Posted on | September 4, 2010 | 91 Comments
“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.”
— Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind
Some things are predictable — i.e., that the Palin-haters would decide it was a good time to recycle the old SPLC/LGF attacks on me in order to exploit my interview with Todd Palin for a guilt-by-association smear. When Rachel Maddow tried the same trick last fall — based on my friend Lynn Vincent’s collaboration with Sarah Palin on Going Rogue — I made a few points in my response:
I don’t have to explain myself or prove a negative. . . .
There is no obligation for me to speak a word in my own defense.
Earlier this year, I described the Left’s tactics in dealing with an LGF attack on Dennis Prager:
- Bad Faith – The accusation that conservatives are motivated by bad faith (mala fides) is essential to the Left’s attacks. Stigmatizing and marginalizing conservatives is much easier than debating them. Cogent arguments about policy become unnecessary to advancing the Left’s political agenda if they can dismiss its opponents as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
- The Ransom Note Method – By carefully selecting “evidence” of bad faith, the Left is able to present a distorted image of its conservative targets. Out-of-context quotes and controversial biographical data are cherry-picked and re-assembled (in the manner of a kidnapper assembling a ransom note) to present the target in the most damning possible light. This method is particularly effective against conservative talk-radio personalities who engage in polemic battle with leftists. This is why Media Matters devotes such enormous resources to monitoring talk radio in hopes of grabbing a 40-second “gotcha” sound-bite.
- The ‘Links and Ties’ Method – More than simple guilt-by-association, the Links-and-Ties Method involves presenting a chain of incidental connections to suggest a sympathy of views that does not actually exist. To wit: Target A once spoke at Event B which was sponsored by Group C, co-founded by Person D who once made controversial statement E. By this method, it is implied that Target A actually endorses Statement E.
- Telescoping and Telepathy – The actions, statements and associations of a conservative target acquire a trans-temporal permanence in the smear attacks of the Left. Once a target is associated (however incidentally) with controversy, this association can be repeated endlessly as evidence of bad faith, no matter how many years intervene. Furthermore, if the target is associated in Year X with a respectable person or organization that becomes controversial in Year X+5, that association can be cited in Year X+10 as evidence against the target – even if the target had no involvement in the cause of controversy. Finally, all evidence of bad faith accumulated by these methods is presented as indicative of the target’s deepest and unwavering personal convictions, as if the accuser were possessed of telepathic mind-reading abilities.
- Deny, Denounce, Repudiate – The key to these attack methods is the presumption of the target’s guilt. The accuser, having carefully selected the evidence to be discussed in the manner of a prosecutor making an indictment, demands that the target deny the accusation, denounce the bad-faith views involved, and repudiate the persons and organizations to whom he has been connected by the links-and-ties method. As anyone who has been targeted by such attacks can attest, it’s rather like being accused in one of Stalin’s infamous Moscow “show trials.”
What is at the root of this game is the accuser’s moral authority to act as Grand Inquisitor. The accuser arrogates to himself the unquestionable righteousness to judge the accused, who is then expected to attempt to prove his innocence.
If you play that game, you’re accepting the accuser’s authority.
The idiocy of the accusation that I am a “white supremacist” ought to be obvious: What, exactly, does “white supremacist” mean in 2010? Have I ever advocated any such policy? Do I hatefully derogate non-whites or espouse some bizarre theory of racial superiority?
I do not, and never have.
Remember that it is not sufficient proof of such a serious charge to say that, over the course of a long career, I have occasionally made ill-considered statements or that I have associated with people whose reputations may be even worse than my own. In the first instance, I’ve written many thousands of words which my accusers never bother to cite — e.g., my 2008 feature about Lt. Col. Allen West or my April profile of Vernon Parker — and in the second instance, a journalist necessarily makes a wide range of acquaintances.
I don’t like being told what to think or what to say, and I don’t make a habit of letting other people decide who I can be friends with. Some of my conservative friends can’t understand why I’m friends with that horrible reprobate Dave Weigel, for example, while my liberal friends — and I do have some of those — are shocked that I’m friends with that nasty Dan Riehl fellow. (I may even be part of Dan’s “ilk“!)
Having many friends who can vouch for my bona fides — people of good reputation who know me personally and never once had cause to think of me as a racist hatemonger — I expect that many voices will defend me from the likes of Phil Munger, an instigator of this latest attack.
Hate is against my religion. If I am commanded to pray for my enemies, why then should I hate entire races of people whom I’ve never met and who have done me no harm?
If I do not hate, neither will I fear. There are important stories I need to be covering, and I’ve got better things to do than to seek vengeance on a bunch of pissant “progressives” whose only claim to fame is their vicious obsession with the Palins. I’m past caring what such people think of me, but if I am called on to fight in defense of the good name of the Palins, I’m prepared again to invoke the war oath of Clan Cameron:
“Sons of the hounds, come here and get flesh!”
And there are still five A’s in raaaaacism.
Within hours of her death, [Rachel] Corrie was transformed from human being to sacred symbol, an icon revered by the “Blame Israel First” crowd. She was subsequently glorified in a cantata composed by a University of Alaska professor (who has since become a notorious anti-Palin blogger) and in a play that ran for 48 performances on Broadway.
Exploited to advance the anti-Israel cause, this symbolic Rachel Corrie functions in death as the real Rachel Corrie functioned in life, scapegoating Jews and acting as a human shield for terrorists.
Yeah: Munger composed the St. Pancake Cantata. He’s one of those anti-Israel types who constitute the Sirhan Sirhan wing of the Democratic Party. He doesn’t believe in the Book of Genesis, you see, so he doesn’t take Chapter 12, Verse 3 seriously.
UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers!
[H]e is an interesting passenger to share a car with, he is on perpetual hyper-drive, smokes like a chimney and is a coffee vampire.
“Coffee Vampires for Palin” would be a great blog name.