All the News that's Fit to Edit Like a Ransom Note

In between whacking Paul Krugman around like a pinata, John Hinderaker of Power Line writes:

Here is a rule of thumb: any time a liberal quotes a fragment of a sentence, or, as in this case, a three-word phrase, a red flag should go up. When liberals quote sentence fragments, they are usually misleading when they aren't out-and-out fabricated.

Stacy McCain once dubbed this the Ransom Note-style of quote editing; or as one of Tim Blair’s readers asked in 2009 about far left Media Matters, when they were caught manufacturing quotes about one of their ideological enemies:

How is it that when Righties quote Lefties, they have video, audio, and notarized confirmation from the Pope, but when Lefties ‘quote’ Righties, they have Wiki entries contributed by ‘Cobra’?

Partially because they've had decades of not having their authority publicly challenged. Speaking of which, here's more from Hinderaker:

I want to focus on just one point. The most striking thing about Krugman's rant is that he adduces one--one!--purported fact in support of the central thesis of his column:

The point is that there's room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn't any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary. [Ed.: By resurrecting the fairness doctrine, for example? Apparently that's not what he has in mind.]

And it's the saturation of our political discourse -- and especially our airwaves -- with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence. [Ed.: Evidence for that statement? Don't be silly--this is a Krugman column.]

Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: it's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

That's it, folks. Bachmann is the only Republican politician whom Krugman accuses of using "eliminationist rhetoric." He apparently believes, and wants readers of the Times to believe, that Bachmann told Minnesota Republicans to arm themselves so they can go out and shoot Democrats. Isn't that what is meant by "eliminationist rhetoric"?

Hinderaker adds, "As it happens, I--unlike Krugman--know all about Michele's 'armed and dangerous' quote, because she said it in an interview with Brian Ward and me, on our radio show. It was on March 21, 2009. The subject was the Obama administration's cap and trade proposal." After embedding audio of Bachmann's quote, Hinderker writes:

For the record, here is what Michele said: "I'm going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back." Yes, that's right: she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with "materials"--facts and arguments--not guns. If this is the best example of "eliminationist rhetoric" that the far left can come up with, you can see how absurdly weak the claims of Krugman and his fellow haters are.

Charles Krauthammer's assessment is blunt: "The origins of Loughner's delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman's?"

In Tuesday's edition of his Best of the Web column, James Taranto provides one possible explanation for Krugman's primitive hateful rhetoric:

The campaign of vilification against the right, led by the New York Times, is really about competition in the media industry--not commercial competition but competition for authority. When Bob Schieffer and Steny Hoyer were growing up, the New York Times had unrivaled authority to set the media's agenda, with the three major TV networks following its lead.

The ensuing decades have seen a proliferation of alternative media outlets, most notably talk radio and Fox News Channel, and a corresponding diminution of the so-called mainstream media's ability to set the boundaries of political debate.

Its authority dwindling, the New York Times is resorting to authoritarian tactics--slandering its competitors in the hope of tearing them down. Hoyer is right. Too many news outlets are busy "inciting people . . . to anger, to thinking the other side is less than moral." The worst offender, because it is the leader, is the New York Times. Decent people of whatever political stripe must say enough is enough.

But humor and satire, as the Book of Saul suggests, are also worthwhile tools when fighting back against the reactionary left. In that spirit, one last item from John Hinderaker:

UPDATE: A reader with a sense of humor offers tongue-in-cheek congratulations:

Perfect!!...just great! him good....I especially like the part where you throw him to the ground, mercilessly stomp on him a few times and then, for good measure, kick him in the head!

To poor dumb Paul K.: It's a joke!! Don't worry! We aren't really going to beat you up. This is what is commonly known as a "metaphor."

As was my pinata reference at the beginning of this post. Similarly, Chris Muir, the artist behind the "Day By Day" cartoon, suggests having some fun with the New York Times' telemarketers if they call asking you to subscribe: