues.

Today was the first time I ever had people suggest that I might burn in hell and should be lynched, however, under a post (from two supposedly Christian authors) that was all-too-predictably titled, “Is Obama a Muslim?” That post suggests that Obama is a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Muslim Marxist.

Aside from the fact that many progressives are unhappy because of Obama’s lack of support for gay marriage, I pointed out that the essay makes no sense on its face, asking, “How would being a Muslim correspond with “Marxism,” “abortion on demand,” or “gay marriage”?

One person expressed concerns about my soul, another about my life.

“James, I just hope that you are not among those giving each other presents, when the Two-Witnesses written about in the Book of Revelation(11:3-14) are killed by the Anti-Messiah, which a Marxist is by definition!” one wrote.

Another less courageous sort, calling himself/herself simply “Guest,” offered this: “Hey James, With your mind set, you better not go outside at night, or walk down any dark alleys. There are people out there looking for Idiots like you to hang from the tallest tree in town.”

Here’s my response, in full:

You’re really threatening me with lynching, Guest? Of course, coming from someone who hides behind a fake name makes it tough to take your comments seriously, even though they do come from someone who obviously would only do anything as part of a mob at night in a dark alley.

But thanks for the comment–the more of these sorts of comments there are here, the better the picture people get of what birthers truly stand for. Quite the Christian group you’ve got here.

The same post, by the way, has someone titled “Mary” suggesting a “Civil War,” a not-uncommon call on these conspiracy sites. As I have in the past, I asked: “With who fighting whom? Are you volunteering to take up arms? How far are you personally willing to go?”

As usual, I’ve had no response to that, just as when the various nuts proclaim that it’s time to “take back America.”

Posted in History, Journalism, Personal, Politics, Religion, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

WorldNetDaily ‘journalism’ and ‘Christian’ racism

Posted by James McPherson on August 12, 2010

I have to admit that when I see the url for WorldNetDaily, wnd.com, I automatically start coming up with appropriate alternative meanings for the abbreviation: Phrases such as WackjobNewsDelivery, or WhyNotDeceive, or WildNewDistortions, or WhiteNutjobDelusions, or WhoNeedsDetails, or WeNeedDrugs.

But I read something the other day referring to WorldNetDaily as a leading “Christian website.” If that’s true (and despite the supposed Christian faith of its founder/editor and its promoting of some Christian books, I’m not sure I’d agree), it’s no wonder that Christianity has such a bad reputation with so many people.

WND claims to be a news site, but makes no effort to hide its clearly biased perspective (or its sales pitches to the gullible). For example, the third “story” right now is about a conference to “take America back” (back from whom, as usual, is unclear). The story quotes WND founder and editor Joseph Farah, while promising:

Speakers at the conference, which is followed by a weeklong Royal Caribbean cruise called “The Tea Party at Sea,” includes such stalwarts as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Alan Keyes, Tom Tancredo, Jerome Corsi, Aaron Klein and David Kupelian. Farah – who’s also speaking – is now offering a peek at the conference’s still-developing program. With “this slate of speakers, topics and discussions,” he ensures, “the event will more than live up to its name.”

Not surprisingly, the conference will generate cash for Farah’s organization while also promoting his own book, which has the same title as the conference he is organizing.

The WND “daily poll” from yesterday asked the question, “What part of the Obama-eligibility saga has made you most doubt his legitimacy?” That’s about as unbiased as me asking, “Which WND conspiracy theory do you find to be the craziest?” The difference is, I don’t pretend to be “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice.”

Besides Farah’s writings, WND regularly features the writing of such “journalists” as Coulter, Corsi and Michael Savage (and Pat Buchanan, but he apparently works for every media organization, including msnbc). But as with most websites, even scarier that the identifiable writers (well, maybe except for Savage) are the anonymous lunatics who post comments.

Here are a few examples, taken from almost 3,000 “questions” the commenters think the media should ask Barack Obama ((I’ve copied and pasted, so the goofy misspellings, random capitalization, and grammar and punctuation issues were in the original; all comments are from different people):

Wouldn’t you won’t you oh pretty please stop asking the Schutzstaffel SS (aka Secret Service) funnel you the white magic dust powder and charging it to me? This cracker works two jobs to just get by and can’t afford to pay for your drug habit. Are you leaving a disgusting white film all over the White House that will have to be ServiceMastered the day you are impeached and executed for treason or imprisoned for life for all of your felonies? Also, on that day, could you and Michelle refrain from stealing any of the objet d’art left over from the great Clinton burglary in the White House as they were packing up? Thank YOU Soetoro.

