Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tea Partiers and Terrorists: Weighing Moral Equivalence

Okay, here's a follow up to last night's entry: "Disgusting: New York Times Crops Weathermen/Tea Party Mash-Up Pic for Sunday 'Week-in-Review' Hatchet Job!"

I sent it out by e-mail, and got picked up by Jim Hoft, "
Outrageous!… NY Times Sunday Hit Piece Pictures Tea Party Protesters With Weathermen Terrorists." Jim in turn got picked up by Glenn Reynolds, "JIM HOFT IS UNHAPPY THAT THE NEW YORK TIMES CONFLATES TEA PARTIERS WITH weathermen terrorists. But I think they’re saying that Tea Partiers will be close friends with the next President ...."

Sometime this morning Jim's entry got picked up as
a Memeorandum thread, and after that, naturally, a lot of folks saw it, some checking the link to my blog. Here's a roundup, with some picking up my post directly by e-mail, some from Gateway Pundit's at Memeorandum, or at Instapundit, etc.:


* Atlas Shrugs, "
The Left Destroy Machine in High Gear: New York Times Declares War on America."

* Doug Ross, "
Larwyn's Linx."

* Free Republic, "
New York Times Crops Weathermen/Tea Party."

* Gun-Toting Liberal, "
A Conservative Resurrection."

* Left Coast Rebel, "
Another Fresh New 52 Week Low for the Press, the New York Times Sunday Pictures Tea Party + Weathermen Terrorists."

* Lonely Conservative, "
New York Times Compares Tea Parties to the Weathermen."

* Maggie's Notebook, "
New York Times Compares Tea Partiers to Weathermen."

* The Other McCain, "
One of These Things Is Not Like the Other."

* The Radio Patriot, "
Just to show you how serious this is ..."

* Right Wing-Nut, "
NYT Depicts Tea Party As A Rising Political Force!"

* Saber Point, "
The False Analogy of the New York Times: Tea Party Members vs Weather Underground."


All of that for a NYT essay that ran March 28th!

And there's more: It turns out that Ann Althouse took a crack at it with some lawyer's analysis, "
Is it a "hit piece" if the NYT parallels Tea Partiers and 60s radicals?" Where I focused on pictorial accompaniments and editorial discretion, Ann goes straight for the textual analysis of the author. Here's her introduction, but check the link for her bottom line:
It was the front-page teaser for this "Week in Review" piece by Benedict Carey. Carey is a medicine and science writer for the newspaper, and his topic is the public display of anger in American politics. He's looking at the long history of demonstrations, and it's a great concept to put up a 60s "Days of Rage" photograph with a man yelling and gesturing along with a present-day Tea Party photograph with a man yelling and gesturing in just about the same way. That the man in the 60s photo is Bill Ayers is a fabulous bit of irony. It's a perfect illustration for Carey's topic, Carey's topic is a good one, and the newspaper succeeds in attracting readers.

Now, I understand the right-wing anger — hmmm — at the juxtaposition. The 60s protesters are Weathermen, and the Weathermen advocated and practiced violence. They murdered people. The Tea Partiers, by contrast, are engaging in the highest form of freedom of expression: assembling in groups and criticizing the government.

But people on the left admire and respect the 1960s protests. They wish there was more expressive fervor on their side today. To have the passion and vitality of the 60s is a good thing. And the air of potential violence, especially in the absence of any actual violence? I think lefties love that. They may not admit they do. But there's a frisson. Remember, the NYT readers are aging liberals. They — we — remember the 60s as glory days. Yes, there was anger, and yes, it spilled over into violence sometimes, but the government deserved it, and these young people were idealistic and ready to give all for their ideals. They are remembered — even as (if?) their excesses are regretted — in a golden light.
This is something of a, "well, you kinda had ta been there" approach. And I don't discount it. Except I read Carey's piece as well, and his larger sensibility toward comparative terror is to dismiss jihadis like Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan as "lone gunmen," which was the exact MSM meme emerging after Fort Hood, and which shortly became a major public relations fiasco. The "righties" won that media framing battle, although by the time of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Janet Napolitano's hee-hawing that "the system worked," it was clear the administration learned absolutely nothing. And there are more red flags at Carey's piece, for example, where he says:
So far, experts say that the discontent pooling on the right (anti-Washington and anti-Wall Street) and to a lesser degree on the left (anti-Wall Street) has some, but not yet all, of the ingredients needed to foment radicalism.
There's a huge fallacy of ubiquity here (or error of omission). Folks are seeing the tea parties all the time, 24/7 and despite the media spin, these events are virtually 100 percent peaceful (any violence we've seen has been instigated by SEIU thugs, etc.) In contrast, we've got an anarcho-communist revolt brewing on college campuses, especially in California, that's increasingly militant and violent (UC Berkeley Chancellor Roberrt Birgenau's house was attacked by a torch-bearing mob). And Carey's calling stuff like this a "lesser degree" of anger?

In any case, in contrast to Ann is
Neptunus Lex, who sees things a bit more from the "righty" angle, "Precipice":
All change provokes reaction, but it seems disingenuous at best for those who initiate change to impugn the motives of those that react to it. Conservatives, after all, take it as read that not all change is progress, and that things – no matter how bad – can always get worse. Non-violent protests were until recently seen as the “highest form of patriotism,” but now the very right of people to peaceably assemble and register their displeasure with government is sneered at by the “paper of record.”

There’s real anger in this country at the direction that the political class is dragging the majority against their will, but it has been up to now peacefully expressed. Where violence has occurred, the guilty parties have much more often than not been those agitating for change, rather than against it.
Well, ahem, there you go ...

P.S. If I missed anybody in the roundup, leave your link in the comments and I'll update ...


Maggie Thornton said...

Thanks American Power. Love Althouse's piece.

AmPowerBlog said...

You're welcome, Maggie!

shyam cj said...
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