It's time for the Left (and that includes the "mainstream" media) to take what Alcoholics Anonymous members call a "moral inventory." However, since holding itself accountable is not one of the Left's strong points, if we wait around expecting them to undertake a moral inventory on their own, we could wait more years than most of us have left to live on this earth.
So let's help them out a bit, shall we? Here are four self-inventories the Left should be taking:
I. Their double standard on withholding judgment in the wake of a violent attack.
There has been a "double standard" in the "mainstream" news media for years, and an inventory of all the examples in the last couple of years alone would fill a book. To keep things manageable -- and focused on what the media revealed about themselves just this past weekend -- let's inventory, as the Washington Examiner did, the parallel (and opposite) media reaction to another horrible shooting, the one at Fort Hood fourteen months ago:
On November 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at a troop readiness center in Ft. Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. Within hours of the killings, the world knew that Hasan reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before he began shooting, visited websites associated with Islamist violence, wrote Internet postings justifying Muslim suicide bombings, considered U.S. forces his enemy, opposed American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Islam, and told a neighbor shortly before the shootings that he was going "to do good work for God." There was ample evidence, in other words, that the Ft. Hood attack was an act of Islamist violence.
Nevertheless, public officials, journalists, and commentators were quick to caution that the public should not "jump to conclusions" about Hasan's motive. CNN, in particular, became a forum for repeated warnings that the subject should be discussed with particular care.
"The important thing is for everyone not to jump to conclusions," said retired Gen. Wesley Clark on CNN the night of the shootings.
"We cannot jump to conclusions," said CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell that same evening. "We have to make sure that we do not jump to any conclusions whatsoever."
"I'm on Pentagon chat room," said former CIA operative Robert Baer on CNN, also the night of the shooting. "Right now, there's messages going back and forth, saying do not jump to the conclusion this had anything to do with Islam."
The next day, President Obama underscored the rapidly-forming conventional wisdom when he told the country, "I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts." In the days that followed, CNN jouralists and guests repeatedly echoed the president's remarks.
"We can't jump to conclusions," Army Gen. George Casey said on CNN November 8. The next day, political analyst Mark Halperin urged a "transparent" investigation into the shootings "so the American people don't jump to conclusions." And when Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that the Ft. Hood attack was terrorism, CNN's John Roberts was quick to intervene. "Now, President Obama has asked people to be very cautious here and to not jump to conclusions," Roberts said to Hoekstra. "By saying that you believe this is an act of terror, are you jumping to a conclusion?"
Fast forward a little more than a year, to January 8, 2011. In Tucson, Arizona, a 22 year-old man named Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a political event, gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing a federal judge and five others, and wounding 18. In the hours after the attack, little was known about Loughner beyond some bizarre and largely incomprehensible YouTube postings that, if anything, suggested he was mentally ill. Yet the network that had shown such caution in discussing the Ft. Hood shootings openly discussed the possibility that Loughner was inspired to violence by…Sarah Palin. Although there is no evidence that Loughner was in any way influenced by Palin, CNN was filled with speculation about the former Alaska governor.
Which brings us to...
II. The Left's automatically blaming those to the right of center politically for crimes that we soon find out were actually committed by Leftists or Islamists.
Unfortunately, this "blame-conservatives-now, find-out-facts-later" tactic has become a pattern in the leftist (formerly, "mainstream") media, as Legal Insurrection makes clear:
Based on what we know now, the attempt to blame Palin and opponents of Obama for the shooting is every bit as delusional as Loughner's attempt to blame government mind control.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have seen this type of reaction. The meme that opponents of Obama are crazy and dangerous has been an explicit Democratic Party campaign strategy for over two years. Here is just a partial list of events in which the left-wing and Democratic Party media operation has immediately blamed right-wing rhetoric, only to be proven wrong when the facts finally came out:
The Cabbie Stabbing, and
Jared Lee Loughner may turn out to be the latest addition to that list. From what we know so far, he mainly appears to be a very mentally disturbed individual, perhaps a paranoid schizophrenic. But it also appears that politically, he is, if anything, a sympathizer to the Left, not to the Right.
Yet we do not hear any conservative commentators blaming Loughner's obsessions on leftist rhetoric. Conservatives tend to believe in individual responsibility, so we're not comfortable with all this blame-assigning in the first place. If we were, there's certainly no shortage of violent rhetoric on the left, even explicit calls to violence, which brings us to...
III. The Left's own violent rhetoric, particularly the provocative language from the President himself.
Leftist outlet MSNBC -- which this weekend was quick to blame a whole slew of conservatives, by name, for the massacre -- only two months ago, on November 8, gave a platform to Ted Rall, author of Anti-American Manifesto, who sat right there on national television and advocated a violent revolution by the Left.
Well, what do we expect when the President of the United States is a man whose political mentor and sponsor is unrepentant former terrorist Bill Ayers?
Ah, yes, who could forget these pacific, conciliatory, harmony-building utterances from our Uniter-in-Chief?
A Republican victory in Congress would mean "hand-to-hand combat."
"If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're going to punish our enemies....'"
"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
"We talk to these folks... so I know whose ass to kick."
"I want you to argue with them and get in their face."
"I'm itching for a fight."
"I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I'm angry."
Those are all direct quotations from the President of the United States. Great example he sets, isn't it, of that "civility" he likes to lecture us about when it suits him.
Worse, on the left, it's not just their rhetoric that's violent, they also hold a near-monopoly on actual incidents of politically-motivated violence....
IV. Outright physical violence by the Left against their political opponents
Consider this long list, compiled by Uncoverage, of violent attacks by leftists on people they disagree with.
*It was a liberal who bit the finger off a man who disagreed with him on health care.
*How about when the North Carolina Republican headquarters was torched and ransacked?
*How about when the Bush-Cheney HQ was riddled with bullets?
*It was Obama-loving Amy Bishop who took a gun to work and murdered co-workers.
*It was liberals who destroyed AM radio towers outside of Seattle.
*It's liberals who burn down Hummer dealerships.
*It was progressive SEIU union thugs who beat a black conservative man who spoke his mind.
*It’s doubtful that a conservative fired shots into a GOP campaign headquarters.
*Don’t forget, it was Obama’s friend Bill Ayers who used terrorism as a tool for political change. SDS is still radical, with arrests in 2007 and the storming of the CATO Institute in July 2008.
*It was a liberal who was sentenced to two years for bringing bombs and riot shields to the Republican National Convention in 2008.
*It was a liberal who threatened to kill a government informant who infiltrated her Austin-based group that planned to bomb the Republican National Convention.
*It was liberals who assaulted police in Berkeley.
*It was liberals who intimidated and threw rocks through the windows of researchers.
*The two Black Panthers who stood outside polls intimidating people with nightsticks were probably not right-wingers.
*Every time the G20 gets together, it's not conservatives who destroy property and cause chaos.
*CNN Bobblehead Rick Sanchez tweets: ”are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?”
*Democratic National Committee crowd attacks Fox News crew.
*Huffington Post blog organized protest groups to take stalking bus tours of AIG executives’ homes.
*Check out the “ZombieTime Hall of Shame” for some of the most shocking images of leftist, anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-whatever liberal rallies and protests in San Francisco.
The Left does not even begin to see their own hypocrisy, much less the disproportionate share of political violence within their ranks.
Or maybe they do see it, and think nothing of lying about it.
Or maybe they just don't care all that much about violence (when it comes from their own side). Breaking a few eggs to make omelets, you know.
As Dostoevsky prophetically wrote, foreseeing the political horrors of the twentieth century, "If there is no God, everything is permitted."
Cross-post (in slightly different form) at West to the West Wing 2012