Green Room

The Shroud of Contempt

posted at 9:42 am on February 20, 2010 by

Washington Post contributor Jonathan Capehart provoked outrage when he became one of the first mainstream media figures to try linking the deranged killer Joseph Stack with the Tea Party movement:

Joseph Stack was angry at the Internal Revenue Service, and he took his rage out on it by slamming his single-engine plane into the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas. We now know this thanks to the rather clear (as rants go) suicide note Stack left behind. There’s no information yet on whether he was involved in any anti-government groups, or whether he was a lone wolf. But after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we’re hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.

Stack’s suicide note contains nothing to substantiate this smear. In fact, Capehart had to deliberately edit the last lines of the note from his piece, because they repeated the Communist Manifesto and adapted it into an insult to capitalism – “The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.” This was obviously unhelpful to the nasty little action line Capehart wanted to manufacture, so it had to go.

Strangely enough, the Washington Post continues to employ Capehart, when his manipulation of the Stack suicide note, and apparent ignorance of the decidedly un-Tea Party sentiments that filled the bulk of the madman’s screed, would have been taken as cause for dismissal by a paper with serious editorial standards. The following day, he posted on the subject again, making some amazingly disingenuous attempts to defend himself. “When I wrote my last post on Joseph Stack, I was very careful not to get ahead of what was already known,” he begins. No, but he was also careful not to mention the information that didn’t fit into his narrative, wasn’t he? I guess I can see why the Post didn’t sack him. He’s got the methodology of the dying legacy media down pat.

Retreating into the herd-think that characterizes the establishment media, Capehart argues “I’m not the only one to make the connection between Stack’s alienation from government and the anti-government extremists who have latched on to the broader Tea Party movement.” Well, that makes it all right, then. I guess if we can get a quorum of reporters to agree, we can declare any inconvenient group beyond the pale, and set about demonizing them.

Would it be equally fair to make the connection between the ugly power politics of Al Sharpton and the NAACP, and the anti-democracy extremists who have latched onto the broader civil-rights movement? When those extreme elements were prowling around voting booths with nightsticks, the Attorney General was remarkably uninterested in connecting them with anyone. Might we speculate that an activist super-State, determined to choose winners and losers on considerations of “social justice,” could inspire extremists to violently prevent members of the oppressor class from casting unhelpful votes?

Instead of fretting about “alienation from government” as a psychosis, shouldn’t we be looking at the connection between slavish devotion to Big Government and outbreaks of violence? Soon after top Democrats fled from health-care town hall meetings, shrieking that constituents with tough questions were Nazis wearing swastikas, we had union thugs beating people up, and feral astroturf goons biting off their fingers.

The attempts to paint Joseph Stack’s face onto a tea bag are part of a larger effort to cultivate contempt for the growing backlash against Big Government. Much of the bile directed at Sarah Palin, including the painfully unfunny “Family Guy” episode, is meant to serve the same purpose, finger-painting an image of her as an eccentric figure who can be dismissed with casual malice. Another example is the bizarre attack on Jason Mattera’s appearance at CPAC by the New York Times, insinuating racism based on the sound of his voice. The media has been circling CPAC, looking for an opening, and Mattera was caught in a hail of ink from a drive-by slandering.

A distinctly unamused Andrew Breitbart called the Times reporter “despicable,” and Palin spoke out against the “Family Guy” insult… eight months after dragging a root-canal apology out of David Letterman for spitting rape jokes about her daughter. They were right to raise their voices. The purpose of cultivated contempt is to alienate the sort of independent voter who can be strongly influenced by media atmospherics. The greatest political weapon remaining to our increasingly unpopular legacy media is their ability to cast a shadow of doom over selected targets, building a sense of unease that drives away those who pay only cursory attention to politics. When support for a person or group becomes unthinkable, their words become unintelligible.

Not all of the drive to excommunicate Republicans or the Tea Party comes from pure partisanship. Establishment media figures, including some nominally on the Right, are made confused and uneasy by the notion of “alienation from government.” They understand that the system itself, not merely individual politicians, is coming under sustained and principled assault. Far from a witless mob chanting slogans of mindless anger, the increasingly libertarian Right is drafting manifestoes and designing action plans for the post-Big Government era. They are asking moral and practical questions for which command-economy socialism has no answer. The plan to intimidate them into silence didn’t work, so the new plan is to intimidate moderate voters out of listening to them. Meanwhile, the witless mobs with mindless slogans and pitchforks are filled with union members demanding a government takeover of health insurance.

