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Is it my imagination, or has the liberal wing of the media’s attacks on conservatives turned into a bunch of cheap gotchas involving nitpicked analogies and quotes taken out of context? Perhaps it has always been this way and I never noticed until this year. Or maybe I’m spending too much time reading The Huffington Post. Maybe you can help me sort this out.
Before I continue, I should note that my own views don’t map closely to either the liberal or conservative camps. So I don’t have a poodle in the fight. I’m just observing a trend.
Consider Rick Perry. He called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” As analogies go, that’s a good one. I believe I have used it myself. It’s a colorful way of saying the math doesn’t work well when the population of retired people greatly increases and the number of workers funding Social Security does not. Literally no one on Earth disagrees with the central point of Perry’s analogy. But I keep seeing Perry’s Ponzi scheme quote reported as if it were some sort of idiot misunderstanding or conspiracy theory or foreshadowing of evil. WTF?
I’ve never seen more vicious, cheap attacks on a candidate than I’ve seen leveled at Michelle Bachmann. Recently she made a glancing reference to a well-known joke/parable about God using natural disasters to get the attention of humans. When I read Bachmann’s quote, I understood her generic point that politicians need to open their eyes to both the problems and the solutions in front of them. The liberal media reported the quote as if a crazy street person was yelling that God sent floods as a message.
I think it’s entirely fair to question candidates’ beliefs in heaven, and magic, and their abilities to interpret the mind of God. Perry and Bachmann have religious views that overlap with the majority of Americans. But is it really news when a Christian uses a creative God reference in a speech?
Consider conservative Ben Stein. He famously argued that the rape allegations against Strauss-Kahn were worthy of doubt based on the profile of the accused, and that the presumption of innocence was appropriate. No one, including the police and prosecutors, disagrees with Stein’s point that Strauss-Kahn doesn’t fit the profile of a LIKELY hotel maid rapist. And no one disagrees with the principle that accused people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, as hard as that sometimes is. But the liberal media distorted Stein’s point about statistical likelihood (which is arguably within Stein’s field of expertise: economics) into the ridiculous idea that economists never rape. Then the media crucified Stein for being, by their own distorted implication, a crazy supporter of rich people who rape hotel maids. WTF?
For the record, I am totally opposed to rich people raping hotel maids. But only two people in the world know for sure what happened in the Strauss-Kahn case. The rest of us are just guessing based on our impressions of likelihood. Stein’s article might have gone over better if he had acknowledged that, generally speaking, false accusations of rape are far less common than genuine ones, and that too has to figure into the statistical mix. But is it a gotcha when someone fails to mention the obvious?
Consider Mitt Romney’s quote in the context of taxes that corporations are people too. That quote was reported as if Romney is so out of touch with ordinary humans that he doesn’t know the difference between an artificial legal structure and a living person. Only a robot could say such a thing! But of course his point is one that 100% of real humans agree with: Corporate profits flow into the pockets of employees and shareholders. I remember a time when a gaffe meant you were wrong. But apparently being 100% right isn’t a defense if you’re also a conservative.
Yeah, yeah, I know: Conservatives have been saying vicious and untrue things about liberals forever. And perhaps conservatives are still way ahead in that game. My only point is that it seems to me the liberal wing of the media has ratcheted up their fake gotcha game on conservatives to a new level. Am I wrong about that?