Yes, you have fooled the people, but you will be found out. God help you, because, Mr. Obama, I can assure your Muslim religion will not.

Hussein Obama is the biggest, most constant LIAR of all the Liars in D.C., and THAT is saying something. He took us decent folks by surprise, as we have never seen, or expected, a usurper for Pres, let alone such a LIAR and low-down Red Communist filth pig, make it into the Oval Office. … I am pleased at your miserable predicament – LIAR, spiller of innocent blood, Communist, the Holy One has a perfect count of how many babies you have conspired to murder. They cry for justice to th Holy One of Israel. You can believe this – He listens and soon justice, the thing you hate and fear, will be served to you because of your rebellion and evil. Do you think you can LIE your way out of God’s justice?

Dear usurping, racebaiting, America hating, teleprompting, mongrel in chief…

If you look nto obama’s back ground He has never been around anyone but comunist ,his white tras mother was a communist both his father and step father were America hating communist ,his grand parents were communist…

I hear Hillary Clinton may challenge you for the 2012 Democratic nomination.[?] Maybe you should prepare for “CRONE WARS”. :o)

Why do you direspect our flag, our rights to our official days of prayer, and brainwash our children into singing praises to you in official school class rooms where they’re not allowed to speak the name of Jesus Christ but they can worship Obama? Please explain why these things are happening in our country that was founded on the moral structure of the Word of Almgihty God, not Alah or Mohammed.

You bowing down to those countries who are against America,and telling them we aren’t a Christian nation, where did you get that? Do you really think we Christian Americans are that dumb to fall for your crap?

Your consistent twisting of the US Constitution’s wording of “Freedom of Religion” with your own devious “freedom of worship” makes me wonder if this is not Taqiyya under the guise of progressive ideology.  If “Religion” is used, an argument could be made that Islam is an “Ideology”, not a “Religion”. In substituting “Worship”, blanket protection is given to those who idolize Mohammed through the “Theocracy” that is Islam. This is an obvious chess board move.

WND editor Farah has become one of the leading proponents of the “birther” movement. Birther conspiracy also is the primary focus of the organization he founded–devoting much of its early effort to the wacky Vince Foster suicide conspiracy theory–before moving on to WND.

That organization, the Western Journalism Center, now is led by Floyd Brown, who also has his own website but is perhaps most noteworthy as the producer of perhaps the most infamous racist political ad in history, the “Willie Horton” ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988.

The website of the Western Journalism Center (“journalism” apparently being used ironically in this case) also draws a smaller but perhaps even nuttier and scarier following of racist conspiracy loons, who keep asking questions along the lines of “When can we get this Muslim usurper out of the White House?” Samples from one post alone (about Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain) include comments such as the following (again, all from different commenters):

[Michelle Obama] cared less about the annoited ones birthday(maybe) and when she gets home she going on another vacation with her half black half and both piglets.

Does the word LYNCH ring a bell? We need to get the BIGGEST LYNCH PARTY together,and head for Washington, D. C.

I SAY US KICK THE MAKE BELIEVE MARIE ANTOINETTE AMAZONIAN BITCH OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE ALONG WITH HER HALF BREED OF A HUSBAND WHO PREFERS MEN.

Michelle is nothing more than a monkey bitch spending Americans tax money and she doesn’t give a rats a$$ about the rest of the Americans who are struggling financially. After all the monkey bitch and her magic negro husband were elected by the masses of liberals kool-aid drinkers and the whites who thought they could erase their collective guilt by electing Osama Obama the magic negro and his monkey bitch wife!!!

The idiots that voted for this muslim communist deserve him but We Americans that did not vote for that sleezy slime bag that came for the sewer have to be punished.

I was born in 1944, back before the blacks were allowed to set at the front of the bus, not in the back, and when they had to have their own fountains to drink from and their own public rest rooms. I will not use the N word, but what the Obamas are doing is what was called N_ _ _ _ r Rich back in those days. If they got a dollar for picking cotton, hey would go out and spend ten dollars. Looks like their intelligence level has remained the same over al these years. Guess you can take them out of the innercity, but you can’t take the innercity out of them.

Tea Party folks keep claiming they’re not racists. Maybe most of them aren’t. But a fair number of the “Christians” who hang out at wnd.com and the Western Journalism Center obviously are racists, along with being stupid in many other ways.

And though it may be impossible to keep up with the garbage spewing forth, it would be nice if more of those Christian readers and Tea Party fans of the two sites who aren’t racist jackasses would call out the ones who are.

Posted in Journalism, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »