Colin Delany October 11, 2007

Swift-Boating a Seventh Grader: Graeme Frost Feeds the Online Meat-Grinder

Get into politics, find yourself shredded in public — even if you’re twelve years old. When Graeme Frost delivered the Democrats’ weekly two-minute radio message a few days ago and focused on the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program, I doubt many people expected this kind of vicious reaction online:

Typical of the tone was what Mark Steyn wrote on National Review Online: “Bad things happen to good people, and they cause financial problems and tough choices. But, if this is the face of the ‘needy’ in America, then no one is not needy.” Nameless commenters to conservative blogs were even harsher. “Let ’em twist in the wind and be eaten by ravens,” wrote one one on Redstate.com, who was quoted in the Baltimore Sun. “Then maybe the bunch of socialist patsies will think twice.”

Karen Tumulty’s Time story, which supplied that quote, also includes a response from the boy’s father. It concludes:

“I find it morally reprehensible, and the act of a true coward, to publicly (world wide) smear a man and his family and not sign one’s own real name to what they have written. I sign my name to what I write.”

Salon’s Joan Walsh tallies the lengths that some noteworthy right-wingers went to: in this case, more than the usual blogger Googling was involved. (Note: if you see Michelle Malkin poking around your yard, start dialing libel attorneys.) Can we all agree that just maybe this kind of personal attack on a random citizen should be off-limits? The anonymity of the ‘net can shield the powerless, but it can also lead people to write things that for good reason would never pass their lips in public. If those unnamed commenters had to walk up and tell that kid in person that he should “twist in the wind,” might they think twice? In a few cases, probably not: some people are just jerks, online or off.

cpd

4 Comments:

  1. Patrick Stephens

    The issue at stake here is whether or not there should means testing for subsidies. The state of Maryland effectively subsidized the Frosts commercial real estate investment. If they’re meant to be representative recipients of the program, then it’s a program that subsidizes middle class risk. And maybe that’s not a program that taxpayers really want to fund.

    Using the 12 year old child as a distraction is inexcusable. On both sides.

  2. Ron Goodwyne

    So long as the Dems can find off limits people to fight their battles, the GOP is just SOL? You can’t be serious!

    The Dems have made an art out of finding people who “can’t be challenged” to spout their talking points. Like Ann Coulter, I’ve had more than enough of it. The fact is, the Dems USED that kid and they should be condemned for it.

  3. Tina Anderson

    Just another sad story generated by the Democrats, who have once again used a child to endear themselves to the public and gain sympathy for their causes.

Back Top