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Friday, February 19, 2010

Think Progress Targets Scott Brown Over IRS Plane Attack

Not surprisingly, Scott Brown is a target for Think Progress, which regularly distorts what conservatives say as part of the Democrats' strategy to paint all opponents as extremist and crazy.

TP ran the following headline yesterday related to the attack by Joe Stack who crashed a small plane into a building housing an IRS office:

Scott Brown Yawns At Plane Attack On IRS Building: ‘No One Likes Paying Taxes’
The TP story pushed the meme that Brown expressed no concern about the plane attack and attributed the attack to people not liking to pay taxes:
Newly-minted Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) appeared on Fox’s Neil Cavuto and showed none of the outrage and concern about terrorism that he exuded during his Senate election campaign. Asked for his reaction, Brown said he felt for the families, but quickly shrugged off the attack and transitioned to say that “people are frustrated” and “no one likes paying taxes.”
TP then suggested that readers watch the video. But anyone who actually watched the video would realize that TP's presentation was a complete distortion and TP's characterization of what Brown said was misleading. The video is below, here is the relevant portion of what Brown said:
Well It’s certainly tragic and I feel for the families obviously that are being effected by it. And I don’t know if its related but I can just sense not only in my election but since being here in Washington people are frustrated. They want transparency. They want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things affecting their daily lives. So I am not sure if there is a connection, I certainly hope not, but we need to do things better.
Brown then went on about the issue of whether "populist rage" caused the attack
You don't know anything about the individual, he could have had other issues. Certainly no one likes paying taxes, obviously, but the way we're trying to deal with things and have been in the past at least until I got here is, there's such a log jam in Washington, and people want us to do better, they want us to help solve the problems that are affecting Americans in a very real way....
There was nothing Brown said which treated the attack lightly, or connected the attack to Tea Party or populist anger. In fact, Brown said just the opposite and his tone was one of concern.

Yet that didn't stop some of the usual suspects from picking up on the TP meme and suggesting that Brown didn't care about the attack. Digby at Hullabaloo, linking to the TP post, spun it this way:
I guess he's saying that the people who voted for him are likely to be domestic terrorists? It sounds like it. (He also added that nobody like paying taxes ...)
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog ran the misleading headline New GOP Senator Scott Brown links guy crashing plane into IRS office to his election - same anger, with the equally false description of what Brown said:
Cavuto says, gosh, can you imagine people (read: liberals) claiming that this is what happens when you build up populist rage - isn't that a bit extreme? Brown concurs. After suggesting that the populist rage that led this man to crash his plane into an IRS building was the same kind of thing that got him elected.
Which almost sounds like he's justifying the plane crash.
This is how TP and those who jump at its whistle do it. They don't just cherry-pick sentences out of context, like big brother Media Matters; they distort in such a way as to create the impression that the target said something completely the opposite of what the target actually said.

Here's the video, you be the judge as to whether Brown "yawned" at,"shrugged off," or in any way "justified" the attack, and whether Brown linked the attack to the "rage" which led to Brown's election:

There is method to TP's madness.  The manifesto left behind by the attacker reflects anything but a "Tea Party" or conservative philosophy.  In fact, the manifesto, in addition to being crazed and delusional, attacks the capitalist system.

TP never lets the facts get in the way of a good smear.

Related Posts:
Inevitable "Tea Party" and "Amy Bishop" Link Attempt
Terrorist Attacks Plane, Think Progress Attacks Pete Hoekstra
A Warning For The Next Scott Brown

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  1. Brown should've kept his mouth shut until he knew the details and might have wanted to mention that the pilot used Marxist language.

  2. Maybe the Supreme Court needs an opportunity to review the cases that got us to the point where freedom of speech protects wholesale misrepresentation of the truth.

  3. Whoops, accidentally deleted a comment from Maggie, so here it is:

    Maggie has left a new comment on your post "Think Progress Targets Scott Brown Over IRS Plane ...":

    Brown said nothing wrong. These people will take shots because they want to push a totally false Tea Party meme.... because their bosses in the WH have told them to push that meme.

    It was not a terrorist attack. The man was obviously someone with mental health issues.

    Just another Marxist, like Amy Bishop... and unhinged.....

  4. All I've heard this week is "the radical right" and "the right-wing terrorists" so I guess this is the next Alinsky-esque attack. Truth doesn't matter; the person's ACTUAL political viewpoint - irrelevant.

    This appears to be a glimpse of their plans for the November elections - paint all Republicans and Conservatives as "right-wing terrorists" and keep them out of DC.

    Why are they so predictable?!

  5. Professor,

    I wanted to leave a qquick note to thank you for explaining how the left distorts thinks. I am a lifelong registered democrat, I donated all I could to scott brown as well as phone banking for him.

    Over the years, I believed a lot of what the left said about centerists and conservatives, I never realised how they did it.

    Thankfully with the internet and sites like yours I am seeking how they deliberately distort, I noticed it a lot in 2008, and once that happened, my eyes were completely open and the democrat blinders were completely off.

    I saw this interview when it was on, scott did a great job, and in no way did he condone this, and so when I read how the radical left painted it, I was stunned, b/c that is not what happened, I knew b/c I had watched the whole interview.

    Anways, wanted to drop a thank you for explaining this.

  6. It's not just about trying to disconnect Stack from the Left. In fact, I'd argue that's only a side issue at best.

    At its core, this is the beginning of the attempt to "Palinize" Brown. They understand that he's a charismatic guy and a possible future threat. So they're starting the drumbeat of trying to say that this guy is no moderate, he's an extremist whacko.

    Watch for much, much more of this going forward.

  7. TP never lets the facts get in the way of a good smear.

    Like far left rich father (Soros), like son.