I find it interesting that, in today’s maniacal media world, conservatives are taken to task for every syllable they utter, but liberals are given a pass.
A GOP gaffe will be replayed ad nauseam on news broadcasts, news magazine programs, and comedy shows. Then, it may get a second round of play on liberal talk radio and ripped-from-the-headlines TV dramas.
But when a liberal makes a rhetorical blunder, he or she is excused because, after all, he or she really didn’t mean to say it. The guilty party is too erudite or too compassionate for the remark to be taken at face-value.
Sen. John Kerry is the latest case in point. Kerry indicated this week that if you’re a student who does not study hard and do your homework, you will end up “stuck in Iraq.” It should be evident to every American that this is an insult to the fine men and women who have put their lives on the line to try to rebuild Iraq and keep us safe from Iraqi-sponsored terrorism.
But a number of journalistas are telling us that no, the Democrat from Massachusetts couldn’t possibly have meant what he said, given the fact that he himself is a veteran of war. No, we’re told, he just botched a joke. After all, Kerry is no David Letterman.
It seems to me that a more likely excuse is that he was speaking under the influence of liberalism.
I wonder where these apologists were when actor Mel Gibson, while drunk, blamed the Jewish people for the wars in the world. When the report of Gibson’s inebriated gaffe first emerged, television viewers were told that alcohol had enabled Gibson to reveal his true, disturbing feelings about people of Jewish descent. In other words, being drunk was no excuse. Gibson also apologized, but certain members of the media still wouldn’t let the matter rest. They suggested that his apology wasn’t good enough — that he had to back up his words with concrete action.
What about Kerry? Is it enough for him to say he’s sorry? Or should he be made to take an active role in supporting the Iraq war effort — something that I seriously doubt he would do. If Kerry isn’t required to make amends, doesn’t that mean that the media are engaging in a double-standard, lambasting conservatives for ill-chosen words, but quickly forgiving verbal mistakes from the liberal side of the political spectrum?
Yet another example from recent headlines is the Michael J. Fox-Rush Limbaugh fiasco. Rush said that Fox’s movements in a political ad indicated that he was either acting or off his meds for Parkinson’s disease. Fox said he was actually over-medicated; Rush admitted he was wrong. Yet, we see Rush’s imitation of Fox’s TV performance replayed on the tube over and over again. But Fox, whose liberal, pro-embryonic stem cell research stance is beloved by many major media, is not taken to task for the fact that he hasn’t even read the Missouri ballot issue he favors.
In the same vein, we see so many sympathetic media profiles of the Dixie Chicks in the aftermath of an unfortunate comment criticizing President George W. Bush. Those who refused to buy the group’s CDs in light of the incident are portrayed as backward and unforgiving, rather than as patriotic and proud of the commander in chief.
Free speech is, indeed, priceless. But when it is misused, the costs can be high for our democracy and our security. It’s one thing for a radio talk show host to spout off — it’s quite another for a Senator to criticize our troops in wartime.
The media should at least hold Senator Kerry to as high a standard as they reserve for Gibson and Rush.