The Left still has a powerful media loom upon which to weave the ugly shroud of contempt, but it’s a weapon that only works against inarticulate victims. Cutting through it quickly and forcefully is the best defense. No Republican, Tea Partier, or concerned citizen should quietly suffer insults that would never be tolerated against the consecrated constituencies of the Left. Linking Joseph Stack to the Tea Party movement is no more reasonable than linking homicidal maniac Amy Bishop to the National Education Association, because they share her fawning obsession with Barack Obama. The implication that mistrust of our bloated, blind government is a gateway drug to terrorism reduces the American tradition of independence to a psychosis.

Instead of making ridiculous stretches to sell Stack as a Tea Party Minuteman to their dwindling audience, journalists should be probing the connection between Big Government corruption and Amy Bishop’s long career of unpunished violent lunacy. That’s the kind of investigation that might just save lives… and end the degenerate politics defended by its media janissaries, with a chorus of sneers aimed at the people who pay for it.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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Obviously Capehart doesn’t believe that there is an objective reality that can be reported objectively, which fits nicely with the editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News Washington Post.

JohnJ on February 20, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Strangely enough, the Washington Post continues to employ Capehart, when his manipulation of the Stack suicide note, and apparent ignorance of the decidedly un-Tea Party sentiments that filled the bulk of the madman’s screed, would have been taken as cause for dismissal by a paper with serious editorial standards.

Dude, if those standards were in place, 97% of ‘journalists’ would have to be fired immediately.

Midas on February 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Excellent, passages of which should be abridged and colloquialized by individual politicians and conservatives leaders for use against the mainstream media.

The telling line in all this was Capeheart’s defense that the smear is correct and legitimate because others think so too. This is really how these people think. They’ve lost the individual impulse to moral reflection, the essential restraint to groupthink. They have become indistinguishable amoeba of agenda swarming into one ugly mass. They are basically a mob.

rrpjr on February 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM

What blows my mind Doc, is that the Tea Party Movement is a nationwide movement targeting a government that is spending our country into oblivion while ignoring the laws of our land that are absolutely necessary in order to maintain the Republic. But yet, these media creatures continue to attack this movement that literally includes millions upon millions of Americans whom these networks need in order to survive. Let’s see now, I have a great idea on how we can grow our deflating audience; let’s attack most of the country and watch as our audience grows.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

Keemo on February 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM

The lame stream media depends on no one actually reading the nuts’ screed, so the media think they can do a ‘tell over’ and people will buy into it. How many people do you think have actually read it, vs how many wait for someone to ‘tell them what it said’ … And there is the problem in a nutshell.

tarpon on February 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

As you alluded to, the continuing collapse of advertising revenues from capitalist coffers plus circulatory defections are evidence enough of the common man’s passive activism against this type of reporting. While print media types may cry that the internet is to blame, and perhaps one element of truth lies in those statements, their attempts to squelch the internet’s growing content by a Fairness Doctrine will never save their pulp fiction. Too many adults in the blogosphere, net-media, and independent contenders alike will not drop the new for the old by decree. Posting at the town square may come back in fashion ahead of any MSM print revival.

It’s interesting that the choice of comparison in this instance is the Tea Party, being painted as the boogeyman. I say this only in that just a few short years ago it was the Minutemen that were the boogeymen, and only shortly before that Militias. We’ve come a way since there was only the KKK to ascribe affinity to when culturally demonizing a non-left person or group. Wondering aloud here: are the right wing radicals getting soft?

Robert17 on February 20, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Another excellent piece that needs to be on the main page Doc.

Jeff2161 on February 20, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Doc, your site really needs to be linked as well on the sidebar.

Jeff2161 on February 20, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Strangely enough, the Washington Post continues to employ Capehart, when his manipulation of the Stack suicide note, and apparent ignorance of the decidedly un-Tea Party sentiments that filled the bulk of the madman’s screed, would have been taken as cause for dismissal by a paper with serious editorial standards. — Doctor Zero

Dude, if those standards were in place, 97% of ‘journalists’ would have to be fired immediately.

Midas on February 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM
—–

Midas,

There would be a large number of ‘reporters’, who are capable of saying “on this date, at this time, in this location, this event happened” – no spin, just the facts – who would be hired.

The problem with the Mainly Stupid Media is ‘journalism-as-advocacy’ instead of ‘journalism-as-reporters-of-fact’.

