Letting it all hang out, &c.


Like you, maybe, I have mixed feelings about these journalistic “sting operations” — in which people assume false identities, catching other people in the act of being themselves. But what these operations uncover is marvelous. The targets speak very, very frankly. And, the more frankness, the better.

Have you read about NPR? For an Associated Press report, go here. An NPR executive denounced the Tea Party to two people he believed to be with a Muslim organization. He said, “They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting — it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

Not just racist, mind you: “racist, racist.” If the Tea Party continues to grow in numbers and influence, will it be racist, racist, racist?

In my Tuesday column, I wrote a little about the new book that reports President Obama telling people that the Tea Party is racist. Telling people privately, that is. I say, out with it: You’re going to make these charges, make them publicly, and let’s discuss them.

I think the notion that the Tea Party is racist is bonkers. I have not noticed the Tea Party going easy on Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and other liberal palefaces. I have certainly noticed black participants in this movement. (Including a new congressman, Allen West.)

The anti-Tea Party crowd, of course, would like to airbrush the black participants out. (White them out?) Sorry, they exist — confidently and gloriously.

In vino veritas, goes the old expression. I propose a new expression: In “undercover videos,” veritas. And what’s the name of James O’Keefe’s website? “Project Veritas.” O’Keefe is the sting impresario who stung NPR, and, before them, ACORN. Another way to put that is — he shed light on them.

We might debate the ethics of stinging. But do you know more about ACORN and NPR than you once did? Or, have you had your suspicions confirmed? How about Planned Parenthood, whom “Live Action” stung?

Most of the time, or much of the time, I like it when people let it all hang out — even when the hanging out is ugly.

I feel sure of one thing: If O’Keefe et al. were on the left, not on the right, dedicated to embarrassing and exposing conservatives, they would be hailed as heroes of investigation, transparency, and truth. They would have won every award under the sun by now.

Once, years ago, a member of a news organization sent an e-mail denouncing me. Sent it to me, I mean. He had meant to send it to a colleague. I was sort of glad — sad, but glad. And the guy did some fast and pathetic dancing.

The below is from an item by Philip Klein at the AmSpecBlog:

An undercover video of a departing National Public Radio fundraising executive shows him nodding in agreement as men posing as representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group rip Jewish control of the media.

Eventually, the President of the NPR Foundation and VP for development, Ron Schiller, chimes in, saying that Zionist influence doesn’t exist at NPR, but “it’s there in those who own newspapers, obviously.”

Uh-huh. Here is one question (out of a hundred possible): What do people mean by “Zionist influence”? I’ve asked this over and over. Do they mean “Jewish influence”? But Jews disagree widely. Are they talking about Dennis Prager or Abbie Hoffman? (Okay, I realize Abbie’s dead — but not in spirit.) Or, by “Zionist influence,” do they mean the influence of people who support the right of Israel to exist? Who support the concept of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East?

Such a puzzlement.

When I was growing up, anti-Semitism was largely a phenomenon and disease of the Right — or at least I was told it was. In my adult life, it has been bigger, far bigger, on the left. So strange. (But not really: because Israel is seen as part of the West, and of Judeo-Christian civilization, and that is a kind of conservatism, and that is what must be opposed, in order to make way for the bright new day of . . . what? Sharia?)

I wonder if some of you feel as I do: I feel slightly ashamed at how little America is doing for the Libyans — people who are fighting and dying for their freedom (against a vicious dictatorship that, just in its spare time, has killed hundreds of Americans). I felt the same sensation when we did nothing for the Iranians, as they were trying to rise up in the summer of 2009: shame.

Is it “left-wing” to be ashamed of your country? Well, then, color me left-wing (for a change).

Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, is going through a spell of softness. He has released Haitham al-Maleh, an 80-year-old who has diabetes and other health problems. An AP report said, “Al-Maleh and 12 other political prisoners had begun a hunger strike this week to demand their release and the lifting of emergency laws . . .” Also, “It was not the first time al-Maleh had been jailed. He was imprisoned from 1980 to 1986 after demanding constitutional reforms.”

It’s amazing — flabbergasting, really — what people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of freedom.

But we all know — because our wise “realists” tell us so — that the Arabs don’t give a rip about freedom. Just like the Asians didn’t, just like the Latin Americans didn’t . . .

Do you know the name of Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina? Of course you don’t. How could you? He is a Cuban prisoner of conscience, near death on a hunger strike. If he had been a hunger-striking prisoner in apartheid South Africa, he would have been on the cover of every magazine in the Western world. But no one — trust me, no one — cares about Cuba.

Except to the extent we want to make a little money, go sip our mojitos, indulge in underage prostitution . . .


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review