- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Obama & Hillary, too

Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama said they would not participate in a presidential debate sponsored by Fox News Channel, throwing the event in jeopardy, Variety’s Michael Learmonth reports at www.variety.com.

The New York and Illinois senators joined fellow Democrat and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who announced on Friday he would not participate in the debate, one of four being held by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

The Congressional Black Caucus contracted with Fox to co-sponsor two of its debates — one Democratic and one Republican — and gave the two others to CNN.

But now the top three Democrats in the race have said they will not participate in the Democratic debate co-sponsored by Fox, which was scheduled for Sept. 23 at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

Internet vigilantes

“In the battle for control of the Democratic Party, the George Soros-MoveOn.org crowd is used to getting its way. So it’s revealing to watch the consternation in those precincts to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) decision to co-sponsor a pair of presidential-primary debates this year with Fox News,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“Liberal activists are livid, to say the least, with one anti-Fox pressure group condemning the Black Caucus for ‘dancing with the devil.’ Color of Change, a coalition of black online activists, says the collaboration promulgates ‘bigoted, hate-filled worldviews.’ Markos Moulitsas, the DailyKos front man, calls the CBC ‘corrupt and compromised’ for ‘doing Fox’s bidding.’ …

“All of this induced Howard Dean‘s Democratic National Committee to announce last week that it won’t ‘sanction’ the CBC debates. John Edwards also repeated his profiles-in-courage act by announcing that he won’t participate in the CBC-Fox debate. This follows last month’s pander when he, the Nevada Democratic Party and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid knelt before MoveOn.org demands that another scheduled primary debate co-hosted by Fox be called off. And [Monday] Barack Obama bowed to the mob by declaring he also won’t attend; so much for the senator’s promise to change the tenor of our politics,” the newspaper said.

“The Internet vigilantes would like to drum Fox News out of polite society, but it’s clear from the Black Caucus episode that this isn’t really about Fox. This is about who runs the Democratic Party. Ever since they came close to nominating Howard Dean for president in 2004, left-wing Web activists have tried to punish any Democrat who dares to step out of line. They tried to run Joe Lieberman out of the party for his views on Iraq, and they want to banish California Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher because she’s voted for free-trade agreements.

“The pitchfork carriers now want to tell elected Democratic officials which journalists they can appear in public with.”

One a month?

“You can count on about one a month. Last August it was Sen. George Allen’s (R-Va.) ‘macaca’ comment that led to the usual editorials about the ‘persistence of racism in America’ and the duty of good-thinking people to police the country for ‘offensive language.’ Allen apologized,” John McWhorter writes in the New York Daily News.

“We were barely past that episode when Michael Richards tossed off the N-word in a meltdown during a standup routine when some black men heckled him. More policing, more talk shows exploring the issue. Richards apologized, with the Rev. Jesse Jackson in tow,” Mr. McWhorter said.

“Upon which Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) was dragged through the mud for calling Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) ‘articulate and bright and clean.’ Never mind that if you look at the actual transcript, he meant something different from what was reported. This was still water-cooler talk for a couple of weeks, complete with the Op-Eds and the requisite apology.

“Not long ago, a radio host in Texas, making fun of Biden, called Obama a ‘clean darky.’ The local NAACP was up in arms.

“Writing about this kind of thing a little while ago, I predicted that there would be a new episode the following week. I was off by seven days. Now it’s Don Imus on the coals for saying that the women on Rutgers’ basketball team are ‘nappy-headed hos.’

“We know the drill. Reflective sorts have been tsk-tsking over Imus. Condemning him. Imus, just suspended, will be trotted out as one more example that on racism in America we’ve come a long way, but we have a … (need I even finish?).

“And what will the point be? What, really, is the goal of these monthly performances over something someone says in passing and usually in jest? If the goal is to stop people from ever uttering anything that can be construed as belittling to people of color, it doesn’t appear to be working.”

Online no more

Two weeks ago, this column reported that Texas blogger Rusty Shackleford (mypetjawa.mu.nu) was surprised to learn that Hassan A. El-Najjar, a faculty member of Dalton (Ga.) State College, was editor of the Al Jazeerah anti-war Web site (aljazeerah.info), which Mr. Shackleford said “openly supports terrorism, conspiracy theories, and is anti-Semitic.”

Now, Mr. El-Najjar says he’s calling it quits.

“I have concluded that it’s not safe for me any more to continue editing Al-Jazeerah.info in this atmosphere of intimidation, which abridges freedom of speech and freedom of the press. … I promise to resume publication as soon as conditions change to a more peaceful and tolerant discourse,” Mr. El-Najjar wrote at his site.

He blamed the decision on critics who, he said, “have been orchestrating a campaign” against him.

“The campaign seems to have started by a person called Rusty Shackleford … then echoed by other Web sites and media, several of which urged people to write letters to officials in the state of Georgia, particularly in the institution I work with,” Mr. El-Najjar wrote.

Mr. Shackleford responded: “We humbly accept credit. … So, good riddance. If it really is good riddance.”

ABC’s activism

“On Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ weatherman and left-wing environmental activist Sam Champion took his global warming lobbying to the next step,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“Champion appeared at Southern Methodist University in Texas with liberal celebrity activist Laurie David and noted anti-Bush singer Sheryl Crow for the start of their ‘Stop Global Warming College Tour.’ It’s rather amazing that ABC allowed on-air talent to kick off a political campaign with specific policy agendas.

“Would Champion appear at the commencement of a nationwide ‘Stop Abortion’ tour? ABC even let David, wife of ‘Seinfeld’ co-creator Larry David, and Crow introduce the 8:30 a.m. half-hour.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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