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The Right Attack ... Right?

The ConWeb stands up against "unfair" criticism of right-wing hate groups and trivializes slavery and genocide in the name of Clinton-bashing.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/11/2001

The world is full of aggrieved groups of people who believe they suffer from unfair persecution. The ConWeb has generally made a habit of laughing in their faces, but one group in particular has gotten some special attention, and even defense, from the ConWeb: extreme right-wing hate groups.

The FBI has suggested that they might be responsible for recent anthrax samples popping up in New York and Washington and infecting media and government workers. The ConWeb, though, seems more offended by who's getting accused than by the anthrax attacks.

Kellie Donovan of Accuracy in Media mounts a backhandedly eloquent defense of the haters in a Nov. 8 commentary. Focusing narrowly on a single Washington Post story, Donovan charges that the Post "has unfairly implied that 'right-wing hate groups' are prime domestic suspects" and"has failed to include 'left-wing hate groups' or simply 'angry individuals or groups' in its speculations on who is to blame." God forbid anyone should be "unfair" to right-wing hate groups.

Donovan insists that there's no evidence tying right-wing extremists to biological warfare, but she simply didn't do enough research. A Nov. 8 Associated Press article outlines several attempts by right-wingers to give it a shot:

  • In 1995, Larry Wayne Harris, a microbiologist and alleged white supremacist, was arrested in Ohio with three vials of bubonic plague toxin he had ordered fraudulently by mail from a supplier in Maryland. He was given 18 months on probation. He wrote "Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North America," which some regard as a how-to book.
  • Alexander James Curtis, arrested this year in San Diego on charges of harassing civil rights leaders and vandalizing two synagogues, published an Internet guide in 2000 called "Biology for Aryans" that described the use of botulism, anthrax and typhoid for terror.
  • In 1995, members of the Patriot's Council were arrested in Minnesota and charged with manufacturing ricin, a deadly biochemical substance, to kill law enforcement officers.
  • In 1998, members of a Texas anti-government group were charged with plotting to infect people with cactus needles dipped in anthrax or the AIDS virus.

In addition, Billy Roper, a leader of the National Alliance right-wing group, has been quoted as saying, "We may not want them marrying our daughters, just as they would not want us marrying theirs. But anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill Jews is all right by me."

Also, abortion-rights groups across the country have been the recipients of hundreds of packages since October containing powdery substances, causing anthrax scares. Some of these have been attributed to the Army of God, which an Associated Press article describes as "a militant anti-abortion group"; some of the group's members have been charged with murdering doctors and bombing abortion clinics.

Apparently, none of this qualifies as "evidence." (Both the Post and AP articles note that it's unlikely that right-wing extremists have the capability to weaponize anthrax. Then again, a lot of things were thought to be unlikely before Sept. 11.)

So, what does qualify as evidence for Donovan? Anything that points left, of course.

Donovan argues that "left-wing hate groups" have more motive to go after those who have been targets of anthrax because, for instance, Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle stated his support for President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: "Thus, it is just as likely to accuse 'left-wing hate groups' at being angry at their liberal counterparts for agreeing with the Republican Administration as it is to accuse the right-wing of targeting liberal outlets. It could be a kind of warning not to betray the leftist cause."

She goes on to cite examples of left-wing groups who have resorted to violence -- all of which are overseas, none of which have been linked to bioterrorism as the above right-wing folks have, or to any serious threat to America.

She adds a couple names of Americans who went overseas to aid these groups, botching the name of one of them, Lori Berenson, and failing to note that there are legitimate questions about the fairness of the trials that convicted Berenson of aiding what Donovan calls "brutish Peruvian terrorists." "These are only a few of the U.S. leftist(s) who willing resort to violence to further their aims of a left-wing revolution. Animal rights and eco-terrorist have also resorted to violence in this country to further their goals," she writes, again failing to provide any link these groups have to bioterrorism.

"... (T)he media should simply report the facts and leave speculation to the opinion and editorial sections," Donovan complains in her piece, which must belong on the opinion page since it skips over so many relevant facts. She concludes by saying, "By unfairly accusing right-wing hate groups, the Post is creating unneeded hate at a time when the U.S. needs to be united." Those right-wing extremists, who are more than happy to spread their "unneeded hate," must be tickled to death to have AIM standing up for them.

