Arianna Huffington: Free Speech Applies Only to Liberals

Arianna Huffington, founder of the liberal Huffington Post, recently asserted that “words matter” when arguing that Fox News' Glenn Beck was “inciting the American people” with his “paranoid style.”

Funny, but according to liberals like Huffington, “words” only seem to “matter” when conservatives like Beck speak, and not the liberal hosts and anchors at MSNBC.

Since the first of the year, MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and anchor David Shuster have attacked conservatives as racist, sexist, and continued to refer to the tea party movement in derogatory, sexual terms. Of course, they're just picking up where they left off in 2009. For example, Olbermann compared conservative columnist Michelle Malkin to a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it” last October, the same month Matthews suggested that, “at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his [Rush Limbaugh's] head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp.”

Huffington continually pointed to Beck's use of the word “slaughter” to describe what he believes progressives are doing to America as evidence that he is making “fantastical statements … at a time of real pain.”

Huffing Hypocrisy

Arianna Huffington, by the way, as the MRC documented in its 2007 study, “Huffington's House of Horrors,” once insisted that it was acceptable for one of her bloggers to refer to Fox News as a “tumor” because it “is a legitimate view that many people hold.”

In 2006, Huffington allowed writer Jane Smiley space on her site for this characterization of patriotic Americans:

Americans, true patriotic red, white, and blue Americans like hate. They feel comfortable with it and always have. Over the years, they've hated the Irish, the Italians, black people, foreigners of all kinds, Catholics, Chinese workers on the railroad, Jews, Hispanics, gays, fans of the White Sox – the list is as long as your arm. And, of course, it makes any decent American uncomfortable, but “real” Americans are beyond shame – they are so ignorant and poorly brought up and fearful and pandered to by haters in the media that they don't even hear themselves disgorging sewage from their mouths, they don't see the ignorant, vicious looks on their faces, they don't hear the stupidity of their own laughter.

But Arianna is now concerned about “words” and “fantastical statements?”

And while Huffington has no qualms with calling out Beck for what she sees as “dangerous” rhetoric, even going so far as to compare his statements to shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater, she fails to hold the anchors and hosts at MSNBC up to the same standard.

MSNBC – All Vitriol, All the Time

Olbermann, on Jan. 18, the night before Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, labeled Brown “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”

On CNN's Feb. 7 “Reliable Sources,” Howard Kurtz asked Huffington to compare Olbermann's rant against Brown to Beck's rants. “You can put out there thousands of emotional, passionate statements Keith Olbermann has made based on fact,” Huffington said. “This is a fundamental distinction – passion and emotion based on fact, based on passion and emotion a la Glenn Beck based on fantasy and fabrication.”

For the record, Olbermann apologized for his outburst against Brown the very next night – apologized for omitting the word “sexist.”

“I wanted to apologize for calling Senator-elect Scott Brown an 'irresponsible, homophobic, racist reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging, supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees,' the host stated on Jan. 19.  “I'm sorry, I left out the word 'sexist.'”

Olbermann eventually conceded that he had “been a little over the top,” but it came only after Comedy Central's Jon Stewart ripped into him about his remarks.

And as for Huffington's assertion that Olbermann's “passion and emotion” are “based on fact,” a fact check revealed that Olbermann's caricature of Brown was based on distorted stories.

Olbermann also concluded that statements about President Obama's perceived arrogance by conservative pundits are really racist code words.

“Here's a little secret, gathered, sadly, from witnessing it my whole life, even from some in my own family,” Olbermann confided to his viewers on Jan. 28. “When racist white guys get together and they don't want to be caught using any of the popular epithets in use every day in this country about black people – and there's a chance one of them, or worse still a white guy who doesn't get it, might wander in and hear the conversation, when there's a risk even in saying 'uppity' or 'forgetting his place,' the racist white guys revert to euphemisms and code words.”

Olbermann's rant was part of his “Worst Person in the World” segment. He gave The Washington Post's Mark Thiessen, Erick Erickson of Red State, National Review's John Hood and Jay Nordlinger, and Glenn Beck and John Stossel, collectively, the award for their criticisms of Obama's delivery of the State of the Union.

Chris Matthews, for his part, also attempted to portray conservatives as dangerous racists. MSNBC's “Hardball” host claimed on Jan. 5 that the tea party movement was “monochromatic” and implied that racism was the impetus behind that group. He spelled out for his guest, The Daily Beast's Mark McKinnon, that his “monochromatic” remark referred to the fact that tea partiers are “all white. All of them, every single one of them is white.”

In an ad for a Jan. 18 MSNBC special that marked the first anniversary of President Obama's inauguration, Matthews stated, “For the first time, we have an African American head of state. But, there's always going to be people who challenge it, who are threatened by it.”

Matthews compared Republicans to the Khmer Rouge, the murderous communist regime, during a Jan. 29 appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show.” 

“What's going on out there in the Republican Party is kind of a frightening, almost Cambodia re-education camp going on in that party, where they're going around to people, sort of switching their minds around saying, if you're not far right, you're not right enough,” he told Maddow.

Maddow used her Feb. 5 program to deride members of the Tea Party movement as the Ku Klux Klan.

Reporting on the start of the National Tea Party convention, Maddow claimed that opening speaker Tom Tancredo “started the event off with a bang, a big loud racist bang” because of a reference he made to “a civics literacy test.”  

 “Just for reference here, when Tom Tancredo talks about literacy tests, that's what they used in the south to keep black people from voting before civil rights legislation and court rulings put a stop to that,” explained Maddow. “So the convention opened with a clarion call to bring back the literacy tests for voting. And as you could hear, the tea party convention crowd erupted in cheers at the suggestion, although, to be fair, it was sort of hard to tell exactly what the sounds coming from the crowd meant. They were sort of a little bit muffled by, you know, the white hoods.”

Tancredo's signature issue is illegal immigration. His statement clearly was not racist:

“Mostly because I think we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in the country, people who could not even spell the word 'vote,' or say it in English, put a committed, socialist ideologue in the White House. The name is Barack Hussein Obama,” stated Tancredo.  

Taking a break from shouting down conservative guests that appeared on his show, MSNBC daytime anchor David Shuster appeared on the Jan. 19 Stephanie Miller radio show to claim that that the fire department should let Glenn Beck's house burn down if it were to ever catch fire.

“Well, you know, maybe I, you know, God forbid, you know, Glenn Beck's house should ever collapse because of some disaster, or burn up because of some fire. If that's his attitude, then maybe the fire department ought to think twice about putting out the fire at his house, and he can be on his own and see if his radio listeners want to come and, and, you know, with the hoses or something,” Shuster told Miller.

Shuster's disturbing suggestion was his response to Miller's claim that Glenn Beck “actually said that the President is dividing the nation by reacting too quickly to the Haiti situation.”

Huffington told CNN's Howard Kurtz that doesn't think Glenn Beck is “the only loudmouth on TV saying irresponsible things.” But Glenn Beck is the only “loudmouth” that she appears to be concerned about.

There are plenty of loudmouths on MSNBC who speak half-truths and distortions as fact and who continually get a free pass from Huffington simply because they share the same ideology.