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, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Malkin’

Batcrap craziness

Posted by James McPherson on July 20, 2012

Batman: “No guns.” (In keeping with the superhero’s longtime no-gun rule.”)

Catwoman: “What fun is that?”

I guess we could ask the folks who attended the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, huh?

As I’ve written in what became my most-read post, I generally avoid using profanity. But one reason I generally oppose it it because its overuse has made appropriate use almost meaningless. Almost. And today is one of the exceptions, because there has perhaps never been a more appropriate day or week for the term “batshit crazy.”

This week gave us Rush Limbaugh suggesting that the name of a movie character (a name that originated in a 1993 comic book) was a liberal plot against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Then, of course, Rush lied about it the next day.

Next we had John McCain–the McCain we used to remember before he sold his soul to try to win the last presidential election–chastize Michele Bachmann for her latest Muslim plot nonsense. But we know that Bachmann is as batty as Limbaugh.

And though we all know that the blogosphere has become a nutty and nasty place, it was surprising that a negative review of the latest Batman movie would inspire batshit-crazy fans of a comic book character to make death threats against “Rotten Tomatoes” reviewers.

But all of that pales in comparison to today’s news about a costumed gunman killing at least a dozen people at a midnight opening of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” It didn’t take long for ABC to commit the first stupid reporting error, and of course the shooting has dominated the cable news networks all day. (It’s probably not such big news in Syria, where having a dozen killed by violence would be considered a good day.)

And so now we’ll have another few days of liberals pointing out the obvious, that easy access to guns in America makes these events far too common here and that conservative talking heads such as “shoot-them-in-the-head” Glenn Beck (however well he may cry about it afterward) and Rush Limbaugh, along with batshit-crazy extremist groups promote violence. Some conservatives will blame mass murder on gay marriage. If all else fails, blame it on violent movies or video games. It’s all so predictable, and too few will acknowledge that many factors are involved.

Perhaps less predictably, truly batshit-crazy NRA types, which Colorado has, may suggest that the carnage would have been reduced if other people in the theater were armed. Oh, wait–batshit-crazy Malkin  and batshit-crazy Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert have already done that. Gohmert also blamed the attacks on “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs”–as did the American Family Association, despite the fact that the killer reportedly was a “brilliant student” from a “church-going family.” Shades of Pat Robertson; life is just too scary when we realize what our demons have in common with the rest of us, I guess.

So, how long until someone (other than a batshit-crazy blogger or two) suggests that the killer is an Obama operative trying to help the president push through gun control, even though we know that it’s now easier to buy a gun and you can carry it in more places than before Obama was elected? Besides, we Americans love our guns. We really love our guns. If the shooting of a Congresswoman and the killing a a cute white girl or the slaughter of college students won’t spur a serious debate about American gun laws, this certainly won’t.

In fact, perhaps part of the “The Dark Knight Rises” should be rewritten.

Batman: “No guns.”

Catwoman: “In America? That’s batshit crazy!”

Next-day addendum: Above I asked how long it would take someone to suggest that the shootings were a government plot to help promote control. Not long at all, as it turned out, thanks to 9/11 “truther” Alex Jones, perhaps the most bat-shit crazy conspiracy theorist in America.

Sunday addendum: Batshit-crazy Truth in Action Ministries spokesman Jerry Newcombe chose today to go on the radio and “remind” listeners that some of the dead shooting victims were bound for hell. Say hello when you get there, Jerry.

Also, a question for any who care to answer: Why do so many conservatives apparently think it should be easier to carry a gun than to cast a ballot?

Tuesday addendum: Batshit-crazy Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, has also suggested that the Aurora killings are part of a gun-control plot, bringing familiar bogeyman, the United Nations, into it.

Posted in History, Legal issues, Media literacy, Politics, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments »

The best Matt Damon/Morgan Freeman movie ever

Posted by James McPherson on December 14, 2009

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” is the theme of “The People Speak,” a film based on Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Matt Damon was one of the film’s producers, and in the film Morgan Freeman read an 1852 Frederick Douglass speech, “”The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” Damon also reads from the Declaration of Independence.

Oh, you thought the headline referred to that other film out now? I hear it’s not bad, either, though I haven’t seen it yet. But I did watched the “The People Speak” on the History Channel last night. I was especially moved by Kerry Washington’s reading of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman,” Marisa Tomei’s reading of the memories of a factory striker, and David Strathairn’s words from an admiral about “good war.”

Less impressed, of course, are folks like David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin. For most folks, I suspect, the disapproval of those two immediately makes the film more credible, though I wonder if “Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood knows he’s been hanging out with Communists.

