Bad Journalism Award

You know how it is when you read an article that is just so weak, so clearly living in a hermetically-sealed bubble of similar opinions, so insulated from opposing viewpoints, so grandiose in its self-righteous assuredness and yet so utterly wrong that it makes you just want to issue a point-by-point rebuttal of every stupid thing that the author committed to print (hopefully at this point you are not nodding and thinking “yes, that would be the last article I read here…)?
Well, Charles Hurt, writing in The Washington Times, stepped up to the challenge and magnificently managed to push all of my buttons with his piece entitled “Obama’s South Side Chicago Thuggery” (yes). So here you are, Charles: this is why you are wrong. From the top:

Now that we know just what President Obama thinks of people who succeed in business, it is no wonder that the economy is so much in the crapper. In his desperation to avoid any discussion of his own disastrous handling of the economy, Mr. Obama announced last week what he thinks of the struggling spark plugs of commerce: They are a bunch of felons.

Of course, he did not come right out and directly say that himself, because that would risk drawing renewed questions about whether he is actually an American with the slightest whiff of respect for private industry and ingenuity that defines America.

The economy being “in the crapper”, of course, is all Obama’s fault. Nothing to do with the huge credit crisis and other systemic and structural flaws developed under the previous eight years of Republican oversight.

And what’s this? “…that would risk drawing renewed questions about whether he is actually an American with the slightest whiff of respect for…” Actually an American, what an interesting turn of phrase. Almost as though the author were trying to subconsciously plant the idea that the president is, in fact, actually not an American. But we’ll say no more about that.

So he did what gangsters from the South Side of Chicago have always done. He dispatched one of his bloodthirsty capos to handle his dirty work. Then he strolls up onto the scene all clean and innocent-looking in his fancy, pressed duds and shiny spats and plays the wise guy.

Oh really? Valerie Plame. Scooter Libby. Dick Cheney. George W. Bush floating serenely above the fray. That is all I have to say to that.

As Mr. Obama misquoted Harry S. Truman the other day: “The buck stops with you.” Obviously he was confusing Truman with his real hero, Al Capone.

This political thuggery straight off the streets of Chicago signals desperation in the Obama campaign and a level of deception unrivaled in recent presidential politics.

Yeah, I don’t know what he is talking about either. But will someone please explain to me the American right’s frequent use of of the terms “thug” or “thuggish” in describing left-wing activism? You read or hear it all the time, on any right-wing blog. Why thugs? Is this a remnant from the Jimmy Hoffa days, or something else? Why is a left-wing person who uses strident language and occasional overstatement a “thug”, while a right-wing person is just understandably carried away because of their deep and abiding love for America, and should be given a free pass? Huh?

And most decent people would not suggest that the president’s hero is a murdering gangster. You can say it, Charles, that is totally within your constitutionally guaranteed rights, but I’m going to call you a low-life, slanderous, sanctimonious moron for having said it.

Democrats howled when John Kerry got “swift-boated” during the 2004 election with questions about his deservedness of medals he won during Vietnam — medals that he later threw away in protest of America and the military.

Okay, this one really annoys me. “…threw away in protest of America and the military”? Charles Hurt, could you be any more of a stereotypical US conservative? All about institutions and paternalism and respect for authority, and livid whenever anyone questions any of these. John Kerry loves his country, I’m sure, having served it in so many ways throughout his career, and it is disrespectful in the extreme for you to suggest otherwise. I would venture to say that Kerry threw away his medals in protest at the US foreign policy of the time, as conducted by the US military, and not at the idea of America and the US military in themselves. Many people, patriots also, would defend the right to burn the flag as a protest, but then I’m sure you would consider them traitors and anti-Americans too. Because anything but total, blind, unswerving allegiance to the government policy of the day is treason, of course. Oh, wait – unless there a Democratic administration that you disagree with in power, in which case you exercise your patriotism by making warm noises about armed uprisings and overthrowing the government.

And it’s just so much easier to win an argument when you grossly mischaracterise someone else’s actions and arguments, isn’t it, Charles?

Okay, I’m not going to spend any more time on Charles Hurt. I should not have risen to the bait. But the thought of him sitting there, reading the daily papers and getting outraged about all of the terrible policies that liberals are enacting, and the dirty processes by which they operate, whilst wilfully forgetting everything bad that happened under the previous Republican administration, was too much for me.

So I’m calling you on this one, Mr. Hurt.

Your article sucks, and you are the first winner of my Bad Journalism Award. Not that what you do – based on this example, at least – can really be called journalism as such.

In case you are wondering, your prize was the fact that I called you a low-life, slanderous, sanctimonious moron on my blog.

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