Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #11: Pundits

11 Jan

Listen, we know. It’s a broad category.  But we really couldn’t decide on just one.

Usually we try to steer away from Dick Hall of Fame inductees that reflect things that are happening right now–that’s Dick of the Week territory.  But we’ve got to say, pundits as a whole are LONG overdue for some sort of lifetime achievement award.  And the horrible, tragic events of this weekend have served as a sad reminder about the state of television “journalism” in this country and our need as Americans to find someone to blame for even the most senseless of acts.  Let us be clear, and serious, for a moment: we would like to express our most heartfelt condolences to the families of Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, pastor Dorwin Stoddard, Dorthy Murray, Phyllis Scheck, and nine-year-old Christina Greene, as well as to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the others wounded in the attack.  We express our condolences, because the dicks in the media, those pundits whom we have come to “trust” so much, have neglected to do so in favor of searching for a way to blame individuals, ideologies, political movements, and, in some cases, each other.

We’re going to start at the top here.  We’re not going to mince words: Paul Krugman is an idiot.  An idiot, idiot, idiot.  Paul Krugman makes our blog look like Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting.  Paul Krugman grasps at straws so hard he’s going to break his hand.  Paul Krugman’s momma so fat, when she goes on a diet the US economy crashes.  Okay, maybe we leave his momma out of it, but keep in mind she did give birth to one of the biggest wastes of oxygen on this planet.  On Sunday, Krugman had the guts to release this article, essentially blaming the republican party as a whole for the shooting.  That’s really not an exaggeration, either.  We’ll share with you a couple of excerpts from the article.  And we’ll translate:

“It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.” [“Okay, so the shooter was insane. But if you think about it, didn’t the republicans MAKE him insane?”]

“As Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff responsible for dealing with the Arizona shootings, put it, it’s “the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business.” The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line.” [“Everyone in America watches TV. And SOME people in America commit acts of violence. Therefore, TV causes violence. Also, I never let my kids play Grand Theft Auto.”]

“Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.” [“I have never watched Keith Olbermann.”]

“Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.” [“Caustic remarks and mockery are essential to our political process. Are you implying that Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly are allowed to make jokes too? I WILL BEHEAD YOU, SIR.”  We might also note here that Olbermann once said that Democrats’ solution to Hillary Clinton was ‘somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out,’ but Krugman conveniently forgets these things.]

“So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It’s really up to G.O.P. leaders.” [“When will Sarah Palin stop shooting people?”]

Paul Krugman has every right to his opinion, but in this case his opinion makes him an unbelievable dick. The entire article is one long diatribe searching to find a way to blame the GOP for an atrocity committed by one insane man.  It’s not unreasonable to search for answers in the wake of a tragedy, but it is pretty unreasonable to write an article filled with the same sort of vitriolic, blame-gaming, hate-filled language that he supposedly condemns the GOP for.  But here’s the good news: we guess if someone goes nuts and shoots a journalist now, we can totally blame Paul Krugman for it.  Nice going, dick.  This article essentially sums up everything that is wrong with American journalism.

You're an asshole, Krugman. We really can't put it any more delicately than that.

Of course, Paul Krugman isn’t the only one.  We’re going to take a minute to take Sarah Palin to task.  Is she responsible for the shootings?  Of course not.  Is she still an idiot?  Yes. Yes she is.

One thing that the media chose to jump on immediately after the shootings was the “target map” that Palin put up on her website not long before the attack took place.  The map was a graphic showing the districts that the GOP had carried in 2008 which now hosted Congressmen who voted for the health care overhaul.  Palin listed them as GOP targets and aimed to have them voted out of Congress.  However…the symbol that Palin’s people chose to place over the districts in question happened to be crosshairs.  Since Rep. Giffords happened to be one of the Congresswomen targeted by Palin’s campaign, this gave a much more sinister meaning to the map than it was intended to have.

Like there was any way this was ever going to be in good taste.

You can see the map above.  Obviously Sarah Palin was hardly advocating the assassination of the Representatives in question.  But seriously, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING.  Doesn’t the Tea Party use enough threatening rhetoric already?  Did she not expect people to jump on this regardless of whether or not someone had taken a shot at a Congresswoman?  This is just poor form all around.  As much as we think the media are dicks for jumping on the bandwagon to blame Sarah Palin for this horrible tragedy, Palin herself is equally at fault for providing them with this unbelievably stupid ammunition.  So Sarah, you are also a dick.

