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"For Brutus Is An Honorable Man"

Normally, I don't care to mention Oliver Willis here, but the jerk's gone and outdone himself this time -- both in prominence and sheer degree of asshattery.

I have to give Wilis credit for one thing above all else: he's honest. He doesn't conceal his douchebaggery, he proudly wears it on his sleeve. He's openly partisan; he backs the Democrats in general, and he's aligning himself with Barack Obama specifically on the presidential campaign trail.

But he doesn't limit himself to just pushing his guy upward. He also has to pull the rest down. And while he takes the occasional half-hearted swipe at Hillary Clinton, he reserves his strongest venom for the Republican frontrunners. He hits them with the standard talking points: Fred Thompson is lazy, Mike Huckabee is a religious nut, Rudy Giuliani is a philandering abuser of power...

...and Mitt Romney is a scary cultist.

Willis isn't content to keep his blatherings to his own site. No, he got his hands on an anti-Mormon cartoon and posted it not only there, but over at AlterNet.

Now, Willis works for Media Matters For America, "a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." In other words, rooting out and silencing any hint that the media is straying from the left-wing agenda.

I've often accused Willis of combining his blogging with his work, using his blog as an extension of his efforts at Media Matters. But I might have to reconsider that, because in this case it's fairly obvious that he didn't bring his work home with him. He works for a professional "fact-checking" organization, but how thoroughly did he vet the anti-Mormon cartoon before deciding to publish it?

This is how he chooses to introduce the cartoon:

I don't know enough about Mormon theology to know if this bit of propaganda is accurate or not (I know more about the people and the movement than what they worship) but it's clear distinction from mainstream Christianity and the fact that it's got over 500,000 views on Youtube can't help someone like Mitt Romney.

Oliver apparently doesn't know the origin of the cartoon, and doesn't care. The person who did post the cartoon doesn't offer any explanation either, but it's obvious he has a major hard-on for Mormons -- of his 11 videos, five are slams on Mormons and Mormonism.

At least Oliver is fairly consistent -- he's recently chided Clinton (gently, of course -- she is a Democrat, did help found his employer, and is the wife of the Blessed Bill Who Can Do No Wrong) over both the Bill Shaheen swipes at Obama's youthful drug use and their digging up his 3rd grade essay saying he wants to be president. He didn't have anything to say about the two volunteers sacked for passing along rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim. Or was. Or something.

Much like the old saw about polticians, Oliver's honest -- once he's bought, he stays bought.

I guess just repeating stuff you hear or see isn't such a big deal. Whether or not it's true, if you just pass along rumors (even those so thoroughly debunked as the "Obama the secret Muslim" load of tripe), you're immune from any culpability.

I wish I could live with those kinds of rules. It'd make my blogging a bit easier.

But then, my employer doesn't support my blogging. In fact, they've recently updated the rules specifically forbidding blogging on company time.

This is where Oliver usually trots out his "jealous" accusation. And it's true. I wish to hell I had an employer that didn't mind if I spent a good chunk of my time at work blogging. I also wish I didn't have as much of a conscience as I do, where I could blissfully spread unfounded rumors and unverified accusations without any fear of being held accountable for their veracity.

But I don't quite covet his status that much. I have some seriously messed-up sleep patterns already. I don't need that keeping me up at night too.


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Comments (33)

Here's a <a href="http://so... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Here's a better cartoon about Mormons.

And no, I'm not anti-Mormon. But they, like all religious people, believe some very silly things. Nice folks though, typically.

Having served 22 years in t... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Having served 22 years in the military I met and worked with people from all religions. Other than (Murder preaching)Islam I've never had a hint that any religion pushes anything other than love of the fellow man. Jay, Just keep being fair and things work out. Outfits like Media Matters were formed out of hate brought on by losing (and they did lose) one election. Democrats need to step back, take a deep breath and join the real world. Hate is destroying them and everyone connected to them, even they're children are becoming haters. A frightful way to live with no future.

