Friday, February 16, 2007

Reinhard gives us lessons on how to be a conservative

The other night, a recovering rightwinger reminded me about one of the main differences between liberals and conservatives. He said that liberals tend to take the information they're given, think it over, be critical of it, and make decisions about what to do based on their inevitable need to digest stuff. Conservatives on the other hand, take information and use it to stoke up their need for righteous indignation so they can wag their fingers and tell us all what evil sinners we are--deserving of whatever pitfalls litter our path.

In order to feed their indignant fires, conservatives can't always seek out whole truth. Its much easier to wind up for the pitch when cherrypicking bits and pieces from a story.

This might explain David Reinhard's Thursday column. Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe Reinhard is just an ignorant toadie who earns his check by writing the most stupid invective possible:

Now, for today's second double standard: What if Edwards' two bloggers -- Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan -- had spewed their venom on Jews or African Americans rather than Christians in general and Catholics in particular?

Would Newsweek have sanitized their stuff by saying they had simply "criticized Roman Catholic and religious conservatives"? Would The New York Times have written that they were just "doing what bloggers do -- expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language"?

No, they would have nailed them for anti-Semitism and racism, and they would have been quite correct in doing so. This kind of stuff may be acceptable in certain effete quarters where Catholic- and Christian-bashing is the thinking man's anti-Semitism, but it should have no place in our politics.

Happily, the Catholic League's William Donohue is calling the bloggers and Edwards on this, and the media on its double standards.

Reinhard then proceeds to cherrypick out one-liners from Marcotte and McEwan's blogs hoping to drive home the point that if the shoe were on the other other foot, the establishment media would be calling for the heads of the bloggers and anyone who hired them.

What unadulterated bullshit.

The underlying premise is that Marcotte and McEwan wrote anti-Catholic screeds. Had Reinhard dragged his knuckles out of his cave long enough to do the proper research, he'd know that the writings of these two women about religion and Catholicism have to do with keeping religion out of government and out of the lives of people who don't want it.

Reinhard's hero figure in this tale, William Donohue, has sordid history of intolerant and bigoted commentary. Donohue's goal is to crack down on those who disagree with him by using intimidation and bullying. Reinhard sees this as a happy event.

And the media continue to give Donohue all the face time he can grab.

Marcotte published her recent experience with all of this in Salon. Its interesting reading for those not just looking for a finger to wag. I guess that means liberals and independents.

From high atop his mountain of conservative indignance, I wonder how Reinhard feels about the fact that McEwan and Marcotte have received an onslaught of vicious emails from supporters of Donohue--the least of which using the type of expletives they berate the women for using. The worst of which threaten they and their families with physical harm.

I also wonder if it occurs to him that his back-slapping endorsement of Donohue's bigotry and misogyny turns the stomach of any reader who has bothered to look into this story as a whole.