Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Contempt for human rights: then and now

I watched Bill O'Reilly's latest two minutes hate (or however long his Talking Points segment lasts) which defamed the ACLU as "the most dangerous, anti-American organization in the country" and warned that if Americans do not "confront" the ACLU then "people will die," but I wasn't going to blog anything about it since this is standard eliminationist rhetoric from O'Reilly; there's nothing remarkable about O'Reilly demonizing the ACLU as being an anti-American group which threatens "traditional" values and threatens the nation's security because he does it so regularly.

But Dave Neiwert made a great point in response to that segment

Gee, this all has a familiar ring to it. Back when the ACLU was the only organization to take up the legal cause of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the jingoistic Bill O'Reillys of the day similarly attacked them for ostensibly hating America and siding with the enemy.

[Image of graffiti saying Americans Die But We Love Japs ... Japs Work Here Pauling]

This was the graffiti painted on Linus Pauling's garage door in San Francisco after he hired a Japanese gardener after the internment camps closed. Pauling's wife was an ACLU activist who had been vocal in opposing their forced evacuation and internment, while Pauling himself had been a "center right" Republican up until the jingoes attacked him and his wife in 1945. It included death threats.
Update: The ACLU responds to O'Reilly's characterization of its opposition to "stop-and-frisk" policy in New York as anti-American.


Sheldon said...

Wow, I just watched the O'Reilly segement in question, and he says, I paraphrase, "If clear thinking Americans don't confront the ACLU, their members and supporters, then people will die..."

All that is conveniently ambigous, but it isn't a big stretch of the imagination to think that some recievers of that message could interpret it to mean that they should harass and more the ACLU. Of course, in the ambiguity O'Reilly has plausible denial that he is encouraging that.

And how ironic that he calls Daily Kos and Media Matters "smear merchants" etc., I mean what the hell does he think he does?

Hume's Ghost said...

Right. It could also suggest taking some sort of legal action against the ACLU disbanding them. Jump into any comment section at one of the typical sites attacking the ACLU and you'll be sure to find calls for such actions.

I also love how O'Reilly asserts that the prisoner abuse photos were part of a criminal investigation and that those responsible have been held accountable. How does he know that? He can't know that, he believes it and has merely asserted his opinion as fact. In reality, we don't know exactly what those photos are of and what has been done about them.