John Hawkins: One thing you’ve covered on your blog is the number of liberals throwing food, pies mainly, at conservative speakers. Around the left side of the blogosphere, liberals have treated it as a big joke whereas conservatives have taken it much more seriously. What would you say to people who claim this is no big deal, it’s funny?
Michelle Malkin: I think that their snide reaction to the aggressive and violent behavior of a lot of these so-called tolerant and peaceful protestors is very telling. I’ve been on a handful of college campuses now talking about my book and one of the complaints is, “You guys do it, too.”
The other side pulls out the moral equivalency card and when I point out all of these instances of conservatives being targeted, Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol, David Horowitz, Pat Buchanan and Richard Perle, having shoes, pies and salad dressing thrown at them, and ask them, “You name me one liberal in the last couple of years who has been involved in a similar incident on a college campus.” They’re completely stumped. But, there’s no retraction of the main point that they’re trying to make — that we’re just as bad, that we’re equal on both sides. Again, I think that their inability to answer that question speaks for itself.
John Hawkins: It may not have been on a college campus, but I think someone threw something on George Soros a while back?
Michelle Malkin: Is that true? Ummm…
John Hawkins: …I don’t know if it was on a college campus though. It may have been out of the country, but I seem to remember someone throwing a pie at him…(Hawkins note: I looked this up after the interview and I was thinking of this incident where George Soros had a mixture of water and glue thrown at him in the Ukraine back in March of 2004.)
Michelle Malkin: You know, the whole movement started out as some sort of anti-Capitalist thing, which I guess is ironic. Well, not that ironic in Soros’ case. So you did have people like Bill Gates being pied and some stray incidents. Anna Wintour, the fashion magazine editor was recently pied by some animal rights folks. But clearly, I think this is a concerted effort by unhinged leftists on college campuses to stifle conservative free speech.
John Hawkins: Here are some words and phrases which were used to refer to Republicans from one thread on the Democratic Underground, an extremely popular forum for liberals, that was featured on RWN yesterday. This is how some of them view Republicans:
“sub-humans,” “useless eaters,” ”I can no longer peacefully co-exist with these people,” “hoping that they’ll all kill themselves before they kill us,” & they also added, “We may just be months away from Revolution in America.”
Does that surprise to you?
Michelle Malkin: No, it doesn’t at all. It’s just an extension of a lot of derangement that I talk about in the book and I focus on the Democratic Underground quite a bit. Now, again the people on the left who want to challenge the book will say, “Oh, that’s just a small fringe. It’s not representative of the mainstream of the Democratic Party.”
But, when you have folks like Elizabeth Edwards who post, lurk, and frequent that site on a regular basis, how can you say it’s not a mainstream Democratic site? It’s called the Democratic Underground, for goodness sake. I point out examples where she tried to rein in a lot of the really outrageous rhetoric on that site in a chapter on liberals wishing conservatives ill. She stood up when a lot of these same kind of people gloated over Laura Ingraham’s announcement that she had breast cancer. There were a few posters on that thread that agreed with her and applauded her for taking a civilized stance. But, as soon as she was gone, they were right back to throwing the mud and delving deeper into the hate filled cesspool. I think it’s instructive to visit that site every once in a while to see how off the rails and how deep they’ve gone into their invective and their hatred. And it’s not just for President Bush, it’s for their neighbors, for everyday rank and file Republicans and conservatives.
It’s the kind of rhetoric that people on our side just could not get away with. I think I’ve just gotten so sick and tired of watching them get a pass and allowing that rhetoric to go unchallenged and unabated…
John Hawkins: Well, here’s a related question: do you think the bad behavior of the left has gotten worse in the last few years or do you think it has always been this bad, but without the new media to report it, people weren’t aware it was happening?
Michelle Malkin: Ah, yes, right. The selection bias, I guess. Well, actually I think it has gotten worse. I’ve been covering politics and campaigns for 13-14 years now and I’ve been in some of the bluest of the blue areas of the country covering…the anti-illegal proposition in California and covering the very heated pitched battle over government racial preference in Washington State…And I honestly can’t say that I thought it’s ever been as bad as it was during the 2004 election campaign.
