Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Woah, hit the brakes, Anne Applebaum

I guess what passes for balance these days is saying "both sides are wrong" -- then one can go pat one's self on the back at the "intellectuality" of it all. So Anne writes in a recent Washington Post article of Hypocrisy of the cultural left. -- Then (in the name of balance, I suspect) she goes on thus:

· Hypocrisy of the right-wing blogosphere. Remember the controversy over Newsweek and the Koran? Last year Newsweek printed an allegation about mistreatment of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base that -- although strikingly similar to interrogation techniques actually used to intimidate Muslims at Guantanamo -- was not substantiated by an official government investigation. It hardly mattered: Abroad, Muslim politicians and clerics promoted and exaggerated the Koran story, just as they are now promoting and exaggerating the Danish cartoon story. The result was rioting and violence on a scale similar to the rioting and violence of the past week.

But although that controversy was every bit as manipulated as this one, self-styled U.S. Conservativess" blamed not cynical politicians and clerics but Newsweek for (accidentally) inciting violence in the Muslim world: "Newsweek lied, people died." Worse, much of the commentary implied that Newsweek was not only wrong to make a mistake (which it was) but also that the magazine was wrong to investigate the alleged misconduct of U.S. soldiers. Logically, the bloggers should now be attacking the Danish newspaper for (less accidentally) inciting violence in the Muslim world. Oddly enough, though, I've heard no cries of "Jyllands-Posten insulted, people died." The moral is: We defend press freedom if it means Danish cartoonists' right to caricature Muhammad; we don't defend press freedom if it means the mainstream media's right to investigate the U.S. government.

This is just the kind of moral equivalence argument that we on the right are trying to shake the world out of. Here, she postulates that lying is the equivalent of expression of an unpopular opinion. No claims were made as to the veracity of the cartoons. They are, after all, political cartoons... widely understood as expressions of opinion.

"Newsweek Lied" = "Jyllands Posten Insulted"

-- not buying that one. Never mind the fact that the "Newsweek Lied, People Died" was more a sarcastic call for those on the Left to take a good look at themselves in the mirror than to condemn Newsweek for being irresponsible with the truth. Not that it wasn't a little of both.

In her shakedown of Leftist hypocrisy, she says:

An excellent domestic parallel is the fracas that followed the 1989 publication of "Piss Christ," a photograph of Christ on a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine. That picture -- a work of art that received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts -- led to congressional denunciations, protests and letter-writing campaigns.
Excellent parallel of the offense, but the parallel falls apart when we get to the reaction. How many death threats were issued over Piss Christ? How many museums burned? Employees of newspapers who published it threatened? Again, people are missing the point completely. These people are demanding, on threat of violence and death and backed up by their actions, deference to their rules. This is terrorism. All of this introspection and subsequent capitulation means terrorism works.

She also makes the allegation that the "right wing blogosphere" (which I would probably be considered a part of) largely said, implied, or insinuated that it is wrong for the media to investigate the U.S. Government. Give me some examples, PLEASE.

What many of us object to is the pathological obsession the media seems to have about proving that this administration is stupid, evil, or both -- and have so much trouble coming up with solid facts to back up their beliefs that they go ahead and publish as fact -- things that are not, in fact... FACT.

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