Krauthammer wonders at the delusions of the media

posted at 1:36 pm on January 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Well, actually, Dr. Krauthammer wonders more specifically about the delusions of Paul Krugman, but his point can be widely applied to a number of media commentators over the last few days.  Krauthammer dissects the the media’s hysterical and fact-free ranting about fantastical links between Sarah Palin and the Tea Party and the shootings in Arizona and neatly skewers the raging hypocrisy of it.  Krugman is just a handy embodiment for a much larger phenomenon:

[T]he available evidence dates Loughner’s fixation on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to at least 2007, when he attended a town hall of hers and felt slighted by her response. In 2007, no one had heard of Sarah Palin. Glenn Beck was still toiling on Headline News. There was no Tea Party or health-care reform. The only climate of hate was the pervasive post-Iraq campaign of vilification of George W. Bush, nicely captured by a New Republic editor who had begun an article thus: “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.”

Finally, the charge that the metaphors used by Palin and others were inciting violence is ridiculous. Everyone uses warlike metaphors in describing politics. When Barack Obama said at a 2008 fundraiser in Philadelphia, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” he was hardly inciting violence.

Why? Because fighting and warfare are the most routine of political metaphors. And for obvious reasons. Historically speaking, all democratic politics is a sublimation of the ancient route to power – military conquest. That’s why the language persists. That’s why we say without any self-consciousness such things as “battleground states” or “targeting” opponents. Indeed, the very word for an electoral contest – “campaign” – is an appropriation from warfare.

When profiles of Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, noted that he once sent a dead fish to a pollster who displeased him, a characteristically subtle statement carrying more than a whiff of malice and murder, it was considered a charming example of excessive – and creative – political enthusiasm. When Senate candidate Joe Manchin dispensed with metaphor and simply fired a bullet through the cap-and-trade bill – while intoning, “I’ll take dead aim at [it]” – he was hardly assailed with complaints about violations of civil discourse or invitations to murder.

Did Manchin push Loughner over the top? Did Emanuel’s little Mafia imitation create a climate for political violence? The very questions are absurd – unless you’re the New York Times and you substitute the name Sarah Palin.

When Manchin aired his ad, he did get criticized for it, although not for sending messages of violence.  Republicans and Democrats accused him of pandering, some to the 2nd Amendment advocates, others to the anti-AGW crowd.  The ad worked, or at least it didn’t hurt, as Manchin won his election over John Raese, having made his point that he would not be a rubber stamp for the radical-left agenda that Democrats pushed for the last two years.

And that’s why those metaphors get used by politicians across the spectrum as well as journalists: because people understand them as metaphors.  No one thought Manchin would haul out a rifle on the floor of the Senate and drill a hole through a bill he opposed.  Similarly, no one thinks that an “air war” in the context of a political campaign means that one candidate will get in a plane and drop incendiary bombs on hostile precincts.  That term refers to TV and radio advertising.  If anyone thought for a moment that Barack Obama really meant that he’d get guns out to settle political debates or that Sarah Palin really wanted people to reload guns for the same purpose, neither could get elected dogcatcher in any jurisdiction in the US.

That brings us to another of Krugman’s flights of fancy this week — his attack on Michele Bachmann for using “armed and dangerous” in an interview during a campaign.  As it turns out, that interview was conducted by John Hinderaker of Power Line, who has the clip in its full context.  In it, she’s clearly talking about “arming” constituents with information on cap-and-trade:

For the record, here is what Michele said: “I’m going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.” Yes, that’s right: she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with “materials”–facts and arguments–not guns. If this is the best example of “eliminationist rhetoric” that the far left can come up with, you can see how absurdly weak the claims of Krugman and his fellow haters are.

The hysteria only works when the hysterics eliminate context, tradition, and all common sense, as well as adopting a double standard so breathtakingly obvious that one has to wonder what went through the minds of the “layers of editors and fact-checkers” both at the time and afterwards. Krugman may not be alone in that shrieking bunch of ninnies, but he’s certainly one of its most enthusiastic participants.


