Last week, upon learning that an anti-Islamic film existed, extremists in several Arab cities rampaged, and in Benghazi killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton denounced both the violence and the film, and Libyan authorities apprehended some suspects in the murders.
If you think this means Obama is Hitler/doomed, congratulations, you’re a rightblogger! The brethren got a big burst of adrenaline from the violence, and took to the internet with — to put it politely — some rather exotic interpretations of events.
Regarding the film, “exists” may be stretching it — a full print of Innocence of Muslims seems not to be available, though clips from the alleged feature are available on YouTube; they are mainly devoted to portraying Islam’s Mohammed as a sexually ambivalent, murderous lecher, though the most blasphemous material seems to have been dubbed into the soundtrack post-production.
It’s hard to see what, besides outrage, the makers were going for. The clips stink, even the actors in the film have denounced it, and reporters have been obliged to hunt down the director. (More interesting than alleged helmsman Alan Roberts is alleged producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted would-be meth pusher who was on parole for identity theft when he supposedly made the film.)
Nonetheless some Muslims took the wretched thing seriously, and it served as either the cause or the excuse for riots in several Arab cities, and for the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo and on the consulate in Benghazi, in the latter of which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed.
Rightbloggers knew immediately who to blame — yeah, we know, you’d think Muslims, but you know, there’s actually someone they hate worse than Muslims:
Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator called the President “Jimmy Obama,” and explained his parallel: On Obama’s watch, dozens of Americans were kidnapped and held hostage for 444 days…
Whoops, guess he didn’t mean that. What he meant was this: “A liberal American president helps push a Middle East leader — a dictator but a friendly dictator — out the door… the next thing that happens is the US Embassy is invaded, the entire Embassy staff is taken hostage — and world crisis begins.”
Well, close enough. Too bad Obama didn’t pull the Marines out of the country in reaction — Lord could have called him “Barack Reagan.”
Lord also claimed that “the Obama administration insistence on the now-infamous ‘apology tour’ approach to the world has backfired” — referring to the ancient conservative myth that Obama goes around bowing and apologizing to foreign governments — and “the American president has consistently and repeatedly sent messages of weakness to a world that respects only strength.”
Which is why, presumably, the Muslims movie-rioted — they figured Obama wouldn’t care. (He did send the Marines, and get both the Egyptian and Libyan governments to denounce the violence, etc. but that was obviously just an Alinskyite subterfuge.)
“CHAOS AT THE STATE DEPT?” headlined Steven Hayward at Power Line, later explaining, “I spoke with a well-placed journalist last night whose sources describe the situation at the State Department in one word: ‘Chaos.'” A well-placed journalist! Was it Matt Drudge? Heven Stayward? A moonlighting cab-driver?
As news of the violence leaked out of the region, rightbloggers were ready with wack interpretations. For example, it came out that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, finding itself under serious attack, tweeted, “we firmly reject the actions by these who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Not a controversial statement, though also not one we’d endorse — but then, we’re not under siege by rioters baying for our blood.
Rightbloggers, having long rehearsed just such an emergency in basement reenactments of the Siege of Breitbart using G.I. Joe dolls, were far more sure of their courage under imaginary fire. In a post entitled “Team Obama Tweets While America’s Embassies Burn,” Bryan Preston of PJ Media attributed the embassy’s tweets, not to the terrified staff, but to “the Obama administration,” whom Preston said “tweeted embarrassingly vile and weak things.” When Obama pointed out that he doesn’t write everything that comes out of the embassies, Preston feigned outrage: “The US embassy was tossed under the bus, and it started deleting its foolish tweets.”
(This old rightblogger chestnut got a lot of play — Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft wrote, “The White House threw the Egyptian Embassy under the bus,” Breitbart.com’s Dana Loesch yelled “OBAMA THROWS EMBASSY STAFFER UNDER THE BUS,” and the proprietor of Weasel Zippers, being an overeager sort, cried “Obama Regime Throws Itself Under The Bus.”)
