Fox News made a name for itself by branding itself as a “fair and balanced” alternative what they alleged to be a liberal bias in “mainstream media” although it’s not immediately clear to me what makes them any less mainstream than their competition.
Perhaps that very branding is why other media outlets have abandoned all pretense at impartiality. This of course cuts both ways, with organizations like the Daily Kos toeing the liberal line and RedState holding overtly conservative stances. (To get a sense of how out of touch RedState can be, just go back and take a look at how they reviewed any of the debates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this past primary season… At a time when the republicans were attacking each other’s manhood, they actually watched the democrats treating each other civilly and said that this debate should convince anyone not to vote for a candidate with a D…)
And then there’s Breitbart.com, the media juggernaut that deserves an interesting footnote for breaking the Anthony Weiner scandal. Their dishonesty was laid bare for anyone to see recently and it’s more than a little bit disgusting.
Let’s talk about the real story first. Harvard Law Professor Jack Balkin wrote a blog entry about a week ago about giving up on what he called Defensive Crouch Liberalism. It’s a little wonky and could use a hyperlink or two, especially to articles on the various court cases he cites. The overall gist of the entry is that, with as many left-leaning judges on the various benches around the country, perhaps it’s time for the American political left to go on the offensive rather than the defensive. Not unlike what the political right did when they had the dominant position on the judiciary.
Nothing outrageous about the actual story or even the opinions expressed by the professor. I’m not entirely sure than an opinion piece by an academic is newsworthy on a very wide scale. It’s an opinion and you can accept or reject some or all of it to your taste.
I’d specifically like to draw your attention to point number 2 of the professor’s entry. The culture wars are over. Despite what Fox News and other conservative media types might argue, they are. He also points out, accurately, that in real wars where true blood has been spilled, the way the losing sides were treated and allowed to continue with their lost ideology has made a difference (compare the US Civil War with World War II).
So how did Breitbart report this? Harvard Prof Urges Liberals to Treat Evangelical Christians like Nazis. Let’s ignore the fact that neither the word “evangelical” nor “Christian” appears in Balkin’s essay for a moment. And let’s even ignore the fact that many positions taken up by many modern evangelicals — especially the dominionists and their ilk — would fit in nicely with the platform of the Nazis 70 years ago. That’s an exceptionally huge leap from the actual text to the interpretation.
That this even got reported on is a wonder. That it’s being used for such outright fearmingering is even more ridiculous.
That you can completely lose your faith in humanity when you read the comments at Breitbart. That’s just sad.