On Sunday, The New York Times announced that opinion editor James Bennet was resigning following outrage over his decision to print an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton supporting the use of troops to restore order if local cities and governments were unable to do so. Apparently the thought of ending the violence and destruction and killing was just too much for the liberal elite to tolerate.
The reputation the New York Times holds is belied by its lack of journalistic integrity and overtly partisan nature. Yes, Cotton’s op-ed was published, but Bennet was forced to apologize for it, in part due to the childish hissy fits of its staff over the paper daring to publish a legitimate contrary opinion. Bennet’s ultimate resignation merely confirmed that liberals see the New York Times as their paper, the paper that legitimizes their views — and no other views.
This isn’t legitimate outrage. This isn’t anger over a view followed by a debate about the issue. This was outrage over the expression of a viewpoint that didn’t align with liberal orthodoxy. Liberals see “law and order” as some sort of dog-whistle for racist policy, and any view not aligning with theirs is predictably deemed racist and not worthy of debate.
This is the current-day equivalent to book burning. It’s a ritualistic suppression of opposing views that seems fueled by leftists who feel too entitled to defend their opinion. Newt Gingrich wrote last year that “the spirit of fascistic book burning has entered the American system,” and what happened at the New York Times on Sunday proves he couldn’t have been more correct. The New York Times claims to value the diversity of thought, but once the outrage mob comes out calling a piece racist without any evidence or justification, they cave. It’s another form of book burning. There may not be piles of conservative books being set ablaze (probably because it isn’t environmentally friendly) but the core purpose, the suppression of the “wrong” ideas, is very much the same.
And trust me, the comparison to book burning is not hyperbole. I strongly believe that the liberals who decry fascism one minute would gladly burn books that present views that oppose their own, without even being aware of the irony. I’ve seen this first hand, as has-been actor Billy Baldwin has repeatedly told me he’d like to burn one of my books for daring to expose Obama.
Book burning is practically an instinct of the radical left when confronted with views they don’t agree with. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is currently under fire for simply pointing out the absurdity behind the phrase “people who menstruate.” Rowling may be a liberal, but even she is not immune from the outrage mob since she doesn’t fall in line on every issue. There are countless tweets from left-wing Twitter users talking about burning her books.
Like most conservatives, I get unjustly called a racist constantly. Writing books that are unflattering to Barack Obama probably makes me more of a target for such accusations, because not agreeing with Obama is inherently racist. Obviously. This belief has contributed not only to accusations against my character, but also the occasional death threat.
I can’t give exact numbers, but I’ve received more death threats and threats of physical violence than I ever have had requests for a calm, rational debate about Obama’s record, or any other issue conservatives and liberals love to disagree on. Liberal friends have gradually been unfriending me on Facebook for years, because they’ve been conditioned to believe that someone who thinks what I think and believes what I believe is no better than Hitler or the KKK.
Liberals don’t want to engage with conservatives. There’s no more debate or discussion, it’s just “if you don’t agree with me you’re a racist, Hitler-loving, KKK hood-wearing bigot.” The notion of believing in another person’s right to hold a different opinion has become outmoded, in favor of the belief that any opposing view must be silenced or suppressed.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis