Tactics of the right-wing noise machine

The right expertly courts and promotes the most hateful, extremist elements with no consequences.

By Glenn Greenwald
Published March 26, 2008 1:13PM (EDT)

On Sunday, I wrote about a repulsive racist screed published on the conservative blog, Instapunk -- a blog heavily promoted by right-wing law professor Glenn Reynolds, among others. In response, Reynolds and various other right-wing pundits have spent the last several days in an angry, defensive frenzy, trying to distract from the principal points by attacking the absurd and obvious straw man that one should not be held responsible for a post they did not link to or promote.

As I made explicitly clear, I never suggested anything of the sort. Rather, my post illustrated how the right-wing noise machine functions -- by promoting and courting the most extremist and hateful elements for political gain while trying to keep a safe distance so as to evade responsibility:

The original purpose in pointing out that Instapunk is a favorite blog of Glenn Reynolds was not to suggest that Reynolds is directly responsible for the particular racist screed I quoted, but rather, to demonstrate that I did not select some obscure unread blog nor go searching deep in the comment sections in order to find something inflammatory -- the typical method used to generate almost every liberal blog "controversy" -- but instead had found this written by a principal contributor on one of the most heavily-promoted right-wing blogs.

Nonetheless, the updates [here and here] demonstrate that Reynolds has promoted and himself expressed similar sentiments regarding the Obama/Wright matter, albeit in less explicit form. That's how the right-wing always works. The more respectable venues promote more tepid versions of the filth being spewed by the darker corners of the noise machine, so as to keep a safe distance while simultaneously ensuring that it ends up widely circulated (see e.g., Obama's madrassa education, Bill Clinton's string of rape victims and drug running operations, John McCain's black illegitimate baby, and John Kerry's Swift Boat adventures).

Republicans have done this routinely and successfully for years, actively courting "American-hating" extremists such as Pat Robertson, and even electing to the Senate radicals such as James Inhofe (who suggested the U.S. was to blame for the 9/11 attacks by angering God with insufficient support for Israel). That's precisely why John McCain is able actively to embrace the likes of John Hagee and Rod Parsely with virtually no consequences. I can't be held responsible for all of the views of someone I praise and embrace, declares McCain.

In any event, University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos has an Op-Ed in today's Rocky Mountain News which examines the Instapundit/Instapunk matter and highlights exactly the points that actually were being made. While Democrats are constantly forced by manufactured controversies generated by the right-wing noise machine and their media allies to "repudiate" and "renounce" a never ending carousel of "extremists" ranging from the moderate to the irrelevant (Michael Moore, MoveOn, Louis Farrakhan, Ward Churchill, etc. etc.), the GOP establishment for years has tied itself at the hip to hate-mongering extremists along the lines of John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Pat Roberston, Ann Coulter, and all sorts of various Instapunks, with no repercussions or accountability whatsoever.

Glenn Greenwald

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