09 March 2011

The Consequences of Speaking the Truth in American Politics

Well, apparently it is now not possible for anyone to actually characterize our American right-wingers in accurate terms. As The New York Times reports an executive at NPR is being pilloried for suggesting that he considers (and according to the reports he clearly states that he is speaking for himself not the network) the Tea Party racist and thinks they have high jacked the Republican Party. My problem is that this is seen as an opinion rather than an accurate description. The assessment of the relationship between the TP and the GOP is eminently defensible. And the remarks about the racism of the TP movement are denied only by the movement itself. It is, after all, a movement of resentful well off white men (mostly) who are pissed off about the increased visibility of women, minorities and the disadvantaged. The next time a conservative whines to you about how American political culture is stacked against them, this episode should serve as a sufficient reply.*

And, of course, how many times will putative liberal elites fall for the hypocritical undercover stings that right wingers are trying to set? Actually, the "success" rate of these stings is remarkably low. The NPR folks ought to have avoided the situation entirely. But having agreed to have lunch with the impostors (aka liars) they repeatedly refused alleged no-strings financial offers and clearly differentiated their personal from their official views. In other words these people acted professionally and the right is still whining. Good grief!

And, predictably the head of NPR now has fallen on her sword over this putative "scandal." Even if you think that is an appropriate response (which I do not), can anyone recall a conservative ever resigning from anything in this sort of case?
* And before anyone goes off about how there is a double standard here relative to the notorious Juan Williams, remember that this was an individual (a fund raiser, not a journalist) speaking at a private luncheon and offering his personal views. Williams was being paid to proclaim himself in the national media. He lost his job at NPR for doing so in ways that called his journalistic credibility into question. I actually defended Williams at the time, even though I think he is a windbag.

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