“To be modern literally means to have the capacity to be offended. To be modern means to allow the forces of creativity and ingenuity to flourish. To be modern means allowing freedom of expression, freedom of conscience …”
— Aaron David Miller, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and former advisor to six U.S. Secretaries of State, on CNN (1-13-2015)
Comment: By that measure, Media Matters isn't living in the modern world but instead the dark ages in which people dared not offend the powerful.
“Be wary of those who choose not to question authority but instead only question those who question authority. It's a propaganda trend described in the book: interests attacking and controversializing those who question authority.”
— Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson on Twitter after filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Government for hacking into her computers and telephones
“Never judge someone based on what you've heard.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour in Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
“Sometimes people try to expose what's wrong with you, because they can't handle what's right about you.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour (ibid.)
“You're not really over the target unless you're receiving flak.”
— Senator Rand Paul
“Mrs. Clinton would be well-advised to distance herself from Media Matters and the other guttersnipe organizations who use despicable, dishonest tactics to attack those with whom they disagree. If you embrace the smear merchants, Mrs. Clinton, we will have something to say about it.”
— Bill O'Reilly (4-13-2015), a day after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President. He added (4-21-2015), “One bad sign for Hillary Clinton is that a character assassin, David Brock [who founded Media Matters], is now being used by her campaign to attack the credibility of the book [Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich]. There are few Americans lower than Brock who is a known hater and smear merchant. If the Clinton campaign is going to use people like Brock, major problems will develop. … [then, speaking with left-wing apologist Lanny Davis] Let me ask you about this David Brock—I mean, this is ridiculous. … This guy runs Media Matters—there is no worse piece of garbage on this planet than Media Matters. … Lanny, I respect you, but if you think that man is a good guy after all the garbage and the harm and the hate that he's put out, I have lost a lot of respect for you tonight.”
Comment: To understand why O'Reilly said that, consider this: Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who describes himself as a liberal Democrat, declared war on Media Matters, saying they have “crossed the line” and use Hitler-like tactics. Professor Dershowitz said he “can't tolerate bigotry on any side of the political spectrum.”
canard (noun): a fabricated sensational statement or report, especially one set afloat in the media to hoax the public; an absurd, unfounded, false, baseless, or extravagant report, rumor, hoax, or story that is deliberately misleading and usually derogatory; a false report motivated by maliciousness that is intended to deceive people; a fable, fiction, or falsehood; a lie.
That Media Matters is loathed by smart, principled people on the Right and Left speaks volumes yet Google is dumb (or unprincipled) enough to pass along their rabid rants. If Google were around in the 1930s and 40s, it would be equally receptive to the smears of Nazis saying Jews are terrible. When you tune into Google and get smears using “Hitler-like tactics,” as Professor Dershowitz said, you're tuning into “virulent hate speech,” not reality.
“There used to be a line of civility in American politics, and it's particularly problematic on the Left: they never argue with you about your ideas; their almost instant reaction is to attack you personally and call you a name. And I'm not saying people on the Right don't do it, too, ‘cause it happens, but it is so much more common on the Left.”
— Senator Marco Rubio (4-16-2015) after Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), when questioned about who will likely become the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential campaign, responded “I don't really care. I think they're all losers.” (Senator Reid recently gloated about how he lied about Mitt Romney's taxes: the Left too often takes pride in lying about opponents and their supporters, so the Left—which purports to care so much about fairness and doing the right thing—manifests hypocrisy.)
“What I would like to see more often in this nation is an open and intelligent conversation, not people just casting aspersions at each other … it's unbelievable to me the way people act like third graders. And if somebody doesn't agree with them, they're this and they're that … it comes from both sides. And it's just so infantile.”
— Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, a man who could heal our nation
A blatant Media Matters lie so egregious it backfired
Media Matters, the histrionic far-Left Internet hate machine, hopes that you're stupid and gullible enough to believe their lies. A practical test of intelligence is whether you're ditzy enough to fall for their Soros-funded smears. Are you? They are so much smarter than their followers they play them like a fiddle.
SUMMARY: My Mom was beaten so severely by an alcoholic he broke her bones and made her suffer for weeks, then he beat her again.
I HATE men who beat up women. You would too if you saw your mother repeatedly attacked by one who had no reason for it other than drinking put him in a bad mood and he didn't have a dog to kick.
With that experience still haunting me decades later, when I discovered what Japanese soldiers did to women (including infants and grandmothers, for heaven's sake!), I wrote about that, using the word “Jap” not as intentional disparagement, but simply as a permissible abbreviation in the dictionary I read. In my neck of the woods, people praising Japanese products still use “Jap,” as have many people in televised war documentaries.
