Monday, January 10, 2011

Letter to the NY Times - Vitriol in Politics

Dear Mr. Brisbane (E-mail:

I am writing to draw your attention to an article in the N.Y. Times on Saturday, "Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics" by Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike.

The authors make the statement, "Not since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 has an event generated as much attention as to whether extremism, antigovernment sentiment and even simple political passion at both ends of the ideological spectrum have created a climate promoting violence."

This is an example of false equivalence. There is one end of the ideological spectrum that has made a fetish of guns and "2nd Amendment solutions" to political disputes, and that end is represented by the G.O.P. The authors mention Sarah Palin's target map, and the Tea Party disruptions at health care Towns Halls in 2009.

There are many more examples the authors could have used. For instance, on November 29, 2010, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, circulated a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he compared the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany and likened himself to Gen. George Patton, bragging, "Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it."

Where are the examples of this sort of rhetoric coming from the left? As Paul Krugman wrote yesterday, "Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P."

When you blame everyone, you hold no one accountable. The G.O.P. has gone too far, and they ought to be called to account for their violent rhetoric.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

well done, sir.

Von said...

second that. bravo.

Another Kiwi said...

Well done Mr. Thunder

Southern Beale said...

Ironically, over the weekend I, too, contacted the New York Times public editor, over Matt Bai's false equivalence. Not only did Bai compare an anonymous DailyKos commenter with a Vice Presidential candidate whose every Tweet and Facebook post ricochets around the cable and network news media but he conflated a well-known metaphor for disowning with a thinly-veiled call to violence.

I suspect the mainstream news media does this to cover for their own failure to hold people like Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, etc. accountable for their rhetoric. The New York Times covered anti-Muslim activist Pamela Gellar as if she had a legitimate perspective, not a hateful intolerant one. As the Rick Perlstein column I linked to today pointed out, once upon a time the news media stigmatized uncivil discourse or didn't cover it at all. Today it's just another point of view.

vacuumslayer said...

Fuck yeah!

Substance McGravitas said...

But salad dressing!

Missouri Bird said...

Art Brisbane used to be the publisher of the KC STAR, which then carried classified ads for all sorts of weapons. I wrote--pestered--asking that the paper stop running such ads. I bought 2 guns at a garage sale, and got some tv exposure. Brisbane never responded, but after several months, the paper changed its ad policy. It should not be this easy to get a gun.

blue girl said...

Excellent! Good for you, thunder.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

the next NRA campaign:

Crazy people should be limited to one gun. To protect yourself, you better have three or more!!

And 100-round clips!!