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Thursday, November 29, 2007 
julia versus the blogs
yesterday, the indy star's token leftist columnist dan carpenter made a dig at the anti-julia blogs:

"Absolutely," Sarge Visher replied near the end of an overwhelming Monday at the workplace he runs, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson's home office on Fall Creek Parkway.

"The response we're getting to her situation is not what the blogs have been dishing up. These are nice people."

Weblogs, decidedly mixed and often vicious when it comes to treatment of his boss and friend, barely existed when she asked him to manage her first try for Congress back in 1996. The often-anonymous, increasingly influential gossip mills make a strong case that social change is not always progressive; and that makes for deep irony when they're aimed at Julia Carson.

indeed. yet ruth holladay objects:

But since Dan Carpenter in the Star yesterday referred to the "often vicious" treatment Rep. Carson received from bloggers, I feel a tiny obligation to enter the fray.

The blogs were in fact the only early and consistent truth-tellers about Carson's repeated health problems. The blogs addressed concerns, which now we know were valid, that she was extremely unwell. Before there were blogs, it was readers who called the Star, demanding coverage of the fact that Carson missed, at various times, so many votes in Congress. It was readers who got that story out in the open, not the Star's Washington bureau.

If the blogs were vicious, it was, perhaps, only because they were trying to do the job the Star should have done.

like clockwork, ruth's comments showed up in a post at antijulia, where gary exhorts that "Carpenter would have fit right in with the reporters in the 1960s who covered up all the Kennedy scandals in the name of protecting Camelot."

now, i appreciate ruth's impulse to jump in and defend bloggers against criticism from mainstream media figures, but i have to wonder whether ruth has ever actually read the blogs that she's so quick to defend.

the anti-julia blogs routinely call her racist nicknames like "bag lady" and "ghetto queen". they insist that julia is the head of some corrupt, nefarious organization they call "the ghetto mafia", which they claim routinely took part in felonious activity such as widespread voter fraud.

even now, as julia presumably lays dying in hospice care, they continue to impugn her honor and integrity. and don't even get me started on the absurd rumor they're still trying to spread that andre carson is the illegitimate love child of julia and andy jacobs. or that julia practices voodoo. or the rumor about julia stealing some dude's wallet.

these are vile, hateful people who have relentlessly used every attack they can think of against julia, even after they've been debunked. to say that the blogs have been "decidedly mixed and often vicious" about julia is putting it lightly.

perhaps blogs were the first ones to question the congresswoman's health. as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Julia Carson has one of the most progressive voting records in Congress but the frothing rightwing Indianapolis blogs never mention her political positions -- it's all about her hair or health. It's quite sexist in that she is assumed to have no political identity or ideology but it's all about personal appearance or style -- that a Congresswoman has no brains, just a body. That must be the rightwing Republican ideal of womanhood! ¶

You said, "now, i appreciate ruth's impulse to jump in and defend bloggers against criticism from mainstream media figures, but i have to wonder whether ruth has ever actually read the blogs that she's so quick to defend."

"the anti-julia blogs routinely call her racist nicknames like "bag lady" and "ghetto queen". they insist that julia is the head of some corrupt, nefarious organization they call "the ghetto mafia", which they claim routinely took part in felonious activity such as widespread voter fraud."

You are always so deceptive in your analysis. The term "ghetto mafia" was coined by none other than RiShawn Biddle, former editorial writer for the Star. He is a black man. It is not a term I use, although it is frequently used by other African-American critics of Ms. Carson, including Darla Williams and Jocelyn Tandy. I believe Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, another African-American blogger referred to her as the "ghetto queen" just recently. I guess your point is that Abdul, Darla and Jocelyn, all African-Americans, are all racists towards Julia.

Do you not have one ounce of objectivity in your bones? We have documented lie after lie Rep. Carson and her staff have put out about her health condition to the public. Yet, you pretend it never happened. Instead, you choose to portray people like myself who still believe telling the truth is a little important as a Julia basher and a Julia hater. It is beyond me how someone can be so blindly partisan as to lose all sense of ratinoality as you do. But given that Wilson is the only person who seems to comment regularly on your blog, it should come as no surprise. ¶

right, you just believe in telling the truth... like about how julia practices voodoo? you've been out to get julia since last year. now that she's announced her illness and that she won't run for re-election, i kind of figured you would have some decency and go a little easier on her, but i guess not.

like i said in an earlier post, i don't mind julia getting a bit of privacy in dealing with her cancer. if that includes a couple white lies to the press while she gets her shit together, i can deal with that as long as it doesn't go on too long. on the other hand, as an elected official, she does have a responsibility to her constituents. the real question is: where is the proper balance? you might be right that the media gave her too much deference.

neither of us know what was said at julia's doctor visits. you immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion: she's been dying and lying to us about it for months or years. i'm more willing to give her the benefit of the doubt: even if she's known for awhile that she had cancer, it doesn't mean she knew it was terminal until recently. she'd already beaten cancer once, so why shouldn't she think she can beat it again? i suspect that when she ran for re-election in '06 and probably even when she went on leave in august (?), she really did believe she would return to washington soon and carry out her term. she's a fighter like that.

at any rate, dan carpenter knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote that the blogs have been "decidedly mixed and often vicious" toward julia, and i wanted to make sure that didn't get overlooked. the fact that one of your criticisms turned out to be legitimate doesn't justify the other crap the right-wing blogs have thrown at julia.

p.s. i love you using jocelyn and darla as examples in your defense. those are two of the nuttiest julia-haters out there. is that the best you've got? ¶

oh, and lest we forget, rishawn was fired by the star for using racially offensive language. does that mean he hates all blacks? not necessarily, but he is known for using racist language. i hadn't heard that he coined the term "ghetto mafia", but if true, that's hardly evidence that it's not racist.

as for abdul, he's rishawn's buddy and apologist, and just yesterday wrote a post mocking black democrats for having gold teeth and baby mamas. so he might not be ready to start burning crosses, but he's not one to avoid using racially charged language, either. ¶


Aren't you actually compounding the problem of name calling by writing the specific keywords into your post?

Doesn't increasing the number of references serve to give "credence" as far as search engines are concerned?

To AI,

" deceptive in your analysis"?!?!

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Isn't that almost mandatory in Indianapolis political blogging? Most everybody has an agenda around here, and the spin is always going to be written to suit the poster/blogger. To decry it in others is disengenuous. Well, except for myself of course. I, am the paragon of precision and fairness.
;) ¶

—posted by Anonymous varangianguard, at 11:02 AM, November 30, 2007  
varangian: i linked to google searches because it was easier (and more effective) than linking to specific examples. there are just too many examples to link to.

at any rate, me repeating the terms here isn't going to raise the number of hits by more than a couple... not enough to make a real impact. ¶

Nice tribute and photos to Congresswoman Carson on Advance Indiana tonight. Sounds like the blog ownerer went down there himself to pay tribute to her. He sounds nicer than he was made out to be. ¶

—posted by Anonymous freedom guy, at 11:13 PM, November 30, 2007  
indeed, gary does have some nice photos of the vigil. they're here.

indy star has a one-minute video here.

i'm not surprised gary went. like i said, i'd been expecting him to lighten up on julia sooner or later. gary has written some really over-the-top stuff about julia in the past couple years, but he's not a monster. unfortunately, i can't say the same for some of his regular commenters. ¶

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