Until Media Matters sunk their rabid teeth into me, I had no idea that in the years since I read that dictionary, the PC police (who give a pass to Barack and Michelle Obama when they break PC rules) went way overboard, flat-out saying I must be a racist for using that abbreviation and because I also hate businessmen who intentionally poison their customers and pets—repeatedly.
That's the beginning and the end of the truth. The rest of their manufactured outrage is pure nuttiness, which is so typical of them, because histrionics and hyperbole are their modus operandi. The facts often aren't on their side, so they use smears—and Google is dumb enough to fall for them hook, line, and sinker!
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
— Malcolm Forbes
Many years before the Left began putting people suspected of being conservative under a microscope searching for flimsy evidence they could use to distract from their politicians' flaws, I went out of my way and risked my future to save the life of a young black man I had no responsibility to save. I didn't think much about it until Media Matters went wild. I'm part black, and whatever percentage I am, I hope that if my life needed saving, someone would do it without considering my race: so mixed I called myself “a mongrel” during my childhood.
As a doc who aced genetics, and as someone who's thought about this, I know we're all related. I also believe in doing the right thing, always, which is why I also wrote about the sordid mistreatment of Native Americans by the United States. I posted that essay before I knew that I am part Native American and before Media Matters totally twisted the reality about me and suggested that I'm thrilled about their subjugation—which is a bigger lie than if Fox News alleged that Barack Obama founded the Tea Party. Tell me, Media Matters, what do the other Martians think?
My essay is proof that Media Matters lies because you could spend the rest of your life searching but not finding someone who is more irate about that subjugation and the mistreatment accompanying it. IMHO, I did a better job than anyone, ever of using shirtsleeve English to illustrate the unfairness of that subjugation, which really irks me. I'm an ardent fan of fairness, and hence not fond of Media Matters and the ones who believe their lies and pass them on, including Google.
Surprisingly, though, I'm grateful for the smears because they catalyzed my creativity and led to inventions that will help countless people. Those smears bother my girlfriend who is, interestingly, the same one who assumed I was just a bullshitter full of hot air when she first met me and heard me matter-of-factly mentioning various inventions of mine—none nearly as impressive as what I developed after the Media Matters smear.
I sold some of those inventions to a big high tech company as I developed even better ones, including a way to leapfrog Google's #1 but still pathetic search engine. I never thought about doing that because it seemed like a pipe dream, so impossible why even bother? Then an idea popped into my head, I spent months coding it, and marveled when I stared at my computer screen and saw what the next generation of search could do: leave Google in the dust—where they belong.
And to think: it all began with a boozer beating my Mom, and me wanting to expose barbarians who abuse women and children.
“Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.”
— Albert Einstein
“Beware of the half-truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.”
— Author unknown
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”
— Mark Twain
“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it'll always get you the right ones.”
— John Lennon
“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”
— Mark Twain (?)
“The first casualty of tyranny is truth, then freedom.”
“To anyone that ever told you you're no good … they're no better.”
— Hayley Williams
“Because there is a mean-spirited mindset that will look to depict conservatives in the most negative way, and we see a lot of publications that do that, not only with the photographs they choose, but in the stilted, slanted, untrustworthy, inaccurate, false, and sometimes fabricated fashion that they write news stories.”
— Peter Johnson, Jr., explaining why liberals often post pictures of conservatives that make them look angry
“He who slings mud generally loses ground.”
— Adlai Stevenson II, American politician and statesman
“Our nation stands at a fork in the political road. In one direction lies a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland.”
— Adlai Stevenson II
Now it's Obamaland …
“We have become a nation obsessed with reproach: quick to jump to conclusions, take offense, and chide each other. The effect on our politics is bad enough, but it's also been costly to our companies – and our relationships.”
— Dr. Steven Berglas in Harvard Business Review's Why Are Some People So Critical? that brilliantly explains the psychological process called projection that compels some people to attack others for faults they possess.
“A man with no enemies is a man with no character.”
— Paul Newman
“Don't be afraid to make people mad. Your honesty will inspire your true followers. I piss off tons of people every day.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour in Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
“When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
— Jonathan Swift
“When an employee makes a mistake –- especially a major mistake –- it’s easy to forever view that employee through the lens of that mistake. But one mistake, or one weakness, or one failing is also just one part of a person. It's easy to fire, to punish, to resent; it's much harder to step back, set aside a mistake, and think about the whole person. It takes courage to move past and forget mistakes and to treat an employee, a colleague, or a friend as a whole person and not just a living reminder of an error, no matter how grievous that mistake may have been.”
— Jeff Haden in 12 Qualities of Remarkably Courageous People
Comment: It doesn't take courage; it takes wisdom, maturity, and decency. One of my friends, a psychologist, said a colleague of hers asks his patients to “name three good things Adolph Hitler did” to challenge their black-and-white thinking. Black-and-white thinking is common in kids but it persists in too many adults who continue to think like children.
