Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Set-Up a Smear Shot, or What the Liber-Tea Party Shouldn't Have Been About

To the editor,

Less vitriolic than last year’s event, The Patriot’s Voice Liber-Tea party offered few thrills to PE reporters. Speakers spouted platitudes against “Obamacare,” and “out of control” government to a crowd of folks many of whom sat quietly in their hypocrisy—enjoying a beautiful park supported by taxes they don’t want to pay, returning home to health-care benefits they’d deny to others.

There were, however, stories to be told—just not those the PE wants its audience to hear. In her PE-letter (4.8.10), PV-Lysk writes that she “will keep an American flag” just for me—a letter in which she exploits the fact that I am a domestic violence survivor in order to imply that, because the abuser was Mormon, I am biased against Mormons, and that this informs my criticism of the PV’s association with the John Birch Society (Cleon Skousen and Glen Beck are Mormons). The claim is absurd, and we must consider what sort of person it is who’d exploit domestic battery to score political capital. Ms. Lysk cannot refute my claims (letter, 4.6) concerning the PV-mission. I quoted the website directly, and let Lysk speak for herself through her blog posts. All she’s got is character assassination.

This aside, what Ms. Lysk offered me in the park was not the American flag. Rather, it was bait disguised as the flag to score political capital for a picture obviously set-up by the Press Enterprise. Her “offering” was a calculated exploitation of the flag to smear an opponent, an example of the lengths to which the PV—and the Press Enterprise—will go to humiliate their critics. I was taking notes, and saw neither Ms. Lysk nor the photographer. Ms. Lysk claims that “[o]ur knees bumped slightly” (on WHLM, she says she bumped me accidentally with the flag stick). She is lying in both cases. She poked me with the flag-stick—twice—derisively calling me “Miss Wendy.” I said “Don’t touch me,” not yet realizing as I turned to Ms. Lysk—who was giggling as she skeetered away—that a PE photographer just ”happened” to be stationed right there to snap a picture. Friend and witness Jay Nixon asked the photographer whether the picture was set up. She denied it—but it cannot be otherwise. I asked whether I would be interviewed for this incident or the Tea Party generally; the photographer insisted that Mr. Bogdon would be over soon. I waited 2 ½ hours. He never materialized—but ran the story anyways. This is unconscionable. In a phone message response to my call the next morning, he insists that he intended to follow up. He didn’t. Instead, he included false material in a story set-up by the PE whose loaded caption is ”Outspoken liberal.”

Two issues: (1) a monopoly newspaper that colludes with the extreme theocratic right to smear a critic; (2) the extent to which fabricated “events” distract us from the real issues. The applause for “Patrick Henry’s” promotion of secession, June McWilliam’s praise for the racist Minutemen, William Reil’s insistence on the “Biblical Law” of the Constitution, James Bridge’s reference to Obama as a “Communist,” or Debra Smith’s incoherent rant about how, since she had healthcare during a “medical mess,” we ought not reform healthcare to make her access available to others—all of these were missed in favor of setting up a smear-shot—and then telling a story that’s not only a lie but was clearly intended to impugn the patriotism of someone who so obviously loves her country that not even this set-up can silence her.

Wendy Lynne Lee

592 words

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