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Jeff Bercovici, ThinkProgress spread anti-Rush Limbaugh smear (Antonio Villaraigosa)

Yesterday on his show, Rush Limbaugh said this about an event where he ran into Bill Clinton and someone else:

I shook his hand, he left, comes back, the mayor of Los Angeles, I thought it was a Secret Service agent, maybe a shoeshine guy. Turns out he gives me his card, I said, "Oh, my gosh, it's the mayor of Los Angeles." I stood up, I said, "Hello, Mr. Villaraigosa."

The evil airheads at ThinkProgress claim this is an "Ethnically-Charged Insult" (thinkprogress.org/2008/05/06/media-limbaugh-villaraigosa), when in fact it appears to have another explanation. I don't know whether Rush has clarified what he was thinking of, but a commenter on that TP thread points to this story from April in which a Missoula, Montana shoeshiner wanted to give Barack Obama a shoeshine and was told to back off by Secret Service agents. The meeting above occured months before the April incident, but both had already occured when Rush made the statement above.

For ThinkProgress, getting things wrong in this way is the normal course of affairs. One might think that someone working for Conde Nast Portfolio might not be just as bad, yet Jeff Bercovici of that site thinks different (portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media/2008/05/06/la-mayor-to-answer-limbaughs-race-swipe):

Hey, you know what's a riot? Comparing one of the country's foremost Latino politicians to "a shoeshine guy" because of his race.

Somehow I think the April incident is a much stronger explanation. Note also that neither TP nor CNP are discussing the endless line of Villar issues, from his past leadership of a racial separatist group to him congratulating former Mexican president Zedillo on helping block Prop. 187.

Sadly, Villar will apparently not be releasing a statement, but Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition has:

"What can I tell you? It's the same kind of nasty, bigoted, racist type of comment that has become so prevalent in today's society, as practiced by Lou Dobbs, as practiced by [Sean] Hannity, [Bill] O'Reilly, [Michael] Savage -- all these guys who are appealing to a particular bigoted audience, and fanning the fires of bigotry and racism by doing these kinds of things without real concern about the consequences of their words. And the consequences are that these kinds of comments have helped in raising the rate of crimes against Latinos 35 percent in last three years." (He attributes that figure to the FBI.) "These guys have no civility in their makeup, no compassion, and very little intelligence when it comes to opening their mouths."

Bercovici can't seem to get anything right. Whatever Nogales said, he wasn't referring to crimes in general but to hate crimes. And, as discussed at the link, the 35% was designed to deceive. A real reporter would have gotten the types of crimes right and would have looked into the statistics.

Politics · Tue, 05/06/2008 - 08:58 · Importance: 4

Tue, 05/06/2008 - 22:19
Leon

This has really become excuse #1 to silence people who they think are in the way of their political agenda. Take a statistic and then shamelessly attribute causation to your enemies to the exclusion of all possible explanations. It reminds me a lot of the radical anti-pornography feminists' censorship campaigns which rode roughshod over the First Amendment. Interestingly, Joe Baca of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is also the founder of Congressional Sex and Violence in the Media Caucus. If you care about free speech issues he's definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Tue, 05/06/2008 - 23:58

What a wonderful thing mexicans have brought to OUR Country. Not only do we give hundreds of billions to these ungrateful hordes, but in there eyes we are surpressing them as well as we are also racist bigots! Now they want to silence all anti invasion spokespeople. What a schtick!

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 00:32
Mary

These creeps are also accessories to Murder. Of Jamiel Shaw and many.many others...so they can spout their claims of racism but it pales in comparison to what they are guilty of ..I proclaim them Criminals,and gang members at heart! They make me SICK!!! PS If the majority of Americans want to be "racist" that is their choice as this is their country not these invading PIGS!!

