Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finagle A Hagel

In what I hope will be the last article about this Hagel thing, the Huffington Post has pulled out all the stops on the topic. A reader wondered if we had sufficient evidence to say that the Huffington Post is pro-Hagel, and I'm hoping that the Huffington Posts' behavior over the past couple days will indicate a trend. First of all, we have the headline on the Huffington Post's Front Page:

Now if you were to take a look at all of the links, almost all of them are praising Hagel (if you assume that being like "Bush" or "a neocon" is a bad thing, as most Huffington Post readers would). The only one that doesn't is "now under attack" which is about Log Cabin Republicans taking out an ad against him. Always an easy target. Anyway if you were to go to the article itself would you find Huffington Post original reporting by Joshua Hersh and Sam Stein.

I don't have time to peruse the whole article but it's what we come to expect: the reporters dug up as many people as they could find to praise Hagel while marginalizing his critics. Here are two selections:
"The anticipated nomination had been under fire for weeks, as Hagel critics sought to use his positions on Israel and gay rights to fight the appointment. But under the surface, the controversy centers on Hagel’s outspoken criticism of the war in Iraq, and Republican fears that the appointment would represent a clean break for Obama from the policies of the Bush years."
Later (emphasis mine)
"They aren't kindred spirits. On domestic issues, Hagel remains a conservative figure. In advance of his nomination, he distanced himself from past criticism of an openly gay ambassador." 
Apparently the Huffington Post now thinks that calling someone "aggressively gay" and believing that he can't do his job effectively because of his sexuality now falls under the umbrella of "criticism" and not "straight up bigotry."  I thought that was interesting. And finally:
"Undoubtedly, Hagel's nomination will face significant obstacles from critics who worry about his record of blunt remarks about the pro-Israel lobby (he once called it the "Jewish lobby"), and his record on Iran sanctions, which he has often declined to support out of concern that unilateral actions are counterproductive."
As usual, it's what is not said that matters. As I believe I said before, I don't have strong feelings about the Hagel nomination, for better or for worse. But the Huffington Post is misrepresenting the criticism of Hagel so let me remind you about a few facts that they can't be bothered to tell you.
- Hagel criticized the Iraq War after it began, but he also voted for it.
In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization.- In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.- In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refsued to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yassir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel.- In December 2005, Hagel  was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections.  - In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit. (Source).
Israel Matzav has more, but it's time to move on. You see, when you go to the "World" section, the Huffington Post explains that it's all about Israel and Iran:

However, this time it is an associated press article that is about "Israel warming up" to Hagel. In contrast, the Huffington Post also has an article about how Hagel's nomination "Unnerves Some In Israel." You may notice that "some" means absolutely nothing, sort of like MJ Rosenberg's use of "many." Naturally, this led to anti-Israel hate, if I may provide an example:

But let's move on to the blog posts because I think as we know, that is where we see the bias. The only criticism you can find is in the "Gay Voices," section. One blog there I already commented upon and there was also one about what Hagel should do for gay troops, which already conceded that he would get the nomination. There was a third that was critical of Hagel as well. Let's get started with the other side!

David Bromwich: "Chuck Hagel would make a superb secretary of defense. There is not another American of high reputation in public life who has proved himself so free of the disastrous illusions that led to the Global War on Terror."
Doug Bandow: "Chuck Hagel is no anti-Semite."
Michael Moore: "Thank you, Chuck Hagel. We may not agree on much, but we agree that politicians should tell the truth about war and peace and life and death. We're all in your debt for that."
Trita Parsi: "Reality is that Hagel's prospective nomination should never have been controversial in the first place. Hagel is a highly respected military mind who served both in the military and in the Senate with dignity and courage. "
MJ Rosenberg: "The reason to nominate Hagel, in addition to his qualifications for the post, is that the Israel lobby has decided to demonstrate its clout by preventing his nomination."
Valerie Jarrett: "Chuck Hagel is uniquely qualified to be Secretary of Defense. He is a decorated war hero who earned two purple hearts for his heroism in Vietnam"
Rick Jacobs: "Vietnam veteran and former Senator Chuck Hagel is the ideal man to serve as Secretary of Defense."
Arianna Huffington: "Indeed, Hagel's withering criticisms of the president's handling of Iraq have been far bolder than anything most Democrats have been willing to say."
Brent Budowsky: "Hagel is one of the finest people I have ever known in public life, along with President Obama's excellent nominee to be Secretary of State, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)."
Steve Clemons: "But Chuck Hagel is pro-gay, pro-LGBT, pro-ending "don't ask, don't tell."
William Hartung: "Hagel is up to the task, as indicated by his sharp critiques of the nature and scope of U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

By the way, Huffington Post blogger Steve Clemons (who we have crossed swords with before) is a close personal friend of Chuck Hagel's. The readership in his blog post above weren't fooled. 

The only article I could find about the Hagel issue that was in "Politics" or "World" was by Brian Stone, who suggested another candidate instead of Hagel. No one listened.

Let's not forget clearly biased reporting from the Huffington Post, such as selective news articles about how Hagel is similar to Obama, and how a Nebraska rabbi doesn't think he is anti-Israel, and how he apologized for that homophobic comment, a Steve Clemons-penned article about Hagel doing something for a USO in Israel, about how even though he's anti-abortion he's still the HP's pick, and President Obama praising him. Don't tell me that there wasn't enough material for criticism of Hagel besides from the gay community, half of the Huffington Post's articles were about how much opposition he was facing.

Given the facts, is there any doubt that the Huffington Post unquestionably took a side on this one?

1 comment:

  1. What's funny though is Hagel's a huge misogynist and homophobe. Two things under other circumstances would invalidate him with HP. But, if it means one dead Jew they're willing to accept anything from him no matter what.


Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.