On his MSNBC newscast, Keith Olbermann sounded grudgingly admiring of Stark’s initial comments. “Obviously he went to extremes there,” he said to Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, “but was there not something refreshing about his at least refusal to back down when somebody came after him?” It was left to Alter to talk Olbermann down a bit. Bush is “a human being and he doesn’t like to see people killed, and to say that he does is just silly and counterproductive,” he observed.
Olbermann is a darling of the left for his frequent criticisms of the Bush administration, but he’s part of the problem. Each night he names three people he disagrees with and calls one of them “The Worst Person in the World.” It’s become his signature segment, and he even wrote a book with the same title.
Think about that. Because he disagrees with something a person has said, Olbermann marks him as the “Worst Person in the World.” The absurdity of this was highlighted after the Virginia Tech shootings. Olbermann named conservative bloggers John Derbyshire, Nathaniel Blake and Debbie Schlussel as his “winners.” Indeed, they had made offensive remarks and deserved criticism. But it should be obvious that a shooter is a far worse person than anyone who comments on the shootings.
It’s time to climb down off the ledge. As Mark Steyn wrote at National Review Online in March, “ultimately you cannot function in a free society if you think 50 percent of your neighbors are the enemy.”
Liberals and conservatives should disagree about policy, and we should passionately argue our positions and attempt to convince others we’re correct. But we should also ease off the harsh rhetoric, and recognize that, as Americans, we all need our country to succeed.
From now on I’ll aim to be polite, if strident. As the sign on the outhouse wall used to say, “You aim too, please.”