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Media Matters Matt Gertz Blows the Anita Dunn Case Wide Open

John on October 16, 2009 at 9:26 am

It’s no secret that Media Matters is a left wing lapdog. They coincidentally seem to echo whatever the DNC is selling on a given day. But some days you just gotta feel sorry for them. Some days there’s just nothing to say, but they have to trot out something anyway. Some days like yesterday.

Yesterday Glenn Beck posted video of Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director, quoting Chairman Mao approvingly:

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Media Matters swung into action and posted this:

Will Beck condemn Bush for recommending a Mao bio to Rove?

In the wake of Glenn Beck’s rather bizarre one hour rant, in which he played a clip of White House communications director Anita Dunn calling Mao Tse-Tung one of her two “favorite political philosophers,” along with Mother Theresa, the following excerpt from a December 2008 Karl Rove column in the Wall Street Journal seems relevant:

Rove: President Bush “encouraged me to read a Mao biography.”

The WSJ article is Karl Rove recounting how, back in 2006, he and the President were trading book recommendations. Here’s the blockbuster excerpt Media Matters has uncovered:

We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction’s unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.

Wow. So Bush once recommended a book on Mao. That’s crazy…

Wait, what?

Note to Media Matters Matt Gertz. I don’t think the problem with Anita Dunn’s comment is that she’s familiar with Mao or even that she may have studied him at some point as, apparently, Bush and Rove did.

No, I think the problem is that, having examined his record, she considers him one of her “favorite political philosopher” and quotes him approvingly (to a group of high school kids!) without mentioning that he was also a brutal communist dictator whose regime was responsible for tens of millions of deaths.

There’s also this unattributed Media Matters post on the same topic. It repeats the Mao-Rove book charge and also argues the following:

Dunn never praised Mao’s ideology or atrocities in video Beck aired.

That’s true. She didn’t specifically praise Mao for killing millions, she just didn’t mention it at all. It’s as if someone had said “You know, you have to admire Adolf Hitler – he knew how to keep the trains running on time” without bothering to mention that the trains were running on time to Buchenwald.

If her point was only that we should each follow our own path, there are many individuals Anita Dunn might have quoted whose history isn’t steeped in blood. The one that comes to mind is Joseph Campbell, expert on mythic story, who said “Follow your bliss.”

MM also alludes to a former Barry Goldwater adviser, now deceased, quoting Mao with regard to how to “take a village.” This is at least in the ballpark. Of course it was also 50 years ago. And they quote Goldwater himself saying that perhaps they should copy the strategy of “the enemy.” So even in this case, Goldwater indicates that he is referring to an “enemy” not to a “favorite political philosopher.”

Like I said, some days you just have to feel sorry for the folks at Media Matters.

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