Friday, August 14, 2009

Lindsay Beyerstein Clueless on Politics of Town Halls

I just watched Griff Jenkins' latest Fox News report on the ACORN thugs who showed up at Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting on Wednesday. ACORN now confirms that they bused-in protesters to the event. The first video shows Jenkins' report on Greta last night. The second clip is video footage of conservatives chanting "Don't Come Back" as ACORN bailed out with the astroturfed thugs.

Amid all the evidence of fake Democratic ObamaCare protesters, hardline leftists continue to hatch freaky scenarios of manufactured "teabaggers" who are allegedly swarming Democratic town hall meetings.

Lindsay Beyerstein's got an announcement at her blog for a panel tomorrow at Netroots Nation, "
Investigative Techniques to Expose the Town Hall Mobs." A panel is scheduled for tomorrow: "Muckraking 101: Documents You Can Use."

In the comments at her post,
Lindsay responds to the notion that the town halls are nothing more than a "tribal thumping":

What makes you think the town hall mob phenomenon isn't serious? Here's what's happening: Pharmaceutical and insurance interests are hiring lobbyists and astroturfing communications companies to stoke public anger about healthcare reform and the Republican party is cheering them on. This is an incredibly irresponsible campaign.

The protesters have already crossed the line from boisterous free speech to outright intimidation and even violence. Several Democratic congress members have reported death threats by teabaggers, police confirmed that a teabagger shadowing an Arizona rep "dropped" a gun at a meet and greet last week, police had to step between Arlen Specter and a protester at a town hall this week, another Democratic congressman had his office vandalized with a swastika. A teabagger activist got his twitter account deleted for encouraging fellow town hall attendees to bring their guns and hurt "disruptive" SEIU and ACORN members "badly".

There are at least two big issues here. First, somebody could very well get killed. (Last week David Axelrod suddenly got a Secret Service detail without explanation at the same time as he started speaking out against the mobs.)

These aren't spontaneous uprisings, they are organized campaigns that use blind rage as a recruiting tool. The groups are telling people lies to rile them up, like that Obama is going to kill their grandmother and take Medicare away. These are talking points that respectable lobbyists won't repeat on CNN but they're happy to hand out fists of cash to support crazies to say it for them. The corporate and political interests backing these tactics need to be held accountable. They are playing with fire.

Second, this is a campaign to derail healthcare reform which is the touchstone of Obama's domestic agenda. I don't know what could be more serious than that.

Investigative reporting on the Iraq war isn't something we can teach effectively in an afternoon. Whereas, the structure of the public record is such that anyone can learn a lot about astroturf groups, lobbyists, and political donors.
Now, it's one thing to agree that conservative lobbying groups have provided major support to the tea parties, and Fox News is certainly a partisan booster (no more than CNN's former correspondent Susan Roesgen is for the left). But to deny the events are organic, and to try and spin these demonstrations as "organized campaigns that use blind rage as a recruiting tool" is exactly the kind of irresponsibility that Lindsay decries.

My advice for her is to read my reports, "
Astroturf at Adam Schiff Town Hall: ACORN, AARP, Organizing for America, SEIU, and Stalinist Apparatchiks for ObamaCare!", and 'Constituent Backlash Follows Adam Schiff Town Hall: 'Extraordinarily Corrupt Proceeding'; 'Rally for Universal Health Care'."

This is first hand reporting, but see also, Dana Loesch on a Democratic ObamaCare rally where no one showed up, "
Obamacare Rally Was a Ghost Town."

Plus, the Democrats are declaring a "race war" on conservatives. See Matt Welch, "
More Scenes From the Health Care Debate Race War."

I doubt these facts will come up tomorrow at Lindsay's "investigative" panel.

Related: JammieWearingFool, "Brooklyn Mobsters: 'You Are Bankrupting Our Country. You Guys are Crooks' " (via Memeorandum).