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Newsweek Opens Fire on Patriotism

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Posted on February 2 2011 6:59 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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This week, Newsweek could not even find danger in the Egyptian protests for Israel, but last week, they used Tuscon to take a visual shot at their worst nightmare, flag-waving Americans who own handguns.

Their lead political writer, Jonathan Alter (who now needs a new hobby since he won’t be appearing nightly with Keith Olbermann) originally competed with Paul Krugman for the most outrageous statements blaming the Tuscon shootings on conservative dissent to Obama.

A week later, when it became obvious to all that Jared Lee Loughner was an apolitical nut, the subtitle to Alter’s lead story began:

“It seems the gunman was a crazed loner, but he’s one in a long line.”

But Newsweek still took a shot at American patriotism with an outrageous cover that implied that literally wrapped “American Assassins” in the flag.

The most prominent flag-waving Americans listed in the story, however, are a Confederate radical, a disillusioned Communist, and an Islamist gunman.


This most famous assassin hated the flag Newsweek wrapped him in.

Actually, if you read the story, it’s almost a mea culpa for Alter, who both in print and on MSNBC appearances jumped all over the early narrative that conservative talk was responsible for Tuscon.  His over-hyped story mostly points out that the assassins included were at best isolated troubled men, and at worst full blowns schizos.  Some of Newsweek‘s flag-draped American Assassins weren’t even Americans.

Let’s take them in order:

  1. John Wilkes Booth:  actually NOT a crazed loner, but part of a radical Confederate group with a plan.  In short, an enemy covert operative.
  2. Charles J. Guiteau:  Garfield’s assassin was nothing but a crazed loner who wanted a job at the Post Office.  First example of going postal… maybe.
  3. Leon Czolgosz:  McKinley’s killer was a little off, but if anything he was an anarchist, an anti-patriot.
  4. Guisseppe Zangara: the man who shot in FDR’s direction and killed the Mayor of Chicago was an Italian immigrant who blamed the government for his abdominal pain.
  5. Lee Harvey Oswald: Enough said.
  6. James Earl Ray: Career criminal going out in a blaze of glory.
  7. Sirhan Sirhan: Shot RFK in the name of the Palestinian people
  8. Dan White:  Really?  Disgruntled employee kills bosses?
  9. John Hinkley Jr.: No proof this nutball could pick an American flag out of a lineup.
  10. Scott Roeder:  Who?  What?  What the…

Perhaps nothing is as telling as the fact that Jonathan Alter included Scott Roeder, the guy who shot notorious late-term abortionist George “Killer” Tiller, but not, say, the assassin of Huey Long.  I guess we know Jonathan Alter’s definition of a real American leader now.

But there is something worthwhile here, if the excuse for this piece is Jared Lee Loughner:  Roeder, who the media tried to hang around the neck of responsible pro-life spokepeople, had once been diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Every time Chris Matthews interviews a Tea Party organizer, he tries to conjure the image reflected in the Newsweek cover. (see embedded video in the post)

The actual content of the article isn’t that bad, but Newsweek should be ashamed and called out for its outrageous cover– which judging by its flagging sales, more people probably saw walking by a news stand than actually picked up and read.

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