I have a…tongue-and-cheek chapter in the book called When Angry Democrats Attack that talks about a lot of those instances. I really think it’s escalated to a level we have not seen. It’s one thing to have run-of-the-mill election pranks on both sides of the aisle. You know, here and there cars getting keyed and signs getting stolen, but when you have registered Democrats who’re doing things like…Barry Seltzer in Florida, aiming (his car) at Katherine Harris and (you have Democrats) burning swastikas into the lawns of Bush/Cheney supporters, that has really crossed the line.
John Hawkins: In your new book, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, you show the most extreme examples of Democratic behavior including assaults, people advocating violence, etc. Do you think people like — for example — Howard Dean, Michael Moore, & Ted Rall are in anyway responsible for that radical behavior, even though they don’t advocate violence, because of the sort of rhetoric they use?
Michelle Malkin: No question about it. Again, it’s a double standard. There is no question that the New York Times’ editorial board would be pinning blame on Ken Mehlman, the White House, or Karl Rove if they did not distance themselves from the kind of behavior and “crackpottery” that Howard Dean tolerates on a daily basis.
You know, I mentioned Richard Perle getting a shoe thrown at him. This is in Portland and, excuse my language, but the culprit in that case, Bruce Charles, was so incensed by Richard Perle’s mere presence that he took off his shoe, hurled it, and called him a, “motherf*cking liar,” as Howard Dean stood there on stage and did nothing. All the tolerant liberals in the audience snickered, booed at Perle, and cheered this shoe thrower and this was a classic opportunity for Howard Dean to take a stand. Again, I think the silence was really deafening and telling and he squanders every opportunity to distance himself from the unhinged left.
He didn’t do it when he entertained these notions of Bush conspiracies with the Saudis over 9/11 and just this last week on Meet the Press when he was asked about the poisonous, racist smear campaign against Michael Steele, he was asked, “Do you condemn it, what’s your reaction to that?” His response was that Republicans were making it all up.
John Hawkins: One thing that has popped up a lot in recent years is the comparison of George Bush to Hitler, to Nazis, and do you think that’s a subtle call for violence? After all, if he’s Hitler and the troops are Nazis, then is it morally wrong to do something to prevent the Holocaust?
Michelle Malkin: Wow. That would be the logical conclusion if you really took that rhetoric to its proper end. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so worrisome because the whole Bush/Hitler meme is just so deeply entrenched in the anti-war left and you and I and most of the right side of the blogosphere have seen these images over and over again of Bush with the little mustache. Every time he waves, you know you’ve got some subliminal AP Photo Editor showing that with a salute. It’s fascinating to me that these people invoke the Fascism card at every turn.
Again, the point here is that it’s not just some loony college professor or a couple of lone folks that are using it. The Dick Durbin example was just a priceless example of just the thoughtlessness and “knee-jerkedness” that pervades the Democratic mindset. That he could so easily go onto the Senate floor without even thinking and use that analogy for our troops and by extension Bush, to object to the policies at Guantanamo Bay — I mean there are rational, sane, and grown-up discussions to be had about what the parameters should be…(Laughs) But comparing our interrogators there to the world’s worst three totalitarian regimes is not one of them.
John Hawkins: (Laughs) You have a chapter in your book called They don’t support our troops. Do you think the left in general supports the troops, most of them do, not many of them do — what do you think about that?
Michelle Malkin: Well, I would hope that there are sincere pacifists out there who do support our troops. I know that there are a lot of rank and file soccer moms on both sides of the aisle who contribute to things like Operation Gratitude, send things overseas, and wish the best for our men and women (in the Armed Forces), no matter what they think of the policies and the mission.
But, the anti-war left has just become completely overrun by people who harbor nothing but ill will towards our men and women overseas. Cindy Sheehan, Jimmy Massey, Ted Rall are certainly the face of that.
One of the things that I’ve become really aggravated about with the mainstream media is the total absence of any of these images that again, we always see on our side of the blogosphere because we’re trying to fill this vacuum of information. But that famous banner, “We support our troops when they shoot their officers,” – I mean, this idea that fragging is an effective anti-war tactic is out there, it’s on college campuses, and it’s not just Ward Churchill. We just saw that with this local community college professor who said the same thing to this poor conservative student. Good for her for blowing the whistle on it.
I’ve got (examples) that I’ve highlighted on my blog and talked about in the book of people who cheered Hasan Akbar, the soldier who was convicted of fragging his own officers in Kuwait. The anti-war left tells us not to question their patriotism, but how can you not when you see these bloody ideas and think about the bloody consequences of them?
