This Nation piece is a ludicrous exercise in silly partisanship. Mark Ames and Yasha Levine go to great length to show just how all this crazy outrage over TSA agents groping people – including children – is little more than a Koch-brothers Astroturf campaign. John Tyner (the ‘don’t touch my junk’ guy), for example, turns out to be a libertarian. As scandalous as that may be on its own (because we know libertarians are little more than Koch brownshirts) there is more. For instance:
Tyner attended private Christian schools in Southern California and lives in Oceanside, a Republican stronghold next to Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps base on the West Coast.
At least one local TSA administrator wondered if Tyner hadn’t come to the airport prepared to create a scandal. Tyner switched on his recording device before even entering the checkpoint—and recorded himself as he refused to go through the body scanner. Most importantly, Tyner recorded himself saying “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested!”—which quickly morphed on blogs into the more media-savvy tagline, “Don’t touch my junk!”
Dear God. A Christian-school educated man from a Republican stronghold. Could Tyner be any more villainous? Could the plot possibly thicken even more?
Strangely enough, just a few days before Tyner’s episode, another self-described “libertarian,” Meg McLain, went online telling almost the exact same story of oppression and attempted sexual molestation at the hands of TSA agents. […]
There was only one problem with McLain’s story: She made it up. […]
McLain wasn’t the only questionable libertarian “victim” of the TSA turned into a freedom-hero on the Drudge Report. In fact, according to the TSA’s account, the 6-year-old who was allegedly “strip-searched” by evil TSA agents had his shirt removed by his own father—and not at the TSA’s request.
It goes on and on and on like this. I think if you connect a few more dots here you’ll see that the six-year-old boy is in fact the mastermind behind the whole Astroturf campaign against the poor, helpless TSA. The Koch brothers merely do his bidding.
And then the authors of this piece link it all back to Rep. John Mica (R, Fl) who somehow is going to profit along with the Koch brothers by privatizing security at airports, and so on and so forth. The, ahem, facts in the article are rather thinly distributed. The leaps the authors take are long, and the footing they find themselves on rather precarious.
What’s really going on here is clear. These are Tyner’s actual crimes in the eyes of these Nation writers, at least judging by the accusations they make: (1) he’s not a good, loyal Democrat; (2) he did something that politically harmed Barack Obama; and, most and worst of all (3) he failed to submit meekly and quietly to Government orders like any Good, Patriotic "ordinary American" would and should do. That is what has created their "sense" that he’s something other than an "ordinary guy" — a "fake."
The article highlights three other individuals who object to the TSA procedures (out of the dozens — at least — who have complained) who also have (cue the ominous overtones) libertarian ties. That’s not surprising. In order to do what Tyner did — firmly assert one’s rights against government agents and then vocally and publicly complain about rights infringements — one has to take one’s liberty seriously. After all, to do something like that is to risk being threatened by the Federal Government and smeared by journalists loyal to those in power. It’s hardly surprising that many of the people willing to take that kind of a risky stand have incorporated the concept of individual liberty into their political identity. The Nation may want to ask someone what the "L" in the "ACLU" stands for.
And therein lies the most odious premise in this smear piece: anyone who doesn’t quietly, meekly and immediately submit to Government orders and invasions — or anyone who stands up to government power and challenges it — is inherently suspect. Just as the establishment-worshiping, political-power-defending Ruth Marcus taught us today in The Washington Post, objecting to what the Government is doing here is just immature and ungrateful; mature, psychologically healthy people shut up and submit. That’s how you prove that you’re a normal, responsible, upstanding good citizen: by not making waves, doing what you’re told, declaring yourself a loyal Republican or Democrat and then cheering for your team, and — most of all — accepting in the name of Fear that you must suffer indignities, humiliations and always-increasing loss of liberties at the hands of unchallengeable functionaries of the state. I don’t really care what political label John Tyner applies to himself: we need far more of his civil resistance in our citizenry and far less of the mindless obedient drone behavior which these Nation writers seem to venerate.
I spoke with Tyner several days ago and he was very worried that his public stance would jeopardize exactly the ordinariness which The Nation claims is fake: his job, his family, his reputation, and the cost from government recriminations. This highly irresponsible, evidence-free Nation attack demonstrates how valid those concerns were.
Read the rest of Greewald’s piece which is really an excellent response to the vile, fact-free smear from the Nation. When journalists can do nothing better than loudly acquiesce to the state, targeting ordinary citizens in order to further bolster the government’s infringements of our rights and liberties – well, I think we’re witnessing the collapse of the media as a valuable institution in society. They are not fulfilling their role as government watchdog, and nor have they for a long, long time.
Then again, many (though certainly not all) on the left these days, somehow believe the Koch brothers represent a far greater threat to our society’s future than the war on terror, the continued civil liberties abuses carried out by the Obama administration, and the escalating abuses perpetrated by the TSA and the political class that created that agency.