Abby Halage at The Daily Beast has a look at how it became acceptable within the media to taunt New Jersey Governor Christie as a fatso.
The trend pioneered by MSNBC talking heads went mainstream as the Los Angeles Times ran an article with the title, “Chris Christie, the Republican Heavyweight, is Really Heavy.”
The New York Times republished a gallery of tweets mocking Christie’s weight. The New York Post used “Fat Chance” as its front page piece on Christie, which just goes to show you that there is no longer any difference in standards between the New York Times and the New York Post.
“If that’s what people are fascinated with, that’s fine. I’m overweight,” Christie responded. But it’s not the weight that fascinates the media, it’s the growing pettiness of a press corp looking for an angle of attack in their game of character assassination.
Anyone on the opposite side can expect the same treatment in the same petty form. It was just as inevitable that MSNBC talking heads would mock Clint Eastwood as senile, even before he spoke, as that they would mock Christie for being overweight. It would not have mattered what Clint Eastwood would have said or done, the joke would have been the same.
Epithets like “doddering”, “stogy” and “senile” are tools for dismissing Clint Eastwood, without addressing what he had to say. The purpose of character assassination is to keep people from dealing with ideas by destroying the speaker. Al Gore’s Current TV took the attacks to a new low, calling Eastwood a “senile bigot”
Clint Eastwood had spent enough time in Hollywood to know that this would be coming his way. It was likely he had avoided political participation before. But in his eighties with a successful career at his back and a critical election on the horizon, he did the patriotic thing by coming forward and speaking out.
These types of character assassinations have characterized the progressive response to the Republican National Convention. Whether it was Gawker running a photoshopped picture of Condoleezza Rice with lipstick on her teeth, Juan Williams sneering at Ann Romney as a corporate wife, the LA Times mocking Christie’s weight or Rachel Maddow ridiculing Clint Eastwood as senile… the left wanted to do everything but have a debate about ideas. And so they traded character for character assassination.