On Labor Day we were expecting to interview Daryl Johnson, former senior domestic terrorist analyist at the Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, but he had to reschedule at the last minute. Without a guest, Steve and Mike forged ahead by explaining the unexpected controversy that stemmed from a relatively routine report written by Mr. Johnson and released in early 2009.
The report, called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Radicalization and Recruitment,” was intended for law enforcement. But it was immediately leaked by the far right in order to attack the new administration.
Since many of the potential terrorist groups and militias consist of former members of the military, the right characterized the report as an attack on the military and the 2nd Amendment. They even threatened a Congressional investigation. The obvious intent was to hurt the new administration before it had a chance to get its feet on the ground.
With its plate full of more important issues inherited from the Bush administration such as the economic crisis it, the Iraq War, the Afghan War and more, the new administration chose not to fight back. So Democrats stopped all investigations and reporting of potential domestic terrorist groups.
Moreover, the DHS apologized for the report and disbanded Johnson’s department.
Too often this is the Democratic reaction to right wing attacks, said Mike and Steve. For example, Democrats also failed to fight back against to the fabricated and unjustified attack on Shirley Sherrod. More recently, the administration has seemed slow to respond to Republicans’ false claims that President Obama cut $740 billion from Medicare.
Steve and Mike asked why Democrats don’t fight back. After some discussion, they answered their own question by concluding that attacks are simple and often memorable, while honest explanations are complicated and often boring.
They also discussed the media’s reluctance to use the word “lie” with regard to the Republican National Convention. Ryan’s and Romney’s speeches were filled with false and misleading statements, yet the media has refused to describe them as such. Mike had compiled a list of euphemisms used in reporting the convention, such as “factual shortcuts,” “factually shaky,” “double-speak,” “demonstrably misleading,” “prevarications,” etc.
Perhaps if the media actually called a lie a lie, Republicans might tell fewer of them.