- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 25, 2003

A reporter’s insults

After his antiwar commencement tirade at Rockford College in Illinois, New York Times reporter Chris Hedges went on left-wing radio and likened the hostile graduates to war-crazed animals, the Media Research Center’s Times Watch reports at www.timeswatch.org.

In the interview last week on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now” program, Mr. Hedges “displayed condescending contempt” for his audience at the graduation ceremony, Times Watch says.

“You know, as I looked out on the crowd, that is exactly what my book is about. It is about the suspension of individual conscience, and probably consciousness, for the contagion of the crowd, for that euphoria that comes with patriotism,” Mr. Hedges said in the radio interview.

“The tragedy is that — and I’ve seen it in conflict after conflict or society after society that plunges into war — with that kind of rabid nationalism comes racism and intolerance and a dehumanization of the other.”

The graduates were not only racist and intolerant, Mr. Hedges suggested, they were brainless as well.

“And it’s an emotional response. People find a kind of ecstasy, a kind of belonging, a kind of obliteration of their alienation in that patriotic fervor that always does come in wartime. As I gave my talk and I looked out on the crowd, I was essentially witnessing things that I had witnessed in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina or in squares in Belgrade or anywhere else. Crowds, especially crowds that become hunting packs, are very frightening,” he said.

Mr. Hedges then said the song “God Bless America” leads to tyranny.

“People chanted the kind of cliches and aphorisms and jingoes that are handed to you by the state — ‘God Bless America,’ or people were chanting ‘Send him to France.’ This kind of stuff and that kind of contagion leads ultimately to tyranny, it’s very dangerous and it has to be stopped.”

A full deck

It was only a matter of time.

First, the Defense Department issued a deck of cards featuring the most wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Next, a conservative marketed a deck of cards featuring the “Axis of Weasels” — antiwar figures from Hans Blix to the Dixie Chicks.

Now, the left has answered with “Bush Regime Playing Cards,” declaring on a Web site — www.rasken.kajen.com/USD/The_US_Deck.html — that these persons are wanted for such crimes as “Looting Social Security trust funds” and “Strangling civil rights.”

The deck features the usual suspects: President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top administration officials.

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