2011/01/15

Evidence that the left is just as bad as the right?


A commenter in the Inky gives us a link to a blog post by Michelle Malkin that purports to show that the left is just as bad as the right when it comes to uncivil and incendiary rhetoric. To quote Howard Dean talking about Colin Powell's case that Iraq had WMD “I was impressed not by the vastness of evidence presented by the Secretary, but rather by its sketchiness.”

Malkin presents lots and lots of objectionable material put out by the left in their presentations (Written and during protests) against various figures on the right. I was particularly disgusted by the image Malkin chose to start off her piece with, a picture of Sarah Palin being slugged by a very large hand, her glasses flying off and her teeth breaking. This is a revolting image that I have absolutely zero problems denouncing and condemning. There's also a video of a fistfight that took place at a Tea Party rally where the Tea Partiers were just minding their own business and exercising their First Amendment right to protest government policies. Again, I have absolutely zero problems condemning this sort of thing, Malkin presents a long list of mugshots accompanied by their crimes, some serious, slashing tires, stalking and trying to run down a Congresswoman with his car. Many of the charges also include people attacking campaign signs and throwing salad dressing and custard cream pies. None of the conduct that's documented is excusable and all were properly punished.

What's missing is anything from any sort of prominent person on the left side of the political aisle. Madonna and Sarah Bernhard, who are more entertainment than they are political figures, are about it. The rest are all members of rallies and/or people you've never heard of. As the book review to "The Case For Bush Hatred: Mad About You" by Jonathan Chait, makes clear:

The trouble with this parallel is, first, that this sort of Bush-hating is entirely confined to the political fringe. The most mainstream anti-Bush conspiracy theorist cited in York's piece is Alexander Cockburn, the ultra-left, rabidly anti-Clinton newsletter editor. Mainstream Democrats have avoided delving into Bush's economic ties with the bin Laden family or suggesting that Bush invaded Iraq primarily to benefit Halliburton. The Clinton haters, on the other hand, drew from the highest ranks of the Republican Party and the conservative intelligentsia.

Lefty blogger Digby cites Right Wing Watch:

In 2007, conservative activist Mark DeMoss launched something called The Civility Project, seeking to get governors and members of Congress to sign on to a short pledge vowing to conduct themselves civilly:
  • I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
  • I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
  • I will stand against incivility when I see it.
Four years and thousands of dollars later, DeMoss is shutting down the project after securing such pledges from only three members of Congress while enduring countless insults from his fellow conservatives:
The piece goes on to cite conservatives who were so angry at being called to task that the author declared many responses to be unprintable.

FAIR lists an awful lot of what conservatives describe as “lone nuts.” Yeah, these are people who acted alone and without obvious co-conspirators, but gee, they all had a real problem with liberals and Democrats.

Firedoglake looks at certain right wing reactions to Arizona Sheriff Dupniks charge that the political climate in Arizona made the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) possible and finds there was quite a bit of what the Red Chinese would have referred to as “self-criticism” in their remarks. They cite a Republican Senator making fairly innocuous criticisms of the Tea Party who, very interestingly, feels the need to do it anonymously. Are we worried about right-wing violence, perhaps?

Quoting right-wingers who make inflammatory statements that have the potential to encourage violence isn't difficult at all. The left-wing media watchdog groups FAIR and Media Matters have long lists of right-wingers making such statements. In fact, Media Matters has documented three separate individuals who have been “inspired” by Fox News' Glenn Beck to try and commit violent acts. Fortunately, all three persons were stopped before they could carry out their intentions.

Finally, we must also remember that truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel. So when right-wingers charge lefties with being uncivil when they charge that President George W. Bush lied and committed crimes against humanity, I really have a hard time applying the label of “uncivil” to such rhetoric.

Update:
Good column looks at the shooting of Rep. Giffords and the larger picture of civility in our politics. This was a particularly chilling statement that jumped out at me:
After Loughner’s massacre, Humphries was still faulting her — this time for holding "an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever.”

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