I thought the SPLC’s profile of Geller was spot-on. An excerpt:
By mid-2010, the telegenic Geller had become a virtual fixture on Fox News, invited to comment not only on the supposed threat posed by Muslims and Shariah law in America but even on popular unrest in Arabic countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Through her website, Geller has promulgated some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories found on the extreme right, including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that Obama was once involved with a “crack whore,” that his birth certificate is a forgery, that his late mother posed nude for pornographic photos, and that he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam. She has described Obama as beholden to his “Islamic overlords” and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America. In April 2011, Geller accused Obama of withholding evidence in the then-upcoming trial of accused Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
Geller uses her website to publish her most revolting insults of Muslims: She posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a pig’s face (observant Muslims do not eat pork). Geller also has denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in Srebrenica – calling it the “Srebrenica Genocide Myth,” even though the Serbian government itself issued a state apology for the massacre. She wrote, “Westerners are admitting to their role in something that didn’t happen, and digging their own graves.”
To say Geller is an anti-Muslim bigot is putting it mildly. LGF’s documentation of her insanity demonstrates that there are some depths that are simply incomprehensible.
Of course, none of this stopped the commentators at National Review Online from demonstrating support for Geller back in February. Here’s one post with a decidedly neutral tone and another that’s more explicit about what that tone is trying to achieve. If all of that’s too subtle, here’s a celebration of Geller made at the same site.
Why am I going through all this dirty laundry? Partly because Atlas Shrugs was recently listed as a “hate site” by PayPal and denied the ability to use the service (sadly, PayPal seems to have recanted). But also partly because National Review – once the premier conservative magazine, once a publication that could actually be trusted – has become nothing but a haven for craven talking heads seeking to get some online buzz by catering to fanatics and idiots. I don’t know this is ideological on their part as much as an attempt to stay relevant. (The competition for right-wing extremist of the year is pretty fierce.)
Which brings us to Michele Bachmann. Jonah Goldberg of NRO starts off fairly sensibly about her:
Michelle Bachmann will be put through far, far worse if she’s the nominee (and even if she’s not). She has a lot of colorful statements that she deserves to be asked about and a record as a Representative that is entirely fair game. And even if you don’t think she “deserves” to be asked about them, she will be anyway. And if she’s not she’ll be in far worse shape politically if she’s the nominee and the Democrats start rolling them out.
This is a bit milder than I would like. After all, this is the same woman who said regarding health-care reform:
What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.
(Ah, of course. I didn’t quite get the memo on that one. I thought you just had a thing called a “vote,” but apparently there’s this other procedure.)
In any case, Goldberg concludes his remarks about Bachmann thus:
I’m a fan of Bachmann’s and I think she’s wildly underestimated (that doesn’t mean, by the way, she’s my first choice for the nomination. I don’t have a first choice yet).
I’m not sure what sense any of that makes. You’re a “fan,” but you don’t have a first choice. I mean, she’s not exactly a figure one can be neutral on. You’re either with her or against her – that much is clear even from the “blood brothers” quote.
The only reason why one would pretend any neutrality about Bachmann was if one felt there was a market in appealing to crazies that needed to be tapped. It’s not just NRO playing this game. There’s a lot of right-wing media doing a disservice to partisanship, conservatism, our fellow citizens and the country for a few more pageviews. And I just don’t get it. I think there are some perfectly credible candidates in the GOP race that could be profiled in a positive way. And serious conservative media should be able to find and describe the good in people of all faiths. I seem to recall someone saying this:
America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many others. Every faith is practiced and protected here, because we are one country. Every immigrant can be fully and equally American because we’re one country. Race and color should not divide us, because America is one country.
That was George Bush in 2002. Of course, he spent too much money in his administration and went to war, so that made him to a large part of this country the worst President ever, except for Obama, who is even worse (see the ideas advanced by Geller above for that sensible argument). At some point, people have to realize that fighting for crazies doesn’t really create media. What it does is make people say the same thing over and over in an attempt to hold their attention for a few seconds more.