Gazette Slaps ProgressNow

Today’s Colorado Springs Gazette editorialized against ProgressNow:

… ProgressNowAction has organized a petition campaign to convince advertisers to boycott Jon Caldara’s KOA radio talk show. …

As reported in the Rocky Mountain News, libertarian blogger Ari Armstrong found that three Front Range progressive newsweeklies — The Colorado Springs Independent, Westword and Boulder Weekly — routinely publish “bitch-slap.” He even found “bitch-slap” on a ProgressNowAction blog.

None of this concerns leaders of ProgressNowAction, who offer no criticism of liberal journalists who use the term.

“We’re much more concerned with what Caldara says,” explained Bobby Clark, deputy director of ProgressNowAction, in an interview with The Gazette. “Caldara has a tremendous sphere of influence. He is a paid spokesman for the right.”

So there you have it, in Clark’s own words. They don’t care if pundits on the left use “bitch-slap” — a common humorous slang — but they’ll organize a boycott when a conservative says it.

That about summarizes the case. However, the Gazette points out something else that I had not heard and corrects ProgressNow’s misinformation:

Clark blamed the Rocky Mountain News for “failing to disclose that Ari Armstrong is an employee of Caldara’s Independence Institute. The story didn’t tell you that, but it’s a fact.”

A fact? Hardly. Armstrong, a freelance writer, said he has volunteered articles to the Independence Institute on speculation, but the organization doesn’t pay him.

I was paid by the Independence Institute for work on one paper in 2005 on a contract basis; never was I an “employee” of the Institute. Beyond that, I’ve written various articles for the Institute on a strictly voluntary basis. But the claim is typical of the left, which, as the heir of Marx, holds that ideas are the products of one’s material conditions. Of course, the left never thinks to apply such standards to itself. If ProgressNow wishes to get uptight about my casual relationship with the Independence Institute — which, by the way, has nothing to do with Caldara’s radio show — then, by the same standard, mightn’t we ask whether ProgressNow is giving Westword a pass for using the term “bitch slip” twelve times because Michael Huttner of ProgressNow once worked as an intern for Westword? But I don’t buy such claims on either side. ProgressNow is merely trying to weasel its way out of its hypocritical stance by attacking the messenger.

For readers of the Gazette for whom this issue may be new, following is a list of my blogs on the matter.

Bitch-Slapping Caldara

Bitch-Slap Update Used “Bitch Slap” in ’07

Free Speech and Offensive Speech

“Why I Am a Liberal”