-- by Dave
Sean Hannity hosted not one but two whole segments last night devoted promoting the new book by Jerome Corsi -- godfather of the Swift-Boating of John Kerry -- titled America For Sale, which is basically an extended black-helicopter-style conspiracy tome straight out of the Patriot movement of the 1990s, updated for the new century.
This is a classic case of conservatives mainstreaming extremist ideas. I haven't read all of Corsi's book yet, but it differs very little in ideas and content and overall thesis from the kinds of books you could buy at militia-meeting tables in the '90s.
I haven't yet found whether Corsi decided to include his recent reportage for WorldNetDaily detailing the nefarious Obama conspiracy to round up conservatives and imprison them in concentration camps. Hannity managed to not bring up that point last night.
But yes, that's what Corsi wrote:
The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.
Funny, I still have a Militia of Montana book that outlines this very same nefarious plot being concocted by Bill Clinton.
As Steven Thomma explained for McClatchy:
In truth, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., has proposed a bill that would order the Homeland Security Department to prepare national emergency centers — to provide temporary housing and medical facilities in national emergencies such as hurricanes. The bill also would allow the centers to be used to train first responders, and for "other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security."
Of course, Corsi and Hannity aren't the only ostensibly mainstream conservatives peddling this paranoiac fearmongering: So is Michelle Bachmann, among others:
"There is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service," Bachmann told a Minnesota radio station.
"And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."
It's also cropping up quite a bit at Tea Party gatherings. That's where you find outfits like the "Oath Keepers," whose organization is built around resisting citizen roundups.
Why, exactly, does Sean Hannity so avidly promote Jerome Corsi and his conspiracy theories anyway? Look at his record:
Corsi is also a frequent participant in FreeRepublic.com's online forums, posting under the pseudonym "jrlc" since 2001. (Click here to read a full set of Corsi's posts; click here to read the post in which "jrlc" admits to being Jerome Corsi.)
On FreeRepublic.com, Corsi has, among other things, said that "ragheads" are "boy buggers"; referred to "John F*ing Kerry"; called Senator Hillary Clinton a "Fat Hog"; referred to her daughter as "Chubby Chelsie" Clinton; referred to Janet Reno as "Janet Rhino"; called Katie Couric "Little Katie Communist"; suggested Kerry was "practicing Judaism"; and expressed the wish that a small plane that had crashed into a building in Los Angeles had instead crashed into the set of NBC'S The West Wing, thereby killing actor Martin Sheen.
After penning the Swift Boat book, Corsi co-authored a book with Jim Gilchrist about the wonderful Minuteman movement. It included a chapter devoted to extolling the virtues of then-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who wanted to run Orange County the way Joe Arpaio runs Maricopa County. Except that Mike Carona was actually a corrupt cop who wound up resigning.
Then he wrote his first outright conspiracy tome: The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger With Mexico and Canada which ostensibly exposed secret plans to form a "North American Union" by combining the three countries into one. He evidently folds that theory into his latest book.
Then he wrote last year's The Obama Nation (get it? Abomination/Obama Nation?) which was the usual farrago of distortions, fabrications, and outright falsehoods we've come to expect from him. In between, he helped drum up media interest in the phony Ramos/Compean case.
There are mainstream conservatives who have spoken out about how badly this kind of embrace of extremism by movement leaders reflects on their ideology. But as we pointed out then, it's much more deeply entrenched than they realize.
And it's a large part of the reason we're now seeing militias come crawling out of the woodwork. For that, we can thank not just Corsi but Hannity too.
Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.