Part 1—Teaching liberals to hate: According to conventional pieties, children have to be taught to hate.
For the most part, so do we liberals! Pitifully, quite a few people seem more than willing to accept that teaching assignment.
Who is prepared to teach liberals to hate? Who else? Consider the ugly, absurd misstatement pimped yesterday by Salon.
Proudly, Salon gave the piece high billing. It was an excerpt from a new book by Bill Ayers, who became famous all over again during Campaign 08.
Ayers was a violent radical during the anti-Vietnam days. During the 2008 campaign, various figures on the right began to claim that this former terrorist was a close associate of Candidate Obama.
Sean Hannity adored the theme, from February 2008 on. That fall, Candidate Palin aggressively ran with the claim.
In the excerpt from his new book, Ayers refers to Palin’s unfortunate rhetoric. As he does, he teaches unwitting liberals to hate, with Salon cheering him on.
Here’s the way the featured excerpt proudly begins in Salon. This was the very first thing liberals read after clicking:
AYERS (10/6/13): “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin cried out to the agitated crowd during a 2008 campaign rally, referring to then-Senator Barack Obama. “We see America as the greatest force for good in this world” and as a “beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy.” This was how “real Americans” saw things, according to Palin. As for Obama, he’s “someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country!”Poor Ayers! He’d been dubbed an enemy of the people before! Brilliantly, he had learned to deal with it. “With some equanimity,” no less!
There it was: the punch line that would resonate no matter what else was said or done— palling around. It had a special creepy ring to it, for sure.
When Governor Palin—or, as our late friend Studs Terkel called her, “Joe McCarthy in drag”—uttered it that first time (and ever after) the crowd exploded: “Kill him! Kill him!” I couldn’t tell for sure whether it was me or Senator Obama who was the target of those chants— perhaps both. I’d been designated a public enemy before. I knew the territory pretty well and accepted the consequences with some equanimity, but now poor Barack Obama as well was forced to play Ibsen’s brilliant character, the embattled Dr. Thomas Stockmann, the “enemy of the people.” Stockmann was viciously taunted in the public square by a chorus of townspeople bent on delusion and self-deception: Kill the enemy of the people!
Self-serving foolishness to the side, Salon should be ashamed of itself for printing that ludicrous excerpt—for teaching its readers to hate.
What is wrong with that ugly passage, which teaches people to hate? Let’s summarize what Ayers says:
As he starts, Ayers quotes a set of remarks Palin made at a rally in Sedona, Arizona on October 4, 2008. In the second passage we’ve highlighted, Ayers says and suggests the following:
Ayers says “the crowd exploded” when Palin made those stupid remarks, saying, “Kill him! Kill him!”
Rather plainly, he also seems to say that other crowds “exploded” in identical “chants,” both on “that first time” Palin made those remarks “and ever after.”
Who was the target of these “chants,” into which those “crowds” exploded every time Palin made her remarks? Ayers says he isn’t sure, but he presumes it was Obama. He then compared Obama to a fictional figure who was “viciously taunted in the public square by a chorus of townspeople bent on delusion and self-deception”—a chorus of people who wanted to “kill the enemy of the people.”
For what it’s worth, Ayers’ claims in that highlighted passage simply aren’t true. No crowd ever chanted “Kill him! Kill him!” at any Palin rally that year.
We assume that Ayers knows that. Salon should know that too.
But so what! The new Salon routinely engages in the ugly, money-making practice of teaching liberal readers to thrillingly hate. The new Salon is at it again in this pitiful excerpt.
In this way, the clownish publication helps its readers “study war.” More on that famous old phrase to follow.
What are the actual facts about those alleged chants by those crowds? As far as anyone including Salon has ever actually reported, the actual facts are these:
When Palin made those remarks on October 4, no one yelled “Kill him! Kill him!” or much of anything else. Two days later, she made similar remarks in Florida, during rallies in Fort Myers and Clearwater.
The next day, Dana Milbank reported that day’s events for the Washington Post. As we start in the excerpt below, Milbank is reporting a tepid reception for Palin at the Fort Myers rally. After that, he reports something one person said at the earlier rally in Clearwater.
Later, the Secret Service suggested that Milbank’s report may have been wrong. But this is what he reported:
MILBANK (10/7/08): [T]he crowd—among them New York Jets owner Woody Johnson—reacted without applause to Palin's Joe Six-Pack lines. After they didn't strike up the usual "Drill, baby, drill" or "USA" chants, Palin, rattled, read hurriedly through the rest of her speech.Palin was making stupid remarks. Milbank reported that one person at one rally said, “Kill him!” in response.
