Jeffrey Lord, Sacked: AKA Correcting Someone’s Spelling Is Genocide

For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.

Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:

On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”

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I Didn’t Know Historians Have Senses of Humor

Via Rawstory I saw a bit of writing on the political jeopardy to Trump’s presidency and how, in the author’s view, this jeopardy is greater even than what Nixon faced in the time period before impeachment proceedings began. I started reading and in the first full paragraph came upon one of the great historical jokes of all time:

Since George Washington Americans have taken pride in electing honest presidents. Whether the chief executive is rated by historians as great, average, or failure, there has been general agreement that honest men have occupied the White House.

I had to find the History News Network site to examine the quote at its source, it was so unbelievable. Slowly, slowly it dawned on me that in this piece of serious writing, this line must have been slipped in by an editor as a joke. I mean, Holy Historical Humor, Batman, could any student of history ever actually believe this?

 

 

Just Saw Columbiana Last Night

Spoilers ahead, though Columbiana is an older movie:

Colombiana has a relatively standardized plot: professional hitter uses killing skills to take out the people who hurt the hitter’s loved ones. It’s gender-twisted, so the hitter is a woman and the women in refrigerators are actually men in refrigerators…well, mostly. The bad guys kill a lot of people, but her dad is the one that provides her initial motivation and a lot of important psychological background.

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Rice or the Media: Whom do I condemn?

And I swear I’m not trying to pick on Newsweek.com, but it was there that I first saw an article on Condoleezza Rice’s new book. I was laughing from the first sentence:

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that U.S.-led interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia were not about spreading democracy, but about addressing regional security issues.

Her recent public statements both are and are not part of a book tour: it’s likely many would say the tour is to promote her ideas, and the book is part of that effort, though I think that demeans the reasoning and efforts of others who write books, artificially ennobling Rice’s efforts to communicate her ideas and sell books at the same time while implicitly assigning a crass commercialism to others who write books and then accept lectures to speak about the same themes contained within the books. In any case, however, it’s undeniable that the public statements are part of an effort that is equally well reflected by the publication of her book, Democracy: The Long Road to Freedom.*1
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Jack Kingston: A Moral Blot on the Nation

Jack Kingston, a man whose moral compass must always point evil, made one of the most abominable statements I’ve ever heard on one of his regular appearances on Anderson Cooper’s 360. AC was speaking to his guests about Trump’s idiotic statements that 1) No one asks why the Civil War happened, 2) Andrew Jackson was very upset at what he saw going on with the civil war [despite being dead for 16 years], and 3) Andrew Jackson could have prevented the Civil War if his presidency had come later in US history, presumably close to 1860.

Instead of making the point that Trump was simply lying about 1 & 2, Cooper allowed the discussion to focus on 3. As a “what if” scenario about an alternate universe, Trump can’t be said to be lying, and here Kingston even made an effort to portray the President’s comments as something other than arrogant, ignorant twaddle. I’m disappointed, of course, that AC and the panel allowed this to become the focus, but that’s no more than I expect from cable news.

No, the bile flooded my mouth when during this discussion about whether or not some alternate-universe Andrew Jackson could have prevented the Civil War, I head this exchange:

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A Page in the Farce: We take this seriously?

Carter Page, Russian tool extraordinaire, is being taken oddly seriously by the media. He claims that surveillance of him is entirely politically motivated, not to mention illegal and unethical, because before they “wiretapped” him they “wiretapped” two Russian espionage agents talking about how they were using Carter Page as a spy, but that he wasn’t being reliable about communication. This led them to question his competence and intelligence, but they were certain he was motivated by the desire for obscene amounts of wealth that might come by serving Russian interests, in particular by being rewarded with a high paying gig at (or consulting with, it’s not clear) Gazprom, the Russian fossil-fuel giant.  Ultimately, the agents were reassured of their ability to control Page because of their certainty that he was a greedy jerk motivated entirely by concern for money and the fact that Page visited Moscow more often than the spies themselves did.

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The Domesticated Press Kicked Out of the White House

There has been a great deal of talk lately (in some circles, anyway) about the White House press corps and how its makeup is being changed by the inclusion of “media outlets” (some no more prestigious or reliable than the blog you’re reading now) that would have had no hope of being credentialed under previous administrations, even if they had wanted to be. No one questions that the relationship of this White House to the press is different than that of previous administrations. And with right wing media outlets and “media outlets” appearing to attend press conferences primarily to cause left-wingers to misuse the word “performativity” there is also little question that the White House press corps has been reduced to a joke. [Read more…]