Below is a video of a different, slightly longer Washington reading of  “Ain’t I a Woman?” from one of the traveling college readings. Zinn can also be seen in the video, along with some other people you may recognize.

Posted in Education, History, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Political porn’: Too-sexy Sarah and Michelle as a monkey

Posted by James McPherson on November 26, 2009

  

In what one critic calls “political pornography,” Newsweek has managed to again aid Sarah Palin’s ongoing campaign for … well, who knows what? The GOP candidate for the Mrs. America Pageant, perhaps? (After all, she’s not likely to face competition from fellow pageant princess Carrie Prejean for a title that requires a spouse, assuming Prejean continues to keep to herself, so to speak).

Newsweek is captivated by Palin, with its Web site now offering a “Palin book club quiz,” a slideshow with almost two dozen photos and at least three articles about her. One of the best is this piece by Julia Baird about “the ‘Palinization’ of Palin.” There’s also a link to this Palin-related blog post, which points out a fact long obvious to many, that mainstream political reporting in general is largely worthless.

David Bozeman, the conservative writer linked above, writes about the Palin cover: “The political junkie in me thought it a great piece of memorabilia. The regular guy in me thinks she looks awesome, and I can’t stop looking at it.” And that’s the problem, isn’t it? People just can’t stop looking at the ongoing train wreck of Palin.

I also thought the cover was silly–mostly because Newsweek (unlike most Americans) considered Palin to even be cover-worthy–though frankly I initially viewed it in a less sexist vein than did many. For one thing, I understood what I assumed to be an allusion to Palin’s “running,” even if she claims not to be campaigning. (She told Oprah that a presidential campaign was not “on my radar,” perhaps odd for someone who can see Russia from her house.)

I was surprised by Palin’s treatment of the American flag, which she seems to be leaning on. That’s no better than her usual method of wrapping herself in it, though perhaps better than a more appropriate GOP symbol–a flag draped over a casket.

Besides, unlike Hillary Clinton (who has been treated even worse, and for much longer), Palin has traded heavily on her looks, a fact recognized at some level even by conservatives such as the one quoted above. That willingness to capitalize on her appearance while acting aggrieved is a common trait for conservative women, of course, especially right-wing babblers such as Ann Coulter (the photo below is from her own Web site, unlike the sexist photo of Clinton), Michelle Malkin, and almost any blonde on Fox News, home of the daily “Pop Tarts.”

Just last week I saw another of those pieces–from a conservative, naturally–arguing that conservative women are “hotter” than liberals. My equally over-generalized and unfair thought, whenever I see that claim: liberal women are more likely to have brains and beauty; conservative women are more likely to have makeup and plastic surgery.

[michelle-obama.jpg]   In the meantime, speaking of brains and beauty, Google has apologized because searches for “Michelle Obama” produced an image (at left) in which the first lady’s picture had been altered to look like a monkey. While the image is reprehensible, I’m a bit concerned about how quickly Google reacted to take it down (though the company claimed it did so because of virus concerns).

After all, the image is hardly surprising considering the level of racist hatred that has been spewed by far-right nimrods during the past couple of years, and I want to know what the idiots are up to. Making the stupidity just a little harder to find doesn’t make it go away. More importantly, I don’t want Google–or any corporation–deciding what’s politically appropriate to view.

I just wish that more Americans, and the media they depend upon, would focus more on issues of substance. But the odds of that remain slim, despite a Pew study that the general population is smarter than the media on this issue.

Happy Thanksgiving. One of the things we can be most thankful for is that Palin isn’t a heartbeat away from the presidency–even if, as I suggested yesterday, I’m less impressed with the current Commander in Chief than I am with his wife.

      

Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy, Politics, Women, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Dems act like Dittoheads by wasting time on Limbaugh

Posted by James McPherson on January 28, 2009

There can be little doubt for anyone other than a committed “Dittohead” that Rush Limbaugh is a bombastic idiot. Perhaps smarter and generally funnier than Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin, nonetheless Limbaugh is a one-note blowhard who has managed to combine his ability to get under the skin of liberals with the limited intelligence of his primary audience to make himself a multimillionaire and a significant–if declining–conservative voice.

I am continually surprised that much of anyone pays attention to Limbaugh, but now Congressional Democrats have joined the parade of overreactive respondents giving the talk show host the one thing he most craves: attention. As Fox News (Limbaugh’s biggest media ally) prominently reports today, the Dems have started an online petition for people to sign complaining about Limbaugh’s recent “I hope he [Barack Obama] fails” statement. The website promises, “We’ll send Rush your comments.”

I somehow don’t think Limbaugh will be troubled by the petition. In fact, I half expect that he’ll print out the comments and roll around naked on them. In the meantime, he has started his own “reverse petition” with a link to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, urging web readers to “tell the DCCC and all other Democrats it is time to stop lying about and distorting Rush’s comments on Barack Obama’s War on Prosperity.”

