Wednesday, September 22, 2004

PERFECTLY KERNED BULLSHIT. When the kids ask me, "Why, Uncle Roy, what do you mean when you say that the rightwing attack machine greases its gears with excremental journalism?" I never have to reach far for a quote, as planted, massaged, and/or managed stories are as plentiful in the conservative press as sunshine in Florida.

Let's take a story making the rounds today, which has received so far the imprimatur of Jonah Goldberg ("SOME COWARDLY S.O.B. beats up a US soldier for wearing an Iraqi freedom shirt") and Professor Reynolds ("new climate of fear in America... not anti-war. Just on the other side"):
A local soldier back from the war in Iraq said he was beaten at an area concert because of what was printed on his T-shirt, NBC 4's Nancy Burton reported.

Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, received a Purple Heart for his military service in Iraq. He almost lost his leg last month after a Humvee he was riding in ran over a landmine.

Barton said he was injured again Friday night in a crowded parking lot as he was leaving the Toby Keith concert at Germain Amphitheatre. The solider was injured so badly that he can't go back to Iraq as scheduled...

Barton and his family said he was beat up because he was wearing an Iraqi freedom T-shirt.
We know Goldberg and Reynolds, like the hundreds of Fighting Keyboarders who will flog this tale over the days to come, do not practice journalism, and now it appears that they do not exercise, or credit to others, even the basic sort of reasoning popularly known as common sense.

They imply that a guy who went to a Toby Keith concert and got into a fight -- which sounds like a normal, red-blooded American knucklehead's perfect Saturday night to me -- was motivated by leftist politics. (Even Goldberg's colleague Kathryn Lopez is confused by this; as confusion is the NRO denmother's natural state, however, this leads to no further questioning.)

Some witnesses say the assailant was "screaming profanities and making crude remarks about U.S. soldiers." While this seems to shout "leftist political operative" to our new Woodwards and Bernsteins, observers even mildly acquainted with waking reality would rank the possibility that the ruffian in question had once been rejected by the Army (or had an asshole father who once served, or had just been listening to "War Pigs" while availing a bong) much higher.

Other aspects of the story smell. For instance, it appears that the assailant has not been arrested. As one of the witnesses is described as "a friend of the alleged attacker," it cannot be that the cops are unable to locate him. If this assault is as the victim describes it -- unprovoked and severely damaging -- why isn't the perp in jail?

As my phony angle is as good, or as bad, as anyone else's, let me offer this: perhaps the bounder in question is a loyal Bush supporter and, having gotten a bellyful of Toby Keith's testosterone entertainment, went around looking to pounce on anyone who fit the profile of the enemy: i.e., a veteran with a Purple Heart.

Hell, if Barton were a multiple amputee, the guy might have killed him.

UPDATE. The story inspires the usual reasoned analysis in the blogosphere:

"Did John Kerry teach you guys anything? Oh, yeah, I suppose he did at that..." -- Weapons of Mass Destruction

"Apparently, 6 assailants, who are no doubt peace loving anti-war loyal oppositionist fans of [Ted] Rall, who attacked this soldier at a concert , didn't feel to surpressed..." -- Infidel Cowboy

"Nice to know Kerry hasn't lost it -- He can still get the loons to hate our bravest!" -- Life Trek

"...the angry anti-war rhetoric coming from leftists in this country -- yes, that includes John Kerry, Howard Dean, et al -- has reached a point where it is no longer distinguishable from the propaganda of our enemy .. and it is inciting the type of actions last Friday night at the Germain Amphitheater." -- Merry Mad Monk

"Peace-loving liberals: Yeah, those people you see at peace rallies really are the type that support our troops... Profanities. Crude remarks. Yeah, that sounds like our war protester-types." -- Hoy Story

Etc. Funny, I didn't get the memo from the Kerry campaign telling us to skulk around Toby Keith concerts looking for soldiers to beat up, did you guys? Ah well. It takes a Reichstag... actually, it doesn't even take that.

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