Romney is evil enough witho... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Romney is evil enough without ever needing to be offended by his being a Mormon. There's nothing wrong with being a Mormon. They are nice people, and it's an officially recognized and sanctioned cult of significant size and age, so should be now obstacle to being President.

now = no above, but I'm sur... (Below threshold)
Jay:

now = no above, but I'm sure you new that...

Scrapion, you are right on ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Scrapion, you are right on the money. The left at its core is motivated by hate. Hate destroys the person harboring it. It rots you from within to a point where they don't even know they are hateful, just "right". I see it on this blog when leftists comment. They don't want to debate or persuade, they just want to spew their hatred. It is a sad existance. ww

I don't care to mention ... (Below threshold)

I don't care to mention Oliver Willis here
Well, that's the funniest thing I've read all week! HAHAHAHA.

"Perhaps if the mainstre... (Below threshold)

"Perhaps if the mainstream press and the right would have been even remotely in opposition to the attacks on John Kerry's faith in 2004 I would be a bit more sympathetic about people asking Romney about his church's practices."

Any "attacks" on John Kerry's faith were miniscule compared to what is being said about Romney. And Willis is happy to mindlessly jump on the bandwagon and bang his drum.

I'd have more respect for Willis if he'd even bothered to do any research himself. But as you said, Jay, at least he admits his ignorance.

Honor is an interesting con... (Below threshold)

Honor is an interesting concept. So is honesty. I have a friend who I thought was both honorable and honest... Perhaps not, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I am just that way. On the mormon thing. Oliver is just pointing out what I have known for years. AND I USED TO LIVE In Salt Lake City, and went to their churches many times. They are a cult, plain and simple, and that has nothing to do with politics. I could care less about Mitt's religion.

I think he likes you Jay. ... (Below threshold)

I think he likes you Jay. I knew he'd be here, but yeesh that was fast. Does he spend his days refreshing the page here hoping to see his name?

I just sent you an email Ja... (Below threshold)

I just sent you an email Jay, please respond. And yeah that Southpark video on Mormonism is great

My take on the Church of LD... (Below threshold)
epador:

My take on the Church of LDS is that they are reviled because if you criticize their story for being too wild, then you have to look askance at other Christian stories, and even Old Testament stories. I mean, if the Book of Mormon documents either mad delusions or wild fantasies, and it is such an obvious construct, then how can we take seriously other "Holy Scriptures?"


So what is it you're actual... (Below threshold)
Sean D. Martin:

So what is it you're actually finding objectionable here? That Oliver (presumably) has chosen a particular candidate as his favorite and finds issues with the others? That he happens to work at a place that whose corporate interests/opinions are in alignment with his own?

He's "honest", "openly partisan", "consistent".

Would you prefer he was dishonest, hid his agenda and flip-flopped?

No, Sean, I just find it a ... (Below threshold)

No, Sean, I just find it a bit dismaying that he posts these videos without the slightest concern whether or not they're accurate, just as long as they damage a candidate he doesn't like.

How much difference, really, between passing along rumors you don't know are accurate, and ones you know aren't? If I put something forward, I put at least some effort into verifying it first. Especially something as defamatory as that cartoon.

Oh, and mantis: I've seen that one, too, and like it as well. The South Park guys are from Utah, know quite a bit about Mormonism, and are up-front on their source material. Unlike Oliver's cartoon.

J.

Would you pref... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

Would you prefer he was dishonest, hid his agenda and flip-flopped

He pegged out the "dishonesty meter" when he wrote this:

I don't know enough about Mormon theology to know if this bit of propaganda is accurate or not

Riiiiiight, that's way too much work for someone that works in the field of gathering data and analyzing it.

Meaning what if it wasn't true, it would be put out there anyway so the lemmings will believe it as the truth.

You pal Willis is no better than the people that are forwarding the "Obama is a Muslim" in that regard. That's where the uber dishonesty comes in. Many lefties don't understand that concept.

