Imagine my surprise when I saw this in the New York Times today:
Rampage Puts Focus on the Left’s Climate of Hate
LAS VEGAS -- The shooting of a group of uniformed National Guard members as they ate breakfast at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, Nev on Tuesday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics.
While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, the targeting of members of the United States military, whose staunchest supporters are found among America’s conservatives, quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence by the nation’s progressives have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
Only a few hours before the attack, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., sharing a Labor Day stage with President Obama in Detroit on Monday, described Democratic opposition to their Republican opponents as “a war,” and called on his followers to “take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.” 2011 has already seen rallies in which members of a progressive seminar openly suggested “stringing up” Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, and killing Fox News’s Roger Ailes.
New York Times opinion writer, Paul Krugman, is wondering in his most recent column:
“When you heard the terrible news from Nevada, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?
“Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since Maxine Waters told Tea Party members to ‘go straight to hell.’ Before that were the endless comparisons of Tea Party supporters and conservatives ‘hostage-takers,’ ‘terrorists,’ and the Ku Klux Klan.
“It’s true that the shooter in Nevada appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
“Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the left. It’s hard to imagine a Republican member of Congress urging constituents to be ‘get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.’; but Democratic Representative Michael Capuano, who did just that, becoming a hero to the public unions demonstrating in Madison, Wisconsin earlier this year. The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line.” . . . .
OK. I didn’t actually read any of this in the Times. I cribbed 50% of it from reporting in the Times done immediately following the Tucson shootings in January. Then I borrowed the rest from a Paul Krugman hand-wringer blaming the Tucson shooting directly on conservatives.
All I wrote today is what you never saw or heard since yesterday’s murder of three National Guardsman, and wounding of two, and wounding of a half-dozen more in Nevada. I’m not saying that Jimmy Hoffa caused this guy in Nevada to grab a gun and start shooting.
I mimicked the Times’s handling of this sort of thing to make the same point that countless commentators have been making about the media double standard since the latest headline about Hoffa’s speech in Detroit. That double standard immunizes comments from Obama, Hoffa, Waters, Jackson, Dean, Moore, etc., from charges of incivility or even bad manners. What more can be said about a double standard? It’s real, and we have to make the most of it.
I just thought I would imagine what it would sound like if the shoe were on the other foot, if only for a few moments.