Such suspicions are routinely expressed on the left. At various points during Obama’s tenure, public figures such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Maher have openly suggested that President Obama is either an atheist or an agnostic, and that he is merely pretending to be a Christian to placate the rubes in the middle of the country. “You know who’s a liar about [his faith],” Maher suggested last year, “is Obama. He’s a drop-dead atheist, absolutely.” “Our new president,” Christopher Hitchens told France 24 in 2009, “I’m practically sure he is not a believer.” Richard Dawkins, meanwhile, has noted correctly that this theory is popular among progressives. “Like many people,” he averred in 2014, “I’m sure that Obama is an atheist.” These statements lacked the modesty of Scott Walker’s effective “dunno.” In fact, they were far, far harsher. And yet they were met with relative indifference. Are we to conclude that the bien pensant class considers it to be more honorable for a person to suggest that the president of the United States is lying than to say that he does not know and does not care?
When discussing the thorny question of racial prejudice, it is asserted with ever-increasing frequency that false consciousness rules the roost. On Vox last week, Jenée Desmond-Harris blamed many of America’s ills on “unconscious racism,” which, she suggests, is “also known as implicit bias.” There is a regnant idea in America, Desmond-Harris contends, that is “so deeply entrenched that many of us aren’t aware that we hold it — that white is better than black.” This point was echoed by Nicholas Kristof in Saturday’s New York Times. Directly addressing “white men,” Kristof submitted that because all human beings are “prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences,” “bias remains widespread in ways that systematically benefit both whites and men.” In both cases, the argument is clear: that one’s own preconceptions determine what is “normal” and what is “abnormal,” and that it is important for everybody to audit themselves in order to recognize their inclinations.
This being so, one can only wonder why such rules are not applied to the press corps, the members of which are disproportionately of, by, and for the Left. All too often, the media’s starting point is that Democrats are “normal,” and that Republicans are not, and that conservatives therefore need to be subjected to obtuse questions that progressives, being sound, can be spared.