Code Red, Fear-Mongering and Fat Babies

It’s business as usual in the blogosphere, where the punching bags du jour include the media, politicians and fellow bloggers.

Today’s punching bags in the blogosphere? The media. Politicians. Fellow bloggers. In other words, business as usual.

Nathan Goulding of National Review’s Media Blog isn’t surprised that the Associated Press is, in his words, “baffled” by the arrest of two men in Michigan charged yesterday with “supporting terrorism.” To make his case, Goulding points to this sentence in the AP’s report today about how the men were found with airplane passenger lists and airport security information, $11,000 cash and 12 cell phones: “[The Assistant County Prosecutor] declined to say how the phones, cash or flight information involved terrorism.” Huffs Goulding: “The media’s inability (or unwillingness) to connect the dots continues to amaze.”

Elsewhere, Caleb Rogers contends there has been altogether too much connecting of the dots by the media, singling out today’s news of a foiled terror plot involving airplanes. “I’m really sick of this State of Fear crap going on in the media, propagated by the current U.S. administration and the British government. It really makes my stomach turn,” gripes Rogers. “This morning, while poking through the channels, I came across a breaking news alert on CNN. I didn’t listen long because the BS was sickening. Apparently, there was some plot uncovered by British Intelligence regarding liquid-based bombs detonating on planes coming into the United States. Now, as a result of these ‘findings’ we can no longer carry liquids on the planes, with very few exceptions.” To Rogers’ nose, this “fiasco … stinks of fear mongering,” and he warns readers not to “take anything you hear in the mainstream media at face value. You should assume that they are lying at worst, and spinning the facts at best. Nothing that comes out of their mouths can be accepted as the simple truth. Something darker is going on here.”

“Something darker” like … “Lieberman loses, CODE RED, CODE RED, CODE RED”? John in DC at americablog asks, “[I]sn’t it queer that the emergency is declared within a day of Republican party leader Ken Mehlman launching an all-out offensive against Democrats following Joe Lieberman’s loss in Connecticut, an offensive in which Mehlman, the White House and Republican operatives are claiming that Democrats no longer care about national security or the war on terror? And just at that moment we get our FIRST ever red alert. Beam me up, Scotty.”

At Town Hall, americablog’s post is dismissed as “early-morning shark-jumping.” Continues Mary Katharine Ham: “Oh, Lordy. This is why another meme was starting yesterday — the one that says the Netroots liberals are driving the Democratic Party over the anti-war edge, to a place where they can no longer be trusted on national security issues (and, frankly, they were iffy before). International terrorist plot, guys. You got a victory yesterday, but it’s really not all about you.”

And it’s really not all about the Bush administration, either, Rob Zazueta will have you know. By comparing news reports by CNN and BBC on the thwarted terror plot — “CNN doesn’t talk too much about the investigation itself, while the BBC goes into some detail, quoting Tony Blair as he praises investigators” — Zazueta concludes that “this was all the UK’s victory,” though he has “no doubt the [Bush] administration will spin it” as their own victory. “It’s true that our guys probably knew about it, but it was the Brits who told them. Don’t be fooled into thinking Bush’s new, scary America is working. It’s not.”

And finally, it is a different sort of “scary America” that has WebSlog issuing an “Alarming Meme Watch” this morning (prompted by a story in the Detroit Free Press on the “boom in overweight U.S. babies.”) Writes WebSlog: “I’m sad for babies being born overweight. But I’m already waaaay sad about how we as a nation will handle this emerging story,” before going on to map out “how the story will play out.” On August 10: “Fat Babies story first runs in national media. Pop-culture pundit wannabes and bloggers rejoice as the story gives them something else to write about other than the coming Apocalypse.” Five days from now: “The national media juggernaut awakens, shakes off the dust and slouches off toward the nation’s parks and day-care centers. Fat babies are filmed playing from the neck down (to protect their anonymity) and reaching for zwieback as concerned voice-overs nationwide drone on about baby obesity … the coming storm.” Also in our future, according to WebSlog? The “mandatory ‘Fattest Towns in America for Babies’ fauxsearch study. … supported by a media tour featuring noted Baby Obesity Expert,” “Fox News reporting that American babies have never been healthier,” “a photo opp of Pres. Bush running with a group of babies” and, eventually, a “No Babies’ Fat Behinds Act of 2006.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.