Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smearing George Soros

So, George Soros donated 1 million dollars to Media Matters. If you don't know who George Soros is, he's a billionaire philanthropist who often supports liberal causes (among many other philanthropic ventures). But if you are a follower of Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter then I can guarantee you know who Soros is, because to them he's like the liberal anti-Christ. And today the crazy right-wing attacks on Soros began again.

Limbaugh accused Media Matters of accepting "foreign money", a strange accusation given that Soros is an American citizen and has been for 50 years. Glenn Beck, bless him, apparently thinks that Soros has a contract out on his life. Seriously.

But there's one disgusting conspiracy theory that keeps raising its head, promoted by people like Coulter, Limbaugh and Ezra Levant: the idea that Soros was a Nazi collaborator, a Nazi sympathizer or a traitor to his people (Soros is Jewish). Here's the actual story. As a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Hungary, Soros' life was in danger and his father arranged for him to essentially be adopted by an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture as a way to keep George safe. George lived with this person and posed as a godson, hiding his Jewish identity in order to survive. Hiding his Jewishness in order to survive the Nazi regime does not make him a collaborator or a sympathizer or a traitor. One would think this doesn't need saying, but people like Coulter and Levant will apparently say anything to further their partisan politics.

Here's a question. Should we demonize the Jews who were saved by Oskar Schindler because they were protected by a Nazi while others around them were killed? Of course not. Why would we demonize and slander Soros for taking protection that was offered him as a child? Apparently because he is a liberal who supports liberal causes. That makes him open game for the right-wing set.

I know it's easy to no longer even be shocked when right-wing hacks like O'Reilly, Beck, Coulter and Levant say something hyperbolic and wrong, but I hope we all have enough decency left to recognize this as shocking, bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, even for the GOP Fox News set.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tennessee Fire

Really interesting analyses of the Tennessee pay-to-spray incident by Jonathan Cohn, Ezra Klein and Michael Tomasky. And a rundown of right-wing National Review responses here.