Saturday, December 12, 2009

12/11/09: HuffPost publishes rant against Mrs. Lieberman to undermine Sen. Lieberman (User hate erupts: HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

How deep does HuffPost's animosity towards Sen. Joe Lieberman run, for daring to think and act independently? Apparently, deep enough that it is willing to betray several of its stated journalistic and operational principles in order to incite hatred not only against him, but also against his wife.

As documented in this article, this is not the first incident in which HuffPost has used dishonest tactics to go after Lieberman. It is,however,
the first time it has chosen to publish one of its official bloggers' calls for collective punishment against his family, which it disguised as a "news" story.

HuffPost claims* that it is "a nonpartisan newspaper," dedicated to "ferreting out the truth, consequences be damned." It also claims* its approach entails
"covering the news in a 21st-century kind of way," with "new ideas about balance and fairness." (*see Section A here) It is largely on this basis that it has been able to attract advertising from some of the biggest corporations in the world (see Section 7 here).

So does HuffPost believe its journalistic standards permit it to publish --- as "news" --- a hateful blogger's rant against a U.S. Senator's spouse, as a means of undermining him? Apparently so, when it's Sen. and Mrs. Joe Lieberman.

Previous incidents of HuffPost's unfair assaults on, and vilification of Sen. Lieberman:
10/27/09: Lieberman acts independently, incites HuffPost's biased wrath and its users' anti-Semitic venom (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

8/23/09: Grossly misleading headline about Sen. Lieberman, incites user hate comments (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

2/2/06: HuffPost blogger depicts Sen. Lieberman in blackface (HuffPost: "You're NOT fired!!!

And as has been argued in the above articles, certain facets of HuffPost's "coverage" of issues pertaining to Sen. Lieberman, and its user comment moderation practices, extend beyond mere bias, and into anti-Semitism.

But on December 11, 2009, HuffPost took several giant steps deeper into the abyss, by publishing a hate-blogger's rant against Sen. Lieberman's wife --- as a means of undermining him --- and disguising it as "news."

Here is the blog article that HuffPost ran on its front page as a "news" story (as opposed to on the left margin, which it claims is the space it dedicates to blogs):
Jane Hamsher: Cancer Foundation Should Cut Ties With Joe Lieberman's Wife

Who is Jane Hamsher?

The first questions a reasonable person would ask are: Who is Jane Hamsher? And what makes her qualified to call for any foundation to "cut ties" with Mrs. Lieberman?

The first thing to know is that Ms. Hamsher is an
official HuffPost blogger; the second is that in 2006, HuffPost made the decision to publish a rant of hers in which she depicted Sen. Lieberman in blackface --- a particularly hateful insult:

The third
thing to know is that HuffPost not only didn't immediately disassociate itself from Hamsher, once this outrageous blogpost was exposed and condemned in the blogosphere, it has kept her as one of its official bloggers, three years later.

Apparently, Hamsher's most significant contribution to American culture has been her acting as co-producer of the heartwarming film "Natural Born Killers," and her leftist blog, FireDogLake. Here are some other facets of her existence that her bio on HuffPost fails to mention:
Her depiction of Sen. Lieberman in blackface on HuffPost.

Her deep involvement in Ned Lamont's 2006 campaign against Sen. Lieberman, and her production of a campaign video for him --- while being depicted only as being a blogger, "covering" the campaign.

Ned Lamont's non-credible claims that he didn't know anything about her deep involvement in his campaign, or of her depiction of Sen. Lieberman in blackface.

The following, via Michelle Malkin:
[Jane Hamsher], one of the left blogosphere’s crudest, unhinged haters [who] spearheaded the sabotage of (Kate) O’Beirne’s page... refers to O’Beirne – please pardon the vulgarity – as “sandpaper snatch” and threatened that “The bitch is dead meat.”

This is the blogger with whom HuffPost chose to not only maintain its relationship, but to publish her screed against Mrs. Lieberman today, which it disguised as a "news" story? Shockingly, yes.

So what was the basis of Hamsher's screed against Mrs. Lieberman?

