The Right-Wing 'Ritual Defamation' Of Paul Krugman

For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I had started writing a piece entitled "What Should Have Been." The morning of the attacks my friend called my phone and woke me up and yelled at me to turn on the television immediately. I tuned in to see the

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For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I had started writing a piece entitled "What Should Have Been." The morning of the attacks my friend called my phone and woke me up and yelled at me to turn on the television immediately. I tuned in to see the attacks on the Twin Towers and then in disbelief I watched those marvelous towers crumble. My brain couldn't process the images that it was capturing. Being from New York, I was in shock for weeks afterward because I knew some people who had died or first responders who had suffered from the toxicity of the wreckage. Anyway the point of my post was that even I, who was appalled that George Bush was handed the presidency by the Supreme Court felt a great nationalistic connection to the country and even the president himself. I was rooting for him to be a great leader after the tragedy, regardless of politics. Obviously he squandered that chance and so with help from the Villagers, we invaded a country that didn't attack us and everything else turned to crap for America. The right-wing media and the belt way media joined hands and used the horror of 9/11 as a hammer to bash anyone who disagreed with the Bush administration or their policies. We were called traitors and terrorist sympathizers. You remember.

Paul Krugman's piece was on point.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

When I saw his piece I knew the hissy fit was coming. Digby writes an awesome piece that yet again describes one of the strongest tactics conservative operatives use against the left. It's called Ritual Defamation.

This controversy is utter nonsense. Even this breathless report admits that Krugman didn't say anything that was actually wrong, only that politics are "inappropriate" on 9/11 --- a rule that I don't recall signing on for and neither did the rest of the country. I have no trouble with Geller or Krugman or anyone else expressing political thoughts on 9/11. Indeed, considering how repressive Islamic fundamentalism is, it may be the greatest tribute we can pay to the dead. 9/11 was a horrible day, but it wasn't an act of God. It was the ultimate violent political act --- terrorism. The last thing we need is to memorialize it as a sacred day above politics.
I wrote a piece a while ago called "The art of the hissy fit" about this manipulative right wing pearl clutching and I'll re-run it here because it's clear that some people on our side are completely clueless about how this works:

Please read her entire piece.

Bill O'Reilly was having an aneurysm over Krugman's column, as was Fox News. The Fox news chyron was saying that even Donald Rumsfeld cancelled his subscription to the NY Times over Krugman. Gasp! What balderdash. Americans despise Rumsfeld almost as much as they despise Dick Cheney. Unfortunately there are lefty idiots like Dick Harpootlian, Chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, who immediately beg for forgiveness from the attacks of right-wing ritual defamation. These elitist lefties love to give aid and comfort to the right-wing noise machine. And there are too many to count It's pathetic.

HARPOOTLIAN: I think that -- that what they said is wrong. I think their perspective on this is -- is -- is almost bitter. And -- and -- and we've got to understand that our President, Barack Obama, is the guy that took Osama bin Laden out of the picture by having him shot and killed.

Now, I would say that's a pretty aggressive -- a pretty finite and pragmatic move on his part. This is war. And in war some bad things happen.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But -- but look, the prevailing wisdom though on the far- left -- not the left, and there is a distinction and I'm glad you made it, Mr. Harpootlian -- the prevailing wisdom on the far-left and this embraced by elements at the "New York Times"/NBC News all day long is that we are a terrorist nation. That we should be ashamed of our conduct and that's what I'm trying to get at here.

Leslie is not condemning it, you are. All right, now Leslie, are you further left than Mr. Harpootlian. Is that -- is that why you are not condemning it?

MARSHALL: No. Bill, I think you know I'm more of one of the moderate leftists. I don't have that many people --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But then why is Mr. Harpootlian condemning it and you are not?

MARSHALL: Because I don't condemn a person's right in the United States to be angry at their nation because that changes the dynamic of American compared to the world --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: You don't have to condemn the person. You condemn -- you condemn their words. I didn't condemn these people. I said what they are doing is misguided, all right. And it's dangerous.

(CROSSTALK)

MARSHALL: I -- I -- but I don't -- I don't agree. I don't agree because --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: You don't agree that what they're doing is misguided?

(CROSSTALK)

MARSHALL: I don't agree 100 percent -- I don't agree with 100 percent of their opinion and yes some of what they said is misguided. I do think, Bill, that many of us became finer human beings toward each other as Americans and as people after 9/11 but that's not -- even though it's the minority of people, there are a small group of people which you did say are dangerous. That that is not the case for.

There is further and more discrimination of prejudice not only against Muslims but people of color.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: No Leslie it may --

(CROSSTALK)

MARSHALL: -- and foreigners. we have more division among politics in our country and that, to me, is not healthy. And I think that that was addressed.

O'REILLY: All right Leslie, I mean, I think you are in the ozone on this one.

Mr. Harpootlian, there is going to be an issue for the Democratic Party because the loudest voices, the loudest voices are the Krugmans, the Joy Behars, the Bill Mahers, the Michael Moores, these are the loudest voices and you get tarred with that brush.

HARPOOTLIAN: Bill, you're wrong with that. Again, I just attended this meeting in Chicago for two days with every member of the Democratic National Committee and big Democrats. There wasn't any Michael Moore there, there wasn't any Paul Krugman there.

The voice of the Democratic Party is far more moderate than you give it credit for. And to pull people like Krugman out and say he is a Democrat or he's a -- somebody associated with Barack Obama or his parties is absolutely wrong.

I am a former prosecutor. I put people in the electric chair. I have a gun. I believe in capital punishment. I believe in this war on terror. And I'm a Democrat.

O'REILLY: All right. You know, but your voice has got to be louder then to at least compete with the others.

HARPOOTLIAN: I'm -- I'm loud.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, that's why we have you on. All right, thanks very much.

A Mother Jones writer attacked Krugman as does Harpootlian. As Digby says:

No wonder president Obama doesn't want to stick his neck out. With liberal church ladies ready to call for the smelling salts at the drop of a hat, he'd be a fool to do it. No, there is no obligation to call out Paul Krugman because the right wing blogosphere is acting, as usual, like a bunch of hypocritical phonies and staging a grand hissy fit to destroy one of the only strong national voices for the left over something they don't really give a damn about. This is, after all, the same group that refused to pay for health care for first responders so you'll have to forgive me for failing to be properly respectful of their very delicate sensibilities over this issue.

Harpootlian is not only attacking Krugman, but also waving his gun around like a good little NRA puppet and embracing Rick Perry's passion at being an executioner. And you wonder why we lose elections.

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