If you read conservative bloggers regularly, you know many high-profile, far-right sites are pretty worked up this week about one of the dumbest flaps I’ve ever seen.
Before today, when the right-wing media made up quotations to attack progressives, they at least had some audio to misinterpret. But now, they are reduced to lip-reading.
The Washington Times’ senior editorial writer for foreign affairs James Robbins and right-wing bloggers are claiming that Michelle Obama likely disparaged the American flag during a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks.
There’s a video of the First Lady whispering briefly in President Obama’s ear during the ceremony. We see the president turn a little, smile, and nod in agreement. What did Michelle Obama say? I haven’t the foggiest idea; there’s no audio. But a whole lot of far-right bloggers believe they can read the First Lady’s lips — even though the video shows her mouth partially obscured behind a partition.
No matter, the right says. They know Michelle Obama took this precise moment, during a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks, to condemn the American flag.
And these bloggers aren’t kidding.
Enough conservatives threw a fit that Kristina Schake, the communications director for Michelle Obama, issued a statement explaining, “The words, meaning and context in these claims are all wildly off the mark. The First Lady was commenting to the President on how moving and powerful it always is to watch all that America’s firefighters and police officers do to honor the flag. It was an emotional moment on a powerful day and she was awed by the ceremony and all that the flag symbolizes.”
I mention this for two reasons, other than the general amazement about just how deranged the Obamas’ detractors really are. First, the right should probably remember the story about the boy who cried wolf. If conservatives were a little more selective, and a little more grounded, when they raise a point of concern about the White House, it’d be easier to take it seriously. But if they get hysterical over nothing, they just look like loons.
Second, just two years ago, editors at the Washington Post and the New York Times agreed that major media outlets should make an effort to take right-wing blog content seriously. If these conservative writers/activists are pushing a story — ACORN, Van Jones, etc. — establishment media should take heed and follow up on these “bubbling controversies.”
This garbage about the First Lady offers a reminder: taking these bloggers seriously is a mistake.
Steve M. concluded, “This is the GOP base. This is the heart of the modern Republican Party…. Kill one crackpot theory — birtherism — and they will breed a hundred more. And you’ll never persuade them that what they believe is delusional.”