The Russert-ization Of The 2008 Race

by dday

The Tennessee GOP does an almost verbatim imitation of the Very Serious Journalist from Buffalo (he's a regular guy, y'all, he's from Buffalo!).


NASHVILLE, TN - The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.

“It’s time to set the record straight about Barack Obama and where he really stands on vital issues such as national security and the security of Israel,” said Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East.

On Sunday, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan on Sunday likened Obama to a new messiah, calling him “the hope of the entire world.” That’s the same Louis Farrakhan who has a history of making openly anti-Semitic statements, calling Judaism a “gutter religion,” and suggesting that crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks.

Farrakhan, addressing 20,000 people at the annual Savior’s Day celebration in Chicago, praised the Democrat presidential candidate, calling Obama “The hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.”

He also compared Obama to the founder of Islam, remarking that both had a white mother and black father, according to the Associated Press. “A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” Farrakhan said. “A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.”

Obama, (pictured dressed in Muslim attire in a 2006 visit to Africa) has on the campaign trail pledged to rapidly remove American soldiers from Iraq regardless of the resulting instability and the creation of opening that would be filled by Islamic extremists, like Al Qaeda, in Iraq’s government and military.

Obama has pledged to hold a Muslim Summit to determine Middle East policy with the very leaders that have as their goal to remove Israel from the map, referenced Jews to be “dogs” and “pigs,” among other vile references.

(Dressed in Muslim attire, ay? That's a new one. At least they're honest about what they're trying to do.)

There are additional smears, but the key one from which it all springs is the one legitimized and mainstreamed by Tim Russert in a public forum last night. Beyond the snickers over whether "renounced" or "rejected" is the proper term of opposition, the reality is that Tim Russert last night made anti-Semitic smearing of a Presidential candidate fair game.

Read the chair of the TN GOP's response to the outcry over their press release:

Smith said today that [...] the state GOP will continue to use Obama's middle name. That's no different than saying "Hillary Rodham Clinton" or "Richard Milhouse Nixon," she said.

"John McCain has to be elected. Robin Smith doesn't," she said. "We have a duty to inform the Republican base."

She said Farrakhan is known for "hateful, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel statements" and when the Nation of Islam leader "essentially endorsed" Obama, "it called out for our statement."

"A duty to inform." "It called out for our statement." There is no material difference between this defense and what Tim Russert would say if challenged on his choice of questioning. The circle is now complete. Not only is Russert a mouthpiece for the GOP, but GOP mouthpieces are mouthpieces for Tim Russert.

The only proper course of action is for Tim Russert to resign, without delay, for setting back journalism to somewhere in the William Randolph Hearst era.

...I'm seeing CNN right now reporting on "what Obama's pastor said" and "Jewish-American concerns," complete with pictures of Farrakhan and scary supporters dressed in robes. Actually, the only concerns are from the GOP, worrying about what new ways to pitch this story to the media so they'll cover it for the next nine months. Actually, I guess they're not too worried at all.

UPDATE: As Glenn Greenwald notes this "Obama Muslim black anti-Semite crazy Hamas" stream-of-consciousness pattern recognition smear is picking up traction, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens, the ones on the front lines of the situation (except for Hugh Hewitt, who once broadcast his radio show from New York City, so he's basically a soldier for America), want their country to hold direct talks with the Hamas government. This is a smear made by a far-right faction that presumes they speak for all Jewry. And as a Jewish American, I find it abhorrent.