Kurtz on Why "Speech Policeman" Frum Should Turn In His Badge (Updated)

At National Review, Stanley Kurtz, author of the acclaimed new Obama expose Radical-in-Chief, has a great article taking David Frum to task for his war against those who use harsh rhetoric Frum wants to place out of bounds. He explains that Frum’s idea of “reckless demonization” actually includes reasonable, substantive arguments:

What exactly do Galston and Frum mean when they say they intend to “call out” those who use labels like “racist” and “socialist” in public debate? I think I can answer that question, since a series of attacks engineered by Frum on my then-unpublished book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, appears to have been a dress rehearsal of sorts for the operation of No Labels.


On July 27, 2010, I announced the forthcoming publication of my book at National Review Online’s blog, the Corner. The announcement made it clear that my book was the result of more than two years of empirical and historical research into Barack Obama’s political past, and would marshal “a wide array of never-before-seen evidence to establish that the president of the United States is indeed a socialist.” Frum, however, didn’t wait to consider my evidence or argument, or even bother to read my book. Instead, he invited a self-described Democratic activist who writes under the pseudonym “Eugene Victor Debs” to attack the very idea of my book — before either had read it.


I would probably not have responded to an anonymous attack on an unpublished book were it not for the fact that I knew and respected Frum, who warned me in advance that Debs’s piece was coming and invited me to respond. I did reply to Debs, after which, to my surprise, the attacks kept coming, both from Debs and from Frum himself . In my responses to Frum and Debs, I finally began to speak more frankly about my dismay and puzzlement at their persistent attacks on a raft of new evidence that I had not yet even had a chance to present to the public. Oddly, since the actual publication of Radical-in-Chief, there has been not a word about the book from either Frum or Debs.


He also explains how Frum’s mission will likely have the opposite of the affect Frum claims to want:

All Galston and Frum have done is to make explicit — and reinforce — the mainstream press’s existing determination to ignore and silence critics of Obama’s radicalism. Once No Labels gets going, public resentment at these silencing techniques is bound to increase. Contrary to Galston and Frum, the way to reduce polarization is not to suppress disagreement but to invite reasoned debate on the issues that actually divide us. Since a substantial portion of the public views the president as a covert radical, let the topic be debated in the widest and most respectable forums. If the president’s accusers offer mere bluster, or his defenders are living in denial, we shall see it all then. A true public debate on this issue in the pages of the mainstream press would rivet the public’s attention and immediately raise the level of discussion. By further suppressing this debate, on the other hand, Galston and Frum promote distrust and enmity between Left and Right.


None of this is particularly mysterious — or at least it ought not to be to those who have learned from the classical liberal approach to democratic debate recommended by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty. Mill discourages the creation of implicit or explicit rules banning any substantive claim in public debate, calling on us instead to judge a given argument according to the quality of its reasoning and the degree to which it fairly represents and successfully parries opposing points of view […]


It is not the job of those who cherish liberty of thought and discussion to ban claims of Obama’s socialism or of Tea Party racism, but to subject all of these assertions to the scrutiny of serious debate. While many or most accusations of Tea Party racism are baseless, legitimate complaints are possible and cannot be ruled out in advance. If Tea Party critics have serious evidence of racism, let them present it. If their evidence is tissue-paper thin (as most of it has been), that weakness can be (and has been) exposed.

It’s a great read. Needless to say, I agree with Kurtz 100%, and have little patience for Frum-style civility crap. It’s worth noting one additional thing, though – Frum doesn’t actually believe in his professed mission. If he did, he wouldn’t have developed a record as one of the most vicious, dishonest character assassins around.

UPDATE: My NewsReal colleague Mark Meed has more sharp analysis of this “No Labels” nonsense, including Frum’s selective reading of surveys to reach his preferred picture of what the American people want.

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Anyone Else Hear Crickets Chirping?

October 12: I destroy David Frum’s credibility.

October 13: Frum lapdog John Guardiano shills for his boss some more.

October 16: Guardiano claims he’s going to respond.

November 4: No response yet.

Confirmed: Another FrumForum hack has no credibility.

John Guardiano’s Credibility Is On the Line. Does He Care? (UPDATED)

On October 13, I pointed out that John Guardiano’s increasingly-hyperbolic worship of David Frum has always been fatally undermined by Guardiano’s refusal to even discuss the primary reasons conservatives oppose Frum (which are far more severe than merely disagreeing with him on a few issues, as Guardiano dishonestly alleges), and challenged him to finally confront the elephant in the room if he valued his credibility.

No response. Our Frumdamentalist friend did, however, pen another another pro-Frum whine fest that day, which also ignored the challenge. So I decided to drop a note in the comments that there was something he might do well to take a look at.

No response. But being directly and repeatedly confronted with his idol’s sleaziness and his own going AWOL on the issue didn’t stop him yesterday from droning on yet again on Twitter about NRB’s “vendetta” against David Frum, and, of course, David Swindle’s “viciousness and vitriol” – still insistent on maintaining the fantasy narrative of FrumForum as a respectable site on the receiving end, rather than dishing out, lies and hatred.

