Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Monday, January 29, 2007
Pre-Emptive Spit Counterattack
As most of you know, there is a urban legend around about Vietnam Vets who returned to the U.S. and were spit on by protestors. Of course, it's not true, but the GOP/conservatives trot it out all the time to support the liberals had the troops meme.

There's a new story out from the protest last week in which a vet was supposidely "spit at". The facts seem to show that he spit back too, or that the story was made up. Anyway, Digby has the facts and the background on the guy involved who, of course, is not just a simple little ole' veteran returnin' from the war.

For those of you who may likely become involved in wingnut arguments, read up and be forarmed!

Spit follow-up: Digby provides further information from observers at the protest of the "spitting incident". As he correctly points out it is not the alleged spitting but how the media covers it:
I will repeat myself here, but it's important. I suspect that what's at work here is reflexive, lazy MSM [mainstream media] he said/she said reporting where it was important to show "the other side" of the story of a peaceful protest. As usual, this lazy and inaccurate form of reporting worked to the benefit of the right, who in this case used a young man who is a celebrity rightwing victim of numerous alleged lefty slurs to tell a mythic story. I expect this from Fox News. It's a big problem when it's the paper of record.

But there's an even bigger problem. Dave Niewert and others have done a lot of writing over the past few years about rightwing eliminationist rhetoric and subterranean groups like militias and how their poison seeps into the mainstream. The mainstream media have failed to pick up on this pernicious social and political trend. Instead they are still mired in the stereotypes of 35 years ago, which we saw this week-end are pretty stooped and grey these days. They need to turn their attention to their right.

In this instance you had a budding rightwing operative who sat with the Vice President's wife at the State of the Union address appearing with a group that hanged Jane Fonda in effigy in the middle of a peaceful protest march. The signs they held were violent, crude and purposefully provocative. Yet the mainstream media, in looking for some frisson of 60's street violence, reports it as if the protesters are the provacateurs. They had the story and they completely missed it.

The fact is that the people who are challenging social norms and mainstream behavior are not coming from the left today --- they are coming from the right. They are clever and well financed and they are being helped not just by their own rightwing media infrastructure --- the allegedly liberal NY Times and Washington Post are also helping them with their knee-jerk assumptions and phony narratives.