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Me thinks KH,has redeemed himself!

canopfor on January 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Krauthammer to refer to Palin as “intellectually uncurious” in 5……4……

PappyD61 on January 12, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Solid piece , really exposing the liberals/media.

the_nile on January 12, 2011 at 1:44 PM

It seems our clever plan to trick Dr Kraut into defending Palin is working…. muahhaaahahh (sinister laugh)

TBinSTL on January 12, 2011 at 1:45 PM

I don’t’ have time to listen but I think Krugman should have a mental evaluation. And I wonder if people around him feel safe. I really think the guy has totally lost it.

petunia on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

RedRobin145 on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

NYT editorial staff passes badly used chicken downwind for further abuse.

a capella on January 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM

NEWFLASH
===========

KH,pulls a Doctor StrangeLove,and how he Learned to Love
the B..,I mean Palin!!(sarc).

canopfor on January 12, 2011 at 1:49 PM

“The hysteria only works when the hysterics eliminate context, tradition, and all common sense, as well as adopting a double standard so breathtakingly obvious that one has to wonder what went through the minds of the “layers of editors and fact-checkers” both at the time and afterwards.”

It’s almost like the truth doesn’t matter…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on January 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

If they gave out Nobel Prizes for “incendiary rhetoric” Krugman would be among the first to get one….

Oh wait — they do, and he did!

calbear on January 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

It must kill the beltway residents to have to defend Palin…..

search4truth on January 12, 2011 at 1:51 PM

I’m glad we’re having this conversation. I use military metaphors all of the time—as metaphors. Their usage does not connotate violence in any way, as Ed points out. The usage of military metaphors is historical and appropriate, because the language persists, and it is easily understood. Many of today’s current events (ie, political issues) can be traced back to both military as well as political historic events.

I submit that the left is failing at trying to make this an “Archduke Ferdinand” moment. I use this as a metaphor to define a tipping point that previously initiated WWI. The use is to define the “tipping point” and not the military action that ensued, albeit political action would most likely ensue if they could use this in the same fashion. Metaphors must have similarities to be useful–in both then and now, an assassin8ion attempt was made. Consequences resulted that benefitted some, and cost others. Clearly, the exploitation of a potential linkage between the right and this incident would allow political harm to come to the right, a situation that the left desperately wants.

A metaphor is merely a device used to describe current events in the context of past ones.

ted c on January 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

RedRobin145 on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

that’s a great quote. never heard that one before.

ted c on January 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

This is proof that when you think CK actually supports your position, he’s not. He hates Palin.

faraway on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Are they delusional, or just dishonest? How would anyone tell the difference?

Skandia Recluse on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

the left is ENTIRELY DELUSIONAL:

1 – agw is real, but global jihad isn’t

2 – zionism is evil/racism but global jihad isn’t

3 – white male sexism is real but islamo-misigyny isn’t

4 – bush’s turkey was plastic

5 – third world poverty is the result of 1st world colonialism

6 – fannie and freddie didn’t cause the housing bubble or the defaults when the bubble burst

7 – obamacare will lower the deficit

8 – bush stole florida and the 2000 election

9 – the white house exposed plame

10 – bush lied about wmd

11 – Bush said the words “yellowcake” and “Niger” in his 2003 SOTU

12 – Gitmo is a gulag

13 – Canada and the UK and every other nation with taxpayer financed universal healthcare, have better healthcare than the USA

14 – 45 million Americans are uninsured for healthcare, and this is a government disgrace which requires a government solution

15 – The MSM is biased IN FAVOR of Bush and against Obama

I COULD GO ON.

EVERYTHING THE LEFT BELIEVES IS DELUSIONAL:

BOTTOM-LINE: REDISTRIBUTION NEVER WORKS.

TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY BELIEVE, LEFTISTS MUST BE IN DENIAL AND DELUSIONAL AND THEY MUST IRRATIONALLY ATTACK THEIR OPPONENTS BECAUSE LOGIC AND THE FACTS ARE NOT ON THEIR SIDE.

reliapundit on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

ask the ban hammer if he feels guilty.

ted c on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

The Majority of the Left are stuck in the Past. I have mentioned James Clyburn pining for the civil rights heyday. They enjoyed those days and the acceptance from their lefty comrades.

What Dr Krauthammer should look at is the need of the Left to turn everything back to the 1960s. The very same Left that claims the country is changing and moving forward. For instance Dr Howard Dean’s pronouncement: This isn’t going to be a country led by conservative old white men anymore. Dr Dean: Those people are feeling vulnerable because the country is changing. No it isn’t and No they aren’t. This is a right to center country the last election proved the progressive left’s ideology has been rejected. They don’t take rejection well.

The majority see that the Left is trying to take the country back to the 60s – they romanticized the 60s and their part in whatever social unrest they were involved in. They became forever young “professional college aged agitators” (What does a group of people trapped in a time capsule look like?)