Here's the HuffPost "story" page. You'll
note that it does not answer the question as to why Hamsher is urging this cancer foundation to "cut ties" with Sen. Lieberman's wife. As a "news" story, HuffPost only cited part of Hamsher's rant --- but provides a helpful link to the rest of it, at the bottom:

The link to Hamsher's complete screed, on her own blogsite, is here. Excerpts (emphasis added):
Hadassah Lieberman – wife of Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) – is currently a compensated “Global Ambassador” for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It is widely known, however, that not only has Senator Lieberman been an instrument of obstruction to the kind of health care reform advocated by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but that Mrs. Lieberman is also a former lobbyist for APCO Associates, which represents the interests of the same major, private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies which Mr. Lieberman seeks to protect. Mrs. Lieberman’s relationship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure is unethical and misleading.

So let's break this down:
  • Mrs. Lieberman is a paid "Global Ambassador" for this cancer foundation.

  • Mrs. Lieberman is a former health industry lobbyist.

  • Senator Lieberman has not blindly supported the healthcare reform proposals put forth by the Democratic Party's leadership because, according to Hamsher, he is corrupt.

  • Therefore, Hamsher claims this cancer foundation should terminate Mrs. Lieberman.

There are at least two prisms through which Hamsher's rant should be viewed:
  • As a subtle, shameless form of guilt-by-association, anti-feminism, and anti-Semitism --- specifically, collective punishment.

  • As a fundamentally dishonest depiction of Sen. Lieberman's opposition to the Democrats' current healthcare reform plans.

Here are some of the reasons why Sen. Lieberman has stated he is opposing the Democrats' plans for healthcare reform plans:
We can [reform health care] this year if we work together. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on what works and fixing what doesn't, Congress is getting bogged down in a divisive debate over whether to create a government-run health insurance company — the so-called public option. Medicare teaches us about the fiscal implications of creating a government health insurance program. In 1965, when Medicare was created for seniors, we thought the cost of the program would be $3.1 billion by 1970. In 1969, however, the estimate was revised to $5 billion, and, in the end, it cost taxpayers $6.8 billion. Today, Medicare costs taxpayers more than $400 billion annually. (Nov. 2, 2009)

Second, while most people today are not familiar with the term "collective punishment," it directly applies to Hamsher's screed --- and HuffPost's decision to publish it as a "news" story.
Collective punishment is essentially a terror tactic that has most often been used against Jews who dared to stand up for, or defend themselves against violent atrocities. For example, the Nazis murdered thousands of Jews due to accusations against one or a few of them, and warned that it would continue if the "guilty" were not turned in. Read more here.

While it may seem to be a stretch to liken Hamsher's screed against the Liebermans to historic collective punishment by the Nazis, the principle is essentially the same: Hamsher advocates a reprisal against Mrs. Lieberman for what she alleges are the sins of her husband.

It's also interesting to note that a core tenet of feminism is that women are entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as men, including the right to be judged independently, on their own virtues or failings --- that they are not forced to live in the shadows of their husbands. Yet here, Hamsher (as enabled by HuffPost) assails Mrs. Lieberman for the alleged sins of her husband, and seeks to have her fired from her job, largely on that basis. Can you imagine how HuffPost and the radical left would react if the tables were turned? If a "right-winger" urged that the wife of an outspoken Democratic Senator be fired from her job because of accusations against her husband --- and a "right-wing" blog decided to play it up as a "news" story, for days on end*?

Yet HuffPost, after reviewing Hamsher's screed, decided to give it a worldwide audience, and promote it as a "news" story --- for at least three days*.

(*see Addendum 1)


So what kinds of user comments did HuffPost review, approve and decide to publish, in response to this incitement?

Given HuffPost's history of reviewing, approving and deciding to publish user comments containing anti-Semitic hatred, conspiracy theories and libels against Sen. Lieberman, Israel and Jews (many in violation of its own Comment Policy and Terms of Service), need one wonder what kinds of user reactions were incited by a faux "news story"
such as Hamsher's screed? Sadly, no. (For a definition of anti-Semitism, as a measure against which to judge the following comments, see here)

Note that the vast majority of the following users have between 10 and 300 or more "fans," meaning that they have clearly been on HuffPost for some time, and are not the "anonymous, trouble-making trolls" that Ms. Huffington has claimed are the ones whose "offensive" comments "occasionally slip through." Also see:
HuffPost's protection of the most egregious violators of its "policies" --- and its banning of non-violators, on a minute-to-minute basis

Users with more than 50 "fans" are bolded. Users with more than 100 "fans" are in red bold.

