One of the most common complaints we’ve seen out of Democrats over the past few weeks is that Republicans are practicing “bothsidesism” — that is to say, bringing up the fact that both sides can and do engage in uncivil rhetoric.
Take, for instance, a tweet from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Sunday: “What we learned from today’s talk shows: bothsidesism is a fanatical cult, impervious to contrary evidence. Trump could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and the usual suspects would blame incivility while Meet the Press would feature someone who urged him to pull the trigger.”
Or The Times advertising a charming piece titled “Hate is on the Ballot Next Week”: “In America 2018, whataboutism is the last refuge of scoundrels, and bothsidesism is the last refuge of cowards.”
There’s something liberals in the media miss about the “bothsidesism” argument that they’re making, however — particularly in the aftermath of Saturday’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.
While it certainly takes two to tango, those on the right side of American politics are held accountable for crimes that literally had nothing to do with them. (The alleged Pittsburgh gunman is a Trump hater, but Trump is being blamed.)
A liberal, meanwhile, could probably shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue for their race or ethnicity and the media would seriously debate whether the victim was privileged.
I could give you a million different examples of this, but how the media reacted to an ill-advised “joke” made by Hillary Clinton this past weekend certainly isn’t the worst object lesson.
Clinton was speaking at an event with Recode’s Kara Swisher. During the Q&A portion, Swisher mixed up former Attorney General Eric Holder and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
“What do you think of Cory Booker … saying, ‘Kick them in the shins?'” Swisher asked her, referring to Holder’s remark that “when they go low, we kick ’em.”
“That was Eric Holder,” Clinton said. And then she decided to wade into racial stereotypes in a jokey manner: “I know they all look alike.”
This drew laughs from the crowd and congratulations from Swisher.
“No, they don’t,” she said, following that up with, “Oh, well done.”
Clinton and Swisher are both very white and very privileged, which means that — according to the new rules of the new American left — they shouldn’t be making a joke like that — or laughing at it. Positionality, after all.
But don’t tell that to the media. In spite of the fact that Hillary Clinton got insanely close to the presidency in 2016 and is a potential 2020 candidate, none of the legacy media outlets — The New York Times, NBC, CBS, Washington Post, that sort of thing — have picked it up thus far. As of early Tuesday morning, the only mainstream media outlet that seems to have reported on the story is The Hill, which ran a story that wryly noted Clinton had also used the event to say that “what’s often called political correctness is politeness.”
“It’s respecting the diversity that we have in our society,” she said. “The Democratic Party is a much more diverse political party, attracting people who are African-American, Latino, LGBT … And I don’t think it’s politically correct to say, we value that.”
Just not enough to not tote out the “they all look alike” line as a joke.
And it’s not as if the event itself had slipped under the radar. Several outfits reported on Clinton’s insistence during the event that she wasn’t planning on running in 2020, although she’d “like to be president.”
By the way, it’s not like Hillary Clinton doesn’t have some sort of history involving racial insensitivity. Among other things, let’s not forget her treatment of Barack Obama during the 2008 primary season, in which all sorts of anti-black innuendoes were pumped into politics by Hillary and her husband. At least in that case, the media was willing to cover it. Here, there’s nary a peep.
Let me be clear here: I’m not offended by what Clinton said, but rather by the media turning a blind eye to this. If any Republican had said something like this, there would be a hue and cry like you wouldn’t believe. In this case, silence.
And let’s not pretend this kind of silence doesn’t have consequences. No, this incident isn’t going to affect black Americans in any sort of discernible manner. Something that might be of more material import is the Democrats’ continued closeness to Louis Farrakhan, the viciously anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam whose rantings on the Jewish people were virtually indistinguishable from those of the alleged Pittsburgh shooter.
Still want to say this phenomenon isn’t inconsequential?
So, no, this isn’t “bothsidesism.” For that, one side would actually have to be held accountable for making impolitic remarks or cavorting with actual anti-Semites.
In this respect, the American left continues unfettered, totally emboldened by the fact that the media will never hold them accountable.
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