The latest member of the liberal media whose delicate sensibilities are threatened by anti-Bush anger is Ellen Goodman of The Boston Globe. No fan of Bush, she went to see Fahrenheit 9/11; she thinks it was OK in parts, but the audience! They were ... they were ... they were rooting for it! The animal savagery! And the movie has cheap shots! How will the Republic survive?
The simple fact that George Bush the First called Moore a "slimeball" makes me itch to call him a "genius." But that's the problem. If the right is after him, does the choir have to sing the filmmaker's praises as our own cuddly and amusing pit bull?...
In the election between Bush and Anybody But Bush, reason and civility are now designated for wimps. But what happens to the country when the left only meets the right at the American jugular?
The name of Moore's production company, you may recall, is Dog Eat Dog.
Yup -- and the production company of Limbaugh, Coulter, et al., is Unprovoked Dog Attack.
OK, I made that up. But remember? The Clintons killed Vincent Foster! Hillary wants to abolish capitalism because she's been an avowed Socialist since Wellesley! Say what you will about Michael Moore's rhetoric, but at least the war he's angry about is actually taking place.
I suspect that part of the problem with Goodman, Nicholas Kristof, and others is that they still really don't know what right-wing vitriol looks and sounds like -- they weren't paying attention to it during Limbaugh's rise, they weren't paying attention to it as the attack machine expanded in the '90s, and they're not paying attention to it now. Now, I'm sure if we were playing The $100,000 Pyramid, Goodman or Kristof could summon up a few decade-old factoids and get a partner to guess "Rush Limbaugh" ("He's fat, he's on the radio, he calls women 'feminazis'..."), but when was the last time either of them listened to an hour of Rush? Can either of them name three other right-wing radio talkers? Has either of them ever sampled the fare at Free Republic, Lucianne.com, World Net Daily, or Townhall.com?
Has either of them ever read an Ann Coulter book from beginning to end? How about an Ann Coulter column? What about books from Coulter's former publisher, Regnery -- y'know, the place famous for subtitles like How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America; How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror; How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity; and How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security. Ellen? Nick? Ever dip into a Regnery book? Ever write about one? Many of them were big bestsellers. They inform the debate. They influence votes. And the presses didn't stop turning with the Restoration on January 20, 2001.
I know what the response of Goodman and Kristof would be: Oh, all the political rage is icky, and, with the right-wing stuff, if we just put our fingers in our ears and sing "LA LA LA LA LA LA!" really loud it'll all go away. Except that this was the mainstream media's tactic throughout the '90s, and guess what? It didn't work. It still isn't working.
Ellen? Nick? I agree with you -- I wish our political discourse were on a higher plane. But we know that ignoring right-wing vitriol didn't make it disappear, and you insist that fighting fire with fire is Just Not Done. So -- got any other suggestions? I know the man-bites-dog conventions of journalism dictate that you should only write about anger when it comes from the peace-'n'-love side, but do you think maybe you could make an exception once in a while, and write about the longstanding, ongoing inchoate rage of the right?