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To Change the Subject: Smear

By       Message Randy LoBasso       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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Right wing spin has no boundaries.

Earlier this week executive editor of the conservative magazine Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes, claimed that Barrack Obama wasn’t “strong on national security” because he opposed war with Iraq “when the entire world believed” Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

 So, to get this straight, sure, Obama was factually correct, but wrong because he ignored the false statements that others perceived as true.

This is the typical rationalization of a party desperate for the public to believe their irrationality. A party whose main course of action of the last six years has been defeating an enemy in Iraq, and turning that course of action into, as former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan called it on Tuesday, “the worst strategic blunder in U.S. history.”

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The dozens of rationalizations the administration used to sell their war, the rationalizations the Republicans have used to continue the war – and, the spineless rationalizations the Democrats have used to not end the war – all add up to one thing: we are being duped. Everyone knows it. It’s the Republican mouthpieces in the media’s job to change the subject.

The recent brand of right-wingers don’t care if their argument is false. Their media representatives like Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Fred Barnes have no limits. After Malkin attacked a 12 year-old this week for delivering the Democrats radio address about the now-vetoed SCHIP bill which saved the young boy’s life, Coulter showed up on MSNBC claiming John Edwards has had an affair – using The National Enquirer as her source.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh compared a wounded soldier who spoke out against Limbaugh’s claim that those veterans against the war are “phony soldiers” comment, to a suicide bomber. Limbaugh went on to say media organizations were “strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media in a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into."

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One Republican smear story that’ll make you gag happened this summer. A young college student in Cleveland, Ohio wept as the man she had accused of rape answered, “Sure, yeah,” when asked by a judge if he were guilty.

The admitted rapist was Michael Flory, a 32 year-old attorney from Jackson, Michigan. Flory is the former head of the Michigan Young Republicans. The Michigan Young Republicans’ web site once called him “one of the rising stars of GOP politics in America” and continued, “Mike has earned a great name for himself.”

He gained quasi-fame in 1992, when he was just 18 years old, after speaking at the Republican National Convention.

According to the Assistant County Prosecutor Carol Skutnik, after a Young Republicans Convention last July, Flory escorted the victim back to her hotel room where he “violently forced several sex acts upon her.”

Last winter, after the victim came forward, Flory and his followers within the Republican organization began to smear her reputation. The prosecutor told Cleveland Metro News, “People were using every opportunity to try to trash her, on web sites or whatever…He’s been running around telling everybody about what a piece of trash she is, so she was very happy to see him plead guilty.”

Flory will be spending the next five years in prison.

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His actions give the impression that his own guilt wasn’t of his concern before the trial. The Republican example taught him that if he smeared his opponent enough – as South Carolina Republicans did in 2000, questioning John McCain’s adopted “illegitimate black baby,” and as the Swift Boat vets did to Kerry in 2004 – the actual topic could potentially be forgotten.

Luckily for her, the legal system of this country still works. Sort of.

Commentators like Malkin, Limbaugh, and Barnes, they all exist in the media to destroy character – whether it be a 12 year old boy or a presidential candidate. They do it with a giant wink from their allies in Washington (as Republicans regularly appear on right-wing radio and television shows, like Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, et al), and all under the guise that they’re balancing out some sort of liberal media bias.

But, as Stephen Colbert said at the White House Correspondents dinner last year, “reality has a well known liberal bias.”


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Randy LoBasso lives in Philadelphia, PA, where he does a bunch of freelance writing. He wrote for OpEdNews in 2007/2008.

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