This is exactly how the game works.
And exactly why Rush Limbaugh refers to the mainstream media as the “drive-by media.”
When I was a child, one of the most popular television series of the day (1958-1962) was Lawman starring actor John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop of Laramie, Wyoming. His deputy, Johnny McKay, was played by the young Peter Brown. The series opened every weekly episode — as seen right here preserved with clarity on You Tube — with a stirring hymn to “The Lawman.” The camera zeroed in on Marshal Troop’s badge — a six-pointed star — as the song began, the lyrics as follows:
The Lawman came with the sun.
There was a job to be done.
And so they sent for the badge and the gun
Of the Lawman.
And as he silently rode,
Where evil violently flowed
They knew he’d live or he’d die by the code
Of the Lawman.
The man who rides all alone
And all that he’ll ever own,
Is just a badge and a gun and he’s known
As the Lawman.
Not only was the opening focus on the Marshal’s badge, the theme song mentioned the word “badge” twice, driving in to (again to borrow from Rush) the watching and enraptured young skulls-full-of-mush that when it was time to deal with the bad guys Americans “sent for the badge” and got a sheriff so dedicated to law and justice that “all he’ll ever own is just a badge and a gun.” If kids like me remembered anything it was the sight of Marshal Troops six-pointed star.
Now. According to Donald Trump’s critics of the last few days, the use of a six-pointed star in a tweet referencing Hillary Clinton’s obsession with pay-for-play cash is — OMG — anti-Semitic! Why… this is a Star of David! The use of this star in the Trump tweet — later replaced wrongly, I would suggest, by a circle — means Trump is anti-Semitic! A dog whistler to white supremacists! Oh boohoos!
Politely put? What utter crap. The reason the fictional Marshal Dan Troop of Lawman was wearing that six-pointed star is that in American history law enforcement — sheriffs in this case — did in fact wear them as a badge, a symbol of their duly-authorized constitutional authority. Indeed, the six-pointed star is still used in various law enforcement venues across the country, sometimes with a small globe on the end of each point, sometimes not. Indeed, by chance, I was at a friend’s home for a Fourth of July party and on the refrigerator was one of those rubberized magnets — in the shape of a six-pointed star. It read: “Marty Strake: Constable, Exeter Township, Republican Party Committeeman, Berks GOP.” That’s right, a local constable was handing out magnetized six-pointed stars as a campaign button. OMG! These six-pointed stars in American law enforcement history and the larger American culture are as common as popcorn in a movie theater.
And yet, in spite of this central fact of American history and culture, there in all their splendidly vivid ignorance are Trump critics, left and some, alas, right, not only betraying their ignorance but worse — deliberately using the moment to quite maliciously charge anti-Semitism. Thus making of Trump, whose beloved daughter Ivanka, son-in-law, and grandchildren are all, yes indeed, Jewish, a Jew hater. The man hates his own family, right? This would be idiocy walking — and doubtless it is for some. But make no mistake. Some of this bile is a deliberate attempt to inject anti-Semitism into the presidential campaign — manipulating the issue in a fashion that makes cause to wonder if at least some of these critics are serious if subtle and sly anti-Semites themselves.
Remember this moment from the Democratic National Convention of 2012? When a split convention was forced from the rostrum to ignore all those lefties in the convention who were opposed to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? The anti-Semitism flowed as an embarrassed convention chairman, then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, deliberately ignored the chorus of nay-sayers to make sure Jerusalem was recognized. Only last week the DNC platform had to struggle to defeat an amendment that, as noted here at Breitbart, “that demanded Israel cease Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and seemingly withdraw from those territories.” And who can forget the rabid anti-Semitism of the left’s Occupy Wall Street lunacy, which brought together President Obama, Nancy Pelosi — and the Jew-hating David Duke?
Decidedly serious — and yes, anti-Semitic — stuff. And yet because of a six-pointed Lawman-style star in a tweet that plainly indicated the badge — the good guys — were at last on hand to bring in “Crooked Hillary” — Trump the inveterate Israel supporter from a lifetime, the guy with the Jewish family who was the Grand Marshal for New York’s Israel Day parade, the boss who employs all nationalities and religions, Jews well-included, the man who has pledged that he would finally move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — suddenly Trump is the one with the anti-Semite problem?
This is ridiculous on its face. Yet it is not ridiculous to understand that there are those who are willing to truck in the manipulation of anti-Semitism for political purposes.
On the right this includes Erick Erickson’s Red State, which has shockingly given the appearance of making itself into a sly version of Der Stürmer, the notorious pro-Hitler, Jew-baiting publication of the Nazi era edited by the equally notorious Julius Stretcher. See this disgraceful trash at Red State with this headline:
Did The Trump Campaign Steal The Jew-Baiting Image From One Of His Supporters On Twitter?
Not to be outdone, Erickson himself tweeted:
A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.
And the proof? That the Trump tweet took the six-pointed star — again the exact duplicate of the six-pointed star used in an ancient American western TV series and, yesterday and today, in countless sheriff’s departments across the land (sometimes with tiny globes on the points of the star, sometimes not) — from some allegedly white supremacist site. This is like saying because there are photos out there of today’s Neo-Nazis waving the American flag that a photo of Hillary Clinton standing in front of an American flag makes her a dog-whistler to Nazis and the flag itself a symbol of anti-Semitism and racism. Good luck with that nonsense.
Then there was GOP consultant Rick Wilson’s own dog-whistling “Dear Reince” open letter to GOP Chairman Reince Priebus. Wilson — a fervent Trump critic — plays exactly the same game as Erickson. Using dog-whistle politics to claim somebody else is the dog-whistler. Thus encouraging every #NeverTrumper out there to join hands with decidedly serious lefty anti-Semites and racists to go and vote for the candidate of the party that has a 216-year old history of the rawest of racism salted today with the worst elements of policy-driven anti-Semitism. Brilliant, yes? Give these guys a good-citizen award! What garbage.
The long and short here? Yet again this is another drive-by media creation — a “look, there’s a squirrel!!!!” moment as America digests the serious reality that Hillary Clinton has become the first presidential nominee-presumptive in American history to be subjected to an FBI criminal investigation.
The only difference this time is that the “squirrel” is anti-Semitism. And there’s nothing funny about that.
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