This immature black-and-white thinking is especially prevalent in hyperpartisan people who reflexively view their enemies — from opposing politicians to those who support them — not as complete people who may have done many wonderful things, but as caricatures entirely defined by their mistakes. Thus, in their minds, President Obama isn't wise because he signed the JOBS Act; he is an incompetent tyrant because he also signed ObamaCare into law.
While black-and-white thinking affects some conservative Republicans, it's epidemic in many liberals Democrats and organizations such as Media Matters and their followers who habitually eschew balanced presentations in favor of immature distorted smears.
I was blind to conservative unfairness when I was fully conservative. Now it is clear as day, as I illustrated in a discussion of Sean Hannity in an article explaining why I'm less conservative. Fairness is the most basic principle of civilization. Good people are always fair or strive to correct their mistakes when they are not, while bad people often revel in unfairness. One's affinity for fairness is thus an accurate gauge of whether one is good or bad.
Just as Hannity and other conservative talk show hosts are unfair, this moral defect has infected some people on the Left, such as Media Matters and their troll followers who revel in outrageous one-sided smears, not telling the whole truth. Collectively, they let heated emotions overrule facts. If evidence stands in the way of a conclusion they're hell-bent on reaching, they'll reach it anyway.
If they told the whole truth about me, they would have said that when I went years without a single night of good sleep (thanks to nightmarish objective tinnitus, the death of my Mom, the murder of my father, a suicide, and more), I vented some of my frustrations by writing.
I could not do anything about some of the unfairness that beset my family, such as the brutal way my father was slaughtered, so I blasted other unfairness, including how our Russian allies in World War II hacked the breasts off young women and how Japanese soldiers gang-raped everyone from infants to pregnant women to grandmothers before butchering and sometimes sexually mutilating them, such as by spearing their vaginas. Here's one of their victims from the Nanjing Massacre in China:
If Media Matters and their followers were fair, they would have said that I wasn't always politically correct when I discussed the savages who did those things. Instead, they painted a distorted picture of me that conveniently omitted who I was lambasting and why.
Dr. Ben Carson on The Kelly File October 9, 2013: “If you read Saul Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals, it talks about the need to ridicule. It also talks about never having a real conversation with your adversary because that humanizes them and your job is to demonize them.”
I've yet to hear anyone say anything about Hitler that was one-trillionth as wrong as what he did. Just as there is something fundamentally wrong with people who side with Hitler by attacking his critics, there is something fundamentally wrong with liars who defend evil monsters by siding with them by knocking me for blasting them.
OK, I admit it: When I am frazzled by years of sleep deprivation and a series of personal tragedies, I'm not always politically correct when discussing evil people. As the PC movement overreacts to this, as they did to Dr. Lazar Greenfield in viciously smearing him for a single quip, the thought police reveal their shocking intolerance for anyone who dares not agree with them on everything. Blind to their own shortcomings, the PC enforcers don't realize how this makes them bigots:
bigot (noun): (1) a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing opinion, belief, or creed; (2) a person who is obstinately intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on politics or religion, and has animosity toward those of differing beliefs.
Thinking that only their way is correct is the same mental defect that permeates the small minds of Islamic terrorists. Speaking of which, countless profane comments left on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's (one of the two Boston Marathon bombers) YouTube page manifests that ordinary Americans reject PC standards when referring to wicked criminals.
The take-home lesson? People who deserve respect should be treated with respect, while those who deserve contempt should be treated with contempt. Did Media Matters make that important distinction? No. Neither did they admit that my supposed transgression in referring to Japanese war criminals was using an abbreviation listed as such in my dictionary that's still openly used on TV and in the upscale predominantly liberal yuppie town I've shopped in for many years.
Just as Hannity and Limbaugh are blind to their unfairness, Leftist bigots can't see their bigotry or unfairness. If they were fair, in putting a microscope on my life, they would have told you what I am really like, but they prefer inaccurate smears to the truth.
They could have told you about the years I volunteered to help people around the world achieve their dreams.
They could have told you that while I was fully liberal and fully conservative at various times in my past, I now see the flaws in partisan ideology that blinds people to better solutions, such as how we could give more to those who receive from government while taking less from the taxpayers who fund it.
They could have told you that in spite of various disabilities and countless stumbling blocks, I succeeded instead of sponging off taxpayers.
They could have told you about some of the nice things I've done, from stopping at a lemonade stand just to put a smile on the faces of kids, or offering to give away free eggs, meals, medical care, firewood, and microhomes.
Or selling my Sea-doo, Ski-doo, and shed to help a deported person reenter the United States even though I previously was adamantly opposed to “illegal” immigration.
Or paying a programmer in India twice as much as my contractual obligation at a time I desperately needed the money for myself.
Or offering to give some of my inventions away.
