Political Animal


March 25, 2012 10:35 AM That’s a Pretty Big Screw-Up, American Thinker

By Jesse Singal

(Update: Moran responded.)

Rick Moran of The American Thinker:

The president jumps into the Trayvon Martin controversy without all the facts being known, essentially calling for the shooter to be arrested and convicted, and yet it is GOP cadidates [sic] criticizing the president who are “reprehensible” according to Obama advisor David Plouffe?

The use of “essentially” here is pretty cute, because it means that we’re not allowed to take literally whatever claim follows it. But this is still a pretty recklessly inaccurate thing to say, especially in the very first sentence of a blog post.

Here’s Obama’s statement. Show me where he calls for—or, um, “essentially” calls for‐George Zimmerman to be arrested and convicted:

Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the attorney general reports to me, so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.
But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
So I’m glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what’s taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

I’m curious as to whether Moran will correct his post, point to the part of Obama’s statement where he comes anywhere close to (essentially) calling for Zimmerman’s arrest, or hide behind a slippery word.

My money’s on Option 3, which is too bad because Moran is essentially lying here.

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.


  • jdb on March 25, 2012 10:45 AM:

    Trayvon was arrested, convicted, and executed. And now people are complaining about how the executor is being unfairly tried in public opinion, while still a free man.

  • walt on March 25, 2012 11:02 AM:

    As a Culture War flare-up, this one at least reveals the right's reptilian brain without the phony pretense of moral superiority. If someone kills a black kid, what's the big deal? He was wearing a hoodie! Besides, only liberals are racists.

    The thunderous silence on the respectable right is an illustration how their system works. Let the mouthbreathers have their fun. As long as they vote the way that keeps their oligarchs in power.

  • Daryl McCullough on March 25, 2012 11:12 AM:

    I have a conservative friend who is often posting links to American Thinker articles. He likes that website because the articles are more "intellectual" than Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck's appeals to emotion. But in my mind, it's worse. American Thinker articles are pure sophistry. The goal is not to get the reader to think anything new, but to provide him with intellectual justification for his pre-existing prejudices.

  • g on March 25, 2012 11:20 AM:

    My vote's on number 4, he won't say anything at all and will continue to repeat the lie.

  • Skip on March 25, 2012 11:27 AM:

    The right's silence was in anticipation of President Obama either not issuing a public statement which they would gleefully condemn, or issuing a public statement which they would gleefully condemn.

    That's all the right has become, Condemners for Jesus.

  • MikeBoyScout on March 25, 2012 11:32 AM:

    Essentially Rick Moran is a moron.

  • calling all toasters on March 25, 2012 11:37 AM:

    "Show me where he calls for—or, um, “essentially” calls for‐George Zimmerman to be arrested and convicted"

    Well, the quote you have cuts out the part where Obama is blackityblackblack.

  • Marc on March 25, 2012 11:46 AM:

    "American Thinker", is that an oxymoron?

  • Objective Dem on March 25, 2012 11:47 AM:

    I want Newt or Rick to propose banning hoodies and see how long it takes for Mitt to agree.

  • Kathryn on March 25, 2012 11:52 AM:

    Rick Moran lies, Mitt Romney lies, they face no consequences, why stop? Even on the rare occasion that Romney sits down for an interview, no one questions his number one lie which is the title of his book "No Apology". By now, a sizable percentage of Americans believe Pres. Obama apologized to the world for this country. I doubt that most could verbalize the alleged nature of these apologies that didn't happen, it's just another way to demonize the black socialist.

  • MattF on March 25, 2012 11:58 AM:

    Just a flat-out lie. Not even an 'alternative reality narrative.' A lie. Period.

  • Rick Massimo on March 25, 2012 12:08 PM:

    Yeah, I hope you were just being cute there with the "essentially" in your last sentence, because Rick Moran isn't essentially lying. He's plain old, flat-out lying.

  • Ladyhawke on March 25, 2012 12:15 PM:

    I wonder if Mr. Rick Moran has ever seen these principles of journalism. Oddly enough, journalism's first obligation is to 'THE TRUTH'.



    Over time journalists have developed nine core principles to meet the task. They comprise what might be described as the theory of journalism:

    1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth

    Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can--and must--pursue it in a practical sense. This "journalistic truth" is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information. Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built--context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever greater flow of data, they have more need--not less--for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.

    2. Its first loyalty is to citizens

    While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization's credibility, the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers. Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture--not exploit--their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.



  • TCinLA on March 25, 2012 12:47 PM:

    "The American Thinker" is your usual rightie oxymoron, since the Americans who read it can't (think).

    You notice I always say "Republicans/Righties say" rather than "Republicans/Righties think." That's because you can't expect someone to do something for which they are not equipped. After all, we are talking about the other species of hairless bipeds on the planet, the ones that lack frontal lobes and opposable thumbs.

  • schtick on March 25, 2012 1:01 PM:

    No one in the party of the rich even made any kind of statement until Obama was asked about it and then they have the nerve to STILL make up shit and go with it. This is prove positive they care nothing about anyone but the rich. And Noot is the biggest promoter of BS. Always has been, even when he was in office.

  • TR on March 25, 2012 1:02 PM:

    Someone at "American Thinker" told an outright lie?

    Where's my fainting couch?

  • J.D. Rhoades on March 25, 2012 1:14 PM:

    They can't win with the truth, so they lie. And then they whine about "incivility" when you catch them at it.

  • jcricket on March 25, 2012 1:28 PM:

    "Essentially", in the Wingnut Dictionary means: "I'm now pulling words and thoughts out of my ass"

  • Game of Life on March 25, 2012 1:32 PM:

    Don't hold your breath.

  • Thymezone on March 25, 2012 4:42 PM:

    Rick Moran? Why would anyone pay any attention to the guy? He has been playing these word games for years, and to my knowledge has never expressed an original thought in the process. Ignore him, please.

  • Jeff Johnson on March 26, 2012 1:54 AM:

    There is a famous photo of a young man at a political rally holding a sign that reads:

    "Get a Brain, Morans"

    The sign is funny because of bad spelling undermines the message. I always thought that the error was the letter 'a', but apparently it could have been the 's' that is the problem.