- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pre-fab outrage

“When ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ came under scrutiny from critics, [the liberal group MoveOn.org] rushed to [director Michael] Moore’s defense. [The group] encouraged members to write their local newspapers to praise the movie. And they didn’t even have to write — all they had to do was click on MoveOn’s ‘easy-to-use letter to the editor tool,’ enter a ZIP code, choose from a list of local papers, and then select a ‘pre-written’ letter. ‘I am shocked that many critics have denounced Michael Moore’s new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” as unpatriotic and anti-soldier,’ said one such letter. ‘I find it interesting that the most fervent critics of the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” seem more obsessed with attacking Michael Moore than in taking on the points he makes in his film,’ said another. …

“The strategy worked. Scores of newspapers around the country printed the letters as if they had been written by the people who sent them. The ‘I am shocked’ letter, for example, found its way into the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Arizona Republic, the Fresno Bee, and about a dozen other papers. Much the same was true for the other letters. … MoveOn had taken another step forward in the effort to create the image of an energized majority.”

Byron York, in an excerpt from his new book, “The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy,” published Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Fashionable fear

“One of the more absurd intellectual tics of the Left is lumping together strong religious sentiment with violent religious fanaticism — witness the rhetorical lather New York Times columnists worked up over the protesters outside Terri Schiavo’s hospice in Florida. …

“After noting that only 27 percent of Americans thought Congress should get involved in the Schiavo case, Frank Rich wrote that ‘a majority of American colonists didn’t believe in witches during the Salem trials either — any more than the Taliban reflected the views of a majority of Afghans. At a certain point — and we seem to be at that point — fear takes over, allowing a mob to bully the majority over the short term.’

“So what became of that mob after Schiavo expired last week?

“They wept and prayed, hugged one another, and went home.”

Mark Goldblatt, writing on “Fear and Fanaticism at the Times,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘Rupert who?’

“The Murdoch-ization of America has never felt so irreversible. At any given moment … one in every five households is tuned into a show produced or delivered by News Corp.; meanwhile, Fox News is crushing CNN, the Weekly Standard is running the Bush administration, and three of the top six books now on the New York Times’ best-seller list were published by Regan Books. … Rupert Murdoch recently purchased the late Laurance Rockefeller’s Fifth Avenue triplex for $44 million. …

“It’s easy to forget that his entry into American consciousness was a reckless bet on the future of New York.

“The year was 1976, and evidence of the city’s decline was everywhere: subway cars bruised with graffiti, arson fires that swallowed whole ghetto blocks, soaring murder rates, and annual six-figure job losses. …

“When news of Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of the New York Post first hit … on Nov. 20, 1976, the city’s response was a collective ‘Rupert who?’”

Jonathan Mahler, writing on “What Rupert Wrought,” in the April 11 issue of New York

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