This “new civility” sure is impressive, no?
posted at 12:05 pm on August 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Remember when, in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Left’s commentariat blamed Tea Party “extremist rhetoric” for the violent attack that left several dead and many more wounded in Tucson? When the national media wasn’t clucking its collective tongue over a crosshair graphic on Sarah Palin’s website (a graphic routinely used by both parties) or her “don’t retreat, reload” line, they scolded activists for using phrases like “taking back our country” as dog-whistles for massive violence — even after the shooting proved to be the work of a deranged individual whose politics had nothing to do with the Tea Party. The media elite insisted that conservatives tone down their rhetoric in order to promote “civility” in politics.
How’s that “new civility” working out in the media? So far, the only media voice condemning Vice President Joe Biden for calling political opponents “terrorists” is Andrew Malcolm, who delivers it with a healthy dose of snark at his colleagues:
Outrage flooding in now even from overseas over former Vice President Dick Cheney likening some opponents of President Bush’s policies and administration to “terrorists.”
Terrorists? Really? With the 10th anniversary of real terrorism coming next month. Pathetic, even for Repugnicans.
It’s the kind of over-the-top rhetorical retribution that only inflames political passions and hard feelings at a highly partisan time in the nation’s capitol. You have to expect it from the veteran Washington insider and no-holds-barred Republican enforcer who once worked for an oil industry company. …
Oh, wait. What? Oh, that’s right. It was Vice President Joe Biden who said that. And it happened during a caucus of his party’s angry Democratic House members, not Republicans.
Well, nevermind then.
Not only is the media not scolding Democrats like Biden who engage in vitriolic and entirely demagogic attacks in violent terms, the mainstream media keeps engaging in it. For instance, here’s Chris Matthews:
“Let me finish tonight with this bad experience we’ve all just been through,” Matthews said. “What we saw — what I saw, at least, was one guy with a knife and the other trying to avoid being cut. It was a thug attacking a victim. It was a mugging.”
The New York Times’ Joe Nocera is one of four Times columnists that compares Tea Party activists to terrorists, Guy Benson points out:
No fewer than four “esteemed” Times columnists have drawn the conservatives/terrorism connection within the last two weeks: Nicholas Kristof, Thomas Friedman,Maureen Dowd, and today’s addition from Joe Nocera (who?), whose piece is subtly entitled, “The Tea Party’s War On America:”
“You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them. These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.
“For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough. After all, they’ve gotten so much encouragement.”
Jonah Goldberg says that while everyone who pays attention to the mainstream media understands that they have a liberal bias, this episode is so obvious as to be infuriating:
Instead imagine if this was Dick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they’re called) a “bunch of terrorists” on the day Giffords returned to the Congress. Would the mainstream media notice or care? Would Meet the Press debate whether this raises “troubling questions” about the White House’s sensitivity? Would Andrea Mitchell find some way to blame Sarah Palin for Dick Cheney’s viciousness? Would Keith Olbermann explode like a mouse subjected to the Ramone’s music in Rock and Roll High School? Something inside me hidden away shouts, “Hell yes they would!”
The Today Show even had Debbie Wasserman Schultz on this morning for five minutes talking about Giffords. No one thought to ask her what she thought of Biden’s comments? It’s not like she’s the Democratic party’s national spokesperson or anything. Oh, wait. She is!
Instead, after the full ten minutes on Giffords, we get an update about the debt-limit situation (which is supposedly an Armageddon-level issue) and Kelly O’Donnell basically carries water for Biden on the issue by completely muddying whether he said anything of the sort at all. (His office says, no, no the vice president didn’t call them terrorists, he just politely agreed with all the Democratic congressmen in the room that they “acted like terrorists.” Ah, this is a distinction a team of a million Jesuits working around the clock would have a hard time slicing.)
And yet you know the next time there’s the slightest, remotely exploitable tragedy or hint of violence, the same reporters, editors, producers, and politicians are going to insist that blood was spilled because of the right wing’s rhetoric.
Well, go to Hell. All of you.
How long before Jonah gets blamed for some random act of senseless violence for that last line? 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …
Dr. Charles Krauthammer accurately diagnosed the condition on last night’s O’Reilly Factor. It’s what happens when the intellectually challenged lose:
But Washington Post columnist and Fox News Channel regular Charles Krauthammer said the situation is far simpler. He said instead it was a show of their “lack of intelligence” and “lack of originality.”
“Well, it certainly is a spitting and the sputtering of people who are, who’ve been deeply defeated,” Krauthammer said. “I mean, they were routed. They were up against a small minority of one half of one-third of the Congress and they got — they lost everything. They got routed. Look, this was their Agincourt, you know, Henry V outnumbered by the French, three to one. The opposition, the liberals, hold the Senate. They hold the White House. They hold the media, which had been leaking and parroting the White House line all the way through, and they still got defeated.
“I think this is sort of a pathetic response. If you have no arguments, what do you do? Ad hominems. You attack, you throw names out. But I have one slight disagreement with you [about this] being a conspiracy. I don’t think these people have the wherewithal to orchestrate a three-car motorcade. The reason for the repetition is lack of intelligence and lack of originality. These are people who are slothful.”
Despite Krauthammer’s low regard for the Tea Party’s left-wing detractors, O’Reilly insisted talking points were still circulating, which suggested a concerted effort. Krauthammer dismissed that notion.
“Look, what it means to me is you’ve got people with no intelligence, no originality, no imagination,” he said. “They are sputtering. They have lost. No arguments. What do they do? They want ad hominems. They want epithets. So, somebody uses it on the air — ‘Ah ha, that’s a good one. I’ll use it.’ I don’t credit them [with] the intelligence or the sort of, what it takes to put together a conspiracy.”
I suspect that there may be some Journolisting going on, but that might make this output even more embarrassing. It certainly would make these media outlets even more hypocritical, especially the New York Times, whose editorial board once wrote this:
This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents.
And now they use the NYT’s pages as launching pads for grossly demagogic demonization. The Times’ editors have beclowned themselves yet again and demonstrated through their partisan double standard that hackery rules at the Gray Lady.