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February 11, 2009

A Double Standard

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Left applied this logic to Islamo-fascist terrorism?

Nicely done, Messrs. Hannity, Goldberg, Limbaugh, Savage and O'Reilly -- and all your lesser brethren who keep the hate speech spewing 24/7/365 across every field and into every shop in the country. There is no more debate to be had, no more doubt about it: What you did in the name of "entertainment," and for the sake of the almighty ratings, raised and animated a monster like Jim Adkisson, gave him a list of targets ("the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book"), and was directly responsible for the deaths of two brave and decent people. Adkisson was clearly angry and crazy -- but his "manifesto" draws the clearest, brightest line possible between the media he consumed and his actions that terrible Sunday morning.

Progressives should take three lessons away from Knoxville:

One: we are no longer safe, not even in our own houses of worship. It's ironic that progressives -- the subgroup of Americans who were most determined not to abandon reason and succumb to overblown fears of Islamic terrorism in the wake of 9/11 -- now have good, serious reasons to fear real domestic terrorism against themselves.

Two: A significant part of this country's media infrastructure is thoroughly devoted to inciting people to commit horrific acts of violence against us -- and now, we know for a fact that people are acting on those incitements. It's time to start taking this far more seriously. What goes out across our airwaves these days isn't all that different from what went out over Radio Rwanda a decade ago, spurring that country to genocide. At this point, it's only a difference of degree.

Three: The right wing has, as usual, grossly underestimated our courage and our commitment. The members of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist quickly and effectively disarmed and captured this man within seconds after he opened fire. Adkisson expected fear; what we got was determined resistance. It's why he's still alive today, and why more UUs aren't dead by his hand. The TVUUA congregation should be our enduring example of liberal grace under fire.

One whacko shoots up a church and claims inspiration by conservative talkers and writers (who universally condemned his evil deeds) and the Left insists that it is proof of the corruption of the ideology and the medium and proof of the need for media censorship. On the other hand, massive acts of organized terrorism over a period of decades explicitly linked to Islam by its perpetrators (and cheered by much of the rest of the Muslim world) are insufficient to provoke such condemnations of Islam by these same Leftists – who often make common cause with the terrorists and argue that America and Israel truly deserve to be the victims of the terrorists.

I’m not sure which amuses me more – that a regressive like Sara Robinson (and given her implicit call for censorship, she clearly seeks to regress to a time when Americans had less liberty than they do today) is provoked to such hysteria by a lone mentally ill slimeball like James Adkisson, or that she at the same time she so completely abandons all sense of reason and proportion Robinson insists that she and her fellow regressives were “the subgroup of Americans who were most determined not to abandon reason and succumb to overblown fears of Islamic terrorism in the wake of 9/11” and “now have good, serious reasons to fear real domestic terrorism against themselves.”

I wonder if Robinson thinks that conservative Christians – whose sanctuaries have been the targets of violence in a number of incidents in recent years, including vandalism, arson, “white powder” attacks and shootings – have just as much right to fear real domestic terrorism? I wonder if she thinks that Mormons, who have been a specific target of threats and attacks by anti-Prop 8 activists, have the right to fear real domestic terrorism? Or does she, good regressive that she is, think that these groups need to instead meditate upon their own faults that provoke such attacks upon themselves and change, just as so many on the Left argued the US needed to do after 9/11?

By the way, Sara -- you claim that conservatives are going to celebrate Adkisson's statement. Would you care to actually provide evidence that this is the case, perhaps a link to some mainstream conservative site that actually does so (not some isolated whacko pounding keys in a corner)?





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I think you've missed the point and drawn a false parallel. Adkisson's political views are directly linked with today's conservative movement. His home was found to be filled with the writings of Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. As such, the purveyors of anti-liberal hate speech (that's definitely what it is) must accept that the dogmatism and ruthlessness of their ideology helped fueled his fire. There is no such connection between American liberals and Islamic terrorists. If Al Qaeda homes ransacked in Iraq were found to be filled Paul Krugman column clippings and Al Franken books on tape, perhaps you'd have an argument. But to my knowledge, no mainstream liberal American voices have ever been even remotely linked to any act of violence.

What I find more instructive (and troubling) about this incident is the media's handling of it, and there is where the true "double standard" lies. Only liberal blogs and foreign media outlets reported significantly on Adkisson's politics and affinity for popular right-wing personalities. This angle was almost totally ignored my mainstream American media. However, had Adkisson murdered members of a conservative church and was found to be a fan of Michael Moore, I personally am convinced that it would be headline news, cited by conservative and centrist journalists alike as evidence of the dangers of liberalism and a huge blow to the public perception of progressive causes for months.

I admit I have no evidence for this, other than the media's extensive track record of highlighting events that reflect poorly on liberalism (remember the hash they made of the Virginia Tech shooter's hatred for rich people, or the fact that John Walker Lindh was from a liberal county in California and named after John Lennon) and downplaying of right-wing embarrassments (Neither Bill O'Reilly's nor Ann Coulter's public calls for terrorist attacks on major American cities made any waves in the mainstream media). The fact that you yourself just tried to suggest that liberals share some sort of responsibility for the 9/11 attacks is only further evidence of how desperately conservatives will seek to exploit some events to condemn the liberal movement, while ignoring others that raise genuine questions about the conservative movement. Isn't that the true double standard?

|| Posted by Andrew, February 12, 2009 11:40 AM ||

Nice job refuting your own strawman, Andrew. I never said any of the things you claim. I never said that liberals were responsible for 9/11 -- I said that many liberals insisted that this country needed to examine its soul, repent its sins and change because 9/11 was really America's fault. Two very different things, dude.

And as for Rush, Hannity, et al being responsible because Adkisson claimed inspiration from their words, I'd like to remind you that the Manson family quoted the Beatles during the Tate/LoBianco murders. Shall we hold the Fab Four responsible for the crimes?

So, you illogical semi-literate buffoon, why don't you take up the challenge I put forth to Hysterical Sara -- find and post the actual cases of conservatives posting Adkisson's words and citing them with approval. After all, she claimed that such posts would come from conservatives. Prove it.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, February 12, 2009 06:20 PM ||
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