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Asman Echoes the Reactionary Echo Chamber

Reported by Nancy - March 7, 2005 -

Here's the message from FNL today (3/7): Syria bad, Bush good; Iraq a mess; Martha Stewart bad; Italian journalist Sgrena bad, Pentagon good; terrorists are everywhere; Bush good; Schwarzenegger good, Dems bad; MJackson bad; Sgrena bad, Pentagon good; Ward Churchill bad; CIA good; Sgrena wrong, Pentagon right; Ward Churchill bad; Dems bad; artists bad; Syria very bad, Bush good; MStewart bad; Syria very, very bad, Bush good; Syria really REALLY bad; terrorists are everywhere but US intel is swell & Bush is doing a great job finding Osama bin Laden; Syria very bad; MStewart bad ... well, you get the idea.

Of minor note, David Asman agrees with me about the "ominous music" they use to intro segments about Martha Stewart: "gotta change that."

More importantly, Asman used his "Asman Observer" op/ed segment at the end of FNL to parrot the spin the radical reactionaries have been trying to put on Senator Robert Byrd's speech in the Senate last week when he argued against changing the rules on filibusters.

After a teaser at 12:55pm (even Dems "were shocked" at one of the subjects Byrd used), Asman said that Byrd was suggesting a move to cut off debate "might bring us closer to Nazi Germany" & then dragged up ... wait for it ... the 14-hour speech Byrd gave in 1964 "on the floor of Senate" opposing the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Asman read from a 1964 article in Byrd's local paper about his filibuster.

Since Asman didn't bother either to show a clip of Byrd's March 1 speech or to read any portion of it, here's the segment that has the radical reactionaries all a-flutter:

Many times in our history we have taken up arms to protect a minority against the tyrannical majority in other lands. We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men.

But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler's dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that "Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact." And he succeeded.

Hitler's originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.

And that is what the nuclear option seeks to do to Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate.


One of many sites where you can find the full text of Byrd's speech is The Nation.

Comments: Classic reactionary tactic. Don't address the argument your opponent made; attack the man who made it. They're so predictable they'd be pathetic if they didn't have a bunch of viewers nodding their heads & agreeing with Asman (& Hume, Kristol, Krauthammer & others who have been frothing at the mouth using the exact same ad hominem attack). Here's a clue, David: If the shoe fits ...

Asman & other reactionary ideologues are in such a hurry to try to discredit Byrd (see! he was against the Civil Rights Act!) they must have forgotten that this would show a 40-year history of consistency on Byrd's part in supporting the right of the minority to filibuster.

Question: Why doesn't Fox post a banner clearly labelling the "Asman Observer" & similar segments as opinion pieces? They've got garish graphics & traveling tickers & blaring banners for everything else under the sun.