Can we please shut the Internet down, start buying newspapers and giving unemployed journalists a living wage to actually report the real news again? Am I the only one sick of Birthers with blogs? Liberals with endless theories on whether Sarah Palin is her toddler’s grammy? And a mainstream media that is as sensationalized and stupid as any wingnut on FOX News? And twice as lazy? Jason Linkins comments on this pandora box of madness unleashed this summer:
And because the media couldn’t do their job, a group of hack politicians, like Rick Lazio and Newt Gingrich, desperate to get a little famewhore attention for their quixotic political career goals, saw an opportunity to horn in on the “discussion.” They started telling all the sad and angry people that they actually did have the right to expect someone to provide a remedy to their claims. Their case was primarily based on the idea that nobody has the rights of religious freedom, no one has property rights and that the government has the right — nay, the duty! — to intrude.
Right away, they should have been entirely ridiculed, because the people pimping this bilge were primarily right-wing types who would ordinarily say that church and state should not be separated, that property rights are sacrosanct, and that government should be small and unobtrusive. Someone really should have said to Newt Gingrich, “Is this seriously the stand you want to take? Because if it is, we shall never allow you to claim to be a supporter of small government or a ‘Constitutional constructionist’ ever again. And if you try to assert that claim, we will drop on you like a ton of bricks. We will cause you real, public pain.”
But of course, that’s not what happened. The media has too much invested in flattering people like Newt Gingrich, and whoever writes Sarah Palin’s tweets. And so, these inherent contradictions simply became “one side of a great debate” and “an interesting point of view.”
And from there, some idiot news producer said, “Hey, I bet we can shoehorn this into our election narrative somehow!” And so the Park51 community center became an election issue. Imagine that, in a world with a nine year-long, going nowhere war and a massive unemployment crisis! Imagine how many times you would have to hit yourself in the head with a ball peen hammer before you would ask a politician from California how they stood on a local zoning issue in Manhattan.
But ask they did, all the way to the White House. And that’s when Democrats like Harry Reid stepped forward to publicly cover themselves in cowardice. This turned the frenzy up several notches for the media, because suddenly, they had obtained a very precious thing — the right to say “both sides do this.” The matter had become a folie a deux — a madness made for two! — but the media focused all their attention on the “two” and none on the “madness.”
And in that climate, a pastor named Terry Jones saw an opportunity to make himself famous. Jones heads up a heretofore unknown and uncared-about gang of Florida morons known as the Dove Outreach Church — minor bit players in the field of antagonizing American Muslims. This idiot announced that he was going to burn some Qurans on September 11th, and was anyone interested in giving this nonsense a whole lot of media attention?
And boy howdy, lots of people took him up on the offer! And you know why they did that? Because of the shame. Because deep down, your media all-stars knew that they had aided and abetted something that closely resembled an intellectual atrocity, and now it was time to atone by finding the lowest-hanging fruit available and make themselves feel better by beating on them repeatedly for being assholes — something they should have already been doing for months!
And this gave an opportunity for some of those who had opposed the Park51 community center — who deserved the treatment being meted out to Terry Jones — to do the same. They joined their friends in the media in this demonstration of game-show absolution, saying, “This level of bigotry is unacceptable! It’s so declasse in comparison to our own bigotry, which is a refined, ‘Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte’ form of despicableness.”
A few people, like John Boehner and whoever writes Sarah Palin’s tweets went so far as to say, “See, this is exactly the same thing we were decrying with the Ground Zero mosque.” Except it wasn’t, because the Ground Zero mosque was a thing they had made up!