By Scott St. Clair
The low-blow hits against Republicans in Legislative Districts 1 and 2 keep coming. We’ve seen them from the corrupt General Majority SuperPAC and its Lady Macbeth-wannabe head honchette, Susan McCue, their bar-brawling, do-nothing dilettante Democratic opponents and now they’re coming from the supposedly objective media.
Political reporter Matt Friedman, who learned his “trade” at the knee of Wally Edge (AKA the disgraced David Wildstein) and, since this past summer, has been hanging his hat at Politico New Jersey, spewed out a nasty hit piece on Cumberland County Freeholder and Assembly candidate, Jim Sauro.
Sauro, together with running mate and incumbent Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, are running in the 1st District against Democratic incumbent Bob Andrzejczak, who was appointed to the Assembly in 2013, and his running mate, Bruce Land, a retired Corrections Department official.
In the piece, Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d remarks Sauro made on his weekly South Jersey talk-radio show completely out of context by going out of his way to focus on the irrelevant while ignoring an incongruous herd of Democratic-scandal elephants in the room.
From the headline down, Friedman portrayed Sauro as fixated on a “race war” because of conversations he had with listeners over the #BlackLivesMatter movement and an emerging national rush to judgment to lay the blame for every death of a young black man on police misconduct.
Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d Sauro’s words to make him look as though he wanted to foment a race war when what he was actually doing was reporting on and discussing what some in the #BlackLivesMatter movement are doing and how it’s affecting the public perception of, and reaction to, law enforcement.
Per the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald inThe Wall Street Journal:
The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.
Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today.
Doesn’t this track pretty much with what Jim Sauro said – what Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d out of context?
It’s not like it’s a big secret, either. At least since last year’s riots in Ferguson, Missouri, many associated with #BLM haveopenly proclaimed their desire to wage war on whites and police officers of any race.
Consider how the most wanted person in New Jersey,convicted cop-killer and prison-escapee Joanne Chesimard, has emerged as a poster-girl for #BLM, with many of its followers wearing T-shirts proclaiming “Assata Taught Me” (Chesimard changed her name to Assata Shakur after she escaped from prison and sought refuge in Cuba). At many, if not all, #BLM events, it’s Chesimard’s exhortations to violence and revolution that are read, not Dr. Martin Luther King’s entreaties to peace and brotherhood that America embraced and that resulted in real change in our society.
(FYI to Freidman: you can order your own “Assata Taught Me” tee here so you won’t feel left out when next you hang with your #BLM crew.)
Listen for yourself to a #BlackLivesMatter activist: “It’s open season on killing whites and white police officers, and probably killing cops period – it’s open season…Today we live in a time where the white man will be picked off, and there’s nothing he can do about it.”
That the impetus for #BLM came from notorious left-wing moneybags George Soros should also be taken into account.
Then there’s DeRay Mckesson, who has emerged as a, if not the, public face of #BLM and whose stated mission is to sow discord and conflict. Quoted in The New York Times, he said, “The heart of the movement is in the actions. It’s in shutting down streets, shutting down Walmarts, shutting down any place where people feel comfortable. We want to make people feel as uncomfortable as we feel .”
A veteran of the protests in Ferguson and Baltimore, Mckesson tried taking his travelling trouble-making show to Charleston, the scene of a racially-motivated killing at a black church, only to be run out of town -- #GoHomeDeRay – because the people there choose dialogue and reconciliation over hate, anger and division.
Mckesson was recently a guest lecturer at the Yale Divinity School where his students read and discussed In Defense of Looting. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Dr. King meant when he proclaimed, “Free at last!”
Ask a question or make a controversial statement about the racial divide in America and you run the risk of getting socked in the face as one reporter painfully learned recently in Alabama.
If you dare say that ALL lives matter or otherwise question #BLM ideology, you’re shouted down as a racist and, if you’re a Democrat running for president, you’re humiliated and made to grovel and apologize for trying to affirm the principle that all men (and women) are created equal.
And if you’re Bernie Sanders, you’re given the bum’s rush off a platform and denied the right to speak.
It’s not like Jim Sauro is the only one discussing these issues, but in Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d reporting, you wouldn’t know it.
