The Sunday edition of the Washington Post featured a massive, front-page article by Ann Gerhart decrying the “incivility” of conservatives. “The nation’s political discourse seems sour, angry, even dangerous,” Gerhart frets.
The introduction of the article spotlighted an e-mail from yours truly to Obama-philic author and Jamestown Project member Charisse Carney-Nunes.
Does the e-mail contain incivil rhetoric, profanity, or threats?
My message contained….questions:
Late last month, Charisse Carney-Nunes fired up the computer at her home in Northeast Washington to check her e-mail. Her brain already was on morning drive time: breakfast for the kids, her day’s work at a government agency. She glanced down at her screen, then froze.
“Ms. Carney-Nunes,” began the e-mail from Michelle Malkin, a best-selling and often inflammatory conservative writer with a heavily trafficked Web site. “I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June. I have a few quick questions. Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, ‘I am Barack Obama’ at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?”
Carney-Nunes looked at the time stamp — 6:47 a.m. — and closed the file without replying. She knew Malkin had driven criticism of President Obama’s back-to-school speech, streamed nationwide, as an attempt to indoctrinate students. Now Malkin was asking about a YouTube video of New Jersey public school children singing and enthusiastically chanting about Obama from a Black History Month presentation.
Here was the full message I sent:
I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June.
I have a few quick questions.
Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, “I am Barack Obama” at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?
Thanks for your time.
I had also e-mailed the principal of the Burlington Township elementary school that hosted Carney-Nunes and prominently featured her “I Am Barack Obama” book at the school assembly where the kids sang. The principal did not respond. Neither did Carney-Nunes.
Instead of replying to me, Carney-Nunes ran to the Washington Post a month later to complain about angry e-mails she received in response to the now-infamous “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm” Obama praise video.
The Post dutifully extrapolated from the incident to invoke Rev. Charles Edward Coughlin, smear the Tea Party movement as racist, and deride conservative “ideologues [who] are the millionaire kings and queens of cable and radio ratings and book sales” (see Sweetness and Light for the screen cap).
The Post erroneously asserted that the video was “erroneously linked” to Carney-Nunes:
There was nothing “erroneous” about the link. The video was uploaded on the YouTube channel of Carney-Nunes. She now blames it on an “associate” in the Post article:
Carney-Nunes said an associate of hers videotaped the children’s performance and later uploaded it, along with video and photos from other of her readings, to Carney-Nunes’s YouTube account.
The Post sympathetically quoted Carney-Nunes as she pondered:
“How can I talk to those people?” she said. “These are people who persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he isn’t a citizen of this country. You tell me: Where is the beginning of that conversation?”
Carney-Nunes isn’t interested in talking to me. And she isn’t interested in talking to you. She is interested in promoting the cult of Obama in elementary schools and helping kids “find that inner Obama” without anyone criticizing her.
It’s a telling sign of the Post’s ideological agenda and its insufficient tuned-in-ness (to borrow the NYTimes’ phrase) that the paper doesn’t think parental concerns about left-wing radicalism in the schools are Page A1-newsworthy — but that the complaints of a social justice proselytizer are.
Tim Graham at Newsbusters spotlights WaPo priorities: “WaPo Puts Michelle Malkin Attack on Page 1 – ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Repeal on Page 3.” Make sure to click on Tim’s link for some trademark Berkeley incivility — a teeny, tiny taste of left-wing incivility that never makes it onto the front pages of any newspaper.
Tim also notes some WaPo historical revisionism:
In a nod to reality, the Post acknowledges – at this late date – that this wasn’t exactly different than the Bush years:
It has been nearly a year since Barack Obama, running as a uniter and not a divider, was elected president by the largest margin in 20 years. The loop on cable news of thousands of beaming faces in Chicago’s Grant Park has given way to a summer and fall of thousands of other faces contorting in defiance and fear. A congressman yelled “You lie!” at the president on national TV. A liberal it off the finger of a conservative during a confrontation over public health insurance. On Friday, just hours after Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Republicans and Democrats were at their battle stations again.
The nation’s political discourse seems sour, angry, even dangerous; “uglier than it’s ever been” is a phrase often volunteered — as if President George W. Bush had never been depicted as Hitler, declared a dunce and heckled by Code Pink during his second inaugural address.
But the Post didn’t find that “dangerous” during those years. They wrote syrupy Style section profiles of Code Pink, like this one, headlined “Protesting for Peace With A Vivid Hue and Cry / Code Pink’s Tactics: Often Theatrical, Always Colorful.”
WaPo reporter Ann Gerhart writes near the very end of her opus that “An e-mail to Malkin Saturday seeking comment was not answered.” I was offline most of the weekend and didn’t see her e-mail — sent Saturday October 10 at 11:50am — until the article ran. But it’s obvious her hit piece was well in the bag and that any comment I would have provided would have been buried and incidental. Here is Gerhart’s message. Note especially the word “briefly.”
from Ann Gerhart
date Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 11:50 AM
subject re: washpost reporter interview request
Dear Ms. Malkin,
For a piece that is running in tomorrow’s Washington Post, I am hoping to speak with you briefly this afternoon. The piece is an exploration of civility in the public political discourse, or lack thereof — some historical context, some examples, the role of the Internet, the right to free speech and right to engage as a citizen, fairly wide-ranging.
Part of the piece concerns thhe experiences of Charisse Carney-Nunes, after the video of New Jersey schoolchildren singing about Barack Obama was linked to her.
I wanted to confirm that you had attempted to contact her via email and get some questions answered. And more broadly, I wanted to ask you for some reaction and hear from you what you think the current tenor of the discourse is.
Thank you very much for your time,
And here are just a few e-mails that came in after the WaPo article ran:
date Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 1:40 PM
I feel bad for your kids; to be raised in such a hate-filled household must be devastating.
I wish somebody could call CPS on your Asian ass before your children develop the same hatred running through your Filipino veins.
date Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM
subject Charisse Carney-Nunes
Michelle Malkin, she’s just a brainless tit. Instead of pissing in the toilet, she pisses in the media. She’s Rush Limbaugh’s girlfriend on the side.
date Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 9:22 AM
subject your lineage
I reviewed your image this am and I noticed your thick lips. Please tell me you’re not BLACK. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.