(This is an expansion of a comment I left on Oliver Willis' site, and a partial rebuttal to his response.)
Oliver posted this:
And so, once again, another GOP fantasy not based in fact becomes gospel for the right. (Linked to a Day by Day cartoon about the Bush=Hitler "ads" that appeared for a short while on the MoveOn website.)
Why are you peeved?
MoveOn has a contest, and (as is typical with these sorts of things) some of the posters step over the line. Some conservatives point out the outrageousness of the ads, which were screened by MoveOn before they were posted. (Portion in Italics not in original comment.)
I'll take you a lot more seriously when you retract all your bloviating screeds about Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs) and the people over at Free Republic. They, too, have a lot of commenters/posters who step over the line, but you bitch about them incessantly. (Amusingly, his very next post is a rant against Free Republic's deletion of provocative posts from a disgruntled liberal.)
The difference between Free Republic and MoveOn is that the Freepers aren't raising money for political campaigns, as is MoveOn. Yes, MoveOn is being held to a slightly higher standard; they should be.
The problem with the Free Republic/LGF loonies is that they are encouraged and egged on by their hosts. Racial caricatures and slurs are not only accepted in those venues, but actively encouraged. And when you point it out, the response of Johnson and his sycophants is that I'm fat.
And if you believe that the Freepers aren't raising money for Bush, you've got another thing coming.
Since I failed to note in my original post about MoveOn's approval of the "ads", I cannot fault him for trying to set up a straw man (other posters have pointed out the discrepancy, however). I don't read Free Republic, and I am an only an occasional visitor to LGF, but the only racial slurs I can recall seeing pale in comparison to the anti-semitism evident on IndyMedia and Democratic Underground. I give credit to Mr. Willis; he doesn't link to cesspools such as those two.
I don't recall Charles Johnon participating much in the comments on LGF, so I would be surprised to see a comment from him calling Willis fat. I have no problem imagining it from his commenters, however. That doesn't mean that Johnson is egging on or encouraging his readers. Calling someone fat is not the same thing as labeling someone as equivalent to Hitler.
As to the fundraising issue, he's a little confused. Free Republic does not have an organized fundraising apparatus in place, unlike MoveOn. MoveOn was specifically set up as a fundraising group, while Free Republic is set up more as a meeting place for conservatives. While individual Freepers are undoubtedly raising cash for (or contributing to) the Bush campaign, they are not doing it under the Free Republic banner. That is why MoveOn has been excoriated for the spots.
The point is this: Since MoveOn is working to put a Democrat in office, they should be treated with the same attitude that the left displays towards Citizens United, which crafted the infamous "Willie Horton" Bush ad in 1988. Citizens United was not working for the Bush campaign; in fact, they were asked by the campaign to stop producing ads after the Horton spot. However, the myth persists to this day that Bush either produced or tacitly approved of the Horton ad. In fact, whenever the left wing trots out the old chestnut of "the GOP hates minorities", this is one of the first examples trotted out. However, now that the shoe is on the other foot, the Democrats are finding it to be a painful fit.
(Be sure to read the comments thread on Willis' site; there are a number of perceptive comments from his readers.)
posted on January 06, 2004 09:32 AM