Paul Greenberg: Ignorance Rules

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette opinion editor Paul Greenberg is frequently on the warpath against science and academia. That he attacks Black Studies – the academic discipline studying African-American culture and history – in a recent column (also available here) is hardly noteworthy but his transparently dishonesty is at least worth documenting. Here is what happened.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, a blogger at the Chronicle of Higher Education, a trade journal rather obscure to most of Greenberg’s readers, published an attack on Black Studies titled “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations“. In the blog post, Riley refers to three recent dissertations by Black Studies scholars as examples of “left-wing victimization claptrap”: about “historical black midwifery”, “Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s”, and “black Republicanism”.

Here’s the catch: Schaefer Riley never read any of the works she attacked. She didn’t even look at the table of contents.
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ADG’s Mike Masterson likens protesters to flea infestation

Today’s Mike Masterson column deserves its own post rather than just a passing mention. It deserves to be recognized as the essence of Masterson’s journalistic craft, uniting paranoid lunacy, incendiary language, and shameless lying within a few inches of column space. Referring to the Occupy Wallstreet movement that has recently mobilized tens of thousands of protesters, Masterson calls people whose opinions he disagrees with an “unwashed, whining, smelly mob occupying and infesting Wall Street”. The term “mob” appears three times in the rant, as well as the epithet “Flea Party”. Here’s the first paragraph in unabridged beauty:

LITTLE ROCK — I’m sold on one man’s proposed name for that unwashed, whining, smelly mob occupying and infesting Wall Street because they either:
1. Are being paid by big-bucks special interests to be there and create violent confrontations or…
2. Have no jobs, are bored and have nothing better to do but hang out together and screech “Pervert!,” “Boycott!” and “The world is watching!” as they intentionally pick fights with police to create headlines (and Internet videos for the 2012 election) or…
3. Are harboring free-floating anger about life as free Americans and are in search of scapegoats for their rage. Or, all of the above.
Yep, the calculated hatching of America’s newly named “Flea Party” seems to fit this mob. And shazam! It rhymes with Tea Party.

The unwashed, smelly mob (as seen in Little Rock)
The unwashed, smelly mob

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ADG’s Paul Greenberg: no more libruls!

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette opinion page will henceforth drop any pretense at political balance: after the recent firing of sometime progressive columnist Pat Lynch, editorial page editor Paul Greenberg has canceled the column of liberal Gene Lyons. Lyons is (was) the only of ADG’s own columnists that has some national exposure. His columns can be read for free at Salon. In many of his columns, Lyons forcefully takes on the very right-wing propaganda lies and distortions that are the staple of ADG’s opinion page.

Loyal Arkansas Democrat-Gazette readers will now have to endure the raging right-wing extremism of the ADG opinion page tempered only by the centrism of John Brummett, who recently rejoined the newspaper. Whether the supply of sufficiently masochistic readers is sufficient to ensure the survival of the paper remains to be seen. Greenberg apparently hopes that enough Arkansans cherish the economic illiteracy of columnist Bradley Gitz and the undisguised pro-corporate agenda of opinion editor Mike Masterson.

Pat Lynch lynched by Paul Greenberg

The Arkansas “Democrat”-Gazette has moved a big step closer to ideological homogeneity, or, in journalistic jargon, toward a “fair and balanced” lineup of columnists: long-time columnist and often-time progressive voice Pat Lynch has been fired from the opinion page. Reports Max Brantley at ArkansasBlog:

Lynch confirms end of his column He says editorial page editor Paul Greenberg said the reason was economic. “I am not angry with Paul or anybody else,” Lynch wrote.

It’s easy to believe that cutting off one of two liberal voices from the state’s de-facto monopoly newspaper’s opinion page (the remaining one being Gene Lyons) while keeping about a gazillion right-wingers ranging in opinion from conservative Republican to Tea-Party extremism is a purely economic decision.

Worth pointing out that back in April, another column was cancelled after columnist Cathy Frye had criticized education budget cuts (“Everyone pays when states cut school aid”), a position that ADG publisher Walter Hussman is known not to be fond of.

Btw I should apologize for the bad pun in the title – sometimes it’s hard to resist.

ADG again ridiculing Reagan deficit spending

Arkansas Democrat Gazette editors are really picking on poor old Reagan. Today, their editorial opens with a quote attributed to physicist Richard Feynman:

“There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.”

The quote can be found on numerous internet sites but none of them seem to give a precise source. Wikipedia classifies the quote as unsourced and doesn’t allow it to be attributed without authentication. Assuming it is authentic, however, it can be deduced what Feynman was actually referring to: namely, you guessed it, Reagan deficit spending. Reagan was the first and only president during Feynman’s lifetime (1918-1988) to exceed the 100 billion dollar national deficit mark, and the first and only to exceed the trillion dollar debt mark. Not that you’d know it from reading Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorials.
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Republican Nate Bell adorns facebook page with fabricated Hitler quote

Max Brantley at Arkansas Blog discovered an interesting story. Republican State Representative Nate Bell has put the following quote allegedly from Hitler’s Mein Kampf on his facebook page:

As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.– Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler

In response to the post, Bell has defended his choice of quotable statesmen in the following remarks on his facebook page:

“Comparing Dems to Nazis is wayyyy to easy. Let’s start with banning cell phone use while parked in a school zone. After all, it’s for the children. How about banning soccer goals in the entire state? Banning texting while walking? Banning private ownership of monkeys? The state determining how long my hamburger MUST be cooked? Banning wearing headphones while jogging? These were all Democrat bills introduced this session. Dems use children to pass bad legislation regularly.”

And:

“Apparantly there are some on the left who can’t see the irony in the fact that their side agrees with Hitler. I feel sorry for those who are so blinded to reality that they somehow see posting this as supportive of Nazism.”

Okay, lets get this logic straight.

1. Hitler allegedly said that pretending to care about children was a good propaganda strategy.
2. Therefore, anybody who claims to care about children must be a veiled Nazi, or at least belongs to the side that “agrees with Hitler”.
3. Food safety regulations, traffic laws and the like are the road to Nazism because they might prevent children from dying, which is exactly what Hitler was all about.

One wonders whether in Bell’s opinion, that also means that the Arkansas Family Council, which has tried to ban gay adoption in order to “protect the welfare of children”, “agrees with Hitler”.

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Arkansas Democrat Gazette editors make fun of Ronald Reagan

Today’s Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial is a lighthearted satire on Reagan deficit spending. It opens with the following quote from Saint Reagan himself:

“Governments don’t reduce deficits by raising taxes on the people; governments reduce deficits by controlling spending and stimulating new wealth.”

Excellent joke – I never thought Paul Greenberg had a sense of humor. Reagan of course never balanced a budget, on the contrary he was responsible for record deficits as high as 6% of GDP, almost tripling the national debt. Neither did he control spending – he presided over a 69% increase in federal spending, much of which went to the military. He raised taxes on the people no fewer than 10 times during his tenure, including a massive tax hike in 1982 in the middle of a recession. No question, Reagan knew what he was talking about. He’s exactly the right person to ask for advice about balancing the federal budget precisely because he never managed to balance his budget, just as in our little Arkansas media world, ADG columnist Bradley Gitz is the right person to lecture Obama on economics precisely because he declared bankruptcy a few years ago. Yes, bankrupt deficit spenders are the fiscal experts of the hour. We need to hear more of their advice!

Oh wait, What are you saying?
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