Eat The Press

Beltway Media Slain By Satire

The Onion, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are masters of satire.

This time it was The Onion’s turn at getting a massive amount of publicity for one of their articles…but wait!  Everyone knows The Onion is a satirical website, don’t they?

The Huffington Post

The Onion Unleashes Deadly Satirical Attack On Washington Via Twitter 

Washington, D.C., was the scene of a devastating satirical attack this morning, as a tweet from The Onion, the well-known fake-news site, intersected with the most humorless residents of the most self-absorbed city in the world, touching off a tsunami of ultra-seriousness. Now, the Beltway media are left to grapple with the essential question: How could this happen here?

It all began at 10:33 a.m., when The Onion’s Twitter feed posted a tweet that read, “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.” Now, normally, when The Onion tweets things like “Small-Town Sheriff Has Actually Killed Surprising Amount Of People” or “Pediatricians Announce 2011 Newborns Are Ugliest Babies In 30 Years,” people in English-speaking nations all around the world demonstrate, with a high degree of skill, the ability to understand that the things The Onion tweets are not, strictly speaking, true. On those rare occasions when there is a notable failure to come to grips with this reality, the media enjoy having a laugh at the expense of the ignorant.

Today, their ability to remain aware that they were, as they say, “in on the joke” failed them. Instead, everyone decided it was absolutely plausible that a satiric website in New York City had managed to scoop the entire Beltway press corps on a story that involved gunfire at the Capitol. No, the tweet, in and of itself was not what I would call “hilarious.” Yes, we live in an age of frayed nerves. But most people know enough to stop themselves at the seventh word when they find themselves saying, “Oh, my God, The Onion is reporting that the Capitol is under attack!”

I can understand and respect that people have different points at which the laughter stops. And I’ll allow that for many, this tweet probably crossed a line. I’ll only point out that finding where the line is and crossing it basically describes The Onion’s entire mission. But there’s a distinction to be made between decent people being offended and officials actually taking this stuff seriously:

US Capitol Police on Thursday flatly denied a joke claim on the popular satire website The Onion’s Twitter feed of “screams and gunfire” in the Congress and said they were investigating the comment.”Conditions at the US Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the Twitter feeds,” said a spokeswoman for US Capitol Police, Sergeant Kimberly Schneider.

“The US Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting,” she said in a statement issued roughly half an hour after The Onion’s first tweet about a supposed violent standoff in the US Congress.

Oh, the Capitol Police are “investigating the reporting”? I sure hope they manage to close that case! (Keep reading Twitter, maybe? That’s just an amateur crime-solving tip I have.)

Continue reading here… 

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Explaining The Debt Ceiling Debate

Huffington Post   

Kevin Drum aptly notes that over at YouGov, they’ve done up a chart that essentially explains “all of modern politics.” It definitely explains why the “debt ceiling debate” has proceeded the way it has.

Per YouGov:

Americans are fairly evenly divided on the question of compromising in order to get things down, but the party difference is wide. By nearly two to one, Republicans want their representatives to stick to their principles, while by a somewhat wider margin, Democrats would want their representatives to compromise to get things done.

Let’s visualize this.

Everyone is just doing what comes naturally, it seems.

 

 

 

Ken Cuccinelli Wants To Be One Of Bin Laden’s 72 Virgins, For Some Reason

Has Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli taken leave of his senses?  Well, one would have to assume that he had some sense in the first place.

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

I’m really not sure if this is an example of a bit of tweet-snark gone terribly awry, or maybe an account that’s been hacked, but Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has sent one of the strangest tweets ever in response to the death of infamous terrorist Osama bin Laden.

How much would I give to be one of the 72 Virginans Osama is ‘hanging out’ with since Sunday?

less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

KenCuccinelli

 

For real: what is going on here? Why is Cuccinelli going all Mitch Albom on Osama bin Laden? Does he really want to service bin Laden, sexually, in the great beyond? Maybe he plans to give the dead terrorist the “blue balls?” And is Cuccinelli a virgin, or was he — perhaps more disturbingly — shooting for “Virginians” with this tweet? It’s possible that Cuccinelli is trying to say that he wishes he had been part of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, more informally known as “SEAL Team Six,” who conducted the raid on bin Laden’s compound and who are garrisoned in Virginia at the Naval Air Station’s Dam Neck Annex. But this would be an odd way of communicating that desire.

At any rate, until I hear otherwise, I’m just going to assume that Ken Cuccinelli wants to make love to Osama bin Laden in hell. Keep calm and carry on!

UPDATE: 10:43 AM – It may be that Cuccinelli is referencing a (very poorly written) joke. In which case, here are some suggestions for “best practices” on Twitter. First, it’s “Virginians.” Second, you might want to include a link to the joke in your tweet, so that people don’t think you’ve taken complete leave of your senses.