John Hawkins: There was a sub-chapter in your book called “Bashing Jesusland.” Although it’s certainly not universal, do you think there is a strong strain of anti-Christianity in the Democratic Party?
Michelle Malkin: No question about it. (It’s in) pretty much every corner of the collective Democratic brain. When you’ve got folks like Bill Maher, the comedian, out there deriding religion as a neurological disorder and when you had a lot of these liberal media elites published in the New York Times, immediately after their election loss, blaming people of faith, and using these pejoratives“Jesusland” and “Redneckistan” and supposedly hinged people like Jane Smiley going after her Christian family members as morons…yeah, obviously we don’t see that kind of bigotry on the right and again, we would never get away with it.
But, there’s this hatred of people of faith, this fear, that’s accepted and certainly accepted in the media. I mean we’ve been hearing this for years and years and years. Peter Jennings derided people of faith as just blind, stupid followers.
John Hawkins: In Unhinged you say that, “Conservatives zealously police their own ranks to exclude extremists and conspiracy theorists; extremism and conspiracy theories have become the driving force of the Democrat Party.” Now if a Democrat said to you (and I hear this all the time myself), “Malkin, you’re talking about people on the fringes. Mainstream Democrats aren’t extremists and don’t believe in conspiracy theories,” what would you say to that?
Michelle Malkin: Well, I would point to Howard Dean #1 and the things that he allowed to pass in his interview with Diane Rehm, a Washington, D.C. talk show host. The “Bush Knew” theorizing permeates a lot of the anti-war left. Outside of the Democratic National Committee, you had folks passing out fliers early this summer (promoting) the, “Bush Knew,” meme, the, “Israel was guilty of plotting 9/11,” meme….
John Hawkins: Wasn’t that when they were having a fake impeachment hearing?
Michelle Malkin: Yes, that’s right, that’s right….When you have Ted Kennedy going on the Senate floor and saying point blank that the Iraq War was “a fraud cooked up in Texas” by Bush and the Republicans for electoral gain, that is not just some cafe in Berkeley where these things are being hatched.
John Hawkins: Now you shared some of the extremely vile, race based hate mail you got in the book and sadly, that’s become a very a common thing for minority conservatives to endure. Why do you think so many people on the left tend to be comfortable with launching vicious, race based attacks on minority conservatives?
Michelle Malkin: Well, for one I think they’ve gotten away with it and believe we’ll be silent about it lest we be tagged as whiners or complainers.
I think they think it’s justified — that we really are puppets, slaves, prostitutes, and whores and we deserve to be called all of those names. That’s essentially what Democrats in Maryland, where I live, have said about Michael Steele. That people who use these sorts of Ad Hominem attacks are justified in doing it because they’re just stating the obvious and I could do a whole sequel just on the Michael Steele episode alone. You’ve got Howard Dean suggesting that the whole thing was just completely made up and fabricated even though I’ve interviewed at least 3 people who were at Morgan State University, who saw the (Oreo) cookies being tossed onto the stage where Steele was campaigning for Lieutenant Governor at the time.
This kind of attack on minority conservatives has really gone on too long and if the so-called heirs of the civil rights movement aren’t going to do anything about it, you can bet I’m going to keep calling attention to it.
You know, I get sick of having to open up my mailbag and say, “Look, here they are again.” Every day it fills up with dozens and dozens of these kinds of letters, but I’m not going to whitewash it anymore.
I think there has been this protectionism by a lot of the mainstream media. They look the other way when liberals are making fun of people’s skin color, their eye shape, and their ethnic heritage. When you’ve got these liberal cartoonists like Gary Trudeau using pejoratives like, “Brown Sugar,” to talk about our Secretary of State, you know, I’m not going to stand for it anymore.
John Hawkins: Along with Glenn Reynolds and Charles Johnson, you’re one of the 3 really big bloggers involved with Pajamas Media/OSM. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved, what Pajamas media is doing, and how you think it’s going so far?
Michelle Malkin: (Laughs) I got involved because I was approached in the year it has been gestating and I’m a capitalist and they offered me a good deal on the advertising end of things. I loved working with Blogads and Henry Copeland is brilliant, but Pajamas Media came along with a better deal and I’m happy with that. I hope things work out.