Here are some of the anti-Semitic rants against the Liebermans that HuffPost reviewed, approved and decided to publish:
mountainforce I'm a Fan of mountainforce I'm a fan of this user permalink
another crooked Z I O N I S T,
Why am I surprised?
Reply Posted 02:07 PM on 12/11/2009

shivers I'm a Fan of shivers I'm a fan of this user 11 fans permalink
well, a match made in heaven.
and for Joe's philosophy, what's good for AIPAC is good for America
Reply Posted 02:54 PM on 12/11/2009

hallowellboy I'm a Fan of hallowellboy I'm a fan of this user 23 fans permalink
The Liebermans are a pair of shameless moneygrubbers. The have no real dedication to anyone except themselves and Israel. A shameful pair.
Reply Posted 05:15 PM on 12/11/2009

textynn I'm a Fan of textynn I'm a fan of this user 125 fans permalink
Liebermans: Faces of Corruption and Greed. There's more than one way to kill the "unclean" huh Joe. Gas Chambers are soooooo yesterday.
Reply Posted 04:05 PM on 12/11/2009

Changeizgood I'm a Fan of Changeizgood I'm a fan of this user 17 fans permalink
Because you should take care of your own rubbish. That's the American way. Get your Liebermanns on a leesh and out of our government. Israel has a few openings, they would love it there, but they are siphoning money in charities and on the US taxpayer, so they will leave when they are retired. I understand it's part of the settler areas. Prime real estate, eh Liebermanns?
Reply Posted 07:25 PM on 12/11/2009

miguelobrien I'm a Fan of miguelobrien I'm a fan of this user 12 fans permalink
Deport both of them to Israel, where they truly belong.
Reply Posted 05:01 PM on 12/11/2009Bold
SEQUOIABISON I'm a Fan of SEQUOIABISON I'm a fan of this user 107 fans permalink
If we tell Joe that the Healthcare Reform bill will help the citizens of Israel, he will definitely support it.
Reply Posted 06:57 AM on 12/12/2009

And here are some of the ad hominem attacks against the Liebermans that HuffPost also reviewed, approved and decided to publish:
Niqueth I'm a Fan of Niqueth I'm a fan of this user 12 fans permalink
I hope Joe and his wife get cancer and then get denied insurance.
Reply Posted 02:36 PM on 12/11/2009

Zen0469 I'm a Fan of Zen0469 I'm a fan of this user 72 fans permalink
A pair of beady-eyed grifting pikers as ever one could hope to lay eyes upon.
Reply Posted 05:38 PM on 12/11/2009

Ralph Noyes I'm a Fan of Ralph Noyes I'm a fan of this user 14 fans permalink
Self-righteous Joe Lieberman votes his wife's interests, not the public's.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 06:39 PM on 12/12/2009

Poiks I'm a Fan of Poiks I'm a fan of this user 89 fans permalink
Poor woman wakes up next to that face.
Reply Posted 01:32 PM on 12/11/2009

Bronxdude I'm a Fan of Bronxdude I'm a fan of this user 346 fans permalink
Joe Lieberman is a disgraceful, hypocritical, bloodsucking leech!
Reply Posted 01:44 PM on 12/11/2009

Pagoas I'm a Fan of Pagoas I'm a fan of this user 19 fans permalink
well, lieberman IS a cancer...
Reply Posted 02:10 PM on 12/11/2009

Also see other documented incidents of HuffPost targeting a Senator's wife, as a means of undermining him:
4/7/08: A "report" that McCain called wife a vulgar term turns out to be nothing more than a vicious rumor --- at best

HuffPost: Cindy McCain is "a dick"


ADDENDUM 1, Dec. 13: HuffPost gives continuing, top-line promotion to Hamsher's screed against Mrs. Lieberman

Even though HuffPost removed the "news story" concerning Hamsher's screed off of its front page by December 13, it continued to give it top-line promotion.

For example, on December 13, the top story at HuffPost was as shown below:

Yet when one clicked on that story, the following screen is what came up; note the upper-left "teaser" headline:

HuffPost did the same thing in regards to the other big news of the day --- Houston's election of its first openly-gay mayor. When one clicked on that story, the following screen is what came up; note the "teaser" headline at the upper right:

And as a result, the hate against Mrs. Lieberman, with spillover to Sen. Lieberman, and the regular anti-Semitic comments against both, continued.


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