Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan has proven herself to not only be a liberal media cheerleader, but a pathetic partisan hack. Her column for Wednesday’s newspaper showed that as she sought to build a protective wall around the anti-gun, far-left Parkland students despite their fact-free, vile rhetoric.
Just like her friends at the CNN Media team, she used conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and Gateway Pundit and a serious mistake (since corrected) by RedState as cudgels against legitimate, policy-based criticism of the students.
Sullivan spent much of her column targeting conservative talk radio host and The Resurgent founder Erick Erickson, using a September 2017 New York Times column he penned about common ground to make the absurd claim that he’s “one of many who hasn’t done a great job of taking that advice” since the February 14 shooting.
Why? Because, first off, he wrote a piece calling David Hogg “A High School Bully” with his far-left views and taunts leveled on TV and Twitter.
“He didn’t mean Hogg was looting the lockers of his schoolmates, but, as the sub-headline claimed, ‘He is using his status as victim to inappropriately and ridiculously attack people while going unchallenged,’” Sullivan complained.
Sullivan explained Erickson’s mistake of sharing a RedState article that wondered whether Hogg was actually at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the shooting. Erickson deleted his post and issued an “update,” but didn’t offer a formal apology (even though RedState writer Sarah Rumpf did).
How are the two related? One was a falsehood and the other pushed back at Hogg’s behavior, such as referring to the NRA as “child murderers” and “pathetic f***ers.”
Nonetheless, she continued:
Erickson stands by his harsh criticism of Hogg and others.
“I do think David Hogg has been a bully,” he told me, particularly in claiming that the National Rifle Association’s leadership has “blood splattered all over their faces” and in criticizing in strong language the NRA’s spokeswoman, “my friend Dana Loesch.”
The traditional media “is willfully helping” the students in their efforts to get new gun-control laws enacted, he said, so his kind of pushback is necessary.
When I asked him whether teenagers who have been through a school massacre and are rightfully outraged might deserve kinder treatment, he responded, “I think they deserve sympathy and respect, but not a free pass.”
Erickson’s actions matter because, despite his often extreme views, he’s seen as relatively moderate — someone who gets to offer platitudes about “healing” in the New York Times and whose comments get picked up — not as if they were the ravings of an Alex Jones, but as if he were a legitimate conservative opinion maker.
How is Erickson “extreme?” In this world of “Facts First” and “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the liberal media have beclowned themselves on the gun issue by suddenly deciding that facts are irrelevant because the rhetoric of Parkland students matter more.
The Post columnist previously claimed that the media are not the NRA’s enemies, but she did just that in demeaning anyone who doesn’t agree with the students as kooks:
What we’re seeing here is a spreading stain, in which conspiracy mongering from the likes of Infowars and, yes, Gateway Pundit is adopted by some elements of the formerly mainstream right and peddled to a receptive audience softened up for decades by Fox News.
That kind of thing can happen on the extreme left, too, but not as regularly and not as virulently. (And it’s a truism that corrections and “updates” everywhere fail to get the visibility of the original misinformation.)
There seems to be no floor of indecency that we agree to stay above.
As Charlie Warzel, who covers “information wars” for BuzzFeed News, put it recently: Extreme partisanship — pro-Trump media as well as parts of the far left — “is not about intellectual courage. It’s about winning.”
Instead of challenge Hogg, she gave him the platform to bemoan that “we’re so polarized as a nation” and lamented people simply pointed out that he hasn’t walked the walk when it comes to such behavior.
“Admirable words. The problem is, the ‘American tone,’ mostly on the right, has become a howling partisan shriek,” she concluded.
If Sullivan wants to have a debate about civility, she’s argued that the media are not the NRA’s enemy, slammed Bill Clinton’s accusers appearing at a 2016 debate as a “twisted version of the Last Supper” urged ESPN to have “diverse voices” call Trump a white supremacist, and deemed former CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley as having a “bias for the truth.” And those are just a few examples.