Ed Whelan’s Petulant, Fact-Free Right-Wing Victimhood
To confess, I revel in simpering, self-pitying fascists who complain bitterly of liberals craving “conservative” blood persecuting them. Sob sisters on the right are a maudlin, lunatic spectacle that might tickle me to no end if I didn’t want their heads on a pike so very badly. – Alex “Vlad” C.
By Glenn Greenwald
Salon (updated below- Update II)
OCT. 27, 2008
” … When your worldview is grounded in the belief that everything is stacked against you and nothing is your fault — the flagship view of the right-wing faction dominating the GOP — then spouting accusations without any concern for truth is a natural behavior. … “
Ed Whelan is a former Bush DOJ/Office of Legal Counsel official during 2001-2004 — when that Office authorized torture, illegal surveillance and a host of other radical, disgraceful policies — as well as a former law clerk to Antonin Scalia and current contributor to National Review. At National Review Whelan today complains (of course) that “there are plenty of big examples of the abject failure of the mainstream media to investigate Barack Obama’s background and record with even a fraction of the vigor and skepticism with which they have investigated Sarah Palin’s,” and cites this example:
From my use of the [Washington] Post’s (not always reliable) search engine, it seems that the Post never actually reported to its readers the striking news that the real Joe Biden had said words very similar to the SNL Joe Biden: namely, that if Obama is elected, “we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
This is what “never” means in National Review World:
Washington Post, 10/20/2008: “Later, speaking at a high school football field in Belton, McCain latched onto a remark last weekend by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden who said, ‘Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.'”
Washington Post, 10/20/2008: “John McCain has not been talking too much about international affairs in recent days, but the suggestion by Democratic running mate Joe Biden that the world may try to test a President Obama early in his administration prompted him to dive back in.
“Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. . . .” Biden was quoted telling a fundraiser in Seattle on Sunday. . . . ‘Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.'”
Washington Post, 10/23/2008: Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin misrepresented to a campaign audience Thursday what her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden has said about Barack Obama’s ability to handle a foreign crisis. . . . “That is not what Biden told fundraisers last weekend. . . . Biden did say, “Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
Washington Post, 10/23/2008: “‘Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America…Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.’
–Joe Biden, Seattle Fundraiser, October 19, 2008.”
Washington Post, 10/23/2008: “On Sunday Biden spoke at a Seattle fundraiser and suggested that if Barack Obama is elected president, ‘We’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.'”
Washington Post, 10/23/2008: “Joe Biden is taking heat for saying that running mate Barack Obama will face a manufactured foreign policy crisis designed to test his leadership if he is elected. . . . BIDEN: ‘Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America … Watch. We’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.'”
How did I discover these secret, hidden passages? By entering the phrase that Whelan claims was never in the Post in the Post’s search function at the top of its page, which immediately generated all of these articles. It’s pitiful enough watching the Right blame everyone but themselves for their looming defeat — self-pitying grievance is the crux and fuel of that movement — but the fact-free hysteria to which National Review has sunk in its state of enraged desperation is really something to behold.
Bruce Fein, the former Reagan DOJ official who became one of the country’s most outspoken and eloquent critics of the radical and lawless DOJ policies Whelan helped to implement, has released an excellent new book about America’s constitutional crisis. Yesterday, I wrote a review of Fein’s book, and hosted a discussion with him at FDL regarding the constitutional challenges the country faces, both of which can be read here.
UPDATE: In response to emails, Whelan has now posted an update acknowledging one of the above-linked stories. Since several of them are wire stories and blog items, it’s unclear how many others were included in the print edition, but literally millions upon millions of Post readers read that paper online, making Whelan’s suggestion that they have tried to conceal Biden’s quote yet another reflection of the Right’s inability to accept responsibility for anything — just as was true for the Iraq War and the collapsing economy, a GOP defeat will be blamed on the media, the Left, even “moderate Republicans” (like David Frum, Ken Adleman and Charles Fried) — everyone except for the conservatives who have spent the last eight years running the country.
UPDATE II: Whelan “responds” here. As Roy Edroso writes:
How about that. I was just talking about how rightbloggers don’t like to acknowledge their own errors, and a fresh example jumps out at me. Glenn Greenwald investigates a claim by National Review’s Ed Whelan that the Washington Post failed to report Joe Biden’s “international crisis” comments. Greenwald, using the clever expedient of the Washington Post’s own search feature, discovers the quote in several Post articles.
Greenwald is understandably snarky in his report. Nonetheless you’d think Whelan, as a seeker after truth, would be grateful at least for the information. Instead, he flips out . . . He also calls Greenwald “unhinged.”
Like juvenile delinquents, these people have been shielded from the consequences of their actions for so long that when correction comes, they take it pathetically hard.
Exactly. Whelan emailed me to notify me of his response, and to tell me: “Seems to me that your post is, hmmm, just a bit over the top.” As I replied:
Thanks for the notice. I guess we just have different standards. Before accusing a newspaper of concealing a quote, I would be pretty careful about making sure that what I was saying was, you know . . . true. At a bare minimum, that would entail searching for the supposedly concealed quote.
If, for whatever reasons, I accused a newspaper of bias without bothering to do the most minimal research first, and someone showed that my accusation was inaccurate, I’d be grateful to the person who corrected me and humble about correcting myself — not pompous and defensive about it.
As I said, we clearly just have different standards.
When your worldview is grounded in the belief that everything is stacked against you and nothing is your fault — the flagship view of the right-wing faction dominating the GOP — then spouting accusations without any concern for truth is a natural behavior.