Normally, I don’t care to mention Oliver Willis here, but the jerk’s gone and outdone himself this time — both in prominence and sheer degree of asshattery.
I have to give Wilis credit for one thing above all else: he’s honest. He doesn’t conceal his douchebaggery, he proudly wears it on his sleeve. He’s openly partisan; he backs the Democrats in general, and he’s aligning himself with Barack Obama specifically on the presidential campaign trail.
But he doesn’t limit himself to just pushing his guy upward. He also has to pull the rest down. And while he takes the occasional half-hearted swipe at Hillary Clinton, he reserves his strongest venom for the Republican frontrunners. He hits them with the standard talking points: Fred Thompson is lazy, Mike Huckabee is a religious nut, Rudy Giuliani is a philandering abuser of power…
…and Mitt Romney is a scary cultist.
Now, Willis works for Media Matters For America, “a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” In other words, rooting out and silencing any hint that the media is straying from the left-wing agenda.
I’ve often accused Willis of combining his blogging with his work, using his blog as an extension of his efforts at Media Matters. But I might have to reconsider that, because in this case it’s fairly obvious that he didn’t bring his work home with him. He works for a professional “fact-checking” organization, but how thoroughly did he vet the anti-Mormon cartoon before deciding to publish it?
This is how he chooses to introduce the cartoon:
I don’t know enough about Mormon theology to know if this bit of propaganda is accurate or not (I know more about the people and the movement than what they worship) but it’s clear distinction from mainstream Christianity and the fact that it’s got over 500,000 views on Youtube can’t help someone like Mitt Romney.
Oliver apparently doesn’t know the origin of the cartoon, and doesn’t care. The person who did post the cartoon doesn’t offer any explanation either, but it’s obvious he has a major hard-on for Mormons — of his 11 videos, five are slams on Mormons and Mormonism.
At least Oliver is fairly consistent — he’s recently chided Clinton (gently, of course — she is a Democrat, did help found his employer, and is the wife of the Blessed Bill Who Can Do No Wrong) over both the Bill Shaheen swipes at Obama’s youthful drug use and their digging up his 3rd grade essay saying he wants to be president. He didn’t have anything to say about the two volunteers sacked for passing along rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim. Or was. Or something.
Much like the old saw about polticians, Oliver’s honest — once he’s bought, he stays bought.
I guess just repeating stuff you hear or see isn’t such a big deal. Whether or not it’s true, if you just pass along rumors (even those so thoroughly debunked as the “Obama the secret Muslim” load of tripe), you’re immune from any culpability.
I wish I could live with those kinds of rules. It’d make my blogging a bit easier.
But then, my employer doesn’t support my blogging. In fact, they’ve recently updated the rules specifically forbidding blogging on company time.
This is where Oliver usually trots out his “jealous” accusation. And it’s true. I wish to hell I had an employer that didn’t mind if I spent a good chunk of my time at work blogging. I also wish I didn’t have as much of a conscience as I do, where I could blissfully spread unfounded rumors and unverified accusations without any fear of being held accountable for their veracity.
But I don’t quite covet his status that much. I have some seriously messed-up sleep patterns already. I don’t need that keeping me up at night too.