Of course, we’d be remiss is we  didn’t further address that hypocrite of all hypocrites, Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann devoted Monday’s “special comment” to calling out right wing commentators for their supposed “hate speech” and instigation of violence.  He even went so far as to demanded apologies from Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.  Yes, Keith Olbermann suggested that Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly should apologize for someone else committing murder.  And his main argument was the target imagery on Palin’s map.  Honestly, that was basically it.  As Krugman and Olbermann point out, you never see imagery like that or hear threatening messages from left wing politicians or commentators.

Except, you know, that time President Obama talked about bringing a gun to a political knife fight.

Or that time Chris Matthews said someone should jam a CO2 pellet in Rush Limbaugh’s head and kill him.

Just a couple of examples that various bloggers have pulled from the woodwork this week.  Certainly though, this vitriol is coming only from the right.

But let’s give these left-wing commentators their due: Jared Loughner, the shooter, may have been insane, but he was pretty obviously an Tea Party member.  That has to count for something, right?  Wait, wait.  You mean Jared Loughner wasn’t a Tea Partier?  You mean he wasn’t even a republican?  You mean his own former classmate described him as a “left-wing pot head“?  Oh yeah.  Those who knew Mr. Loughner described him as a “left-wing political radical,” which sounds an awful lot like, we don’t know, not someone likely to be influenced by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, or any other supposedly hate-filled right-wing commentator.  In fact it sounds like someone a lot more likely to be influenced by…we don’t know…

But we would never hold him responsible, because we're not fucking idiots.

So yeah, sorry Keith, but you’re a huge dick, too.

This is already getting lengthy, but there is one more important point to touch on that makes pretty much everyone involved a dick.  Does everyone remember the Fort Hood shooting?  Feel free to brush up here: 13 killed, 30 wounded on a military base by an Islamic man yelling “Allahu Akbar” while he shot.  The guy had some issues, yeah.  But the media repeatedly urged us to avoid jumping to conclusions about Nidal Malik Hasan, the shooter, and his motives.  We were urged to exercise caution by just about everyone.  The Washington Examiner was kind enough to compile a number of these quotes for us here.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

“I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.” -President Obama

“We have to make sure that we do not jump to any conclusions whatsoever.” -CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell

“The important thing is for everyone not to jump to conclusions.” –Gen. Wesley Clark, on CNN

“Now, President Obama has asked people to be very cautious here and to not jump to conclusions. By saying that you believe this is an act of terror, are you jumping to a conclusion?” -CNN’s John Roberts to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, when Hoekstra suggested the shooting was an act of terrorism

That last one is particularly interesting to us, especially since some liberal commentators have already taken to calling Loughner a “domestic terrorist.”  We’re hesitant to attack this article too much, because it says a lot of smart things about not indicting commentators for rhetoric that you don’t like.  We like seeing that.  But this particular blogger also leaps headfirst into calling Loughner a terrorist and accusing the Tea Party and those with similar ideologies of (essentially) being racist for assuming that all terrorists are middle eastern.  He makes a big deal of complaining that people like Loughner are labelled as “mentally unstable” rather than “terrorists.”

Okay. Look. Maybe that’s because the “mentally unstable” part is the important part here?  In our language today, terrorism implies a wider threat, not one crazy guy.  And while a lot of terrorists may be idiots, most of them are not actually insane.  Calm down, Peter Beinart.  It’s just a word.  And as your own fellow left-wing commentators have said, it’s important that we avoid jumping to any conclusions here.

There you have it.  A tragic indictment of commentators as a whole.  Some will say this is heavily skewed towards the right.  We say…sorry.  It’s important to remember that Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and others are, usually, just as bad, just as biased, and just as factually inaccurate.  It’s too bad for the left-wingers reading this that people like Olbermann, Krugman, and the left-wing blogosphere all managed to drop the ball at the exact same time this week.  We again reiterate our condolences to all affected by this tragedy, and also reiterate how everyone in the media associated with covering, commentating on, analyzing, or otherwise discussing this event is a complete and utter dick.


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