A Highly Selective Outrage

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 09, 2008 12:16 PM
Nicholas Kristof is appalled -- appalled! -- at the alleged bigotry against Barack Obama, resulting not from Barack's race but from mistaken (as he takes pains to point out) notions that Obama is a Muslim (or even the Antichrist!).

The ostensible target of this chiding is evangelical Christians.  Back in 1993, Kristof let slip what he actually thinks of them.  Discussing the negative portrayal of evangelicals in the press, he opined, "In its approach to evangelicals, the national news media are generally reflective of the educated elite, particularly in the Northeast."  In other words, there are "educated elites" on the one hand, and then there are . . . evangelicals, on the other.   You know, the kind of people who believe that Barack Obama is . . . the Antichrist, and that Muslims are unfit for high office.

But if Kristof really does believe that there is a great mass of buck-toothed, unwashed, cousin-marrying, snake-charming evangelical religious bigots in this country requiring direction from him about religious tolerance, why is it so difficult to find any instance of his denouncing the anti-Mormon prejudice that damaged Mitt Romney's candidacy? 

He's plenty willing to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry (supposedly based on a mistaken notion about Barack Obama's faith), but not anti-Mormon animus (based on the actuality of Mitt Romney's faith).   He has lots to say about unsourced, alleged right-wing prejudice against Barack, but significantly less about the loud, public anti-Mormon bigotry of liberals like Jacob Weisberg and Lawrence O'Donnell.

Could it be that bigotry matters more when it's directed against a candidate Kristof supports -- and when it's supposedly being practiced by a group for whom he appears to have some measure of contempt?