Curtis Morrison’s post at Salon, “Why I secretly recorded Mitch McConnell,’ is disturbing in the manner of those periodic exposés where a journalist gets candid answers from a soul-dead 14-year-old inner city drug dealer, a short-order cook who hates his customers and spits in their food, mad Islamic terrorist, or venal hedge fund manager. Morrison exposes himself as a politically active, ethically ignorant zealot, and ludicrously proud of it. I’m sure that conservative bloggers will seize on his damning post as evidence of the character rot at work on the Left, but he could just as easily be a young Andrew* Breitbart, or James O’Keefe.
The chilling revelation that dawns as one reads Morrison’s piece is that mis-wired people like him increasingly warp our political process and turn it into incoherent, useless and destructive warfare. I don’t want to think about how many will read his words and admire him, rather than feel their gorges rise, but unfortunately, it’s my job to think about it. Our task is to make sure there are fewer Curtis Morrisons in the future. Maybe his Salon article, which should horrify anyone who isn’t already beyond ethics repair, will help.
Morrison was the ” liberal journalist” who bugged Kentucky’s Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign headquarters, and captured McConnell and his aides plotting about how they would destroy actress Ashley Judd, then believed to be ready to announce her candidacy to oppose McConnell in 2014 as a Democrat. I rank McConnell at the very bottom of the U.S. Senate barrel, shoulder to shoulder with Harry Reid, so seeing him embarrassed had its pleasures. The recording was only newsworthy, however, if you think the nastiness of political campaigns is news. Nothing on the recording revealed illegal or even unethical plans, just the exact kind of personal destruction the Republicans usually prepare for their Democratic opponents and vice-versa. But Leftist journalist David Corn, who is just a smarter version of Morrison, published Morrison’s illegal taping over at Mother Jones, presumably for that hard-progressive publication’s red meat followers: “Here, we all hate Mitch McConnell—here’s another reason to hate him.”
Every one of the readers who recoiled from McConnell and his minions chuckling over how they would play “Whac-a-Mole” with Judd, using her history of drug abuse and depression against her, would have cheered the similar sessions that undoubtedly went on over at the Obama campaign, as it plotted to smear Mitt Romney, or the Gore campaign, as it debated how to use Bush’s alcohol abuse to best advantage. The Big Story for the Left, it turned out, was that Mitch McConnell wasn’t a very nice guy sometimes, that politicians who assume they are speaking in private don’t express themselves as if every word is being broadcast to the world, and that campaign politics is played roughly, which makes you a champion of virtue if you are trying to defeat the likes of Mitch McConnell, but devil’s spawn if you are going after a lovely, smart, dedicated feminist like Ashley Judd.
The only remarkable aspect of the episode was that the recording was the result of illegal surveillance, and Morrison, to his inexplicable surprise, may be prosecuted for it. Of course such a recording is wrong and unethical, even if it uncovered McConnell’s secret plot to corner the market on armpit shields. Law enforcement has to get warrants signed by judges to do such things; the mere suspicion that some bad people will say bad things isn’t enough. If Morrison can record McConnell and send the results to Corn, then he can tape me talking my dog about all the unethical things I’d like to do to the Alexandria school system, and send the results to my clients. McConnell is still a citizen, and he has basic rights as one, as well as a human being. Morrison doesn’t comprehend any of this.
He believes, and seems to think it is logical to believe, that political activism justifies law-breaking. He believes that the ends justify the means. He believes that his view of what is proper policy and governance justifies breaching basic rights to privacy, that political opposition to his views cancels any obligation to be fair, and that he should be hailed as a hero. He believes that journalism should be biased, though he mistakes bias for “the One True Truth.” He is in the throes of the illusion that consequentialism is valid, so illegal taping suddenly becomes virtuous if it picks up something the public would like to know, or that might cost a Republican a Senate seat.
Morrison’s delusions know no bounds. Hilariously, he writes, “McConnell was quick to frame himself as the victim of a crime, which was to be expected. It was the guilty repositioning of a politician who has been caught being craven.” No, McConnell framed himself as the victim of a crime because he was the victim of a crime. Morrison also writes, in a post that describes his shock that some of the non-ethically retarded members of his “side” condemned his actions (causing him to have a “good cry,”) that “Unlike Mitch McConnell, I will not paint myself as a victim.” Wow. His entire, silly essay is nothing but the lament of an imaginary “victim.” Because of the completely justified rejection of his tactics, Morrison was fired from his job as a journalist. He ended up living in his Jeep. He became a pariah. Good! Naturally, Morrison blames McConnell for everything.
This is a man whose ethics role models are international criminal Julian Assange, and the vigilante cyber-bully group Anonymous. He believes recording private conversations without consent is ethical, and also legal. He is unhinged from all manner of reality: for example, it is difficult to reconcile these paragraphs, in which Morrison presents the aftermath of his illegal bugging as proof of McConnell’s villainy and his own mistreatment, with sanity:
“McConnell refused to answer reporters’ questions about the recording, deflecting repeated inquiries with portrayals of himself as the target of “Nixonian tactics.” Before noon, his campaign had fully integrated the McConnell-as-victim strategy, sending out a fundraising email with the heading,“Liberals Wiretap McConnell’s Office.” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton spoke to the press using words like “illegally and illicitly” and “unethical and immoral.” And it just wouldn’t be Benton if he didn’t also compare me to a Nazi.“This is Gestapo kind of scare tactics,” he said.
“I thought back to a quote of McConnell’s from back when Sen. Bob Packwood protested the release of evidence from the Senate Select Ethics Committee that would lead to his 1995 resignation. He said, “As happens with increasing frequency these days the victimizer is now claiming the mantle of the victim. The one who deliberately abused the process now wants to manipulate to his advantage. That won’t wash.”
The man needs help.
1. Morrison’s tactics were Nixonian.
2. McConnell was the target of them.
3. McConnell was the victim.
4. Liberals, or rather a single arrogant one, did wiretap his office.
5. Doing so was illegal, immoral and unethical.
6. The Nazis did spy on private conversations to undermine opponents.
7. Sen. Packwood’s conduct as uncovered by the Ethics Committee was not private, was legally obtained, it was within the Committee’s power to release them, Packwood had engaged in long-term criminal activity, McConnell was correct in his quote, and there is no correlation whatsoever with Packwood’s situation then and McConnell’s now.
Having washed out in his dream of becoming an “activist journalist” (the proper terms are “propogandist,” “biased journalist,” or “rotten journalist”), Morrison informs us that he is now studying to be a lawyer.
If someone doesn’t appear before the bar admission committee with this Salon article in hand to challenge Morrison’s character and fitness to practice law, I will.
* For some reason I originally called Andrew “Michel.” My apologies to Breitbarts and Michels everywhere.
Source and Graphic: Salon