What you say about someone else often reveals more about you.
While recently reading an article in the Columbia Journalism Review (not yet available online) I was struck by the pot-calling-the-kettle-black nature of an article by contributing editor Michael Massing. The title of the piece was: “Un-American; Have you listened to the right-wing media lately?”
In the article Massing insists talk radio, Fox News and certain print columnists engaged in “vile and venomous” attacks, “the most concerted campaign of vilification ever directed at an American politician” and “nonstop character assassination.”
But not once does he offer a scintilla of evidence that they were wrong, but merely that they were wrong to question the qualifications and relationships of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. In Massing’s view it was un-American to question Obama’s links to ACORN, Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, Tony Rezko, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. Massing failed to mention Frank Marshall Davis, Saul “The Red” Alinsky and Obama’s communist Kenyan father.
While not citing any specific source for his litany of lambast, Massing accused the right-wing media of accusing Obama of “being a Muslim, a Marxist, a radical, a revolutionary, a socialist, a communist, a thug, a mobster, a racist, an agent of voter fraud, a black-power advocate, a madrasah graduate, an anti-Semite, an enemy of Israel, an associate of terrorists — even the Antichrist.” Antichrist? Missed that one.
Whilst bemoaning how evil and mean and vicious those right-wingers can be and how they should be shunned and ignored as hatemongers, the writer offers up his own series of love taps:
“The National Review Onlilne came to resemble a barnyard, in which strutting roosters spent their days hooting and hollering while littering the ground with manure.”
“Appearing regularly on the network (Fox) were a series of professional Democrat detractors, including architect-of-the-most-unpopular-presidency-in-American-history Karl Rove, onetime-Bill-Clinton-adviser-disgraced-after-having-been-found-consorting-with-a-prostitute Dick Morris, and the always-welcome-on-Fox-no-matter-how-foul-her-views Ann Coulter.”
He claims the mainstream media either ignores or coddles these hatemongers. “Rather than celebrate such extremists,” Massing concludes, “the press should seek to expose their xenophobia, intolerance, and fanaticism.”
That’s right! Stamp out bigots! Beat ’em up for beating us up!
Is there such a thing as the self-defeating argument?