Can the MSM be Sued for Whiplash?
In September of 2009, Victor Davis Hanson neatly summed the MSM's reaction to the rise -- as Reuters would say, unexpectedly! -- of the Tea Parties. Part of what made the left even more furious than usual was that conservatives suddenly discovered the art of out-of-doors political activities, to which "progressives" long thought they had monopoly rights:
The Left is now furious that, as the new establishment, the rules of discourse are not more polite. But from 2002-8, they (Who are “they”? Try everyone from Al Gore to John Glen to Robert Byrd to Sen. Durbin), employed every Nazi/brown shirt slur they could conjure up. NPR’s folksy old Garrison Keiler was indistinguishable from mean-spirited Michael Moore in that regard.
The New York Times gave a discount for a disgusting “General Betray Us” ad. The Democratic Party head Howard Dean flatly said he “hated” Republicans. Hilary Clinton all but called Gen. Petraeus a liar in a congressional hearing. The New Republic ran an essay on hating George Bush (not opposing, not disliking, but “hating” the President). Alfred Knopf published a novel about killing Bush. A Guardian op-ed dreamed of Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth coming back to kill Bush. And on and on.
No one objected. A Dan Rather said nothing—but tried to pass off forged documents to alter the election. A Bill Moyers piled on. There was no voice of “Now, wait a minute, this is going too far.” Did the Left assume that they were going to be perpetually bomb-tossers, forever on the outside of Karl Rove’s ballyhooed three-decades of Republican supremacy to come?
What Comes Around, Goes…
And then something strange and quite unexpected happened. The Democrats nominated a charismatic African-American, won the presidency, after obtaining large majorities in Congress, and suddenly became the Establishment, demanding respect for the Commander in Chief in direct proportion to their efforts to deny respect to his predecessor. Then just as suddenly two tropes appeared after January 20th of this year:
One—cannot we all get along? We deplore this resort to barbarism and crudity.
Two—if you dare sound off like we just did, then you are now a racist.
But having spent the last two years finding every kook fringe protester at a conservative protest (even if they were leftwing nutters who had nothing to do with the Tea Party), and imagining themselves to have a Bletchley Park-like ability to discern racism and Godwin's Law violations at every turn, the MSM now has to cover protests on the left.