Or spending an afternoon clearing snow 5 feet deep from the driveway and porch of an elderly disabled man surrounded by conservative and liberal yuppies who wrinkled their noses and wondered why I went out of my way to help someone they made fun of because he wasn't youthful, attractive, and perfect—like them.
I am too imperfect to be kind to war criminals even more twisted than Hitler, or businessmen who intentionally poison their customers in their lust for profits, but the Soros-funded smear machine won't tell you the truth about me. They relentlessly attack Fox News for their unfairness, but while I agree that Fox News isn't fair or balanced, Media Matters and their followers are even more unfair. This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Aristotle said “there is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.” We all have our imperfections and flaws. Would it be fair to define you by yours?
Media Matters describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” They say they work “to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.”
One might think that a multi-million-dollar organization devoted to rebutting false claims would not make false claims of their own, but that's exactly what they did in my case. Here is one of the many examples of how they did not take the time to get their facts straight before making half-baked allegations: they suggested that I lure people “to a page where he tries to sell you his anti-spam software.”
Just one big problem: I don't sell anti-spam software, and I never did. Several years ago, I developed a FREE site (MySpamSponge) that anyone can use to eliminate spam. I never charged for it, and I never will. After waiting years for Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and other geniuses to solve the spam problem, I was so disappointed by their amateurish efforts that I learned to program and created that free site. Offering a useful free site like that is a night-and-day difference from what the smear merchants alleged. This blatantly false claim suggests that Media Matters has a credibility problem and they're not ethical enough to eschew fabricating stories. If a lie fits their agenda, they'll use it.
“It's hard to get a man to understand something if his paycheck depends upon him not understanding it.”
— Upton Sinclair
Challenging opponents is one of the keys to keeping them honest, so I don't disagree with organizations or individuals who rebut false claims. Heaven knows, our media is certainly awash in distortions of the truth that cleverly obfuscate reality. When I was wholly conservative years ago, I thought that only liberals lied to advance their agenda, but conservatives do it, too. That's something I couldn't see for the life of me back then, but is now clear as day. It's not that conservatives don't lie, but they do it by cleverly shrouding the truth by confusing correlation with causation, ignoring history, wrapping the flag around complex issues, myopically thinking that might makes right, often trivializing the basic rights of noncitizens and animals, and sometimes turning a blind eye to justice. In time, I will write a book elucidating the misconceptions that enable conservatives to believe what they do, as I once fervently did as a pure conservative. (I synopsized some of my disaffection in an article explaining why I'm less conservative.)
Conservative principles are laudable, as are liberal principles, but the implementation of those principles sometimes is debased by the eagerness of some to profit (not necessarily in a direct economic sense) at the expense of others. The ruthless distortions of Media Matters were motivated by a desperate need to score cheap political points with members of their audience who are not smart or ethical enough to see the lies or care about them. Good people, conservative or liberal, would be outraged by such a smear that appealed only to those with small minds or cold hearts. If Media Matters accurately reported about MySpamSponge, they would have said that it is a nifty site that can solve the spam problem and more—all free. Only a twisted or imbecilic mind could conclude that I deserve condemnation for creating or mentioning MySpamSponge.
“Always remember: No matter how carefully you choose your words, they'll always end up being twisted by others.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour in Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
MySpamSponge functions as a trusted intermediary that allows people to communicate via e-mail without revealing their e-mail address. This enhances their online security and privacy, which helps safeguard their personal and financial information, and saves time. If the Postal Service implemented a trusted intermediary system, we could change our address in seconds—once, with them, not countless times with the many people, companies, organizations, and governmental agencies that need or want our postal address. I once subscribed to over 200 journals and magazines—imagine the time it took to change my address with each one! Phone companies could also benefit their users by offering a trusted intermediary option.
Trusted intermediary systems offer a benefit that might not be readily apparent: they make it easy to grant, restrict, or revoke communications privileges. To illustrate this, consider the mistake I made in giving my home and cell phone numbers to a nurse who became obsessed with me after I declined to date her. She called me day and night for months, hoping to persuade me that she had The Right Stuff to be Mrs. Pezzi. I could have changed my phone numbers, but that would be a bother for me and my many contacts who would then need to take time to update their records. With a trusted intermediary system, I could go online in seconds and revoke her ability to contact me without affecting the ability of others to do that, and without burdening my contacts with the change.
Whether used with online communications, postal (snail) mail, or telephones, trusted intermediary systems save time and enhance privacy, which would be a blessing for the victims of stalkers and other predators.
MySpamSponge enables you to leave your contact info anywhere without worrying about spammers, so it gives you a powerful new way to communicate that unleashes the full power of the Net. Arguably the most important benefit of the Internet is to make it easy for people to communicate. If you think it already does this, consider this example: Years ago, my oven door would not close all the way. I went online and found people in many forums discussing possible solutions to this common problem. I tried all of the proposed remedies and even the best one gave poor results. Then I had a flash of insight that enabled me to easily and quickly (in seconds) permanently solve the problem by using a very inexpensive item (about $1) I already had in my home. After I applied my fix, the oven door closed better than when it was new, creating a tighter seal that saved energy and improved the air quality in my home by reducing emissions from the oven (researchers know those emissions negatively affect health).
Happy with such a wonderful solution to this problem, I was eager to tell others about it. But how to do that? Forums almost invariably require registration before posting, and I simply did not have enough time to register at so many forums. Even if I did, most people who previously discussed their oven door problems would not see my new posting presenting my fix. Had they included their MySpamSponge handle (contact code) in their message or signature, I could have easily contacted them without the hassle of registering and hoping that I might reach a few.
In my years on the Internet, I've encountered thousands of people on myriad forums seeking solutions to often vexing problems that I know the answer to. Those problems often deal with health, but I have others pertaining to home improvements and repairs, such as how I thought of an easy way to remove copper that fused into the surface of my glass-top range after overheating a pan with a copper bottom. I tried all of the suggested fixes, but they worked so poorly that—months later after a lot of elbow grease and frustration—I still had a copper ring. Installing a new glass cooktop seemed to be the only remedy, but then a light bulb went off inside my head as I devised another quick, easy, and inexpensive fix for a challenging problem.
I want to help people with those countless problems, but the current Internet does not make it practical to contact them. MySpamSponge makes it easy to connect without incurring a risk of spam. These connections can be one-to-one (one person writing to another) or one-to-many, such as one person writing to a group, by using handle (contact code) prefixes or suffixes. For example, if you want to look as young as possible for as long as possible, you could use antiaging_blueeyes if your primary handle was blueeyes, and I could easily pass along relevant information, such as the surprising info I learned this morning from researchers who won't reach one person in 10,000.
No matter how you slice it, MySpamSponge is a good idea with multiple benefits. In their desperation to smear me, Media Matters manifested that they are willing to lie through their teeth. By saying that I tried to sucker people into buying something I never sold, they were clearly jumping the shark: so desperate they resorted to absurd content. Giving away a very useful free service is praiseworthy, but they painted me as a scam artist hoping to trick people. No, I am trying to help people; Media Matters is trying to trick them into accepting their twisted version of reality that appeals to dupes who cannot differentiate fact from fantasy.
Media Matters could substantially boost their effectiveness by abandoning their lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks, and character assassination. They genuinely believe that conservatives are wrong about many of the big issues, and frankly I agree with them. Having once been such an inveterate conservative that I couldn't imagine ever thinking differently, I can in retrospect clearly see the errors in my thought that led me and other conservatives to be on the wrong side of those issues. For example, in another article on why I am selling my Sea-doo, Ski-doo, and shed to help a deported person reenter the U.S., I explained why my opinion changed on the issue of illegal immigration.
Media Matters hopes to change hearts and minds. That is a laudable goal, but the way they do it is woefully ineffective. If they followed the road map of how I changed my seemingly cast-in-stone thinking, they could influence so many people they could achieve their objectives and even exceed their goals, going beyond their wildest dreams. Instead, they are mired in petty nonsense, such as knocking me for MySpamSponge, which makes the Net exponentially more useful and less bothersome and risky. Thus, their motto could be Media Matters, but the truth doesn't.
I've heard that Media Matters is led by a man who used to be a conservative. As an erstwhile conservative, he would seem to be the ideal candidate to change the hearts and minds of conservatives instead of preaching to the liberal choir. He could benefit by following my road map and by drumming into the heads of his staff a simple notion: that all good people, conservative or liberal, care about the truth and deplore inaccurate characterizations.
Of all the conservatives they could target, why did they target me? They obviously had time on their hands after smearing Bill O'Reilly and their usual big-name targets, but they could have picked someone such as one of my conservative ex-friends on Facebook who writes as if bullets are the solution to disagreements. In fact, she specifically wrote about shooting a particular Member of Congress, in addition to using guns for other nefarious and nutty purposes. (See my article on Was the next Jared Loughner on my Facebook friend list?) Since the Left is so eager to depict conservatives as violent extremists, she would be an ideal target. While her rants are traceable to mental illness (likely the borderline personality disorder mixed with a vile streak of vengeance), an even more interesting topic is why so many of her friends tolerated and even defended her protracted nuttiness. Both the Right and Left have nuts in their ranks (see my article on Liberals claim to be more tolerant and civil—but are they?), so I question the merit of trying to condemn a group based on some of its fringe members.
So why did Media Matters target me? They feared the impact of my writing, presuming that I was wholly conservative, not knowing that my ideological transformation was already well underway. They read one of my current articles and ones I'd written before I'd seen the liberal light, concluding that my writing ability posed such a threat to the Left that they had to marginalize me by any means possible, including lying.