I’m actually not a member of the editorial board, I’m just one of the many blogging contributors. Yeah, I have a lot of high hopes for some of the things they’re planning in terms of investigative journalism and the citizens’ journalist/blogger reporting efforts they’d like to get underway around the world.
I think it’s a good group of people. I admire and respect a lot of the other bloggers (involved) and I think there has been an admission that they’ve made some errors, you know, with respect to at least the name. I think going back to Pajamas Media is a good idea. I never had a problem with it in the first place, I thought it was fun, it’s easy to remember, and they had a good URL. So we’ll see how things go from there.
John Hawkins: Ever so often the topic of sexism in the blogosphere pops up. As the most popular female political blogger out there, what do you think? …Do you think sexism is a problem? Do you think women are being held back by their gender in the blogosphere?
Michelle Malkin: No, I don’t. I don’t buy into this idea that there is some sort of boys’ club keeping women out of the blogosphere. The barriers to entry are low to non-existent and in my case, I think that I had a lot of initial help, not because of my gender, but because I made a name for myself. I was a known quantity, because I’ve been slaving away, typing away, writing columns and just kind of paying my dues in the newspaper business for a long time.
But, there are so many ways to be able to get ahead and make yourself known. There are a lot of excellent women bloggers out there who are linked to not because they’re women, but because I like their stuff, I share their…interests, they have a lot of new and exciting information on their sites and great analysis. I have no idea what they look like and wouldn’t know they were women unless they said so because of the ends of their blog names, like the The Anchoress orLorie Byrd or any number of great bloggers out there – Betsy’s Page.
I just don’t think you can harbor some sort of ill will because people were early adopters. The reason why a lot of these male bloggers are known quantities and linked to highly is because they were there first.
John Hawkins: What blogs are you reading the most these days? Just give us a handful, maybe.
Michelle Malkin: Oh, I kind of hate to do that because my list is so long. I’ll tell you that I do Bloglines and I’ve got about a hundred blogs, at least, that I look through on a regular basis there. Then, just from tips that are sent in, (I see more).
But, I can tell you about the particular niches that I like to look at. I always look at the military blogs first. Those are my favorites — just rich in information, providing a lot of balance, analysis, and perspective that’s obviously missing from the MSM.
The top political blogs I always look at, but I’m always looking for new blogs that are doing investigative reporting, something different. The localized political blogs I pay extra special attention to – Sound Politics, for example, which I think is one of the best political group blogs out there because of the original work they do. A lot of gumshoe reporting…A lot of people talk about what the blogosphere will become; well, they’re already doing it.
Then a lot of the…folks who are covering particular homeland security issues that are near and dear to me. Obviously, a lot of immigration blogs. I like Debbie Schlussel. I always think she’s interesting, she’s very fearless and we have a lot of common interests. She’s tougher on the Bush administration than any of those left-wing blogs…
John Hawkins: Tell us a little bit about your new book, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.
Michelle Malkin: Well, it has been out since November 1st. I think it’s different for me. I let my hair down a little bit and it’s not as much of a downer read as the previous two books were. I’m getting a lot of good feedback from readers who are happy to see a different side of my writing style. It’s a good Christmas book, I think, and not just for conservatives. Buy 1 or 2 for your liberal in-laws and friends.
John Hawkins: Is there anything else you’d like to say or promote before we finish up?
Michelle Malkin: Oh, goodness, no, I’m done promoting things (laughs).
Just that I’m very happy to be able to balance a lot of the book promotion stuff and everything else I do along with the regular blogging. I just have to say it’s a huge honor not just to be a part of Pajamas Media, but to be a part of the blogging community.
I mean I’m having a hell of a lot more fun now than I ever was when I was working in daily journalism, in news rooms. It’s absolutely liberating, there’s so much you can do.
I know when we started out, you gave me so much good advice…
John Hawkins: Me?
Michelle Malkin: I remember the model of the linkers vs. thinkers. I blur that line, I think, and it’s a delicate thing to be able to do.
The investigative blogging, I think there is so much to be done. I have a lot of exciting plans of things I’d like to be able to do in the next year. One of the highlights of the blogging year for me has been working with Brian Maloney over at The Radio Equalizer on the Air America stories we’ve been doing — and we’re not done yet (laughs). I’d like to do more of that type of partnering with bloggers on those sorts of projects.