Category Archive 'Bill Hobbs Affair'

20 Apr 2006

Bill Hobbs

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John Spraggins of the Nashville Scene, his journalistic dagger removed from Bill Hobbs’ back, cleaned, and carefully replaced in the drawer, strokes his chin, marvels at the fuss bloggers made over the whole thing, subtly reminds his readers that Hobbs deserved career assassination for publishing that cartoon (karma, don’t you know?), and does a quick patch job on his own karma (referring to Bill Hobbs’s stiff-upper-lip “I’m going to be fine” post-resignation posting) and assuring himself that Hobbs “landed on his feet.”

Certainly, the whole affair raises issues worth debating. Is an ersatz journalist with mainstream media credentials a fair target? What if he’s prominent in some political circles and, by day, a paid representative of a local university? Can he be fired for his private statements? If an anti-Muslim cartoon is drawn in the blogospheric forest and few people read it, does it still offend? Can an alt-media journalist on his way to work for a centrist politician point out conservative Muslim-bashing when he sees it? And, most importantly, isn’t karma a bitch? In blog comment threads, these questions were dealt with in approximately inverse proportion to their importance. So nothing’s been settled, and lots of names were called along the way.

But over the past week, the Scene has learned a few lessons, and like Hobbs, we’ll paint with a broad, provocative brush here. First, bloggers want media attention until they get it. Second, many of them are far more reactive than the angry Muslims we feared would storm our offices after we took Bill’s challenge and published a hateful Mohammed caricature in our newspaper. Third, pissing off bloggers is great for the Scene’s web traffic. And fourth, you can cobble together enough of their rants, under names real and assumed, to form a decently entertaining political notes column. Read to the end, and you’ll even learn that Bill’s landed on his feet.

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Hat tip to Michael Silence and Glenn Reynolds.

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Original story.

15 Apr 2006

Cartoon Jihad Strikes Down Nashville Blogger

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Nashville, Tennessee’s Bill Hobbs, the Volunteer State’s second best known conservative blogger, lost his job at Belmont University for publishing a cartoon featuring Mohammed, alluding to the Danish cartoons which have created an international uproar.

In February, no doubt at the time Islamic mobs were setting fire to embassies over those cartoons, about the same time I got mad and put up a link to Gustave Doré’s illustration of Mohammed in Hell (see Danish cartoons button in the right column), Bill Hobbs decided to follow Jyllands-Posten’s example and invited readers to “Exercise your right to free expression by drawing cartoons of Islam’s ‘Prophet Mohammed,’ before the West gives in to Islamist intimidation and fear of Islamist violence and makes it illegal to do so.” He provided an inspirational tongue-in-cheek example: a stick figure Mohammed holding a bomb, deliberately captioned in childish letters: “Mohammed Blows.”

Hobbs had a vulnerability, however. He was prominently involved in supporting Republican State Senator Jim Bryson‘s gubernatorial capaign, and had created a Bryson for Governor blog. Democrat blogger Mike Kopp saw a way to bash Bryson by going after Hobbs, so last Wednesday, he posted this:

I’ve know Hobbs for many years and while we never see eye to eye on the issues, I’ve generally found him to be fairly reasonable to deal with.

But Hobbs has shown me a darker side to his mind with his insensitive, moronic site.

I have no quarrel with a person’s right to free speech, but as a Christian I believe this kind of expression goes against all the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.

This prompts me to want to ask candidate “man of faith” Jim Bryson if he condones this kind of distasteful insensitivity to people of other faiths; and it also prompts me to want to contact Bob Fisher, the president of Belmont University, to inquire if he too believes this kind of expression is in line with the University’s mission to promote and uphold Christian values.

If Jim Bryson wants to continue to use Hobbs and his blog followers to spread his message, so be it. But if he does, he better be prepared to deal with the political consequences.

