Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rove 101: Moonbat Attack

(Rove 101: A series designed to report on the tactics and talking points of the Grand Ol' Propagandists.)


WHAT IT IS: A favorite tactic of the neo-Cons. Marginalize the position of the opposition, by portaying the left as 'extreme,' 'fringe' and 'out-of-the-mainstream.'

WHAT IT DOES: The tactic is used in an effort to destroy the credibility of anyone with a divergent viewpoint.

WHO USES IT: Usually, sympathetic pundits on the news nets, right-wing talk hosts, and especially, bloggers. It will often be found in the form of extremist-right trolls who make a habit of using this tactic when writing replies on progressive blogs.

Politicans have been utilizing the strategy more and more, as they become less willing to even attempt to appear bipartisan.

EXAMPLES: Let's look at the use of the word moonbat.

According to, the word is "a political epithet coined in 2002 by Perry de Havilland of a libertarian weblog."

Moonbats On Parade: Michelle Malkin column, where she refers to a "bizarre array of grim-faced parade organizers on the extreme edge of anti-Americanism."

Moonbat cheerleader Olbermann lauds Clinton's psychotic episode:'s column, dismissing Keith Olbermann as crazy, without trying to rebut his comments with logic.

Clinton put the capper on his crazy moonbat-fest by wrapping himself in unwarranted sanctimoniousness: Ben Shapiro made this comment in his column at It excuses him from making a serious attempt to rebut the former president's specific charges.

Trolls: Notice how this first poster to a Huffington Post blog uses the phrase "typical moonbat journalism" to avoid having to make any sort of intellectual refutation. You can find the term used often as right-wing replies in blogs everywhere.


1) Identify the tactic.

Be aware of what is at play here, each time you see terms of ridicule, such as 'moonbat,' being used.

2) Make it public.

You immediately undercut the power of the 'moonbat attack' strategy when you point out that this sort of attack is done so that the attacker does not have to respond with a logical argument. Challenge the user of the term to stick with specific facts, in defense of their positions.

I plan on linking to this blog post when I see it being used on other blogs. If a columnist uses the term, write a letter to the editor. If a TV or radio personality uses the term, contact their network and challenge them on it.

3) Put the opponent on the defensive.

The school of Rove has always been about being pro-active and we too easily fall into the trap of trying to fight back from a re-active stance. Make those who ridicule our positions defend their own credibility. Refuse to play by their game rules.

In effect, force the right-wing to defend their indefensible positions.


Anonymous said...

Excellent, scootmandubious. Great examples.
This could turn into a good reference

Eyesbright said...

Exactly! We need to be preaching and teaching this to every Democrat. So often, progressives make the mistake of trying to use logic against the right-wingers. It's an understandable mistake; progressives usually have truth and the facts on their side. However, the right-wingers have learned to appeal to emotion via name calling and hysteria - because that and numerous other shady debate tactics works!