Right-Wing Talkers Exploiting Ft. Hood

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Over at PoliticsDaily.com, I have a column noting how right-wing TV and radio ranters have been exploiting the Fort Hood tragedy to sow division and bash political foes—while accusing liberals and Democrats of using the event to divide the nation. It’s a mind-bending development. A few examples:

* Chris Plante, a Rush-wannabe with his own radio show, says that liberals are “trying desperately to convince America” that Nidal Hasan, the presumed shooter, was “just a crazy guy who spent too much time around deployed soldiers and caught [post-traumatic stress disorder] and oh he happened to be a muslim [sic], but we should ignore that. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.” On his show, he has repeatedly declared that Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before firing on his comrades—even though it’s not been confirmed that Hasan did so. Isn’t that a bit divisive?

* Syndicated talker Laura Ingraham also claimed it was a fact that Hasan was “screaming Allah-u-Akbar” —as she argued that Hasan had been moved to kill by his “religious fervor” (read: Muslim religious fervor).

* Sean Hannity proclaimed, “There is a chance our government knew all about” Hasan and “did nothing because nobody wanted to be called an Islamophobe.” Yet there’s no evidence of that. And given that the US government has been arresting alleged Muslim radicals in the United States and bombing Islamic jihadists in Pakistan, it seems top officials are hardly inhibited by the fear of being branded Islamophobes. Hannity has also blasted the Obama administration for not catching Hasan before his killing spree, bellowing, “What does it say about Barack Obama and our government?” Actually, it says nothing about Obama. Two terrorism task forces learned that Hasan had been in contact with a radical imam in late 2008 and subsequently did nothing, after an analyst concluded Hasan’s contacts with the imam were consistent with research he was conducting.

* Rush Limbaugh, of course, has gotten into this act. He first blamed Obama for the event, contending that Obama’s policy moves had pushed Hasan to become a killer. Then he slammed Obama for not calling the Fort Hood an act of terror.

Nothing like a national discussion based on reason and evidence, right? My column on this is drawing an unusually high number of comments. I can just imagine how calm and rational they are.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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