Journalists Trying to be Charming . . .

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 21, 2010

. . . and failing:

If you were in the presence of a man having a heart attack, how would you respond? As he clutched his chest in desperation and pain, would you call 911? Would you try to save him from dying? Of course you would.

But if that man was Rush Limbaugh, and you were Sarah Spitz, a producer for National Public Radio (update: Spitz was a producer for NPR affiliate KCRW for the show Left, Right & Center), that isn’t what you’d do at all.

In a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, Spitz wrote that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.

In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.”

Elsewhere in the story, we see analogies to conservatives and Nazis (surprise!), casual allegations of racism (the kind that Jonah Goldberg has properly inveighed against), and arguments that the federal government should shut down Fox News (this from the same people who think that the other guys are racists). Those who wonder why people like me think that there is a distinct ideological bias in the mainstream media that favors the port-side need wonder no more. Does anyone really think, after all, that the people quoted in the Daily Caller story are able to keep their biases out of their reporting?

Note that one of the censors in question writes for a blog that claims to be “reality-based.” I am sorry that Jonathan Zasloff is receiving hate mail, and I deplore those who send it. But to claim that the conversations and Walter Mitty fantasies about shutting down Fox News are just conversations around some kind of cyber “water cooler” is a bit rich. The people having these conversations have power and influence. Sure, some of them are relatively un-influential sometime bloggers like Zasloff, but many of them are famous journalists with a great deal of ability to shape public thinking. No one should be surprised in the least when in the aftermath of their messages comparing their political opponents to racists and Nazis, and wanting to shut down news organizations that they don’t like, a backlash develops. That doesn’t excuse insult-flingers. But it should justify the words and actions of responsible advocates who argue against this kind of hate masquerading as responsible journalism/political activism. Oh, and if a group of prominent conservative pundits and opinion-makers started sending around e-mails talking about shutting down MSNBC, and the New York Times, does anyone think that people like Jonathan Zasloff would wave the whole thing off as conversation around a “water cooler”? Come on.

More here. Bear in mind that in the flush of electoral victory in 2008, people like Spencer Ackerman think about initiating acts of violence against those with whom they disagree. Again, these people think the other side is populated by fascists.

In the meantime, Ezra Klein tries to furiously wave his hands, and wish the whole thing away. Good luck with that.

  • Pingback: KURT

  • Joe Blowder

    And they're all JEWS

  • Pejman_Yousefzadeh

    I'm curious. What do you think their being Jewish signifies? And just FYI: I'm Jewish too.

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