How the hell do you think so many conspiracies are circulated by left? Because lefties WANT them to be true whether they are or not.

Dang, beat me to the punch ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

Dang, beat me to the punch by a minute.

Oh well, at least these people are honest about their dishonesty.

13. Posted by Jay Tea | ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

13. Posted by Jay Tea | December 14, 2007 3:37 PM

Hey, no blogging on work time! ;)

Stayed late earlier in the ... (Below threshold)

Stayed late earlier in the week, mantis, and put in some time on my day off -- so I got to leave early today. I've been home for about an hour and a half now...

But thanks for your concern, chum.

J.

Jumpinjoe: "How the hell... (Below threshold)
Sean Martin:

Jumpinjoe: "How the hell do you think so many conspiracies are circulated by left?"

I would wager, should one care to tit-for-tat, that as many conspiracies are circulated by the right. (From "Clinton murdered Vince Foster" to "Iraq was responsible for 9/11".)

Sean, I've done some diggin... (Below threshold)

Sean, I've done some digging on that Iraq-9/11 thing. The funny thing is, all the quotes from Bush clearly say Iraq was NOT involved in 9/11 (and Cheney once saying to the effect of "there's no evidence connecting them, and I don't think they were connected, but it's almost impossible to prove a negative"), while their opponents keep shouting "Iraq was NOT involved in 9/11, and those who said otherwise were lying!" -- without actually showing someone saying just that.

The theory seems to be that if you constantly imply that the Bush administration blamed Iraq for 9/11, sooner or later you'll convince people that they did -- in spite of the fact that they didn't.

Nice little trick, that.

J.

Wait...what?Oliver... (Below threshold)
pgg:

Wait...what?

Oliver Willis has status?

That's the funniest thing I've read all week.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

We'll see a lot more of the... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

We'll see a lot more of the anti-mormon bigotry from Democrats. Its typical of their hypocrisy.

I would wager, sho... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
I would wager, should one care to tit-for-tat, that as many conspiracies are circulated by the right. (From "Clinton murdered Vince Foster" to "Iraq was responsible for 9/11".)

I see you didn't address the fact that a professional fact checker didn't want to check the validity of his cartoon.

In fact I never, ever hear anyone from the right leaning political spectrum claim Iraq and 9-11 were connected.

It is only the left that repeats that. And it all started with "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Here is what Michael Moore put in the movie:

Fahrenheit shows Condoleezza Rice saying, "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." The audience laughs derisively. Here is what Rice really said on the CBS Early Show, Nov. 28, 2003:

Once this was shown every lefty came out and made the claim that the right wing was claiming this:

Oh but wait, this is what she really said.......roll tape:

Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York. This is a great terrorist, international terrorist network that is determined to defeat freedom. It has perverted Islam from a peaceful religion into one in which they call on it for violence. And they're all linked. And Iraq is a central front because, if and when, and we will, we change the nature of Iraq to a place that is peaceful and democratic and prosperous in the heart of the Middle East, you will begin to change the Middle East....

I have this feeling you were reeled in by the same type of propaganda that your friend Willis is dispensing. You believe it because you want to, but you never "fact checked" it. Why?

There's my tit, awaiting tat.......starting with why you think skipping the verification process isn't necessary.

jumpinjoe, I gotta say that... (Below threshold)

jumpinjoe, I gotta say that while I beat you by a minute, yours was more concise and to the point. Being first doesn't always mean being best...

J.

Mantis would be well advise... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Mantis would be well advised never to let someone who refers to him as "chum" take him deep sea fishing...


O:)

Jumpinjoe, if you actually ... (Below threshold)
Sean D. Martin:

Jumpinjoe, if you actually go and check Oliver Willis's original post you'll see he didn't claim it was true and (what appears to me to be his main point) whether it is or not it can't be good for Romney if half a million people are seeing it on Youtube.

Making such an observations doesn't seem, to me, to be the sort of thing that requires you validate the bona fides of the cartoon. (Which, by the way, ends with interviews with some of the folks IIRC who either created or support the notions in the cartoon. So the opportunity is certainly there for anyone with reasonable critical faculties to form their own opinions as to their credibility.)