People want to know what’s going on around them, people don’t want to be manipulated and lied to. Reporting gives them this, ‘journalism’ does not.

Mew

acat on February 20, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Big Government, Big Media — both will be undone by principled citizens stepping forward and speaking up peacefully, forcefully: We The People do solemly swear that we will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, so help us God.

publiuspen on February 20, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Dude, if those standards were in place, 97% of ‘journalists’ would have to be fired immediately.

Midas on February 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I’ve already fired them from my life. I subscribed to the local newspaper here from 1986-2008, and watched television news along the way — now I do neither. It just came to the point where I said, “they expect me to pay them so that they can feed me this cr*p?”

cthulhu on February 20, 2010 at 12:42 PM

This is a hugely important piece and deserves wide distribution………..anyway to get this on Michelle Maulkin or possibly Drudge……….

Cinday Blackburn on February 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Why be aghast at the Wa Po because of their total bias toward socialism. Would you really expect Tokyo Rose to speak nice about Jersey City? It’s the enemy -expect such things and stop worrying why the enemy won’t act proper -it’s the enemy and they’re out in the open going for the whole enchilada!

Don L on February 20, 2010 at 7:48 PM

The other day Selwyn Duke wrote an article on journalist-another job Americans won’t do.

Tom

marinetbryant on February 20, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Doc Zero continues to prove the word “genius” should just be linked to his (?) identity, as in “The genius Doctor Zero”…

Thanks for making my morning coffee in Bangkok better…

What a brilliant piece…

Khun Joe on February 20, 2010 at 8:21 PM

The implication that mistrust of our bloated, blind government is a gateway drug to terrorism reduces the American tradition of independence to a psychosis.

Bingo bango. Well done, Doc.

Weight of Glory on February 20, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I’m new to Doctor Zero. Looks like I’ve been missing a lot. This is a great piece of work.

The Left still has a powerful media loom upon which to weave the ugly shroud of contempt, but it’s a weapon that only works against inarticulate victims. Cutting through it quickly and forcefully is the best defense. No Republican, Tea Partier, or concerned citizen should quietly suffer insults that would never be tolerated against the consecrated constituencies of the Left.

This is important. Beck talked tonight about the majority conservatives and moderates being dominated by the 20 percent of the electorate self-defining as liberals. We are drowned out by their control of the mainstream media, and bullied into silence by their ad hominems, epithets, and distortions. This will continue only as long as each of us remains intimidated. It’s time to push back. “We surround them.”

entropent on February 20, 2010 at 8:43 PM

“Strangely enough, the Washington Post continues to employ Capehart…”

You can’t pay the bills on political ideology alone.

Suck on it WaPo…

Another excellent post, Doc! The folks at Salem should move you to the front page.

Seven Percent Solution on February 20, 2010 at 8:52 PM

This is a hugely important piece and deserves wide distribution………..anyway to get this on Michelle ‘Maulkin’ or possibly Drudge……….

Cinday Blackburn on February 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM

No offense but, she is named Michelle Malkin.

Jeff2161 on February 20, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Excellent. Great work here, Doc. Top-level stuff; thank you for putting this together and for Hot Air putting it on the front page.

Paul F. Villarreal
Conservative New Media

PhoenixUniversal on February 20, 2010 at 9:04 PM

I’m new to Doctor Zero. Looks like I’ve been missing a lot. This is a great piece of work.

entropent on February 20, 2010 at 8:43 PM

You really have missed out. He’s among the top conservative writers. Check out his blog for his past works.

FloatingRock on February 20, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Great article!
However, I don’t think there’s a concrete ‘connection’ between Big Government corruption and Amy Bishop’s lunacy — it’s just complacency. Another reason to work towards smaller government and accountability.

stevezilla on February 20, 2010 at 9:24 PM

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!” – Sean Penn channeling lefty apologist and revisionist “historian” Howard Zinn during the Bush administration.
.
“Anyone who opposes our beloved Øbama and his progressive policies is simply a racist!” – any Leftard liberal at the present moment.

ExpressoBold on February 20, 2010 at 9:36 PM

yup. what Doc said.

kelley in virginia on February 20, 2010 at 9:47 PM

This is why the old media is dying. They manipulate and lie. Nothing to do with the story’s “too long.”
But of course, they won’t tell the truth about that, either.

n0doz on February 20, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Why be aghast at the Wa Po because of their total bias toward socialism. Would you really expect Tokyo Rose to speak nice about Jersey City? It’s the enemy -expect such things and stop worrying why the enemy won’t act proper -it’s the enemy and they’re out in the open going for the whole enchilada!

