Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Little Gambit

Erick Erickson's comments on President Obama's remarks in Tucson are about as confused as Sarah Palin's statement released on Wednesday.

As I and others (as it turns out) have argued, Palin appears to claim that those on the right couldn't be responsible for inciting acts of violence with their words, and yet those on the left could be. I don't know how this could have gotten past Palin's internal censor. Is she really so intellectually stunted that she was unaware of this apparent tension? Or does she simply not care about things like consistency? Or has she noticed something about leftist rhetoric that makes it intrinsically more incendiary than conservative rhetoric (he asked sarcastically)?

Erickson has a similar difficulty. In his post, "The President's Speech and Killing Sarah Palin," Erickson writes:
Mr. Obama gave a stunning rebuke to his own base who’ve engaged in a horrific blame game all week. . . .

Contrast that with what his supporters have been up to all week. It is disgusting. . . .

Yesterday, Governor Sarah Palin delivered a video address on the mess in Arizona. For a week, the left has blamed Palin, not Loughner, for the shooting. Then they attacked her for not responding. Then they attacked her for her response and using the phrase “blood libel,” a perfectly legitimately use of it given what she and the right have been subjected to this week.

But the left pounced.

All week long, the left has said Jared Loughner was persuaded to try to kill Congresswoman Giffords because of right-wing hate. We know that was not true. But here is what else I am sure of.

Out there somewhere is someone who would love to kill Governor Palin. God forbid they do it. But you and I both know there is some crazy MSNBC watcher and Media Matters reader who even now is dreaming of doing so.
Notice that Erickson suggests that there is no connection between right-wing rhetoric and acts of violence. He says that attempts to hold people like Palin responsible for acts of violence is "disgusting."

But he also suggests that there is a connection between left-wing rhetoric and acts of violence. He suggests that someone who watches MSNBC and reads Media Matters is plotting to kill Palin.

Look, I'm a pretty smart guy, but I'm not a genius. But you don't have to be a genius to see that there is something wrong with the ultra-defensive posture Palin and Erickson have adopted in the wake of the Tucson shootings. "They do it too," they say. "Those lefties produce incendiary rhetoric just like we are accused of doing." But for some reason, only the leftist rhetoric is capable of inciting violence. Why is that?

Hey Erick, your readers may be complete morons, but I am not. This little gambit of yours isn't working for me, and I see if for what it is: a line of complete bullshit.

I watch MSNBC sometimes, and I read Media Matters. Nothing I have ever seen or read on those two media outlets approaches what I've seen on Fox "News" or read on RedState or heard on Limbaugh or Savage. It ain't even close. (Although I must say that Keith Olbermann's characterization of Michelle Malkin is just about the most disgusting, cringe-worthy thing I've ever heard. And I really dislike Malkin's blog, believe me.) And I should point out that I have no interest whatsoever in harming Sarah Palin. I just wish that she'd go away, and I have faith that Americans will eventually lose interest in her Rove-inspired divisive approach to politics.

By the way, Lori Ziganto has dropped a posty on the topic of Palin's video statement. And I know that this will be shocking to you (he said sarcastically), but her review of Palin's statement is quite positive! The post is entitled, "Thoughtful, On-Target Palin Responds To Attacks; Left Loses Last Grip On Reality." I tried reading the entire post, but reading a Ziganto posty is painful for me and I simply didn't have it in me this time. And after publishing two dozen or so careful critiques of Ziganto's posties, I find myself bored with reading yet another Ziganto posty that reads like all the others. Maybe I'm the first person in the blogosphere ever to sincerely say, "Bored now."

Lori, would you please write something interesting for me to read?


  1. I laughed out loud with each "posty" & after reading the final line. Your blog is quickly solidifying itself as a true favorite. Not for nothing, but I would like to see you call out more on the left. For every Ziganto there's an Oliver Willis.

    When I read anything by either of the RS writers mentioned I find myself consistently asking (as often as I do when watching Olbermann or reading the likes of O Willis): where is the logic? Their bias is so apparent even rookies like me are able to see straight through it.

    And with ALL of that said, I still love Sarah Palin!
    Mwahaha. :)

  2. Thanks again for your kind words.

    There are people on the left who need to be called out. I used to be a casual fan of Olbermann because some of his critiques of the previous administration seemed spot-on. But at some point, he started resorting to mere name-calling in some of his comments. (You should watch this Daily Show segment in which Stewart calls out Olbermann if you haven't already: It's really good.) And though I don't remember the details, I noticed during one segment some time ago that Olbermann's logic was pretty sloppy and I felt like I was being propagandized. So I don't watch him anymore. Maddow by contrast is obviously a left-winger, but at least she's calm, rational, and she's not mean (relative to others in her business, anyway).

    Anyway, I've never heard of Oliver Willis. So I'll have to look his stuff up.

    Bias is a funny thing. I think the crucial question is this: does the bias precede the facts and the arguments, or does it follow it? After all, the evidence can make us biased, but there's nothing wrong with that. The facts should bias us. With people like Erickson and Olbermann, often it seems that they begin with the bias: they have a rhetorical goal to achieve regardless what the facts may be. It seems that Erickson feels that he must combat any attempt to link right-wing punditry with Loughner. So he and others simply assert that there's no link, when we don't even know that for sure yet. Or they offer arguments that are pretty obviously bad. And they write these confused posts in which they seem to contradict themselves. That tells me that they're just making stuff up rather than being led by facts and principles.

    I guess we can agree to disagree about Sarah Palin. Perhaps someday you can write in some detail about why you like her so much so I can see where you're coming from. And perhaps I could write about why I voted for Obama and what I think about him now.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Disregard the previous comment! Found it! :)

    Also, thanks for always teaching me something. I've cultivated many a relationship with, or at bare minimum regular consumption of, seemingly endless online sources. And I must say your blog has still managed to leave a significant mark, and I think that's because of how much I've learned from you, one way or the other. So thanks. :)

  4. Though it may not be obvious, you have had a significant impact on my blogging, believe it for not. And it's good to be reminded that people like you and I can disagree without being disagreeable. So thank you for that.


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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson