Saturday, March 04, 2006

World-Herald Makes Lowest Blow Against Liberal Blogger

by Kyle Michaelis
It doesn't get much worse than comparing a person to Ann Coulter, the Wicked Witch of the Right. Yet, the Omaha World-Herald's editorial board has the audacity to make just such a comparison today in a horribly slanted attack against Markos Moulitsas (aka "Kos"), blogger-in-chief at DailyKos and one of the leading voices in the progressive Internet community.

The World-Herald writes/deceives:
Politically interested Americans are privileged to live in the current era, when technology and cultural habits provide unprecedented opportunities to discuss and debate public issues.

Why, then, do so many on the left and right furiously indulge in character assassination against those on the other side of the ideological divide?

Right-wing columnist Ann Coulter casually brands liberals as "traitors" and Arabs as "savages." In addressing one college audience, she said that to produce a U.S. Supreme Court majority against abortion, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice (John Paul) Stevens' crème brulée."

The fervent left has its own poison peddlers. One is Markos Moulitsas, who churns out hard-left screeds on the DailyKos political blog.

Recently, Moulitsas offered these thoughts to readers of his highly popular site:

"Let's not forget that ultimately, Osama (bin Laden)'s vision for the Arab world is far more akin to the right's vision of America. On homosexuality, on militarism, on women's rights, on religion in school, on capital punishment, on free speech, on curtailment of civil liberties and on a million different other issues, Islamic fundamentalists don't share many disagreements with the ideologues running our country.

"The reason we hate Islamic fundamentalists is pretty much the same reason we're fighting to take back this country from the Republicans. They are two peas from the same pod and (are) diametrically opposed to everything we liberals stand for."

"Two peas in the same pod" - that phrase certainly applies to extremists on the left and right who would rather focus on worsening America's political divisions than on finding common ground.

Wow, they want to compare Coulter's calling for the murder of a Supreme Court judge to Kos' making a reasonable (even artful) analysis of the Right-Wing's parallels to Al-Qaeda. In what kind of world are those remotely similar or deserving of joint classification and criticism?

In fact, Coulter's remarks do not stand in contrast with Kos' theory - rather, they stand in testament to exactly what he was saying. Calling for the murder of a Supreme Court judge to advance one's political agenda is an extremist and evil notion fundamentally similar to the "rule by terror" approach of Al-Qaeda and its ilk with which we now find ourselves at war.

For the World-Herald to equate Coulter's insulting, undemocratic, and borderline insane hate speech with a reasoned argument, even one the World-Herald may not agree with, is sickeningly indecent and misleading to readers. Yet, this is how they do things - without principle, without any regard for the truth. No argument is too specious so long as it is convenient for their conservative agenda.

"Poison peddler," indeed. Thanks to the World-Herald for providing a phrase that so accurately (though unintentionally) describes its own slanted reporting. I couldn't have said it better myself.


Anonymous Ted Kessler said...

I almost puked when I read today's op-ed in the paper. However it shouldn't be surprising. A psychological issue is at play here. The WH editor has taken a side, and in his mind he is being fair to each side. Of course calling for the murder of a Supreme Court justice is equivalent to identifying parallels between the Republican party and al-Qaeda. If one is not living in the reality based community.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your site through the link on I used to be a member of the World-Herald's editorial board and am just one of many who left out of frustration with management's infatuation with Wall Street Journal-style shrillness. The pattern should be familiar: equate a wacko on the right with a reasonable voice on the left in an effort to appear "moderate," while really moving the field to the right. A few people within the organization have tried to bring true moderation to the W-H, but we were subjected to verbal and written harassment, denied equity in the supposedly employee-owned company and made the subject of editor-initiated rumor campaigns. So, many of us picked the sane option for progressives in Omaha: We got the heck out of town.

Good luck fighting the good fight.

Anonymous basilbeast said...

When I was growing up in Falls City and Lincoln, HS & UNL, the people I knew and I always gave that rag the sobriquet "Omaha Weird-Herald".

Haven't changed have they.


Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Thanks to our friends at DailyKos for linking to the New Nebraska Network. Would have been a little more artful with my own choice of words in the above post if I'd known I was performing in front of an audience.

What the Kos community needs to note is that the Omaha World-Herald, in its unchallenged position as the #1 news source for the people of Nebraska, has been using these exact same tactics for decades.

