Last night’s MSNBC lineup provided a trifecta of reasons why people dismiss that network’s “news analysis”: the intellect of the show’s host, the insight of his guest, and the reputation of a “scholar” whom the guest referenced. In this case, Ed Schultz interviewed a man who encouraged us to think the best of a Holocaust Denier and cited a “scholar” who turned in an intellectually bankrupt review of a book I co-wrote with David Horowitz, Party of Defeat.
On “The Ed Show” last night, Schultz discussed the Iranian nuclear program with Matthew Duss, a senior policy researcher for the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP). Duss opened with the illuminating opinion that the Iranians launched their recent missile tests because they “were put on their back foot by President Obama’s roll-out of the intelligence about their secret nuclear facility near Qom, and they clearly felt that they needed some demonstration of strength to put them in a better position going into negotiations.” This is the same Iranian leader who, earlier this month, told the international press for the millionth time, “the nuclear question is finished. We will not negotiate over Iran’s undeniable rights.” Can any mature person believe Ahmadinejad or the ruling mullahs care about negotiations, beyond extending them long enough to acquire a doomsday device? To the extent they have any impact on “negotiations,” it would be to make Russian opposition to increased sanctions untenable (although Russia is holding to its position).
Schultz then rolled footage of Sen. Lindsay Graham’s assessment of the Iranian leadership:
Lindsay Graham: I’ve got one rule of thumb: if the president of a country denies the Holocaust, you should believe the worst, not the best, about what they’re doing. Clearly they’re hiding nuclear programs for a purpose. They’re trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and if they are successful the Sunni Arab states in the region will want a nuclear weapon, Israel becomes much at risk, and we’re walking down the road to Armageddon.
Duss: (Deep, Al Gore-like sigh).
Schultz: I never heard this nine months ago when Bush was around. A lot of things have changed. What’s your thoughts on that?
Duss: As my friend, the international relations scholar Robert Farley says, “Every country has its neo-cons,” and Iranian neo-cons and American neo-cons can always be counted on to kind of always talk about the worst case scenarios and expect and assume the worst about their adversaries.
Holocaust Denial does not so much assume as confirm the worst about a person. However, I would go a step further than Senator Graham: If the president of a country believes “Israel must be wiped off the map,” dreams it is “possible for us to witness a world without America,” supported terrorists killing Americans in Iraq, may be interfering in Afghanistan, is a client of North Korea’s nuclear program, is being begged to export his nuclear technology to Venezuela, has forged ties with extremist Shi’ites to radicalize democratic and pluralistic Lebanon, is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and is headed by a religious fanatic who believes he is ushering in the end-times, the logical conclusion is not rosy.
I suppose that qualifies me as a “neo-con,” in the same way Iran’s mullahs are “neo-cons.” (Did he say that? Out loud?) These thoughts landed Duss a job at CAP and as a blogger at The American Prospect (TAP).
Over at TAP, Duss has written that it was “shameful” John McCain did not treat Hamas and Hezbollah more “charitably” when describing them as unfit to govern, insisted the Surge is “not even close” to “victory,” and thought Obama was oh-so-cagy to offer only the most tepid condemnation of the Iranian police beating pro-democracy protesters.
What perked my ears up was his mention of “international relations expert Robert Farley,” both the strangely incongruent words and the way he seemed pained to pronounce them, as though aware he doth protest too much. The name woke me up, because David Horowitz and I had an exchange — I can’t call it a debate or conversation — with Robert Farley (also of TAP) just under a year ago when he “reviewed” our book Party of Defeat. You can read Robert Farley’s lazy effort and our demolition of it here.
Our readers commented on the poor quality of Farley’s essay (and mind). Donald Douglas of American Power blog had an outstanding critique of Farley’s “review” and a subsequent take down of Farley’s snarky cover story.
Unfortunately, these are examples of what pass for “international relations scholars” on the Left now, and it explains a lot.