12 September 2007

Moveon.org: General "Betray Us" and double standard in political rhetoric

Glenn is absolutely right that there's a huge double standard in the "permissible" rhetoric of pro-war and anti-war politics. When Fox News' most rabid right-wing loudmouth hosts (or fawningly approved guests like Michael Reagan) do things like call for Howard Dean to be "arrested" and "hung for treason," everybody just chuckles at the rhetorical excess, but when an anti-war ad refers to General "Betray-Us" in reference to the general's demonstrable deliberate political shilling for the administration and its failed policy, and in reference to the cooked numbers in his testimony before Congress, which are deceptive in a deliberate effort to influence policies that the majority of Americans now believe will harm America's interests, even the "liberal media" (like Time's Joe Klein) gets all in a lather about the "grave slander."

Slander (or libel), it should be pointed out, requires untruth, and opinion isn't slander. I read the moveon.org ad. Whatever you think of the use of the loaded pun (at worst, in my view, dumb because it stirred up a pointless controversy)... it isn't slander. We do still have a First Amendment in this country, at least for the present.

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