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Jeremy Scahill:"The article my magazine, The Nation, published about John Tyner is a shameful smear" [View All]

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 02:06 AM
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Jeremy Scahill:"The article my magazine, The Nation, published about John Tyner is a shameful smear"
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Edited on Fri Nov-26-10 03:01 AM by sabrina 1
This is so sad. I used to have so much respect for The Nation. I never thought they would sink to the level of Fox News for political partisanship reasons. But they have and kudos to Jeremy Scahill, one of the few journalists left in this country with ethics, for calling them out on it. Scahill tweeted his comment on the article, deceptively titled:

TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal today.

You can see his tweet HERE

The article my magazine, The Nation, published about John Tyner is a shameful smear. #TSA see: http://bit.ly/egCYeV
11:13 AM Nov 24th via Echofon
Retweeted by 100+ people

jeremyscahill
jeremy scahill


I read the article from The Nation that Jeremy Scahill is referring to tonight on DU. If you have not read it, you can find it here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

The article makes the claim, without a shred of evidence, that the blogger, John Tyner (if you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested!) who became an internet sensation after he posted video of his encounter with TSA agents on his blog, might be part of an astro-turf effort by the right. Here's a sample of that article, yellow journalism at its worst:

While this issue is certainly importantand offensiveto Americans, we are nonetheless skeptical about how and why this story turned into a national movement. In fact, this whole campaign feels a bit like dj-vu: As the first reporters to expose the Tea Party as an Astroturf PR campaign funded by FreedomWorks and Koch-related front groups back in February, 2009, we see many of the same elements driving the current "rebellion" against the TSA: Koch-related libertarians, Washington lobbyists and PR operatives posing as "ordinary citizens," and suspicious fake-grassroots outrage relentlessly promoted in the same old right-wing echo chamber.


The rush to accept these 'feelings' and the authors' 'sense' that something seems 'fishy' about John Tyner's experiences, by a few on the left, without any evidence at all, was revealing of something I always hoped we on the left would never be guilty of. The kindest word for it I can think of is 'hypocrisy'. IOKIYAD!

That was THEM, the Rightwingers. Hypocrites, defending every wrong decision made by their party even when they were presented with irrefutable evidence. Are we now becoming a mirror image of THEM? I think it's a question people need to start asking themselves frankly.

The fact that the issue of these revolting scanners has long been an issue for Liberals who rightfully viewed their emergence as a further erosion of our rights under the Bush administration seems to have gone down the memory hole. Democrats are now defending them. And for the worst of reasons. Because a Democrat is responsible for getting them installed after nearly six years of successful push-back by Civil Rights organizations.

The ACLU, always fighting to protect our Constitutional Rights were right in the middle of the battle and it was one of the few victories we had against the Bush administration's march toward totalitarianism that court challenges managed to keep them out of our airports, until last year.

The ACLU and its members have now, apparently, become 'rightwing trolls' 'astro-turfers' for the Koch brothers, or whatever other smears that are coming from, incredibly, the 'left'!

That the Nation would sink to this level of yellow journalism, worthy of Fox News, almost makes me lose hope that there is anyone in this country, left or right, who actually cares about PRINCIPLES. Is it all about party loyalty after all?

I expected the corporate media to do this, and as expected, with CNN leading the way, they did. I was not disappointed in them, I have zero respect for them. But, THE NATION?? Et Tu??

If it weren't for the few honest, sincere, ethical and truthful people like Jeremy Scahill, I believe I would lose all hope.

In this article, Glenn Greenwald takes apart the Nation's story. How embarrassing that Greenwald was able to find the information on John Tyner that apparently Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, the authors of The Nation article, didn't bother to look for. If they had, they could have spared that, up-to-now, highly regarded magazine the embarrassment it has been exposed to not to mention the loss of credibility.

Anatomy of a journalistic smear job


One long-standing -- and justifiable -- progressive grievance is that whenever ordinary Americans allow their personal plight to enter the public sphere in a way that advances a liberal political goal, they are gratuitously probed and personally smeared by the Right. The most illustrative example is the Frost family, who allowed their 12-year-old son Graeme to deliver a moving radio address explaining the benefits he received from the CHIP program when he was in a serious car accident, only to be promptly stalked and smeared by Michelle Malkin, among others. Today, The Nation -- a magazine which generally offers very good journalism -- subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I'm genuinely surprised its editors published it. Beyond the inherent benefit of correcting the record, this particular article is suffused with all sorts of toxic though common premises that make it worth examining in detail.

The article is headlined "TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal," and is devoted to the claim that those objecting to the new TSA procedures -- such as Tyner -- are not what they claim to be. Rather, they are Koch-controlled plants deliberately provoking and manufacturing a scandal -- because, after all, what real American in their right mind would do anything other than meekly submit with gratitude and appreciation to these procedures?


Yes, the article fantasizes that anyone who cares enough about our Constitutional rights MUST be a Koch funded astro-turfer. I can't say this often enough. They WERE FANTASIZING! In fact, it seems The Nation itself, joined the astro-turfing that has been growing over the past few days in an effort to defend the indefensible, Democrats switching sides from DEFENDING Constitutional rights, to now, supporting Bush-era encroachments on our Civil Rights.

