Only Michelle Malkin and friends could find cause in George Clooney's (and Angelina Jolie's) recent efforts to raise awareness of the genocide going on in Darfur to be upset. Of course, as usual, Malkin's argument is particularly strong where she calls Clooney part of "Hollyweird" and a "moonbat" while she links to a blog which repeatedly writes Clooney as "cLooney."
So what is Michelle upset at now? Apparently, she's bothered that Clooney is not emphasizing explicitly enough that in Darfur Arab Muslims are killing Christians, and Malkin seems also to be irked that Clooney is not saying "jihad" enough. Simply advocating we stop genocide because innocent people are being killed isn't enough, not for Malkin - you must also validate her Manichean world view. She's also upset that Clooney is "selectively advocating the use of force" (as opposed to?)
For more detail into why Malkin is so bothered, watch her latest "Vent" at her new site, the aptly titled, Hot Air. (Blogger's Note - Malkin, who has made a career out of denouncing "liberal" extremism while claiming "conservatives zealously police their own", begins each clip by promoting a website which sells t-shirts which advocate lynching journalists.) Let's see if we can dissect Michelle's reasoning.
First, Malkin begins by making a quip that she'll always remember Clooney as the goofy handyman from Facts of Life. Ok, see what she's doing? Cloony isn't to be taken seriously, he's goofy. This is ad hominem.
"Now Clooney and other celebrities want to end the dire humanitarian crisis in Darfur," continues Malkin. I would expect most people would say such a desire would be praiseworthy, but not Malkin. She goes on to say that celebrities are taking swipes at the Bush administration. I'd respond to that, but seeing as how Malkin doesn't provide any examples of said swipes but instead cuts to a picture of George Clooney in a scene from O Brother Where Art Thou while she emotes scorn through facial expression, Malkin has provided nothing of substance to respond to.
Next, Malkin states that Clooney and leftist celebrities (who remain unnamed other than Jolie) need an education because the President called what's going on in Darfur genocide over two years ago while the UN has yet to call it such, and that the Bush administration has also been pushing an unresponsive UN to do something about Darfur.
First, I can't respond definitely about Clooney's position on the Bush administration since I haven't seen or heard him say anything about it in regards to Darfur and since Malkin herself never does Clooney the courtesy of presenting what his views are before asserting he's clueless, but I do know that from what I've seen Clooney has stated that the problem is that two years after the United States called the crisis in Darfur genocide, its still going on, and as such we and the world have an obligation to do something about it.
Secondly, its Malkin herself who needs an education. If she'd been following the coverage of the Darfur crisis in the writings of journalists like Nicholas Kristof and Nat Hentoff she would know that the United States, as a member of the UN, had held up the peace process in the Sudan by refusing to allow the ICC jurisdiction over United States persons. She would also be aware that while the US had admirably began the push for action in Darfur, it had also been questioned on the tenacity which it was willing to bring to that call given the friendly relations that the State Dept. has been cultivating with the Khartoum government, which includes having flown into the nation's capitol as a guest of honor a man believed to be complicit in the genocide. And Malkin would be aware that Kristoff, who she elsewhere has praised for his coverage of Darfur, has criticized President Bush for 6 months of silence on Darfur after having called it genocide. So despite Malkin's facial expression otherwise, criticizing the Bush administration on its handling of Darfur is not on its face an absurd thing to do, even though it has done commendable things in Sudan.
Now, this is where Malkin really becomes despicable. She says that Jolie and Clooney aren't telling people that Arab Muslims are killing black African Christians (and non Christians), and thus Malkin is justified in saying, "saving Christians isn't Hollywood's idea of a pet cause." This is offensive moronic drivel, on several levels.
1. Clooney and Jolie are advocating stopping the Janjaweed militia from continuing genocide against the people of Darfur. If the population the Janjaweed militia is killing is largely black African Christians then Clooney and Jolie are advocating that we save Christians.
2. If we are to turn Michelle's logic around on her, then we can say that saving non-Christians from non Arab Muslims (the Janjaweed militia is Muslim, but I'm assuming they're not, since that is what Malkin implies Clooney and Jolie are suggesting) isn't Michelle's idea of a pet cause.
3. The "pet cause" thing is deplorable. Angelina Jolie devotes a signifcant portion of her time to touring Africa and using her celebrity to help people. George Clooney actually flew to Darfur and toured the region to see the people there first hand, with the hopes that his trip could help stop what's going on. The fact that Malkin feels the need to trivialize their contributions says a great deal about the level of personal integrity she has. When was the last time Malkin toured Darfur and made a film of her expereince there?
4. Let's assume for the sake of argument that neither Jolie or Clooney has acknowledged that Islamic fundamentalists are committing the genocide in Darfur. Is that really in itself something that would earn them ridicule and derision? Wouldn't a more rational thing to do to be to commend them for their efforts while herself emphasizing the religious nature of the conflict if she feels that is an issue they failed to adequately address? Why should their efforts be discounted on the grounds that they have not satisfied Michelle Malkin's desire for people to know that Osama Bin Laden has called for jidad in Sudan? Someone please make sense of this for me.
5. As one can see from the Darfur Conflict entry at Wikipedia, the issue is more nuanced than Malkin would present it as. Simply portraying the matter as Evil Arab Muslims killing Good African Christians might be a narrative that fits Malkin's ideological purposes, but it is not one that adequately defines the conflict.
Malkin next wonders why "Hollywood" (again, remember she's speaking specifically of two individuals) favors intervention in Darfur but did not favor intervention in Iraq. Now, I don't have one of the highest visited blogs on the internet, nor make numerous television appearances, nor write nationally syndicated columns, and I haven't written a book defending putting American citizens in concentration camps or a book demonizing people who don't share my political views, but the answer doesn't seem all that baffling to me. Could it be that they support intervention in Darfur because there is an active genocide going on there, while in Iraq the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis did not occur until after we intervened? Might it also be the case that urging for effort to stop the killing in Darfur does not necessarily mean one is advocating invading and deposing the Khartoum government?
She continues on about "Hollywood elites" opposing actions in Iran and Iraq, which really isn't deserving of a response since she's generalizing about views that may or not belong to Jolie and Clooney without directly confronting or presenting their views. And regardless of what Malkin may believe, whether or not we should use military force against Iran is a matter of opinion, and one can rationally be for intervening in Darfur while opposing military action in Iraq and Iran.
Here's a clip of Clooney from Crooks & Liars. Boy, "cLooney" sure does sound like a "moonbat." Seriously, what's wrong with Malkin? She wants a stop to the genocide. Clooney is doing something to help make that happen, yet for some reason she feels the need to denigrate his efforts.
I think Pat Robertson is a cad who threatens some of my most basic values, but when I see him doing something praiseworthy, I give him praise. Malkin should be able to do the same.
Update - Well, it appears this might be something of a meme developing. Media Matters notes that Bill O'Reilly has also questioned Clooney's motives stating that Clooney's interest in Darfur "may have something to do with color," and claiming, "surely the Marsh Arabs in Iraq slaughtered by Saddam [Hussein] did not get George Clooney's attention," implying that Clooney doesn't care about the death of Iraqis. MM notes that the Marsh Arabs did in fact get Clooney's attention, given the fact that he starred in a movie about it, but I suppose this makes sense from O'Reilly's perspective, a factually challenged perspective where one is unable to see an alternative viewpoint and consider that Clooney might also care about Iraqis but have a different opinion than oneself in regards to what will best aid them.
One of the commenters at Media Matters summed up the reaction of O'Reilly (and Malkin) perfectly: petty.
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