Kos's argument might be somewhat exaggerated, opening itself up to this kind of attack, but it is certainly more reasonable than the World-Herald's opportunistic attempt at equating his words to Ann Coulter's. There is a difference in style and substance there SO VAST AND WIDE that any responsible (and honest) newspaper would never dream of drawing such a comparison.

Of course, in Nebraska, we probably should just be thankful that the World-Herald denounced Coulter, even if it does come at the expense of one of our own. Trading our rook for their queen. Sad that we should even have to think along those lines, but the media has been so one-sided here for so long that we basically have to take what we can get.

And so, the struggle continues....

Anonymous Swicklund said...

I was just happy to see Markos comment posted in the W-H. How many people would read that and go "Hmm - that sounds about right".
In any case, I've wanted to drop my Sunday subsciption, but where else can I get Omaha ads?

Blogger Ken said...

As a former Nebraskan (Omaha Central- class of 1976) I know the backward thinking of the Weird Herald.

The fact of the matter is that the editorial is a classic of the "he said, she said" variety without any nod to journalistic integrity in informing the public about each sides stance, history, or "fact checking" even.

Now more then ever is it time for the netroots to take charge of disseminating the truth about the seditionous acts of those who think the Constitution is "nothing more than a goddamn piece of paper".

As Gleen Greenwald states that we are facing a radical in the office of the President and he has the powers of the presidency to achieve his anti-American views of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We as patriots need to wake up the Democratic Party leadership now to these dangers.

Read the losers of those who give craven advice to the Democratic leadership, from the likes of the DLC or Joe Lieberman, to search for the "moderate" in order to "win".

Let me tell you that those losers like Marshall Wittman should be kicked out of their cushy power influencing positions in the Democratic Party.

It is us, the grassroots people, and those of us of the netroots who should be supporting, cajoling, and if neccessary supporting politicians and candidates that do believe in the American ways like the rule of law, the checks and balances within the seperation of powers doctrine in the articles of the Constitution, and uphold and defend the Bill of Rights with respect to checking the power of government against the individual.

The radical reactionaries like Bush and his minons on the clerical right want to fight then it will be they who regret it.

Blogger Lauren said...

What an inspiration to stumble across this lonley outpost of resistance. I lived in Lincoln for six years prior to my escape to Washington State. For me, the move was therapeuitc in that I had become chronically angry and combative, being an American constitutionalist increasingly surrounded by Republican theocrats and other assorted kooks. Yes, they are everywhere, even here in my blue state haven, however, they lack the political leverage that their Nebraska counterparts have so thoroughly captured. You have my admiration and respect for staying put and manning the barricades. Your URL will ocupy a place of honor at the top of my Bookmarks list. What else can I say but "Rock on."
Lauren N. Taylor

Blogger bowncr1212 said...

As a former resident of Omaha, every time I hear the name Omaha World Herald, I can't help but to remember Harold Andersen and the Franklin Credit Union scandal...

some things never change.

on sept 20,2001.....
g w bush told us how Osama hated Americans freedom to speak out... then he set up free speech zones..

next he told us how Osama hated our Freedom to disagree with one anther... then he outted Valerie Plame

he also told us how Osama hated our Right to FREELY Elect our leaders.... this, 9 months after Florida.. and 4 yrs before Ohio

I would think more American's would ask... why is Osama still "free"... yet our Bill of RIghts is being "detained"?

Blogger Obbop said...

Notice how the opinons of "the editor" never have a person's name attached.

Cowards, plain and simple.

Isn't freedom of the press grand? Yes, of you can afford the presses!!!!

Then, the one babbler who spews with his name attached, that old fart Anderson... did you read the buffoon's diatribe about the Lincoln Lottery winners not sharing their wealth with a person who normally joined in the Lottery pool? Anderson wants them to share.

Well, Anderson. I betcha' your pension is BIGGER than most folks. Why don't you truly retire and allow a hungry younger person a shot at writing and being published? Is your ego so BIG you insist upon holding onto your space in your propaganda podium... the World-Herald?

Be gone. Cease your tired rhetoric. All I know are bored with your self-indulgence. Practice the charity you preach and crawl off. Allow new blood to have a job you tired crotchety old-fart.


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