Then Preston claimed that Obama and Clinton, by the actions of others, had left America looking “diminished and unsure of herself in a region where uncertainty invites violence and war.” There’s only one language these people understand, etc. Peter Bella at the Washington Times declared, “Evidently the United States Department of State does not believe it is part of the United States Government. They evidently do not believe they are Americans. It would have been better if they just stayed silent. But the boffins, squibs, and gremlins who work for State just have to show the world how sophisticated, MULTI-cultured, and cosmopolitan they are.” Peter Bella woulda showed ’em, alright!
“If the enemedia had one scintilla of ethics or objectivity, the Obama administration would be eviscerated for their treasonous, anti-American surrender to the jihad in Egypt” said Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugged — though, to be fair, she says something like that pretty much every day.
As the riots raged, rightbloggers began spreading ridiculous stories about them. For example, many claimed the Marines in Cairo weren’t allowed to carry live ammunition, on orders of U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson — a charge denied by the Marines themselves, but kept alive by rightbloggers who clearly didn’t give a shit whether it was true or not.
Bryan Preston, for example, wrote, “US Marines Guarding Embassy in Cairo Not Allowed to Carry Live Ammo… That’s how you end up with the black flag of Islam raised in place of the American flag, on 9-11.”
Dana Loesch was craftier about it: “Did the State Department ban Marines from carrying ammo at the U.S. embassy in Cairo?” she wrote. “That’s what some are reporting…” Further down, she was less skeptical: “How many other of our embassies lack adequate protection?”
“Why Aren’t Marines Carrying Live Ammo?” demanded Michael Rubin at Commentary. “…Alas, it seems that Obama’s team, like [Jimmy] Carter’s before it, refuses to learn from experience and so condemns Americans to make the same mistakes repeatedly.” Some rightbloggers, like The Lonely Conservative, updated with the Marines’ denial, but many others — Riehl World News, World Net Daily, RedState (“This is not just an outrage… Heads need to roll”), Ace of Spades, et alia — didn’t bother.
The craziest variation on this theme was supplied by Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro: “Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have a Marine detail in Benghazi, Libya,” said Shapiro. “But White House Senior Advisor and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett has a full Secret Service detail on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, according to Democratic pollster Pat Caddell.” Obama took Stevens’ Marines, turned them into Secret Service, and gave them to Valerie Jarrett — that’s why he was killed! Where is the outrage?
Speaking of that: It was widely reported (Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters) that when Ambassador Stevens was killed, locals took his body to the hospital — which photos from the scene appear to show. “The caption suggests that the people in the photo are ‘helping’ him,” Power Line’s John Hinderaker wrote; “that could be true, I suppose.”
Ah, comrade Hindrocket, you have failed to keep up with the New Realites! Who believes those lamestream media sources? No, the Ambassador was dragged from the consulate, cutting-edge rightbloggers said, for the entertainment of depraved Ay-rabs.
“OBAMA REPEATS HILLARY’S FALSE NARRATIVE ON DEATH OF AMBASSADOR,” yowled Michael Patrick Leahy of Breitbart.com. “Rather than aiding Ambassador Stevens,” he interpreted, “the crowd appeared to be dragging him through the streets. One image showed a member of the crowd carrying an unidentified man that appears to be Ambassador Stevens on his shoulders like a hunting trophy.” (You mean like this?)
“VIDEO PURPORTEDLY SHOWS MOB DRAGGING AMBASSADOR STEVENS FROM LIBYA CONSULATE,” cried Glenn Beck’s The Blaze — and presented a clip in which you can only see yelling Arabs and, momentarily, an unidentifiable figure on the ground. Nonetheless, The Blaze said, “the victim is seemingly being dragged out of the consulate in Benghazi by countless men, some of whom are smiling and cheering at the end of the video… The clip has not yet been authenticated, but the victim appears to be wearing the same clothes as in a graphic photo that showed alleged ‘attempts to rescue’ the ambassador on the night of his death.”
