Thursday, November 24, 2005

Right-wing media vs. left-wing media: two sides of the same coin?

The right-wing media in the U.S., and particularly the right-wing blogging media, have certainly gotten a lot of traction from recent missteps and misdoings by the mainstream media, including but certainly not limited to Rathergate. Other recent examples include the Zombie Condi affair and CNN's X debacle.

I've wondered whether the right-wingers would be as critical of one of their own if the shoe was on the other foot. In other words, if a right-wing media outlet fabricated evidence, would the right-wingers jump on him or her as quickly as they jumped on Dan Rather and Mary Mapes?

I think I have my answer. The Political Teen recently posted a video which appeared to be a straight feed from CNN showing an "X" over Cheney's face. There is evidence, however, that the video presented by The Political Teen was a fabrication rather than being actual video from CNN. There is no dispute as to whether an "X" did, in fact, appear over Cheney's face on CNN. Nevertheless, right-wing bloggers have hammered home the principle that "fake, but accurate" isn't a defense to fabrication of evidence. Accordingly, I'm encouraged to see that the right-wing bloggers are willing to turn on their own over principle.

I hope that the right-wing's tradition of "political fratricide" continues. I believe that the American left is weakened by its unwillingness to criticize its own (Howard Dean and Jesse Jackson being notable examples of left-wing albatrosses). I believe the American right is strengthened by its readiness to jettison its own members when they become political liabilities (Gingrich, Livingston and Lott being notable examples of potential GOP albatrosses).

While the left routinely elevates its wackos to positions of leadership, the right is generally ready and willing to throw its "boat anchors" to the sharks. As a counter-example, the GOP's been unwilling to cut Tom DeLay loose, and I think they've paid a political price for it. In reality, the facts underlying a political attack are only important to the extent that they're used to defend against the attack in the court of public opinion. Once the public has handed down its verdict, the facts no longer matter. It's a harsh reality, but true.


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