Donald Trump Should Receive The Same Scrutiny He Sought For Barack Obama

I’m still stunned and speechless over Donald Trump’s chest thumping response to the President literally caving in to this clown and the people that believed him when he said that there were questions about the President’s birthplace.  The Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins and The Onion’s Baratunde Thurston seem to channel my thoughts on the matter…

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

O tempora, o mores, what a day, what a day, right? This morning’s tilt-a-whirl news conference, in which President Barack Obama decided to release his long form birth certificate, to satiate some pure-bred American nutters in thrall to the President’s most disingenuous — or paranoid — opponents, was an event I never thought would come, because I just figured that the White House had the eminent good sense to know that conspiracists should not be negotiated with – just like terrorists.

But here we are today. The President of the United States has brandished documentation that only proved that there was never a compelling reason to brandish it in the first place, seeing as it only proved what he and every relevant official and the documents that were publicly available had already confirmed: that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, a pure citizen of these United States.

Chances are it was a confluence of dumb events that brought the White House to this point. A nearly-enacted law in Arizona that wouldn’t have been satisfied with the clear proof already available. A campaign season on the horizon. Ed Henry’s idiotic questions, posed a day after his own network decided to actually debunk the nonsense once and for all. Franklin Graham’s paranoid assertions going unchallenged on a Sunday Morning political show. I think I understand Obama’s mindset when he said this:

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve…We are not going to be able to do it if we are distracted, we are not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other … if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers.

[...]

I’ll leave you with the thoughts of The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston, who basically just went off today when he heard what was happening. Of Trump’s birther binge, Thurston says, “It’s embarrassing to the entire nation that we would sit and let this happen. We have all been debased by this incident. By this charlatan, by this con man, by this mere promoter of himself.”

“No one has ever asked [Trump] to prove anything,” Thurston points out. That should change!

NPR Sting Video Edited Out Of Context

When will the mainstream media get it? 

Anything that comes from “Project Veritas” and James O’Keefe is manipulated, edited and contrived.

Huffington Post

Last week, a Project Veritas “sting” operation directed at National Public Radio cost some NPR executives their jobs. Beginning with Senior Vice President for Fundraising Ron Schiller, who was depicted on tape disparaging the Tea Party movement and suggesting that NPR should move away from federal funding (a position with arguable merit, but probably very unpopular at NPR), the fallout eventually cost NPR CEO Vivian Schiller her job as well.

That’s sort of the NPR way: when one of the humans under their employ gets in trouble for expressing their opinions, everyone starts panicking and people start getting fired. Further analysis of the original video, however, demonstrates the wisdom of the old maxim, “act in haste, repent in leisure.”

Glenn Beck-branded website The Blaze may seem an unlikely defender of NPR, but when the site’s editor, Scott Baker, and video production specialist, Pam Key, examined the raw footage, they found “questionable editing and tactics” and reported them all out. The observations they make in their analysis include the following:

– The video “does not explain how the NPR executives would have a basis to believe they were meeting with a Muslim Brotherhood front group,” and indeed “includes a longer section of description that seems to downplay connections of the MEAC group to the Muslim Brotherhood as popularly perceived.”

– The video is edited to make it appear that Ron Schiller “is aware and perhaps amused or approving of the MEAC['s]” advocacy for Sharia law, but Schiller’s “Really? That’s what they said?” remark is actually made in reference to “confusion” involving the “restaurant reservation.”

Walker Gets Punked!

Scott Walker in 2007 at Marquette University a...

Image via Wikipedia

This is too good to believe…

Huffington Post

Here’s something for your “can this possibly be for real” file this morning. Over at the Buffalo Beast — the former print alt-weekly turned online newspaper founded by onetime editor Matt Taibbi, typically best known for its annual list of “The 50 Most Loathsome Americans” — there appear to be recordings of a phone call between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and current editor Ian Murphy. Now, why on earth would Scott Walker want to talk on the phone with the editor of an online site in Buffalo? Well, he wouldn’t.

But what if said editor pretended to be David Koch of the famed Koch Brothers? Well, that’s a different story altogether, apparently! And so Walker, believing himself to be on the phone with his patron, seems to have had a long conversation about busting Wisconsin’s unions.

Buffalo Beast Publisher Paul Fallon told The Huffington Post that the audio is “absolutely legit.” That the call took place as described by the Beast has been confirmed by Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie.

Part 1

Part 2

UPDATE:  The Buffalo Beast 0nline site is down…

Planned Parenthood Calls In The FBI After Series Of O’Keefe-Like Encounters

Regardless of where one stands on the abortion issue, the fact is, Planned Parenthood was smart to contact the FBI because of the following incidents…

Huffington Post - Jason Linkins

One story I missed in yesterday’s State Of The Union hullabaloo was this item from Rachel Slajda over at TPM. It seems that in recent weeks, a bunch of Planned Parenthood clinics have been receiving visits from a man telling the same shady story:

In the course of five days this month, eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five states and D.C. reported getting the same visit: A man said he needed treatment for a sexually transmitted disease and then, once alone with a staff member, implied that he ran an interstate sex trafficking ring that involves minors and illegal immigrants.The Planned Parenthood Federation of America thinks that the visits, which happened between Jan. 11 and 15, are part of a James O’Keefe-style “sting.” But the group called in the FBI anyway.