“Some years ago, I had occasion to assist in moving the body of a dead man,” said Mark Steyn. “We did not stop to take photographs en route.” Regrettably, Steyn didn’t tell us in what riot his body-moving took place. He also complained that “the U.S. Embassy in Cairo is guarded by Marines with no ammunition.”
Some went further, recirculating a dubious report (“AFP did not report such a thing”) from the Washington Times that Stevens was raped by his assailants. “Lebanese Reports: US Ambassador Raped Before His Murder,” said Jim Hoft. “U.S. Ambassador Raped by Muslims Before Killing – Arab Media Reports” said Debbie Schlussel (“that’s how they behave in this part of the world, this religion, this ideology”). “AMBASSADOR STEVENS SODOMIZED!” said Angry White Dude. “MARINES NOT ALLOWED LIVE AMMO!”
About the best you could say about the crisis is that it gave rightbloggers one of their rare opportunities to pretend they give a shit about freedom of speech.
The Obama Administration asked Google to remove the film from YouTube. Google refused. We condemn the Administration’s request, and also their arrest of Google CEO Larry Page, their storming of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Californa, and their seizure of its servers…
Oh, wait, none of that happened. Nonetheless Obama was, in the rightblogger view, Hitler. “Un-mourned casualty of Obama’s bus: The First Amendment,” jabbered Michelle Malkin. “They hate us because our very existence as infidels insults Allah… The silence of so-called progressives and American free speech advocates as this administration steamrolls over free speech to save its own hide is deafening,” etc.
And Obama became double Hitler when the film’s producer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was brought in for questioning by L.A. authorities for violating his parole — a subterfuge worthy of that other enemy of freedom, Elliot Ness, who hauled in the innocent Al Capone on trumped-up “tax evasion” charges. Nakoula was later released — or so ObamaHitler’s storm troopers would have you believe.
Power Line’s Scott Johnson proclaimed, “I AM NAKOULA BASSELEY NAKOULA,” which is pretty much like saying “I am an asshole.” “Hillary Clinton, I insist that you have me arrested,” said Roger Simon. “I am thinking of making a movie about Mohammed.” Nice try, Simon — try a half-page in Variety next time.
In an indicator of how crazy things got, rightblogger kingpin Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, normally given to light, gnomic posts, issued a long rant declaring that Obama had violated his oath of office by being President while Nakoula was interviewed, and demanding he resign. “By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath,” said Reynolds.
“OBAMA CRACKS DOWN ON FREE SPEECH: THE QUICKMEME” hollered John Hinderaker, referring to pictures of Nakoula being arrested festooned with snide captions, as those kids with their Tumblrs do. Here’s an example: “LEADING FROM BEHIND ALWAYS REQUIRES SCAPEGOATS.” “Wow, the Quickmeme posts are piling up quickly!” updated Hinderaker. “Pile” is a good word for it.
Meanwhile the rightbloggers’ champion, Mitt Romney, after telling the world that President Obama “sympathized” with Ambassador Stevens’ murderers, eventually condemned Innocence of Muslims (“it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film”), whereupon rightbloggers attacked Romney for throwing the First Amendment under the bus…
OK, you caught on; nothing of the sort happened. Rightbloggers just kept on beating on the guy they want to defeat in November, and their traditional disregard for objective reality was only heightened by the events in the Middle East. The American Spectator‘s Quin Hillyer, for example, linked to a 2007 Obama interview in which the future President said if he were to be elected, “the world looks at America differently” because “they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view.” Hillyer interpreted this as “Obama in 2007 saying that Muslims will stop hating us ‘the day I am elected.’ He makes me sick.”
Hillyer is totally full of shit, but you’d have to listen to the interview to know that — and it’s a safe bet few of his readers will bother. As for the rest of the half-truths, misrepresentations and outright fabrications that we’ve chronicled here, to see through those, rightblogger readers would have to click some links, maybe do some close reading — and consider the possibilty that the people they’ve spend many long nights with on the internet are intentionally deceiving them.
This too they are unlikely to do. And that’s how this whole thing works.