Of Keller, glibness, campaign ugliness, and balance


Earlier today, I accused Jon Keller of working for CBS4 and glibly dismissing charges of anti-Obama nastiness. Now, in a sizzlin'-hot response, Keller has 1) accused ME of glibness and 2) noted that CBS4 is known as WBZ-TV, and has been for some time.

I'll give him point two, and that's it. For starters, consider Keller's objection to my accusation:

Reilly is unhappy with my recent blog posts suggesting that there's been a gross overreaction in some quarters to a handful of reports of violent or racist anti-Obama epithets being shouted by individual morons at rallies for the GOP presidential ticket, including one that is being challenged by others on the scene. Reilly suggests I'm saying that "all claims of disturbing anti-Obama invective are baseless." False, as you can see by reading the posts.

Actually, Jon, that's exactly what you did in your post today, which was the sole subject of my critique. By way of a reminder, here's what you wrote:

From the overwrought Frank Rich New York Times column I referenced here:

"At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option."

Oops. Never mind.

You'll note that Keller's second paragraph includes five (5) links to examples of extreme anti-Obama venom. His third paragraph, however, includes a link to one (1) story, which suggests that one (1) of the incidents in question may not have happened. But by appending that link to the words "Oops. Never mind"--and ending the discussion right there!--Keller clearly implies that because one account has been called into question, all of them are bogus.

Also in Keller's response, he claims it's "ethically dubious, socially irresponsible, and journalistically disingenuous to pump a (very) few anecdotes up into evidence of full-scale racial hatred, let alone hang it around John McCain's neck."

For the record, I'm talking about generalized ugliness here, not just racism-tinged abuse. But Jon.... When McCain asks who the real Barack Obama is, and a supporter shouts "Terrorist!," and McCain says nothing, how does that not reflect poorly on McCain himself? When Sarah Palin suggests that Barack Obama lies on the wrong side of the "good guys/bad guys" divide, isn't she actively whipping up fear and loathing on the McCain campaign's behalf? And aren't those new RNC robocalls--the ones that say "Barack Obama...worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans"--doing much the same thing?

I know Keller passionately believes that the left gets just as ugly as the right. But in his embrace of evenhandedness, I really think he's missing just how aggressively the McCain-Palin ticket has cultivated the baser sentiments of its supporters.

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