As for tat:
Jumpinjoe: "In fact I never, ever hear anyone from the right leaning political spectrum claim Iraq and 9-11 were connected."

The Wall Street Journal
, a conservative paper, "concluded the circumstantial evidence linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1993 first World Trade Center bombing, as well as the 9-11 attacks, is overwhelming."
Robin Hayes, the GOP the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism: "Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11,"

And it was those on the right who claimed the Clintons were involved in the death of Vince Foster (Rush Limbaugh, Joseph Farah, executive director of the right wing Western Journalism Center), the Jews were responsible for 9/11 (Jerry Falwell) and notably absent from the buildings that day, even that the gays were responsible for Hurricane Katrina (Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America). So I do stand by my original observation that the left by no means has the monopoly on conspiracy theories.

Jay Tea: "The theory see... (Below threshold)
Sean D. Martin:

Jay Tea: "The theory seems to be that if you constantly imply that the Bush administration blamed Iraq for 9/11, sooner or later you'll convince people that they did -- in spite of the fact that they didn't."

And, again, you're correcting me on things I didn't say. I didn't say the Bush administration blamed Iraq for 9/11. I did say the right circulates as many conspiracies as the left and cited 9/11-Iraq as one of them. My subsequent posting provides examples which support this.

If you want to debate what I did say, I'm all for it. Will even change my view if you can convince me. (An open minded attitude too often missing from exchanges such a those posted here, IMHO.)

But changing what I said and then trying to take me to task for it? "Nice little trick, that."

Jay Tea, the "South Park Gu... (Below threshold)
soso:

Jay Tea, the "South Park Guys" are from Colorado. You know, where the show is set.

Wonder if Oliver's "fact-checking" organization would have caught you on that one...

Aw, crud, soso....... (Below threshold)

Aw, crud, soso....

Whether or not Media Matters would catch it would be debatable. On the one hand, it's a trivial mistake -- Parker and Stone grew up around Mormons, and that usually means "Utah." On the other hand, they could use it to discredit other things I'd say. So they might highlight it then.

It was a stupid mistake, though. I don't watch "South Park" regularly, but I do know that they have an extensive familiarity with Mormonism that has led them to lampoon it on several occasions, with the kind of "inside knowledge" that is usually inspired by significant exposure. Getting the state wrong, though, was just plain dumb. Thanks for catching me on it.

J.

One does not "fact-check" a... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

One does not "fact-check" a cartoon any more than one fact-checks a dirty joke. Must be a slow day at Wizbang. Big deal: Willis likes Obama. Better you can find some Thompson and Huckabee fans here. GBTW.

Sean,I will reply be... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

Sean,
I will reply before this article disappears into obscurity:

Regarding your comment:

Jumpinjoe, if you actually go and check Oliver Willis's original post you'll see he didn't claim it was true and (what appears to me to be his main point) whether it is or not it can't be good for Romney if half a million people are seeing it on Youtube

My point and I believe JT's point is that he is circulating it without checking the authenticity (it very well may be accurate depiction of Mormonism). Yet he chooses not too because it's too juicy to debunk before passing it along. Compound that with the fact that he works for an organization that is tasked to do that very thing.

Is it physical laziness, intellectual laziness or passed along for the propaganda effect? That is the question. First hand observations indicate to me by his postings that the propaganda effect was his intent by expanding the exposure.

None of the top tier Democratic candidates are claiming atheism or an agnostic position, yet there is no doubt that I could make a cartoon depicting Christianity in a flaky way and then connect Clinton, Obama or Edwards to those beliefs and reply "this can't be good for their image".

Those pushing the "Obama is Muslim" line are trying for the same "sound bite" hoping it sticks in the minds of those that don't spend very much time in news forums.

If I said "I don't know whether Obama is Islamic or not, but some Democrat campaigners are saying it and that can't be good", it would be no better. Personally I would prefer to know whether it was true or not before forwarding it.

