Over at City Pages, Mike Mullen sends up conservative carping about glitzkrieg in in a glorious post, Tom Emmer wants criminal prosecutions for glitter-bombing.
But the whinging about poor Nick Espinosa as an obscure subject of desire doesn't come until late in the podcast. When Bluestem was asked by friends to listen to the podcast, we noticed something even more striking about Emmer and Davis's lamentations about the tonal horrors of contemporary political discourse.
To prove their points--and then to bash unions while calling for right-to-work-legislation to be passed in Minnesota--Emmer and Davis played a doctored tape of a speech by International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Jim Hoffa. By leaving out references to voting, what was Hoffa's call to the ballot box in November 2012 becomes instead a call to violence.
Some tone, dudes.
The Real Hoffa Speech
Here's what Hoffa said (full transcript taken from the Detroit Free Press):
Here is a transcript of Hoffa’s entire speech on Monday:
“Are there any Teamsters in the house? This is Motown, but today, this is union town. We are union, we are workers. That is the message that we send today, and that is the message that we send to America.
There is a war on workers. You see it everywhere: It is in the unemployment, it is in the Tea Party, it is in the people that fight what we believe in. And we see the war in Wisconsin where they try to take collective bargaining from our public employees. We took two senate seats back, we are taking Wisconsin back.
That’s number one. Number two, in Ohio, we are fighting a battle there with regard to taking away collective bargaining. We will beat SB5. We’ve got a million signatures. We are going to win in Ohio — that is our number two. And in Michigan, they are thinking about right to work. It ain’t going to happen in Michigan. No way.
We have to keep an eye on the battle we face — a war on workers. And you see it everywhere there is the Tea Party. And you know there is only one way to beat and win that war.
The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what, they’ve got a war, they’ve got a war with us and there is only going to be one winner. It is going to be the workers of Michigan and America – we are going to win that war. All the way.
But it starts with your involvement, it starts with next November. We’ve got a bunch of people there that don’t’ want the president to succeed, and they are called the Tea Party – the people who don’t want him to do anything right and he is working hard for us.
President Obama is frustrated by what’s going on. Well, guess what, we’ve got the vote. And the answer to what we say is, we remember in November. We will beat the Tea Party and give this country back to workers and America. We can do it together.”
We’ve also got to talk about jobs. I get so tired about people who …(inaudible) these big corporations that send our jobs to Mexico, they send our jobs to China, and they’ve got the audacity to say ‘where are the jobs?’
Well I’ve got news for you. It’s time to bring those jobs back to America and bring America back to work. That’s what we’ve got to do.
We are going to hear from President Obama in a few minutes, and I am so glad that he has come to Michigan because this is where he sees the real America. He looks out on this army of people and you know what I say? President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. President Obama, we want one thing: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs…(The crowd joins the chant.)
That’s what we are going to tell America…..When he sees what we are doing here, he will be inspired, but he needs help. And you know what? Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back, we keep the eye on the prize, lets take these sons-of-bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”
Some excerpts from the speech are found at ABCNews.com [link here] in which it's obvious that he's talking about working people will "take these sons-of-bitches out" of office via petition and the ballot box. [Update] Moreover, it's not unusual for campaigns to be compared to war; indeed conservative bagman Charles Koch recently compared the 2012 election to the Iraq War. [end update]
The Origin of the Smear
But the tape Emmer and Davis play doesn't contain any reference to voting. Instead, they're playing the audio of a Fox News segment described in Media Matter's Timeline Of A Right-Wing Media Smear: Hoffa's Call To Vote Became "A Call For Violence":
Fox Then Aired Clearly Edited Video Of Hoffa's Comments. Approximately 20 minutes after Henry's initial report on Hoffa's comments, Fox News' Megyn Kelly reported that Hoffa had issued "a pretty harsh attack on the tea party and Republicans. Here's some of that now." Fox News then aired a clearly edited version of Hoffa's speech:
HOFFA: We gotta keep an eye on the battle that we face: a war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there's only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what, they got a war, they got a war with us, and there's only gonna be one winner. It's gonna be the workers of Michigan and America. We're gonna win that war.
HOFFA: President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march.
HOFFA: Let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much! [Fox News, America Live, 9/5/11]
Blakeman: "I Think It's Thuggery At Its Best." After she aired the clearly edited version of Hoffa's remarks, Kelly asked Republican consultant Brad Blakeman to respond. He said, "I think it's thuggery at its best" and "these are the kind of remarks you'd expect out of Tony Soprano, not a union president." Blakeman further said: "When a union president says, 'let's take these son of a bitches out,' it usually means somebody's legs are going to get broken, somebody's going to disappear." [Fox News, America Live, 9/5/11] . . .
It's that sort of discourse Emmer and Davis decry; sadly, they don't seem to know what Hoffa really said. There's no evidence of due dilgence, just two guys repeating a something they heard because it supports a talking point the political agenda they support: passing right-to-work laws.
Bluestem thinks that the right-to-work champion American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate sponsors scored some real value last month when it gave Tom Emmer a press pass and let him in to its annual convention for free. Who says you can't buy earned media like this for your agenda?
Willful misinterpretation of Hoffa or just convenient laziness in failing to do the due diligence of checking a tape for accuracy? Does it matter?
The blather about the doctored audio Emmer and Davis bloviate over brought to mind words about voting by another famous Detroit native, pop star Eminem. In 2004, he urged Americans to good to their polling places, knowing that his call for a fight would be taken the wrong way. He wrote in Mosh:
I scrutinize every word, memorize every line
I spit it once, refuel and re-energize and rewind
I give sight to the blind, my insight through the mind
I exercise my right to express when I feel it's time
It's just all in your mind, what you interpret it as
I say to fight, you take it as I'mma whip someone's ass
If you don't understand, don't even bother to ask
Just in case people were confused about what it means to speak and be heard in this country, the artist had a video made. It's dated and it's a different election, but by the end, it's clear what process Eminem is talking about. It's what Hoffa was talking about. Voting, dudes, but perhaps Emmer and Davis didn't hear that part.