You know what, John? I agree with you that “readers would benefit from greater detail and quotes” from our coverage of how FrumForum has conclusively disgraced itself. So why don’t you believe in addressing those details or quotes? Granted, maybe you’re still debating how to respond. Maybe you’ve even got a response in the works. But I kind of doubt it, since your misdirection has been going on for months. At what point are we to conclude that you’re willfully ignoring evidence that you can’t answer and know makes you look bad, and that, deep down, you know you’re a shameless apologist for the very sort of character assassin you claim to oppose?

UPDATE: Guardiano has a note in his comments saying that a response is forthcoming, but inasmuch as the notice itself contains blatant dishonesty, I’m not expecting much…

The Blog Post That Should End Two Careers (Updated)

No, not this one. This one. [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT AT LINK.] My NewsRealBlog colleagues David Swindle and Jenn Public have compiled an absolutely stunning, sickening array of evidence exposing the pedophile tendencies and sympathies of former NRB contributor – and current FrumForum contributor – Alex Knepper. Knepper, you may recall, got canned from NRB and retaliated with a persecution story that didn’t hold water. At this point, it goes without saying that this should be the final nail in Knepper’s career, and if the reaction of Breitbart and NewsBusters is any indication, it may very well be.

But ultimately, Knepper’s a punk of limited significance. More importantly, this post should be the final proof that David Frum has hit rock-bottom, that he doesn’t care about the degeneracy of those who prove useful to him, and is therefore as unprincipled as they come and deserves to be ejected from the few remaining corners of the conservative movement in which he somehow isn’t seen as a disgrace. Frum apologists and lapdogs like John Guardiano – at least, the ones who still claim to have scruples – can no longer ignore the evidence of Frum’s indecency. Those who refuse to abandon this sinking moral ship deserve to go down with it.

UPDATE: Predictably, the pro-dishonesty Guardiano has chosen the sinking ship. That he accuses David Swindle – a socially-liberal blogger with a clear record of supporting not only gay rights, but also (some) gay political causes – of homophobia should be all the proof we need that Guardiano simply does not believe in holding himself to any meaningful standards of honesty and ethics.

This Is Getting Old

Once again, John Guardiano feels the need to whine about how mean the rest of us are to his hero, David Frum. But as usual, he simply ignores the real reasons we oppose the object of his worship: Frum’s proven record of dishonesty and smear-mongering. John, who pretends to care about “vitriolic” pundits making politics “personal, nasty, and vicious,” doesn’t seem to care that Frum allows his website to run badly-sourced, inflammatory misquotes, ugly and ill-founded insinuations of racism, and smears of the entire pro-life movement for a crime committed by one. John doesn’t seem to care that Frum’s faux zeal for responsibility doesn’t apply to Trig Trutherism crusaders, either. Of course, that might be because John himself is also okay with lying about political opponents – lies which find an outlet at FrumForum. Spare us the crocodile tears, please.

Hey John, Your Boss Is Lying Again (UPDATED)

William Jacobson catches ScumForum spreading more dishonesty about Christine O’Donnell, reposting uncritically from none other than Libel Green Footballs. I wonder how John Guardiano feels about his publication’s tendency toward that sort of thing.

UPDATE: Speaking of Guardiano, it turns out that Andy McCarthy, who Guardiano accused of “reconsider[ing] whether the First Amendment ought even to apply to Muslims,” opposes banning the burqa. I trust we’ll be seeing John’s apology any day now…

Does David Frum Make His Writers Fulfill a Lie Quota or Something? (UPDATED)

At ScumForum, John Guardiano has another condescending lecture about how conservatives need to stop being mean to Islam. David Swindle responded to John’s previous effort last week, and overall it suffices as a rebuttal to this one too; go read it.

One detail in particular caught my eye:

National Review’s Andrew McCarthy suggests we might have to reconsider whether the First Amendment ought even to apply to Muslims. After all, he argues, “intolerance is not just part of al-Qaeda; it is part of Islam.”

Woah! A prominent anti-terror conservative advocating a repeal of American Muslims’ First Amendment rights?  Man, if that’s true, National Review ought to fire McCarthy on the spot.

Oh, wait. It’s not true.

In the article Guardiano links, McCarthy makes no mention of the First Amendment at all, much less calls for exempting Muslims from its protections. In fact, McCarthy says:

No one credibly questions the legal right of Muslim landowners to use their property in any lawful fashion. Legality is an irrelevant issue, even if the back-tracking Obama now wants to pretend it is the only one he was really talking about on Friday night. The question here is propriety.

In other words, Guardiano’s lying. Not a shocker – that sort of thing is standard operating procedure at FrumForum.

UPDATE: Guardiano tweets that he’s not lying “at all,” and that details to come later. I look forward to whatever details he’s got, but if McCarthy really did say somewhere that the First Amendment shouldn’t apply to Muslims (a couple of quick Google searches sure haven’t come up with anything, and I have to imagine the Left would be shouting it from the rooftops if it were true), then Guardiano has no excuse for not elaborating or linking to it in the original piece. Basic morality and professionalism should keep people from leveling explosive charges against people if they’re not accompanied by evidence. Guardiano only linked to one example of McCarthy’s words – in which McCarthy expressed the exact opposite of the sentiments attributed to him.

At least John spelled my name right this time. I hear he’s particular about that sort of thing.