The Spectacle Blog

‘The Angry Fringe’

By on 6.26.14 | 6:21AM

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Liberal bias in the media is so pervasive that partisan propaganda themes created by Democrats, for the purpose of electing Democrats and advancing their partisan agenda, take on a quasi-reality. Years ago, after seeing the umpteenth reiteration of a too-familiar theme, I remarked that the New York Times should create a standing headline -- "Republicans Divided" -- and run it as a regular column.

If more than 80 percent of journalists are Democrats, as evidence clearly demonstrates, then what the media report about politics (and everything else) must be viewed skeptically: Is this true? Are all the facts as described? Are there facts omitted from the story which, if they had been reported, would change my perception of the story? And, perhaps most importantly, are the elements of the story which are not purely factual -- beyond the clarity of Who, What, When and Where, entering the murky realm of Why and How -- of such a prejudicial nature as to fatally flaw the story?

Which brings us, alas, to Molly Ball of the Atlantic. I've been bumping into her on the campaign trail for years -- all those debates and such in 2011 and 2012 -- and three weeks ago in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she sat next to me at the press table at Chris McDaniel's victory party. As we all now know, McDaniel's victory fell short of a majority, thus requiring Tuesday's runoff, which he lost to the incumbent dinosaur Sen. Thad Cochran, a fossil remnant of the Nixonian epoch.

Molly Ball's post-mortem of that campaign begins thus:

Tuesday's Republican primaries were the Tea Party's last chance. And the Tea Party struck out.
In Mississippi, challenger Chris McDaniel failed to dethrone six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the second round of their hard-fought contest. In Oklahoma, Representative James Lankford won by a massive margin over conservative favorite T.W. Shannon. The Tea Party industrial complex -- groups like the Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks, figures like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz -- invested heavily in both races and came up short. Now both of these red states will almost assuredly send Republican senators to Washington who owe the national Tea Party nothing, and quite likely wish it ill.

So far, so good. Some of this may be tendentious, but it is true that Tuesday was a very disappointing day for the Tea Party. Read on a little further, however, and Molly takes it over the top:

The purpose of all this measuring of what faction has the most power at any given moment isn't empty point-scoring. It's about discovering whether the Republican Party has within it a silent majority intent on taking the party back from its more extreme elements, and potentially becoming a national party again, or whether the angry fringe is dominant. It's about whether the tone-deaf party elites have managed to find candidates the rank and file can stand, or whether the grassroots are determined to keep fighting anything the establishment tries to sell. It's about whether the policymakers the GOP sends to Washington in the future will be more Ted Cruzes or more Thad Cochrans.

Uh, "extreme elements . . . the angry fringe"?

Stipulate, for the sake of argument, that such people exist. But why is it that we only hear about fringe extremists in the context of the Republican Party? Do Democrats have no extreme elements and angry fringes? Democrat reporters like Molly Ball can never be bothered to notice the kooks, weirdos and radicals whose influence over the Democrat Party is arguably far greater (and more extreme) than the influence wielded in the GOP camp by FreedomWorks, et al.

Yet I am willing to wager that Molly Ball has never once applied the terms "extreme" or "fringe" to any contingent of the Democrat Party coalition. In liberal journalism, there are no "extreme" labor union leaders and no "fringe" abortion-rights activists. No matter how far off into Crazyland a leftist may wander, so long as he or she continues to support the Democrat Party, no liberal journalist will ever stigmatize them as angry extremists. It's only Republicans who get shoved through the plate-glass window, so to speak.

Here's a story assignment for Molly Ball: There will be a conference of radical feminists in London Aug. 30-31. Among the speakers is Janice Raymond, a Women's Studies professor at the University of Massachusetts who is the bête noire of transsexuals. The conference is "woman only" and, if Molly can prove that she does not have and never has had a penis, she could attend that conference and report on the "extreme elements" and "angry fringe" of the feminist movement -- some of whom are so extreme that even I agree with them (e.g., people with penises are not women).

The "fringe" stigma that liberal journalists reserve exclusively for conservatives is ultimately a partisan propaganda weapon, intended to depict the Republican Party as outside the "mainstream," the latter term defined as "whatever is acceptable to Democrats." But the mainstream is a moving target; Democrats have no real principles or fixed beliefs, and thus what was "mainstream" in 2008, when Barack Obama vowed his opposition to same-sex marriage, is now an extreme fringe view. The issue of whether people with penises are women appears to be undergoing a similar transformation, and the radical feminists are the only non-Republican who seem to have noticed or objected.

If the definition of "woman" is subject to revision as a matter of politics, then "fringe" and "extreme" are also words that have no permanent meaning -- as the gender theorists might say, they are socially constructed. But once you start tinkering around with language in this manner, you sooner or later arrive at the scene in Through the Looking Glass where Humpty Dumpty declares: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.” Arrogating to themselves the authority to define the meaning of words, liberal journalists deliberately marginalize Republican conservatives by calling them "extreme" or "fringe" or "radical," words that the same journalists never apply to Democrats.

Conservatives are branded "Extremely Extreme Extremists," as I said last year, in order to delegitimize them and silence their views. This way, Democrats win every argument, because the liberal media succeed in convincing the public (including many Republicans) that the only legitimate, responsible and "mainstream" Republicans are those who agree with Democrats.

Maybe Molly Ball believes her own rhetoric about the "angry fringe," and maybe she can convince others to believe it, too. But I'm not buying it, for the same reason I don't believe that people with penises are women: Because it isn't true.

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