As I observe the "civil discourse" debate, I’ve pointed out the left seems peerless in their ability to be uncivil. And opinions like mine have sent the left scurrying to find some example that would rebut that conclusion – something so outrageous that it would force those on the right, like me, to abandon the premise and admit the right is just as bad.
And yesterday I thought they may have found it. Today, not so much. The subject is a segment by Glenn Beck. Full disclosure – I don’t watch Glenn Beck. I don’t listen to Glenn Beck. So I was open to the argument that he might have said something that would indeed provide an example of the rhetoric some folks on the left were attributing to him.
Here’s the snippet of a Beck segment that some lefty sites have been using to make their claim:
"Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.
"I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don’t. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep’s clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.
"You’ve been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.
"They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind. And if they feel you have lied to them — they’re revolutionaries. Nancy Pelosi, those are the people you should be worried about.
"Here is my advice when you’re dealing with people who believe in something that strongly — you take them seriously. You listen to their words and you believe that they will follow up with what they say."
Oh my, Beck is saying "shoot them in the head" (assuming the “them” is the left and he’s instructing his viewers to do so). Well at least on the first quick pass. But then, when you read it for meaning, it just doesn’t quite add up. It is the way it is worded. It seems to be saying what the left claims it says, but not really. You’re left not quite believing it.
Enter Patterico who does what apparently the left wasn’t able to do – or found inconvenient to do: obtain the entire segment’s transcript. Make sure you read it all.
In a word, it provides context. I know, what a concept, eh? And it completely demolishes the contention claimed by the left. They really didn’t want to look beyond the snippet of words they had. Context was inconvenient to their disingenuous claim. In fact, it flips it on its head.
When you read the entire segment, you suddenly realize who Beck is talking about – and it isn’t an incitement to the right to go shoot anyone in the head as the lefty sites insist.
As Dan McLaughlin notes the "you" Beck talks about is the Democratic leadership in Congress. And McLaughlin says:
I’m almost embarrassed for anybody gullible enough that they fell for this one.
Yup. I’m not surprised, naturally. But I’d be embarrassed. And that doesn’t even begin to address those who used this to try to spin it into something it isn’t. In their case it isn’t about “embarrassment” but about their credibility.
Of course I’d be interested to hear the opinion of those who eschewed context in this case to comment on something Paul Kanjorski said. You know Kanjorski – the former Democratic Congressman who had to temerity to publish a piece in the NY Times lecturing the rest of us on "civil discourse" in the wake of the Giffords’ shooting? A few months back, speaking of then FL candidate for governor Rick Scott, he said:
"Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida.
The context of the quote is he was upset that a guy who was involved with a company that was involved with one of the largest Medicare and Medicaid fraud scandals in history wasn’t in jail. Legit bitch, but even in that context, does it excuse the language? I mean if you want to be internally consistent and all.
The left? Crickets.
And in the realm of inciteful and violent rhetoric, it kinda makes the Palin cross-hairs map seem, oh, I don’t know, silly in comparison, doesn’t it?
So? So the left remains peerless in the rhetoric realm and are also adding to their lead in the “deceitful claims” department as well.
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Patterico does it by producing a 2006 poll:
The difference, of course, is instead of 51% of Democrats telling a polling company they wanted Bush to fail, an influential conservative came right out and said it about Obama.
The point for the left? You can quite pretending you’re witnessing something never seen before and climb on down from the throne of self-righteousness to your usual seat on the stool of hypocrisy (dissent no longer being the “highest form of patriotism).