The Corner

First Read Scolds

They write:

Playing the victim card when you’re not really the victim: What was particularly striking to us is how activists, especially on the right, were playing the victim when there are so many actual victims — the deceased, the wounded, the grieving — in Arizona. And here’s our point from yesterday: Although it appears that Jared Lee Loughner had nothing to do with mainstream conservatism or liberalism, can’t we all agree to condemn violent, de-humanizing, or de-legitimizing rhetoric — “2nd Amendment remedies,” “Don’t retreat, instead reload,” “Gather your armies” “facism/socialism,” etc. — aimed at our politicians and government institutions? In today’s political climate, as we pointed out, opponents just don’t disagree, they de-humanize each other; they just don’t question those in power, they de-legitimize them; and we in the media just play along, giving attention to the extremes and the shiny metal objects. It’s time for all of us to act more responsibly. But what’s happening in the land of opinion is cringe-worthy. There are so many folks in search of a high horse to mount. Those poor horses.

Again I think this is wrong-headed. To date there is no reason to pin this atrocity on the right, as they admit. But First Read is shocked that the immediate reaction from “liberals” (which includes the news organizations First Read works for, NBC/MSNBC) was to claim that conservatives aided and abetted the crime. I agree entirely that we should be focusing on the victims. Well, guess who didn’t want to do that right out of the gate?

I know that “they started it” is not always the most mature excuse. But when the liberal establishment is desperately trying to incriminate their political opponents in a senseless murder, I don’t think it’s right or fair to play the moral equivalence game.

Personally, I abstained as best I could from returning fire. And as many readers complained, that tactic merely allows the Olbermanns, Sullivans and Krugmans to spread their lies unopposed and risks letting the big lie become conventional wisdom. I do wish this argument wasn’t happening when we should all be mourning the dead and praying for the living. But the blame for it cannot be laid at those who opted not to sit idly by as they were slandered.

Maybe if Andrea Mitchell and First Read’s other colleagues at NBC news spent more time quashing the slander rather than fueling it, they wouldn’t need to be expressing their oh-so-evenhanded  sorrow at this sorry state of affairs.

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