Having been wholly conservative and having heard what many conservatives say about liberals, I know that more than a few people on the Right think those on the Left are stupid, misinformed, or mentally ill. One of my sisters-in-law is a staunch liberal (she knows Michael Moore personally, and he loves her home cooking). She is very intelligent and has a gift for writing that helped her former husband write a book that made him famous. She isn't crazy or misinformed; she just looks at the world differently than how I once did. Interestingly, now that I am better informed, I see that some conservative positions are morally, logically, and factually untenable. I naturally gravitate to opinions that are morally, logically, and factually accurate, so when I learned more, my ideological allegiance shifted.
Although I now agree with liberals on many issues, I am stunned by how ineffective most are in changing hearts and minds. One notable exception is a man I met on Facebook who expressed a clearly liberal opinion but phrased it in such a brilliant way that I, then 100% conservative on that issue, instantly realized that he was correct and that I was wrong. Instead of attacking him as other conservatives did, I defended him and now wholeheartedly side with him. If Media Matters were smart, they would hire him, follow my road map for illuminating the merits of certain liberal positions, and become much more effective as they stepped onto morally higher ground.
Media Matters frequently expresses outrage at what they say is conservative misinformation and lies. They scream bloody murder when Fox News isn't fair (they are correct about that), yet they don't hold themselves to that same standard of fairness, as they did in lying through their teeth about me. They can't have it both ways; liars have no right to demand the truth for others but give a pass to themselves.
Some of the Media Matters statements about me clearly seem to be premeditated lies (their employees strike me as too bright to get the facts so mixed up), while others are likely the product of deliberately ignoring exculpatory evidence and smearing on the basis of an isolated tidbit that just doesn't fit the larger picture. For example, they inverted my opinion on Native Americans by writing that I claimed they “should have been grateful for their subjugation by whites.” That's absurd. I am part Native American, so to suggest that I or my ancestors should be grateful for their subjugation is pure lunacy. Every ethical historian acknowledges that subjugation was one of the most abominable acts in history, and I strongly condemned it in writing (in one of my books and websites) long before I learned of my Native American ancestry. If you read my blog and From Bailout to Bliss, you'll see that I loathe anything that smacks of might makes right. I pillory that thinking with a vengeance and, if I may pat myself on my back, I don't think that anyone could do much better than me in using shirtsleeve English to explain why that subjugation was dead wrong.
Consistent with their shoot from the hip mentality, Media Matters ignored that writing of mine and instead twisted what I wrote in a blog posting, suggesting I thought they should be “grateful for their subjugation” when I was merely stating they should be grateful for opportunities afforded to them in the United States. There is a world of difference between being grateful for opportunities and grateful for subjugation. Anyone who cannot detect this glaring difference is manifesting his stupidity or reckless irresponsibility as a journalist to get his facts straight before opening his mouth.
If Fox News were to report such a twisted opinion as fact, Media Matters would have a field day assailing them, and they would be eminently justified in doing that. While I don't think that Fox News is as fair and balanced as they claim, I think they would have the decency to speak with someone, to get his or her side of the story, before trashing them. Had Media Matters done that in my case, I could have pointed out things I've written that make their hyperfocused, biased, one-sided attack seem either a classic example of outrageous unfairness, laziness, or a small-minded tendency to assume the worst about someone. They would be right at home in Peyton Place, a haven for hypocrisy, small-mindedness, and gossip that entertains small minds.
That's very odd for people who claim to be liberal. The word liberal has somehow been tarnished so much that even dyed-in-the-wool liberals are often reluctant to admit being liberal, but every good person would be proud to be a liberal if he or she knew its definition. People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own word definitions; dictionaries are the arbiter of that.
I presented the definitions of liberal and related words in another article. If you read it, you will see that some folks who claim to be liberals are anything but; they are actually bigots.
I am one of the least bigoted people you'll ever find. By sincerely listening to others and considering that they may be correct and I may be wrong, I've substantially changed my opinions on many topics. By listening to liberals with a good heart and brain, some of my inveterate conservative opinions evaporated like water hitting a red-hot grill. Media Matters and others who want to change hearts and minds would do well to emulate that approach.
“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”
A few years ago, it was unthinkable to consider myself as anything other than a strong conservative. I went on Facebook to preach to the conservative choir, and—bam!—who did I meet but a man with a knack for expressing liberal ideas in such a way that I instantly knew he was correct and I was wrong. As I praised and defended him, I noticed that other conservatives saw the light, too.
Media Matters should figuratively find the switch to that light so they can be more effective and less bigoted.
One of the keys to overcoming bigotry is to put yourself in the shoes of others. Arthur H. R. Fairchild said:
“The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture.”