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 07:31
llamajockey

Lonewacko, Look I have lots of problems with ThinkProgress. Like you have said ThinkProgress is often long on hyper-partisanship and short on intellegent detailed balanced analysis. The "Think" part if its name is a misnomer. There is certainly a place for stating the case on behalf of one's political agenda. But relying on sites like ThinkProgess alone is never going to provide anyone with any real insight into the issues. That said, Rush Limbaugh is an idiot. I don't believe for one minute that Rush does not know who Mayor Villariagrosia is well enough to not recongize him in person. Was Rush being racist in this case? I don't want to waste the time arguing either way. Rush is still an ass. Besides Limbaugh has never been a friend of working Americans being displaced in the labor market by illegal immigration or labor arbitrage "nonimmigrant" visa programs. Limbaugh now only expolits the legitimate Immigration Restrictionist movement for his own benefit because he knows the vast majority of Americans including many of his own "kool-aid drinking" audience are now increasingly for border security and immigration law enforcement. Rush has been a follower not a leader in the shift in public opinion on immigration. Rush wised up when he saw that he was risking taking a huge hit in his ratings. Yet up until a couple of years ago Rush was a hard core loyal Bushie willing to carry water for Karl Rove on the pro Open Borders immigration agenda. Where "ThinkProgress" is totally wrong is with posting quotes like this from hardcore Latino Open Borders shills. _What can I tell you? It's the same kind of nasty, bigoted, racist type of comment that has become so prevalent in today's society, as practiced by LOU DOBBS, as practiced by [Sean] Hannity, [Bill] O'Reilly, [Michael] Savage -- all these guys who are appealing to a particular bigoted audience, and fanning the fires of bigotry and racism by doing these kinds of things without real concern about the consequences of their words._ Thinkprogress is trying to deliberately confuse Lou Dobbs with the rest of the right-wing noisemakers. Yet anybody who has listened to Dobbs' new radio show will see that he has a very diverse listening audience that includes a large number of Latinos and AAs. Futhermore Dobbs' guest list is far more varied than the standard same old white male conservative or liberal pundits. Last Dobbs style is very different from the old school gasbags like Rush and Hannity on the right or a Randi Rhodes on the left. Dobbs is as good a listener as a talker and is very polite. Thinkprogress clearly has a OpenBorders agenda and the rapidly growing popularity of an otherwise independent talk radio hosts like Dobbs who clearly articulate their oppostion and foster open intelligent debate on the issue are the greatest threat to it.

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 08:48
John Parr
www.e-us-visa.com

anonymous quoted right! really Mexicans are only getting advantage of their physical closeness to US. and now they want to silence all anti invasion campaigns. this is ridiculous!! JWP ---------- New York Immigration Lawyer Marina Shepelsky, located in Brooklyn, assists clients from the New York metro area and across the United States in all immigration and naturalization matters http://www.e-us-visa.com

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 10:28
Anon

No one but Limbaugh knows but, really, who cares one way or the other? I wish these kids (many seem kind of immature) would think more substance and less about how someone might be offended. That really doesn't matter much. The policy implications of open borders do but too many are so wrapped up in trying to feel moral outrage or superiority they can't comprehend that open border policy is a betrayal of principled liberalism. One encouraging sign: a good number always refuse to throw Dobbs in with the rest because they like his populism. Thus they don't swallow whole the Dobbs is the devil dogma--his liberal economic bona fides surely causes a few to take a second look at the immigration area. The diversity culture is so ingrained that I think any headway will be mostly limited to economic arguments, e.g., anti-cheap labor, and work condition/human right arguments. Social, cultural, etc. isn't going to convince any of these lefties and probably just turns them off. Anti-sovereignty and the corruption of illegal immigration I think they can get if they see that it is a sub-issue of business takeover of democracy, an issue central to the Left. How can they not see that weakening their power as a citizen in favor of a borderless world where citizenship doesn't matter isn't going to advance their cause? You'd think more of these bloggers and their followers would be for Nader but instead I see too many sanctimonious, feel good corpo-Dems who talk as if someone like Obama will be fundamentally different. Surely some are skeptical, at least privately. Then again, not a lot of reporting and commentary from the Left takes a critical look: http://beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=5413#more

Thu, 05/08/2008 - 07:00
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/freddawes1776

Well said Mary thank you.

Thu, 05/08/2008 - 14:58
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/freddawes1776

Yesterday a had to go to L.A. For the boss and what i saw was Mexico city right up front, within 20 years this Nation of Laws will be a Dream in the mind of a old person and this place we once called USA Will be a nightmare just like Mexico just like China and the third world rulers and one world pigs will have beaten us down and after all people who will not stand up by the millions have that nightmare coming.

Fri, 05/09/2008 - 14:55
Mary

Third World already here...yesterday NY Post reported Bedbugs now in the subway system in New York!