“HuffPo, Tell Your Readers Whole Truth About Crowder’s Ashley Judd Joke,” Larry O’Connor writes at Big Journalism on the PJTV alumnus. “In the post-Akin/Murdock world of American political discourse, the strategy employed by HuffPo is obvious. Create a headline and quick internet blurb using the words ‘rape,’ ‘CPAC,’ ‘Conservative.’ and ‘Steven Crowder’ and you’ve got a heck of a Google result if you’re looking for more ammo in the ‘War on women.’ HuffPo got even more bang for their buck in the two paragraph post by throwing ‘Fox News Contributor’ into the mix:”
As Andrew Kaczinski reports, in 2010 Judd compared her home state of Kentucky’s mining laws to rape: In a 2010 speech to the National Press Club in Washington, Judd called mountain top removal — the controversial but principal type of surface mining in Appalachia that involves the removal of mountaintops to extract coal — “the state-sanctioned, federal government-supported, coal industry-operated rape of Appalachia.”
And as Alex Pappas reports, in the same year Judd used horrifically graphic language to attack Apple Corp: “Apple is known for the clean lines of their products, the alluring simplicity of their designs,” Judd wrote in the article. “Dare I….go so far….as to suggest…this signature cleanness is stained by the shit and urine of raped women’s leaking fistulas?”
With that as a backdrop, Crowder, a comedian, made a topical joke about Judd’s over-the-top references. Here is his entire joke:
“Breaking News: Ashley Judd just Tweeted that, ‘Buying Apple products is akin to rape’ from her iPhone. Now she knows how my brain felt after ‘Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood.’ Oh, she said it. What is this obsession with Ashley Judd and rape? It’s pretty unnerving. “
So HuffPo omitted the entire basis of the joke and failed to let their readers know the background that explains the humor of the joke, and instead pulls out his last sentence without any reference to make it appear as though Crowder is insensitively hammering Judd for an “obsession with rape.”
“The Liberal Media Lie About CPAC,” Stacy McCain adds at the American Spectator:
This clever media trick of ignoring or endeavoring to discredit evidence that contradicts their liberal worldview completely warps the mainstream press coverage of CPAC every year. Liberal writers show up with their briefcases packed full of preconceptions and ready-made narrative templates. “Controversial Republican speaker provokes Republican controversy with controversial Republican remarks” is the standard format. Every trick of “gotcha” journalism is deployed in service of the media’s self-appointed mission to convey the idea that this yearly conference is a disreputable gathering of hate-filled fringe extremists. The difference between what actually happens at CPAC and what the liberal media reports is so vast that it seems the reporters were covering some entirely different event.
See also: “the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect,” as coined by the late Michael Crichton:
Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That works even better when your primary audience is predisposed to think the worst about the subject of an article — and have been for decades, as Daniel Henninger noted in January of 2011, after the left’s collective meltdown in the wake of Jared Loughner’s Tucson rampage:
The divide between this strain of the American left and its conservative opponents is about more than politics and policy. It goes back a long way, it is deep, and it will never be bridged. It is cultural, and it explains more than anything the “intensity” that exists now between these two competing camps. (The independent laments: “Can’t we all just get along?” Answer: No.)
The Rosetta Stone that explains this tribal divide is Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Hofstadter’s piece for Harper’s may be unfamiliar to many now, but each writer at the opening of this column knows by rote what Hofstadter’s essay taught generations of young, left-wing intellectuals about conservatism and the right.
After Hofstadter, the American right wasn’t just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.
“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds,” Hofstadter wrote. “In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.”
Frank Rich, Oct 17: “Don’t expect the extremism and violence in our politics to subside magically after Election Day—no matter what the results. If Tea Party candidates triumph, they’ll be emboldened. If they lose, the anger and bitterness will grow.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tuesday in the Huffington Post: “Jack’s death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance—to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape.”
This isn’t just political calculation. It is foundational belief.
So much for tolerance for diversity. Fortunately, some on the right are taking the president’s advice when confronted with opposition and rhetorically punching back twice as hard.
Earlier: Salon Laphamizes CPAC.