Friday, August 03, 2007

Ann Althouse's terrorism meltdown on Wisconsin Public Radio, beating up on the liberals (again)

Don't miss "The cheese stands alone: Ann Althouse proven wrong in attack on wimpy, terrorist-coddling me," by Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders. It's his account of his run-in with the Madison blogging diva on a recent Wisconsin Public Radio "The Week in Review" show, hosted by Joy Cardin. The show has a point-counterpoint format and paired the liberal Lueders with Ann Althouse, presumably representing the conservative side, though as she's at frequent pains to point out, she's not really conservative. Or so she says.

I only caught part of it on the air originally, and Lueders account -- along with his follow-up -- is priceless. What set Althouse off was the recent "cheese with wires sticking out of it" airport security alert that got a lot of press coverage until it proved to be a false alarm, a development that, of course, got virtually no coverage.
"It sounds funny but it isn't funny at all," announced Althouse. "It looks like it was a dry run for a bomb on planes. There were four instances and one was in Milwaukee... . In fact, the block of cheese was the same consistency as a kind of explosive substance that could be used. And so it looks like they used the cheese with some kind of wires and devices around it to see if they could get it through security, and then if they could get that through security, they'd know they could get a bomb through."

[The entire Friday, July 27 show at 8 a.m. can be downloaded here, with the exchange starting at the 45:00 minute mark.]

Cardin gave some more information, then asked me if I thought the issue might be "yet another scare tactic." I didn't take the bait. Here is my reply:

"It's hard to say whether it's a legitimate threat. It could be, or it could be something that is being misinterpereted, either deliberately or accidently. We don't know for sure."

This really set Althouse off. Her face in the studio where we sat was a mask of pure shock. She sputtered her reply:

"I have to say. You're saying that. People are saying that..."
Althouse was just getting warmed up. As Lueders kept holding out for some sort of sane, wait-and-see skepticism about another of those media scares that usually have proven to be more smoke than fire, her rhetoric became more and more unhinged..

Be sure to read the whole thing, including the follow-up about the attack on Lueders in the comments at the Althouse blog, as well as the eventual debunking of the alert. It turned out to have been triggered by an ice pack carried by a woman who said, "I'm not a terrorist. I'm a 66-year-old woman with a bad back."

Will that revelation have any impact on Althouse's thinking? I doubt it. She needs these little scares to keep convincing her that she is right in supporting Bush and that all her liberal friends are flighty, irresponsible wimps.


Palmer said...

I hope to write about this eventually but have you read John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience? I just finished listening to the audiobook and Althouse's display here seems to follow the authoritarian model Dean lays out.

Madison Guy said...

Palmer, excellent point! I haven't read the whole book, but I've read some of Dean's articles about the authoritarian model. Great observation -- I think it really helps explain her style.