Accuracy in Media

James Von Brunn, who believed that “Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do,” attacked the Holocaust Museum and killed a guard on the same day it was being reported on a national basis that Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright had said that “Them Jews ain’t going to let him [Obama] talk to me.” It sounded as if they were reading from the same tract.

The Wright comments undercut the left-wing campaign to depict Von Brunn as a right-winger and blame conservatives for inspiring him. It seems like Von Brunn’s anti-Semitic views are shared by some on the political left, even those backing and very close to Obama himself. 

Wright had actually made the statement one day earlier, on June 10, to David Squires of the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia. Wright also said the “Jewish vote” and the “AIPAC vote,” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, are “controlling” him, and that Obama was in danger of becoming a “puppet.”

If Von Brunn’s anti-Semitism is shared by Jeremiah Wright, a left-winger who was Obama’s pastor for 20 years, then anti-Semitism is not a right-wing phenomenon. That is why the attempts by various “progressives” to blame the Holocaust Museum murder on the right-wing are political nonsense and flat-out dishonest.

As veteran investigator Herbert Romerstein points out, anti-Semitism is a condition that affects the left as well. In fact, he points out that “Some Weather Underground activists were born into Jewish families, but they were as anti-Semitic as their gentile born colleagues.” Their anti-Semitism seems to have been an outgrowth of their anti-Americanism. They despise Israel because it is an ally of the United States.

This is critical because Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were also political associates and backers of Barack Obama. The wall outside Ayers’ university office depicts Israel as an imperialist lackey of the U.S., as an “American-made missile” falls on “Palestinian youth.” 

However, Joan Walsh of the far-left has reportedly been on MSNBC trying to blame “extreme right-wing rhetoric” for the murder at the Holocaust Museum. She decries this “ugly rhetoric.” This claim reminded me of something that one of her staffers had written personally to me several weeks ago.

I had asked Glenn Greenwald of about his acceptance of an “Izzy” award named after communist and Soviet agent-of-influence I.F. Stone, and what he would say of the article in Commentary magazine about new evidence linking Stone to Soviet intelligence. 

Part of Greenwald’s response was an attack on Commentary. He said, “The fact that Stone is being smeared by the likes of the consummately chicken-hawk, nepotistic, bloodthirsty Podhoretz family and the truly deranged, sex-obsessed, conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid will make me place my Izzy Award on an even more prominent shelf in my office.”

The term “sex-obsessed” was apparently a reference to my opposition to giving special rights to practitioners of the homosexual lifestyle. It turns out that Greenwald is gay and has a “lover” in Brazil but I didn’t know that at the time. I hadn’t thought about commenting on the “bloodthirsty” comment until the attack on the Holocaust Museum and the controversy over whether anti-Semitism is a right- or left-wing phenomenon, and whether right-wingers are too “extreme.”

Norman Podhoretz is the editor-at-large of Commentary and the author of the book World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. He was not one of the authors of the piece on I.F. Stone in Commentary, and his family had nothing to do with writing it. The authors were John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev. Haynes and Klehr are historians and Vassiliev is a Russian journalist who worked for the Soviet KGB.

Members of AIM who had received our AIM Report on this matter have been encouraged to contact Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of, with postcards that read:

Dear Ms. Walsh:

            One of your bloggers, Glenn Greenwald, reacted with vile insults when questioned about his acceptance of an award named after Soviet agent I.F. Stone.  Why would a staffer for accept such an award?  If there is any doubt in your mind about Stone’s service to the old Soviet Union, we suggest you consult the new book, Spies, by Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev.  The section on Stone begins on page 126, in the chapter titled “The Journalist Spies.”  Does Greenwald also believe that Soviet spy Alger Hiss was innocent of the charges against him?  Would he accept an Alger Hiss award?  What would be your opinion on that?

Note that Greenwald’s natural impulse, in response to an article in Commentary attacking his icon, was to smear Podhoretz as “bloodthirsty.” This speaks volumes about the “rhetoric” of the left.

What makes this even more interesting is where the Greenwald comments ended up first. Before I even had a chance to comment, they surfaced on the blog of someone named Jane Hamsher, who advertises herself as “the author of the best-selling book Killer Instinct” and the producer of such films as “Natural Born Killers.”

Directed by Oliver Stone, “Natural Born Killers” is about two psychopathic killers who thrive on media attention. The two characters “travel across Route 666 conducting psychedelic mass-slaughters not for money, not for revenge, just for kicks,” noted one review.

I’ll never forget Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) -and the one who would subsequently give Greenwald his “Izzy”-once telling me that he rejected Stone’s idea of holding a fundraiser for FAIR by showing the film “Natural Born Killers” because he found it too gruesome.  

Hamsher’s Killer Instinct book is said to be the story of how she came to be involved in “Natural Born Killers.” Defenders of the film said it was a commentary on media violence. But it inspired real life acts of violence. Indeed, a study, The Influence of Technology, Media, and Popular Culture on Criminal Behavior, found that the 1994 movie was linked to a dozen murders and the 1999 Columbine school massacre (the killers who killed 12 students and wounded another 24 were reportedly fans of the film). The academic study was by Jacqueline Helfgott, an associate professor at Seattle University who specializes in “the criminogenic effects of pop culture.”

A lawsuit was filed, Byers v. Edmondson, alleging that Sarah Edmondson and her boyfriend, Benjamin Darrus, went on a crime spree after watching the film. The suit claimed that the film producers were liable to the victims for distributing a film “which they knew or should have known would cause and inspire people” to acts of violence by “glorifying” such violence and “treating individuals who commit such violence as celebrities and heroes.”

The suit was filed on behalf of Patsy Byers, who was shot during an armed robbery of a convenience store where she worked in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. As a result of the shooting, Patsy Byers was rendered a paraplegic. Another victim was William Savage, who was murdered. The suit was dismissed when a court ruled that there was no evidence that the producers of the film had knowingly intended to incite violence.

But in an affidavit, Edmondson admitted that “During the two weeks prior to the robbery and shooting of Mr. Savage on March 7, 1995 and the robbery and shooting of Mrs. Byers on March 8, 1995, Benjamin Darrus [and] I watched Natural Born Killers several time[s] in Oklahoma. We also ingested a quantity of LSD, a hallucinogen, during this time. Had we not seen the movie repeatedly we would not have taken a gun. It wouldn’t have occurred to me. As well, had we not been under the influence of LSD; we never would have left Oklahoma. The movie did have a numbing influence concerning the effects of violence and a desire to experience it. The shooting did not take place as much from a need for money as from a desire to experience the power of violence.”

Despite her proud role in producing “Natural Born Killers,” Hamsher wants us to believe she is against real-life violence and thinks that the right-wing should be blamed for the attack on the Holocaust Museum. She is recommending as a TV guest somebody named David Neiwert who has written a book on How Hate Talk Radicalized the Radical Right.

“If any media folks need contact info for David, drop me a line,” she said. BINGO. Just like that, he was on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show on June 12.

Neiwert runs his own website called “Crooks and Liars.” This seems somehow appropriate. 

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