No Equivalency

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Ben Cohen
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9/12 Teabaggers

(photo from oliverwillis)

by Ben Cohen

Main Stream Media outlets love to simplify an issue into two distinctive camps. We have the Left and the Right, the pro lifers and the pro choicers and the free market capitalists and the socialist. All shades of gray are dismissed, and anything outside of conventional boundaries of debate are simply ignored.

The worst aspect of all this nonsense is to assign equivalency to the opposing views. As Paul Krugman pointed out in 2004: "If Bush says that the earth was flat, the headlines on the mainstream media stories is, “The Shape of the Earth: Views Differ.”

The truth is, there is no equivalency between the hard Left and the hard Right. The hard Left in America would be considered centrists in virtually every other industrialized democracy on earth, while the hard Right would be considered a serious threat to national security. The Party of Rush Limbaugh and Joe Wilson is a fundamentalist, theologically inspired movement more akin to Mahmoud Ahmadinejads' 'Alliance of Builders' party than a Western democratic organization.

The level of vitriol leveled at the current President by the fruit-cake Right is beyond the realm of comprehension. It is so utterly offensive it deserves minimal coverage from main stream outlets, and should be reported on in the context of its insanity.

Instead, the MSM reports on Tea Bagger protests as legitimate rallies against Obama's encroaching government, and refuses to label the protesters as the mentally retarded pig heads they really are. When the overtly racist rantings of an extremist minority plague the national dialogue, the MSM does its best to include them. Writes Chez Pazienza:

NBC News made the decision to edit out a shocking, inflammatory, and
thoroughly revealing comment made by one of the protesters attending
the 9/12 Teabagger rally in DC. NBC Nightly News on Saturday evening
ran a news package that contained a shot of a woman saying, "We are
losing our country, we think the Muslims are moving in and taking
over." But when the story was posted online, that comment was edited
out and replaced with the infinitely less insane and racist, "I'm
scared to death for my country. I believe Obama is running this country
into the ground."

What the hell is going on?

When the Left came out hard against President
Bush, the MSM ignored their completely legitimate claims (that Bush had
illegally invaded Iraq, lied about it, and gone on to torture their
citizens). They were labeled extremists and sidelined while hacks like
Joe Klein and David Frum argued about esoteric concepts like the
'effectiveness of U.S strategy in the Middle East' (it didn't take a genius to figure out they didn't have one).

The treatment of the rabid Right by the MSM has legitimized them, and shifted the debate unalterably to the extreme end of the political spectrum. So when we have dissent on one end of the spectrum, it doesn't necessarily make it extreme. It all depends on where the center is, and right now, it is way, way, way to the Right.