It’s quite a stretch to call The Nation‘s Max Blumenthal a journalist.
A real journalist is free to have an opinion and even to express it, but he doesn’t fabricate things to make his subject look bad. A real journalist tries to understand his subject and help his audience understand it instead of just subjecting it to abject ridicule.
Blumenthal, who leaped to conclusions in his since-corrected Salon.com article to slander Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe, is an ethically challenged agitprop creator and self-indulgent performance artist. His slurring of O’Keefe, who helped to expose the criminal inclinations of ACORN, as a racist is the same thing that ACORN does when it’s attacked. If you disagree, you’re a racist. Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!
This left-wing extremist, who wrote the book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, is so consumed by his hatred of the other side that he can’t think straight. His work is littered with factual errors, non sequiturs, selective use of evidence, glittering generalities, and hyperbole.
Blumenthal hates the Christian right, evangelicals, supporters of Israel, tea party activists, conservatives, and Republicans. This is not an exhaustive list. To him, conservatives are a “movement that’s filled with people who can’t handle individual freedom and the pressures of democracy.” Conservatives also are needy losers seeking redemption, according to Blumenthal:
This culture of personal crisis was impossible to deny in covering this movement. When you meet so many of the movement’s adherents, they’ll tell you that they had some terrible episode in their past which gave them a pessimistic view of themselves, of the self, and of their bodies even.
His specialty, as you might have guessed by now, is smearing his adversaries.
The son of Sidney Blumenthal, Bill Clinton’s hatchet man who earned the (deserved) nickname “Sid Vicious,” Max has claimed for a long time that Republicans are trying to destroy ACORN. Of O’Keefe, he writes in his Salon.com piece:
Right-wing online publicist Andrew Breitbart, hearing of the merry prankster’s exploits, hired him to carry out the ACORN operation that would make him famous.
He presents no evidence that Breitbart hired O’Keefe “to carry out the ACORN operation” because none exists. None exists because the claim is absolutely false.
While Breitbart may have served as promoter of the ACORN hidden camera videos, he wasn’t involved in shooting the videos. To the best of my knowledge, Breitbart didn’t even meet O’Keefe until after the ACORN videos were shot.
I know this because I first met O’Keefe’s colleague, Hannah Giles, last year. She told me about the ACORN project and said that she and another student (whom she didn’t identify) were doing it on their own. Breitbart never came up in our conversations. Giles asked me who might be interested in the videos. If a media-savvy Internet news entrepreneur like Breitbart had been directing the ACORN project, why would Giles have needed to ask me, a lowly editor at a think tank, about promoting the videos?
Blumenthal loves conspiracy theories. Perhaps he can devise a conspiracy theory to answer that question.
Speaking of conspiracy theories, Blumenthal believes an ongoing U.S.-based conspiracy is largely responsible for the suffering of the Haitian people following a devastating earthquake. He discussed his “right-wing plot” theory on the “Thom Hartmann Program.” Hartmann is a 9/11 truther, by the way. (See #41 at 911truth.org.)
Although Blumenthal claims he “never provoke[s] situations,” his clownish videography generally consists of chasing people around, taunting and insulting them. This is his oeuvre.
In one of his videos, Blumenthal mocked Ann Coulter to her face for having “three broken engagements.” At a Conservative Political Action Conference, he asked, “Ann, I appreciate your defense of marriage in your latest book, and as a proponent of the sanctity of marriage, can you explain why you’ve had three broken engagements and never been married?”
After Coulter quite properly refused to answer his obnoxious personal question, he followed up with, “It’s kind of like do as I say but not as I do.”
Well, no, actually it isn’t.
Blumenthal didn’t seem to understand what marriage actually entails. A person would have had to have been in a marriage (or knowingly committed adultery) in order to have violated its “sanctity.” Marriage is, after all, a choice. This is pretty basic stuff yet Blumenthal doesn’t get it.
In another segment captured on video, Blumenthal hectors author Michelle Malkin. After arguing with him she ends the interview by thanking him and he then chases her through a crowd, taunting her. “That was a good speech, Malkin, now I was wondering if you’d learned any lessons journalistically,” he shouts.
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It’s very childish and boring. At least Michael Moore’s work is sometimes funny (especially Canadian Bacon).
Blumenthal also mocked a gay conservative Republican man, saying when he spoke with him the man would “mumble something under his breath like, ‘That’s such a lie!’ ‘Omigod!’ or ‘See! Liberals are hateful.'” (If Blumenthal can prove the statements were made, he should do so.)
A left-wing extremist who believes President Obama is a “centrist,” Blumenthal makes no effort to conceal his virulent hatred of Israel. He condemns Elie Wiesel, agreeing with the criticism that Wiesel has “gone from being a great victim of war crimes to being an apologist for those who commit them.” He refers to the Jewish settlers of the West Bank as “oppressive forces” who are “fanatical and violent.”
Blumenthal hates Israel so much he even attacks Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who is a hero to progressives for his aggressive put-downs of Republicans. Grayson is a “tool” of the -gasp!–pro-Israel lobby.
He shot video in which he tried to make supporters of Israel at a rally in New York look nutty and stupid. Taking a cue from Joseph Goebbels, the video opens with the title “Bomb A Ghetto, Raise A Cheer” showing happy people, apparently Jews, dancing in a circle. In one part of the video, he starts mocking a female attendee by talking about his genitals. “My parents had a mohel slash my penis…it looks better afterwards.”
Blumenthal believes the Republican Party was taken over by a “radical movement.” The GOP was “once a big-tent party,” but it’s “now a one-ring circus.” The party has “sailed past the farthest shores of the right.” He adds “the crazies are the party” and speaks of “this movement that’s filled with people who can’t handle individual freedom and the pressures of democracy.”
I could go on and on and on providing examples of Blumenthal’s puerile approach to whatever it is he thinks he’s doing.
I’ll leave you with this exchange he had with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Here’s a partial transcript:
Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough:
There’s no way a small government conservative –let me finish– like myself would support a cap and trade program put together by Henry Waxman. There’s no way a small government conservative…
Why? Because it was put together by Henry Waxman?
No. Because it was a horrible bill.
This is sort of juvenile, Joe.
It was a horrible bill. That’s why.
Well, we had small government conservatives in power for eight years and you guys failed…
…hey, guess what, Max?
…and we had an economic collapse as a result of your policies.
The problem is they weren’t small government conservatives. The problem is that when I left Congress, small government conservative, we had a $155 billion surplus. When George Bush left office…
That was under President Bill Clinton.
We had a $1.5 trillion deficit.
That was after the Republican Congress of Tom DeLay. Two-step Tommy.
That’s Max Blumenthal in a nutshell: an unserious, petty, malicious liar.