The first thing I notice is how often the Left projects onto what they reject as reality. Dr Krauthammer, would have the expertize to diagnose the hyper hysterical Lefts reaction to a non political incident, and projecting politics on to the incident. The 60s were a violent time and the Left so wants, and needs that special feeling of self righteous condemnation of all that don’t “Conform” to their so called intellectually inspired ideology.

Clyburn is a very good example of someone that can’t adapt to the new political reality – the progressives shot their wad in 2008.

In fairness, when I am his age (This is a Generational Shift – The Baby Boomers are losing their influence) I don’t know if I will have the capacity to adapt either. One hopes, One can rise to the challenges in One’s life, and not just preserver but thrive.

Dr Evil on January 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM

It must kill the beltway residents to have to defend Palin…..

search4truth on January 12, 2011 at 1:51 PM

rent-free.

Just wait until they pull the lever for her next year.

heh

ted c on January 12, 2011 at 1:59 PM

I don’t’ have time to listen but I think Krugman should have a mental evaluation. And I wonder if people around him feel safe. I really think the guy has totally lost it.

petunia on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Krugman was interviewed along with Bill O’Reilly by Tim Russert on his CNBC show. There was a palpable look of fear in Krugman’s eyes anytime O’Reilly would lean forward and make a point during the interview.

The man really has convinced himself that conservatives are out to kill him and everything he holds dear, and that they’ll get him if he doesn’t get them first. That in turn justifies any attack Krugman makes on the right, because his own sense of paranoia has made him ascribe his own darkest hopes for what the right is to be true, and in the case of Loughner, to assume even before the facts are known he must be a violent, Palin-loving, talk radio-listening, Tea Party extremist, because this is what those people do.

Even if they’ve never done it before.

jon1979 on January 12, 2011 at 2:03 PM

THE LEFT HAS GONE LOUGHNER

(courtesy of Ace)

John the Libertarian on January 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Me thinks KH,has redeemed himself!
canopfor on January 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

He never needed redemption. CK has been an ardent defender of conservatism for decades. It just so happens, as he has said himself, that Sarah Palin is not the sum and whole of conservatism.

He’s defending conservatism here from one of the most particularly vile attacks in a looking time. Fortunately, that includes a defense of Palin as well, although believe it or not, he’d be defending her regardless over these smears.

Vyce on January 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

The only thing to fear isn’t Jihad, and it isn’t truly disturbed people out of touch with the real world and violent (sounds like the same thing).

The only thing to fear is the Tea Party and their candidates.

Hening on January 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

— his attack on Michele Bachmann for using “armed and dangerous” in an interview during a campaign.

Well, to be fair, voters armed with facts are extremely dangerous to democrats.

LASue on January 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

If they gave out Nobel Prizes for “incendiary rhetoric” Krugman would be among the first to get one….

Oh wait — they do, and he did!

calbear on January 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM

No, what he “won” is a Memorial Award in Economics administered by the Nobel folks. Even they say it’s not a Nobel Prize.

Del Dolemonte on January 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Dr. Krauthammer definitely nailed Krugman to the wall with his last sentence. That’s going to leave a mark!

GarandFan on January 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Saw Krauthammer discuss this last night-I was unaware that he’s Board Certified and got his degree from Harvard Med School, which last time I checked was #1 in the country.

Del Dolemonte on January 12, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Because fighting and warfare are the most routine of political metaphors. And for obvious reasons. Historically speaking, all democratic politics is a sublimation of the ancient route to power – military conquest. That’s why the language persists. That’s why we say without any self-consciousness such things as “battleground states” or “targeting” opponents. Indeed, the very word for an electoral contest – “campaign” – is an appropriation from warfare.

How long until the left tries banning all of these metaphorical words?
I can hardly to wait for the circus on that.
What’s another word or phrase we can use for ‘campaign’?
Agressive activities to steal your money?

Badger40 on January 12, 2011 at 2:19 PM

And that’s why those metaphors get used by politicians across the spectrum as well as journalists: because people understand them as metaphors. No one thought Manchin would haul out a rifle on the floor of the Senate and drill a hole through a bill he opposed.

Wow! Maybe not, but I cannot imagine how the nightly news would handle THAT one. The image would linger forever. It would surely taint that bill, and I’ll bet it wouldn’t hurt his re-election chances either.

ss396 on January 12, 2011 at 2:22 PM

The only thing to fear is the Tea Party and their candidates.