Why wouldn't you or Willis want to know?

My "tit" back at ya:<... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

My "tit" back at ya:

The Wall Street Journal, a conservative paper, "concluded the circumstantial evidence linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1993 first World Trade Center bombing, as well as the 9-11 attacks, is overwhelming

Within the article you site, this is what it states:

Wall Street Journal senior editorial page writer Micah Morrison says while the information to date stops short of "conclusive evidence"

Also regarding this:

Further, the Wall Street Journal cites several reported contacts between the Iraqis and the al-Qaeda terrorist network, something that CIA Director George Tenet has confirmed in congressional testimony

This testimony dates back to the previous administration. It is an indisputable fact the Clinton administration connected Iraq and Al Qaeda in the justification of the aspirin factory bombing in Sudan.

The CIA collected soil samples outside the site and concluded chemical compounds were found that were mirror images of those used in Iraq chemical labs. There are many Democrats on record, to include the 9-11 Commission testimony that verifies this.

As to your other link it states this also:

CNN LINK: President Bush said in September 2003 that "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11 [attacks]."

Personally I'm not in the mood to rehash debates I've already had on this topic. But I will say this; there are plenty of documented Iraq / Al Qaeda connections. But none that puts Saddam's finger prints on 9-11.

I read enough blogs of both political persuasions over the years to know that this connection is made by the left. But their claim is the "right" believes it, therefore they are idiots and "we's got more better smarts cuz of it". Know what I'm say'in Willis?

One does not "fact... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
One does not "fact-check" a cartoon any more than one fact-checks a dirty joke.

Weak analogy.

Just because something is animated doesn't deviate from the message. You could use real people to convey the same exact thing.

A dirty joke uses obscurities for humor unless you use real names, places or events. And humor works best when put in the context of "real" events. When the person hearing the joke knows it's based on false premises, then "not so funny".


Jumpinjoe: "My point and I ... (Below threshold)
Sean D. Martin:

Jumpinjoe: "My point and I believe JT's point is that he is circulating it without checking the authenticity (it very well may be accurate depiction of Mormonism). Yet he chooses not too because it's too juicy to debunk before passing it along."

You're attributing motive to him that aren't there in his original posting but which support your view. It comes across to me as "I don't like what he posted so I'm going to find a reason to object to it by claiming he did it out of malice."

As for the articles I cited and which you seem to think don't support my point, let's be clear on what my point was. You claimed "In fact I never, ever hear anyone from the right leaning political spectrum claim Iraq and 9-11 were connected." I posted links showing those on the right doing just that.

Now, you may, in fact, never have heard anyone on the right make this claim. you may, in fact, never have seen any of these articles or others like them. So it's possible you are, in fact, telling the truth. But my point is that those on the right wing have, in fact, made these claims and I provided sufficient support for that.

(Note, also, that I was originally accused of saying BUSH had made these claims, which is not what I had said. It was another nice little straw-man argument put up to show something I never actually said was wrong.)

As a final point, you quote from the same article I do in an attempt to show it doesn't support my point. Now if something says A and not-A I would consider it contradicts itself and neither statement should be given much credibility. Would you suggest instead that the existence of a not-A means everything should mean everything should tilt to the not-A side? 1 + -1 = -1 ???

It is interesting to note exactly what you did quote and what you did not. "Wall Street Journal senior editorial page writer Micah Morrison says while the information to date stops short of 'conclusive evidence'" is clearly only part of a quote. And a conditional one at that. "While the info is inconclusive..." is the way you start a sentence which is going to end at a conclusion that varies from that fragment alone. ANd indeed it does. "...the Iraqi dictator was implicated in the attacks on the Trade Center or the federal building in Oklahoma City, 'there is quite a bit of smoke curling up from the various routes to Baghdad...'"

Which, again, dos not contradict the original and only point I was making. Those on the right HAVE promoted the Iraq-9/11 connection.




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