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Monday, June 28, 2004

Newspaper Helps Widen Rift

In today's Houston Chronicle there's an article titled, "Net helps widen rift between left, right: Web sites harden already opposing political positions". It begins:

Erica Anthony-Benavides is a junior at Trinity University in San Antonio, a member of Ladies in Physics and not very politically active. But because she signed a petition against the war in Iraq, a national conservative Internet site has declared her an enemy of America.

Gasp! Dissent is crushed! (Er, except for being in the Chronicle.) What is this powerful tool of the Establishment??

It's Free Republic. To be more specific, it's one guy on Free Republic who posted a list of the signers of an ANSWER partition, with the title "Here is the enemy -- they have posted their names". The Chronicle actually tracked down the guy who posted it, who calls himself "Doug from Upland":

[Doug] said he wanted fellow subscribers to FreeRepublic to know the names of people who had signed on to what he described as a communist organization.

Er, ANSWER is a Communist organization, intertwined with the Workers World Party. Or, if you don't trust that fascist rag, the LA Weekly, maybe you'll like this from The Nation better.

That's pretty much it for the Erica Anthony-Benavides saga. She's quoted as saying that:

I don't know why they want to accuse us of treason. It's not fair. We haven't done anything. We've just said something that somebody doesn't like."

Despite the fact that the article begins with her and is about one-third devoted to her, there's no suggestion whatever that Ms. Anthony-Benavides has been materially injured by her brush with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, unless you count getting her picture in the newspaper. There's nothing whatever to show why she should have been chosen to represent those unfairly-labeled "enemies".

The Chronicle then turns to the boycott a liberal group is organizing against Rush Limbaugh. Quoth the owner of Take Back the Media, Michael Stinson:

I'm not going to pay money to [Limbaugh's] advertisers for him to call me a Marxist and a traitor to my country.

The article finishes up with the saga of "former liberal Sen. Jim Abourezk D-SD" (is he a former liberal or a former Senator?), who's suing the site for putting him on their "traitor list". (The article says the site claims the list is a parody, and it also says so on the list web page, which I suspect is a result of the lawsuit.)

So our fair and balanced score is:

  • one guy on a conservative website who calls a bunch of people traitors
  • one guy from a liberal website who says he's not gonna let Limbaugh call him a traitor
  • one (possibly former) liberal Senator suing a conservative website for putting him on a list of traitors (for parodic purposes only, mind you)

Hmmmm. What's missing...what's missing...oh yeah! I know! How about:

[*]definitely parody

The rift, as the Chronicle sees it, seems to be entirely the result of conservatives calling liberals traitors. The liberals have apparently been perfect angels, aside from some entirely understandable boycotting of blowhard Rush Limbaugh.

Now, I think calling people traitors is a crock, even if they are Commies (though it'd be nice to make an exception for Jihad Johnny Lind, Jose Padilla, and Yaser Hamdi---not that any of those guys are going to face treason charges). But even those cries of "treason" from the Freeper peanut gallery are pretty weak tea compared to the crap that goes on at DU and Indymedia. Oh, the article mentions the DU URL, in a sidebar: DU vs FreeRepublic, and a matched left-right set of boycott sites.

See? Fair, and balanced.