sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

February 18, 2012

MSNBC Fires MSNBC’s Foreign Policy Amen Corner

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, threatening the world’s supply of oil.  International sanctions immediately followed.  As the world was readying for war, Pat Buchanan went on American television to opine that:

There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.

Also that:

The civilized world must win this fight,’ the editors thunder. But, if it comes to war, it will not be the ‘civilized world’ humping up that bloody road to Baghdad; it will be American kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown.

Blacks, Hispanics, Pat Buchanan has your back — at least when it comes to Jews.

I’m not sure why any of it should had come as a surprise.  In the ’80s and early ’90s Buchanan wrote a total of 9 columns defending John Demjanjuk — and that’s not counting other Nazi war criminals.  These columns included everything from accusing the Holocaust victims of mass hysteria to Holocaust revisionism.  In 2009 Buchanan outdid himself in a  Human Events column (reprinted by Ron Paul’s buddy Lew Rockwell, among other people) that compared Demjanjuk to Jesus.  Not a surprise either, considering that by then the distinguished paleocon was hosting Holocaust deniers at his website and wrote a book about the, you know, peaceful Hitler.

But I digress.  In 1991 William F. Buckley castigated Buchanan, and although the commentator amassed 3 million votes in his 1992 Presidential run, he fell out of favor thereafter.  During the events leading up to Golf War 2 Buchanan became the “conservative” amen corner of the liberal media.  Back then my gentile co-workers gushed over his “anti-war” editorial for the New York Times as my pacifist Jewish co-workers gulped.  Ten years ago conservatives didn’t consider Buchanan one of our own.  (In any event, why is this isolationist and protectionist a conservative?)

MSNBC hired Buchanan in 2002 because they agreed with him on the Iraq war, which was back then the most pressing issue of the day.  Buchanan’s racist anti-Semitic history was already well-known, and was not an issue.  He came on board because he was not a foreign policy conservative.  Moreover, as Alana Goodman eloquently put:

It always seemed odd that MSNBC, the far-left network, employed one of the most fringey, controversial, anti-Semitic figures on the right. But then again, there was probably a good reason for it. The left still wishes all conservatives were as easy to demonize as Pat Buchanan.

Now that our military is gutted out and foreign policy issues do not animate broadcasters, the liberal network has no use for poor Pat.

As a conservative with a libertarian bend I have no problem with a decision by a private news network to sever ties with a contributor.  I have to disagree with Profrssor Jacobson.  If MSNBC doesn’t want to hire conservatives, it’s their prerogative.  If they use Media Matters’ guidelines to select their lineup, that’s also entirely up to them.

Buchanan’s complains that he’s being “blacklisted” are laughable, particularly considering that he’s a defender of Joe McCarthy.  In any event, here is his statement:

The modus operandi of these thought police at Color of Change and ADL is to brand as racists and anti-Semites any writer who dares to venture outside the narrow corral in which they seek to confine debate. All the while prattling about their love of dissent and devotion to the First Amendment, they seek systematically to silence and censor dissent.

Nothing says “the narrow corral” like Holocaust revisionism.

I find Buchanan’s complaint that the ADL gets to to tell us who is an anti-Semite particularly noxious.  The definition of anti-Semitism should not be left to Buchanans and Mearsheimers of the world.  It’s the ADL’s job not merely to explain what anti-Semitism is, but to make racism and anti-Semitism socially unacceptable.  As a conservative with a libertarian bend I am entirely comfortable with private groups defining our moral standards.  And while the ADL loses credibility when it glides over or ignores anti-Semitism on the left, it’s correct about Buchanan.  Shame on conservative commentators like Sean Hannity for having Buchanan on his show as a regular guest.

Without a hearing, they smear and stigmatize as racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic any who contradict what George Orwell once called their “smelly little orthodoxies.” They then demand that the heretic recant, grovel, apologize, and pledge to go forth and sin no more.

Is the Holocaust now a “smelly little orthodox[y]”, I wonder?  It’s irrelevant, though, because as I said, if MSNBC had a problem with Buchanan’s anti-Semitism, he would have never be hired in a first place.

Defy them, and they will go after the network where you work, the newspapers that carry your column, the conventions that invite you to speak. If all else fails, they go after the advertisers.

Nice try.  Color of Change did go after advertizes on Beck’s show, but what does it have to do with Pat Buchanan?  He insinuated that his former employer was threatened with a boycott.  In light of him failing to produce the evidence of such threat, I am going to assume that it’s paranoia speaking.

I know these blacklisters. They operate behind closed doors, with phone calls, mailed threats, and off-the-record meetings. They work in the dark because, as Al Smith said, nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.

What kind of conservative demands “a hearing” for being fired?  His bosses made a decision behind closed doors, alright, but Pat Buchanan has no constitutionally guaranteed right to a job with MSNBC.  Traditional stoic masculinity dictates that Mr. Buchanan deals; instead he issued a hyperbolic statement.

The drama queen knows what he’s doing.  With so many decades in the public eye behind him, Buchanan must had noticed that punditry is a high turnover business.  One day you are in, and the next day you are paling around with the Institute for Historical Review.  Seriously, we are dealing with middle brow entertainment here.  Buchanan is trying to generate some sort of controversy by championing his own victimhood.  Cry me a river.

Does refusal to put conservatives on its payroll tell us that MSNBC is kind of lame?  It does, but not so much because they hired Buchanan as much as because said paleocon was their token conservative.  They will go down in history as a news channel that employed a noted anti-Semite for a decade.  I dare them to put a respectable Goldwater/Reagan conservative on the air.

UPDATE: Link fixed.



  1. The whitest, least diverse line-up on TV may be found at MSNBC and, furthermore, the Left is traditionally where Antisemitism has found its home. MSNBC fired Buchanan because the group which claims to “celebrate diversity” can’t tolerate it.

    Comment by Harrison — February 19, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  2. I suspect that Buchanan’s ratings were pathetically low.

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — February 20, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  3. Conservatives on Fire,
    Even if his ratings were low, MSNBC is not citing it as a reason for firing. I suspect their business decisions are too often driven by ideology, which is their problem, not mine.
    On the other hand, here is a funny post by a liberal:
    They like Buchanan because he’s easy to caricature. They get to dismiss everything he says because he’s a known racist, and pet themselves on the head for allowing decent.

    MSNBC was Buchanan’s natural home.

    Comment by edge of the sandbox — February 20, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    • I don’t know about MSNBC being his natural home… I always thought the McLaughlin Group, but Libs can stand diversity.

      Comment by Harrison — February 20, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  4. I used to like Pat Buchanan back in the day. I thought him running in 1992 was a wake-up call for the RINO/Squish Coalition of Douche that make up the GOP leadership. I could respect him for that.

    But over the years, it became clear that Buchanan was and still is an anti-Semite. Bill Buckley kicked a bunch of Jew-haters out of the conservative movement. It doesn’t seem right that we would start letting them back in.

    If MSNBC wants to fire PB, that’s fine. I know it’ll hurt all ten of their viewers, but they’ll go meet in a phone booth, drink some decaf mocha lattes and then get over it.

    Comment by KingShamus — February 20, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    • Personally I think conservatism would be better off if Buchanan would get lost. The vast majority of Buchanan gotcha quotes liberals have listed are only objectionable in the light of other things he said. Buchanan opposes affirmative action? So do I. But I oppose it because I believe everyone should be held up to the same standard, and he has other reasons. And I don’t think Buchanan has a leg to stand on when it comes to immigration considering that he opposed denaturalization and deportation of SS members. Maybe MSNBC should hire another conservative who wrote books on immigration, like Victor Davis Hanson and see if they can brand him as a racist.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — February 21, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  5. the media is beyond pathetic..and a propaganda tool at best my friend!

    Comment by Angel — February 21, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

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