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Comment on ‘Paranoia about Paranoia’, (Ross Douthat, 09/06/2010)

September 6, 2010

In response to:

Paranoid About Paranoia

New York Times | April 29, 2010

Young Ross indulges himself in the tired right-wing canard of using a one-off counter-example to try to gloss over a statistical reality. My rhetoric professor would have given him high marks, but my political science professor would probably have flunked him for trying to sell such an absurdity.

The occasional left-wingnut notwithstanding, the track-record of anti-social rhetoric and violence over the past 15 years or so has been written in red, right-leaning, magazine cut-out letters (y’know, the kind kidnappers use for ransom notes). Oklahoma City, the shooting of abortion providers and burning of their clinics, the attacks of 9/11 (Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist religious organization, difference in degree but largely not in kind from our own Christian militias), church bombings, violence against illegal immigrants and most recently that loonytune who flew his plane into the IRS building last year, our home-grown miscreants have come overwhelmingly from the political right.

I’m sorry, but I’m sick of the faux “fairness and balance”, that false equivalence, which insists that we all take a “share of the blame” for the diseased state of our current polity. The emperor’s-new-clothes-obvious fact is that the hatefulness and incitement to violence originates almost exclusively on the right – both the spin machine with Fox News at its vortex, and the near-fascists who have taken over the Republican Party. The left has lone lunatics – tree-nailers and…shit, I can’t really think of any others – the right has a well-honed propaganda machine which is single-mindedly dedicated to creating a toxic climate of fear & rage. It takes a hell of a lot of gall to equate Lee’s obvious mental illness with the hatred that is stock-in-trade of your “pundits.” Such claims beg the question – if what your people do isn’t terrorism, what is?

I’m sick of these kinds of smear jobs. Man up, young Ross. Your energy would be better invested in fixing the cesspool in your own backyard rather than trying to spin the few examples of left-leaning violence into a smokescreen. I’d were you to do so, I expect we’d find that the environment has improved so dramatically that people like Lee will be REAL news, not just another in a long string of horrors.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2010 2:39 pm

    Welcome back Adam!

    I read that column too and this stood out:

    “Then there’s support for state secession, which may have been higher among liberals in the Bush era than among Republicans in the age of Obama.”

    Is he serious? Have we ever heard even a whisper about secession from the left? That’s quite a leap, even for Ross.

    False equivalency is just everywhere. The most absurd example in recent years of course is re climate change. To reduce an almost universally accepted scientific truth to “he said/she said” is journalistic malpractice. But it’s what we have.

  2. Shannon permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:32 pm

    I saw your comment on that article and followed the link you left. Excellent remarks. Thank you.

  3. September 8, 2010 12:01 pm

    Hey Adam,
    Long time no see. We still need your voice out here in the hinterlands.

    Nice ripost to the article. You are 100% correct of course.

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