To echo the sentiment of Frank Rich and Joan Walsh, you would think that liberals would know better by now than to feed into the Right’s feigned sense of victimhood.
After all, this is a continuous, pathetic game of gotcha played by the Right every time they are called out for their heinous, bigoted stances on social issues and matters of policy: an MSNBC staff member says something that exposes the Right as the racist, morally bankrupt group of people they truly are. Almost immediately, some conservative group or icon shows outrage, and social media erupts into the scene of a riot. The network is then pressured into an apology and/or firing, and so is the equilibrium enforced until the next sacrificial lamb on MSNBC’s payroll dares speak out of turn.
The latest example of this perverted exercise came in the form of Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, in which he sent a letter to MSNBC President Phil Griffin that declared his banning of all RNC staff from speaking to the network unless Griffin “personally and publicly apologized” for a staff member’s tweet that read, “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww…”, referring to the new Cheerios ad that will run during the Super Bowl.
And in the manner that felled the careers of Joe Williams and Martin Bashir, and imperiled Melissa Harris-Perry’s reign as this nation’s “foremost public intellectual”, the offending tweet was taken down, the person who wrote the tweet fired, and the cycle begins anew as Priebus gloats about his placing MSNBC “on probation.”
Congratulations on yet another fine job of falling for it once again, MSNBC.
Frank Rich wrote this in New York magazine, explaining how this exercise was on display during Fox News’ official declaration that Santa Claus–yes, the fictional character parents around the country create to bullshit their children into being good every year–was white:
This seasonal stunt has long been old news, yet many in the liberal media still can’t resist the bait. You had to feel for the NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, who was drafted into filing a Kelly-Santa story on the Today show for no discernible reason other than that she is not white.
When this supposed “national firestorm” (as Al Sharpton inflated it on his MSNBC show) finally died down, only two things had been accomplished beyond the waste of everyone’s time. Liberals had played right into Fox’s stereotype of them—as killjoy p.c. police. And Fox News could once again brag about its power to set an agenda for its adversaries even as it also played the woebegone victim.
The fact that conservatives have a documented history of infusing racism in their policies is well-known. From voter suppression in places like North Carolina and Texas to the coming fight over immigration reform (which even Republicans are admitting to now, according to BuzzFeed’s John Stanton), it would be disingenuous to not call their character into question. Fox News, the quintessential “safe space” for fact-less, angry Right-wing rhetoric, has played host to people that have said some of the most horrific and disrespectful bile against this President and others. Guess what? They’ll never apologize.
Enough of the games, liberals. Enough of the esoteric warring on issues that are generally agreed upon. Enough of trying to act as though we have to remain “above the fray” for the sake of civil political discourse. Take it from a former conservative: These people have absolutely no interest in maintaining anything remotely close to decorum, civil discourse, or a functioning democracy. These people are only about power and its accrual by any means necessary, while making regular people in search of basic human decency from these clowns feel guilty for declaring them the racist, anarchic, greed-positive political entity they truly are.
By apologizing for what we believe, we demonstrate once again how truly weak and ineffectual we truly are as a movement. It is beyond time for us as liberals to stop apologizing for the damage done by the bombs the Right throws at us, and start throwing some back.
Hey, we might actually win something for a change…