NewsMax jumps on the same bandwagon, but attacking it from its usual viewpoint -- blaming Clinton. "In a move reminiscent of the botched FBI investigations of the Clinton era, the bureau is actively pursuing weak leads suggesting 'right-wing hate groups' are involved in the recent wave of anthrax attacks on the U.S.," it claims in an Oct. 27 story.

NewsMax also creates a new oxymoron: "clear circumstantial evidence." That is what it thinks the FBI is ignoring as far as leads pointing to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

"If these reports reflect the true thrust of the FBI's anthrax investigation, it's clear the bureau has yet to overcome eight years worth of Clintonization, where the only leads pursued were the ones that supported predetermined outcomes," the article states. That so-called "Clintonization" sounds a lot more like the way Brent Bozell's Media Research Center operates.

Speaking of blaming Clinton, the ConWeb has worked up a froth over a recent speech by Bill Clinton in which he reportedly suggested that America is "paying a price today" for past national transgressions such as slavery and Native American genocide. And, in attacking Clinton, those very transgressions get trivialized.

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah finishes a Nov. 8 anti-Clinton rant by first sort of agreeing with him -- "America does have some things to reflect on, some sins of the past for which we will be forced to pay over and over again, some transgressions that are unexplainable, horrible, unimaginable" -- then trivializing his point: "And none of those errors can top the fact that we as a nation – we as a people – elected this grotesque caricature to the highest office in the land."

That's right, folks -- slavery and genocide can't hold a candle to walking into a voting booth to cast a ballot for Bill Clinton, according to Farah.

WND compatriot Jon Dougherty continues the trivialization in his Nov. 8 column:

It is true, unfortunately, that slavery is a blemish on American history – a history which is otherwise filled with successes in terms of liberty and freedom for our people. But we were a nation founded on opposition to tyranny, not because we so desperately wanted to own slaves. It is true that, unfortunately, our government, in the past, treated American Indians badly. But indeed, Congress and the behemoth of bureaucracies lawmakers have created since those days continue to lie to Americans and treat us badly, so Indians needn't feel like the Lone Ranger.

Let's see if we've got this right -- slavery wasn't so bad because it wasn't a priority. And Native Americans should stop whining because they weren't the only folks to get screwed over by the government. And it's all so darn "unfortunate." Nice attitude, don't you think? And all that just to attack a Clinton, just like the Wall Street Journal did in embracing cockfighting in order to bash Hillary Clinton.

Of course, Farah and Dougherty have no interest in reporting the entire context of Clinton's speech, in which he also said that "this is partly a Muslim issue, because there is a war raging within Islam" between extremists and moderates, and that "We need to reach out and engage the Muslim world in a debate" of ideas and allow all to "actually say what it is they believe." Farah and Dougherty also fail to note that Clinton has publicly supported Bush's anti-terrorism efforts.

The Media Research Center gets in on the Clinton-bashing fun, expressing in its Nov. 9 CyberAlert that his remarks haven't gained more publicity and recounting a discussion on the Fox News Channel (where else?) that touches upon, among other things, remarks Clinton allegedly made to Paul McCartney's girlfriend. Yes, the ConWeb is relying on rock stars' significant others for political commentary.

NewsMax, for its part, trotted out so-called "civil rights activist" Jesse Lee Peterson to denounce Clinton in a Nov. 9 article. Peterson's main claim to fame, if you'll recall, is being the anti-Jesse Jackson for the conservative talk-show circuit, not for any actual civil-rights work.

There is one dissenting view here -- from, of all places, The Wall Street Journal. "Best of the Web" writer James Taranto on Nov. 9 called a Washington Times account of the speech "unfair" and pointed that the parts of the speech the ConWeb pounced on were taken out of context. Posting the complete excerpt of Clinton's disputed remarks, Taranto writes, "This is incoherent ... but it's far from seditious," which is as much of a mea culpa we will ever see from the Journal as far as anything Clinton-related is concerned (again, see the cockfighting article).

It's a bit frightening to see so much of the ConWeb so wrapped up in its own agenda that it's willing to defend the indefensible and trivialize the horrible.

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