Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
In the past week we were treated to some spectacular examples of progressive lunacy. Perhaps the manifest badness of the Democrats’ presidential hopeful, coming on top of the disastrous Obama reign, is inducing panic as the progressive claim to superior intelligence and righteousness is rapidly evaporating.
The despicable bias and journalistic incompetence of the Republican debate moderators embarrassed even other progressives, who usually make at least a half-hearted effort to tart up their prejudices in the alluring rhetoric of neutral objectivity. Nor could the moderators practice even basic journalism. Becky Quick brought up the hoary “women earn 77% of what men do,” a phony statistic debunked numerous times. And the _New York Times_’ John Harwood flat-out lied about the Tax Foundation’s analysis of Marco Rubio’s tax reform plan. Worse, Harwood already had to retract an earlier version of the same lie, but then lied about the retraction. Meanwhile, an hour before the debate,
Harwood’s boss the New York Times was asking people online “who made the most ridiculous comment in the Republican debate.” The Times apparently didn’t anticipate that the answer would be the moderators.
Particularly obvious of media bias and incompetence were the rank meanness of many of the questions, and the sneering air of unearned intellectual superiority one typically expects from a bus-stop autodidact. The great irony, of course, is that that all the moderators put together don’t have the intellectual heft or real-world savvy of most of the Republican candidates. In a one-on-one debate between one of them and any random mainstream media reporter or anchor, I’d put my money on the Republican. The debate showed yet again that the left is now the stupid party, its adherents’ minds stuffed with faded and worn bumper-sticker ideas that were already passé when Nehru jackets were popular.
And let’s not forget that the same week the progressives of CNBC were not even pretending to moderate fairly the Republican debate, the progressive media totally ignored one of the biggest gaffes of the campaign, Hillary Clinton’s assertion that the wait-times at VA hospitals, which have led to 50 veterans dying in Phoenix alone, have “not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.” Crickets and tumbleweeds were the media’s response to this outrageous blunder and Hillary’s subsequent refusal to apologize.
But what do we expect of “journalists” who yawned when the Secretary of State responded to questions about why four Americans in Benghazi were murdered on her watch by screeching, “What difference does it make?” Or when she continued to claim she didn’t lie when she repeatedly said three years ago that the attack resulted from a protest against an obscure video, even though she told her daughter and the Egyptians on the night of the killings that it was a terrorist attack? And how come after Hurricane Katrina George W. Bush was held responsible and viciously pilloried for the ineptness of FEMA, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, and the Democratic governor of Louisiana, but Hillary Clinton is not responsible for the “security contractors” who, while working for the State Department she was supposedly the head of, ignored 600 emails from Ambassador Chris Stevens begging for increased protection?
Petty meanness, rank stupidity, and glaring hypocrisy were on display elsewhere among the leftist media last week. On The View, a show featuring progressive women celebrities snarking on matters about which they have no competence, Carly Fiorina was said to have looked “demented,” her face a “Halloween mask” that could cause “nightmares.” So the same gang that attacked Donald Trump’s sexist mocking of Fiorina’s looks does the same thing to a woman with more combat tours in the sexist trenches than all five of the View cast put together. And a few of the View need to check their mirrors before they start making fun of other women’s looks.
But more important, where’s the loyalty to the great feminist sisterhood upon whose behalf the progressives are fighting back against the “war on women”? Those horses of hypocrisy left the barn way back when the feminist establishment and mainstream media savaged with gusto the victims of Bill Clinton’s sexual attacks. Today’s feminists still don’t care about real-life women as much as they care about protecting their lucrative ideology. As Carly Fiorina pointed out, it is women who have been hit hardest by Obama’s no-growth economic policies, but that doesn’t matter to the progressive feminists. They just keep peddling lies about an epidemic of well-off college girls getting “sexually assaulted,” and think that protecting the right of a woman to have a late-term abortion, and Planned Parenthood to sell the organs, is the direst challenge facing American women today.
Finally there was CNBC’s preposterous Melissa Harris-Perry, the college-educated half-white child of a college dean and a non-profit functionary. In other words, like our president, someone who is “black” only by dint of the racist one-drop rule, and who has more social capital and privilege not just than the 19 million white people officially living in poverty, but the millions of more who are barely scraping by in Obama’s crony-socialist economy. Her social advantages haven’t stopped Harris-Perry from pontificating about the injustices inflicted on black people with whom she has little in common. Like many other well-off blacks who serially play the race card, she apparently views the dysfunctional lives of poor blacks as some sort of bank account of misery on which she can draw at will to buy compensation for her own privilege.
In other words, a member in good standing of the racial grievance industry, one of the scolds who patrol our public discourse to unmask the “microagressions” and “dog whistles” of inveterate white racism. Her latest discovery of hidden racism, however, surely must set a record for rank stupidity. Last week on her show, she chided a Latino guest and advised him to be “super careful” using “hard worker” to describe Republican Paul Ryan. Can’t figure out the microagression? Let Harris-Perry, a Presidential Chair Professor of Politics and International affairs at Wake Forest University, explain: “I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like.” A Republican can be a hard worker only in the “context of relative privilege,” whatever that means. She threw in “moms who don’t have health care who are working” to score a microagression double.
So the only genuine hard work in all of American history has been done by slaves picking cotton and women without health care? Only someone embalmed in the ideological amber of the identity-politics university could say something so out of touch with the reality of most Americans’ lives. Kentucky coal miners engaged in the most deadly job in America, family farmers, long-haul truck-drivers, or small businessmen working 10-12 hours a day aren’t genuine “hard workers” because presumably they’ve been “relatively privileged” somehow.
This ridiculous statement is the reductio ad absurdum one would expect from a dishonest and empirically false notion like “white privilege.” But for truly privileged “blacks” like Harris-Perry, this racist idea is necessary for camouflaging the fact that they are some of the richest, healthiest, freest human beings of any color in the whole history of the planet. But with “white privilege,” they can masquerade as victims of racism, and thus leverage institutions run by stupid white people into bestowing on them lucrative careers as contributors to “diversity.”
Meanwhile, the whole history of people like my grandfather, who in 1906 came from southern Italy––an illiterate peasant, as some official at Ellis Island designated him–– with 8 bucks in his pocket; or my old man, who left West Texas at 15, rode freight trains, did hard physical work in the CCC until the war, and then stood on his feet for 30 years cutting hair for a few bucks a head and raising cattle on his time off––the history of all those white people whose parents weren’t affluent like Harris-Perry’s or credentialed with college degrees, who had no capital other than their wit and character and strong backs, doesn’t exist in the warped moral world of race-hacks like Harris-Perry.
This week of progressive lunacy may not be surprising, but it does raise the question of how long the mass of sensible, fair-minded Americans of all colors finally get sick of the arrogance, self-righteousness, and rank hypocrisy of privileged elites pontificating to everybody else. Let’s hope November 8, 2016 gives us the answer.