July 22, 2015

Red-Brown Black and Blue - CounterPunch Editor Licks His Wounds

Yes, it's as disgusting as it sounds.  Jeffrey St. Clair, the Counterpunch editor, has done what CounterPunch never allows its targets to do and that is exercise his right of reply on a blog.   The blog, Messages from Exile (or in the original, meldungen aus dem exil), belongs to Elise Hendrick who has written a wonderfully detailed report on CounterPunch's longstanding relationship with the far right.  It's titled CounterPunch or Suckerpunch.

Well, Jeffrey St Clair has been so stung by it he has penned as disingenuous a response as you will see anywhere on anything. It was so at odds with what had been written in the main post, I'm not even sure if Elise realised what he was playing at at first.  Now at this point you might want to go and read Elise's post but it really isn't necessary to see what a clown St Clair is being.  Just note that Elise's main objections to CounterPunch are its propensity for posting racism and conspiracy theories.

Now here's St Clair:
You are, naturally, quite free to draw what ever conclusions you like about the political slant of CounterPunch, but your assertions should at least have some tenuous tether to reality, especially when you purport to do a deep “statistical” analysis of stories and authors. We’ve published more than 55,000 articles since 1999. Ralph Nader, alone, has written more than 400 articles for us. Is Ralph left or right? Well, he’s of Lebanese descent, so we can surmise where you would slot Ralph. That’s another 400 articles for your right wingers, I guess. How about Edward Said. Dozens of articles for the pre-eminent intellectual critic of Imperialism. But, yes, Edward was Palestinian and thus by your crafty declinations he was a birth-right right-winger. Kaching! More bonus points for you!! What about Fidel Castro, left or right? We run all of Fidel’s columns, all of Ricardo Alarcon’s, too. Critics of Israel. Shame on them. What about Philip Agee, former CIA spook who spilled the beans? We ran lots of story by Phil before he died. How about Subcomandante Marcos. We’ve published almost all of his dispatches from the Lacondon. Left or right? Hard call. He is a smoker. Right hand column, I guess. Uri Avnery, Jew, former member of the Knesset, served with Begin in the Irgun. 500 articles by Uri. Hmm. Hard call. Put him in the excluded middle I guess. What about Kathy Kelly? Catholic Worker, nominated several times for Nobel Prize. We published more than 300 pieces by Kathy and a book. More bait to lure naives leftists into a ‘trap.’ Could be. What about one of the greatest living black novelists, Ishmael Reed? He is he dupe? How about his daughter, Tennessee. We published her book on how the US education system throws one roadblock after another in front of young black women. That’s an entire book. How about Kevin Alexander Gray, one of the leading black civil rights organizers in the US, led the campaign to vanquish the Confederate Flag in South Carolina for two decades. Dozens of articles by Kevin and two books. But, whoops, he’s a critic of Israel. Does that make him a black white supremacist? I guess they do exist, consider the spectacle of Clarence Thomas. But I don’t think even you could squeeze Kevin into that box–not in his presence anyway. What about our book, Killing Trayvons? Just another con job? Frankly, I don’t care how you align our writers on your bifurcated little list, which has ominous overtones of other little lists kept by your compatriots in the not-so-distant past, but you should at least acknowledge their existence! And stop calling what you’re doing “statistical analysis”. As that infamous right-winger Mark Twain said, there’s lies, damned lies and statistics. But you don’t even HAVE statistics. Just your own hand-picked glob of silly putty. Good luck with your auto-de-fe.
He's obviously too radical for spacing or paragraphs or anything conventional like that.

First, in his panic he's confused statistics with, er, counting every single one of something.  How about sampling and proportions, Jeffrey?  I know significance is a concept in statistics but even non-statistically the significance of CounterPunch publishing rather a lot of racist tosh among its 55,000 articles is lost on poor wounded Jeffrey.  And was it an issue with political, numerical or literary comprehension that Jeffrey missed Elise's (not so) honourable mention of Ralph Nader:
in his April 2014 Left-Right AliancesRalph Nader concludes:
 It is a neglected responsibility of the mainstream media to expand reporting on left/right concurrences, especially where they move into action around the country. It is our responsibility as citizens to more visibly surface these agreements into a new wave of political reform. Guess what? It starts with left/right conversations where we live and work. Not even corporatists can stop you from getting that train moving.
If there are any potential drawbacks to this strategy – perhaps evident from the various historical precedents for Querfront – Nader does not see fit to mention them.
Jeffrey St Clair didn't see fit to mention them either or maybe he just didn't see them.

And "how about Edward Said?" Indeed.  How about the fact that Edward Said died in 2003. I don't know if I knew Counterpunch in 2003 but I certainly discerned its then flirtation with antisemitism a year later. I well remember my dismay when I found there was no space for comments nor a letters page.

But hold on, what does St Clair say about Said?
Edward was Palestinian and thus by your crafty declinations he was a birth-right right-winger. 
And what did he say about Ralph Nader?
Is Ralph left or right? Well, he’s of Lebanese descent, so we can surmise where you would slot Ralph. 
Wow! What's he on about?  What's he on, period?  Could he really have simply invented a false allegation of essentialising ethnicities against Elise Hendrick or was he running with a kernel of truth for what was an egregious lie?  I thought and thought and I could only reckon that Jeffrey St Clair was so stung by criticism after people tiptoed round his racist rag for so long that he actually thought white supremacy was not an ideology but an ethnicity.  Really, he thought that in denouncing white supremacism Elise Hendrick was denouncing whites for being white.  There can be no other explanation.  And as I said earlier, if you look at the comments, it was so irrational a comment, even Elise missed it at first.

Anyway, he then lists out various contributors with their names, their subject, and, naturally, their ethnicity and there we see a pattern of the promoters of white entitlement seeing or claiming to see racism in their detractors criticisms.  And thus Jeffrey St Clair's integrity lies in tatters courtesy of a blog I had never heard of only one week ago.

But Jeffrey St Clair shouldn't see himself in denunciations of white supremacy.  He's just been beaten black and blue which isn't white at all. Maybe next time he should stay in his sewer to lick his wounds.

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