What Mr. Fairchild just gave is one of the secrets to being a good person who harmonizes with others. Anyone who truly cares about people will do more than acknowledge its veracity; he will live by the spirit of that message. Doing that compelled me to abandon some of my firm political beliefs.
I don't side with liberals on everything, but on matters in which we agree, when it comes to persuading others, I think I could do a better job, except for the Facebook friend I mentioned above. He's gifted and seems to be in a class by himself. If you encounter him, prepare to look at the world in a different perspective.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a deep-thinking genius filled with wisdom, wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I analyzed that in an article in which I explained why I never attempt to be consistent.
No one is born wise and brimming with knowledge. We all make mistakes—some small, some big—as we go through life. Smart people learn from their mistakes and dissect what led to them, much as NTSB investigators piece together flight data and aircraft wreckage to determine what went wrong. Knowing that no one is correct about everything, wise people don't attempt to reconcile the revelation (what they learned) with their prior world-view. Minimizing that discrepancy is key for folks without much mental horsepower; for them, it is too difficult to possess nuanced and sometimes disparate ideas. They want everything to be black-and-white; to fit in their conceptual framework. Nice and simple, just like them.
This conceptual harmony comes at a price. Since no one is born all-knowing and all-wise, changing ones mistaken ideas and opinions is the only path to improving, yet the leap cannot remedy all errors at once. This ensures that anyone on the path to perfection, who hasn't yet reached that unreachable goal, will possess ideas that don't mesh with others. That inconsistency is markedly better than stagnating at the level we're all born at.
Some people are smugly convinced in their righteousness. They cannot consider that their opponents may be correct. They can't put themselves in the shoes of others. If they encounter an idea that doesn't fit with their world-view, they will reflexively reject it. Those folks are bigoted.
It is never easy admitting you're wrong. We all want to be correct. The pain of admitting an error often exceeds the pleasure of moving beyond it, so too many of us don't improve as much as we should. Some of my greatest lessons came from my greatest mistakes, so I don't try to hide them; I embrace them for being a catalyst for betterment.
The fact that Media Matters does what it does is proof that their primary beneficiary, Barack Obama, cannot stand on his own two feet without his multi-million-dollar goon squads (Media Matters is just one of them) attacking Main Street Americans who influence others. I am not fully conservative or liberal, and I think I do a better job of arguing in favor of certain liberal positions than conservative ones, but the Obama goon squads target people who influence others if they find fault with Obama or his allies. President Obama has done a superb job in helping some Americans, but I want him to help all Americans. That is possible, as I proved, so it is not too much to ask.
Many millions of Americans—certainly enough to influence the 2012 election—think like I do when I was fully conservative and the thought of ObamaCare made my blood boil. Now I could strongly support it with a few additions that would make it irresistible to most liberals, independents, and even conservatives so Obama could earn a second term in a landslide. However, Obama and his hit squads are so stuck inside the liberal playbook that they resort to pathetic tactics like playing the race card instead of seeking ways to genuinely broaden his appeal and give voters substantive reasons to enthusiastically support him. Without those better ideas with virtually universal appeal, Obama helps some Americans by hurting others. That hurts me because there is a better way. Thomas Edison said, “There's a way to do it better — find it.”
I found it, but Obama hasn't. I took the most rabid conservatives I know, people who liked nothing about President Obama, and asked if they'd vote for him if he implemented my ObamaCare modifications and other ideas (example) to help everyone. They all said yes.
The enemies Nixon feared so much did not destroy him; Nixon destroyed himself. Obama seems hell-bent on doing the same. The etiology of their disease is similar: arrogance so stunning they assume that anyone who doesn't agree with them on everything must be a nut they must destroy. Nixon's enforcers targeted his enemies list; ditto for Obama, except he is smarter and distances himself more from his henchmen, perennially claiming to have no idea what they're doing, or even what people in the White House are doing. See, he's not evil; he's just Captain Clueless.
Democrat Kirsten Powers wrote a brilliant article (How Hope and Change Gave Way to Spying on the Press) proving that the wool hasn't been pulled over her eyes. She wrote that the Obama administration's (and enforcers, no doubt) intimidation of the press “were what you might expect to hear from some third-rate dictator, not from the senior staff of Hope and Change, Inc. … Now, the Democratic advocacy group Media Matters—which is always mysteriously in sync with the administration despite ostensibly operating independently—has launched a smear campaign against ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl for his reporting on Benghazi. It’s the kind of character assassination that would make Joseph McCarthy blush.”
Rabid Obama supporters are slowly but surely destroying him, not doing him a favor. As I discussed in response to a comment from someone who thought I was a Republican defender (as if!), sans his attack machine, I think we'd really see Obama shine.
