I watched The McLaughlin Group yesterday. Pat Buchanan and Tony Blankley were defending Don Imus by attacking others. I forget whom they attacked vs. other attacks I’ve heard on this subject, but there have been at least these people whose bad behavior supposedly mitigates Imus’ guilt:
--- black rappers who use harsh words for black women and others
--- others in the media and blogosphere who are racist and sexist
--- David Brock, who is CEO of Media Matters, which first publicized Imus’ description of the Rutgers players, since in his book Blinded by the Right, Brock admitted lying not only when he was a conservative, but even when he was a student, so who is he to talk about someone else?
This came up a lot the last time Ann Coulter was in the news, how people defend their own by attacking the other side as being just as bad. Interestingly that last time with Ann Coulter also demonstrated that sometimes people criticize their own as well. I don’t expect that’s a trend.
One problem with the “everyone does it” defense is where do you go from there? Should we take all the bad people out and shoot them? Why not? How about a lesser, but uniform sanction against such bad behavior? Of course people using this defense aren’t interested in any such logical action based on their rhetoric, extreme or not. They’re just using words to defend their own and to set up some future attack on an opponent. It’s not morality. It’s just rhetoric for the sake of power.
There is a world beyond the fantasies of rhetoric. There is a surprisingly large amount of good behavior out there as opposed to those who spend a lifetime engaging in oneupsmanship by attacking their opponents while puffing up themselves and those like-minded. Does the anonymity of being behind a microphone or keyboard promote that? Is it the freedom to be as nasty as someone wants to be in that anonymity that is the biggest factor? Maybe other things are more important, such as the fantasy that anyone will make much of a difference behind that microphone or keyboard and the ego involved in that.
The morality of anyone speaks for itself. It’s complicated how one chooses to respond, but I can’t believe that many people mistake the immorality of the media and blogosphere for something good. Hatred, indifference and falseness are always evil and immoral. It may be a necessary evil, useful for flushing out a greater hatred, indifference and falseness, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time that this is as things should be.