Blogger-terrorist Michelle Malkin humbles Dunkin' Donuts; her spiritual mentor Joe McCarthy would be proud

One of the things that really scares and worries me about this whole blogging thing is this:

One emotionally needy ("no one has written about me in a while, let’s stir something up") blogger, who happens to have a wide readership because of her "bully" pulpit of a syndicated column, can bring a decent company and an awfully nice spokesperson to their knees.

I’m talking about Michelle Malkin (usually given the title "conservative columnist") and her attach on Dunkin’ Brands and Rachel Ray.

You may have seen news stories that Dunkin’ caved in to Malkin’s unprovoked and unfair attack and withdrew a series of ads featuring Rachel Ray wearing a scarf with a black-and-white paisley design.

Having nothing better to do, and absolutely no facts at her disposal to support the allegation (remember when Sen. McCarthy declared "I have here in my pocket a secret list of Communists"?) Ms. Malkin decided that Rachel Ray’s scarf bore a resemblance to the kaffiyeh, the patterned headgear favored by some terrorist leaders.

Come on, people. Have we totally lost control of our ability to sort out the facts?

This is a kaffiyeh:


Here is a photo of the most prominent terrorist leader wearing a kaffiyeh:


And this is Rachel Ray wearing "the scarf."



They are obviously and distinctively different, and reasonable people would see that just by looking at the photos.

It only took me 10 minutes (probably less) to find these images using Google.

So the serious, important question is this:

Why do we act like sheep and let people like Malkin spew their nonsense without challenging it?

Why didn’t any news media people compare the images, and question Malkin’s sanity?

Remember, she is also the same bloggoterrorist who once suggested prosecution for anti-American statements by Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor stringer kidnapped in Iraq and forced at gunpoint to those statements while in captivity.

Aside from the fact that Malkin didn’t lose her juicy syndicated column contract over that outrageous attack, why does the news media still give any shred of credibility to anything she says?

Why do we have a media firestorm over the allegation and no one, NO ONE, standing up to say clearly and without hesitation:

Dunkin’ Donuts and Rachel Ray didn’t do anything wrong.

The charge is bogus, and Michelle Malkin’s news syndication service should be ashamed that they give a channel to this kind of witch-hunting masquerading as journalism.

Let’s be very clear: The person who is wrong here is not Rachel Ray. Dunkin’ Donuts is also not doing anything wrong.

The one who’s wrong — once again — irresponsible bloggoterrorist making the allegation without any foundation and for no other reason than to stir the waters of controversy and get her name mentioned.

The ones who are guilty, however, are the journalists who dutifully report Malkin’s crazy assertion and conclude that they have done their jobs by merely reporting what she said accurately and what the other side said in response — accurately.

There is an obligation to report the truth, and that means reporting skeptically about the original assertion when it is easy to prove that the assertion is wrong. This is the same failure of the media when Joe McCarthy brandished his fictitious "list."

And it demands that we ask the same question of Michelle Malkin that Joseph Welch, head attorney for the US Army, asked of Joe McCarthy toward the end of McCarthy’s reign of terror:

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?  Have you left no sense of decency?


  1. I’m very torn. Good post, by the way, and you’ve made me think more about this after I’ve already spent some time posting my opinion on my own blog.Truth is, I feel bad for Dunkin’ Donuts, as much as you can feel bad for a corporation, because they don’t deserve to be the target of right-wing nutfudgerry any more than anyone else does. These nutfudges are bullies.I found yesterday that I had lost my taste for Dunkin Donuts products. Basically, their caving turned me off. I’m not interested in organizing a boycott, and I don’t know what it would realistically accomplish.If I’d heard that Dunkin Donuts had stood up to right-wing stupidity, I would have felt like supporting them like crazy. We’re near the heart of Dunkin Country.Perhaps I am expecting too much of a corporation. If we see them as the victim of a bully, then perhaps they deserve some slack.On the other hand, they made a conscious decision to bow to these folks, which has surely encouraged them.It looks like a lose-lose. I’m left in an ambivalent state. I still feel disappointed in their decision to take down the ad, but my feelings have softened a bit after reading your post and the Tweet which led me here. So thanks for that.Perhaps my taste for their products will return sooner; they were unfairly put in a bad position.

  2. The good doctor makes good points in his comment. My own experience as a corporate PR person gave me inside perspective on this decision process, which is often driven by the legal- and regulation-imposed “fiduciary responsibility” that would expose the company’s executives to litigation and job loss if the company sales went down because they decided to confront the bullies and refuse to pull the ads. The system as it exists does not reward corporations for standing up to pressure groups. It penalizes the executives even if they truly believe that the principle is worth fighting for, so most companies simply find it easier, less financially risky, and more palatable to “cave in” to pressure, as Dr. Momentum describes it. In some ways it is a cost-benefit analysis. Which is the less expensive course of action, settling a nuisance lawsuit for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, or spending half a million to litigate it because you know you are factually in the right?This is, in many respects, the dilemma facing Dunkin. Do they want to be a continuing news story through many cycles while Malkin continues to snipe at them, or just give up and take away the focal point for her diatribe?Unfortunately, that leaves it up to right-thinking (I mean correct, not right-wing) individuals to vote with our feet by going into Dunkin and buying a coffee, besieging them with emails and letters urging them to bring the ads back, and by doing everything we can to bring greater scrutiny to the lazy, witch-hunting, sensationalistic tactics being used by Malkin and her ilk.

  3. You’re correct that Malkin’s typical foaming-at-the-mouth behavior is nonsense, but the biggest injustice here is that minority identity is being denigrated. It’s unfortunate and unfair that Dunkin Donuts is caught up in this, but their response is pretty deplorable and flaccid as well – they are complicit in what amounts to paranoid racism. The keffiyeh is no more a symbol of terrorism than other ethnic hats like the sombrero or yarmulke. Have you heard of Pancho Villa or the Irgun? It is discouraging and dehumanizing for anyone to have their identity effaced, and generations of tense race-relations should have already taught us this lesson.

  4. This is the biggest bunch of crap I’ve heard in a while. Dunkin’ Donuts should not have pulled the ad. What next? We go back to burning witches. This is a new form of McCarthyism and we should not fall victim to it.

  5. I’m creating an event to throw this back in the faces of the folks who want people to fear being called “terrorist” just because they’re wearing a scarf.Here’s the Ning group: here’s my blog post where I announce the effort, which I’m calling “Scarfin’ Donuts.”If you think we need to support freedom of speech in the face of this affront, and make people feel they should not respect future efforts which make people worry they’ll be thought of as a terrorist just for wearing a scarf, please consider joining up, or even helping me promote this.Thanks,-James P. Burke

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