Don L on February 20, 2010 at 7:48 PM

We’re identifying the enemy… Not everyone knows how the WaPo, NYT, Politico, NBC, CBS, ABC CNN by the have been coopted Hatefilled Left …

I think we are going to have a civil war in this country. The tactics of the Hatefilled Left demonstrate to me that their willingness to lie and fabricate and to ignore the will of the people means they want their agenda to win even if they have to try to Rahm it down out throats…

CCRWM on February 20, 2010 at 10:58 PM

I get angry when I read this kind Capehartian tripe and then I remember that these knuckleheads are almost gone. Each time they pull this sort of nonsense they defecate in their own nest. Getting close to the brim?

Mason on February 20, 2010 at 11:34 PM

On the Fox sitcom ‘Till Death’ starring Brad Garrett as a school teacher, has anyone noticed his boss, Ms Duffy (Kathleen Rose Perkins), the school principal? She is a “You bet-ch’a” spouting “dim bulb”, Tina Fey look alike, who may be AWOL from a mental ward somewhere in Michigan, “Don’t ch’a know”.
What’s up with that?

Pole-Cat on February 21, 2010 at 12:24 AM

The purpose of cultivated contempt is to alienate the sort of independent voter who can be strongly influenced by media atmospherics.

Exactly. And I see a lot of that kind of weak-mindedness among moderate Republicans too.

The greatest political weapon remaining to our increasingly unpopular legacy media is their ability to cast a shadow of doom over selected targets, building a sense of unease that drives away those who pay only cursory attention to politics.

Yes, and it’s up to the people who pay attention to remedy the situation. Do not support the msm in any way. Write letters to the editor to refute blatant lies and vicious innuendos. Join your local GOP and participate in the platform writing and delegate process. Speak up if someone parrots the msm and point out their error or misinformation. It’s time we stand up and fight back too.

Thank you, Doc Zero, for eloquently expressing my sentiments exactly!

atheling on February 21, 2010 at 12:53 AM

I think we are going to have a civil war in this country.

CCRWM on February 20, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Well. If we don’t win Congress in 2010 and 2012, as well as the Oval Office, we may very well head down that road. Because I don’t want four more years of Obama and the Donkongress.

atheling on February 21, 2010 at 12:55 AM

Until there is a real price to pay this will go on and on.

jukin on February 21, 2010 at 1:38 AM

Perhaps if we and the Tea Partiers start going after the advertisers that support these MSM dinosaurs it might have an effect. Given the economic conditions, many companies can ill afford to alienate a significant portion of their customer base.

trigon on February 21, 2010 at 2:40 AM

the increasingly libertarian Right is drafting manifestoes and designing action plans for the post-Big Government era. They are asking moral and practical questions for which command-economy socialism has no answer.

If they were asking moral questions, they wouldn’t be increasingly libertarian.

jgapinoy on February 21, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Beck talked tonight about the majority conservatives and moderates being dominated by the 20 percent of the electorate self-defining as liberals. We are drowned out by their control of the mainstream media, and bullied into silence by their ad hominems, epithets, and distortions. This will continue only as long as each of us remains intimidated. It’s time to push back. “We surround them.”

entropent on February 20, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Well done. We surround them. Time to push back.

As Doc Zero suggests…

Instead of fretting about “alienation from government” as a psychosis, shouldn’t we be looking at the connection between slavish devotion to Big Government and outbreaks of violence?

Yes, what the left fears most is a backlash against Big Government and a return to libertarian-conservative values.

The plan to intimidate them into silence didn’t work, so the new plan is to intimidate moderate voters out of listening to them.

petefrt on February 21, 2010 at 9:23 AM

If they were asking moral questions, they wouldn’t be increasingly libertarian.

jgapinoy on February 21, 2010 at 8:47 AM

If you said ‘libertine’ I could agree. Libertarians have moral values and ask moral questions just like conservatives, independents and moderate liberals. They are just different values and questions.

petefrt on February 21, 2010 at 9:31 AM

The old saying….what’s black and white and read all over is such old news. If the newspapers would just print the news and quit taking sides, maybe people would take them seriously again.

Great as usual Doctor Zero.

yoda on February 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM