Republican Blogger Reaction to Racist Emails: Silence, Misdirection, Slander

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The reaction - or lack thereof - of Virginia Republican bloggers to the racist emails pouring out of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee has been highly revealing.  In short, it's been a combination of silence, misdirection/red herrings, and attacks on the messenger that border on libel/slander/defamation. Let's take these in order.1. First off, Republican bloggers have been silent. The question, as NLS correctly asks, is why?  Is it because, as NLS wonders, they are "completely out of the loop and really shocked when this stuff surfaces?" Or, do they know deep down that their party is filled with racism, and simply don't know how to respond when it comes out into the light of day? Or maybe when they don't get clear direction from above? It's pathetic, but it's also highly revealing.
2. Second, we have misdirection, mostly about the "backstory" of how the emails came to be forwarded around, and also how they ended up on a Democratic blog (this one). I can answer that latter question, although I'm not going to reveal my source(s) for reasons that should be obvious to any journalist, blogger, etc. On Monday afternoon, I was going about my business when I received (at 2:38 pm) a forwarded email with the racist "joke" by (now ex-) Virginia Beach Republican Party chair David Bartholomew. I was disgusted, so I posted it (at 2:54 pm, a whole 16 minutes after receiving the email). I also posted a screen shot of the email, which clearly shows that it had been forwarded from Mr. Bartholomew on March 15, 2010. Why I only received the email on October 18, 2010, I have no idea. If anyone would like to look into this and let us all know, that would be great. Personally, I'd be curious.
As for the second email, I received that one yesterday (at 1:25 pm) and was even more horrified, as the racism was far worse (in my opinion) than in the first email. I posted that email as well (at 2:17 pm, a whopping 52 minutes after receiving it), along with a link to the far-right-wing website that posted the video and a screen shot of Scott Rigell's website showing that the forwarder of the email was listed as one of his endorsers.  That email originally was forwarded by former VB Republican Committee chair Karen Beauchamp on July 31, 2010. Again, if anyone wants to look into the status of Ms. Beauchamp's email between July 31, 2010 and October 19, 2010, that would be great; I'd be curious to know what they find out! In the meantime, I find it fascinating that Republican bloggers are more interested in the "backstory" - if there is one - than the FRONT story - the blatant racism exhibited by leading members oftheir party.
3. Finally, we get into libel/slander/defamation territory, specifically over at Republican blog Bearing Drift. There, extreme right wingnut Brian Schoeneman strongly implies that yours truly "sat on these emails for months or he is willingly serving as a patsy for someone trying to launch an October surprise on Scott Rigell." Shoeneman proceeds to claim that "Lowell doesn't care about stamping out racism, or calling out those who engage in it," and also that "Lowell basically condoned the racism - it wasn't important enough to him to out these people until it became politically helpful for his chosen candidate in VA-2."  Fellow right-wingnut blogger J.R. Hoeft then weighs in with his own deep thoughts, asking, "If recent emails by members of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach are truly so offensive, then why has Lowell chosen to release them in parts and only in October?"
Again, note the implication by these Republican bloggers - I supposedly had these emails for months and waited until the last moment to help Glenn Nye, who everyone reading Blue Virginia knows is just my favorite Democrat ever!!!  Yeah, that latter part is laughable in and of itself, given how much I've ripped into Nye and how much I can't stand the guy (he's practically a Republican in his voting record). But as for the first part, accusing me of fundamental dishonesty and sliminess - the type that Republican bloggers so often engage in - that's 100%, absolutely false, and I'd be happy to swear that in court. I'd also be happy, if libel and slander law would allow, to take Messieurs Shoeneman and Hoeft to court on this one. They are so wrong, it's beyond belief, and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this crap. The only problem is, in the United States under the 1st Amendment, they have the right to say just about anything they want, and I'm not sure I could win that case. Still, it's extremely tempting and I will be looking into it today...