Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why the Double Standard?

While I stand by my post yesterday that John Edward's new blogger has written some viciously anti-Catholic stuff, some have raised the issue of double standards. I'm talking about the media reaction in particular. Whenever a Democrat is associated with malicious speech, all hell breaks loose. And yet Republicans are frequently held to lower standards.

Take John McCain. He recently hired a man called Terry Nelson, whose illustrious career includes the racist ad against Harold Ford, participation in Delay's corruption and money laundering, jamming phones in New Hampshire to hinder the Democrat's get-out-the-vote endeavor, and working with the Swift Boat liars. And yet McCain is still the media darling.

Or what about the right-wing bloggers and pundits that support Republicans? A group of such pundits who recently met Bush included: (i) Sean Hannity ("making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the speaker is worth dying for"; (ii) Neal Boortz (Islam is a deadly virus); (iii) Laura Ingraham (Sens. Biden and Boxer are on the side of Kim Jong Il); (iv) Mike Gallagher (called on the government to “round up” several left-leaning voices, including Keith Olbermann, label them “traitors,” and have them sent to detention camps); (iv) Michael Medved (Islam has “a special violence problem.”) [Thanks to Carpetbagger Report for the detailed list]

And this is nothing new. Ann Coulter makes all kinds incendiary remarks (such as attacking 9/11 widows), and remains a media favorite. Bill O'Reilly says that it would be fine for Al Qaeda to blow up San Francisco. No consequences. Rush Limbaugh defends torture by saying that the torturers were having a good time, and needed an emotional release. He calls Barack Obama a "Halfrican American" and makes fun of Michael J. Fox's disability. He regularly equates Democrats and terrorists and still claims that Vince Foster was murdered. And of course, Robertson and Falwell blame Americans for 9/11, and get away with it.

And yet whenever a left-wing pundit makes a similar, or even a far less offensive, statement, the knives are out. But this is no surprise: generating fake outrage and stirring up anger is one of the right's main weapons. No, the problem is that the mainstream media laps this stuff up.

And the same policy holds when it comes to minor stuff. Recently, the media is hawking stories about Nancy Pelosi demanding a luxury plane (it turns out she merely wants a plane that can reach her district, which is quite a bit further away than Dennis Hastert's), and the size of John Edwards' house. Why do we never hear these stories about Republicans? The last six years shows that Republicans can get away with all manners of nefarious behavior, from corruption, money laundering, stamping down on dissent, filling vacancies with political hacks... but this rarely gets traction. Suddenly, the Democrats are back, and it's Clinton's hair cut all over again.

Edwards' wealth is the biggest joke of all, as if Bush and Cheney are men of modest means! Of course, we never hear tales of how they acquired their wealth in the first place, do we?


Northerner said...

The issue is hypocrisy. Is Cheney a hypocrite for being wealthy? No, he would agree that being wealthy is just fine.

Is Edwards a hypocrite for building a 28,000 square foot mansion? Yes, because his whole campaign is based on this pretense that he wants to break down inequality in America. If that's your shtick, you can't then go out and live like a Rockefeller.

Mike McG... said...

I agree with you regarding the double standard. Unfair to the max. But, hey, the guy who talks the talk prophetically about 'two Americas' has to expect that people will ask whether he walks the walk. Relative deprivation is huge in America. There *is* a connection between the in-your-face overconsumption of the wealthy and the deprivation of the poor.

I supported Edwards four years ago. I want to support him now precisely because he has the guts to confront America's silence about the poor. But, let's face it, the mansion stikes a dissonant note. The indisputable fact of widespread Republican hypocrisy doesn't quiet the McMansion controvery.

Mike McG... said...

I deplore the double standard that absolves the Right of misdeeds and magnifies those of the Left. But, hey, there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around. People are keen to know if those who talk the talk also walk the walk.

I welcome Edwards' focus on poverty and the enormous divide between rich and poor in America. That is the principal reason I have supported his candidacy. But it is understandable that those who claim this mantle are going to be scrutinized more than Democratic and especially Republican politicians who eschew focus on the poor.

Edwards will be judged against a higher standard, in part because we all know that the centrality of relative deprivation...the contrast between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth (not wealth itself).

Katerina Marie said...

Well, the one that I love is how they bash on Pro-choice democrats, but not pro-choice republicans in the same way... Giuliani, anyone?

Franklin Jennings said...

Yeah, on the other hand, I never hear anything about homelessness when Democrats run stuff. Like they suddenly find homes or something? Or like Jimmy Carter didn't empty our hospitals of the mentally ill.

Sickening whining, both parties. "They don't want to do anything to end poverty! We want more abortion clinics in poor neighborhoods because we care!"

Face it, thats your party. Nothing matters beyond scratching the itch and destroying everything the Christian holds dear.

Its every bit as ugly as "Allt hat matters is the almighty dollar."

Not that you'll stop shilling long enough to notice.