Et tu, David French?
Last week, CNN threw together an arena of grieving and outraged families who had either lost a child or lost a classmate in a massacre by a young man wielding a rifle. Let’s pause for a moment and consider the disgusting amorality of exploiting people in this shocked and horrified state. Sure, the people consented to being used, but make no mistake, they were being used. The whole scene was akin to throwing criminals into the midst of starving lions to be ripped apart for sport. To CNN, a spokeswoman for the NRA and a Republican Senator are criminals, inherently evil, and deserve whatever condemnation came their way.
CNN on politics: Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
National Review‘s David French rightly notes that Senator Rubio and Dana Loesch were slandered as murderers and that pro-self-defense viewers were also slandered. But then French indicts the Right nonetheless:
While I don’t live in New York and D.C., I do interact with quite a few members of the mainstream media — from cable hosts to producers to print reporters — and I can assure you that this sentiment is every bit as slanderous to their characters as the claim that gun-rights supporters “don’t care” when kids are gunned down in schools.
The sentiment he’s referring to is a quote by an NRA spokesperson:
The mainstream media love mass shootings. I’m going to say it again; the mainstream media love mass shootings…and you, the #MSM, just put out the casting call for the next mass shooter.” [Emphasis added]
What? The CNN spectacle was Exhibit “A” in exploiting a mass shooting for ratings. It was disgusting and there is plenty of evidence, both anecdotal and scientifically supported, that the copycat phenomenon is real and that promoting violent acts like suicides and mass killings encourages other unstable people to imitate the behavior.
Then French attributes words that weren’t said to the NRA. The NRA spokesperson’s statement did not say that news people “‘don’t care’ when kids are gunned down in schools.” He said that they “love mass shootings.” And, they do. Networks enjoy the ratings boost from tragedy. No doubt, these same people hate that children died. All decent people hate that children died. But to say that they don’t love how mass shootings boost ratings is to ignore how the news media works. It also ignores the microphones in the faces of grieving parents faces or the town hall that is the subject of this piece.
News media members who truly want to make a difference would not host a town hall. They would not shove cameras into the faces of grieving families. They would not be drawing attention to the shooter, repeatedly.
But this whole argument is false anyway. The conclusion by French is that both the left and the right have voters “consumed with hate.” That is not yet true. As the Right becomes less Christian and more secular, and elections take on life and death emotions because all that matters is who is President and not that there is a God above all, America as she is now, is over. Might will make right and the Left will not enjoy how that turns out. It is only the restraint on the Right, both rhetorical and physical, that has not caused a new revolution. (I’ve written more about this here.)
Center-right and even blue collar Democrat (now Trump) voters have not returned hate for hate. On the first day that Barack Obama was inaugurated, there were not masses of Republican extremists setting things on fire in Washington, D.C., Republicans didn’t spit on inaugural ball attendees, Republicans haven’t shot up elected Democrats on baseball fields or blind-sided their Democrat neighbors. The ostensible “gun-loving” Republicans do not have a violence problem. They don’t have a rhetoric problem.
For too long, they had the problem that they didn’t realize that their political opposition hated them. It took eight years of being the butt of every one of President Obama’s unsubtle digs, of Nuns being sued, of the IRS persecuting political activists, of various government agencies harassing conservative businesses, for the average Republican to realize that if this keeps up, life will exist only in private, the public sphere will be off-limits, and freedoms will be completely lost. America will be lost.
Republican news organizations (hint, there isn’t one, as Republicans don’t have an NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, etc. and even Fox is balanced and their news arm left-leaning), haven’t rounded up a group of infuriated pro-gun grieving parents and then put Sheriff Israel in the middle of a jeering mob to defend himself and he actually deserves this treatment. He had the authority and the responsibility to intervene during the massacre and he failed. As some have pointed out, the equivalence to this spectacle would have been putting Cecile Richards and Catholic Nancy Pelosi in the middle of a bunch of pro-life activists and calling the representatives murderers or murderer-lovers. But two things wouldn’t happen: they wouldn’t be called names and they wouldn’t be jeered because abortion activists are overwhelmingly peaceful, Christian people who want to save lives and change hearts.
What is slanderous in this instance is to make an equivalence between left and right. There is a different spirit at work on the Left and it was on shocking display at the CNN colosseum.
French is right that there’s a city-mouse, country-mouse cultural divide. But that divide has always been there. What’s new is that the Left doesn’t believe the country mice should have the right to speak, or exist. Is it any wonder that conservatives cling to their guns? It may be the only thing they’ll have to defend themselves when the ignorant mob isn’t sated with just calling out the words, “Murderer!” and turns to actual murder.