Incidentally, I’ll grant that many liberals have distorted Limbaugh’s comments, and that what he really meant was that he hopes Obama fails to create a liberal state. What I don’t get is why anyone still pays enough attention to Rush to think it necessary to hear his comments, let alone distort them. As the Huffington Post’s Joe Peyronnin writes, even Obama made a mistake in elevating Limbaugh’s status with recent remarks.

Peyronnin concludes his piece, “Mr. President, please do what most Republicans can’t do, ignore Rush Limbaugh.” Other Democrats should do the same.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

25 Democrats & 30 Republicans who should ‘go away’

Posted by James McPherson on December 6, 2008

Blogger Ben Cohen apparently got such an overwhelming response (with lots of hate mail) to a column titled “10 Republicans Who Should Go Away,” he has now offered a Democratic version.

The Democrats: Joe Lieberman, Mark Penn, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Matthews, John Dingell, Robert Rubin, Steny Hoyer and Joe Lieberman (yes, Cohen hates Lieberman so much he put him on the list twice).

The Republicans: William Kristol, Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, Dick Morris, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Alan Greenspan, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and George Bush.

I would have rearranged the lists and bit and made a few changes, but having used this blog to criticize everyone on Cohen’s GOP list and almost everyone on the Democratic list (though often just through association, with such terms as “gutless Democratic Congress” (here, here, here and here), I can’t disagree much with Cohen’s rankings.

I might have put Lieberman on both lists, and can easily expand the Republican list to 30. Besides Lieberman, my list (alphabetically) might include Glenn Beck, Jerome Corsi, Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, James Dobson, Matt Drudge, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Nancy Grace, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Miller, Rupert Murdoch, Darragh Murphy, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Pat Robertson, Karl Rove, Michael Savage and George Will.

The Democratic side is a little tougher for me to expand, perhaps in part because of personal bias but mostly because Dems haven’t had much power for quite a while. Still, even after eliminating the second mention of Lieberman, I can boost it to 25 by adding Bill Clinton, James Carville, John Edwards, Geraldine Ferraro, Al Franken, Christopher Hitchens, Jesse Jackson, Joe Klein,  Scott McClellan, Keith Olbermann, Ed Rendell, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton, Jerry Springer and Jeremiah Wright.

Cohen explains his reasons for each of his 19 nominees, though I won’t bother–other than to say the folks I’ve listed are among those who in my view have offered the least during the past year or so compared to the amount of visibility they’ve received. Obviously not all of those listed are formally affilitiated with the parties I’ve placed them with–but they might as well be.

Of course your picks might be different and others might be considered, including “Joe the Plumber,” “Obama girl,” and various filmmakers, political hacks, bloggers, and TV talking heads. And thankfully, many of those listed above are likely to disappear from public view in the near future, and from memory soon after.

Posted in Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sarah Palin’s political fashion statement: A donkey scarf for Eeyore?

Posted by James McPherson on October 23, 2008

Overspending on clothing isn’t Sarah Palin’s only fashion problem this week. Probably by accident or because of some sneaky Democrat posing as a fan in a rope line, the Republican VP nominee recently ended up wearing a scarf that promoted voting for Democrats. You can see a photo that has been posted throughout the blogosphere (which I first suspected was Photoshopped), here:

If it wasn’t an accident, maybe Palin had merely read a recent blog post in which I compared John McCain to Eeyore, and this was her way of saying, “Vote for McCain.”

Same day follow-up thought: At least the scarf didn’t look too much like a keffiyah, so Michelle Malkin won’t have to join the parade of conservatives abandoning the McCain/Palin ship.

Posted in Politics, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bill O’Reilly: liar, bully and buffoon

Posted by James McPherson on June 11, 2008

Father Charles Coughlin often serves as the historical prototype for on-air fanaticism and bullying. As it turns out, statistically the good father was a slacker compared to Bill O’Reilly.

Below are some of Bill’s “best”–helped in the first case by the laughably inane Ann Coulter-wannabe Michelle Malkin. Malkin, you’ll remember, managed to turn right-wing Dunkin’ Donuts (which she previously had promoted over Starbucks) into an Islamic terrorist front, forcing the company to pull some of its advertising. She is noted for lying and distortion. (By the way, Michelle, Dunkin is now promoting “going green.”)

And you gotta love when O’Reilly says (late in the first video),  “We stayed in the parameters… of what was true.” Oh, and just for fun if you want to get a real sense of what it must be like to work for Bill, play all three videos at once.

Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy, Politics, Religion, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »