HH: One person who I suspect will disagree with that premise is none other than Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, who joins us as he does every Thursday when we are lucky. Columnist To the World Mark Steyn, welcome, always a pleasure.
MS: Always a pleasure to be with you, Hugh.
HH: Now Mark, I bet you had no idea when you were emigrating to the United States and obtaining your residency right here that had you simply gone to ACORN, not only could you have gotten in quicker, you could have opened up a happy house at the same time.
MS: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, it would have been a lot easier for me if I’d gone to ACORN, and they’d agreed to smuggle me across the border with some child prostitutes, and set me up in a government-funded jailbait bordello. That would have been great. I mean, that is the American dream. I don’t understand, I don’t understand why everybody’s mad at ACORN and wants to take them down for it. It’s so unreasonable.
HH: Are you surprised…this is the question I ask a lot of people, knowing what you know about ACORN all these years, are you surprised?
MS: No, I’m not, not really, because I think if…I think so-called community organizers are full of lunatics, to be honest. I think it’s a job that is not necessary. I think if you think about a community and how you would want to organize it, I mean, I live in a community, I live in a community blessedly free of community organizers. And I don’t think that’s what community organizing is about. I think community organizing is a form of political muscle. It’s like old school unions used to be. It’s about bigging up your voice, and getting numbers, whether they’re real, whether they’re dead people, whether they’re child prostitutes imported from Latin America or whatever, just bigging up your numbers to have more and more political muscle. And that this kind of shenanigans goes on doesn’t really surprise me, sadly.
HH: Now for fifteen years, Mark Steyn, I’ve been telling my law students that the only thing that is still morally unacceptable across a large swathe of America is child pornography and child prostitution. That’s where everybody agrees it’s horrific, finally we have something on which everyone can agree. But apparently, that does not apply, and I am a little bit shocked not that there’s gambling going on here, but that there’s that level of depravity among the ACORN staff.
MS: Yes, I think if you look, for example, at the state of Maryland, which wants to prosecute these two individuals who exposed this racket, they don’t seem at all, they don’t seem at all embarrassed or humiliated by the fact that an organization plugged into government was involved in child prostitution. They just want to go after the people who supposedly illegally taped them under Maryland law. Look, this is outrageous. The New York Times couldn’t even report the story without setting it up as some kind of conservative hit job, conservatives have long been annoyed about ACORN or whatever. It’s not…these people in these videos are genuine ACORN employees, which is why they’ve been fired, and they’re agreeing to the most outrageous things. And as you said, pedophilia and child pornography and child prostitution, that is supposed to be everybody’s bottom line. And if, in the end, the New York Times thinks the story is conservative activism run rampant and out of control, and not what ACORN is doing, and the very few degrees of separation between the ACORN child prostitute racket and the President of the United States, then I think the New York Times has really lost all basic journalistic curiosity, and they ought to just go off to the White House and be the eunuchs in the harem, which seems to be what they want to be.
HH: Let me give you another example of big media, or legacy media. I’ve got in my hands the Los Angeles Times today I brought on the plane over from California to Colorado. On Page A-14, way below the fold, deep below the picture of Olympia Snowe giving an earnest quote, is a little maybe ten graph buried story, videos spur ACORN inquiry.
HH: It’s a wire service story from the Washington Post. This thing is burning up. It is though they have a death wish in old legacy media not to cover what people are talking about.
MS: No, well I think they’re actively auditioning now to become Pravda.
MS: I think they have taken this business we talked about with Dan Rather a few weeks ago, that they are actively auditioning for public funding. And they’re saying look, look what we’re…we do a terrific job being your palace guard. But we’re losing money at it. So since we’re doing such a great job at being your palace guard, couldn’t we become public trusts, or publicly funded, or NPR on paper or whatever? And I think when you look at the New York Times complaining, essentially complaining in their first two paragraphs on the story, you know, they said right wing groups had tried to draw attention to ACORN all throughout the presidential election, but were reduced to hiring a couple of people to pretend to be a pimp and a prostitute. You know, what does that tell you? Yes, if it had been a normal story, if this had been a story involving somebody with ties to George W. Bush, it would be in the paper. But you didn’t put it in the paper. No matter…it’s got child prostitution. It’s got everything. If you’re not interested in that, you’re not in the news business.
HH: Yeah, it’s absolutely true. Now Mark Steyn, I’ve got to play for you, there was a vote in the House today to cut off funding for ACORN, which failed, unbelievably [transcriber/producer’s note: the vote was overwhelming to cut off funding in the House for ACORN. Only 75 voted to continue support, those consisting of hard-line progressives in the House Democratic Caucus]. They’re standing by ACORN in the Democratic Congressional majority. And all this emotion, all of this debate, it gave rise to an emotional statement by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Let’s listen to it.
NP: I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. We are a free country, and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance. I have concerns about some of the language that is being used, because I saw, I saw this myself in the late 70s in San Francisco, this kind of, of rhetoric, was very frightening, and it gave, it created a climate in which we…violence took place, and so I wish that we would all again curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, sort of understanding that some of the people, the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume. But again, our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe. But I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, she obviously did not see Sean Penn in his academy award winning role as Harvey Milk, because Dan White was crackers, and he wasn’t driven to kill Harvey Milk by virtue of hate speech or incitement. He was a lunatic.
MS: No, and I love this, because this in a way the argument I’ve been having up in Canada now for two years, that you know, there are a lot of crazies out there. You can’t go around saying this stuff, because the citizens are a lunatic mob. And if you, it’s like tossing a lighted match in a fireworks factory. The whole thing’s just going to explode. And of course the reality is that the people who are using the overheated rhetoric here are actually Nancy Pelosi and her chums. You know, some nice, old lady goes to a meeting in Tennessee with her Congressman, and she says oh dear, well, I’m very worried about what I hear about wait times for MRI’s up in Canada, and Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party say you’re just a racist howling to go back to the days when you strung these uppity types up from the tree, and that was the end of it. I mean, they’re the ones who suddenly leap from, who posit the view that any criticism of the health care proposal means that you’re a racist mob, that the rhetoric here, the overheated rhetoric, is on the whole coming from Nancy Pelosi’s crowd.
HH: Another rhetorical issue, Mark Steyn. You know, Joe Wilson got in trouble, and I agreed that he ought not to have shouted out “You lie” from the floor of the House, but it turns out that the President of the United States, well, here’s what President Obama said in the speech.
BHO: One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, he didn’t die. In fact, he lived another four years, he got his coverage back after a couple of weeks, and the story, which was on Slate by Timothy Noah, hadn’t checked out. Timothy Noah didn’t check it out. And so the President, well, maybe he wasn’t lying, but he was certainly telling the kind of anecdote that Ronald Reagan used to get blasted for with great regularity.
MS: Yeah, and you know, the thing is, if you’re going to use these sort of human interest stories as a basis for changing the health care arrangements of a nation of three hundred million people, you’d better have that lined up and nailed down. Taxpayers pay for a huge staff of people to stand up and make sure that these little human interest anecdotes, which you know, anyone, we can play that game all day long. There are like a hundred on the other side from people who’ve died under socialized health care in Canada and Britain and everywhere else. But you expect him to have that nailed down. You look at Bush, Bush said something which is absolutely true, which is that the British intelligence thought that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger. That actually is true. British intelligence still stands by that. And you had people in the street saying Bush lied, people died, when in this case, Obama lied, and nobody died. He lied about nobody dying.
HH: Mark Steyn, always a pleasure, www.steynonline.com, America.
End of interview.