We should wonder at this point who is behind THIS astro-turfing, but I am not going to sink to the level of these two authors and even try to guess.



John Tyner

But who IS John Tyner, and why would these two even begin to assume that he could be representing the Koch brothers or the Tea-Party at all? What did Mark Ames and Yasha Levine know about him that could possibly have caused to make such an assumption? Apparently they didn't bother to get to know anything about him. They actually made it all up as the record shows:

Some of the political positions taken by John Tyler which surely couldn't cause anyone to believe he was a tea-bagger??

Again from Glenn Greenwald:

As for his standing accused by The Nation of suspicion on the grounds of his avowed libertarianism, consider what he wrote several weeks before the TSA incident. In a post responding to this question -- "Whens the last time you were seriously inconvenienced or injured by something that big government did?" -- Tyner wrote:

Gay rights , TSA body scanners, highway checkpoints, the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretaps, extra-judicial assassinations, indefinite detentions, inflation, etc. Don't tell me that (some of) these don't affect me. When one person's rights are trampled, everybody's are, and that's just at the federal level.


What a right-wing monster! If only Democratic Party leaders -- who support most of the serious rights infringements he condemns -- were this monstrous. Or consider what he wrote about the statements of Juan Williams and Bill O'Reilly which conflated Muslims with Terrorists:

These two statements properly deserve all of the outrage, in my opinion. Millions of Muslims do not accept violence and enable jihad. The U.S. government, itself, says that there are probably less than 100 Al-Qaeda members fighting in Afghanistan. It admits that many are probably hiding in Pakistan, but even being generous would probably place the total number under 1,000. Muslims make up almost a quarter of the world's population. If they all really supported violence and jihad, even if merely millions of them supported it, they would have destroyed the U.S., whose military only numbers about 1.4 million, quite decisively a long time ago. In fact, most (the percentage of "radical" Muslims is almost infinitesimal, but still prevents one from saying "all") Muslims are peaceful, preach peace, and abhor the violence perpetrated in their religion's name.


With a Koch-related mind like that, the next thing you know, Tyner will be calling for endless war in the Muslim world, escalated civilian-slaughtering drone strikes, a covert war in Yemen, war crimes trials for child soldiers, and due-process-free life imprisonment and presidential assassinations. Then maybe he'll decide he can become a Good Democrat and will be able to remove the cloud of suspicion that, in the eyes of these Nation writers, hangs over him.


John Tyner, a Tea-bagger who stands up for Gay Rights? A Tea-bagger who defends Muslims? I should laugh, but for the past several days on this forum, I have seen similar baseless charges, fantasizing that anyone who stands up for our Constitutional rights is a Koch-funded tea-bagger.

The Nation has now been condemned for this article by several other respected liberal publications. My faith is being restored and I hope The Nation fires these two astro-turfers posing as Democrats.

Democrats are NOT hypocrites. We do not abandon important issues just because our team is going down the wrong road. We stand up and tell them we will NOT defend them, we will NOT go there with them. These two authors, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, are imposters. The only way The Nation can restore its reputation is to fire them.

An UPDATE from Greenwald lists the publications that have condemned The Nation article so far:

Nor was this reaction mine alone. It seems to be a consensus even among liberal, Nation-friendly journalists that the attack on Tyner was not merely misguided, but odious, as all such journalists who commented (at least that I know of) condemned it, often in terms at least as harsh as the ones I used. In addition to their own Nation colleague Jeremy Scahill (who denounced it as a "shameful smear"), Mother Jones' News Editor Daniel Schulman wrote: "This Nation story is journalistic malpractice of the worst kind"; The American Prospect's Scott Lemieux, on his blog, called it "Liberal McCarthyism" and an "embarrassment"; and the usually rhetorically restrained Ezra Klein condemned it as a "hit piece"


The truth is there is no defending the overturning of years of work by Civil Liberties organizations to stop this government's march towards totalitarianism.

If it was wrong under Bush, it is wrong under a Democrat. And we who are Liberals, Democrats, Progressives along with ethical Independents, Conservatives, Libertarians and just plain citizens, should never, ever walk away from our principles just because our team has decided to abandon them. And I really believe we do not.

Thanks to Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Mother Jones' News Editor Daniel Schulman , Ezra Klein, The American Prospect's Scott Lemieux and I'm sure there will be more, for not allowing a decent citizen who was standing up for all of our rights, to be smeared even when the smear was coming from one of their own.

THAT is integrity. THAT is who we are as Democrats. WE do not protect our team when they are doing wrong. We try to set them straight.

And that is how you tell the difference between them and us.


I am proud of 'our team' tonight. They defended an innocent citizen about to be thrown to the wolves by one of their own for political reasons, stopping the smear before it became 'fact'.

EDITED again, to add that I am also proud of DU. I just noticed that The Nation article was not well received by DUers, many of whom were apparently suspicious enough to denounce it, not influenced by the fact that The Nation is normally considered a very credible source here. :applause: :applause: for DUers




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