The Language of Lunacy


Much merriment has rolled through the blogosphere this morning over the embarrassing spectacle of CNN’s John King issuing an on-air apology, after guest Andy Shaw used the suddenly radioactive word “crosshairs.”  Here is King’s apology in full:

“Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. My friend Andy Shaw used the term ‘in the crosshairs’ in talking about the candidates. We’re trying, we’re trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he’s covered politics for a long time, but we’re trying to get away from that kind of language.”

It’s a relief to know this tragic outburst of inadvertent hate speech will not jeopardize the friendship between John and Andy.

Writing at the Washington Examiner, Byron York strolls down Memory Lane, and notices many previous CNN “crosshairs” growing beside that cobbled path of nostalgia.  This is, after all, the network that used to air a show called Crossfire, which was advertised with a crosshairs logo.  Somehow the wave of metaphor-inspired political violence waited until 2011 to crash upon our shores, and even then, it only crashed upon the shores of one Safeway parking lot in Arizona.

“Just for the record,” states York, “CNN anchors, reporters and guests did absolutely nothing wrong with their use of the word in the last month and before.  It would be impossible, at least for any reasonable person, to argue that the network’s use of ‘crosshairs’ in any of the various contexts it was used, was an incitement to violence by anyone, anywhere.”

York touches upon the central point in this foolish manufactured “controversy” – which has its amusing excesses, but is not even remotely funny at its core.  No reasonable person would issue the daft apology John King tendered to his audience, and no reasonable member of the audience expected it.

Having initiated and reinforced the “Climate of Hate” narrative from whole cloth, the media is now obliged to treat a ridiculous lie as if it were solemn truth… and that is the very definition of delusional madness.  Our entire media culture is lurching through an acute and painful spell of cognitive dissonance, in which it must compel itself to behave as if a dark fantasy manufactured through leftist ideology is objective truth.  Of course the result looks crazy.  We’re in for at least a few more days of watching our media culture drive itself stark raving mad.  Every time it begins returning to sanity, it remembers the crucial importance of keeping that “Climate of Hate” fantasy alive, and it jolts itself back into lunacy.

Making a serious effort to cleanse our language of every word and image that might conceivably inspire hypothetical lunatics to violence would be allowing the mad to write the rules of discourse for healthy minds.  It’s a furious effort to placate an imaginary audience of fiends.  The media further maddens itself by pretending it became concerned about that phantom legion of human time bombs for any reason other than political expedience.  Watching them attempt to convince us we should congratulate them for their ugly use of bloody slander, instead of demanding their apology, is uncomfortably similar to time spent observing a ward full of schizophrenics.

Six people died in Tucson because Jared Loughner went mad preparing for extreme measures against an enemy which existed only in his fevered thoughts.  Much of the American media is doing the exact same thing.