Hening on January 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I think that is it in a nutshell. If the Tea Party represents Traditional America to the Left that means the Tea Party is moving the country backwards. Tradition is abhorrent to the Left it’s our social glue. They can’t impose top down change on a group of people strongly glued together with common traditions.

The truth is it’s the Left that is trying to apply worn out political ideas that didn’t work for FDR some 70 years ago and didn’t work for the people who were trying to apply it 150 years before that. This is how the 21st century starts we still haven’t had our 21st century President yet.

The Left are the ones that keep looking to the past to solve modern problems. The Left is showing their insecurities – anxieties as we transition to a global economy. The old structure doesn’t work anymore but they don’t have any other reference but old worn out political ideas. So under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, they increased the National Debt by 5.2 trillion to try. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

It was Bill Clinton who used to speak about a bridge to the 21st century-remember? With all that stimulus money they spent, you would think they could have gotten it built LMAO.

Dr Evil on January 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM

So instead of the word “target” they should use the word goal…then when the generals say “our goal is to destroy the enemy”, then goal will be wrong, so we use the word, “focus”, and when the sniper says “you have to focus on the target”, now the word “focus is wrong, so we will use the word “opportunity”, but when the Air Force says “they will seek an opportunity” then that word will be wrong…how many more words can we find.

right2bright on January 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM

It must kill the beltway residents to have to defend Palin…..

search4truth on January 12, 2011 at 1:51 PM

You said “kill.”

Cicero43 on January 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM

CK is absolutely right. Again.

Terrye on January 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

For the record, here is what Michele said: “I’m going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.” Yes, that’s right: she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with “materials”–facts and arguments–not guns. If this is the best example of “eliminationist rhetoric” that the far left can come up with, you can see how absurdly weak the claims of Krugman and his fellow haters are.

Tom_Shipley hardest hit!

rockmom on January 12, 2011 at 2:29 PM

— his attack on Michele Bachmann for using “armed and dangerous” in an interview during a campaign.

Well, to be fair, voters armed with facts are extremely dangerous to democrats.

LASue on January 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM

This is why the Oppressive-Left is against both Facts and Arms.

Chip on January 12, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Showing the plethora of liberal hate speech and actions to liberals is like sticking a puppy’s nose in it’s own poop. Except it works with puppies.

J_Crater on January 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Hooray, Dr. Charles is back!

Dhuka on January 12, 2011 at 2:49 PM

HOORAY RUSH LIMBAGH:

“What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that…the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America…this guy clearly understands he’s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder – but something lesser.”

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Why do I smell $hit in this thread room?
Hmmm… oh-it’s a troll!

Badger40 on January 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Rywall is still a narcisstic primadonna. We know yer idol.

Schadenfreude on January 12, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Dave Rywall on January 12, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Shocker! Some one find out who’s sitting at Rywall’s keyboard!

Rovin on January 12, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Saw Krauthammer discuss this last night-I was unaware that he’s Board Certified and got his degree from Harvard Med School, which last time I checked was #1 in the country.
Del Dolemonte on January 12, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Yes, he was an accomplished psychiatrist long before he got into punditry. And his background gives special import to his words here (and was, as an aside, why his slam on Maureen Dowd a while back was so hilarious – Charles knows crazy when he sees it).

Vyce on January 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Violent metaphors must be killed off!

profitsbeard on January 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Great article and great facts. Too bad that a good fact is always ignored by liberal hysteria.

stuartm650 on January 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Ends justifies the means for the lefties. Heres hoping this means the end to the careers of these despicable leftist propagandists. Oops, sorry to contribute to the incivility of our times. But when your Right, your Right.

chickasaw42 on January 12, 2011 at 5:57 PM

petunia on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Dr. Krauthammer is a highly respected psychologist and is therefore worth listening to wrt the state of Krugman’s mental health.

MJBrutus on January 12, 2011 at 6:05 PM

He never needed redemption. CK has been an ardent defender of conservatism for decades.

Vyce on January 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Do those decades include when he was a speechwriter for Walter Mondale, who ran in 1984 against Reagan?

Let’s just say his record on conservatism is a little more nuanced than your defense indicates.

tom on January 12, 2011 at 7:13 PM

MJBrutus on January 12, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Ummm, no, not a psychologist. He’s a psychiatrist.

Al in St. Lou on January 13, 2011 at 6:43 PM