A wise businessman once said that his best customers, and the ones he appreciated the most, were those who criticized his products because that gave him a chance to improve; his worst customers were the ones too apathetic to complain. Similarly, the best conservatives, Republicans, liberals, or Democrats are those who see what their group is doing wrong and complain about it.
Kirsten Powers gets that, and so do I. I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, nor am I fully conservative or liberal. I was frankly blind as a bat when I was purely liberal in my past, and when I thought that Republicans were almost perfect, I had their wool over my eyes. They didn't deserve the praise I gave them; they deserved a kick in the butt. So do most politicians, including Obama. They all need to get in gear and realize that the second-rate ideas they favor aren't good enough because the USA is failing slowly. Edison admonished us to find a better way, and I did.
Team Obama wants to destroy anyone who criticizes him and has enough of a brain to plausibly make their case. Obama is no saint oblivious to what they do, which is Nixonian, McCarthyesque, anti-American, possibly criminal and a violation of freedom of the press (they're not just words; they're law), petty, and obviously disgusting. You'd agree if they lied about you to gin up their smears.
To excuse Obama because he isn't penning every smear is as daffy as excusing Hitler because he didn't kill any Jews. Hitler didn't kill anyone personally; he just had his henchmen do his dirty work. But he was still loathsome, and still guilty as hell. Hitler's iniquity overshadowed the one brilliant thing he did. Now that Obama is losing his perfect veneer, revealing some warts he desperately tried to camouflage, some of his admirable successes (such as signing the JOBS Act) may be overshadowed by his petty compulsion to wage jihad on his critics.
- Misinformation: Why It Sticks and How to Fix It based on Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing
- Book by Juan Williams: Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate
Excerpt from Amazon's book description: “In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media.”
Comment: This is brilliantly incisive and cuts to the heart of the problem.
- The Case of Justine Sacco and the Twitter Lynch Mob
Excerpt: “… the [Internet lynch] mob … makes no moral equivalence between true crimes and careless remarks.”
Comment: Shouldn't moral equivalence instead be moral distinction?
- ‘Media manipulator’ admits he lied
Excerpt: “A self-described "media manipulator" who served as an "expert" source for a slew of news outlets admitted he made it all up to prove that the media "will literally print anything."”
- Book: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Comment: An author wrote, “Cultures that choose style over substance quickly become silly cultures. Neil Postman discusses this in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Silly cultures are easily deceived and destined for tyranny. History proves this.”
- Our Brains Often Fail to Notice Key Words That Can Change the Whole Meaning of a Sentence
Comment: When people (such as those working for Media Matters) are paid to smear, they have a powerful incentive to distort information.
- Why People Believe Misinformation, Even After It's Corrected
Comment: There are people who believe in the Tooth Fairy, so it isn't surprising that some folks believe what Media Matters says.
- False Beliefs Persist, Even After Instant Online Corrections
Excerpt: “Real-time corrections do have some positive effect, but it is mostly with people who were predisposed to reject the false claim anyway. The problem with trying to correct false information is that some people want to believe it, and simply telling them it is false won't convince them.”
- What Media Matters is doing isn't unique; the Right does it, too, using their henchmen to attack “little guys” (and gals) who speak out against their precious leaders. For example, after Emma Sullivan tweeted that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) “sucked,” his communications director demanded an apology by contacting her school. The principal caved in to the pressure and ordered Sullivan to draft an apology. Her sister, a political science major—and evidently a wise one—persuaded her to not give in to that pressure, which strikes me as thuggish. Courageously, she refused to apologize, adding, “I wasn't sorry for what I said because I meant it.”
Good for her! An analysis of David-versus-Goliath conflicts revealed that “When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win.” What Goliath wants is for the Davids of the world to get on their knees and stay there. Think again!
- The Epic Fail: It Happens to the Best of Us
- The Racist Law Firm Ad Update — The Maligned Law Firm Speaks
Excerpt: “…people are quick to judge based upon their initial observations regardless of whether they know [us] personally. You don’t know me. You don’t know my family or my friends. You have never contacted me or spoken with me. You know nothing of my life and yet you stereotype me as promoting racism based upon this video.”
- David Axelrod’s Pattern of Sexual Misbehavior
- Lying Less Linked to Better Health
- Book: Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics
- No More Mr. Nice Guy: Why Are Some Kids so Mean?
- An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth: Majority of Vendettas Originate Within a Group
- Your Pain, My Gain: Feeling Pleasure Over the Misfortune of Those You Envy Is Biological
- An example of how those in power (despite myriad imperfections of their own) seize upon minor mistakes of others to thwart them:
If Superintendent Rick Martin thinks that is adequate justification for trying to ruin Kaitlin Nootbaar's life, he doesn't have the judgment required for his job. Perhaps he should try controlling robots, but even they are not perfect. In my career as a doctor, I found that people who go overboard about little things are usually mentally ill.