In an extremely balanced analysis, which means it was withering, The Economist was sharply critical of #BlackLivesMatter for its dubious statistics on how many young black men are killed by cops and its wholesale condemnation of all police as racist killers, a point Sauro sought to make when he insisted that the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle should still mean something in America.
Mean something unless, like Friedman, you’re looking to score t-w-i-s-t-e-d political-correctness points by implicitly declaring criticism of #BLM off limits with borderline, if not outright, racist remarks like when Friedman insinuated that what Sauro said won’t cause him trouble in his mostly-rural and conservative South Jersey district – Red necks, hicks and rubes, after all – but statewide it will cause Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick loads of grief by association.
Were that the case, then civil rights activists and veterans like grandmother Barbara Reynolds, who is in her seventies and who echoes many of the concerns mentioned in The Economist, are in Jim Sauro’s boat, too. She called #BLM activists “motley-looking,” and said their “ confrontational and divisive tactics make it difficult” to support them.
At protests today, it is difficult to distinguish legitimate activists from the mob actors who burn and loot. The demonstrations are peppered with hate speech, profanity and guys with sagging pants who show their underwear.
Touching on a point Sauro made about the erosion of values in American, Ms. Reynolds pointedly remarked:
The 1960s movement also had an innate respectability, because our leaders often were heads of the black church, as well. Unfortunately, church and spirituality are not high priorities for Black Lives Matter, and the ethics of love, forgiveness and reconciliation that empowered black leaders such as (Martin Luther) King and Nelson Mandela in their successful quests to win over their oppressors are missing from this movement.
Without a moral or ethical underpinning, she says, what’s the point? How can you achieve what is needed to make things better – in her words, “love, forgiveness and reconciliation” – when all you do is shout, scream and burn down your town?
Which brings us to Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d dismissal of a purported quote by former Soviet dictator and world-class mass murderer – up to 49 million deaths can be directly attributed to him – Joseph Stalin, another Friedman cheap shot.
The quote – "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within" – is attributed to Stalin all over the Internet at countless quote sites – see here, here, here, here, here and the widely-read 2010 essay by attorney and talk-show host Kelly O’Connell entitled Joseph Stalin: Memoirs of a Leftist Madman..
You might want to forgive Jim Sauro, who sees the need to create jobs in jobless South Jersey and who successfully runs a couple of businesses, has a weekend radio show, is active in his church, has a strong record of public service, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics and is a solid family man, for not also being a perfect Stalin scholar.
Neither is Friedman, who, in a classic case of what’s good for the goose gets t-w-i-s-t-e-d by the gander, seems to have dug no deeper than the imperfect Snopes.com to verify the quote rather than going to original source material himself. (Don’t you think if he had done so he would have said so?) If he’s going to stand there and cast a lot of stones, maybe he shouldn’t commit the same sins as the one toward whom he’s casting them?
There’s no such thing as Snopes-al infallibility, so putting all your eggs in its basket may see some of them end up t-w-i-s-t-e-d on your face.
But the underlying point Sauro sought to make that, in Friedman’s words, “the nation’s patriotic, moral and religious underpinnings were being undermined,” is given no credence whatsoever, which is breathtaking in its condescension and arrogance and demonstrates an appalling ignorance of a major issue to conservatives, including probably a majority of voters in LD 1.
In fact, according to Gallup, 72 percent of Americans believe the state of moral values is “getting worse,” with that issue expected to play a major role in the national debate leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Part of what’s getting worse, according to a Rasmussen poll, is that the 71 percent of American adults believe that the country has become too politically correct. – that, according to one poll question, “Do Americans have true freedom of speech today, or do they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble?”
It’s obvious by the responses that well over two-thirds of Americans no longer believe they have real free speech.
Did Friedman take this into account – did he explore the issue with Sauro? From the looks of the very t-w-i-s-t-e-d portrait he painted, the answer is, “No.”
Where is this coming from? If you do some research, you’ll find there are scholars and social commentators who believe that the same Marxist ideology that gave rise to Joseph Stalin also is at the heart of today’s political correctness, including #BlackLivesMatter intolerance.
