UPDATE: I wrote the following post before the news broke of an alleged attempt by James O'Keefe to engage in an attempted event involving a CNN reporter, a boat, and a lot of sex paraphenalia. O'Keefe denies having a role in this. If O'Keefe is telling the truth - for a change - then this is a very wrong attempt by someone to treat O'Keefe in the same way he has treated his victims. For more details, read about it here. I find O'Keefe's claims that this really was an escapade generated by CNN, or the notion that the attractive CNN reporter had attempted to seduce weasel-faced, proven liar O'Keefe highly implausible.
I had intended the next factcheck.org item that I would review here on Penigma would be about the Republican 'Pledge' to/ with / against America (hint - it doesn't holdup well to fact checking), but instead, I think this merits comment first.
Congressman Grayson (D) of Florida has been caught misrepresenting the statements of an opponent in the 2010 elections, just like Right wingnut extremist James O'Keefe did in his ACORN faked videos that were 'heavily edited' so as substantially to alter the statements of people filmed without their knowledge or consent.
O'Keefe took statements made by people, overdubbed things that were not said, removed things which were said, and inserted video shot separately so as to appear to be part of the footage. All of this was done in an attempt to misrepresent the events he covertly filmed in a way to damage and discredit people and organizations purely for political gain and advantage.
What O'Keefe did was wrong; it was immoral and unethical, and overwhelmingly, people on the right - including bloggers like my friend Mitch on his blog Shot in the Dark- not only excused this behavior, they praised it and applauded it for advancing their political causes and ideology.
I was disappointed not to see more disapprobation of O'Keefe from the right. I was disappointed that they showed no interest in verifying if his videos were factual. Having that in mind, I want to do better regarding Congressman Grayson behaving similarly.
At least there is no indication in the factcheck.org evaluation that Grayson acquired the original footage by deception, or by trying falsely to gain life or death situation help from congressional candidate Dan Webster the way O'Keefe did. I don't know who did shoot the footage, but there was no blatant attempt to deceive or disparage anyone through insulting disguises. There don't appear to be any fake identities involved in obtaining the original footage, or secret filming of private conversations. Neither Grayson or whoever it was that made the original recordings has not attempted to entrap anyone into wrong-doing, or ignoring their guidelines and procedures through any desperate pleas for help -- unlike O'Keefe and his associates.
But what Grayson DID do that was like O'Keefe was to change what his adversary / political opponent said. Webster DID - like the ACORN staff - say what appears in the negative campaign ads of Grayson. But Grayson alters those words by what he removes to change what was said. Grayson calls Dan Webster 'Taliban Dan', and makes it appear that Webster believes in the religious right's 'dominion' or 'head-ship' practice where women are subordinate to men.
There are quite a few political figures on the right who endorse that position, including tea party candidates like Christine O'Donnell. In the Grayson ad, Webster appears to be insisting that women submit. I was offended to see references to this ad playing on cable networks as if it was a truthful position of Webster.
IT IS NOT Webster's position. Webster - when the full original footage is viewed - actually states that husbands should love their wives, and NOT embrace the biblical excerpts demanding or expecting their wives' submission. He advocates that it should be up to their wives to decide if that is a practice they wish to pray about following.
I don't happen to agree with male headship or dominionism; but I respect the approach to it as a belief demonstrated by Webster for those who do choose it. Webster's approach demonstrates a compassionate and loving strength of character, not the position of a bully or domineering man. I honor and applaud Mr. Webster's manner of participating in his faith, of reconciling the demands of his faith and Holy Writ with compassion, respect, and kindness.
Grayson, by contrast, was not only dishonest, he was a hypocrite. Grayson had been publicly very critical of the conduct of O'Keefe, and his Florida associate who came up with the idea, minister's daughter Hannah Giles. So, for Grayson to turn around and do the same thing as O'Keefe and Giles is doubly offensive. I condemn what he did, emphatically.
But I'm not going to stop there; simply protesting Grayson's conduct on this blog is insufficient. I'm also going to write to Congressman Grayson, expressing my dissatisfaction with his campaign ad, even though I do not live in his district, or even in his state. I object to this kind of conduct, this manipulative and exploitive calculated lying, whether it originates from a person on the left, like Grayson, or on the right, like Bachmann or O'Keefe, and I'm going to tell him so. If I get a response from Grayson, I'll share it here.
But I'm not going to stop there either. I'm forwarding the factcheck link to my friend on the right, to Mitch, the same blogger who was so adamantly defensive of the conduct of O'Keefe. I hope that he uses it to blast Grayson. But if he does so, I also hope he will rethink defending the dishonest conduct of O'Keefe, or his idol, Bachmann. I'm hoping that he won't be offended by my criticism, but rather that he will reach across politics to take a stand against bad political practice-- ALL of it. Whatever our respective politics, the actions of Grayson are a disservice to our political process. The actions of O'Keefe, which targeted ACORN for having gotten out the vote of segments of our citizenry which had not previously voted, did, in my opinion, an even greater disservice to our system of government. We should be able to agree about integrity, whatever else we agree or disagree about.
Because right or left, wrong is wrong.