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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Smearing Napolitano

Of all the questionable anti-administration agitprop being churned out by conservative media in recent weeks, one of the weirdest bits is the ongoing assault on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano over a routine DHS study suggesting that violent right-wing groups might target returing war veterans for recruitment. It reported that the FBI had begun investigating domestic terrorist efforts to recruit “disgruntled vets” in December–i.e., back when George W. Bush was still in charge.
The report has been blown up into a big “controversy” by Fox and its blogosperic and elected official echo chamber, and distorted beyond recognition into a claim that the Obama administration is ignoring Islamic extremists in order to spy on conservatives and veterans.
It’s hard to know where to begin pushing back on this hysteria. Yes, there are domestic right-wing terrorist groups that represent threats; that’s all te report was about, and DHS is required by statute to make such assessments periodically. No, the report didn’t represent some sort of major prioritization by DHS. Yes, the FBI watches terrorist groups and shares its information with DHS; if you have a problem with that, conservatives, you should have raised the issue with the Bush administration.
And of course veterans returing from combat are, as they have been throughout human history, ripe targets for terrorist recruitment, because they have recent military training, and because combat tends to be rather stressful. It also doesn’t help that vets are returing to a country in the midst of a deep recession. Anyone professing shock at this simple fact, or who thinks mentioning it represents an attack on veterans, flunks both history and logic.
Even if you concede some legitimate concern over this report, the abuse being dealt out to Napolitano over it is just a classic smear.

3 comments on “Smearing Napolitano

  1. Bob Griendling on

    Mr. Vega makes good points. I just wish progressives would learn how to make an issue of things the way the reactionaries do. The method is pretty clear; why can’t we emulate it? I wish we had a “structured operating procedure,” or at least savvy Congressional leaders who weren’t afraid of the press.

    Reply
  2. Bob Griendling on

    Mr. Vega makes good points. I just wish progressives would learn how to make an issue of things the way the reactionaries do. The method is pretty clear; why can’t we emulate it? I wish we had a “structured operating procedure,” or at least savvy Congressional leaders who weren’t afraid of the press.

    Reply
  3. James Vega on

    This makes more sense if you recognize that most of the Fox/conservative propaganda is essentially “reverse-engineered”.
    One begins with the desired conclusion e.g. “Obama or his administration smears heroic veterans” and then waits until something more or less on the subject appears.
    The first tier respondents – the Malkins, Limbaughs etc. wildly mischaracterize the item.
    The second tier quotes the first tier in support of the conservative view of “the issue”
    The more MSM media then “cover the controversy”
    This is not a spur of the moment process – it is a structured operating procedure – an ideological widgit produced on a propaganda assembly line.
    America has lost much of its traditional manufacturing industry, but it has a massive infrastructure for the assembly line manufacture of conservative outrage.

    Reply

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