Conservative writer and cultural critic Bill Lind explained in remarks he made 15 years ago that the root cause of political correctness was Marxist ideology that had, as its endgame, the cultural demoralization, destabilization and eventual destruction of the West.
“The great obstacle to the creation of a Marxist paradise was the culture: Western civilization itself,” he said in paraphrasing the 1919 thinking of Hungarian Marxist, Georg Lukacs. To orthodox Marxists, then:
The workers will never see their true class interests, as defined by Marxism, until they are freed from Western culture, and particularly from the Christian religion – that they are blinded by culture and religion to their true class interests.
Eventually, this thinking led to the creation of “Critical Theory”:
The theory is to criticize. The theory is that the way to bring down Western culture and the capitalist order is not to lay down an alternative. They explicitly refuse to do that. They say it can’t be done, that we can’t imagine what a free society would look like (their definition of a free society). As long as we’re living under repression…we can’t even imagine it. What Critical Theory is about is simply criticizing. It calls for the most destructive criticism possible, in every possible way, designed to bring the current order down
Compare what Lind said to what Stalin purportedly, but may not have, said and to what too many representatives of #BLM assuredly said (they stand condemned out of their own mouths), and then ask who has the better understanding of the issues – Matt Friedman and his t-w-i-s-t-e-d and snide take on the world, or down-to-earth Jim Sauro who sees things as they are?
But why is Friedman so t-w-i-s-t-e-d? Is it because he’s afflicted with the well-known phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect where “people who are unknowledgeable or incompetent about a topic hold an unjustifiably elevated estimate of their own knowledge base on the topic”?
Friedman’s blatant Dunning-Kruger effect is evidenced by his cognitive bias in favor of dismissing traditional values and those who, like Jim Sauro, espouse them while embracing every new fad on the block. It can’t be hidden when it’s so blatant and t-w-i-s-t-e-d. Indeed, Assata must have taught him.
You have to ask: Is Matt Friedman really that Dunning-Kruger clueless, or is he toting water for the Democratic slate? It can’t be that it was a slow news day when he wrote the piece that slimed Sauro, because in an election cycle with less than four weeks before the November 3 General Election, there’s plenty of South Jersey political news to report like:
· The absolute failure of Assemblyman Andrzejczak, regarded by many as the dimmest bulb in New Jersey’s legislative chandelier, to deliver on his promise to create jobs in his or any other district – a complete and utter fiasco;
· How Andrzejczak and his running mate Land run from their opponents by refusing to debate them, despite repeated requests from the GOP slate – here’s another one – to do so, and how their legislative patron, the always obfuscating Sen. Jeff Van Drew – how’s Nelson Albano’s legislative career doing, Jeff? – shields them from public scrutiny and never allows them out in public unless he’s there to pull their strings (Admittedly, Friedman did one soft piece on this);
· The scandal surrounding absentee-ballot “messenger applications” in favor of Democrats in LDs 1 & 2 that were sent to voters by corrupt SuperPAC General Majority and the astonishing depth of involvement and probable coordination between it and the Andrzejczak and Land campaign, including Andrzejczak’s refusal to disavow its lies and false defamatory accusations.
If Dunning-Kruger t-w-i-s-t-e-d Matt Friedman wants to be a surrogate for South Jersey Democrats’ embracing #BlackLivesMatter – and, by logical extension the cop-killing Jersey fugitive Joanne Chesimard (Don’t forget to order your “Assata Taught Me” tee, Matt) – and tossing police under the bus all in the name of Marxist-driven political business, that’s his business.
But South Jersey voters, who, if you look at the numbers, share Jim Sauro’s traditional and conservative perspective aren’t buying the t-w-i-s-t-e-d product Friedman is selling. According to a Press of Atlantic City reader poll, over 87 percent of them (at last count) think it’s up to them to decide or that it’s a lot of hooey.
AndSauro and Assemblyman Fiocchi gave Andrzejczak and Land 2-1 shellacking in September’s primary, so there’s that, too.
Given Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d smear of Jim Sauro coupled with his new employer Politico’s high-turnover, mysterious-circumstances track record, maybe when next he shows up for work he should tell the cabbie to keep the meter running because he may not be there long.