Yes. That was a very smart move, Planned Parenthood. Also smart is the fact that these remote offices seem to have prepared in advance for this sort of incident, and are communicating with each other: Planned Parenthood’s national organization was in a position to recognize an emerging pattern of bizarre visits, and escalated the matter to the Department of Justice.

Is it the work of O’Keefe? The incidents bear a remarkable similarity to the modus operandi of O’Keefe’s famed ACORN sting. Of course, more recently, O’Keefe’s taken to attempting to stage bizarre seductions of investigative journalists on dildo-strewn sex boats, taking the trajectory of his agitprop in a direction from “conservative Michael Moore” towards “conservative Ken Russell.” Still, as Slajda notes, O’Keefe’s fingerprints are everywhere:

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood would not reveal the identity of the man, or men, who visited the clinics. The group does, however, suspect he has ties to Live Action, the pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood group run by O’Keefe associate Lila Rose.Live Action’s mission is to stop abortion, and its favored tool is undercover videos which the group says proves Planned Parenthood’s “willingness to repeatedly tell medically inaccurate misinformation,” “willingness to repeatedly violate mandatory reporting laws for statutory rape” and “racism.”

Rose, who runs the group, worked with O’Keefe on her first series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos in 2006 after the two met at the Leadership Institute.

Here are my thoughts: if you work for an organization that primarily serves the poor, or women, or minorities, or some other underserved segment of the population, you’ll probably get a visit this year from some strange individual who will, against expectation and good sense, freely start proffering information of the vast criminal operation they are running. What should you do? Well, you should humor them long enough for you to contact the police and the media. Do state laws allow you to tase people? Fine, do that too — as far as you know, they are dangerous gangsters who peddle in human trafficking! But do not, under any circumstances, offer to do their taxes or something.

Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks On House Floor (VIDEO)

Ron Paul lays out his own basic libertarian principles as the reason for defending WikiLeaks…

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks document dump, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), the self-styled libertarian crusader who’s spent the past half-decade building up a massive grassroots following, has emerged as a principal voice in support of the transparency that WikiLeaks has provided. In a speech on the House floor yesterday, Paul held forth at length on the controversy.

Others may disagree, but I don’t read Paul’s remarks as a defense of Julian Assange specifically – Assange is only mentioned three times during the five minute oration. This was perhaps wise, given the fact that Assange is facing charges unrelated to WikiLeaks abroad, and has become a fractious enough figure within the WikiLeaks organization itself that internecine battles have broken out, with one faction preparing to open their own site, “OpenLeaks.”   But it’s certainly a defense of WikiLeaks in principle, and whistleblowers in general — Paul spends more time discussing Daniel Ellsberg than he does Assange.

On balance, Paul’s speech primarily touches on themes that he’s advanced throughout his career: his antipathy to neo-conservative empire-building, the lies that precipitated the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the primacy of individual liberty, and the value of dissent. WikiLeaks simply gives Paul’s convictions some urgency.

[WATCH]

Continue reading here…

Michael Steele To End RNC Tenure With One Last Demonstration Of Incompetence

One has to wonder why the RNC kept Michael Steel on so long.  Could it be that he has a bunch of dirt on his GOP colleagues?  We’ll see…

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

Michael Steele’s tenure as the chairman of the Republican National Committee has been primarily marked by gaffes and financial mismanagement and scandal and donor mocking and people quitting in disgust and near constant calls for him to resign. Democrats are going to miss him when he’s gone! And gone he soon shall be, as well. As competitors emerge to challenge Steele for the RNC top spot, their suits are steeled by polling data that supports his ouster.

But, hey, how about one more Steele-related mishap, for auld lang syne? Over at TPM, Ryan J. Reilly notes that Steele is under fire for the money he’s lavished on a “longtime assistant”:

Critics of RNC Chairman Michael Steele have also focused on a lucrative job given to his longtime aide, Belinda Cook, convention-related gigs given to her family and friends and a variety of large expenses footed by the RNC.The Washington Times first reported on Cook’s salary — which is nearly three times what her predecessor made — earlier this month. Over two years ahead of the 2012 convention in Tampa, Steele signed a contract making Cook a “convention liaison” and paying her $15,000 per month.

FEC records show that Cook was also paid $25,000 for “Political Strategy Consulting” back in July. Records reflect thousands of dollars in additional reimbursements made to Cook for travel, food and beverages.

Additionally, Reilly notes that the RNC has already dropped $636,800 on the 2012 Republican National Convention:

That’s 18 times the amount spent that was spent in a comparable time frame four years ago, the Washington Post reported, causing more than a few raised eyebrows within the party.

You wouldn’t have thought it possible that Steele could make his colleagues’ eyebrows raise any higher, but there you go.