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The Plum Line: In which I advocate for union thugs to get violent (not really)

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By Greg Sargent
Monday, February 28, 2011; 4:03 PM

I usually try to avoid getting into blogwars about this kind of stuff. But the buffoonish dishonesty on display today from CNN contributor Erick Erickson and others on the right is revealing and worth responding to in a bit of detail.

Erickson and his comrades think they've got a big journalistic scandal on their hands because I Tweeted this earlier today:

Dear union thugs: Will you please get violent in Wisconsin already? Pretty please?

Now, anyone with basic reading comprehension skills will immediately see that this was intended as sarcasm -- as a send-up of right-wingers who have been working overtime to find any evidence of union thug violence in Wisconsin they can scrounge up. Unfortunately, my joke was not heavy handed enough for Erickson. He unleashed a torrent of outraged Tweets in my direction, including one claiming that I was "calling" for "violence in Wisconsin."

Other luminaries, such as the keeper of Townhall Magazine's Twitter feed, also sounded the alarm: "Does the Wash Post promote violence? Yep."

It's hard to fathom what would motivate these folks to sink to such embarrassing depths of self-parody. After all, most people would have picked up on the rather obvious point that if my Tweet weren't intended as sarcastic, I would be on record describing union members, without irony, as "thugs." What's more, these voracious consumers of my Twitter feed might have noticed that earlier this morning, I explicitly made fun of the right's hunt for union violence and thuggery -- not once, but twice.

But wait, it gets still better.

Erickson is now up with an entire post exposing my call for violence. Its headline blares: "Washington Post's Greg Sargent Demands Unions Get Violent." But in the post itself, Erickson actually concedes that I was being sarcastic!

He squares this circle thusly:

I believe Sargent was being sarcastic. The problem is that if I or Sarah Palin or anyone on the right had said something similar, Greg Sargent and his friends would never, ever extend us the courtesy of recognizing the sarcasm, etc. If you need proof, just dig around for Sargent's writings about Sarah Palin's target map.

Okay, let's dig around for those writings. There's this post: "No conservative commentators, officials or personalities are in any way to blame for the shooting." And this one: "it's wrong to blame anyone for the shooting."

Really, all these folks have done is confirm my original point: They appear to be desperately hoping that people on the left will either advocate or commit violence in Wisconsin. What remains unclear is why they don't try to disguise this a little bit more effectively.


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