I watched the clip in Katie's post below with great interest. Sen. Kerry's bottom line on the media's treatment of the Tea Party is objectionable, of course, but it's also paradoxically refreshing. Devoted readers know that we've spilled our fair share of digital ink addressing the Left's newly-minted "terrorists!" talking point. Aside from the grievously inappropriate nature of this smear's actual content, we've argued that the Left's "new tone" cognitive dissonance is at least equally galling. To wit, many of those who are gluttenously feasting on the 'terrorist' meme today were prominent lieutenants in the post-Tucson civility crusade. After the Giffords shooting, it was, "shut up, conservatives -- your incendiary, demonizing rhetoric is getting people shot!" During the debt debate, it was, "shut up, conservatives -- you're terrorists!"
This juxtaposition exposes shameless hypocrisy, to be sure, but it also reveals a consistent, unifying aim: Shutting down debate. In each case, the barely disguised goal was to de-legitimize expressions of conservative thought, particularly in the eyes of the mainstream media. Many practitioners of this ideological sabotage couldn't care less that these two narratives are transparently irreconcilable. Consistency is not the point. The point is to inflict as much political damage as possible in the moment.
Which is why I must commend the long-faced senior Senator from Massachusetts in this narrow sense: At least he had the patrician decency to make his call for ideology-based media censorship explicit.
An addendum: Of course, the media must exert news judgment. Not every idea or point of view is worthy of equal (or, in some cases, any) time, which is why we don't get bogged down debating whether Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11, or if the Holocaust happened. What Kerry is advocating here, however, is the muzzling of mainstream views he happens to find unhelpful and exasperating. He wrongly instructs the media to ignore a growing grassroots movement that seeks to restrain and reverse the heretofore inexorable growth of government, control the exploding debt, and resist leviathan's impulse to extract ever higher sums of money from individuals, families and businesses through taxation. These goals align with those of our founding fathers. They're decidedly not -- as Kerry seems to think -- a dangerous manifestation of fringe nuttery, worthy of media black-out.