The follies: Tillis’ MLK hypocrisy, Civitas’ cheap shots and a new version of the Plotthound

The follies: Tillis’ MLK hypocrisy, Civitas’ cheap shots and a new version of the Plotthound

- in Other Voices, Top Story

It was a snowy and shortened work week for a lot of people in North Carolina, but unfortunately, that didn’t prevent some of the folks on Right-Wing Avenue from finding and trumpeting their inner hypocrite/demagogue.

Tillis hypocrisy alert

Take U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, for example. As the good folks at People for the American Way pointed out after yesterday’s kangaroo session of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in which Tillis and his Republican colleagues gave blanket approval to a bevy of Trump judicial nominees (including the widely assailed Thomas Farr), chutzpah was not in short supply. Indeed several GOP senators voted for Farr – a man who has dedicated much of his career to suppressing minority votes – just 72 hours after purporting to honor the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is from the PFAW post:

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Republicans in Congress flock to social media to post their favorite Dr. King quotes out of context and reflect on his legacy of equality and justice. At the same time, they refuse to act on the core values of civil rights, often working actively to undermine the principles that King (and their tweets) espoused including voting rights, workers and union rights, anti-poverty measures and more.

Which brings us to Thomas Farr, Trump’s nominee for a federal court in North Carolina.

No one with a record of racially targeted voter intimidation and suppression should be nominated to the federal bench—but that is what we see with Thomas Farr. As if that’s not enough, he potentially lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement in one of the most notorious voter suppression campaigns during Jesse Helms’ 1990 run for Senate in North Carolina.

Yet six of the senators who decided to “honor” MLK Day on Twitter this week actually voted to support Farr’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the federal bench.”

The group then issued this on-the-money tweet about Tillis:

Civitas sinks to absurd personal attacks

Not that it comes as any particular surprise from a group that has promoted multiple scurrilous and racially-tinged attacks on Rev. William Barber and that long controlled the hate-filled rag known as the Carolina Plotthound, but it’s still remarkable to see a supposedly responsible policy “think tank” sink to the level of attacking people with whom it disagrees because of where their parents sent them to high school. Amazingly though, that’s what a Civitas staffer did this week in a preposterous and malicious blog post attacking Professor Gene Nichol.

In the post, which featured the utterly ridiculous headline “UNC Law Professor: Declaration of Independence Should be Shredded,” the author claimed that Nichol has no standing to talk about poverty – we are not making this up – because he attended a private high school as teenager and because his family income is significantly above average.

Really guys? That’s the best you can do? What is this – the sixth grade debate club?

Maybe the Civitas post was simply born of a new organizational policy to lob gutter attacks whenever and wherever possible. Another post from the group’s new executive director included the ridiculous headline “Raleigh and N.C. honored with chance to bribe Amazon.” On the Civitas website front page, the story link is next to a photograph of Gov. Roy Cooper raising a toast next to an unidentified Asian man (also holding a wine glass) who pretty clearly has absolutely nothing to do with Amazon. Then, just to double down on the absurdity factor, the post itself includes this silly sentence regarding Raleigh’s appearance on the list of finalists for a new Amazon headquarters:

Anyone who believes in the morality of a free market should view this announcement with a healthy dose of dread.”

Hmmm…the “morality” of the market, huh? You mean the “market” that brought about the disastrous spread of opioids, dishes out 400% “payday loans” to low-income consumers and is currently helping to ruin the health and sustainability of the planet through the almost unfettered exploitation of fossil fuels? That market?

The truth of the matter, of course, is that there are lots of good reasons to be skeptical of corporate incentives in lots of different circumstances. What’s more, the idea of a massive new Amazon facility descending on the Triangle’s already stretched and under-resourced public infrastructure would seem to pose all kinds of possible problems.

That said, to link the Governor – a man for whom there has not been a whiff of scandal or self-dealing – to the word “bribery” and then to claim to be doing so in the name of “morality” in order to oppose the plan is a cheap and dirty shot.

Whack-a-mole time: The Plotthound is reborn

Finally, speaking of cheap and dirty shots, it should probably be noted that the above mentioned Carolina Plotthound appears to be back in business. The yellow journalist behind the Plotthound (or, at the least, someone who sounds a lot like him/her) has reorganized under the appropriately lowbrow moniker of the Carolina Tattler – presumably without the benefit of Civitas sponsorship.

What’s more, not only does the new rag look virtually identical to the old Plotthound, it also links regularly (just like before) to the bitterly anti-Semitic Triad Conservative and features all manner of conspiracy theory rubbish. Not surprisingly and as is so often the case with troubled souls on the far right, the person/people behind the Tattler, have courageously chosen to remain anonymous.

One hopes the folks in the Art Pope empire who founded the Plotthound and then dumped it will have the decency to at least ask the new version to stop promoting their content and linking to their websites.