And, you know how it works, if a city has colleges, it has commies, and free alternative leftwing weekly papers aimed at young people, featuring the good restaurant and music scene reviews. The Nashville Scene (naturally) has one of those loudmouth leftie political columnists, a jerk named John Spragins, who two days ago decided to pile on, too, climbing atop his portable pulpit, and advising readers loudly that he was holier than Hobbs:

First, let’s sort some things out. For starters, Hobbs has the right to free speech, and Kopp has the right to hold him accountable for that speech. (For that matter, so do Belmont, Bryson and the Nashville Scene.) Hobbs’ stated point—that the media shouldn’t be intimidated into self-censorship by angry mobs of Muslims—is fairly non-controversial. Even those who chose not to publish the original cartoons would agree that violence is an illegitimate means of political expression.

But by deliberately desecrating Islam’s central figure—“the ‘Prophet Mohammed’ ” as Hobbs sneered, using quote marks for sardonic emphasis—he attacked an entire religion, not a group of fanatics who pervert the religion’s teachings. Then he drew him as a bearded stick figure holding a bomb and said he “blows.” It seems bearded Muslim terrorists are the new big-nosed, money-grubbing Jews. The more things change….

Clearly, not much that’s really interesting happens in Nashville, Tennessee.

Roger A. knows all the principals and seems shocked and awed by the job the lefties did on Bill Hobbs.

HJ mourns.

Glenn Reynolds sounds disgusted.

Michelle Malkin thinks the whole thing is “Horrible.”

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UPDATE

Riehl World View looks at John Spraggins, and finds he is not exactly Mr. Clean on the decorum and civiity front himself. Riehl also identifies exactly where Mike Kopp is coming from:

It should be noted that the individual who first posted on the cartoon in a negative manner, the post that Spragens linked, Mike Kopp, apparently owns the domain for an individual once encouraged to run in the same race as the candidate Hobbs was working for. Quite a coincidence, that. Kopp is a former Gore press secretary and has a long history of work for the Democrat Party.

But first, I’d like to point out that harwellforgovernor.com was registered on September 23, 2005, by Mike Kopp of Nashville, and the domain is reserved for one year from that date. According to a Google search,…

The moral, folks, is that leftist democrat hypocrisy works like a charm on cowardly and conformist university administrators.

Gaius Arbo thinks plain envy was at work here.
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FURTHER UPDATE

Knoxville News Sentinel’s Michael Silence observes that Mike Kopp is being kept busy deleting comments to his blog.

JB comments on Mike Kopp’s “I did it for the children!” post last Friday:

On Friday afternoon, after news had broke that Hobbs would be resigning from Belmont, Kopp broke his silence on the controversial events of the day (note the number of deleted comments):

As I pulled into my multi-racial, multi-cultural subdivision in West Nashville, I drove past a small group of children whom I know to be members of several Muslim neighborhood families playing in a yard up the street from my home. One of the children, a young girl, waved at me and smiled. In an instant it became clear to me why I had written as I did about the blog Mohammed Cartoons.

I called the Tennessean reporter to tell her that had I not pointed out the insensitivity of the blog, I would have had trouble facing my neighbors; the children and their parents who walk our sidewalks each day and call out in friendship at every opportunity. “Shame on me,” I told the reporter, “if I hadn’t taken a stand on this matter.”

Geez, what a hack! Kopp found an offensive cartoon that had never been publicized or viewed, took it out of context and ensured that it was published in the Nashville Scene for anyone to see and has the audacity to claim he “did it for the children!” Any reasonable person can see Kopp’s handiwork for exactly what it is. It was a political hit job designed to hurt Jim Bryson and put a popular conservative blogger in his place.

Phil Bredesen should be mindful of the kind of people he pays to represent his campaign and the tactics they use. Mike Kopp’s disgraceful smear has solidified the support of many Republicans – who were on the fence about Bredesen – behind the candidacy of Jim Bryson. Thanks Kopp.

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FOLLOW-UP


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