Anatomy of an Outrageous Outrage

You may recall a recent right wing blogosphere freak-out session led by Michelle Malkin, about a video of some kids at Bernice Young elementary school singing a song praising President Obama.

The video was seized upon by Fox News, Glenn Beck, and even RNC chairman Michael Steele as an example of the “indoctrination” of school children into hordes of robotic commie Obama-loving drones — despite the fact that the song performed by the children was a school project created by the children themselves.

Today the Washington Post’s Ann Gerhart has an interesting article on the story behind this insanely distorted over-reaction, and what amounts to a frame-up job on a woman who had nothing do with that video or the children’s performance: In Today’s Viral World, Who Keeps a Civil Tongue?

“Ms. Carney-Nunes,” began the e-mail from Michelle Malkin, a best-selling and often inflammatory conservative writer with a heavily trafficked Web site. “I understand that you uploaded the video of schoolchildren reciting a Barack Obama song/rap at Bernice Young elementary school in June. I have a few quick questions. Did you help write the song/rap and teach it to the children? Are you an educator/guest lecturer at the school? Did you teach about your book, ‘I am Barack Obama’ at the school? Your bio says you are a schoolmate of Obama. How well-acquainted are you with the president?”

Carney-Nunes looked at the time stamp — 6:47 a.m. — and closed the file without replying. She knew Malkin had driven criticism of President Obama’s back-to-school speech, streamed nationwide, as an attempt to indoctrinate students. Now Malkin was asking about a YouTube video of New Jersey public school children singing and enthusiastically chanting about Obama from a Black History Month presentation.

By nightfall, Carney-Nunes’s name was playing on Fox News and voice mails on her home phone and cellphone were clogged with the furious voices of strangers. The e-mails kept pouring in, by the hundreds, crammed with words spam filters try to catch: She was a “nappy-headed” traitor; she would lose her job and go to jail; she was Leni Riefenstahl, the filmmaker who glorified Hitler. …

Critics are using the YouTube video of the children’s song to argue that Obama is becoming a brainwashing dictator. To raise money for the Republican National Committee, Chairman Michael S. Steele has compared the song to “the type of propaganda you see in Stalin’s Russia.”

Carney-Nunes, swept up in a viral tornado of vitriol, had nothing to do with the children’s song. She was doing an author’s reading in the school that day. …

Carney-Nunes, who writes children’s books and was a year behind Obama at Harvard Law School, watched as strangers posted her personal information on the Internet. She read, “You’re a dirtbag commie propagandist trying to infect children with your failed Marxist ideology.” And “your Obama chant is right out of Africa.” And “get ready for a massive attack!!!” And “my friend GLENN BECK will also shove this in your face until justice is served.” She made copies (which she shared with The Washington Post) and then deleted the messages, hoping the tornado would set her back down. …

After a few days, with the outcry expanding to calls for the school principal and district superintendent to be fired, Carney-Nunes issued a statement through a publicist saying that she “did not write, create, teach or lead the song about President Obama in the video,” and that “the song was presented to her by a teacher and students as a demonstration of a project that the children had previously put together.” The district superintendent gave the same account in a letter sent home to parents.

Carney-Nunes said an associate of hers videotaped the children’s performance and later uploaded it, along with video and photos from other of her readings, to Carney-Nunes’s YouTube account.

An e-mail to Malkin Saturday seeking comment was not answered.

Read the whole story of this disgraceful episode of wingnut blog malfeasance.

(Hat tip: MJ.)

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