The reception had been better in Clearwater, where Palin, speaking to a sea of "Palin Power" and "Sarahcuda" T-shirts, tried to link Obama to the 1960s Weather Underground. "One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
Palin also told those gathered that Obama doesn't like American soldiers...
For what it’s worth, no other campaign reporter reported hearing that statement at the Clearwater rally. Was Milbank’s report accurate? Like Ayers, we have no way of knowing. But no one ever reported that the crowd was chanting that remark.
The following week, a reporter for the Scranton Times-Tribune reported a similar comment at a rally in Scranton. He reported hearing a person in the crowd say “Kill him” during a speech by a congressional candidate at an event at which Palin later spoke.
The rally took place on October 14. As in Clearwater, so too here. No other reporter reported hearing the statement in question. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t said, of course.
As you have perhaps been able to note, there were never any allegations that any “crowd” ever “chanted” this remark at any Palin rally. In truth, it wasn’t all that clear that anyone ever said it at all.
Eventually, Milbank’s report was semi-contradicted by the Secret Service. On October 15, the AP filed this report:
SULLIVAN (10/15/08): The Secret Service investigated that allegation and found no indication that "kill him" was ever said, or if it was said, that the remark was directed at Obama.The Secret Service was also investigating the report from Scranton, the AP said: “So far, the Secret Service has not found anyone else who heard ‘kill him’ [at the Scranton event] except for the Times-Tribune reporter.”
Listening to tapes of that rally, the Secret Service heard "tell him" or "tell them," but agents never heard "kill him," Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Did someone in the crowd say “Kill him” in Scranton? It’s certainly possible! But no one ever alleged that the crowd was chanting this remark. And the alleged remark didn’t occur while Palin was speaking.
Again, it wasn’t entirely clear that the remark had been made at all. On October 16, Sam Seder of the Scranton Times-Leader reported this:
SEDER (10/16/08): The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.That represents the factual backdrop for Ayers’ thrilling report. Milbank reported that one person, at one rally, said “Kill him!” while Palin was speaking. A Scranton reporter said that another person said “Kill him!” at another rally when somebody different was speaking.
Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.
“I was baffled,” he said after reading the report in Wednesday’s Times-Tribune.
He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, after seeing the story, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than [reporter David] Singleton.
Slavoski said more than 20 non-security agents were interviewed Wednesday, from news media to ordinary citizens in attendance at the rally for the Republican vice presidential candidate held at the Riverfront Sports Complex. He said Singleton was the only one to say he heard someone yell “kill him.”
“We have yet to find someone to back up the story,” Slavoski said. “We had people all over and we have yet to find anyone who said they heard it.”
Did these utterances occur? We can’t tell you that. Little back-up reporting was done, perhaps because the actual allegations were so limited.
Yesterday, though, Salon’s misused readers were handed a thrilling report. They were told that “the crowd exploded” in a “chant” of “Kill him! Kill him!” the first time Palin made the remarks in question. And not only that! They were told that “crowds” exploded in similar chants every time Palin made her remarks after that.
What Ayers wrote is thrilling stuff, but it simply isn’t true. No crowd ever chanted “Kill him” in response to Palin’s remarks. It just didn’t happen.
No one ever claimed such a thing. Salon is just selling you shit, the practice in which it is now engaged pretty much all round the clock.
The claim is thrilling, but it just isn’t true. Peddling the hate, Salon sold you the lie anyway. It feeds the bottom line!
That said, Salon has been teaching its readers to hate a great deal in recent weeks. As in Joan Walsh’s recent pitiful piece, so too in this:
In the fallen souls of these fallen people, it isn’t enough to hate one person at a time. Readers of Salon are encouraged to hate in large groups, as the haters always have done, all through the annals of time.
What makes Walsh such a hater? What makes her long to hate by the millions, as so many others have done?
We can’t answer that! But over the weekend, watching PBS, we had occasion to recall “the words of the old Negro spiritual,” as Dr. King used to say. The famous words of the famous old song to which we refer said this:
“Ain’t gonna study war no more!”
The new Salon is devoted to war. People like Walsh will crawl right up your ascot hoping to get you to love it.
Meanwhile, what was meant by the famous old words of that very famous old song? Why did moral giants (and winners) like Dr. King encourage people to sing it?
Tomorrow: Oh, freedom! Joan Baez discusses the use of the famous old phrase, “fascist pig”