National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Kinsley Is Half-Right

All political writers tremble to think they belong in the same category as Michael Kinsley. So smart, such elegant writing, so willing and able to break past the trench warfare of so much political argument and find a point of reason beyond the trenches. But, on the Tucson massacre fall-out, I think he is only half-right.
Kinsley is correct to say that the extreme right has a greater hold on thhe extreme left, that while it is correct to say that NPR or the New York Times leans left, they do not lean left the way Fox leans right. Indeed, while I recognize that someone like Rachel Maddow has ideological blinders that shade both what she chooses to discuss and how she chooses to discuss it, she does not do what Fox does, which is to just make stuff up. Remember the billions of dollars and dozens of Navy ships it was going to cost for Obama to go to India?
It is also the case that currently, and for a variety of reasons, the political Right is more susceptible to violent rhetoric and metaphors. We do not know what motivated the killer in Tucson. The Kennedys were surprised to discover that, in Dallas of all places, the President was shot by a leftist. And, everyone who has worked on a political campaign has used language with militaristic significance, starting with the word "campaign." That said, the sins of the Left are not currently sins of violence but sins of intellectual narrowness. There are no more Weathermen and the Black Panthers play dress-up and do not intimidate anyone. But, I do not believe there is anything intrinsically violent about the Right versus the Left. The disposition to turn to violence seems to have no ideological pedigree.
So, Kinsley is right to point out that there may not be any "balance" between the rhetoric on the right versus the rhetoric on the left, although Keith Olbermann seems determined to prove him wrong. But, even Kinsley acknowledges that such a judgment tells us nothing about what happened at the Tucson Safeway.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

07-04-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.