Politics at the fringes

POLITICS AT THE FRINGES…. The Washington Post‘s Gene Weingarten raises a good point. (via DougJ)

The murder of an abortion doctor and of a Holocaust Museum guard has predictably led to a left-wing media harangue against the right-wing media, whom the lefties blame for whipping up hate and violence.

As a lefty, I think they are right. (I mean, I think they are “correct.” The terminology gets confusing.) The point is, there are consequences to words, and people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly and Michael Savage need to answer for theirs. But mostly, I have a question: Why does no one ever accuse the LEFTY media of whipping up hate speech and violence? How would that even work, anyway?

“A rabid follower of Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson shot up the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday to protest delays in implementing protections against global warming…”

I’ve been pondering the same thing this week. After Jim David Adkisson started shooting people at a Unitarian church last fall, police found books from Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly at the killer’s home. We don’t usually hear about lunatic killers who have Paul Krugman or Bill Moyers best-sellers on their coffee tables.

This is not to say there aren’t dangerous left-wing radicals. I know with some certainty they exist because I read the report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security about them. There are, for example, extremists in the environmental movement who might set fire to a Hummer dealership, and extremists in the animal-rights movement who might bomb a research facility.

But to Weingarten’s point, no one thinks to associate these radicals with the more liberal voices in the national media. And it would certainly seem odd to argue that prominent progressive voices in media might contribute to violence.

There are no doubt a whole lot of factors that contribute to this larger dynamic, but at first blush, I’m going to go with the obvious explanation: no one accuses “lefty media” of “whipping up hate speech and violence” because the “lefty media” avoids “whipping up hate speech and violence.” When Glenn Beck tells his followers that elected U.S. leaders are reminiscent of Nazis, and if left unchecked, will impose a fascist dictatorship on all of us, it might lead a small handful of people in his audience to consider taking matters into their own hands. We’ve simply never heard this kind of talk from, say, Ed Schultz.