distorting and evading reality

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Amanda Marcotte's observation that conservatives love dead progressives and radicals uses misrepresentations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King to make her point:

Conservatives love a dead progressive hero, because they can claim that person as one of their own without any bother about the person fighting back. In some cases, the right has tried to weaponize these dead progressives, claiming that they would simply be appalled at how far the still-breathing have supposedly gone off the rails and become too radical. The Kings are just two prominent victims of this rhetorical gambit.

Marcotts cites National Review and Sean Spicer; I found a few others here, here, and here. Similarly, Peter Beinart sees the anti-anti-Trump Right as another conservative element that is allergic to facts. "At one extreme sit those conservatives who championed Trump during the campaign, and still do: Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, among others:"

At the other extreme sit conservatives like my Atlantic colleague David Frum, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies Professor Eliot Cohen and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who warned against Trump during the campaign, and believe he is now vindicating their fears.

For them, conservatism is about prudence, inherited wisdom, and a government that first does no harm; they see none of those virtues in Trump. They see themselves as the inheritors of a rich conservative intellectual tradition; Trump's ignorance embarrasses them. And they believe America should stand for ideals that transcend race, religion and geography; they fear white Christian identity politics in their bones. They are, to my mind, highly admirable. But they don't have much of a base. They can denounce Trump because they work for institutions that don't primarily cater to his supporters.

"National Review," Beinart continues, "has developed a technique that could be called anti-anti-Trump. It goes like this:"

Step number one: Accuse Trump's opponents of hyperbole.

Step number two: Briefly acknowledge Trump's flaws while insisting they're being massively exaggerated.

Then the rhetorical sleight-of-hand comes into play:

Sure, Trump may have botched something, they acknowledge hurriedly, before turning to what really matters: The left's overwrought response. In this way, National Review minimizes Trump's misdeeds without appearing to defend them.

"It's not deranged to worry that Trump may undermine liberal democracy," Beinart concludes, "It's deranged to think that leftist hyperbole constitutes the greater threat:"

Unfortunately, that form of Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at National Review. And it helps explain why Republicans across Washington are enabling Trump's assault on the institutions designed to restrain his power and uphold the rule of law.

It is inconvenient for National Review that the individual in government who now most threatens the principles it holds dear is not a liberal, but a president that most conservatives support. But evading that reality doesn't make it any less true.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 13, 2017 12:33 PM.

messaging, mendacity, and media was the previous entry in this blog.

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